Esperanto is a Latin-based constructed language rooted primarily in the Romance Languages. Esperanto is written in a variation of the Latin Alphabet and contains 28 characters. It varies from the Latin Alphabet in that it lacks the letters 'q', 'w', 'x', and 'y'. In addition to this variation, the alphabet includes six accented characters, 5 with a circumflex and one with a breve.
Modern Esperanto was created in 1887 by Ludovic Lazarus Zamenhof as a means of unifying people who otherwise had no common language. Being constructed, Esperanto's grammatical rules are almost invariably followed. One of the only exceptions is the term "Esperanto" itself, being that it was not the intended name for the language (the name Zamenhof proposed was "Internacia Lingvo", international language in Esperanto) and was not intended to be used as it is. In Esperanto's over 130 years it has not been adopted as a primary language in any nation, though an estimated 2000 acquired Esperanto in tandem with another language in upbringing. Esperanto has an estimated 2 million speakers, though this estimation might include those without fluency and with only vague familiarity of the language. The length of study-time to obtain a 'standard' level in Esperanto is estimated to be near a mere 150 hours of study, in much contrast to 1000 to 2000 hours in obtaining the same level in other Latin-based languages from a similar language.
|Lernu||Desktop||Free||Good for beginners. Story-based lessons interspersed with lessons on the basics of Esperanto grammar.|
|Duolingo||Desktop, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone||Free, $10/Mo.||Good for beginners. Gamified lesson format includes a variety of speaking, listening, translation, and multiple choice challenges covering many fields. Duolingo Effectiveness Study and more research here.|
|Clozemaster||Desktop, iOS, and Android||Free, $8/Mo.||Good for intermediates. It promotes memorization through the use of context and word association hence "cloze" (see: Cloze test).|
|Kurso de Esperanto||Desktop||Free||Good for beginners. Free computer program introducing Esperanto in 12 lessons.|
|Anki||Desktop, iOS, and Android||Free, $24.99 on iOS.||Popular flashcard software with user-made "decks"|
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If you have experience learning this language please share it, it's greatly appreciated.
- Being constructed and belonging to no particular country may make this language appear to be practically useless, but learning it can make other languages easier to learn.
- If you have previous experience with gendered languages, you'll want to focus on shedding the tendency to gender your words.
- Concentrate your early study on getting a good grasp of how the language works. Esperanto uses suffixes to modify root words to differentiate between nouns/verbs/adjectives/subjects/etc. Thus, once you know your suffixes, every new word you learn will count for a half-dozen. Esperanto is known for being incredibly flexible in this sense, that you can add words easily that don't already exist in the language by making a root word of it and modifying it to what you're trying to say.
- Freenode has #esperanto for live chat.
- Free couch-surfing for Esperanto speakers in many different nations around the world with Pasporta Servo
- There's an Esperanto version of Wikipedia It can be a nice way to practice writing, forming, and understanding the language.
- There's a lot of Esperanto media, both original and translations. It can be really helpful to immerse yourself in the language. Some media here.