Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Very Basic Guide to Esperanto

Esperanto is a constructed language. The purpose has been to create an international auxiliary language. A Polish-Jewish ophthalmologist, Dr. Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof, developed Esperanto, which has been named after his pseudonym Dr. Esperanto on the first book on this language. Esperanto is the most successful international auxiliary language.
Zamenhof was bilingual in Yiddish and Russian, most probably spoke Belorussian, learned German and French from his father, a teacher of those languages, he also learned Hebrew and later Polish. In school he studied Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and also Aramaic. He later acquired some English, was interested in Lithuanian (a very interesting Indo-European language) and Italian. He learned Volapük, another international auxiliary language. So he has been well equipped to develop an international auxiliary language.

Esperanto takes its vocabulary from Romance and Germanic languages and the grammar from Slavic languages. It is very evenly constructed and has forms, which you will hardly find in your own native language, e.g. the jussive (verbal) mood, which isn’t marked in English verbs, or a future passive participle. To be able to create so many forms, Esperanto has got an agglutinative aspect, which is very un-Indo-European. It is written in Latin script and uses diacritical marks. If you compare the Esperanto alphabet to the English one: q, w, x, and y are not used, and ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ, ŝ, and ŭ are added.

Esperanto is still in use, but not as a world language. Being so rich in grammatical forms, Esperanto is interesting as a language to be translated into and translated from, though it might not cover some forms in Sino-Tibetan or Australian Aboriginal languages for instance.

Thank you – dankon (pronounced donk-on) [Yiddish: a dank; German: Danke]
You’re welcome – ne dankinde
Yes – jes (pronounced yes!)
No – ne
Do you speak Esperanto? – ĉu vi parolas Esperanton? [I also found: ĉu vi parolas Esperante?]
Please – bonvolu
Excuse me – mi petas pardonon
Sorry – pardonu
Good morning – bonan matenon
Good day – bonan tagon [as used in Germany or Australia]
Good evening – bonan vesperon
Good night – bonan nokton
Hello – saluton
Goodbye – ĝis revidon
All right / O.K. - bone
How are you? – kiel vi fartas?
I’m well! – mi fartas bone!
I would like to buy ... – mi volas aĉeti ...
How much is it? – kiom ĝi kostas?
I don’t know – mi ne scias
I don’t understand – mi ne komprenas vin
Where is – kie estas
Where is the toilet? – kie estas la necesejo?
I'm lost – mi estas perdita
What is your name? – kio estas via nome?
My name is LMK – mia nomo estas
Mister – sinjoro , sinjorino, fraŭlino [German: Fräulein, but Fräulein being hardly in use anymore]
Left – maldekstre [literally not right]
Right – dekstre
I need a doctor – mi bezonas medicinisto

Please blame any mistakes on me.


Links for more Basic Guides:
The Very Basic Guide to Turkmenian, Uzbek and Kyrgyz

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