The International Language

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David Simpson


There are a number of ways of handling proper names in Esperanto. Listed below are my own personal preferences, and they are only guidelines. For languages that do not use the Roman alphabet, it is often desirable to transcribe names using Esperanto letters.

  • Names of continents, oceans, and countries: translate into Esperanto.
  • More local names: usually leave in their native language. Some large, well-known cities may be "Esperantized" (e.g. Nov-Jorko, Vaŝingtono, Londono, Romo, Parizo, Tokio, Pekino).
  • Names of planets: translate into Esperanto.
  • Names of satellites, or planetary or lunar features: leave as they are (Latin, etc.).
  • Names of constellations: use Latin names, following international convention.
  • Personal names: each person should decide what to do with his or her own name. It may be left as is, transliterated into Esperanto letters (to aid pronounciation), or completely "Esperantized" (e.g. Johano, Klaro, Vilhelmo). I generally prefer to leave personal names in their native language if I don't know the person's preference. I'm fortunate to have a personal name (David Grant Simpson) that is pronounced essentially the same in Esperanto as it is in English, so I don't need to change the spelling.
      Another note about personal names: in most Western cultures, the family name appears last, while in some Eastern cultures, it appears first. Esperantists often write the family name in all capital letters so that others will know which name is the family name; for example: David SIMPSON.

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Page last updated: September 9, 2006.