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What is the best way to express the accusative of non-Esperanto words in an Esperanto text?

For example:

  • Mi ŝatas Facebook.
  • Tina konas Mark, sed Mark ne konas Tina.
  • Mi forgesis kunporti la Pepsi.

Is it necessary to 'Esperantise' these words, or is there another preferred solution?

  • It's weird now to see this question and yet no answer from myself. I wonder what prompted this question - since I have my own answer that I have been following for years. – Tomaso Alexander Nov 22 '17 at 16:39
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I don't think there's a universally accepted way to deal with this, but probably the least controversial way is to just not bother marking the accusative. The meaning is usually clear from the context anyway. In number 1 and 3 of your examples the meaning is clear because the subject of the phrase is marked by the lack of the n suffix so the other unmarked part can only be the object. For number 2, you can assume the default subject-verb-object word order to get the meaning.

Another option is to force the ending on onto the word separated with a hyphen:

Mi ŝatas Facebook-on

There are at least two experimental ways to express the accusative with a preposition. One of these is to use je:

Mi ŝatas je Facebook.

I personally find this usage quite clumsy so I would recommend against it.

Another is the preposition na which is a proposal for a preposition to explicitly show the accusative. For example:

Mi ŝatas na Facebook.

It can be used in other cases as well to solve the ambiguity in de with a verb-like noun:

Temas pri manĝo na kokoj.

However this word is not widely known and often when using it you will probably have to explain yourself and end up with a tedious debate about whether reforms are acceptable in Esperanto rather than whatever conversation you were trying to have in the first place.

I personally find Esperanto-ising the words an acceptable solution (eg, mi ŝatas vizaĝlibron) but as demonstrated by makis' answer that is not without controversy and it isn't always possible anyway.

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  • 1
    Another option for names ending with a vowel is to just add -n rather than -on: Mark ne konas Tina-n – Max Sep 14 '16 at 15:25
  • I generally do what Max suggest - as this was suggested to me years ago -- I believe by Claude Piron. Esperatize the name if possible. If not, add an -n if phonetically possible. – Tomaso Alexander Nov 22 '17 at 16:46
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There's no official way. Do whatever feels right.

Esperanto does not have a fixed word order but does most often use Subject-Verb-Object word order. So, in conversation and in context, Tina konas Mark, Tina piedbatis Mark or Mi forgesis la Pepsi would be perfectly understandable.

(But never translate word for word proper nouns -- Vizaĝlibro is not Facebook!)

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  • I've actually seen it as Vizaĝaro. :) – Lyubomir Vasilev Sep 14 '16 at 13:42
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    Ve, la hororo! :P – makis Sep 14 '16 at 13:43
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    "Vizaĝlibro" was a contender, at least for a while. My sense is that fejsbuko has won out. – Tomaso Alexander Nov 22 '17 at 16:49
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I do not know if there is an “official” way to do it but according to PMEG, some people “experimentally” use je (it doesn't recommend it, just says that some people use it):

Iuj eksperimente uzas je por indiki rektan objekton, kiam la rekta objekto estas io, kio ne povas havi N-finaĵon, aŭ al kio oni malemas aldoni N-finaĵon, kvazaŭ renversante la regulon, ke oni povas uzi N-finaĵon anstataŭ je: Li amas je Elisabeth. (= Li amas Elisabeth-on.) Ĉu vi legis je “Cent jaroj da soleco”? (= Ĉu vi legis la libron “Cent jaroj da soleco”?) Tio estas nenorma uzo de je. Komparu kun la neoficiala objekta rolvorteto na°.

or na (same as je — some people use it):

Na° estas eksperimenta rolvorteto, kiu montras rektan objekton. La intenco estas, ke oni uzu na en tiaj okazoj, en kiuj estas malfacile, nekonvene aŭ eĉ neeble uzi la ordinaran objektan finaĵon N. Tiuj, kiuj uzas na, uzas ĝin precipe antaŭ ne-Esperantaj propraj nomoj kaj alispecaj fremdaj vortoj. Oni uzas na ankaŭ antaŭ mallongigoj, citaĵoj kaj Esperantaj vortetoj, kiuj ne akceptas N-finaĵon: Por tekstoredaktado Unikode kaŭ Esperante, mi rekomendas na UniRed. Multaj jam konas na babilejo.org. Tion mi konfirmis konsultante na PIV. La Ĉina nomo de Esperanto signifas na “mondlingvo”. Mi ŝatas na ambaŭ. Tiom da homoj faras na tiom da strangaĵoj. Na pli da informoj oni povas trovi tie. La precizaj manieroj uzi na tre varias. Ĉiuokaze na estas reformpropono evitenda. Komparu kun simila uzo de je.

There is also a Wikipedia article about na.


Keep in mind that both are just “used” by some people, they are neither official nor recommended in any way by e.g. PMEG. I do not know of any “official” way to do that. In the grammar at Lernu (scroll down to “Accusative and proper names”) it is explained that if the name is Esperantized, you add “-n”, if not — you simply do not use the accusative.

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  • 2
    It's a bit misleading to say that PMEG says ‘je’ “should” be used. The paragraph you have quoted just says that some people do use it but that it is not a normal usage. That sounds closer to a disrecommendation to me. – Neil Roberts Sep 14 '16 at 13:08
  • @NeilRoberts Thank you, I messed it up. Edited! – Lyubomir Vasilev Sep 14 '16 at 13:14

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