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<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/lernu_logo.jpg” />At some point or another, you may have thought about or had to learn a language. Whether it was English, Spanish, Chinese, or even Swahili, finding tools to learn those languages is hard at best. Based on what I’ve heard, Rosetta Stone seems to be the best way, but such a solution is quite expensive.
So what if I told you that if you’ve ever been interested in Esperanto, there’s a website that can teach you for free?
What is Esperanto?
In case you haven’t heard of Esperanto yet, it is a constructed language that was created in the hopes that it would become an international auxiliary language. As we know, that wasn’t the case, as English is considered the global standard when speaking with different cultures.
However, there is a small movement within the Esperanto community to spread the language so that one day it may replace English. Esperanto is constructed of parts from different language groups: romantic, germanic, and slavic. The language has a couple of advantages when learned, including that it’s culturally neutral, easy and quick to learn, and may help with learning other languages later on. There have been some critiques of the language, mainly that a constructed language is never the same as a natural one. However, learning the language, even when it may not become the international auxiliary language in your lifetime (or mine), can still be a cool experience.
Lernu is one of the most popular sites to learn Esperanto. You can dive right into its courses, or you can look through some of the information it offers about Esperanto first. All of the site’s features are accessible via the menu bar at the top, where you can browse through it’s introductory information about the language and the site itself, it’s courses (made for all levels), other learning material which includes games, an online Esperanto community, and a library.
To get started, it’s recommended you go to the “Beginning” section and look for the Introduction. From here, the site will begin to introduce you to the basics of the language, such as pronunciation of words (they are always pronounced exactly as they are spelled, so there are no variations like in English, such as read in present tense and read in past tense, and to/too/two). The courses also do not take long to explain how words are created, which is done through a large system of roots, prefixes, and suffixes. One example is that one can add a certain prefix to mean the opposite of the root’s meaning.
If English isn’t your native tongue, then don’t worry! Lernu is available in a surprisingly large number of languages, so you can take all the available courses in your native language and get the most out of each lesson. I counted a total of 37 supported languages, so it is highly likely that yours will be included.
Keep It Up!
How much you actually learn will be dependent on the amount of time you take. There isn’t much more to explain about the site, as the main chunks of it are the courses. You will only become fluent with time taken in each course and lots of practice, which is easy to come by thanks to the online community. And yes, if you were wondering, the screenshot do indeed show a list of Chuck Norris jokes in Esperanto.
Lernu is a great place to learn Esperanto. Whether you’d like to for a purpose, to impress your friends, or just for the fun of it, Lernu gives you the tools you need along with a friendly community to start on your journey. If things seem a little tough, just keep trying. Studies have shown that Esperanto is one of the easiest languages to learn, so you’re bound to get the hang of it. One study said that 2000 hours studying German = 1500 hours studying English = 1000 hours studying Italian = 150 hours studying Esperanto, which is really quite impressive.
What do you think about Esperanto? Would you like to learn it? Do you think it’ll ever become the successor to English? Let us know in the comments!