Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Esperanto: The World's Most Popular Constructed Language, Part 4

Over the last few days we've been looking at Esperanto, the world's most popular conlang. We've seen the formation of the language, its use in the world, and the way it sounds, or its phonology.

Today we'll be concluding our look at Esperanto with the grammar and lexicon, which we feel will bring the whole language together nicely. Of course, the grammar and lexicon of a constructed language can be identical or completely different to those of naturally occurring languages, which can evolve and borrow words from other languages. It's all really up to the creator and the users of the language.

The man behind the language,
Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof.
Zamenhof's dream of Esperanto being an international auxiliary language intended to foster peace meant one thing when it came to grammar, regularity. Esperanto grammar in comparison to other languages is designed to be highly regular, with as few grammatical irregularities as possible.

The main principal utilises suffixes, with certain suffixes dictating specific grammatical elements. For example, words ending in -o are nouns and those that end in -a are adjectives. As a result, it can be very simple for learners and even those who are fluent in the language to easily distinguish word types.

When it comes to the conjugation of verbs, the suffix -i indicates the infinitive, whereas -is indicates the past tense in the indicative mood, -as is the present indicative and -os is the future indicative. There are no individual conjugations according to the subject as the subject is already mentioned. Simple, right?

Speakers of Esperanto have been permitted to borrow words from other languages, given that only the most international of words are used and that they are adjusted to utilise the same rules that govern all word types in Esperanto.

Since the rules that govern the roots of words in Esperanto come from either Greek or Latin origins, Esperanto fails on its goal of being an international language. While many of those who speak a language of Indo-European origins will find the lexicon to be fairly self-explanatory, speakers of other languages will not find the lexical roots so obvious.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4