English-Esperanto Virtual Phrase Book

By Christopher Zervic

Introduction

 

Esperanto is the international language, developed in the 1880s. It is the only planned, or artificial language to claim any kind of widespread form of acceptance, although it is certainly neither the first nor the only language advocated for solving the international language problem.

 

The main benefit of Esperanto is that as a systematic, regular language, it is many times easier to learn that the national, ethnic languages. Esperanto speakers can make these claims by pointing to the regular verb system, the perfect orthography (pronunciation as words are spelled), the regularity of accents and ease of word building. Word building is one of the most attractive elements of Esperanto, as it enables one to be more expressive in the language from an earlier point in the learning process. For example, if you dont know that the Esperanto word for 'war' is milito, an acceptable alternative might be mal-paco, "the opposite of peace." Word building also allows for more creative speech. These constructed words, so long as they are in line with the 16 grammatical rules, are technically and grammatically correct.

 

Esperanto has survived for nearly 115 years, and is spoken today by more people than ever. Esperanto speakers can easily be found in major cities all over the world and at annual congresses attended by thousands of speakers. It is also common on the internet, and in a vast body of literature and periodicals. While you may be unable to communicate in a hotel in some "Esperantoland," if you travel, there is a good chance you can find a local Esperantist who can translate and speak the local language for you, and possibly even provide you with everything you would find in a hotel.

Because of the regularity of pronunciation and the regularity of the location of the accented syllable, the phrases in this site do not contain pronunciation guidelines. Rather, you are advised to pay close attention to the pronunciation guide (see the "Esperanto Key" for a thorough overview of Esperanto rules), and refer back to it if necessary.

 

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