What is the correct way to say “i am sleepy” in esperanto?

Google translate insists - erroneously - on “Mi dormas” (I am sleeping / I sleep), but that’s not what i’m looking for. A person that is sleepy doesn’t sleep.


The esperanto affix -em- indicates a tendendy or inclination toward whatever the root refers to. So, "sleepy" can be expressed as dormema (as an adjective). So, Mi estas dormema.

You can find a list of affixes in Esperanto at Word-Building with Esperanto Affixes.

Also see dormema on Wiktionary.

| improve this answer | |
  • Aha, of course! I’ll have to brush up on my affixes. – gerbnl Oct 9 '18 at 21:11

Sleepy means “a little bit tired”, so another option could be laceta.

| improve this answer | |

I'm under the impression that, at least in Europe, the preferred form is 'dormavida'.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    I think -avida as a suffix means that you have a long-term tendency towards the root (like manĝavida could mean greedy). This is also one of the meanings of -em. In this case in English sleepy is only a temporary inclination to sleep (ie, a bit tired) so I don’t think dormavida makes sense. Maybe a better translation of dormavida would be something like sleepyhead. – Neil Roberts Nov 5 '18 at 14:31
  • 1
    Compound words in Esperanto often have an adaptive meaning. For example, ‘vortaro’ is not just a set of words, but a DICTIONARY, and ‘arbaro’ is not just a set of trees, but a FOREST, and so on. Also, it seems to me that ‘dormema’ is more likely to describe a ‘sleepyhead’ (using the sense that you yourself acknowledge) than would ‘dormavida’, with ‘dormavida’ being, by adaptation, more suitable for focusing on the ‘momentary life-situation’ (to use the terminology of Kurt Lewin). – EulerSpoiler Nov 6 '18 at 17:25

Since the English Dictionary defines sleepy as an adjective, I would (and have) just use the adjective (-a) form of the word. It's simple, and perfectly understandable: the prime directive of Esperanto where ambiguity is not an issue. Mi estas dorma. - (dorma, dormeta, dormega ...)

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    I think dorma is more like something related to sleep. Like a dorma ĉambro would be a room for sleeping, not a sleepy room. – Neil Roberts Jan 3 '19 at 22:33
  • Mi estas dorma means I am asleep. Dormema would be the correct word to use meaning "having an inclination for sleeping." – Karlomanio Jan 7 '19 at 15:12
  • Mi estas dorma means I am somehow related to sleep Out of context, it means neither I am sleepy ( = mi estas dormema ) nor I am asleep ( = mi estas dormanta ) nor I am a sleepyhead ( = mi estas dormemulo ) It is a very ambiguous sentence, and is therefore best avoided (In fact, I have never heard it) – Dario Jan 10 '19 at 7:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.