Esperanto
Author: David Poulson


Esperanto: A New Approach

Author: David Poulson
Published on: April 2, 1999

In the previous Topic article I summarized some of the many achievements of William Auld, introducing him as a tireless editor, creative writer and movement activist. In addition Bill is also a notable teacher and in my collection I have three of his textbooks for learning Esperanto. One of these, Pas^oj al Plena Posedo (in English: "Steps towards acquiring total possession.") is an excellent work which, although published in 1968, still forms the basis of the fourth level Correspondence Course offered by the Australian Esperanto Association.
http://www.esperanto.org.au/

The subtitle of this book is: "a progressive Esperanto reader with linguistic exercises." In Australia, it sells for $16.50 and within its 230 pages there are 30 selections from some of Esperanto's finest writers: it's excellent value for money and some of the pieces I have read several times.
http://www2.nextcentury.com.au/tmelt/lernlibr.html#lernolibroj

However, in this article I would like to discuss an earlier work, published in 1965 and called Esperanto: a New Approach. Unfortunately, it is no longer available - I'm not sure why - but I have a copy of the second edition which was published in 1969 and cost only US$1.50. I suppose the first edition sold out in less than five years and since the 2000 copies of the second edition seem to have sold out pretty quickly as well, the reason for it's present unavailability is something of a mystery.

I think it's rather a shame because I personally like this book very much. It does take a new approach to the teaching of Esperanto...an approach which could not be taken, I'm sure, to the teaching of any other language. This is how Bill himself describes it.

"I have noticed that many textbooks in Esperanto, to make things easier for the student in the beginning, have tended to treat Esperanto as though it were a bastard kind of English: vocabulary has been selected for its similarity to English forms and sentences given whose syntax approximates to English syntax. (Note from David for those readers who are not familiar with grammatical terms: "syntax" here refers to the structure of a sentence. The actual order in which words are required to be set down in order to make their meaning plain.) The unique possibilities of Esperanto are left till later in the course, by which time it is difficult to eradicate impression formed earlier and to free oneself from the influence of the English language.

I have therefore concentrated from the very beginning on Esperanto itself. The most characteristic trait of the International Language is its agglutinative or word-building nature. English once possessed this ability to a high degree, but it has long since petrified and the subtlety of meaning which it is possible to achieve by manipulating a relatively small number of semantic units may come as a revelation to the English-speaking student..."

Let's have a closer look at how Bill capitalises on the word-building quality of Esperanto and on the semantic flexibility of the language. I am going to reproduce here, edited for space reasons, a good part of Lesson Two (Lesson One only deals with pronunciation).

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WORD-BUILDING (Roots and Endings)

Nouns, adjectives and verbs (and, as we shall see later, adverbs) consist of two parts in Esperanto: the ROOT and the ENDING.

The ROOT contains the meaning of the word and the ENDING shows whether it is a noun, verb, adjective or adverb.

The NOUN-ENDING in Esperanto is -o. All nouns in Esperanto end in O. Hence we find e.g. laboro = work; belo = beauty; faro = deed; amo = love; krio = cry, shout.

The ADJECTIVE-ENDING in Esperanto is -. All adjectives in Esperanto end in A. Hence we find e.g. bela = beautiful; bona = good; ama = loving; kria = shouting, loud-mouthed.

PRONOUNS have no special ending and should be learned as independent words, e.g. mi = I; vi = you; li = he; s^i = she; g^i = it; ili = they; ni = we.

There are different VERB-ENDINGS, depending on whether the action takes place in the past, present or future. Action taking place in the present is shown by the ending -AS, e.g. mi laboras = I work; li amas = he loves; vi krias = you shout; ili faras = they do.

You will have observed that a single root, e.g. am- can be made into a noun, an adjective or a verb by the addition of the appropriate ending: amo, ama, amas. This holds good for all Esperanto roots. Word-formation, therefore, is not restricted to forms which have an exact equivalent in English. This fact greatly contributes to the richness and subtlety of Esperanto.

So, we can now ask: Which do you prefer - ama laboro or labora amo ? And what is the difference between bela faro and faro bela ?

Finally, using the vocabulary provided, try your hand at translating the following exercise.

Vocabulary:

koro = heart; lumo = light; la = the; tago = day; nova = new; respondo = reply; de = of, from; rigardas = looks at; observes; estas = is, am, are.

Exercise

Ama koro. Kora amo. Bela lumo. La lumo estas bela. La taga lumo estas bela. Vi estas bela. La nova tago. La taga novo. Kria respondo. Responda krio. Mi respondas. La lumo de la tago estas bela. Ama rigardo. Amo nova. Respondo ama. Respondo kria. Krio responda. Ni faras. La faro estas bona. Bela estas la rigardo. Laboro estas bona. Amo nova estas bela. Ili amas. Mi respondas.

Well...how did you get on? If you experienced any difficulty, please send me an email, or, preferably, start a discussion, while for further comments on this lesson, I hope you will check out my next article.

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PRI TUTKOMUNA LINGVO
PRI RUSA LINGVO
PRI ANGLA LINGVO
PRI ALIAJ NACIAJ LINGVOJ
BATALO DE LINGVOJ
ARTIKOLOJ PRI ESPERANTO
"" PRI "KONKURENTOJ" DE ESPERANTO
LECIONOJ DE ESPERANTO
.KONSULTOJ DE E-INSTRUISTOJ
ESPERANTOLOGIO KAJ INTERLINGVISTIKO
TRADUKO DE MALSIMPLAJ FRAZOJ
TRADUKOJ DE DIVERSAJ VERKOJ
FRAZEOLOGIO DE ESPERANTO
, . VERKOJ DE ZAMENHOF KAJ PRI LI
, PROKSIMAJ MOVADOJ
ELSTARAJ PERSONOJ KAJ ESPERANTO
PRI ELSTARAJ ESPERANTISTOJ
. EL HISTORIO DE RUSIA E-MOVADO
KION ONI SKRIBAS PRI ESPERANTO
ESPERANTO EN LITERATURO
. KIAL E-MOVADO NE PROGRESAS
HUMURO PRI KAJ EN ESPERANTO
- ESPERANTO POR INFANOJ
DIVERSAJHOJ
INTERESAJHOJ
PERSONAJHOJ
/ DEMANDARO / RESPONDARO
UTILAJ LIGILOJ
IN ENGLISHPAGHOJ EN ANGLA LINGVO
PAGHOJ TUTE EN ESPERANTO
NIA BIBLIOTEKO


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