Always Learning!

The world through the prism of my mind

Is Esperanto converting people to vegetarianism

Posted by Alexandre Rafalovitch on September 9, 2006

Many people say that they become vegetarians because they can not keep thinking that the meat they were eating came from a real animal – cow or sheep.

The rest of us can handle this problem by not thinking about the connection in too many details. Fortunately English, Russian and probably other languages help us by disassociating the name of the animal with the name of the meat that comes from it.

Esperanto does no such thing. Due to its suffix system, any animal meat has to use the suffix -aĵ. Worse yet, the meat that comes from the baby animal (like calf – a baby cow) has to also have suffix -id. Makes it easy to remember the words, but much harder to see the connection.

Let’s see this in the table for one animal:

English Russian Esperanto
Cow Корова Bovo
Beef Говя́дина Bov-aĵ-o
Veal Теля́тина Bov-id-aĵ-o

Makes it a bit harder to swallow, doesn’t it?


3 Responses to “Is Esperanto converting people to vegetarianism”

  1. Rebecka said

    French does the same thing, for example by calling pigs “porc” rather than “cochon”, and boeuf instead of… cows? Or just male cows? Now I am not really sure, but my friends say porc and boeuf for both 🙂

  2. jm said

    un taureau is a bull
    un boeuf is a castrated bull (tastes better)
    une vache is a cow
    un veau is a young one

    Eating “boeuf” usually means eating the 3 kinds (taureau, boeuf ou vache). Although “taureau” meat is usually stronger in taste.
    You can eat veau too, but it’s called veau.

    I don’t think french has different name for the dead animals.

  3. I’ve had countless conversations with people about meat & vegetarianism, that revolve around them evading reality. Typically, said conversations run a little like this:

    Me: I like hunting.
    Other: That’s horrible! How could you?

    M: Well, I like shooting, I like eating meat, and I like being challenged. There’s great synergy involved between those likes.
    O: How could you kill and eat something?

    M: Don’t you eat meat?
    O: Yes, but I buy it.

    M: You mean, from a supermaket?
    O: Yes.

    M: You mean, most likely battery or intensively-farmed animals that never see sunlight, and that are force-fed on a diet of antibiotic-infused crap?
    O: Err, yes.

    M: … and that are then killed by someone else, so you never have to witness any of the process except for the end-product, shrink-wrapped meat on a supermaket shelf?
    O: I could never kill my own food, that’s just horrible.

    Personally, I like the idea of using explicit language when it comes to food. It might actually get people to have a think about what they’re buying and eating …

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