The Hobbit

I saw that there is an Esperanto translation of The Hobbit on Amazon, and I was wondering if I should get it because I love lotr and read the hobbit. Would it be beneficial and improve my esperanto, or should I wait till I become much more proficient?

September 18, 2017


You can read La Hobito for free as a PDF here.

The Lord of the Rings is also translated and available as a free PDF. La Kunularo de L'Ringo

Unfortunately, the links appear to be dead

The links still work - but I would be concerned about copyright. If we want people to invest time into creating these materials, we should be willing to support them financially by buying them.

One of the best ways to learn a language, is by reading books, if you're already in an intermediate level, then you should read it, after all, if you like that book, then it should be easier and funnier to understand. Also, if you did not know, J.R.R. Tolkien was an active Esperanto member who knew the language pretty well.

I know he loved languages and created many of his own, but I did not know that he spoke Esperanto. Thanks!

Its a good book and if you love the story already then you will be familiar with what is happening which helps carry you along. Of course even though it is a childrens book it is not easy and some of the vocabulary will not be what you might call everyday (I rarely need the vocabulary to talk about damp holes in the ground or brass bound porthole windows) but definitely worth a go, and it is something you can come back to time and again.

A few comments - there are two translations of "La Hobito" and both have their merits. According to a presentation I saw by Brian Harmon (who quite skillfully and in impressive detail) compared the two translations, both have their merits, and it's advisable to get and read both if you can. My sense is that overall the newer translation is better - but I wouldn't let that stop you from reading it if that's the one you can get. (The link provided by Kliphph appears to be a scan of this older translation.)

It always makes sense to think twice before buying Esperanto books from Amazon. Quite often, they're listed as "rare books" for obscene prices - often ten times or more what you'd pay from an Esperanto book service. Other times they're print-on-demand books produced by running free (or pirated) text through Google Translate - and therefore useless. (That said - the best way to get Richardson's book for learning Esperanto is on Amazon!)

Finally, The Hobbit was originally written as a children's book, so the language is supposedly easier. Children know their native language very well, though, so you're certain to be running to your dictionary quite often. It all depends on how much patience you have. If you like the story and are already familiar with it, this might help you understand new words and phrasings.

I recently purchased a new copy of the newer translation on eBay for $16.99 with free shipping. I looked for quite a while, but that seemed to be the best price. First I tried to get a copy with an inter-library loan from another state; but they wouldn't loan to my library. I was told that it may be for many reasons, including a previous bad loan because of a inconsiderate person at our library who didn't follow the rules. It may be worth a try; just ask a librarian about or look it up yourself. If you look it up yourself I think you have to search for "la hobito au tien kaj reen" because if you use the diacritic or x system, you will not get a result.

"Would it be beneficial and improve my esperanto, or should I wait till I become much more proficient?" >> When you start out on a novel in a language, be sure you are willing to stick it out for at least ten pages or a full chapter. What happens is that most novels have to get the background and characters into the early part of the novel. This means you will have to understand some "dense" writing (there is a LOT of info in each paragraph). Once you get past that, action and dialogue are easier to follow. My point is to not be too discouraged that you have to look up a lot of stuff early in a book. Another technique is to read the same three pages at least three times and THEN decide what you don't understand AND have to understand in order to go on. You might be surprised at how much you can actually skip and follow a story!

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