You may have read that Esperanto is considered an easy language, but how easy is it? To give you insights about Esperanto, this article is about what you need to know before speaking Esperanto, a language that is made to be as simple as possible. Since Esperanto is an artificial language, so its grammar is based on regularity with lots of combinations of prefixes and suffixes.
One advantage of Esperanto is that you do not need to know different words for objects that may have some differences, let us say, in their size. For example, domo = house, domego = mansion, and dometo = hut; ego in Esperanto indicates a big size, meanwhile eto indicates a small size.
The usage of prefixes and suffixes in Esperanto definitely cuts down your learning time. Under this condition, everyone can learn Esperanto in a short time and use it right away in Esperantujo, which is how they call “Esperanto community”.
Here are some characteristics of Esperanto, which you can learn in just few minutes.
All nouns end with “o”
For example, amiko = friend, birdo = bird, and hundo = dog.
To turn a word into its plural form, add a “j”
For example, amikoj = friends, birdoj = birds, and hundoj = dogs.
All adjectives end with “a”
For example, alta = tall, facila = easy, and bela = beautiful.
To give the opposite meaning, add “mal”
For example, malalta = short, malfacila = difficult, and malbela = ugly.
All adverbs end with ‘e’
For example, active = actively, facile = easily, and bone = well.
All verbs end with ‘i’
For example, doni = to give, fari = to make, and havi = to have.
To express verbs in the present tense, add ‘as’; in past tense, add ‘is’; and in future tense, add ‘os’
For example, mi donas = I give, mi donis = I gave, and mi donos = I shall give.
To make a direct object, add ‘n’
For example, mi donas la libron = I give the book.
Apart from “-ego” and “-eto” mentioned earlier, there are a total of 10 prefixes and 31 suffixes in Esperanto. You can find the complete list of prefixes and suffixes from the Lernu website. Please do not feel intimidated by this amount; believe me, they are easy to learn. You just need to know a few to speak the language.
After learning the basic grammar, you can proceed to learn how to make basic everyday-type statements in Esperanto, such as introducing yourself, getting attention, or expressing a compliment.
Making introduction statements is fairly simple, such as mentioning information about yourself such as name, occupation, or age.
Try to guess the meaning of the following three phrases:
“mia nomo estas…”, “mia laboro estas…”, and “mia aĝo estas…”.
Their meanings are “my name is…”, “my occupation is…”, and “my age is…”
This is one way to say your name, occupation, and age in Esperanto. Another way is to use verbs, such as “mi nomiĝas…”, “mi laboras kiel…”, and “mi aĝas…”.
Nomiĝas means “to be called”
laboras kiel means “to work as”,
and aĝas means “to be aged”.
You may say “excuse me”, “sorry”, or “pardon” in English to get attention. In Esperanto, the word used to express this same meaning is pardonu.
You may say, Pardonu, kie estas…? which means “Excuse me, where is…?”
If you want to say “sorry”, as if you regret doing something, you say mi bedaŭras.
Bedaŭras is the present form of the verb bedaŭri, which means “to regret, to be sorry”.
Expressing a compliment
“Thank you” is the word that you always learn and use frequently when learning any language. In Esperanto, the word is dankon. This word may look familiar if you have some knowledge of German or Dutch.
Apart from dankon, bela and bona are adjectives you can also use to express a compliment. For example,
Kia bona tago! means “What a good day!”, or Kia bela vesto! means “What a beautiful dress!”
As you may have started to identify, Esperanto is a Latin-based language, so it has a number of similarities with several European languages. For speakers of languages from other language families, I do not want to let you down - you will also, more than likely, find similarities with your language, especially in the area of grammar.
After learning about Esperanto prefixes and suffixes as well as basic phrases, are you ready to speak Esperanto? Bonvenon al Esperantujo! or “Welcome to Esperantujo”!
Teddy is a language enthusiast, a multilingual speaker, and a language blogger at www.neeslanguageblog.com. In his free time, he enjoys reading about technology, business, culture, and language.
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