I have been wondering for a while what word should we use for computer. Many—including Esperantists—have suggested that we should simply import it as komputero or komputoro (1, 2, 3). Additionally, the Akademio’s suggestion was abandoned in favour of the more popular komput-ilo. Furthermore, I noticed that the creators of Ido were very etymologically consistent, and that taking a look at other words could give us a better clue as to whether we should follow Esperanto’s route or create our own word. Since computer comes from the (Latin) verb compute + the suffix –er, I made a list of English words that follow a similar pattern.
adapter: adapt-ilo (from Latin adaptare).
amplifier: ampl-ig-ilo (from Latin amplus).
boiler: kaldiero. — FIS (from Latin caldaria)
charger: charj-ilo (from Latin carricare).
condenser: kondensatoro (from Latin condensare).
controller: (gaming) govern-ilo di videoludo* [cf. ludo, preludo].
converter: konvert-ilo (from Latin convertere).
cruiser: kroz-navo (from Latin crux).
emitter: emis-ilo (from Latin emittere).
equalizer: equal-ig-ilo (from Latin aequalis).
extinguisher: exting-ilo (from Latin extinguere).
grinder: grind-ilo (from Old English grindan).
inverter: invers-ig-ilo (from Latin inversus).
receiver: recev-ilo (from Latin recipere).
steamer: (steamship) vapor-navo; (instrument for steaming) vapor-ag-ilo.
transformer: transformatoro (from Latin transformare).
transmitter: transmis-ilo (from Latin transmittere).
tumbler: glaso, gobleto (vitra).
tuner: akord-ig-ilo, sintona* [cf. sinkrona] → sinton-ig-ilo.
As you can see, this list is very diverse, and I even included a few neologisms in order to follow Idistic logic in the same way that scientists nowadays complete the periodic table. However, I noticed something very surprising when doing the exercise: words ending in -ero are nowhere to be found, except in the sole case kaldiero which doesn’t originate from English anyway. Indeed, there is a very consistent method in which the English -er, when referring to objects rather than persons, is always translated to -ilo except for the rare occasions in which other languages support the -atoro ending. That is the case for kondensatoro (DFISR) and for transformatoro (DFISR). In fact, -atoro is found in many other words such as akumulatoro, desikatoro, elevatoro, generatoro, indikatoro, karburatoro, kolimatoro, manipulatoro, radiatoro, regulatoro and ventilatoro.
Another thing: most words come from Latin verbs, which would explain why they are themselves verbs to which we add the suffix -er-.
Now, computer presents an interesting problem. Before we start, the root comput- is obviously the most international part of the word (DEISR), largely thanks to the influence of the English word. Thus, our word should definitely begin with komput-. The bigger problem is in the ending: should it be -ilo or -atoro? German adopted Komputer, Russian adopted компью́тер (kompʹjúter) and Italian adopted computer. However, the latter pronounces computer like a foreign word—by doing the same, we would simply use computer in Ido as well—but it also created the homegrown elaboratore, thus supporting the -atoro ending. Similarly, French rejected computer for ordinateur, again supporting the -atoro ending. As for Spanish, it hispanicized computer into computadora, supporting once again -atoro. On the other hand, komput-ilo would require of komputar* to be an international verb just like telefonar. Yet, is it? English has compute; French, computer; Italian, computare; Spanish, computar. It’s not as international as telefonar, and certainly not as specific (it’s pretty much synonimous with kalkular), but it’s quite close.
Thanks to this research, I can coin new roots that could be useful:
bulldozer: bull (bul-, buldogo) + dose (dozo) + er (-ero) = buldozero*.
scanner: scan (skan-) [cf. skandar] = skanar* (tr.) → skan-ilo.
sequencer: sequenc-ar* (tr.) → sequenc-ilo.
teleporter: tele- + -port (-portar) = teleportar* (tr.) → teleport-ilo.
transducer: trans- + -duce (-duktar) = transduktar* (tr.) → transdukt-ilo.
I have made an exception to bulldozer, considering it does not come from Latin and the verb bulldoze is almost a back-formation.
In sum, komput-ilo and komputatoro* are two very good candidates for translating computer. If they are not, then we always have the possibility of using computer as a foreign word, just like we use pizza and sushi, but that would be odd for such an everyday item. What do you think? Please leave your opinion in the comments below! 🐮
Aktualigo ye la 22-ma di decembro 2016: Me riorganizis la artiklo por esar plu klara e por aktualigar mea vidpunto.