Esperanto was first described in 1887 by Ludovic Zamenhof, a Polish occultist. He envisioned his language as a secondary means of communication among the peoples of the world, and thus made it very easy to learn. The vocabulary is drawn mostly from Latin and Germanic stocks, with a few Slavic words, and the grammar is completely regular and follows 16 simple rules. For instance, all words are accented on the next-to-last syllable. All nouns end in the letter “o.” The plural is formed by adding a “j,” pronounced like the English “y.” Thus: amiko (pronounced a-MEE-ko), friend; amikoj (pronounced a-MEE-koy), friends.

Because Esperanto borrows so much from Romance and Germanic languages, speakers of those tongues (including English) learn the language at “Easy” level, which is to say, twice as fast.

Sample Words

amiko (a-MEE-ko): friend
estro (EH-stro): boss, leader
gis revido (dzhees re-VEE-do): good-bye (literally, “until re-seeing”)
jes (yes): yes
lando (LAHN-do): nation, country
malamiko (mahl-a-MEE-ko): enemy (literally, “opposite-of-friend”)
mi (mee): I
ne (neh): no
nutrajo (noo-TRA-zho): food
rivero (ree-VEH-ro): river
saluton (sah-LOO-ton): hello, greetings
Sinjorino (seen-yo-REE-no): Ms.
Sinjoro (seen-YO-ro): Mr.
vi (vee): you
virino (vih-RIH-no): woman
viro (vih-RO): man


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