Special Esperanto adverbs
A limited number of Esperanto adverbs do not end with the regular adverbial ending -e. Many of these function as more than just adverbs, such as hodiaŭ "today" [noun or adverb] and ankoraŭ "yet, still" [conjunction or adverb]. Others are part of the correlative system (see), and will not be repeated here.
It should be mentioned that the word class 'adverb' is not well defined in any language, and it is sometimes difficult to say whether a word is an adverb or not. The -e suffix is restricted in Esperanto for cases that are clearly adverbial.
Adverbs and the suffix -aŭ
Alongside its dedicated part-of-speech suffixes, such as adverbial -e, adjectival -a, and nominal -o, Esperanto has a grammatically neutral suffix -aŭ, which has no defined part of speech. Words ending in -aŭ may be used for multiple grammatical functions. They are typically words whose part of speech is difficult to identify in other languages. This suffix is not lexically productive: it is limited to a score of words which Zamenhof applied it to. To specify the part of speech of these words, the dedicated part-of-speech suffixes may be added to the -aŭ. For example, anstataŭ "instead of" (preposition and conjunction) is the base of the adverb anstataŭe "instead", the adjective anstataŭa "ad interim, deputy", the verb anstataŭi "to take the place of", and the noun anstataŭo "replacement, substitution". Most -aŭ words have inherent adverbial uses; anstataŭ is one of the few that do not. The adverbial -aŭ words are,
Esperanto English parts of speech almenaŭ at least conjunction and adverb ambaŭ both adjective and adverb ankaŭ also adverb ankoraŭ still, yet conjunction and adverb apenaŭ barely adverb baldaŭ soon adverb ĉirkaŭ around preposition and adverb hieraŭ yesterday noun and adverb hodiaŭ today noun and adverb kvazaŭ as if conjunction and adverb morgaŭ tomorrow noun and adverb preskaŭ almost adverb
Theoretically, the -aŭ does not belong to the root, and may be dropped, or replaced by rather than suffixed by other grammatical suffixes. For example, alongside anstataŭ and anstataŭe there are anstat’ and anstate, but this is rare and in practice does not occur outside poetry. Kalocsay & Waringhien (1985) sum it up thus,
- In 1892 Zamenhof proposed the following change: "Instead of the ending '-aŭ' in various words one can use an apostrophe [e.g. ankor’, apen’]... This will increase sonorousness, while not introducing any confusion (because '-aŭ' does not belong to the root, but is only a conditional ending, and thus as easy to leave off as the '-o' of the noun)." But this elision of '-aŭ' from adverbs was not put into practice; only in recent years have a few poets attempted to use it in verse. (p. 121; examples from p 409, note iv)
- There have already been attempts to use these words in simple adverbial form (morge, apene, anke, ankore, almene, etc.), which would certainly bring along the simple adjectival form (ankora, almena, apena) and the nominal form (hiero, hodio, morgo). These attempts are even officially tolerated by the Academy [since 1910]. (p 409, note iv)
Other adverbs occur as bare roots; the distinction between bare-root and -aŭ adverbs is lexical. However, some of the bare-root words may be argued to be grammatical particles and not true adverbs, in which case true adverbs may be derived from them by adding the ending -e. They are,
Esperanto English notes for away cf. the derived adverb fore jam already, yet ĵus just now nun now noun and adverb nur only plej most cf. the derived adverb pleje pli more pronoun and adverb; cf. the derived adverb plie plu beyond, further cf. the derived adverb plue tre very tro overly, too much cf. the derived adverb troe tuj at once, immediately
Occasionally in poetry forms such as nune and tree are seen, but this is considered grammatically redundant (Kalocsay & Waringhien 1985:409).
- Others are adiaŭ "goodbye", an interjection, and the three prepositions antaŭ "before", kontraŭ "against", and malgraŭ "despite". The preposition laŭ "along" is not one of these words: It is a bare root, and only coincidentally contains the sequence aŭ.
- List from Kalocsay & Waringhien 1985:121; parts of speech as declared by the Plena vortaro, SAT 1921.
- An exception is the preposition antaŭ "before". Etymologically this is based on a root ant, but this is distinct from the inflectional suffix ant (the active present participle). Antaŭ might thus be considered a root, analogous to laŭ above, or the -aŭ suffix might be obligatory due to likely confusion with the participle.
- Plena analiza gramatiko, 5th edition, 1985
- List from Kalocsay & Waringhien 1985:121; parts of speech and distinct adverbial derivations as found in the Plena vortaro, SAT 1921.