The Esperanto alphabet consists of twenty-eight characters in a modified Roman script: 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 and z.
Various spelling conventions have been suggested for representing the "special characters" with diacritic marks above them, because many computer keyboards do not contain the characters. One of the most common employs the character x, which is not a part of the Esperanto alphabet, and thus does not cause confusion. Some have complained, however, that this usage lacks esthetic appeal.
Following this convention, ĉ is represented by cx, ĝ by gx, and so on.
In Esperanto, each consonant has its own unique pronunciation it shares with no other consonant, and it is always pronounced that way regardless of its context. (Note however that the letters with circumflexes are considered separate letters, independent of the versions without circumflexes).
- b as in bib: "batalantoj"
- c is pronounced like ts as in cats: "facilo"
- ĉ is pronounced like ch as church: "ĉar"
- d as in deed: "dissaltos"
- f as in fife: "flugiloj"
- g as in gag: "glavo"
- ĝ is pronounced dg as in judge: "ĝi"
- h as in hat: "homan"
- ĥ is pronounced like ch as in loch: "ĥoro"
- j is pronounced y as in yes: "esperantoj"
- ĵ is pronounced like s in measure: "ĵuro"
- k as in kick: "komprenante"
- l as in lid: "la"
- m as in mum: "mondo"
- n as in no: "nova"
- p as in pop: "promesas"
- r is pronounced rr as in burrito: "rapide"
- s as in sauce: "sangon"
- ŝ is pronounced sh as in ship: "ŝi"
- t as in tight: "tra"
- v as in valve: "vento"
- z as in zebra: "zorgi"
So this means, for one thing, that h is never silent, as it sometimes is in English. Also, no consonant is ever vocalized, as happens to v in some dialects of Slavic languages: for example, the v in "kvar" is pronounced the same way it would be in "voko" or "vento." It would be wrong to pronounce it "kuar."
The vowels are likewise consistent in their pronunciation.
- a as in father: familio
- e as in pet: "En"
- i is pronounced ee as in meet: "iras"
- o as in for: "voko"
- u is pronounced oo as in boot: "muroj"
- ŭ is pronounced like w in with: "neŭtrala"