Comparative characteristics of English and Esperanto

Publié le vendredi 6 août 2004 par admin_sat
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.