Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Hardest Thing (So Far) With Esperanto

Okay, so up until this point it's been really easy. I haven't really struggled with anything in particular, and it's all been really simple. Until I started Kurso de Esperanto - Leciono 5 (Esperanto Course lesson 5). It's about correlatives.
Now if you're like me, you might not even know what a correlative is at first. That's not really too important, but it seems like it makes it easier to learn the stuff if you actually know what it is. Anyway, a correlative is basically a word that correlates 2 other words together (hence the name, I suppose. I probably should have figured that out). So words like "who," "where," "that," and also words like "someone," "nobody," and so on.
It's not too tricky to remember what they are, but there are so many of them! There are 5 base words, that can each have endings:
ki- (question or relative clause ["where", "who,"....])
ti- (indicate or point ["those", "that", ...])
i- (something indefinite ["any," "some"])
neni- (negativeness or non-existence)
cxi- (indicates all members of a group)

Now, after those bases we put on an ending. Here they are:
-e (location)
-am (time)
-o (general object, thing, or concept)
-u (particular person or thing)

Four endings times five bases is twenty correlatives. TWENTY! It's not really that much though, but even when I break it down into learning the 5 bases and 4 endings, that's still 9 things to remember.
And that's not all. Because of the design of Esperanto, words receive further endings if they are plural or "accusative" (the OBJECT of the sentence [Ickathu wrote this POST]). But not all of them can receive the endings. If it ends in -o (general thing), it can receive the plural ending (j), but not the object ending (n). If it ends in "a" or "u", it can receive both the plural j and the accusative n.

That's not it though. There are more ki- endings. I'm not sure if these endings can also be used on the other "base" words. If you know, can you leave a comment telling me? I think these are specific for ki- though.
kia (what kind/type)
kiel (how)
kies (whose)
kiom (how many/much)
kial (why)

As you can see, it's quite a bit.
And even if I can understand what they mean (able to translate from Esperanto to English), I find it extremely challenging to do it the other way (from English into Esperanto). Even the easiest languages have challenges. Still, I'm not going to let this stop me. I'm going to make some mnemonics for all of these tomorrow, since I'm practically falling asleep while I type this post. I hope it's coherent.

Mi vidos en la mateno!!

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  1. Gratulon pro via klopodo! --Gene KEYES (esperanto41)
    Mia Esperanto-retpagho:
    PS: eble vi shatus mian s-f-komedia-romanon, "The Me Clone / La Mi-Klono" (Angla kaj Esperanta, flank-al-flanko.)

  2. Hi again,

    My companion Mary Jo adds this reply, which I'm doing for her, because she is not on the social networks:
    * * *
    Yes, those extra endings do apply to all the bases.
    Take it easy and be patient. Eventually you'll memorize the correlatives. But I do wish that Esperanto courses would not dump so many of them in one single lesson.

    Here are a few pages which can help you with the correlatives:
    Has a short description of the correlatives and a table.
    You may want to print the table, and study a few at a time. It may help if you add column headings: ki, ti, i, chi (ch=c with circumflex), neni; and add row headings: o, u, a, el, e, am, om, al, es.
    There are three sets of exercises at the bottom of that page. I think that they are flash cards, but I didn't care to register to check.

    There are two You Tubes that teach the correlatives: part one and part two: , .
    Silvain Lelarge teaches them by using gestures to represent each base and each ending. By using the body to practice them, one memorizes them better. Unfortunately there are no subtitles and everything is in Esperanto, but you might understand by the gestures. The transcript, in Esperanto, of the first You Tube is in the description text. The second You Tube is the practice.

    Oh, and I think that in a future lesson you will also be given a huge amount of affixes. Once again, patience, and focus on a few at a time; eventually you'll get used to the most common ones.

    Best of luck. -- Mary Jo