Esperanto
Author: David Poulson


Esperanto: a New Approach (conclusion)

Author: David Poulson
Published on: April 16, 1999

In my last article I introduced you to a new method of teaching Esperanto to absolute beginners, developed by William Auld. This method introduces the learner immediately to the unique word-building qualities of the language: qualities which speed up vocabulary acquisition and fluency to a remarkable degree.

Here is the substance of the third lesson from Auld's textbook (unfortunately out of print) entitled Esperanto: a New Approach. Although I would like to take you through Auld's whole course, the objective of my articles is to provide interesting background information about the history and development of Esperanto. So my next article will be the first of several dealing with an exceptional individual who not only William Auld, but many other gifted poets acknowledge as their master and inspiration. His name is Kalman Kaloscay.

But now, a further look at the very clever techniques which Zamenhof developed to make Esperanto easy to learn, semantically flexible, and deeply expressive.

A poet's language, indeed!

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MORE WORD BUILDING TECHNIQUES

In addition to roots and endings, PREFIXES and SUFFIXES are used extensively in Esperanto word-building. (Prefixes and suffixes are known collectively as AFFIXES).

A PREFIX is attached to the beginning of an Esperanto word and modifies or alters the meaning of what follows it. A typical prefix is MAL-, which means "the opposite of". So, if we put that prefix in front of the Esperanto word for good - BONA - we make MALBONA, which means bad.

In the last article we learned the words for love, light and beauty and these can be changed into their opposite by adding the prefix and making these words: MALAMO, MALLUMO and MALBELO. Of course, as well as these nouns (hatred, darkness and ugliness), we can also create verbs, adjectives and adverbs.

Mi malamas = I hate
Malluma = dark
Malbela = ugly

See how quickly you can expand your vocabulary by doubling up on these new terms.

facila = easy malfacila = ?
longa = long mallonga = ?
granda = big malgranda = ?
forta = strong malforta = ?
plena = full malplena e ?

There are more prefixes but I want next to demonstrate how two typical SUFFIXES are used. In Esperanto, a suffix is attached to the end of a root, before any grammatical ending is also attached.

First let's see how we can use -EM- which means "having an inclination or disposition to ." Sounds like a big meaning for a little word, doesn't it ? Don't worry: it's a great asset.

amema = affectionate (being inclined to love). It doesn't mean quite the same thing as "ama," which means "loving."
laborema = diligent, industrious (having a disposition to work)
kriema = noisy, vociferous ( inclined to speak loudly, cry out)
farema = willing, how we would describe one of those wonderful people who just get on with the job.

Here are a few more, using some new roots:

sento = feeling sentemo = sensitivity
trovas = finds trovemo = ingenuity
parolas = speaks parolema = talkative, loquacious

Another indispensable suffix is -UL- which means a person, an individual, a type.

bonulo (bon-ul-o) = a good bloke (as we'd say in Australia)
fortulo = a strong man belulo = a handsome type
novulo = a novice, a rookie grandulo = a big guy

You can also use more than one suffix where it makes sense to do so. For example, my lovely Polish wife was once described as a "tipa Krakova belulino! (bel-ul-in-o)" - A typical Krakovian beauty. (The suffix -IN- makes any root feminINe). Well, she doesn't come from Krakow, but a "belulino" she certainly is!

So, with only the information which has been provided in my last two articles (less than two thousand words) and a few extra words, explained below, it is now possible to translate the following phrases. It is also possible to create quite a lot of other phrases using the many possible permutations of roots, affixes and grammatical endings.

I do encourage you to attempt this exercise, referring back to the previous article if necessary. Only by doing a little work yourself will you begin to fully understand just how ingenious the creator of Esperanto really was.

And please don't hesitate to ask for help with any difficulties you may encounter. Either send me an email message or start a discussion, as you please. So, here we go: I know you can do it.

La respondo estas facila
La bonulo estas malgranda kaj parolema. ( "kaj" = and)
Malamemo estas malbela sento.
Li estas trovema.
La fortulo estas sentema.
Mi staras kaj li parolas. (staras = stands)
La sentemulo venas.
La demando estas malfacila. ("demando" = question)
Mi demandas, li respondas.
La tempo estas mallonga.
Dum longa tempo la fortulo laboras. ("dum" = during, while)
Li estas senlaborulo. ("sen" = without)
Dum amo estas la koro estas plena.
La malfacilo de la respondo estas granda.

Well, how did you get on? If any of my readers are now eager to make further efforts at learning Esperanto, here's how to do it.

If you want an F2F course (oops, sorry, that's face-to-face) or you want some advice in purchasing a teach-yourself text book, just look up Esperanto in your telephone book (white pages) to find a contact person for your local group.

If you can't find a local group, get in touch with your national association, or, better still, ask me for help.

For US readers, a very good guide to teaching and learning resources can be found at

If you want to enrol in a WWW-based Esperanto course, then your first port of call is here

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