Counting In Esperanto

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about teaching. Specifically, teaching others that one thing you can do really well. This one’s actually kind of hard for me, because my specialty is writing…like the majority of the people on WordPress. I’m pretty sure most of you don’t need another how-to-write lecture, so I won’t even bother focusing on it. Instead, I’ll do something a little bit more obscure: Esperanto. Created in 1887, it’s the most widely-used constructed international auxiliary language. Basically, it was an attempt to get around the communication barrier by using with words influenced by multiple languages. And while it’s never been an official second language in any country, it still has a small but devoted following. Rather than giving a full rundown – even I don’t know everything about it – I’ll stick with just a brief lesson on counting in Esperanto:

  • 0 = Nulo  6 = ses
  • 1 = unu   7 = sep
  • 2 = du     8 = ok
  • 3 = tri     9 = naŭ
  • 4 = kvar   10 = dek
  • 5 = kvin

The tens are expressed by adding dek after the matching digit. 20 = dudek, 30 = tridek, etc. The rules for individual numbers are basically the same as they are in English; you just say the word for the corresponding ten, and whatever digit needed. For example: 11 = dek unu, 27 = dudek sep, 35 = tridek kvin,  79 = sepdek naŭ.

Still with me, right?

When you get up to a hundred, things change up just a tiny bit. 100 = cent. You know, like a penny? The rest of the rules still apply, though: 101 = cent unu, 200 = du cent, 500 = kvincent, 999 = naŭcent naŭdek naŭ. As you might guess, 1,000 = mil. You know, like the thousandth of an inch? So, following these rules a number like 2,679 = dumil sescent sepdek naŭ.

10,000 = dek mil

20,000 = dudek mil

589,345 = kvincent okdek naŭmil tricent kvardek kvin

1,000,000 = miliono

5,000,000 = kvin milionoj

Once you start getting up into the billions and beyond, things start to get…interesting. You can use words like biliono, triliono, etc., but there are different terms depending if you’re using the long or short scales for number systems. If you’re up for learning it, you can find a handy chart for it here.

Adiaŭ, amikoj!


Daily Prompt: A Bird, a Plane, You!, Or: This Is Heavy, Doc!

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is about power. Specifically, choosing one of three superpowers provided:

  • The ability to speak and understand any language
  • The ability to travel through time
  • The ability to make any two people agree with each other

Now, I’ve established that I’m pretty geeky, so of course questions like this are nothing new. The concept of superpowers is ancient; a cursory glance of any major battle in Homer’s epics will reveal quite a bit. When I was a kid, it always came down to Achilles’ Nigh Invulnerability versus Odysseus’ cunning. Cunning isn’t technically a superpower, but being able to outsmart gods is undeniably awesome. But since wisdom and strategy are part of Athena’s domain, she’s probably my first favorite superhero…

Going on a tangent. Sorry.

Anyway, so this debate focuses on the three aforementioned powers. I can dismiss the third one outright, because making two people agree doesn’t exactly solve the inherent issues of a disagreement. The implication of this power is that you use some kind of psychic ability to mess with people’s brains, essentially forcing them to do something. It really boils down to individual morality versus necessity; if you need to mentally force people to agree, then what does that portend for the future of civilization? Look what happened to Rohan in Lord of the Rings. I don’t know about you, but I like having free will and memories. Hey, remember when Zatanna mind-wiped the villainous Dr. Light? Remember when she mind-wiped Batman in an attempt to cover it up? Yeah, that didn’t have any negative consequences whatsoever…oh wait.

I’m sorely tempted to go with the first one, simply because I really enjoy learning languages. I spend a lot of time using free online resources like DuoLingo and Open Culture. If The King of All Cosmos can speak Esperanto, then so can I! What’s cool about speaking any language is that it’s not limited to verbal communication. Taken a step further, universal translation also applies to technology. You ever take a course in C++? BASIC? Congratulations, you know a programming language. How about body language? Music? Symbols? R’lyehian? You might want to save that last one for a special occasion. There’s a lot of opportunities to be had, and being able to communicate is a more civil method of diplomacy than, you know, mind-wiping naysayers.

However, I have to go with time travel. If you have all the time in the world, you can develop universal translation on your own! Yeah, it’s a lot of studying, but at least you won’t have to sacrifice the ability to bend the fabric of reality. You have enough time to do, learn, and create anything you want. The sky isn’t even the limit; develop technology over the centuries and discover interstellar flight! It’s all there for the taking. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, though. There are a lot of problems associated with time travel, usually due to individual choices and hubris. Remember what happened in Back to the Future? Marty McFly nearly erased himself from existence, and accidentally re-wrote a bunch of other stuff! Or how about The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, who used her powers to avoid problems and drastically altered the fates of everyone around her? Doctor Who is all about why time travel is so ridiculously awesome and dangerous at the same time. Then there are all the questions brought up with multiverse theory, which is even messier. Time travel is the best of these three powers, but it requires unparalleled responsibility and foresight. I don’t think I – or anyone else, for that matter – could use it perfectly.

But I’d sure like to try.