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Starting Advice for a Newcomer

Greetings! I am still in the beginning stages of my journey into Esperanto, but I am really enjoying it. I wonder if you might share something with me that has helped you or warn me off something that has hurt?

Has there been a resource you wish you had earlier or something you wish you had not done?

Thanks for the help!

July 27, 2015



I made a lot more progress with the correlatives when I understood them as a table, rather than trying to memorize them all individually: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Esperanto/Appendix/Table_of_correlatives

And verbs are described with adverbs, even in places where it seems like an adjective would be used in English.


But anyway, with table or without it, it's needed patience to learn them. I've seen a lot of people that think that everything in Esperanto should can be learned or memorised in two minutes. The table is big enough to spend some time with it.


This a thousand times. Correlatives were impossible to remember until i saw a table, then it made perfect sense. I also benefited from memorizing the part of speech endings (-o, -as, -e, etc) and practicing swapping them with one another to change a word from one part of speech to another.


Ah, yes! La puzlo Esperanto (at Lernu) http://en.lernu.net/kursoj/puzlo/index.php really helped me a lot in understanding how words fit together. Plus, there's a distinct Lego feel to it that I really enjoyed.


Bonege! — Jen la korelativa tabelo laŭ La tuta Esperanto de Henrik Seppik.


I prefer to look at them like this: http://donh.best.vwh.net/Esperanto/correlatives.html

The table is good for reference but I understood them so much more clearly when I just had each suffix explained concisely like this.


I recommend having available a dictionary that will automatically break down composite words into their component parts. The one at lernu.net does this - very useful when trying to work out what a new composite words mean.

I also recommend listening to Esperanto songs - they can be a great way of memorizing vocab. Whenever I need the verb to forget there's a helpful little voice in the back of my mind that sings the relevant line of an Esperanto translation of the Frozen theme song!

Re: the correlatives. Personally I found that trying to memorize them as a block really didn't work. Obviously people learn in different ways, so you may find it's fine for you, but in case it doesn't you could try this:

  1. Have a good look at the table, understand how it works.

  2. Keep working though the Duolingo course as usual.

  3. When you start seeing correlatives think about / look at how they fit into the table

I find I'm starting to extrapolate to other parts of the table from points that I know with far less difficulty than trying to tackle the whole thing at once.

Happy learning!


http://www.simplavortaro.org/ also does a good job of guessing how words break up into roots. The definitions are only in esperanto, not english, so it may not be as suitable for a very early beginner, but I loved the pulling-oneself-up-by-ones-own-bootstraps sort of challenge, when I was first learning, of trying to puzzle out the meaning of a word just from a definition out of other esperanto words.


Jes, vi tute pravas. La lernu!-vortaro estas tre bona por kompreni la genian strukturon de vortoj de Esperanto. Mi regule uzas ĝin en mia poŝtelefono/saĝtelefono (kaj tabulkomputilo) per retumilo, vidu ĉe — lernu!-vortaro(j).

Jen ekzemploj:

  • vortaro (vort·ar·o ← vort·o)
  • poŝtelefono (poŝ·telefon·o ← telefon·o)
  • saĝtelefono (saĝ·telefon·o ← telefon·o)
  • tabulkomputilo (tabul·komput·il·o ← komput·i)
  • retumi (ret·um·i ← ret·o)
  • retumilo (ret·um·il·o ← ret·o)

  • esperanto (esper·ant·o ← esper·i) → Esperanto


The fundamento is well worth reading: http://www.akademio-de-esperanto.org/fundamento/gramatiko_angla.html

One of the tricky things may be when to use -n. There was a post on here recently about how to use it: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9650731

If you would like to read a blog about learning Esperanto, this one has informative posts: https://adventuresinesperanto.wordpress.com/


Honestly? Just have fun. Set yourself mini-challenges ("I will finish this lesson today"), take mini-breaks when it gets too much, hang on to your streak so you have a motivation to come back every day, and when you feel like skiving, have a little round of the discussion fora.


I use memrise.com courses to learn vocabulary (can also use Anki). I listen to podcasts for developing my comprehension- kern.punkto.net, China Radio international, muzaiko, etc. That's probably best for when you have a couple of months under your belt. However there are some podcasts of basic words and such that can help with pronunciation, comprehension and vocabulary. My personal favorite book is Teach Yourself Esperanto (there is a PDF floating around the net) but most Esperanto texts are pretty good. Also Kellerman's A Complete Grammar of Esperanto is good: http://esperanto-edmonton.wdfiles.com/local--files/kellerman-answerkey/Kellerman%20Kolor.pdf

Try to talk to yourself (or annoy your family members) by speaking in Esperanto- it's a bit of the pitfall of the language that because you aren't likely to have daily access to Esperanto speakers, you can end up having good reading, writing, and listening skills, but not be able to express yourself well.


Kellerman is especially helpful, thank you.


I think dictionaries are important. Getting a mini dictionary ("EAB Mini-D") to carry around has helped, especially with the correlatives table on the back cover. Google translate is a great resource, but needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt, especially with any complex grammar or English homonyms. Vortaro.net is over my head, but lernu's dictionary is usually just right for longer or more complicated words.

I also got some of my friends to do duolingo, and now we try to practice here and there when talking to each other. None of us is very good, but we can usually switch back and forth to get through an idea (e.g., "Mi pensas ke Kathy will want dinner soon, sed ni ne havas any food). I don't know the word for "soon", and I know "volos", "iom / iom da", and "manĝo", but I might forget them while speaking, or not think someone else knows them, so I will just use the English word. We've even done a couple board game nights in Esperanto (nerds), with some translations and cheat sheets we printed out. This has been really rewarding, since so many conversations in Eo are (understandably) only about Eo. But talking with friends about normal things has been a much more fun way to practice. Relatedly, if you ever want to play Coup, Hanabi, or Love Letter in Esperanto, hit us up :-)

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