Ranto Appendix – P


Zamenhof couldn't have been expected to predict that words like “astro·naut·ik, micro·bio·logia, tele·skop” were going to end up in every dictionary on the planet; nonetheless, as a world‐wide wordlist develops, Esperanto looks more and more perverse in its parochial root choices.  Many opportunities for wide recognisability were sacrificed in favour of lexical tokenism, throwing scraps to all the key local ethnic groups.  Of course, radical suggestions like stocking the lexicon with fragments of technical jargon are invariably decried by Esperantists as obscure; but which is the average non‐European auxlangist more likely to recognise – German Farbe as in farbo, or neo‐Greek chrom‐ as in “chromatophore”, “Kodachrome”, etc.?

English Esperanto Source Alternatives
“blood” sango (∼Romance) haem(at)o
“day” tago (Germanic: cf. “Thursday”) die, diurno
“dog” hundo (Germanic) Canis (familiaris)
“fear” timo (Latin: not Romance) phobia
“finger” fingro (Germanic) digito, daktylo
“fire” fajro (English/Yiddish) pyro
“football” piedpilko (∼French‐Polish!) futbol
“gold” oro (Romance: not Latin) aurum – symbol Au
“heart” koro (Romance: not Latin) cardio
“horse” chevalo (French) Equus (caballus)
“school” lernejo (Germanic “learnery”) scholia, skulo
“sheep” shafo (German) Ovis (aries)
“star” stelo (Romance) ast(e)ro
“sun” suno (∼English) sōl, hēlio
“thief” shtelisto (Germanic “stealer”) klepto
“Thursday” jhaudo (∼French: joveday) fifth day of the week
“time” tempo (Romance: musical “rate”) chrono
“word” vorto (Germanic) verba, lexico
“year” jaro (western Germanic) annō (Domini)

Incidentally, the Esperanto for “dictionary” is itself a good example of How Not To Do It: vortaro, with the inscrutable literal meaning “word‐herd”.  I mean, I wasn't expecting Zamenhof to see the potential of the Arabic word qâmûs, which has got into other languages from Swahili to Urdu to Indonesian (though by a strange coincidence, it's originally a loan from Greek!) – but how did he manage to overlook the example of all the Germanic languages that make the compound “wordbook”?