Chapter 1 – Esperanto Basics (Part I)10 min read

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    1. Alphabet (Section I)

      The Esperanto alphabet has 28 letters – two more that in the English alphabet, as well as having a few European flavored letters. What follows is a list of the Esperanto alphabet and pronunciation helpers are in [ ] following the letter if the letter differs greatly from English.

      Letters: a b c [ts] ĉ [ch] d e f g ĝ [j] h ĥ [hard h] i j [y] ĵ [zh] k l m n o p r [rr] s ŝ [sh] t u ŭ [w] v z

      Ĉ : Ĉ   ĉ : ĉ
      Äœ : Ĝ  ĝ : ĝ
      Ĥ : Ĥ  Ä¥ : ĥ
      Ä´ : Ĵ  ĵ : ĵ
      Åœ : Ŝ  ŝ : ŝ
      Ŭ : Ŭ  Å­ : ŭ

      The alphabet is sounded out just like English letters with a few new letters that, for me, seem very Czech or Russian in nature. The letters are always pronounced phonetically all the time. The letters make the same sound each and every time you say them:

      Letter Not present in or different from English Esperanto Letter Sound English Examples Esperanto Noun Examples English Translation
      Not present in or different from English Esperanto Letter Sound English Examples Esperanto Noun Examples English Translation
      a ah Arc amiko friend
      b b Barber birdo bird
      * c ts bats cimo bug
      * ĉ ch chocolate ĉapo cap
      d d dog dezerto desert (as in a tasty desert)
      e eh echo edzo husband
      f f fast filo son
      g g garden glaso glass (for drinking)
      * ĝ j jello ĝino gin (alcoholic drink)
      h h had heĝo hedge
      * ĥ h (hard h) Bach ĥoro choir
      * i ee three ideo idea
      * j y yes jako jacket
      * ĵ zh pleasure ĵurnalo newspaper
      k k cat kato cat
      l l lake lupo wolf
      m m market muso mouse
      n n November nubo cloud
      o oh glory onklo uncle
      p p pastry patro father
      * r rr (rolled like Russian or Spanish) (no English equivalent) rano frog
      s ss sent sekretario secretary
      * ŝ sh shambles ŝinko ham
      t t travel tigro tiger
      u oo too urso bear
      * Å­ wuh want Å­ato watt
      v v van vermo worm
      z z zebra zebro zebra

      There are a few vowel combinations with j that need to be specifically addressed.

      • aj – [ai] as in eye
      • ej – [ay] as in day
      • oj – [oy] as in boy
      • uj – [yoo] as in hallelujah

      There are a few combinations with the letter the ŭ that should be addressed

      • aÅ­ – [aow] as in Paolo, tao, or cow.
      • eÅ­ – [euw] as in Europe or neural

      If you are going to sing the alphabet they we will be put together like this:

      Alphabet: a bo co [tso] ĉo [cho] do e fo go ĝo [jo] ho Ä¥o [hard h o] i j [yo] ĵo [zho] ko lo mo no o po ro [rro] so ŝo [sho] to u Å­ [wo] vo zo – aj au [ai] ej [ay] oj [oy] uj [yoo]

    1. Word Basics (Section II)

        1. Accent (Lesson 1)

          Accent is always on the second to last vowel.  Mario would be pronounced – mahr – ree – oh and NOT mahr – eeoh. I believe that this is to not put an accent or stress on the word’s suffix, but to emphasize the base word.

        1. Basic Sentence Structure (Lesson 2)

          1. subject      verb       object
            The boy     sees        a cat.
            La knabo   vidas      katon.
        2. Basic Tool words (Lesson 3)

          1. Article: Esperanto has one article ‘la’ which means ‘the’ and does not change at all as it would in Spanish. It is la and only la.
          2. Conjunction: Esperanto has the conjunction ‘kaj’ which means ‘and’.
      1. Basic Nouns (Lesson 4)

        1. Base Nouns (Part A)

          All base noun words end in the letter ‘o’:

          • book – libro
          • boy – knabo
          • cat – kato
          • car – aÅ­to
          • father – patro
          • flower – floro
          • home – hejmo
          • man – viro
          • pencil – krajono
          • sandwich – sandviĉo
        2. Plural Nouns (Part B)

          Plural nouns are denoted by adding a ‘j’ at the end of the word

          • libroj – books
          • knaboj – boys
        3. Sentence Objects or the Accusative Case (Part C)

          1. Denote sentence objects by adding ‘n’ to the end of the word
            • libron – book
            • knabon – boy
          2. Denote plural sentence objects by adding ‘n’ after the plural denotator ‘j’
            • librojn – books
            • knabojn – boys
        4. Basic Sentence Examples (Part D)
          • The boy likes cats = La knabo satas katojn.
          • The men traveled home – La viroj veturas hejmon.
      2. Basic Verbs (Lesson 5)

        1. Base Infinitive Verbs (Part A)

          All base verb words end in ‘i’

          • to eat – manĝi
          • to give – doni
          • to go (to) – veturi
          • to like – sati
          • to love – ami
          • to pick up (an object) – kolekti
          • to play (with something) – ludi
          • to see – vidi
          • to walk – marŝi
          • to want – voli
        2. Verb Tenses (Part B)

          1. Past Tense: verbs end in: ‘is’: donis – gave
          2. Present Tense: verbs end in: ‘as’: donas – give
          3. Future Tense: verbs end in: ‘os’: donos – will give
        3. Verb Tense Examples (Part C)

          1. Past Tense: verbs end in: ‘is’: donis – gave
          2. Present Tense: verbs end in: ‘as’: donas – give
          3. Future Tense: verbs end in: ‘os’: donos – will give
        4. Sentence Examples (Part D)

          1. Past Tense: The cat loved pencils. – La kato amis krajonojn.
          2. Present Tense: The boy is eating a sandwich. – La knabo manĝas sandviĉon.
          3. Future Tense: The man will see a flower. – La viro vidos floron.
    1. Basic Sentence Formation (Section III)

      Now that you have the basic Noun, Verb, Conjunction, and Article rules lets move into basic sentence structure, which you will find, in essence, is similar to English’s. Esperanto follows the basic Subject, Verb, Object (SVO) order (or linguistic typology) for basic sentence formation, however this is a convention for convenience of understanding.

      Language Subject Verb Object
      Language Subject Verb Object
      Esperanto La knabo satis florojn.
      English The boy likes flowers.
      Esperanto La viro marŝis hejmon.
      English The man went Home.
      Esperanto La viro kaj knabo manĝis la sandviĉo.
      English The man and boy ate the sandwich.

      NOTE: For the most part you can change the order of the words in a sentence and be understood since the basic parts of speech are marked: nouns end in ‘o’, verbs end in ‘s’, and sentence objects and its related modifiers end in ‘n’. For simplicity and ease of understanding please stick to the SVO convention.

      This is important since some national languages sentence formation does not consistently follow the Subject-Verb-Object order or has variable sentence typology. Russian has a very flexible sentence typology that allows in case almost any SVO order. Other languages in the world may or may not follow this order and will most likely formulate their sentences in a manner that is consistent with their native language. The accusative (-n) case is greatly helpful for these instances where people who are communicating in Esperanto have native languages whose sentence typology is different and whose Esperanto sentence may follow a similar and varied suit. To read more on this topic see the following Wikipedia article on Linguistic Typology.

  1. Chapter Review (Section IV)

    1. Vocabulary and Sentence Structure Review (Review Area 1)

      English Esperanto English Esperanto
      English Esperanto English Esperanto
      Nouns Verbs
      bird birdo to eat manĝi
      boy knabo to give doni
      bug cimo to go (to) veturi
      car auto to like sati
      cat kato to love ami
      father patro to pick up (an object) kolekti
      flower floro to play (with something) ludi
      friend amiko to see vidi
      glass (for drinking) glaso to walk marŝi
      home hejmo to want voli
      husband edzo Tool Words
      man viro article ‘the’ la
      mouse muso conjuction ‘and’ kaj
      son filo
    2. Word and Sentence Formation Review (Review Area 2)

      1. Nouns (Part – A)
        • Base Nouns end in the letter ‘o’ – knabo
        • Plural Nouns end in the letter ‘j’ – knaboj
        • Singular Sentence Objects end in the letter ‘n’ knabon
        • Plural Sentence Objects end with the letters ‘ojn’ – knabojn
      2. Verbs (Part – B)
        • Base Verbs end with the letter ‘i’ – vidi
        • Future Tense Verbs end with the letters ‘os’ – vidos
        • Present Tense Verbs end with the letters ‘as’ - vidas
        • Past Tense Verbs end with the letters ‘is’ – vidis
      3. Basic Sentence Structure (Part – C)
        • Subject Verb Object
    3. Chapter Review Exercises (Review Area 3)

      1. Nouns: For the following nouns give the base, plural, sentence object, and pural sentence object forms:
        • book
        • flower
        • husband
        • bug
      2. Verbs: For the following verbs give the base infinitve, future, present, and past forms:
        • to see
        • to love
        • to walk
        • to eat
      3. Word Translations: Complete the following English sentences with the correct Esperanto translation for the parenthesized words:
        • The man (walked) home.
        • The (girl) smelled the flowers.
        • The bee landed on the (flowers).
        • The man (is eating) the steak.
        • The boy (will give) the man the dog.
      4. Sentence Translations into English: Translate the following sentences from Esperanto into English:
        • La viro volas la auton.
        • La edzo vidos hejmon.
        • La muso manĝis la cimon.
      5. Sentences Translations into Esperanto: Translate the following sentences into Esperanto:
        • The boy likes the car.
        • The father loves the son.
        • The dog ate bugs.
        • The bird saw flowers.
        • The cats will see mice
        • The birds will see flowers.
        • The man and the boys are picking flowers.
    4. Listening Comprehension (Review Area 4)

      1. Listen and Watch the following Esperanto children’s cartoon called Mazi en Gondolando (~10 min) and try to identify words that you do not know and what you think that they mean. In your mind while looking at the alphabet try to spell some of these words, and then write them down. You may reference an online dictionary and/or translator to help you learn of their translations and/or spellings.
      2. Listen and Write – Start to watch the video again and try to Write down how you think the first few lines of the cartoon are written (phonetically) in Esperanto and in English. Look in an online dictionary and/or translator to see if you are correct about the word’s spelling and meaning, and then translate some of their sentences into English.

      Do not worry if you find this difficult or not possible. At the very least just watch the cartoon so you can expose yourself to spoken Esperanto. =)

  2. Next Chapter: Once you are finished with this and you feel comfortable with the material move on to Chapter 2 – Esperanto Basics (Part II).

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