Last modified on 20 December 2013, at 12:02

Esperanto/Appendix/Alphabet and pronunciation

AlphabetEdit

The Esperanto alphabet has 28 letters.

Uppercase
A, B, C, Ĉ, D, E, F, G, Ĝ, H, Ĥ, I, J, Ĵ, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, Ŝ, T, U, Ŭ, V, Z
Lowercase
a, b, c, ĉ, d, e, f, g, ĝ, h, ĥ, i, j, ĵ, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, ŝ, t, u, ŭ, v, z
Names
a, bo, co, ĉo, do, e, fo, go, ĝo, ho, ĥo, i, jo, ĵo, ko, lo, mo, no, o, po, ro, so, ŝo, to, u, ŭo, vo, zo

Four letters from the English alphabet have been dropped – Q, W, X and Y – and there are six new accented letters: Ĉ, Ĝ, Ĥ, Ĵ, Ŝ and Ŭ. The first five have an angle-shape accent called a circumflex (^) over them, whilst the last has an accent rather like the bottom part of a circle, which is called a breve (˘).

All of the accented letters are unique to Esperanto except for ŭo (Ŭ), which also exists in Belarusian, and ĝo (Ĝ), which also exists in Aleut. Some of the accented letters may be used in transcription systems for languages that use non-Latin alphabets. (For example, ŝo (Ŝ) is used as the ISO 9:1995 transliteration of the Russian Cyrillic letter shcha (Щ).)

VowelsEdit

As in English, five letters are vowels (A, E, I, O, U), and the rest are consonants. The letter ŭo (Ŭ) is a consonant, not a vowel.

CollationEdit

Collation in Esperanto is the same as for English, except that the accented characters are counted as separate characters and collated after their non-accented versions. Collation is as shown in the table above.

PronunciationEdit

Each letter in Esperanto has only one pronunciation (allowing for cultural variation), and no letters are silent. There are six dipthongs (see the next section), but their pronunciation follows logically from their constituent letters, except for being shortened into a single syllable. This means that Esperanto is pronounced just as it is spelled.

Also, each sound has only one way of being written, so it is very easy to spell Esperanto words you hear.

The technical description for these traits is that Esperanto is phonetic and orthographic.

Letter IPA Sound Example Notes
Esperanto Phonetic English
Vowels
A a, ɑ ah, as in father amiko ah-MI-koh friend
E e, ɜ eh, as in bet egala eh-GAH-lah equal
I i ee, as in me ideo ee-DEH-oh idea
O o, ɔ oh, as in robot ofta OH'F-tah common
U u oo, as in boot utila oo-TEE-lah useful
Consonants
B b b bela BEH-lah beautiful
C t͡s ts celo TSEH-loh goal
Ĉ t͡ʃ ch ĉielo chee-EH-loh sky
D d d diri DEE-ree to say
F f f facila fah-TSEE-lah easy
G g hard g as in go gaja GAH-yah cheerful
Ĝ d͡ʒ j ĝusta JOOS-tah correct
H h h hela HEH-lah bright
Ĥ x ch as in Scottish loch eĥo E(HKX)-oh echo Depending on the context, it is sometimes replaced with h or k.
J j y juna YOO-nah young
Ĵ ʒ zh ĵus ZHOOS just, just now
K k k kara KAH-rah dear
L l l longa LOHN-gah long
M m m mano MAH-noh hand
N n n nova NOH-vah new
P p p peni PEH-nee to try
R r r ruĝa ROO-jah red Roll your tongue, as in Spanish.
S s s suno SOO-noh sun
Ŝ ʃ sh ŝipo SHEE-poh ship
T t t tempo TEHM-poh time
Ŭ w w This letter only appears in diphthongs. In the past it has been used to pronounce "w" in foreign words, but this has fallen out of favour.
V v v veni VEH-nee to come
Z z z zorgi ZOHR-gee to care
Diphthongs
AJ aɪ̯ "aye" kaj KYE and
aʊ̯ "ow" ĉirk CHEER-cow around, approximately
EJ eɪ̯ "ey" plej PLAY most
eʊ̯ "euw" ropo euw-ROH-poh Europe This is pronounced much like how Elmer Fudd pronounces the "ew" in "vewwy (very)".
OJ oɪ̯ "oy" lingvoj LING-voy languages
UJ uɪ̯ "oo-ee" as one syllable ĉiuj CHEE-(oo'ee) all

StressEdit

The stress on every word is put on the penultimate (second-to-last) syllable.