Esperanto/Lesson 2

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After a short review of the most difficult pronunciations, we will learn about adjectives in Esperanto, get to know more verb tenses, and start playing with words (i.e. derive new words). As always, there will be vocabulary to be memorized.

Pronunciation again

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Remember how c, ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, j, ĵ, ŝ, and ŭ are pronounced? Review the box below if you're not completely sure about any of them anymore. If you'd like to practice them again, please redo the exercise in Lesson 1.


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Adjectives are words that usually describe a characteristic of a noun. Examples can be found in the box directly below.

In Esperanto, adjectives are marked by the suffix -a. Examples are in the short vocabulary section below.


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Here are the first adjectives that you should memorize.

Word Audio Meaning
granda big
bela beautiful
bona good
forta strong


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Adjectives can be placed preceding the noun or following the noun. There is no difference in meaning between these. More often do adjectives precede the noun than follow it, which will also be the case during this course.


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In Esperanto, if a noun takes the plural suffix, so will any adjective that describes it:

granda hundo — belaj katoj — fortaj viroj


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Sentence Audio Meaning
La granda hundo estas en la ĝardeno. The big dog is in the garden.
La belaj katoj estas ruĝaj. The beautiful cats are red.
La knaboj bonaj sidas en la granda parko. The good boys are sitting in the big park.


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In the previous lesson we have already seen that Esperanto indicates the present tense on verbs using the suffix -as. Esperanto marks the past tense using -is, the future tense using -os, and the infinitive using -i. The infinitive is the so-called citation form of verbs, which means that only this form will appear in dictionaries.

Word Example Audio Meaning
-i esti
-as estas present tense
-is estis past tense
-os estos future tense

If an event is in the past, Esperanto always uses the -is suffix. If the event is in the future, Esperanto always uses the -os suffix. Esperanto is fully consistent in when it uses these. English, however, is not (e.g. "My train leaves tomorrow morning"), so you may need to be careful when translating English sentences into Esperanto. The English continuous verb forms (e.g. "I am going to bed") are usually translated using these simple tenses in Esperanto.

So, the verbs learned in the previous lesson can be found in a dictionary as esti (to be), brili (to shine), flugi (to fly), fali (to fall), and sidi (to sit).


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Sentence Audio Meaning
Mi iris al la lito. I went to bed.
La birdoj flugas al la parko kaj sidos en ĝi. The birds are flying to the park and will sit in it.
Vi ne volas promeni. You do not want to walk.


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Here are more words to memorize.

Word Audio Meaning
mola soft
kontenta content, satisfied
longa long
alta high
grava important
strato street
monto mountain
amo love
amiko friend
knabo boy
patro father
frato brother
filo son
ne not
kuŝi to lie, to be in
a horizontal position
paroli to speak, to talk
objekto object
nomo name
sana healthy
juna young
pala pale
kun with (preposition)
al to (preposition)
promeni to walk
ludi to play
kanti to sing
glaso drinking glass
trinki to drink
maro sea
nova new
voli to want
povi to be able
devi to must, to have to, to should
labori to work
ĉambro room, chamber
ĉielo sky
voĉo voice
manĝi to eat
tablo table
seĝo chair, seat
ĝojo joy
riĉa rich
kara dear
multa many, much
ruĝa red
akvo water
kaj and
iri to go

Personal pronouns

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Personal pronouns are words like "I", "me", "you", "we", "them". We have already encountered a few of them in the previous lesson: mi (I), vi (you), and li (he). Now, we will learn the other most common ones.

singular plural
first person mi (I) ni (we)
second person vi (you)
masculine li (he) ili (they)
feminine ŝi (she)
epicene ĝi (it)

There are two more pronouns in Esperanto. We will learn these in a later lesson.


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An important part of Esperanto is its affixes (prefixes and suffixes). There are a sizable number of them, and many new words can be derived from them. This greatly reduces the number of words one needs to learn. In this lesson the first, and arguarbly most important, affix will be introduced: mal-.

mal- is a prefix that indicates the opposite of what it is attached to. This is similar to English "un-", e.g. in "unfortunate".

Base word Meaning Derived word Meaning Audio
granda big malgranda small
forta strong malforta weak
mola soft malmola hard
kontenta content, satisfied malkontenta malcontent, dissatisfied
longa long mallonga short
amo love malamo hatred
amiko friend malamiko enemy


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  • Go through the adjectives in the two vocabulary tables in this lesson and tack on mal-. What do they mean then? (answers)
  • Now go through the other words presented in this lesson. Are there any that would make sense when mal- is tacked on? What do they mean then? (answers)

Have you memorized the vocabulary of this lesson? Then you can also practice by translating the following sentences:

Sentence (answers) Audio
Li ne parolas kun mi.
Mi laboris kun ŝi.
Ni ne povas labori.
Ĝi estas grava.
La malforta infano iros al la granda parko.
La pala knabo estas malsana.
La malgrandaj hundoj estas kontentaj.
Ili ne volas promeni en la parko.
Sentence (answers)
You will love the small boy.
I will eat with them.
They will walk to the big park and sit on a hard chair.
I will walk to the high mountain.
The young men went to the sea.
She doesn't want to walk with a dog, but has to.
It is old hatred, not joy.
The beautiful birds sit in the sun on the low mountain.
Short streets are ugly.
The men will fly to the new cities.

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