The Esperanto language is a language (almost) like any other. It has its own culture, literature, magazines, etc. However, unlike other languages, the Esperanto language isn’t tied to a specific country and has nearly no native speakers. So, what is Esperanto, and what is the point of learning it? Those are the exact questions we’re trying to answer today.

Last Updated: 06/17/2022


Esperanto

What’s inside…

What Is Esperanto? Definition and History

First things first, Esperanto is a constructed language. It was created in 1887 by Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof, also known as Doktoro Esperanto (“doctor Esperanto”).

What’s a constructed language? Constructed languages are the opposite of natural languages. They start with a plan rather than developing over time depending on how people use them. You might already be familiar with some other constructed languages. Dothraki, for instance, if you’re a Game of Thrones fan.

zamenhof the founder of esperantoZamenhof introduced his universal language, Esperanto, for the first time in a book called International Language. He had high hopes for the language and believed that it could promote world peace by eliminating conflicts that arise from linguistic and cultural differences. (Unfortunately, this didn’t work out so well. The proof? World War I.)

 

Who Speaks the Esperanto Language? Where Do They Speak Esperanto?

Though the language doesn’t have a country of its own, what it does have is a supranational community. It’s a language that goes beyond the confines of any given nation.

Since it was created, over 2 million people in 120 countries have learned Esperanto! However, these numbers could be higher because it is hard to estimate the number of people who speak the Esperanto language. It’s also difficult to know where they are situated in the world.

 

Why Learn Esperanto in 2022?

But, why would so many people want to learn a language that doesn’t have a nation of its own? Why learn the Esperanto language, a universal language created over 120 years ago?

  1. It’s an international language

And that’s a good reason. Esperanto doesn’t belong to a people or nation. But it does belong to a community of people. They have freely chosen it to communicate, not with their neighbors, or workmates, but with people scattered around the four corners of the earth.

Actually, the idea of its creator was to create a universal language to get rid of the language barrier. Language barriers impede communities in their ability to understand each other. These limitations stop worldwide discussions on the same subjects from happening. If everyone spoke the same universal language, we would be able to have a good view of the social, cultural, and political issues which concern us all.

How to learn any language

the-esperanto-language-what-is-it-and-why-learn-it-in-2022-video-mosalinguaHave you ever wondered why it seems like some people pick up languages much more easily than others?

News flash: those people aren’t any smarter than you are, and they don’t have any kind of special gift for language learning, either. It’s all because of the methods they use. Practicing with the latest and most effective techniques, along with a few expert tips, is a recipe for success.

It can work for you, too! MosaTraining combines all of these tips and techniques into one comprehensive, hands-on approach to language learning.

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  1. Everyone starts out on the same footing

The culture of this language is associated with an ideal, which is for everyone to have access to the same international means of communication without linguistic discrimination.

Linguistic discrimination occurs when those whose native tongue is a dominant language—English, notably—so they don’t have to learn a second language to be understood, to have access to knowledge, or even to take part in international affairs.

Nowadays, if a country wants to access the international market, it has to use English, the dominant language in global business. It has become so widely used that it has transformed into an international-friendly version called Globish.

But the fact that people must learn English in addition to their native language puts them at a disadvantage. There is an imbalance within the world of international business.

Zamenhof wanted to eliminate linguistic discrimination with his new language. Everyone starts off on the same footing. How so? Well, everyone must learn the language to communicate. It’s a neutral language. Actually, one of the objectives of this language is transnational education. That’s the idea that everyone should have the same access to knowledge, no matter their nationality or walk of life.

 

  1. It’s easy to learn

Zamenhof intended for Esperanto to be easy to learn. People can reportedly learn it up to 5 times faster than other languages!

That’s because there are just 16 grammar rules, easy spelling, only one way to write each sound, and conjugation that is based on mathematical logic (unlike English which is terrible on all those fronts!). Below are some examples.

Regular spelling

  • nouns end with an o
  • adjectives end with an a
  • adverbs end with an e
  • plural words end with a j (pronounced like the “y” in “yellow”)

To give you an example, in Esperanto, bela means “beautiful/handsome,” granda means “big,” and tablo means “table.”

So, bela grandaj tabloj means “big, beautiful table.”

In their plural form, the same words are: belaj (an adjective in its plural form), grandaj (another adjective in its plural form) and tabloj (a noun in its plural form).

All three together mean, “big, beautiful tables.” It’s just that easy to understand and apply!

Easy vocabulary rules

Vocabulary is changed by adding a suffix or a prefix:

  • To form antonyms, add the prefix mal (just as we do with “impossible”, and “unbreakable”).
    • Ex. bela, which means “beautiful/handsome,” becomes malbela (“ugly”).
  • To form diminutives (words that are changed to make them seem smaller or cuter, such as “droplet” and “doggy“), we add et just before the final o (as you know, all nouns end with an o).
    • Ex. libro means “book,” and libreto means “booklet.”
  • For augmentatives (words that are changed to make them seem bigger such as with “supermarket” and “grandmaster”), add eg before the o.
    • Ex. rivero is “river,” while riverego means “large river.”

The language is also efficient because it doesn’t have a lot of words. For example, to express a group of the same kind, like a herd of cows, add aro to the noun. Bovino is the word for “cow” and bovinaro means “herd of cows.”

To learn this language, you just need to memorize a few hundred words (nothing compared to most other languages!) and understand its logic. Then, you can use some simple math to build lots more vocabulary and start communicating in no time. Nothing too complicated!

 

  1. You can use it to travel the world

The last reason is that, if we all speak the same language, it can only bring us closer together… And as a matter of fact, it already does! Learning Esperanto gives people access to something called the Pasporta Servo

The Pasporta Servo is a low-cost accommodation service or network for Esperanto speakers across the world. If you’re learning Esperanto and are traveling anywhere in the world, you just need to contact other Esperanto speakers. This will allow you to meet many new people. And you can stay with them for relatively cheap. Not bad at all!

new esperanto logo

How to Learn the Esperanto Language

If, like me, this has made you want to learn Esperanto, there are many online resources that can help.

Free online Esperanto-language resources and websites

  • A free website for learning Esperanto, available in various languages: lernu! It also has a great Esperanto-to-English/English-to-Esperanto dictionary.
  • The Universal Esperanto Association: UEA
  • The Esperanto accommodation service: Pasporta Servo (you have to know a little Esperanto before you can use it)
  • The written Esperanto alphabet, Esperanto grammar, and much more
  • Listen to the Esperanto alphabet here!
  • The Esperanto Association of Britain has some great resources. Plus it can be a good place to connect with other Esperanto speakers. They host regular events and courses.

All of the websites above provide resources (books, magazines, audio files, etc.) for learning the language, or, at the very least, a way to get exposure to it.

 

Esperanto-to-English dictionaries

  • Esperanto Panorama is a very comprehensive Esperanto-English dictionary that’s easy to use. Use your keyboard search function (Ctrl + F or Command + F on Mac) to find exactly what you’re looking for.
  • If you’d like to add a print Esperanto dictionary to your collection, we recommend Benson’s. Get it on Amazon here.
  • People who already have some knowledge of Esperanto will love Vortato. It’s a traditional online Esperanto dictionary, not an Esperanto translator. Instead of translations, you get definitions of the Esperanto words you look up.
  • There are even picture dictionaries for learning Esperanto, perfect for visual learners and getting your kids interested in the language. For example, Mil Unuaj Vortoj – First Thousand Words in Esperanto.

 

Learn a few Esperanto words right now

Finally, to whet your appetite for the Esperanto language, why not learn a few useful Esperanto words and expressions? Click the play button to hear the Esperanto pronunciation.

EnglishEsperantoPronunciation
Hello!Saluton!
Welcome!Bonvenon!
How are you?Kiel vi fartas?
Very well, thanks. And you?Tre bone, dankon. Kaj vi?
How do you say ... in Esperanto?Kiel oni diras...en Esperanto?
GoodbyeAdiaŭ

 

Video Recap: Why Learn the Esperanto Language

Watch the video below for a quick video recap of these 4 main reasons why we think the Esperanto language is worth learning.

While you’re there, be sure to subscribe to our channel for more language learning videos.

One last thing: we’ve been playing with the idea of developing an app to help you learn Esperanto. Let us know in the comments if it’s something you’d be interested in! We’ll keep you updated 😉