The Grey Chronicles

2009.February.5

Esperanto kaj Mi


The title is translated into: Esperanto and Me. I took a course sometime in 1999, back when I was still a Community Leader of the then famous homestead in the Internet, GeoCities.com.

Esperanto known as The International Language, invented in 1887 by Dr. Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhop (1859-1917), a Polish physician and oculist, is based on word bases common to the main European languages; it has self-evident parts of speech, a singular and regular conjunction of verbs, a few simplified inflections, there are no silent letters, etc. In 1905, he established the canonical form of the language in Fundamento de Esperanto. Because its structure and vocabulary derive from the major European languages, Esperanto is Indo-European, sometimes described as a planned pidgin of the Romance and Germanic languages, with Greek and Slavonic admixtures.

The following are few of Esperanto’s grammar rules (Kellerman, 1910):

The Esperanto alphabet contains the following letters: a, b, c, c^, d, e, f, g, g^, h, h^, i, j, j^, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, s^, t, u, u^, v, z.

Words which are the names of persons or things are called nouns. The ending, or final letter, of nouns in Esperanto is –o:

The definite article is la, the; Esperanto has no indefinite article for either singular or plural. The article is invariable, that is, does not change in form when used with plural nouns,

A word used with a noun (expressed or understood) to express a quality or characteristic is called an adjective. The ending of adjectives in Esperanto is –a.

Words which express action or condition are called verbs. When representing an act or condition as a fact, and dealing with the present time, they are said to be in the present tense. The ending of all Esperanto verbs in the present tense is –as. The past tense of the verb expresses an action which took place in past time, or a condition which existed in past time. The ending of this tense is –is. The future uses –os.

The plural number of nouns, that is, the form which indicates more than one person or thing, is made by adding –j to the noun.

An adjective modifying a plural noun agrees with it in number, being given the plural form by the addition of the ending –j.

An interrogative sentence is one which asks a question. Unless some directly interrogative word (as “who,” “when,” “why,” etc.) is used, the sentence is rendered interrogative by use of the word Cu, placed at the beginning of a sentence, the words of which are left in the same order as for a statement.

Unfortunately, although I successfully passed the six-week course, I was not able to continue learning it because most Esperanto resources were either out-of-print or out-of-reach, and only through the Internet was the way I could learn.

Esperantists argue that it takes far less time to become competent in Esperanto than in English and that it is more efficient and fairer international medium. The British phonetician and Esperantists John C. Wells notes:

“It is more efficient, because it is easier to learn (grammatically completely regular, no exceptions, regular spelling, virtually no idioms). It is fairer in that it is not the native language of any country or national group, so does not give enormous unjust advantage to the native English-speakers, which the adoption of English would. At most, one-tenth of the world’s population speaks English as a first language, it is more equitable that everyone should learn a relatively easy second language (Esperanto) than that nine-tenths of the world should have to learn a relatively difficult one (English).” (quoted in ‘Bonvenon al Brighton’, EFL Gazette, January, 1990)

I hope some day I might be able to have the time to re-learn Esperanto again and speak it. After mastering it, maybe I could set my sight on learning Mandarin, the new language of commerce in a globalized word!


Notes:

Kellerman, Ivy, A.M., Ph.D. (1910). A Complete Grammar of Esperanto: The International Language with Graded Exercises for Reading and Translation Together with Full Vocabularies, Washington, D.C.: Esperanto Association of North America, August 1910. back to text

O’Connor, John Charles, Ph.Dr., M.A. & Hayes, Charkes Frederic (1906). English-Esperanto Dictionary, London: Review of Reviews Office. back to text

Disclaimer : The posts on this site are my own and doesn’t necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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2 Comments »

  1. If you’re interested in learning Esperanto online again, things have moved on a lot since 1999. :o) You can find a range of courses at various levels at http://lernu.net/ or you can download and install a brief, basic course at http://ikurso.net.

    When you’ve got a bit of confidence, you can load up Skype and search for new contacts who’ve specified their preferred language as Esperanto. You’ll be surprised how many there are!

    Comment by timsk — 2009.February.7 @ 15:14 | Reply

    • Thanks for the update! I plan to do that when I’m not too busy with all the other things I have to do other than this blog.

      Comment by reyadel — 2009.February.11 @ 09:42 | Reply


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