Introduction to the Esperanto Language – Night 1

Introduction to the Esperanto Language

Written September, 2015, by Rachel J. Morris

Creative Commons License Introduction to the Esperanto Language by Rachel J. Morris is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.moosader.com/learn/ccckc/introduction-to-the-esperanto-language/.

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title card

Enkonduko al Esperanto

Intro to Esperanto

Book 1 of 3

by Rachel J. Morris, September 2015


About Esperanto

Zamenhof

Zamenhof

Esperanto is a language that was invented in the 1800s, with the first grammar book published in 1887. It was invented by a man from Poland, L. L. Zamenhof.

It was invented to be very easy to learn – part of this is by using a very regular grammar – verbs always have the same ending for past, present, future, etc.

It became popular in Europe soon after it was published, but went into hiding during the two World Wars. Since the internet has become ubiquitous, Esperanto has begun picking up steam again. Every year there’s a world meeting – last year in Lille, France 2,695 people attended.

Conlangs

Esperanto isn’t the only invented language – conlanging (constructed-language-ing) is a hobby among many people.

There are some conlangs invented for entertainment: Quenya – Lord of the Rings, Klingon – Star Trek, Dothraki – Game of Thrones. Often these are invented by linguists! (Zamenhof wasn’t a linguist, but had linguist family).

Other people invent languages for experiments – Solresol uses “Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do” as the sounds of its language, so you can speak, sing, or play the piano to get your point across!

If you’re interested in learning about more of these, maybe check out toki pona, Solresol, Láadan, or Lojban!

Láadan Sample

Láadan Sample

Social Groups

We have a social group that meets once a month here in Kansas City. Search for “Esperantists in Kansas & Missouri” on Facebook to find us!

You can also check Lernu.net and duolingo.com for more lessons and a message board.


The Esperanto Alphabet

The Esperanto alphabet is similar to the English alphabet, but a few letters are missing, and a few letters now have hat variants:

 

A

B

C

Ĉ

D

E

F

G

Ĝ

H

Ĥ

I

J

Ĵ

K

L

M

N

O

P

R

S

Ŝ

T

U

Ŭ

V

Z

 

These letters sound like:

A

Car

B

Aback

C

Ts sound

Ĉ

Ch sound

D

Dash

E

Let

F

Fill

G

Gaudy

Ĝ

Jump

H

High

Ĥ

Loch

I

Free

J

You

Ĵ

Vision

K

Kiss

L

Wealth

M

Him

N

Month

O

Coat

P

Pack

R

Curd

S

Sand

Ŝ

Sheep

T

Tick

U

Boot

Ŭ

W

V

Valve

Z

Size

Notes:

  • Each sound in Esperanto is given one letter. That’s why ĉ is “ch” and ŝ is “sh” instead of combining two letters.

    • Diphthongs exist, such as “aŭ”.

  • The J sounds like a “Y” in English, with G sounding like “Guy”, Ĝ sounding like “Jump”, and Ĵ sounding like the s in “Pleasure”.

  • The R is meant to be rolled or tapped, but it is OK if you can’t. If you start speaking with Esperantists around the world, you’ll find that everyone has an accent! You’ll just have an American one. 😉

  • Ĥ is the only sound not in English, but it almost never shows up. If you want to hear an audio clip of what it sounds like, you can on the Wikipedia page:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiceless_velar_fricative

  • Most other letters have English sounds, just make sure to look at the vowel sounds!


 

Some introductory phrases

With every language, the first thing you have to know is how to say “Hi”, introduce yourself, and ask how the other person is doing. So let’s start with that!

Hello!

My name is Rachel.

What is your name?

Saluton!

Mia nomo estas Rachel.

Kiu estas via nomo?

How are you doing?

I am doing well.

I’m not doing well.

Kiel vi fartas?

Mi fartas bone.

Mi fartas malbone.

Good morning

Good evening

Good night

Bonan matenon

Bonan vesperon

Bonan nokton

Bye!

See you later!

Welcome!

Adiaŭ!

Ĝis la revido!

Bonvenon!

Yes

No

Do you want to dance?

Jes

Ne

Ĉu vi volas danci?

Please

Thank you

Are you ready?

Bonvolu

Dankon

Ĉu vi pretas?

We will cover the meaning behind these phrases later on, but saying some of these phrases can help us get used to speaking Esperanto and listening to how Esperanto sounds.

You can search for “Esperanto Muziko” on YouTube to find songs, and even Google Translate has Esperanto available! Google Translate’s translations are —

REALLY BAD
NEVER EVER USE GOOGLE TRANSLATE FOR
TRANSLATING FROM ENGLISH TO ESPERANTO!

– but if you type in Esperanto, it can do text-to-speech for you!

Ĉu vi pretas?  Jes!

Ĉu vi pretas? Jes!


Putting together some phrases

We’re going to start by putting together some phrases, and then explaining a bit of grammar.

[Noun] is [Noun], [Noun] is [Adjective]

In Esperanto, the word for “is”, “am”, or “be” is Estas. This is for present-tense – we will talk about past and future tense later on. The word order is the same as in English.

Word Bank

Me

You

Student

Teacher

Programmer

Mi

Vi

Studento

Instruisto

Programisto

Cat

Dog

Bird

Friend

Enemy

Kato

Hundo

Birdo

Amiko

Malamiko

Happy

Sad

Angry

Good

Bad

Feliĉa

Trista

Koleras

Bona

Malbona

Loud

Early

Fast

Hot (temperature)

Cold

Laŭta

Frua

Rapida

Varma

Malvarma

So you can put together simple phrases like:

I am a student

You are a programmer

My dog is fast

Mi estas studento

Vi estas programisto

Mia hundo estas rapida

What phrases can you build?

I’m good.

My bird is loud.

My enemy is bad.

My friend is fast.

My cat is my friend.

My teacher is a programmer.

Grammar Notes

There’s a few things we should note about the previous lesson! Perhaps you noticed some patterns. Let’s spell those out now.

  1. The Noun Ending
    All nouns end with an “o” in Esperanto.

  2. The Adjective Ending
    All adjectives end with an “a” in Esperanto.

  3. The Opposite Prefix
    You can turn a word into its opposite by adding “mal” to the beginning:
    Bona – good, Malbona – bad. Amiko – friend, Malamiko – Enemy.
    Ferma – closed, Malferma – opened. Laŭta – Loud, Mallaŭta – Quiet.

  4. Mal” isn’t “Bad”
    “Mal-” doesn’t mean bad, even though it sounds like malus (bad) from Latin. For Esperanto, it is just the opposite marker.

  5. A and The
    There is no word for “a” in Esperanto – if you want to say “I am a student”, you basically just say “I am student”. The word “La” means “The”. It does not change based on gender like in Spanish.

  6. Mine and Yours
    You can also change “Me” to “My” and “You” to “Your” by adding an “a” to the end:
    Mi – me, Mia – my, mine. Vi – you, Via – your, yours.

At the end of this lesson is a word list of more useful nouns and adjectives that you can practice building sentences with!


[Noun] [Verbs]

OK, you can describe a little bit about what things are, but what about what they’re doing? Let’s start with present-tense verbs to keep it simple for now!

Word Bank

Speaking

Thinking

Searching

Watching

Following

Parolas

Pensas

Serĉas

Spektas

Sekvas

Eating

Drinking (non-alcoholic)

Playing

Understanding

Misunderstanding

Manĝas

Trinkas

Ludas

Komprenas

Malkomprenas

Walking

Running

Teaching

Learning

Studying

Marŝas

Kuras

Instruas

Lernas

Studas

Quickly

Loudly

Angrily

Well

Badly

Rapide

Laŭte

Kolere

Bone

Malbone

So here are some more simple phrases:

I am speaking / I speak

You are understanding / You understand

The teacher is teaching / The teacher teaches

Mi parolas

Vi komprenas

Instruisto instruas

And try to translate these:

The cat is playing / the cat plays

You are studying / You study

The bird is eating / The bird eats

My friend is running / My friend runs

The student is studying

I am watching

The fast dog runs

The sad programmer thinks

The good friend follows

La rapida hundo kuras

The dog runs quickly

My friend eats loudly

The bird watches angrily

La hundo kuras rapide

Grammar Notes

  1. Is, Am
    Notice that in English we like to put “am” and “is” before our verbs – we don’t do this in Esperanto! Think of these phrases like, “you think”, “The cat plays”, and so on.

  2. Mal-Verbing
    We can use “mal” with verbs also, to indicate the opposite.
    Komprenas is “Understand”, Malkomprenas is “Misunderstand”, and if you said Nekomprenas, it would mean “Not understand”.
    Mal” doesn’t work with all words, if an opposite doesn’t make sense!

  3. As” Present, “Is” Past, “Os” Future
    All of our present-tense, currently-doing verbs end with “as”. The past-tense ending is “is” and the future-tense ending is “os”.

    Mi ludas – I am playing
    Mi ludis – I played
    Mi ludos – I will play

  4. Adjectives and Adverbs
    Adjectives describe nouns (“Fast dog”) – if we want to describe a verb (“Running fast”), we can replace the -a on the end of an adjective, and replace it with -e, to make it an adverb.

    La rapida hundo kuras – The fast dog runs
    La hundo kuras rapide – The dog runs quickly
    La hundo rapide kuras – The dog quickly runs

    With Esperanto, the word order isn’t too strict. “Rapide” (Quickly) can be placed before or after the verb.

  5. Built from existing languages
    Some of these words might be easy to remember (“Serĉas” sounds like “Search”, “Spektas” sounds like “Spectator”), but others might not – but they are pulled from other languages. For example, in French, eating is “Mange”, and in Espernato it’s “Manĝas”. Esperanto was built from pieces of European languages, Slavic, and a little bit of Germanic languages.

 


Word list

Some Verbs

Replace the ending “-i” suffix with “-as” to make it present tense! (Kuri → Kuras)

To agree

To disagree

To ask

To request

To respond

Konsenti

Malkonsenti

Demandi

Peti

Respondi

To be

To create

To come

To go

To know (learned)

Esti

Krei

Veni

Iri

Scii

To search

To find

To hear

To read

To sit

Serĉi

Trovi

Aŭdi

Legi

Sidi

To stand

To stay

To come

To go

To dance

Stari

Resti

Veni

Iri

Danci

To work

To write

To live

To die

To understand

Labori

Verki

Vivi

Morti

Kompreni

Adjectives

Change the ending “-a” with a “-e” to make it an adverb.

Pretty

Ugly

Good

Bad

Bela

Malbela

Bona

Malbona

Big

Small

Long

Short

Granda

Malgranda

Longa

Mallonga

Fast

Slow

Hot

Cold

Rapida

Malrapida

Varma

Malvarma

Young

Old

Full

Empty

Juna

Maljuna

Plena

Malplena

Bright

Dark

Easy

Difficult

Luma

Malluma

Facila

Malfacila

Colors

Red

Orange

Yellow

Green

Blue

Ruĝa

Oranĝa

Flava

Verda

Blua

Purple

White

Brown

Black

Pink

Purpura

Blanka

Bruna

Nigra

Roza / Rozkolora

Animals

Cat

Dog

Bird

Rabbit

Kato

Hundo

Birdo

Kuniklo

Horse

Cow

Chicken

Pig

Ĉevalo

Bovo

Koko

Porko

Dragon

Frog

Dolphin

Bear

Drako

Rano

Delfeno

Urso

Food

Coffee

Tea

Soda

Water

Milk

Kafo

Teo

Gastrinkaĵo

Akvo

Lakto

Juice

Hamburger

Chicken

Pork

Beef

Suko

Hamburgero

Kokaĵo

Porkaĵo

Bovaĵo

Egg

Bread

Sandwich

Pasta

Cake

Ovo

Pano

Sandviĉo

Pastaĵo

Kuko

Candy

Fruit

Vegetable

Cheese

Apple

Dolĉaĵo

Frukto

Legomo

Fromaĝo

Pomo

Carrot

Strawberry

Potato

Tomato

Corn

Karoto

Frago

Terpomo

Tomato

Maizo

Household Items

Computer

Television

Bed

Chair

Komputilo

Televido

Lito

Seĝo

Table

Window

Door

Room

Tablo

Fenestro

Pordo

Ĉambro

Lamp

Desk

Pencil

Paper

Lampo

Skribtablo

Krajono

Papero


Additional Resources

Kurso de Esperanto
kurso.com.br

A software coures on Espernato for Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Duolingo
duolingo.com

A web-based language learning course, includes “Esperanto for English Speakers”

A Complete Grammar of Esperanto
gutenberg.org/ebooks/7787

A free e-book on Esperanto grammar

The Esperanto Teacher
gutenberg.org/ebooks/8177

A free e-book on Esperanto grammar, meant for “non-grammarians”.

Memrise
memrise.com/home/

Has many vocabulary building courses, including for Esperanto.

Tatoeba
tatoeba.org

You can search for a phrase (or word) in English, for Esperanto, and if anyone has translated something similar it will show up.


Contact Information

You can send questions / comments to Rachel at Rachel@Moosader.com , or visit Moosader.com .

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