Duolingo is the most popular way to learn languages in the world. Best of all, it's 100% free!

https://www.duolingo.com/parapluie41

"i" Pronunciation Question

Saluton ! I'm sorry if this is a silly question, but I have a small one about pronunciation.

From what I thought I understood, "i" in Esperanto is pronounced much like the standard French "i." In other words, like "ee" in in the English word "meet" or "i" in the French "église."

However, in the following exercise sentence:

"Ĉu vi amas ŝin aŭ min?"

the "i" in "vi" sounds normal, but the "i" in "ŝin" and "min" sounds like the i in the English word "in." Does that mean that the pronunciation of "i" changes in a closed syllable? Or is the computer just being weird?

Dankon !

2 years ago

15 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Ungewitig_Wiht

Theoretically I is always "ee" but some speakers will say the "in" I when speaking.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/parapluie41

Okay, that's good to know, thank you! To me it actually feels easier to always say "ee" so I will stick with that. :P

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ungewitig_Wiht

I like to think I do it right but I'm sure Italians and other people whose language's vowels don't reduce as much as English's when unstressed unstressed think I sound like "mi metuhs luh monuhn en luh muhnejuh"

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Loxiney
Loxiney
  • 12
  • 9
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 2

I always thought it's a language created to help people. We don't care about pronunciation in Interslavic. We must just understand others (and be understood). Esperanto has the easiest pronunciation for me and I guess I could understand you (I even understood a man from Brazil talking in Esperanto).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lea8D
Lea8D
  • 14
  • 8
  • 3

I find it very difficult to hear the difference between present tense (-as) and past tense (-is) if the speaker doesn't annunciate carefully, while -os is much more distinct and easier to hear. Even on the lessons here when you have to type the sentence you hear, though the speaker is very good and I can click the icon and hear the phrase repeated several times I still have to guess sometimes. I think this is a pretty serious drawback to the verb conjugation system in Esperanto.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/johmue

That's a phenomenon of english natives because they tend to pronounce the "-as" ending like the English word "as" instead of as in "bus". The "a" is pronounced like in English "but" or "tough".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/parapluie41

Hm... not in my dialect of English, haha. For me the "a" is as in the English word "spa" and the "u" of "but" does not seem to exist at all in Esperanto. Neither does the "a" in "as," at least not as I would pronounce it.

To me, at least -as, -os and -is all sound extremely different from each other.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Loxiney
Loxiney
  • 12
  • 9
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 2

Yeah. There are three diffrent ways to pronounce "but" in English. A is pronounced as in word "mark" in (I guess) all dialects. Anyway - you must be understood, and not perfect.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MickeytheGreat
MickeytheGreat
  • 20
  • 19
  • 18
  • 16
  • 15
  • 14
  • 14
  • 12
  • 11
  • 10
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2

Isn't "as" supposed to be pronounced with an "ah" sound like in "lock"?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Fantomius
Fantomius
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 15
  • 14
  • 13
  • 12
  • 12
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1164

I find it very difficult to hear the difference between present tense (-as) and past tense (-is) if the speaker doesn't enunciate carefully

I absolutely agree with you. You'd think that Esperanto's method of distinguishing past/present/future would make it easy to tell the difference, but unfortunately since the key syllable is unstressed (that is, the -is/-as/-os/-us syllable), it's very easy to mis-hear.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JamesNolan3
JamesNolan3
  • 16
  • 11
  • 11
  • 8
  • 8

That's interesting. I don't know Chinese, but my understanding is that it largely lacks past/present/future tenses. Instead, phrases like, "yesterday, now, tomorrow, at 3 o'clock etc." are used to clarify meaning. If Esperanto were devised today, perhaps tenses would have been drastically simplified / eliminated in this way to make it even easier to learn for non Indo-European language speakers.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Fantomius
Fantomius
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 15
  • 14
  • 13
  • 12
  • 12
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1164

From what little I know of (Mandarin) Chinese, I think you're correct.

Those of us who speak European languages take for granted that words change their form depending on how they're used (for example, dog/dogs and walk/walks/walked/walking, which seem perfectly normal to us), but not all languages do this. Some languages (and Mandarin might be one of them, but I'm not sure) don't change the forms of their words, meaning that if you want to convey past/present/future, you don't do it by changing a verb (or any other word in the sentence), but rather by adding a word or particle whose purpose is to convey tense.

It simplifies converting sentences into past, present, and future, that's for sure.

Toki Pona (a constructed language designed to be simple) does this. By default, the tense is understood by context, as the words never change their form. But if the tense needs to be conveyed, then a new word is added. (Incidentally, Toki Pona was created by a fluent Esperanto speaker.)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Evildea

I speak Esperanto fluently and mandarin at a conversation level. You may struggle hearing -is and -as at first but this struggle will quickly disappear as you ear gets used to hearing it. Actually, I pretty much know straight away now when someone uses the wrong tense marker.

Mandarin isn't as simple as it's made out to be here. It actually does have tense and aspect markers.

zài can be used for location marker and as a present continuous verb marker among other things, only context will tell you which it is.

Guo means "has already been experienced"

Dao can also be used in this manner.

Le is the most complex and means "has already been completed" but can also be used in lists among other things. Depending on where use place le in the sentence can determine where the whole action is complete or just a verb.

Yao can mean "want,order something,will do" etc

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lea8D
Lea8D
  • 14
  • 8
  • 3

I hope you're right about getting better at hearing the difference between -as and -is. I also have trouble with "mi" vs. "ni" because m and n are so close. But in the exercises we are hearing isolated sentences, and in conversation there would be more time context as James mentioned.

I studied Mandarin too, and could only handle simple conversations, but anything beyond that we always reverted to English. The grammar and aspect was very difficult. I could read a sentence and know every single character/word in the sentence, and still have no idea what it was saying!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Emmanuel_Almazan

As a native spanish speaker I don't struggle with this, I clearly hear different sounds, probably because that's the same way we pronounce these letters. I struggle with many other things, but not with pronunciation.

2 years ago