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Lesson 0 - Zeresma Leciono


The Alphabet


Ido uses all the 26 letters found in the English alphabet. There are no silent letters. Every letter in a word must be pronounced. Each letter has its own particular sound value which distinguishes it from all others. There are no double letters, except where both are to be pronounced separately.



Most consonants have exactly the same pronunciation as in English:

b, d, f, k, l, m, n, p, t, v, w, z, qu, sh.

The other consonants are revised in Ido as follows:

c - as "ts" in bits (Ido "ca" is pronounced "tsa"), never as in the English "k" or "s" sounds used for "c".

g - always as the hard "g" in get, never as the soft "g" in "gin".

h - always sounded, honoro [ho-NOR-o] - never silent as it is sometimes in English:honor [ON-er].

j - voiced "s" as in French, i.e. like the "s" in pleasure.

r - rolled (tongue-flick) if possible, but in any case always pronounced, even in such words as portar [porr-TARR].

s - as "s" in (English) "soft", never a voiced "z" sound as in (English) "fuse" [fyooz].

x - as English "x" [ks, gz], except that the Ido "x" never has the "z" sound found in English "xylophone", but retains the "ks" or "gz" sound even at the beginning of words: xilofono [ksi-lo-FO-no].

y - this is a consonant as in "yellow", and is never a vowel.

ch - as "ch" in "chat", never as the "ch" in "machine".



Vowels have approximately the following sounds (but see notes below):

a - as "a" in father.

e - as "e" in then, or pet.

i - as "i" in machine, an "ee" sound.

o - as "o" in glory, an "oh" sound.

u - as "u" in rude, an "oo" sound.

Important Notes


• There is room for a little variation in the length of the vowel sound, but it should not be too long or too short.

• "a". Avoid making the "ah" sound too long, so that it becomes "aah" or even worse "aahr".

• Never pronounce "e" as in English "meter". Avoid adding a "y" or "ee" sound to the Ido "e" so that it sounds like the "ay" in English "way".

• Avoid too much of an "eey" sound to the Ido "i". Never pronounce "i" as in the English word "white", so be careful how you say such Ido words as "mikra" [MEE-kra].

• Avoid adding an "oo" or "w" sound to the Ido "o", as is the case with English "no" which rhymes with "know".

• Never pronounce "u" as in the English words "use" or "universal", i.e. a "yoo" sound instead of"oo". So be careful with words like "uzata" and "universala".

• Always say each vowel clearly. Never give a vowel the obscure "uh" sound that is found in many English words, e.g. the "a" in "across", the "e" in "begin", or the "o" and "u" in




A diphthong is a vowel sound resulting from two vowel sounds combining. In Ido there are two simple diphthongs:

• au- a(ah) + u(oo) giving the "ow" sound found in English "now". It is never pronounced as English "au" in "Paul".

• eu- e(eh) + u(oo). This is an "eh-oo" sound which does not exist in standard English. "eu" is never a "yoo" sound as in English "neutral".



• "u" before a vowel will tend to become like "w", e.g. linguo [LIN-gwo].

• "i" before a vowel will tend to bceome like "y", e.g. pekunio [pe-KU-nyo].

All other vowels should be said separately: "ai" is "a-i" [ah-ee"] and "ae" is "a-e" [ah-eh], etc, not the blended, sliding English sounds of combined vowels.

Accentuation (Stress)


All English words have at least one syllable which is stressed more than the others: BUTter, inTELLigent, ELephant, beGIN. In English there is no obvious rule about where the stress occurs in a word. It could be in any syllable.

In Ido there is a simple rule with only one exception: The stress always falls on the second-last syllable.: HUN-do, KA-to, LINguo, faMIlio [fa-MEE-lyo], akaDEmio [a-ka-DEH-myo].

Here's the exception: verb infinitives (recognizable by -ar, -ir, -or endings) have the stress on the last syllable for clarity in speech: pozar [po-ZAR], drinkar [drin-KAR], drinkor [drin-KOR], drinkir [drin-KIR], donar [do-NAR], donor [do-NOR], donir [do-NIR].



Amar' [amAR], kredir' [kredIR], finor', [finOR] ama'ta [amATa], kreo'ta [kreOta], fino'ta [fiNOta] espere'ble [espeREble], facin'da [facINda] jo'yo [JOyo], boa'o [boAo], muze'o [muZEo] hero'o [heROo], di'o [DIo], du [DU]

fo'lio [FO-lyo], li'lio [LI-lyo], men'tio [MEN-tyo], Ita'lia [i-TA-lya] a'quo [A-qwo], lin'guo [LIN-gwo] por'tuo [PORR-two], re'vuo [RE-vwo]

Pronunciation Exercise


Ka vu ja ler'nas la no'va lin'guo internacio'na?

ka vu ja LERR-nas la NO-va LIN-gwo in-terr-na-ci-O-na

kah voo zhah lairnahs lah nohvah leengwoh eentairnahtsiohnah

Me komen'cis studiar' olu an'te kel'kadi'i,

me ko-MEN-cis stu-DYARR O-lu AN-te KEL-kaDI-i

meh kohmentsees stoodeeahr oh-loo ahnteh kelkah dee-ee

e me tro'vas ke olu es'as ve're tre faci'la.

e me TRO-vas ke O-lu ES-as VE-re tre fa-CI-la

eh meh trohvahs keh oh-loo ehsahs vehreh treh fahtseelah

Om'na-di'e me lek'tas tex'to dum un ho'ro; OM-na-DI-e me LEK-tas TEX-to dum un HO-ro omnah-dee-eh meh lektahs tekstoh doom oon hohro

me sem'pre lekt'tas lau'te.

me SEM-pre LEK-tas LAW-te [LAw-te, never laU-te!,au beinga diphthong.]

meh sempreh lektahs louteh

Kavu kompre'nas to? ka vu kom-PRE-nas to ka voo komprehnahs toh

The names of the letters in Ido-alphabet are: a be ce [cho] de e fe/(ef) ge he/(hash) ije ke le/(el) me/(em) ne/(en) o pe que re/(ere) se/(es) [sho] te u ve/(ev) we xe/(exe) ye and ze

The forms in parentheses are alternative and unauthorized names. Some Europeans cannot distinguish between b/v, v/w, s/z and s/sh. And the descendants of the Roman Empire do not pronounce "h" very well, since H is a "hush" sign for the Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French etc. In addition, the Japanese are deaf to the differences between b/v and l/r. So the alternative forms may help to clarify which letter is being pronounced.

Tips on Learning Ido


Your brain has a language-learning-and-using function that is specialized from other learning behaviors. The trick to learning languages is to tap into the power of that specialized function, to "get past" the standard learning and memorization operations of the brain so you can use the marvelous language tools in the brain's higher functions. Here are some ideas we have found useful and productive:

Many small bites are better than a few big bites. You will learn Ido faster if you break your learning sessions into three 20-minute sessions a day in preference to one 60-minute session.

Learn your first 800 words by diligent memorization. After the first 800 words, you will be expanding your vocabulary primarily by absorption, by reading in Ido and making educated guesses at the meaning of new words.

Read aloud. Even better, record your own voice reading aloud, then reread the selection while you listen to your recording.

Repetition is the key to accessing your brain's language centers. Repeat new words several times, repeat your read-aloud selections, repeat yesterday's chapter before starting on today's, and rewrite your word lists and flash cards every time you miss a test-translation to repeat your corrections.

Get an English-Ido and Ido-English dictionary, and learn to use it. We like the HTML (web-page) electronic version ofDyer's dictionary, compiled by David Mann, available from the North American Ido Society's web site.

Write in Ido, on a first draft. Don't write your thoughts out in English, then translate from there. Instead, think out your sentence in English if you have to, then write a draft translation in Ido. Reread you Ido, and revise as necessary to polish it up. Eventually, you'll be able to think directly in Ido.

Keep a daily journal, in Ido. Get a notebook, and every day, write about a half-page of text in Ido. You don't have to create deathless prose or profound poetry, so any text will do. Describe your room, your surroundings, your family, your childhood, your rants and raves on the topics and news stories of the day. Paraphrase or record from memory the dialog or example conversation from yesterday's lesson. Write anything, but write every day.

If possible, get online (by computer), and read the messages and conversations in some of the Ido news or mail groups. Don't worry about knowing the exact meaning of everything you read. Just try to pick out whatever you can, and see how well you can follow the discussion by guessing when you have to. Eventually, you'll be tempted to join in with some comments of your own. Give in to the tempation! Post a message! The Idists who participate in discussion groups welcome new members, and will gladly offer their support and (usually) gentle correction to help your learning progress.

Find and join, or create, a group of Ido activist-students. Language is for communication, and you are only really using Ido if you are communicating in Ido. Get some friends and relatives tojoin you on your journeys in Idia (Ido-land).

Don't be afraid to make mistakes when you are speaking or writing in Ido. The important thing is to try, make corrections, and try again. Mistakes are part of the process, and give you points of focus for your learning.

Every once in a while, go back and read through some of the early chapters of the first Ido book you studied, and appreciate how much progress you've made since those early days.

Most importantly, have fun! Learning Ido should be an entertaining adventure, not some kind ofheavy, grinding chore. If you find yourself getting too serious and grumbly, lighten up! It could be worse, you know, like if you were trying to learn English as a second language!

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