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"Ne krokodilu" sign


From krokodilo ‎(crocodile). The origin of the expression is unclear. Several suggestions have been made:

  • From crocodile tears. A crocodile sheds tears while eating its prey. The krokodilanto bemoans the fate of Esperanto while not bothering to speak it.
  • Ferrari, an Esperantist in Paris in the 1930s, would comment Kion volas tiuj krokodiloj? (What do those crocodiles want?) when noisy non-Esperantists entered the cafe where he was speaking Esperanto with friends.[1]
  • Students of Andreo Cseh. When Cseh taught Esperanto, students were only allowed to speak their native language when they were holding a wooden crocodile he always brought with him.

The latter two may be allusions to the idiom rather than its source.



krokodili ‎(present krokodilas, past krokodilis, future krokodilos, conditional krokodilus, volitive krokodilu)

  1. (slang) to speak among Esperantists in a language besides Esperanto, especially one's native language or a language not spoken by everyone present (literally: "to 'crocodile'")



  • malkrokodili ‎(to speak in Esperanto among non-Esperanto speakers)


  1. ^ Andreo Ĉerpiljodo (2006: 185) Lingvaj Babilaĵoj