Rules and Standards: The Second Book of Speaking Up: A Plain Text Guide to Advocacy

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The suffix -n , besides indicating the direct object, is used to indicate movement and a few other things as well. The six verb inflections consist of three tenses and three moods. They are present tense -as , future tense -os , past tense -is , infinitive mood -i , conditional mood -us and jussive mood -u used for wishes and commands. Verbs are not marked for person or number. Thus, kanti means "to sing", mi kantas means "I sing", vi kantas means "you sing", and ili kantas means "they sing".

Word order is comparatively free. Adjectives may precede or follow nouns; subjects, verbs and objects may occur in any order. Similarly, the negative ne "not" and conjunctions such as kaj "and" and ke "that" must precede the phrase or clause that they introduce. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences has found that Esperanto fulfills all the requirements of a living language.

The vocabulary , orthography , phonology , and semantics , are all thoroughly European. The vocabulary, for example, draws about two-thirds from Romance and one-third from Germanic languages ; the syntax is Romance; and the phonology and semantics are Slavic. Esperanto is frequently accused of being inherently sexist , because the default form of some nouns is masculine while a derived form is used for the feminine, which is said to retain traces of the male-dominated society of late 19th-century Europe of which Esperanto is a product.

In addition, nouns that denote persons and whose definitions are not explicitly male are often assumed to be male unless explicitly made female, such as doktoro, a PhD doctor male or unspecified versus doktorino, a female PhD. Esperanto pronouns are similar. Esperanto typically has 22 to 24 consonants, depending on the phonemic analysis and individual speaker, five vowels, and two semivowels that combine with the vowels to form six diphthongs. Tone is not used to distinguish meanings of words.

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Stress is always on the second-last vowel in fully Esperanto words unless a final vowel o is elided, which occurs mostly in poetry. For example, familio "family" is [fa. A large number of consonant clusters can occur, up to three in initial position as in stranga , "strange" and four in medial position as in instrui , "teach". Final clusters are uncommon except in foreign names, poetic elision of final o , and a very few basic words such as cent "hundred" and post "after". Since there are only five vowels, a good deal of variation in pronunciation is tolerated.

These details often depend on the speaker's native language. A glottal stop may occur between adjacent vowels in some people's speech, especially when the two vowels are the same, as in heroo "hero" [he. The following short extract gives an idea of the character of Esperanto. Below are listed some useful Esperanto words and phrases along with IPA transcriptions:. The core vocabulary of Esperanto was defined by Lingvo internacia , published by Zamenhof in This book listed roots; these could be expanded into tens of thousands of words using prefixes, suffixes, and compounding.

In , Zamenhof published the first Esperanto dictionary , Universala Vortaro , which had a larger set of roots. The rules of the language allowed speakers to borrow new roots as needed; it was recommended, however, that speakers use most international forms and then derive related meanings from these. Since then, many words have been borrowed, primarily but not solely from the European languages. Not all proposed borrowings become widespread, but many do, especially technical and scientific terms.

Terms for everyday use, on the other hand, are more likely to be derived from existing roots; komputilo "computer", for instance, is formed from the verb komputi "compute" and the suffix -ilo "tool". Words are also calqued ; that is, words acquire new meanings based on usage in other languages.

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For example, the word muso "mouse" has acquired the meaning of a computer mouse from its usage in English. Esperanto speakers often debate about whether a particular borrowing is justified or whether meaning can be expressed by deriving from or extending the meaning of existing words. Some compounds and formed words in Esperanto are not entirely straightforward; for example, eldoni , literally "give out", means "publish", paralleling the usage of certain European languages such as German. In addition, the suffix -um- has no defined meaning; words using the suffix must be learned separately such as dekstren "to the right" and dekstrumen "clockwise".

There are not many idiomatic or slang words in Esperanto, as these forms of speech tend to make international communication difficult—working against Esperanto's main goal. Instead of derivations of Esperanto roots, new roots are taken from European languages in the endeavor to create an international language. Esperanto speakers learn the language through self-directed study , online tutorials, and correspondence courses taught by volunteers.

More recently, free teaching websites, like lernu! Esperanto instruction is rarely available at schools, including four primary schools in a pilot project under the supervision of the University of Manchester , and by one count at a few universities. As of [update] the bill is still under consideration by the Chamber of Deputies.

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Conversational Esperanto, The International Language, is a free drop-in class that is open to Stanford students and the general public on campus during the academic year. After taking the Esperanto course at their university and becoming fascinated with the language, two Stanford students embarked on a research project travelling around Europe to document the history and usage of Esperanto. They visited formal institutions devoted to Esperanto, including the Esperanto Museum in Vienna, and participated in tours conducted in the language and distributed a survey to major Esperanto organizations.

Their research focused on the community of Esperanto speakers with the hope of engaging the Esperanto community and the public at large. Various educators have estimated that Esperanto can be learned in anywhere from one quarter to one twentieth the amount of time required for other languages. The same neuropsychological law [—called by] Jean Piaget generalizing assimilation —applies to word formation as well as to grammar.

The Institute of Cybernetic Pedagogy at Paderborn University Germany has compared the length of study time it takes natively French-speaking high-school students to obtain comparable 'standard' levels in Esperanto, English, German, and Italian.


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Four primary schools in Britain, with pupils, are currently following a course in " propaedeutic Esperanto"—that is, instruction in Esperanto to raise language awareness and accelerate subsequent learning of foreign languages—under the supervision of the University of Manchester. As they put it,. This appears to be because learning subsequent foreign languages is easier than learning one's first foreign language, whereas the use of a grammatically simple and culturally flexible auxiliary language like Esperanto lessens the first-language learning hurdle. In one study, [] a group of European secondary school students studied Esperanto for one year, then French for three years, and ended up with a significantly better command of French than a control group, who studied French for all four years.

Esperanto is by far the most widely spoken constructed language in the world. Countering a common criticism against Esperanto, the statistician Svend Nielsen has found there to be no significant correlation between the number of Esperanto speakers and similarity of a given national mother language to Esperanto.

He concludes that Esperanto tends to be more popular in countries that are rich, with widespread Internet access and that tend to contribute more to science and culture. Linguistic diversity within a country was found to have a slight inverse correlation with Esperanto popularity. An estimate of the number of Esperanto speakers was made by Sidney S. Culbert , a retired psychology professor at the University of Washington and a longtime Esperantist, who tracked down and tested Esperanto speakers in sample areas in dozens of countries over a period of twenty years.

Culbert concluded that between one and two million people speak Esperanto at Foreign Service Level 3 , "professionally proficient" able to communicate moderately complex ideas without hesitation, and to follow speeches, radio broadcasts, etc. Culbert's most detailed account of his methodology is found in a letter to David Wolff. In the Almanac, his estimates for numbers of language speakers were rounded to the nearest million, thus the number for Esperanto speakers is shown as two million. This latter figure appears in Ethnologue.

Assuming that this figure is accurate, that means that about 0. Although it is not Zamenhof's goal of a universal language , it still represents a level of popularity unmatched by any other constructed language. Marcus Sikosek now Ziko van Dijk has challenged this figure of 1. He estimated that even if Esperanto speakers were evenly distributed, assuming one million Esperanto speakers worldwide would lead one to expect about in the city of Cologne. Van Dijk finds only 30 fluent speakers in that city, and similarly smaller-than-expected figures in several other places thought to have a larger-than-average concentration of Esperanto speakers.

He also notes that there are a total of about 20, members of the various Esperanto organizations other estimates are higher. Though there are undoubtedly many Esperanto speakers who are not members of any Esperanto organization, he thinks it unlikely that there are fifty times more speakers than organization members.

Finnish linguist Jouko Lindstedt , an expert on native-born Esperanto speakers, presented the following scheme [] to show the overall proportions of language capabilities within the Esperanto community:. In , doctoral student Svend Nielsen estimated around 63, Esperanto speakers worldwide, taking into account association memberships, user-generated data from Esperanto websites and census statistics.

This number, however, was disputed by statistician Sten Johansson, who questioned the reliability of the source data and highlighted a wide margin of error, the latter point with which Nielsen agrees. Both have stated, however, that this new number is likely more realistic than some earlier projections. In the absence of Dr. Culbert's detailed sampling data, or any other census data, it is impossible to state the number of speakers with certainty. According to the website of the World Esperanto Association :.

Native Esperanto speakers, denaskuloj , have learned the language from birth from Esperanto-speaking parents. Esperantists can access an international culture, including a large body of original as well as translated literature. There are more than 25, Esperanto books, both originals and translations, as well as several regularly distributed Esperanto magazines.


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  • In a museum about Esperanto opened in China. Historically, much Esperanto music , such as Kaj Tiel Plu , has been in various folk traditions. David Gaines used Esperanto poems as well as an excerpt from a speech by Dr. Zamenhof for his Symphony No. One Esperanto for mezzo-soprano and orchestra — There are also shared traditions, such as Zamenhof Day , and shared behaviour patterns.

    Esperantists speak primarily in Esperanto at international Esperanto meetings. Detractors of Esperanto occasionally criticize it as "having no culture". Proponents, such as Prof.

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    Humphrey Tonkin of the University of Hartford , observe that Esperanto is "culturally neutral by design, as it was intended to be a facilitator between cultures, not to be the carrier of any one national culture". The late Scottish Esperanto author William Auld wrote extensively on the subject, arguing that Esperanto is "the expression of a common human culture , unencumbered by national frontiers.

    Thus it is considered a culture on its own.