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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