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Comparative characteristics of English and Esperanto


ASPECT ENGLISH ESPERANTO
Alphabet non-phonetic (46 phonemes, 20 vowels) phonetic with 28 letters
Prononciation chaotic, elusive, impossible to standardise each letter is pronounced and always represents the same sound
Stress indefinable, determined by usage; no standard can be established always on the penultimate syllable
Irregular verbs 283 none
Conjugation : - root variable invariable
Identification of the grammatical function confused, many grammatical relations are unexpressed clear and immediate
Syntax rigid, fixed word order very subtle
Word derivation (1) limited possibilities : 5% vast possibilities : 17%
Index of agglutination * (1) 0,3 1
Idioms innumerable virtually non-existent
Homonyms very numerous virtually non-existent
Polysémy (2) very commun (1)* rare
Vocabulary necessary to understand an ordinary text (3) for 80-90% : 2000 words for 99% : 7000 words ** 500 words + 50 grammatical elements 2000 words
Time needed to reach a standard equivalent to A-level (4) 1500 hours for a French speaker 150 hours for a French speaker

(1) "Lingvistikaj aspektoj de Esperanto", Dr John C. Wells; professor of English language phonetics at University College London.
(2) Edward Thorndike, a famous American teacher and educationalist.
(3) "Fortoj de l’vivo", Vilho Setälä, a Finnish linguist.
(4) Dr Helmar Frank, director of the Institute of Cybernetics in Paderborn, Germany.

* 21 120 different meanings for the 850 words of the basic vocabulary.
** Frequency of dictionary consultation : one unknown word in a hundred.







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