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Household Chores Gone Overboard Posted by on May 13, 2009 in Esperanto Language

Today my roommate, about to clean the carpet, said to me: “Donu a mi la vakuon.” I think he must have been using an Internet translation, but wasn’t as explicit as he ought to have been.

You see, “vakuo” in Esperanto means “vacuum.” In English, sometimes we associate the word “vacuum” with “vacuum cleaner,” the tool we use to help clean carpets. However, Esperanto has two distinct words for “vacuum” and “vacuum cleaner!” My roommate probably wanted to ask for a “polvosucxilo,” which would be the Esperanto word for “vacuum cleaner” (literally, “dust-suck-tool”). Instead, he asked me for an absence of matter.

Imagine how effective the mistaken cleaning would be! There wouldn’t be any more dirt, admittedly. There also wouldn’t be a room left to clean!

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