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What is Esperanto?

It's a language that is particularly useful for international communication.


"The internal idea of Esperanto is: the foundation of a neutral language will help break down barriers between peoples and help people get used to the idea that each one of them should see their neighbors only as a human being and a brother."

L.L.Zamenhof, 1912

The language was initiated by Ludwig Lazar Zamenhof, who created the grammar on the basis of European languages with a minimal quantity of exceptions. The vocabulary is mostly based on Romance languages, although there are also words from Germanic and other languages. The new language, the first textbook of which appeared in 1887, attracted a community of speakers and began a normal process of language evolution within a community who used it in many environments and created a culture associated with the language. Two decades later, the first children speaking in Esperanto with their parents were born, the first native speakers of the language. Thus, one can say that it is a language created for international communication, which later became creolized and is nowadays the language of a diaspora of Esperanto speakers.

It was created on the basis of the vocabulary of Indo-European languages, but was intended to be easy to learn. For this reason, its grammar is agglutinative, a characteristic feature of Turkic and Finno-Ugric languages, and at a deeper level it is isolating, as in Mandarin Chinese and Vietnamese. This means that its morphemes can be used as independent words. It has a completely regular grammar and allows the creation of a large quantity of words by combining lexical roots and about forty affixes (for example from the radical san- (healthy), it is possible to create words such as: malsana (“sick”), malsanulo (“sick person”), gemalsanuloj (“sick people of both sexes”), malsanulejo (“hospital”), sanigilo (“medicine”), saniĝinto (“person who has recovered”), sanigejo (“curing place”), malsaneto (“little illness”), malsanego (“extreme illness”), malsanegulo (“very sick person”), sanstato (“health state”), sansento (“health feeling”), sanlimo (“health limit”), malsankaŭzanto (“pathogen”), kontraŭmalsanterapio (“therapy against sickness”)…). The main parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs) have consistent endings that always allow the recognition of all parts of speech. Its regularity makes it particularly easy to learn, and its streamlined capacity to create new words make it one of the most productive languages, with a potentially unlimited number of words, it is capable of expressing all new ideas or states. For example, it is possible to write a novel about fictional table-shaped Martians and to call them tablo (“table”), tablino (“female table”), tablido (“table offspring”)… We can imagine a man who walks backwards ( inversmarŝanto , “reverse-walker”), a remedy against dogmatism ( maldogmigilo , “undogmatizer”), etc.

Important traits of Esperanto

The basic idea of Esperanto is about tolerance and respect for people of diverse nations and cultures. Communication is indeed the essential part of understanding each other, and if that communication happens through a neutral language, that can help the feeling that we 'meet' on equal grounds and help create respect for one another.


Esperanto is most useful for communicating among people of diverse nations who do not have a common mother tongue.


It doesn't belong to one people or country, so it works as a neutral language.


When you use Esperanto, you feel more equal from a linguistic standpoint than when, for example, you speak Spanish with a native Spanish speaker.

Relatively easy

Thanks to the structure of Esperanto, it's usually much easier to master than other foreign languages.


Esperanto evolves and lives just like other languages, and it can be used to express the most varied facets of human thought and emotion.


Everyone who learns Esperanto has a good chance of reaching a high level in it, and later, from a linguistic standpoint, of speaking it on a similar level as others, independently of linguistic background.


  • 1878

    The first primitive version of Esperanto, which Zamenhof named Lingwe Uniwersala, is completed. However, it differs considerably from modern Esperanto.

  • 1887

    Zamenhof with his wife's help publishes Unua Libro, the book introducing modern Esperanto.

  • 1889

    The first Esperanto magazine, La Esperantisto, is published in Nurenberg, and the first Esperanto club is founded.

  • 1905

    The first Universala Kongreso (World Congress) is held in Boulogne-sur-Mer, with 688 participants.
    The Fundamento de Esperanto is published.

  • 1908

    Universala Esperanto-Asocio, the World Esperanto Association, is founded.

  • 1954

    UNESCO establishes consultative relations with the World Esperanto Association. First UNESCO resolution.

  • 1985

    Second UNESCO resolution. UNESCO encourages UN member states to add Esperanto to their school curricula.

  • 1987

    6000 Esperantists attend the 72nd Universala Kongreso in Warsaw to mark Esperanto's centennial.

  • 2002

    lernu! is launched - the largest website for learning Esperanto, free of charge.

  • 2008

    An Esperanto version of Wikipedia - the largest online encyclopedia - reached 100.000 articles.

  • 2009

    It is possible to pass international Esperanto exams at three levels (B1, B2, C1) and be evaluated in the 4 basic skills: reading and listening comprehension, written and oral communication, according to the Common European Framework of Reference.

  • 2012

    Google Translate added Esperanto as its 64th language.

  • 2015

    Duolingo published a course in Esperanto for English speakers.

  • 2016

    A new version of lernu! was released.

Esperanto is...

  • Part 1

    Esperanto is a language suitable for everything.

  • Part 2

    Esperanto is a language with multiple traits.

  • Part 3

    Esperanto is a language that can be used in many ways.

  • Part 4a

    Esperanto is a language that is learnable and worth learning.

  • Part 4b

    Esperanto is a language that is learnable and worth learning.

  • Part 5

    Esperanto is a language with a colorful movement.

  • Part 6

    Esperanto is a language of the future.



Here is the Esperanto alphabet. Each letter always makes the same sound, and spelling is perfectly regular. Click the examples to hear how they're pronounced!

  • Aa ami to love
  • Bb bela beautiful
  • Cc celo goal
  • Ĉĉ ĉokolado chocolate
  • Dd doni to give
  • Ee egala equal
  • Ff facila easy
  • Gg granda big
  • Ĝĝ ĝui enjoy
  • Hh horo hour
  • Ĥĥ ĥoro choir
  • Ii infano child
  • Jj juna young
  • Ĵĵ ĵurnalo newspaper
  • Kk kafo coffee
  • Ll lando country
  • Mm maro sea
  • Nn nokto night
  • Oo oro gold
  • Pp paco peace
  • Rr rapida fast
  • Ss salti to jump
  • Ŝŝ ŝipo ship
  • Tt tago day
  • Uu urbo city
  • Ŭŭ aŭto car
  • Vv vivo life
  • Zz zebro zebra


All nouns in Esperanto end with -o. (Nouns are names of thıngs.)

  • domo house
  • libro book


To make a word plural, add a -j:

  • domoj houses
  • libroj books


In Esperanto, we show the direct object of a sentence by adding an -n. This lets us change the order of the parts of the sentence without changing the meaning. (A direct object is that which is directly acted upon by the verb)

  • La hundo amas la katon The dog loves the cat.
  • La kato amas la hundon The cat loves the dog.


All adjectives in Esperanto end with -a. (Adjectives are used to describe nouns.)

  • alta tall/high
  • bela beautiful


Check this out! Adding mal- to the beginning of a word gives it the opposite meaning.

  • malalta short/low
  • malbela ugly

mal- is an example of a prefix. Prefixes go in front of words to make new words. In Esperanto there are 10 different prefixes.


There are also many ways to make new words using special suffixes. For example, -et- makes something smaller.

  • dometo cottage
  • libreto booklet

-et- is an example of a suffix. Suffixes go on the end of words to make new words. In Esperanto there are 31 different suffixes.


Verbs, of course, are very important. But you'll find they're also very simple in Esperanto. (Verbs are action words.)

  • ludi to play
  • ridi to laugh

Verb forms

Infinitives end in -i. In the present tense, verbs always end in -as, in the past in -is, and in the future in -os. There are no irregular verbs!

  • mi estas I am
  • mi estis I was
  • mi estos I will be
  • vi estas you are
  • vi estis you were
  • vi estos you will be
  • li estas he is
  • li estis he was
  • li estos he will be
  • ŝi estas she is
  • ŝi estis she was
  • ŝi estos she will be
  • ĝi estas it is
  • ĝi estis it was
  • ĝi estos it will be
  • ni estas we are
  • ni estis we were
  • ni estos we will be
  • ili estas they are
  • ili estis they were
  • ili estos they will be


The -e ending is used to create adverbs. (Adverbs are words that descrıbe verbs.)

  • silente silently
  • rapide quickly

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