I'm reading Orwell's 1984 in Donald Broadribb's translation, as found online. I found this strange word in this sentence in page 82:

Sed nepre ŝi vidis lin marŝanta ŝien, kaj eble ŝi akceptos tiun sugeston.

While the meaning is intuitively clear – surely they mean the same as "ŝiadirekten" earlier in the same page, as confirmed by the English version

But she must have seen him coming towards her, and perhaps she would take the hint.

the composition of the word just feels unfounded to me. Though I am aware the translation has some typos (incidentally, I am quite sure "marŝanta" should have had an -n in the very same sentence, for example), this is different as it really sounds intentional.

Is this right? I found a related question discussed in lernu but with no conclusive / authoritative resolution.

2 Answers 2


About marŝanta without accusative -n.

ŝi vidis lin marŝanta ŝien

Compare this with the correct

li opinias ŝin plej bela.

(She not necessarily is most beautiful.)

So accusative is indeed not needed. -anta is used to hint at a duration instead of marŝi for instance.

ŝien instead of al ŝi for towards is also creatively correct.

It still is simple fluent language, and very finely translates the nuances of the original, though three statistical artefacts are a bit much.

More "natural" translations are feasible both from English to other languages, as also to Esperanto. Neither English nor Esperanto have a special quality in this respect.

But she must have seen him coming towards her, and perhaps she would take the hint.

Tamen lia alproksimiĝo (al ŝi) estis tute klara (evidenta), kaj eble ŝi akceptus la sugeston.

take the hint has better translations, but there might be some context for the choice made.

  • 2
    Interesting, thanks for also considering the other comment of mine! In my head I compared this sentence with the popular "Mi pentris la domon verdan" / "Mi pentris la domon verda". In this manner I would say ŝi actually did see lin marŝantan, but I can see how "marŝanta" would be acceptable (with a subtle difference in meaning, but with no risk of misunderstanding as in the case of pentri).
    – La Vo-o
    Feb 20, 2018 at 10:40

Interesting. I think I understand. It is a rather strange usage, especially for English speakers.

"ŝie"- using ŝi as an adverb and then adding an "n" to become "ŝien" that denotes towards. You also have a compound declension, which often occurs in Esperanto.

In this case, "ŝien" is being used to translate "Towards her" as an adverbial phrase. Seeing "she" used as an adverb is a strange construct for an English speaker, since there is no word in English like "sheingly", but I don't see why you couldn't make use of the extensible grammar in Esperanto as is done in this case.

  • I agree with your argument but fail to understand how "ŝi" could be a direct object of "marŝanta", more so as the verb "marŝi" is intransitive according to PIV and ReVo.
    – Vidamuzo
    Feb 20, 2018 at 15:30
  • I see what you mean that marŝanta is indeed an intranstive verb. I removed a portion of my answer that stated that you could use ŝin as a direct object.
    – Karlomanio
    Feb 20, 2018 at 17:21

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