Esperanto/Appendix/Alphabet and pronunciation
The Esperanto alphabet has 28 letters.
- A, B, C, Ĉ, D, E, F, G, Ĝ, H, Ĥ, I, J, Ĵ, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, Ŝ, T, U, Ŭ, V, Z
- a, b, c, ĉ, d, e, f, g, ĝ, h, ĥ, i, j, ĵ, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, ŝ, t, u, ŭ, v, z
- a, bo, co, ĉo, do, e, fo, go, ĝo, ho, ĥo, i, jo, ĵo, ko, lo, mo, no, o, po, ro, so, ŝo, to, u, ŭo, vo, zo
Four letters from the English alphabet have been dropped – Q, W, X and Y – and there are six new accented letters: Ĉ, Ĝ, Ĥ, Ĵ, Ŝ and Ŭ. The first five have an angle-shape accent called a circumflex (^) over them, whilst the last has an accent rather like the bottom part of a circle, which is called a breve (˘).
All of the accented letters are unique to Esperanto except for ŭo (Ŭ), which also exists in Belarusian, and ĝo (Ĝ), which also exists in Aleut. Some of the accented letters may be used in transcription systems for languages that use non-Latin alphabets. (For example, ŝo (Ŝ) is used as the ISO 9:1995 transliteration of the Russian Cyrillic letter shcha (Щ).)
As in English, five letters are vowels (A, E, I, O, U), and the rest are consonants. The letter ŭo (Ŭ) is a consonant, not a vowel.
Collation in Esperanto is the same as for English, except that the accented characters are counted as separate characters and collated after their non-accented versions. Collation is as shown in the table above.
Each letter in Esperanto has only one pronunciation (allowing for cultural variation), and no letters are silent. There are six dipthongs (see the next section), but their pronunciation follows logically from their constituent letters, except for being shortened into a single syllable. This means that Esperanto is pronounced just as it is spelled.
Also, each sound has only one way of being written, so it is very easy to spell Esperanto words you hear.
The technical description for these traits is that Esperanto is phonetic and orthographic.
|A||a, ɑ||ah, as in father||amiko||ah-MI-koh||friend|
|E||ɛ, e||eh, as in bet||egala||eh-GAH-lah||equal|
|I||i||ee, as in me||ideo||ee-DEH-oh||idea|
|O||o, ɔ||oh, as in robot||ofta||OH'F-tah||common|
|U||u||oo, as in boot||utila||oo-TEE-lah||useful|
|G||g||hard g as in go||gaja||GAH-yah||cheerful|
|Ĥ||x||ch as in Scottish loch||eĥo||E(HKX)-oh||echo||Depending on the context, it is sometimes replaced with h or k.|
|Ĵ||ʒ||zh||ĵus||ZHOOS||just, just now|
|R||r||r||ruĝa||ROO-jah||red||Roll your tongue, as in Spanish.|
|Ŭ||w||w||This letter only appears in diphthongs. In the past it has been used to pronounce "w" in foreign words, but this has fallen out of favour.|
|EŬ||eʊ̯||"euw"||Eŭropo||euw-ROH-poh||Europe||This is pronounced much like how Elmer Fudd pronounces the "ew" in "vewwy (very)".|
|UJ||uɪ̯||"oo-ee" as one syllable||ĉiuj||CHEE-(oo'ee)||all|
The stress on every word is put on the penultimate (second-to-last) syllable.