Esperanto/Appendix/Alphabet and pronunciation

Alphabet edit

The Esperanto alphabet has 28 letters.

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
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
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).)

Vowels edit

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.

Collation edit

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.

Pronunciation edit

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
A a, ɑ ah, as in father amiko ah-MI-koh friend Prounounced like in Spanish
E ɛ, e 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
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 g 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. This letter is not frequent in Esperanto.
J j y juna YOO-nah young j may be pronounced as a semivowel after a, e, o, or u and before another vowel.
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 ŭai WAH-ee to cry “wah!” This letter only occurs right before a vowel in mimetic words, onomatopoeia, and the name of the letter "ŭo"; other than that, it only appears in diphthongs as the semivowel . In the past, it has been used to pronounce "w" in foreign words (e.g. ŭato for “watt”), but this has fallen out of favour (in this case, replaced with vato).
V v v veni VEH-nee to come
Z z z zorgi ZOHR-gee to care
AJ ai̯ "aye" kaj KYE and
au̯ "ow" ĉirk CHEER-cow around, approximately
EJ ei̯ "ey" plej PLAY most
eu̯ "euw" ropo euw-ROH-poh Europe This is pronounced much like how Elmer Fudd pronounces the "ew" in "vewwy (very)".
OJ oi̯ "oy" lingvoj LING-voy languages
UJ ui̯ "oo-ee" as one syllable ĉiuj CHEE-(oo'ee) all

Stress edit

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