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https://www.duolingo.com/boudreau15

Struggling with Esperanto

I took French in High School and Italian in College and I rocked both classes. I learned quickly and still retained a lot more than I thought I would - even now, after not speaking French for 6 years, I can still come up with simple sentences with little help. But Esperanto has been kicking my butt! I'm constantly fighting with the urge to use gender assignments and irregular conjugations. I spend more time using the "strengthen skills" quizzes than learning new material, but I don't feel like I'm actually learning because it's just become a memorizing game.

Is anyone else in the same boat? Have any tips on getting out of this rut? Pity hugs? :D

2 years ago

28 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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Reading between the lines here, here are my thoughts. I may be way off, but here goes.

When I was in college, I remember doing an immersion weekend for French. This was after a few semesters of German. I remember thinking that I'd forgotten how foreign a foreign language can be.

Reaching level 7 in Esperanto means you have a good start, but it can hardly be the same as taking a whole course (or courses) in HS or college. I've forgotten my exact levels, but it's more than 7 in a few languages, and I've been at it for only 4 months (125 days). That is to say, you haven't gone a semester yet. No wonder you're falling back on old habits.

So, tip 1 -- stick with it. My experience was that after 4 months of regular study, I spoke better Esperanto than German. Give it at least that long. Try to do a little each day.

Tip 2 -- Move forward in the course. Otherwise you'll get bored.

Tip 3 -- don't just do Duolingo. Get a book. Try lessons from lernu.net . Do the 10 lesson course by e-mail. (See link below.) Read an article in Esperanto and see how much you understand.

https://www.duolingo.com/comment/15077226

Pity hug: People do struggle with Esperanto. If you rocked your French and Italian, you'll do fine. You just need to get over the hump of falling back on your stronger languages. It's normal.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/boudreau15

Ah, lernu.net! I did make an account there ages ago but I'd forgotten about it. Thank you for the reminder! :)

I did download "Harry Potter" in Esperanto. I have the book memorized in English so I'm hoping that reading it in Esperanto will help. I'm also considering getting the Esperanto version of "The Hobbit". I wish there were movies and TV programs in Esperanto... one of the ways I've been keeping up with Italian is watching programs like "Don Matteo"

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WahahaDrills
WahahaDrills
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Oh man, apparently, there are lots and lots of movies and such in Esperanto. Music, movies, books, audiobooks, web series. You have to dig a bit, but there's a lot. It's an active community. There's also some manga translations and anime subs if that's something you like.

Currently listening to a recording of Alice in Wonderland in Esperanto. It's also nice that the reader is really good.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ithaca101
Ithaca101
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Um, could you give me the link to that Alice in Wonderland thingummy? Please...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WahahaDrills
WahahaDrills
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Indeed. Jen "La Aventuroj de Alicio en Mirlando"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNvPdxuI8U0

There's another uploader who uploaded each chapter a separate video but the audio isn't as good.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ithaca101
Ithaca101
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Dankon!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/foruli
foruli
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If I may suggest "Pasporto al la Tuta Mondo," it is designed for learners so there is a section at the beginning and end of each episode with short explanations, but all in Esperanto. I learned a lot, and the plot is so absurd you want to keep watching for that. The whole thing, last I checked, was on Youtube. Each episode is about half an hour. There is also, I believe, a movie version of "Gerda Malaperis," which might be good especially if you read it first. (Although, I myself haven't watched it, so I am not sure. But the book was helpful to me.)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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My kids recently starred in as the voices of Danny and the young love interest in Danny Johnson Saves The World. Does that count?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/boudreau15

That's really awesome! Where can I find it?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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Here's the trailer to the English version. There's a link in the description. I'm sure you can order it there. He has other films dubbed into Esperanto. There's going to be an "Ask Me Anything" session with the director here soon.

https://youtu.be/6Tq1n08juL0

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GrandaUrso

I'm sorry to hear that, not every language is for everyone, this is a well known fact and true. I'm glad to hear that in spite of your difficulties that you're pressing on, you must have some strong desire to learn it. If you'd like someone to practice with or would like beginner/intermediate level advice I'm willing to help, if you just want a pity hug...well I can give you a pity pat on the back!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/boudreau15

It was my boyfriend's idea. He knows I love culture (got my degree in Anthropology) and since we're both nerds he thought it would be fun if we had a secret language we could use when playing against other people in video games and board games. XD I had even started to translate the rules for "Magic: The Gathering" when I first started, but stuff came up and we both had to set Esperanto aside. Now that my boyfriend is on summer break he's started to devote a lot of time to learning so I decided I should probably try to keep up! This post reflected how I felt three months ago when I started. Maybe it will be easier after a break?

Thank you for the pity pat and, the offer. I might have to take you up on that sometime. :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GrandaUrso

I know how you feel to a degree. Lol only in reverse order. I tried to get my wife to learn it so that we would have a secret language to communicate with each other either online or in real life. However, where I got sucked into the language like light into a black hole, she didn't find it quite as interesting. However, I do believe one day I might convince her to pick it up again! I send her messages in Esperanto from time to time and I can almost feel the -_- face she's making when she gets them but she loves it, I know she does! Now as for you, As for it being easier...

The best advice I guess I could give would be to forget what you know about other languages as far as grammatical rules.

Easier said than done yeah?

Esperanto is simple, it's got a few irregularities but for the most part it's pretty set in stone. What do you mean by having difficulties with gender assignments and irregular conjugations? Can you give an example?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/boudreau15

My biggest hurdle is "la". In French and Italian, "la" is reserved for feminine nouns while "il/le" is used for masculine. So I see "la" and I want to start throwing a's onto the ends of nouns! The "-ino" thing just doesn't make a lot of sense to me... And it bothers me that all verbs in present tense have "-as" as endings, no matter who or what you're talking about. It's easy to remember, but awkward. But like you said, the best way for me to get past this mental block is to just work through it.

Also, while this isn't a problem really holding me back, it annoys me that in Esperanto you can have two vowels back-to-back but in other languages you have ways to separate them, like "an" in English and "ed" in Italian.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Fantomius
Fantomius
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in Esperanto you can have two vowels back-to-back but in other languages you have ways to separate them, like "an" in English and "ed" in Italian.

Well, yes, but even in Italian this isn't always the case. An example of what you're talking about is "The summer," which a beginner might (incorrectly) translate to "La estate" when the correct translation would be "L'estate." (This shows that the two vowels don't like to be back-to-back.)

But the plural form, "The summers," doesn't follow this pattern, as it translates to "Le estati." Here, there is no problem with putting the two "e"s together. (This is something I had to wrap my head around learning Italian. Apparently, in some cases putting vowels back-to-back is not allowed, and in other cases it's just fine.)

Another example is "The bee / The bees" translating to "L'ape / Le api."

However, Esperanto does allow you to drop the "a" in "la" and replace it with an apostrophe. So both "La abelo" and "L' abelo" are valid translations of "The bee" (which is something I think you can appreciate).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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It's worth underscoring the fact that you "can" do this but it's really only done in poetry or other affected language for special effect. In casual conversation, people would hear "l'abelo" as "la belo".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jirka92122
jirka92122
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You can also drop the trailing o for nouns replacing with an apostrophe, which can be used for similar stylistic reasons. The book I'm currently reading does both the l' and dropping of the o to make certain sentences sound better. I suppose most of the time it is only used in poetry and songs when the exact sound is much more important and I doubt many people do it in regular speech.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Fantomius
Fantomius
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I should have probably mentioned that using "L' " in place of "La" is mainly only found in poetry and other literature. I would not expect to see it in official documents.

Also, I've seen the "a" in "La" dropped even before words that begin with a consonant, changing "La besto" to "L' besto." Coming from Italian, this just looks odd to me. I'm not sure if Zamenhof intended it to be used this way, but the rules don't forbid this, as far as I know.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GrandaUrso

Gotcha, well, all the people here have given some great advice so I must humbly accede to them in that regard. However, again should you wish to practice. Feel free to start speaking it in the forums! I don't know about other Esperanto speakers here but I rather enjoy speaking it at the drop of a hat.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IsaacLaws1

Ditto on the struggles, but I agree with GrandaUrso, keep pressing on. It's cool if you strengthen, strengthen, strengthen, then add a little more. I'm trying to learn Spanish and Esperanto at the same time--so I feel your pain on the mix-ups!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jarcher77
jarcher77
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I'm in a kind of similar situation. I'm working mainly on Esperanto right now, but I'm finding I'm having difficulties remembering the vocabulary. And it's vocabulary I see often. I generally don't have that issue with French, Japanese, or Spanish. It's kind of strange. In a way, I find French, Japanese, and Spanish easier because they are more natural sounding, while Esperanto really feels like a constructed language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jirka92122
jirka92122
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A large part of being "natural sounding" is being used to it. Esperanto pronunciation and sound in general seems very natural to a Czech speaker for example, while it will probably sound unnatural to a Germanic or a romance language speaker. Though that's always "at first", you get used to the sound of a lauguage and it sounds natural in time. An old joke in Czech about how to speak English for example is to put a hot potato in your mouth. When I started to learn English it seemed like people were on purpose trying to make it harder to understand.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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I initially decided not to reply to this - but you reminded me of my experience as a young person doing a summer program in Bregenz Austria. (Long before I really knew about Esperanto.) One of my classmates said that it feels weird speaking German out in town because it's easy to forget that German is not something that was just made up for us to study in class. It was hard to disagree with him.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WahahaDrills
WahahaDrills
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I had this problem when I started because I did Spanish for a long time before. So the fact that all nouns ended in O and all adjectives ended in A really threw me through a loop for a bit. And don't even get me started with how many times I accidentally used "el."
But then I started to learn to not overthink it and it got ingrained in me that it really is just that easy. Is it a noun? Stick an O at the end. Conversely, does it end in O? It's a noun. Stuff like that.
I guess it'll just take time and practice before your brain can just switch to it.

But bonŝancon! Vi certe povas fari ĝin!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jirka92122
jirka92122
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My guess what is happening is that your brain thinks of Esperanto as French (or Italian) and tries to do what it does with French to Esperanto. Since the vocabulary is not so different, it is not a bad guess on the part of your brain. I'd say the best bet is to just keep going so that your brain just gets used to it. The grammar is simple but it is different from a romance language grammar, so while the words look the same, they work differently. See also salivanto's post. I'd say reading purely Esperanto text might be a big help moving your mind to "esperanto-mode".

I have the opposite problem. I'm trying to improve my french, and I keep wanting to stick in Esperanto :) But Esperanto does not interfere with the two languages I speak completely fluently (czech, english), so I assume it is just the brain needing to separate things out completely. It also doesn't interfere when I'm trying to improve my russian a bit which is a language I know only barely, probably because the words are completely different.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cassincork

I'm also finding Esperanto difficult. I don't think it's for the same reasons as you - it's not the grammar, now at any rate, but just memorising the vocabulary, particularly when translating into Esperanto. The adverbs unit has been tough with baldaŭ, almenaŭ, apenaŭ, ambaŭ etc hard for me to remember and distinguish. It was also a bit crushing to do the progress test twice, a month apart, and get a lower score the second time!

I think that for me, Duolingo may not offer enough repetition, even though I do probably around 4/5ths strengthening skills compared to 1/5th learning new things. I'm planning to put more time into Memrise for a bit to see if I can shore up my memorisation.

I'm also aware that my listening (and, if I were to speak it, my speaking) skill is terrible and that I need much more listening practice.

I do find reading helpful as I seem to be able to remember words better if I have had to translate them in a sentence. I'm doing the email course too.

And I'm trying to hold on to the fact that if I keep doing it every day, even if for short periods, eventually it will get easier.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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I know all this stuff can be easy or hard depending on your background. This was many years ago, but I recall that the very thing your having trouble with was easy for me. In case this helps, here's how I look at the words you mention:

  • baldaŭ - soon (German bald) - soon I will be bald.
  • almenaŭ - at least (Latin al minus) a negative number is the least you can have.
  • apenaŭ - barely (the French expression is like with peno - with effort) all that effort and we barely have any.
  • ambaŭ - AMBidextrous people can use BOTH hands.
2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cassincork

Thanks, salivanto - that's extremely helpful. Mnemonics and etymology work well to help me remember.

2 years ago