Why is "loĝejo" an apartment? Loĝi (to live) + -ej(o) (place) should make it "living place" or something along those lines, right? Could it be used to describe any place where someone lives, or is it really just an apartment?
Loĝejo is a generic place of residence (it can be a house or apartment or cardboard box behind a strip mall or what have you); "dwelling" or "abode" would probably be a more appropriate translation. Apartamento is an apartment.
That being said, words with affixes in Esperanto are often more specific than their names would imply. A komputilo is a computer; you can't use that word to describe a slide rule. "Rideti" means smile, not chuckle.
Since I've started learning Esperanto about a year ago, I thought that the sometimes the affixes change to meaning of the root too much. Computer isn't one such word. Rideti is. It seems to me that rideti ought to be a chuckle as you pointed out. Another root word could be created from another language for smile (such as smajlo from English), or couple a few existing Esperanto roots together (falicxesprimo or subrido -- from the French)
Thus rideto would be a chuckle, rido a laugh, ridego for gaffaw and smajleto for grin, smajlo for smile and smajlego for ear to ear smile)
In fact, the point of the -et and -eg suffixes is that they do change the meaning, in many case. At least, that was the original intention. A chuckle would be a "malgranda rido", but the -et actually changes meaning of the word "rideto = smile". This feature was designed to make the language more "compact". We don't need a word for a small laugh (such as a chuckle) because we already have words for "small" and "laugh". However, we do need a new word for "smile", and rather than "smajlo", which would place an extra burden on the (non-english) learner, we make a word for smile out of "rid-" and "-et". Similarly, a "granda domo" is a "big house", even a "tre granda domo" is a "very big house", but a "domego" is a "mansion", which has a somewhat different meaning (20+ rooms, servants, aristocratic heritage etc.). Now you might think it would be "easier" to use "domego" for "big house" and have a new word "mansiono", but do you see that this is harder to learn? The affixes are supposed to make the vocabulary as compact as possible - which means sacrificing the "short-cut" of just sticking -et or -eg at the end instead of using "mal/granda". Obviously, this "short-cut" is fairly common, and becoming more so, but the komencanto should be aware that, per la fundamento, the suffixes -et and -eg are actually supposed to change the meaning. If you want the same meaning, just bigger or smaller, you can use the adjectives "ega" and "eta" if "mal/granda" are too long for your liking.
Probably because they wanted to introduce this specific word - apartment - in connection with loĝejo (probably because the other terms are covered using domego, domo, dometo); but you're right, loĝejo means more broadly "residence, above, living place".
You can use "apartamento" for an apartament - I just caught a sentence with it.
Come visit my homestead!
but got it marked as wrong.
English isn't my native language, so I'm unsure of whether it was wrong due to
- "homestead" meaning "home and the surrounding area", i.e. a much larger definition than "just the living quarters"
- correct, but not yet included with the alternative answers?
I'm a native English speaker. You're right that a homestead usually means more than just the actual living area. Often, native English speakers use "homestead" to refer to a farm (either of plants of animals), in addition to the actual house on the property. Sometimes this is a distinction between a farm and a homestead (a farm might not have a house on the same property), though these days, "farm" is the much more common term regardless of if there's a house or not. Homestead is now usually used to refer to the lands of settlers when they first began making large properties surrounded by fence in the Americas. At least, that's how it is here in the USA.