"sapient" has at least 3 distinct meanings in English:

  1. wise, sage
  2. being member of the species homo sapiens, i.e., being human
  3. being member of a species (or other category), whose members are generally sufficiently sentient to be self-aware. (Like humans are, but not necessarily limited to only humans.)

How would one capture that third meaning in Esperanto?

I'm looking for an adjective or noun, so that the word or expression could be used in "Mi estas <?>."


2 Answers 2


self awareness can be translated as memkonscio.

You could say something like:

Delfenoj estas memkonsciaj bestoj.
  • So being in a category of entities potentially capable of that would be memkonscikapablarana / memkonscikapablarano. Is there a less unwieldy way to express that?
    – das-g
    Jun 2, 2020 at 10:21
  • Work on what Eduardo suggested, kategorio/klaso/grupo de memkonsciaj bestoj and later ano de tiu kategorio estas ekz. delfeno. Jun 2, 2020 at 14:21

Though memkonscia, altkonscia is fine and corresponds to sapient/self aware, I would translate the latin sapiens either as neologism (latin!) sapiensa (how else to translate "homo sapiens" sensibly), or better as kogna [Glosbe], cognitive refering to cognition (kogno), mental self-reflection.

Same as mamuloj (mammals) one could have the category kognuloj (sapient species).

See also kogni [PIV].

Because of the typical overspecification of terms in Esperanto dictionary definitions, here the English (maybe too general) definition of Glosbe:

Cognition The operation of the mind by which an organism becomes aware of objects of thought or perception; it includes the mental activities associated with thinking, learning, and memory.

  • Can kogna really be used in the sense of able of cognition rather than just that of related to cognition? The occurrences at glosbe.com/eo/en/kogna seem to mostly capture the latter.
    – das-g
    Nov 1, 2020 at 21:24
  • Yes, one has to speak of candidates.
    – Joop Eggen
    Nov 2, 2020 at 8:36

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