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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.

7 Answers 7

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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.

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  • Aha, of course! I’ll have to brush up on my affixes.
    – gerbnl
    Oct 9, 2018 at 21:11
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Sleepy means “a little bit tired”, so another option could be laceta.

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  • Sleepy can also mean "tired" or even "very tired" (about to fall asleep). I suspect those meanings could be even more prevalent than "a little bit tired". Dunno whether there are regional differences.
    – das-g
    Nov 10, 2021 at 13:04
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Mi sentas min dormema. Mi dormemas. Mi sentas dormemon. Mi volas/volus dormi. Mi baldaŭ ekdormos. Mi jam preskaŭ dormas. Mi jam dormetas. Mi estas laca kaj emas dormi. Mi estas (ĝis)dorme laca. Mi bezonas dormon.

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  • 1
    Exactly this way. Normally the ending -em has a connotation to a long-lasting tendency or inclination but depending on the context and used verb (especially verbs like havi, senti) it can denote a short-lasting state. (source PIV). Sep 22, 2021 at 4:23
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What about dormivolas? The word for hungry is manĝivolas, as in "wanting food", so wouldn't dormivolas make sense for sleepy?

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

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  • 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, 2018 at 14:31
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    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). Nov 6, 2018 at 17:25
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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 ...)

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  • 4
    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, 2019 at 22:33
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    Mi estas dorma means I am asleep. Dormema would be the correct word to use meaning "having an inclination for sleeping."
    – Karlomanio
    Jan 7, 2019 at 15:12
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    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, 2019 at 7:50
  • "-ema" is a tendency towards something, so "dormema" is a tendency towards sleep, not sleepy. "mi dormivolas" would be "I want sleep".
    – jastako
    Jan 1 at 5:25
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It should be "mi estas dorma" or "mi estas dormema"

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  • Can you elaborate why it should be one of these?
    – das-g
    Dec 21, 2021 at 9:19
  • Neither "dorma" or "dormema" would make sense in this case. Words that end in "a" are adjectives, which describe something, like the word "granda", meaning "big". "Granda domo" would be "big house". "Dorma" can be used with "ĉambro" to mean bed room (sleep room), although I generally have just heard "dormĉambro" but you could use either one.
    – jastako
    Jan 1 at 10:56

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