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"Ne krokodilu" sign


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

  • From the fact that crocodiles' extremely large mouths make an apt comparison for carelessly flapping one's jaws without consideration.[1][2][3]
  • 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.[4]
  • 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. ^ Arika Okrent (2010: 113) In the Land of Invented Languages: A Celebration of Linguistic Creativity, Madness, and Genius
  2. ^ Lindstedt, Jouko (2010) Esperanto as a Family Language
  3. ^ Joseph F. Conroy (1999: 223 pp.) Esperanto-English/English-Esperanto Dictionary & Phrasebook
  4. ^ Andreo Ĉerpiljodo (2006: 185) Lingvaj Babilaĵoj




  1. plural of krokodilo