|NOTE FROM TEACHER:
Some say that estimate is
too low. Some say it's too
high. Personally, I don't
care how many people
speak Esperanto. I care
how many people I can
meet with Esperanto!
|Unua Leciono - First Lesson - Primera Lección
What Is Esperanto?
Esperanto, the international language, was developed to make it easier for
people of different cultures to communicate with each other.
Its author, Dr. L. L. Zamenhof (1859-1917), published his "Lingvo
Internacia" in 1887 under the pseudonym "Dr. Esperanto". It is now
spoken by at least two million people, in over 120 countries. Some people
have criticized this number, which comes from several older editions of
The World Almanac.
There are thousands of books and over 100 periodicals published currently. But what makes it any more
international than French, English or Russian?
Incorrectly termed 'artificial' (the right word is 'planned'), Esperanto is specifically intended for
international/intercultural use, so those who use it meet each other on an equal footing, since neither is
using his or her native language. With national languages, the average person isn't able to express
himself as well as a native speaker or the gifted linguist. Thanks to its simple, logical, regular design,
anyone can learn Esperanto fairly rapidly.
A Living Language
Esperanto is a living language, used for everything people use any other language for. But it's much
easier to learn than a national language. Even people who can't remember a word of a language they
studied for years in high school or college need only months of intensive study to become fluent in
Esperanto. It is also more useful than national languages if your goal in learning a language is to get to
know people from different places, since virtually everyone who speaks Esperanto has learned it for
About This Course
This course is based on Esperanto-USA's Free Postal Course, which is, in turn, based on a very
popular postal course in use today in the United Kingdom.
Upon successful completion of the ten lessons, you will receive a diploma.
A note about the orthography. The Esperanto alphabet contains these six letters bearing diacritical
marks: ĉ ("hat c"), ĝ ("hat g"), ĥ ("hat h"), ĵ ("hat j"), ŝ ("hat s"), ŭ ("hat u"). The digraphs cx, gx, hx, jx, sx
and ux, respectively, are sometimes used to represent Esperanto's special letters.
Language is all about things (nouns) and their actions (verbs). One thing acts on another thing
Birdo kaptas insekton
A bird catches an insect
Esperanto is "grammar-coded" - you can tell what part each word plays in a sentence from the word
-o single subject noun -on single object noun -oj plural subject noun -ojn plural object noun
To show when the action takes place, the verb tense (time) is changed by putting these endings on the
present tense -as describes it as it happens
past tense -is shows an action completed
future tense -os action still to begin
Birdoj kaptis insektojn. Birdoj kaptos insektojn.
Birds caught insects. Birds will-catch insects.
Every noun and every verb follows the above rules without exception.
In Esperanto, things have no gender (they are not male or female, as in many other languages.)
There is only one word for ‘the’, no matter if the noun is singular or plural, subject or object. Therefore:
La birdoj kaptas la insektojn. La birdo kaptis la insekton.
In Esperanto the word order matters less than in English. All the following sentences describe the same
action (only the emphasis is changed):
Viro legas libron. Viro libron legas. Libron legas viro.
Libron viro legas. Legas viro libron. Legas libron viro.
They all mean: A man reads a book.
Here are some words in Esperanto (the apostrophe indicates an incomplete word, a root):
NOUNS VERBS (roots) MORE NOUNS
amiko (friend) far' (do, make) kafo (coffee)
filo (son) forges' (forget) kuko (cake)
frato (brother) hav' (have) lakto (milk)
instruisto (teacher) trink' (drink) pano (bread)
knabo (boy) vend' (sell) sukero (sugar)
patro (father) vid' (see) teo (tea)
Each Esperanto letter has only one sound, always. Here is a guide to some of the sounds. The stress
is always on the next-to-last syllable of a word. A E I O U
palm there three glory too
c = ts (in lots); oj = oy (in boy); g = g (in go); kn are always pronounced separately: k-nabo, ĝ as in "gentle"
|Study Aid for Lesson One
Read Lesson One thoroughly, then try these translations.
(We have supplied some words and endings to help you get started.)
After checking your answers, I will email you the test for this lesson. There are ten lessons altogether. If
there is anything you do not understand, be sure to ask me, using the comment box above, or emailing me
at Mar@GrupoAmikema.org. I will try to be prompt, but be patient, and most of all:
BONVENON AL ESPERANTO (Welcome to Esperanto)!
Well, we hope we haven't scared you off in this first meeting with Esperanto. Just remember - the language ability you
used in the above exercises might take months to reach in secondary school French or Spanish.
The Free Esperanto Course begins simply, but by Lesson 10 you will understand sophisticated Esperanto with
While waiting for a reply from me, you can learn some numbers and colors, you may also visit www.lernu.net