What makes Esperanto easier to learn than other languages?
There are several characteristics that make Esperanto easier to learn than other languages:
- Highly regularized grammar: There are no exceptions to grammatical rules. Grammatical rules are not based on language use of a community. Rather, Esperanto grammar is fixed a-priori, from the beginning.
- Phonetic pronunciation: Every letter has one specific sound, one which does not change depending on its context. This is very different to English, where words are sometimes written the same but pronounced differently. Examples: “The metal lead is an element.” and “I am going to lead the group.”. In both cased the word “lead” is pronounced differently, even though it is written the same. This does not exist in Esperanto.
- Identifiable word function: All nouns end in -o, all adjectives in -a and all adverbs in -e. You just have to look at the word ending to figure out what role the word plays in the sentence.
- Word efficiency: By adding suffixes to a word root the meaning of the word can be changed. It is not necessary to remember a separate vocabulary word. The prefix mal-, for example, indicates that the word root means the opposite. “Sano” means health, “malsano” means illness. Adding the suffix -ul refers to a person. “Malsanulo” therfore refers to an ill person, a patient. The word “lerni” means to learn. Adding the suffic -ej indicates a location or place. Therefore “lernejo” is a school. Notice the last letter of each word. All nouns end in -o (lernejo) and the infinitive form of the verb in -i. It is therefore possible to understand sentences that contain words that one has not seen before yet. The idea of word-creation by the addition of suffixes is not new. Some national languages, such as Chinese, use similar starategies.