Esperanto is a constructed international auxiliary language designed to be simple and easy to learn. It achieves this by having a small vocabulary and very regular grammar. It's quite influenced by Indo-European (particularly Romance) languages, so knowing some of those helps a lot.
This post is not intended to be exhautive or comprehensive, I mostly want to express how simple the grammar is and highlight other cool things.
Forty-five seconds is about how long it takes me to read this page, but excludes time spent on trying to remember things. If you want to actually learn, check out the links at the end.
Nope. The definite article is 'la' for everything. There is no indefinite article.
They end in '-o':
hundo: dog (like the German Hund)
feliĉo: happiness (like the Spanish felicidad)
fromaĝo: cheese (like the French fromage)
arbo: tree (like the Latin arbor, Spanish àrbol)
To pluralise, add '-j':
This is just a list but people like these things.
There's no plural 'you', for some reason.
Conjugation by person isn't a thing. One ending for each tense. Using esti (to be):
- -i: Infinitive: esti: to be
- -as: Present: estas: is
- -is: Past: estis: was
- -os: Future: estos: will be
- -us: Conditional: estus: would be
Mi estas...: I am...
La arboj estis...: the trees were...
Feliĉo estus...: happiness would be...
Denote the object of a verb (accusative case) with '-n':
La hundo manĝas la fromaĝon: The dog eats the cheese
This stacks with plurals:
Viro vidas la arbojn: A man sees the trees
They end in '-a':
Examples: (note, they must match the noun in case and number),
Mi estas bela: I am beautiful
La rapidaj viroj: The fast men
La rapida bruna vulpo transsaltas la pigran hundon: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.1
Observe rapida (fast) → malrapida (slow).
mal is a prefix for negation. Esperanto has very many affixes (prefixes or suffixes) which modify word roots to form other words. This is where it gets really cool and therefore beyond the scope of this post. Briefly, some examples:
- hundo → hundido: dog → puppy (offspring of dog)
- ĵurnalo → ĵurnalisto: newspaper → journalist (professional of newspaper)
- salo → salero: salt → grain of salt (one of the many same salt objects)
Laŭ Ludoviko Zamenhof bongustas freŝa ĉeĥa manĝaĵo kun spicoj.
According to Ludwig Zamenhof, fresh Czech food with spices tastes good.