ESPERANTO

The International Language

 
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David Simpson
   

THE ESPERANTO ALPHABET

The Esperanto alphabet contains 28 letters. Esperanto spelling is completely phonetic: every word is pronounced as spelled, and spelled as pronounced. Accent is always on the next-to-last syllable.

The Esperanto Alphabet
 Letter   Sound 
 A a   A as in fAther 
 B b   B as in B
 C c   TS as in wiTS 
 Ĉ ĉ   CH as in CHurch 
 D d   D as in D
 E e   E as in gE
 F f   F as in Fly 
 G g   G as in Gun 
 Ĝ ĝ   J as in Join 
 H h   H as in Half 
 Ĥ ĥ   CH as in Scottish loCH 
 I i   I as in marIne 
 J j   Y as in Yoke 
 Ĵ ĵ   Z as in aZure 
 K k   K as in Key 
 L l   L as in Line 
 M m   M as in Make 
 N n   N as in Now 
 O o   O as in nOte 
 P p   P as in Pair 
 R r   R as in Rare 
 S s   S as in See 
 Ŝ ŝ   SH as in SHow 
 T t   T as in Tea 
 U u   OO as in tOO 
 Ŭ ŭ   W as in Win 
 V v   V as in Very 
 Z z   Z as in Zeal 

Diphthongs

A diphthong is the combination of a vowel with a semivowel to form a single sound. The following diphthongs appear in Esperanto:

Esperanto Diphthongs
 Diphthong   Sound 
aj
 as in cry 
ej
 as in they 
oj
 as in toy 
uj
 similar to u + i; "oo-ee
 as in cow 
 similar to e + u; "eh-oo

Names of Letters

The names of the vowels are just the vowels themselves; the consonants are named by adding o to the consonant. Thus the names of the letters of the alphabet are:

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

Alternatives to Accented Letters

If the accented letters are not available (as when writing e-mail, for example), one may make the following substitutions:

 Instead of...   One may write... 
ĉ
ch
ĝ
gh
ĥ
hh
ĵ
jh
ŝ
sh
ŭ
u

Alphabet Song

Esperanto has an alphabet song, sung to the same tune as the English alphabet song. The words are:

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.
Nun ni havas alfabeton
Kun ni kantu la kanteton.


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Page last updated: September 9, 2006.