Introduction

Long ago my blog began thusly:

I admit, I have a weird attraction to Esperanto. We met properly a couple of months back, but we’ve flirted for years. And now I’m addicted. So instead of estranging my friends and family by subjecting them to more tales of the wonderful language, I’ve decided to pollute the interwebs with my rantings.

So for the unfortunate uninitiated, Esperanto is a constructed language. It is a gorgeous and strange but familiar language. It has a vocabulary with its roots in european languages, and a mostly familiar grammar but with some significant (and interesting) quirks. It is entirely regular, rules have no exceptions. It is an easy language to learn, but yet so expressive, due to some nifty features of the language.

7 years have passed, and we’ve done more than just flirt; we’ve slowly got to really know one another. And Esperanto remains as exciting and beautiful as ever.

The aim of this blog remains as it ever was; it is not an introduction to Esperanto, nor a tutorial. I just want to discuss those aspects of the language that tickle me, and make me want to learn more.

Lastly, if I get any fact, linguistic or otherwise, about Esperanto wrong, let me know! Or if you just want to practise your Esperanto on me, go ahead in the comments!

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45 thoughts on “Introduction

  1. Saluton, Andy.
    Mi deziras gratuli al vi pro tiu ĉi blogo, ege interesa.
    Mi tuthazarde trovis ĝin, serĉante materialon por klarigi vortformadon al kursanoj de la esperanto-kurso KIREK por italparolantoj, kaj kredas ke via materialo tre utilus al tio.
    Ĉu vi donus al ni la rajton traduki al la itala kaj uzi parton de viaj blogeroj por tiu kialo, kompreneble ĉiam citante vian nomon?
    Antaŭdankante,
    amike,
    Daniele

  2. Mi legis ĉiujn el viaj blogeroj dum mi lernis la lingvon antaŭ du jaroj kaj ili estis tre utilaj al mi: bonvole daŭrigu vian laboron! 🙂

    Aliteme: pro tio, ke vi tiel interesiĝas pri Esperanto, eble vi ŝatus partopreni NASK-on (Nord-Amerika Somera Kursaro) venontjare: Bertilo estos unu el la instruistoj! Jen la retejo (ankoraŭ ne ĝisdatigita por 2019, tamen): http://nask.esperanto-usa.org/

  3. I’ve just come across your blog, and just read its introduction. My affair with Esperanto is more recent so am not confident enough to post this comment in Esperanto.

    I would be interested to know why you recommend Ivy Kellerman. I have a copy of her book but no longer use it. The reason is, I have been told, is that Esperanto is a living language and has moved on from Kellerman, who is thus out-of-date. Having heard one side of the argument I would be interested in the other side.

    • Hi Marko, I’m always glad to see a new Esperantist and visitor to my blog!

      Kellerman’s work is relevant almost *because* Esperanto is a living language. Many folk see “constructed” language and assume it’s still under construction, or subject to changes because it is more clearly man-made. But that is not the case; radical changes can’t just happen, because it is a living language that people have learnt and use in a particular way.

      In addition, given that Esperanto was made by a person whose goals for it included simplicity and intelligibility, there are things set in place to aid that. Have you come across the Fundamento de Esperanto (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamento_de_Esperanto)? It lays out the unchanging laws of Esperanto grammar and its core vocabulary, so that past Esperanto always remains intelligible; I can happily read all of the writings of its creator.

      So that establishes why an old grammar guide would still be relevant. But an additional reason for recommending something like Kellerman’s book, is never to underestimate the usefulness of a guide structured specifically for learning. It is invaluable to have someone clever layout a complex topic in a structured way with increasing difficulty, in a sensible ordering with relevant exercises.

      And I liked the way Kellerman did it. I concede that some people simply learn better with something like Duolingo, with its many translation examples and sparse grammatical tips. But I find that type of thing most useful for vocabulary building.

      And this is where the living language issue can work against Kellerman’s work; the vocabulary of the exercises will be dated, and yes new words certainly enter into Esperanto because of it being a living language. You probably won’t come across the word for “internet” in the book.

      But it’s a little like throwing the baby out with the bath water to throw out a guide for learning the rules and core vocabulary of a language, just because it won’t teach you every word you’ll need. It’s always good to supplement any course with vocabulary building!

    • As Andy advises, don’t throw the baby out with the bath. Here’s a proverb to help you in your choices in life: “The best is the enemy of the good.”

  4. Mi estas komencanto en Esperanto kaj estas lernanta (how do I say “have been learning”?) ĝin ekde unu monato reen. Mi ĝojis vian blogon multe! Mi esperas ke mi povos skribi tiel bone iam.

    Your post on aŭdaciri was awesome! Such creative and well-written posts will increase the popularity of Esperanto far more than all the serious grammar books or teach-yourself websites ever will. Please keep writing!

    Dankon, amiko!

    -Santosh (born Indian, now American)

    • Koran dankon for the kind words! 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed my writing, and good luck with your learning!

      To say “I have been learning it for one month”, you would say “Mi lernas ĝin de unu monato”.

      In Esperanto, you rarely have to resort to the complex tenses. It usually relies on context or little helper words, so that the simple present tense “-as”, can mean all sorts:

      “I learn”
      “I am learning”
      “I do learn”
      “I have been learning (and still am)”

      So, since in your example, you started the learning and and still are (so it’s still present), we can use the simple present.

      You could also talk about the start of the learning in the past, like this:

      “Mi eklernis ĝin antaŭ monato” = “I started learning it a month ago”

  5. Saluton el Brazilo! Mi estas denaska esperantistino kaj mi ege gxojas vidante ke vi trovis kaj sxatis Esperanton! Mi esperas ke vi neniam cxesu sxati gxin! Koni esperantistoj tra la mondo estas bonega sperto.

    • Saluton Lívia! Esperanta denaskulo? Serioze?! Mirige! Estas plezuro renkonti vin! Certe estas nenia eblo ke mi ĉesos ŝati Esperanton 😛 Mi amas ĝin tro multe por tio! Kaj tio estas vera pri la konado de esperantistoj.

      Se vi iam ŝatus mesaĝi min pri via vivo kun Esperanto, tio min interesus!

      Via uzo de “ĉesu” anstataŭ “ĉesos” tre multe memorigis min pri tiomete de la portugala lingvo kiom mi scias; kaj mi pensas ke mi preferas tiun manieron! 🙂

  6. This is a really interesting blog. I especially like the participles explanations, I had a hard time understanding how they are used correctly but your examples uses helped me out a lot.

  7. I too have entertained a courtship with Esperanto for a couple years without seriously committing. In the wake of the inevitable boredom associated with memorizing grammar and basic vocabulary, it’s blogs like this that remind me how beautiful and interesting the language is, which motivates me to work harder. Not to mention all the great resources you link to. Thanks, this blog rocks!

    • Aww thank you! It’s comments like yours that nudge me ever closer to actually producing more content 🙂 I can’t explain how happy inside it makes me when someone reads something of mine and has good things to say about it.

      I must admit, memorising vocabulary is the bit of language learning that is really a drag for me. I avoid it like I would a knife-wielding badger, and my learning suffers for it.The PMEG makes learning grammar interesting for me, grammar is always an interesting logic problem for me.

      I’ve found two things help most with the vocab side.

      1. Writing Esperanto stories. I’m working on a novella (slowly!) at the moment, and constantly find myself learning words, and being interested in them because when they’re in my story, it’s like they’re MY words!

      2. Talking to people. I think I’m still at the stage where my brain isn’t fast enough to talk face to face. But I should really message people Esperantily more often. Just gotta find the right people to put up with my eccentricities (chief among which being my odd excitement for grammar :P)

      Good luck with your Esperanting!

  8. Gratulon al bona blogo! Kaj dankon, ke vi mencias PMEG-on en preskaŭ ĉiu frazo. 🙂 Se vi ŝatus kontribui per proponoj kaj kritiko por la aperonta nova versio de PMEG, mi petas skribi al mi: “bertilow@gmail.com”.

    • Koran dankon 🙂
      La PMEG helpas min multe, do mi ŝatas certigi, ke ĝi ankaǔ helpas aliajn! Ĝi estas nekredeble klara kaj helpema.
      Kiam mi elpensos proponon aǔ kritiko, mi estos feliĉa skribi al vi! Dankon!

  9. I heard someone mention Esperanto in passing, so I looked it up and I think its a great idea. I might try to learn it if I have time (though languages aren’t my strong point). I’ve heard its supposed to be really easy to learn, is it? Good blog too.

    • Welcome to the blog! Glad you like it! Feel free to ask all the questions you like!

      Well, learning to speak in any other language has its challenges. But 30mins of Esperanto a day will get you light years further than you’d be in any other language in that time!

      Certainly, reading Esperanto will come very easily. Because you can learn so much in such a short time. E.g. all nouns end in “o”, make them plural by adding “j”. No exceptions!

  10. It’s very odd that I found your blog yesterday and ended up reading all your posts with badgers in them.

    Odd because of yesterday’s headline — “Gordon Ramsay’s dwarf porn double Percy Foster dies in badger den”

    I do find it interesting how you like the j and the way it’s used in Esperanto. That’s actually been a bit of a sticking point for me, aesthetically speaking, with how the words look when spelled out. I’m slowly getting accustomed and comfortable with the j and its use in Esperanto, but it’s taken some time.

    • Haha very odd!

      I’ve noticed a lot of people having bad feelings about the “j”! It’s possibly what spurred me on to write a post about how much I actually like it!

      I think it stems from the fact that I enjoy handwriting, I love getting a fancy pen and a fancy journal, and just writing. And there’s something very pretty about a word ending in a nice ornate “j”. And while I do like “y”s too, there’s something quirky and interesting about the “j” (perhaps because being English I see “y”s all the time! 😀

      I’m glad you stuck with Esperanto and are getting used to the “j”s!

  11. I sympathize with the strange attraction to Esperanto. It just sorta…pulls you in, doesn’t it? I’ve been studying for two months, so I appreciate the tips on grammar! *donas vi un melon*

    • It certainly does! Always nice to see another person learning.

      Hehe I still haven’t gotten out of the habit of imagining the fruit instead of a badger when I see “melo” in the accusative!

      (Sneaky helpful sidenote: if you intend to give me 1 badger, then you’d be better to say “donas al vi”. Also, if you just wanna say “a badger” (instead of 1 badger) then you can can just say “donas al vi melon”) 🙂 Unless you meant to say “You give 1 badger”!

      I hope you continue to find my blog useful!

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