https://www.duolingo.com/RG710

What makes Esperanto easier to learn?

From my research, most people say that Esperanto is one of the most easiest language to learn, I tried to learn it a bit before and from what I've seen it's a bit similar to Romance language but much easier. But I still love how it sounds, like Romance languages combine. Anyway for people that have learn it, do you find it very easy, because it still looks just like other languages to me that you still need to work hard to be fluent.

August 19, 2015

26 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Foudeb
  • 2051

Of course you still have to invest some time in learning it, it is a language and as such has rules and words that all need to be memorised.

What makes it easier than other languages is that there are no exceptions. So you only learn something once - say, "bona" = good, and then you can use it everywhere - bone = well, bonas = it is good, malbona = bad etc. Compare that to English were you have to learn "good, well, it is, bad" when in Esperanto all you really need to know is "bona".

Also, for other languages, you need some time with native speakers to acquire a "feel" for the language, to know on an instinctive level whether something is correct or not. In esperanto, as there are no exceptions, you can speak straight away without making mistakes.

August 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/RG710

Thanks, for answering.

August 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ConorFingleton

I'll second what others have said in pointing to it's regularity(all verbs end in -a, all nouns in -o.etc); the root-based formation of words really helps. If you're learning English, or French, or any natural language really, when you learn a new word that means you've learnt just that -- a new word. In Esperanto, when you learn a new word(or root, whatever), you can immediately start playing around with it and combining it with whatever other roots, prefixes and suffixes you happen to know already. Learning other languages is additive, whereas learning Esperanto seems to be multiplicative.

Taken together, it means you can get to a point where you can play around with the language and make it your own much quicker than with a natural language. It basically sets up a sort of positive feedback loop

August 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/RG710

Really, Esperanto has root based formation?

August 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/valid_character

Esperanto is an strongly agglutinative language. For instance, you can take five roots and make mal'san'ul'ej'o (un-healthly-person-place [noun]) or hospital.

August 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/RG710

I never really know that Esperanto can do that!

August 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/valid_character

Yes, it can do that.

You can make absurdly words by adding more and more roots. (You can even make Esperanto words containing ten or even more roots. It's a terrible idea in practice, but it can be done. Similarly annoying feats are possible in German, Japanese, several Native American languages, etc., etc.)

August 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/catalina_marina

Technically, one root (sano) and three affixes. Although most affixes can be words on their own just as well as any root, they are first and foremost something you put before or after a root to change its meaning. (And the o is a finaĵo, a word-ending, not a root or a word, however liberal you want to use the terms.) But yes, this means that you can often easily understand words that you've never seen before. It also means that translation might be hard sometimes, as you can make words that don't exist in other languages. :P

August 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CuriousAtanaa

And the o is a finaĵo, a word-ending, not a root or a word, however liberal you want to use the terms.

Although I have heard of a-vorto being used to mean adjective.

August 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/catalina_marina

Indeed. And an o-finaĵo, as is the case here, makes the word a noun.

August 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/truelefty

Because many words are similar to languages I know, because the grammar is super easy, and because the course is fun and that makes it easier ;D

August 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/peter.kristof.hu
  • No spelling and
  • No pronunciation problems
  • No irregular objects
  • Understandable by means of listening
    So, you can focus on the mind of the language
August 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/RG710

Thanks, for the points, you simplify everything:)

August 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Hodgeheg117

I think that the reason Esperanto is considered to easy - is because of the irregularities, specifically the lack of irregularities. If it's a noun, it ends in '-o'. If it's an adjective it ends in '-a' Verb conjugations are expectationally easy - all infinitives end in '-i' etc.

What it basically boils down to is that you only need to learn a few rules and you can instantly apply them anywhere and everywhere - because nothing goes against these rules.

August 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CuriousAtanaa

Hiya. I think one thing to bear in mind is that when people say Esperanto is easy, they usually mean in comparison to other languages, even though they do not usually say that explicitly. Most things really worth doing take time and effort, weather it's a five year old learning to read, a teen trying to get to grips with calculus or an adult wanting to paint. Languages are no exception.

As to the what makes Esperanto easier to learn question, let me give an example. I'll use French my example language, as that was my first none-native language.

Let's think about verbs. In French there are three types of verbs: ones where the infinitive ends in -er, ones that end in -re and ones that end in -ir. Each type has it's own set of endings in the present tense. I won't bore you by listing them, but in order to use them correctly you need to know the correct endings for 6 persons (I, you, he etc . . .) for the three different types. So that's 6x3=18 endings you need to know (OK, some of them are repeats, but even so you need to know which ones). That's just the regular verbs. The irregular verbs are which are generally the most frequently used (to be, to make, to have...), so you've got to learn them. Each one. Each person of each one. Individually. And some of them are so far from the regular patterns as to look almost like a different language.

Now lets remember the rule for Esperanto. To make a present tense verb in Esperanto you take the stem and add -as. That's it. No complex rules. No irregularities. One sentence of explanation required.

I imagine you get the point.

August 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/RG710

Esperanto has less irregularities and rules then?

August 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CuriousAtanaa

Some people say it has no irregularities. I don't think that's quite true, but there are certainly very few. (The word 'kiomn' seams like it should exist but doesn't, for example.)

The grammar rules could probably be written on a single side sheet of paper - although you would need a decent knowledge of grammar terminology to understand all of them in that form. Any natural language could fill books with its grammar.

August 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CuriousAtanaa

Another thing that helps - certainly if you're like me and struggle with spelling - is that Esperanto really is phonetic. Spanish is pretty good at this as well, but even there their are two ways to write the sound we write in English as th, and there are two pronunciations for c depending on the following vowel. That's without talking about the regional differences.

Once you've learnt Esperanto system you can write write what you say and say what you write with no ambiguity.

August 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Fantomius

The word 'kiomn' seems like it should exist but doesn't, for example.

I realize you're just giving an example, but...

"Kiomn" doesn't exist, but "kioman" does exist, as in:

  • Kioman akvon vi bezonas? (How much water do you need?)

Most Duolingo Esperantisnts tend to use "kiom da" over "kioman," as in:

  • Kiom da akvo vi bezonas? (How much (of) water do you need?)

but there's no reason you can't use "kioman" here. In fact, I think the main reason many Esperantists use "kiom da" over "kioman" is because they just don't realize that "kioman" is a valid word.

Both ways are correct, but I personally prefer using "kioman" simply because it makes it clear that "akvon" is the sentence's direct object, and not its subject.

But with "kiom da akvo," you have to look at the other noun in the sentence ("vi") to determine that "akvo" is not part of the subject.

January 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/KeelanRosa

Yep. There's an entire series of books which are basically '501 [Language] Verbs' - i don't know about every language but in the Russian version, each verb gets an entire two-column full-page chart. The Esperanto equivalent would be a total of six lines for conjugation (infinitive [e.g. iri], present/past/future [iras/iris/iros], conditional [irus], imperative [iru]); it could maybe even be made two columns if 'ek-' [ekiri] were treated as a prospective aspect, and there might be some deverbals put in at the bottom, but it could really be one column with no deverbals and not suffer much.

Russian verbs have so many different conjugations covering the same information takes 23 lines, the second column for the perfective aspect is definitely not optional, and deverbals are inconsistent often enough to be really worth including. I imagine most languages worth making an entire book out of what is really a glorified word list are, if not equally complex, at least more complex than Esperanto.

And in Esperanto the conjugation (and aspects, and deverbals) are so consistent, every page would literally be the same thing except for the root word. Russian is… consistent enough it doesn't feel like learning every verb from scratch, but there's exceptions. (Like есть. Where did 'я ем' even come from.) You could make the entire conjugation into an index-card-sized chart and leave the 501 Esperanto Verbs as a few pages of root words.

August 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/kgutierrez003

my friends and i started learning Esperanto together, i cannot beleive that before i had no idea that Esperanto was a language!

August 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GabreilRob

similar to; english, french, and spanish. simple word building, irregularity are less common, and common roots from En, Fr, and Sp

August 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LytjeDk

Because you can have a more or less complete grammerbook in just a few pages (around 20 perhaps). And the grammar is not just short, it simple. My book, your book, his book, her book. No difference. I dance, you dance, he dances, we dance, they dance etc. No difference.

I am aware that it isn't complete! - But it's more than enough to get you to a fluency level above my English - which I have studied for 8 years, 15 month of immersion, around 20 years of usage.

And as mentioned several times already, because the spelling is easy and very regular and that the pronunciation is in perfect accordance to the spelling.

And because you learn the words a lot faster because of the pre- and suffixes (it doesn't mean that you don't have to practice at all, but it does make it a lot faster and simpler).

And because the rules "works". There are extremely few exceptions - even to "wild" rules. E.g. whenever a word has an opposite mal- works. Unstoppable, Irregular, even left/right works. Same thing with other rules. They just works. Which is very unlike how English or Spanish works.

August 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/amuzulo

Not only does its regularity make it easier to learn, but it makes it harder to forget. It's often said that the first thing you forget when you don't use a language is its irregularities. Since Esperanto has so few of them, you tend to not forget as much. I've had people who haven't used Esperanto for years write me and apologize for possible mistakes. The funny thing is that the letter was practically perfect. Amazeballs.

August 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/RG710

Thanks for mentioning that!

August 20, 2015
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