Free Esperanto Course

Lesson Four

Now let's look at statements, questions, and answers:

A statementLa pano estas bruna.
The bread is brown.
A questionCxu la pano estas bruna?
Is the bread brown?
The answer(a) Jes, la pano estas bruna.
(b) Ne, la pano ne estas bruna, gxi estas blanka.

Note: Every question is based on a statement; we identify that statement, placing the 'doubting' word cxu (literally, 'whether') in front, and then we are asking "Is this true?" Also note that the word order in Esperanto is not changed; only the word 'cxu' is placed in front of the statement.

English questionWill the boys sell the cake?
Underlying statement(The boys will sell the cake.)
(La knaboj vendos la kukon.)
Esperanto questionCxu la knaboj vendos la kukon?

All 'yes-or-no' questions are handled in the same way.

Ekzercoj, Leciono Kvar (parto unu)

Change the following statements into questions:
  1. Mia filo forgesis la teon.
  2. Lia patro faras panon.
  3. La tago estas griza.

In the first three lessons, you have learned how to write simple statements correctly, and now know how to make questions and give answers. As soon as you have learned all the sounds of Esperanto (detailed, as best as possible in writing, see below) we can start in on conversations, in Lesson Five. (Remember to complete the exercises at the bottom.)

The Esperanto alphabet:

a b c cx d e f g gx h hx i j jx k l m n o p r s sx t u ux v z

Note that the names of the letters (used when spelling aloud, etc.) are a, bo, co, cxo, do, e, fo, go, gxo, ho, hxo, i, etc. That is, the consonants get an 'o' after them, and the name of each vowel is the sound of the vowel itself. Note that "uxo" is pronounced sort of like English 'wo'.

There are 26 letters in the English alphabet; 28 in Esperanto. In Esperanto there is no q, w, x, or y. In Esperanto there are 6 letters not found in English (all 6 have accent marks): cx, gx, hx, jx, sx [all circumflexes], and ux [a u-breve].

The Esperanto letters 'j' and 'ux' are not vowels and can combine with real vowels (a, e, i, o, and u) to make 'vowel glides' which must be learned as separate sounds (below).

Pronunciation Guide

Remember, in Esperanto: one letter - one sound. No exceptions.

Vowel Sounds (accented/emphasized vowels are marked with a bold typeface)

a as in Ma, fatherblankasanagrandavarma
e as in send, metbelaplenaverdapeti
i as in me, threeviviamitrinkifilo
o as in more, orovodomokionova
u as in two, soonunuplumosunobutiko

Consonant Sounds (mainly as in English, except:)

c pronounced 'ts' in nestsdancolecionobiciklo
cx pronounced 'ch'in churchcxambrosandvicxocxokolado
g pronounced 'g' in greatsagetogustumigeografio
gx pronounced 'g' in Georgemangxilogxisegxo
hx pronounced 'ch'in Bachjahxtohxoroehxo
j pronounced 'y' in yetjesjarojuna
jx pronounced 's' in leisurejxurnaloteatrajxojxaluzo
sx pronounced 'sh'in shoesxatiposxosxuo

Ux is used most often in the combination 'aux' or 'eux' (otherwise it has a 'w' sound, as in weather).

Remember: All sounds presented in this Pronunciation Guide are approximations. They are the closest approximations for North American English-speakers.

Vowel Glides (diphthongs). The following combinations between a vowel (a, e, o, u) and 'j' or 'ux' make one sound:

aj pronounced as 'eye'majokajsemajno
oj pronounced as in 'boy'knabojvojagxigxojo
ej pronounced as in 'they'plejmejlolernejo
uj pronounced 'oo-ee' (quickly)tujAnglujomonujo
aux pronounced as in 'cow'nauxantauxjxauxdo
eux pronounced as in 'wayward'EuxroponeuxtralaEuxklido

In all the examples above, the vowel of the stressed (or accented) syllable has been shown in boldface. This follows the rule without exception that every word in Esperanto is stressed on the next-to-last syllable.

Here is a list of words (and translations) that represent sounds in Esperanto [not just those covered above]. Practice them carefully and your pronunciation will get better and better.

acxetito buymangxito eat
gustumito tastesegxoseat, chair
hxorochoirsxatito like
junayoungteatrajxo(theatrical) play
jxauxdoThursdayvojagxito travel
kiowhat (thing)
lecionolessonbest advice: practice!
practice! practice!
logxito reside

Ekzercoj, Leciono Kvar (parto du)

Translate into Esperanto.

  1. Is father making a cake?
  2. Did the son forget the milk?
  3. Will father sell the cakes?
  4. Does a healthy boy drink warm milk?
  5. Will the daughter eat a sandwich?
  6. Did the new teacher forget your sugar?
  7. Do they sell tea and coffee?
  8. Did the sick girl write badly?
  9. Is he healthy?
  10. Are seven days one week?

Answer in Esperanto; use complete sentences, not just jes or ne.

  1. Is milk white?
  2. Is water dry?
  3. Is the sun warm?
  4. Is your mother a man?
  5. Are you wearing an empty shoe?
  6. Do two and two make four? [Use "estas"]
  7. Do you eat water?
  8. Is coffee blue?
  9. Are seven days one week?
  10. Do you drink cakes?

(Sorry about the silly questions, but the answers are easy.)

Don't forget to mail these exercises to your tutor, with subject: 'FEC ekz 4'.