The famous constructed language Esperanto first appeared in Russian Poland in 1887, the product of a Polish-Jewish opthalmologist and amateur linguist, Dr. Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof. Dr. Zamenhof hoped that the worldwide adoption of a neutral international language would ease ethnic tensions and enable people of widely differing backgrounds to communicate with each other. The name of the language means "one who hopes." Esperanto is not officially aligned with any particular country or ethnic group; indeed, one can find Esperanto speakers in well over 100 countries around the world. Pasporta Servo, a hospitality service for Esperanto speakers, includes more than 1,300 addresses in almost ninety different countries.
Esperanto uses twenty-eight letters from the Roman alphabet, and is a phonetic language (each sound has a single letter and each letter represents a single sound). The letters Q, W, X, and Y are not used. Five of the letters have a circumflex on top of them. Esperanto speakers represent these letters in situations where the circumflex cannot be used (e.g. unformatted e-mail where only basic ASCII characters can be used) either by placing an "x" after the letter; placing an "h" after the letter (this is the method approved by Esperanto's creator, Dr. Zamenhof); or placing the circumflex itself (^) after the letter. On the Internet, most Esperantists use the "x" method.
Words are always pronounced with the accent on the penultimate (next-to-last) syllable.
- as in father
- as in bet
- as in machine
- always short as in porous; never long as in open
- as in hoop
- w as in shower
- y as in yoga
- as in boy
- ts as in cats
- ch as in church
- as in down
- as in food
- always hard as in gain
- soft 'g' as in gem
- as in heavy
- guttural as in Scottish loch, Spanish j, or Hebrew chai
- zh as in leisure
- as in kiwi
- as in lap
- as in manner
- as in nothing
- as in pool
- rolled as in Spanish
- as in some (never like z)
- sh as in should
- as in ton
- as in van
- as in zoo
- as in cow
- as in wayward
- as in joy
- as in aisle
- as in pain
- as in ruinous
Modern Esperanto, like English, does not distinguish between polite & intimate forms of address (e.g. the Spanish "tu" and "usted" for the intimate and polite 2nd person singular, respectively). There is only one form used in the 2nd person, both singular and plural.
- Saluton. (sah-LOO-tohn)
- How are you?
- Kiel vi fartas ? (KEE-ehl vee FAHR-tahs?)
- Fine, thank you.
- Bone, dankon. (BOH-neh, DAN-kohn)
- What is your name?
- Kiel vi nomiĝas ? (KEE-ehl vee noh-MEE-jas?)
- My name is ______ .
- Mia nomo estas _____ . (MEE-ah NOH-moh EHS-tahs)
- Nice to meet you.
- Estas plezuro renkonti vin. (or simply "Plezuro.") (EHS-tahs pleh-ZOO-roh rehn-KOHN-tee veen)
- Bonvolu. (Bohn-VOH-loo)
- Thank you.
- Dankon. (DAHN-kohn)
- You're welcome.
- Nedankinde. (neh-dahn-KEEN-deh) (Lit. "Not worthy of thanks")
- Jes. (yehs)
- Ne. (neh)
- Excuse me.
- Pardonu min. (pahr-DOH-noo meen)
- I'm sorry.
- Mi bedaŭras. (mee beh-DOW-rahs)
- Ĝis revido. (jees reh-VEE-doh)
- I can't speak ______.
- Mi ne parolas ______. (mi neh pah-ROH-lahs)
- Do you speak English?
- Ĉu vi parolas la anglan? (choo vee pah-ROH-lahs lah AHN-glahn)
- Is there someone here who speaks English?
- Ĉu estas iu ĉi-tie, kiu parolas la anglan? (choo EH-stahs EE-yoo chee-TEE-eh KEE-oo pah-ROH-lahs lah AHN-glahn)
- Helpon! (HEL-pohn)
- Good morning.
- Bonan tagon (bonan matenon) (BOH-nahn TAH-gohn (mah-TEH-nohn))
- Good afternoon.
- Bonan posttagmezon. (BOH-nahn pohst-tahg-MEHZ-ohn)
- Good evening.
- Bonan vesperon. (BOH-nahn vehs-PEH-rohn)
- Good night.
- Bonan nokton. (BOH-nahn NOHK-tohn)
- I don't understand.
- Mi ne komprenas. (mee neh kohm-PREH-nahs)
- Where is the toilet?
- Kie estas la necesejo ? (KEE-eh EH-stahs la neh-tseh-SAY-oh)
- Leave me alone.
- Lasu min. (LAH-soo meen)
- Don't touch me!
- Ne tuŝu min! (neh TOO-shoo meen!)
- I'll call the police.
- Mi telefonos la policejon. (mee teh-leh-FOH-nohs lah poh-lee-TSEH-yohn)
- Policon! (poh-LEE-tsohn!)
- Stop! Thief!
- Haltu! Ŝtelisto! (HAHL-too! shteh-LEE-stoh!)
- I need your help.
- Mi bezonas vian helpon. (mee beh-ZOH-nahs VEE-ahn HEHL-pohn)
- It's an emergency.
- Estas krizo. (EH-stahs KREE-zoh)
- I'm lost.
- Mi perdiĝas. (mee pehr-DEE-jahs)
- I lost my bag.
- Mi perdis mian valizon. (mee PEHR-dees MEE-ahn vah-LEE-zohn)
- I lost my wallet.
- Mi perdis mian biletujon. (mee PEHR-dees MEE-ahn bee-leh-TOO-yohn)
- I'm sick.
- Mi malsanas. (mee mahl-SAH-nahs)
- I've been injured.
- Mi vundiĝis. (mee voon-DEE-jees)
- I need a doctor.
- Mi bezonas kuraciston. (mee beh-ZOH-nahs koo-rah-TSEE-stohn)
- Can I use your phone?
- Ĉu mi rajtas uzi vian telefonon? (choo mee RAI-tahs OO-zee VEE-ahn teh-leh-FOH-nohn?)
Writing time and date
Bus and train
Lernu! is a website specifically devoted to learning the international language Esperanto and is filled with useful resources.