Nova kurso/Leciono 2

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[This lesson is currently under construction.]

You've made it to Lesson 2! This could be the most important and challenging lesson. If you can get this one, the rest will be easy!

Cultural note[redakti]

Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto, wanted his new language to be used for artistic expression. He wanted original literature to be produced in his new language. Thus, Esperanto has a lot of flexibility in expression, which you'll find in the very first root that we learn in this lesson: -n.

In creating the language, Zamenhof created 16 fundamental rules of grammar as part of a Fundamental core of the language, which were adopted during the first Esperanto Congress as an unchangeable base of the language, called "Fundamento". The language has been expanded over the years, but these 16 rules have never changed. In addition to these 16 rules, he also published a dictionary and multiple examples of word use. Since you passed the first lesson, you have been introduced to many of these rules already!

Let's start out with the single most difficult root that I've found as an native English speaker learning Esperanto:

The accusative -N (1)[redakti]

Ekzemplo de akuzativo
Example of accusative.

The letter N in Esperanto has some important functions, but primarily it shows the direct object of a sentence — in other words, the object that that the noun performs its action on. As an English-speaker, I found marking the direct object somewhat foreign to me, but as I've used it, I very much like it. Some examples:

  • Ŝi skribas leteron. She writes a letter.
  • Li manĝas frukton. He eats fruit.
  • Mi havas bonajn amikojn. I have good friends!
Note that even adjectives of the direct object also get the -N ending. It does not matter if the noun or the adjective comes first.

Although sometimes is is difficult to remember to pronounce the -N, it has one great advantage: word order no longer becomes important. Some cultures (or Yoda) might have a different word order, like Verb-Noun-DirectObject or DirectObject-Verb-Noun. You may find in literature or writing that a writer may wish to emphasize one word over another. This makes Esperanto a very flexible language!

All of these sentences mean the same thing, "The healthy woman made good cakes.":

  • La sana virino faris bonajn kukojn.
  • Bonajn kukojn faris la virino sana.
  • Faris la sana virino kukojn bonajn.
  • Bonajn kukojn la virino sana faris.

You will probably note that verbs in the first lesson did not use -N. Why is that? Firstly, I tried to use "intransitive verbs" in Lesson 1 – which is a fancy word for verbs that do not take a direct object. In this lesson we will be learning some transitive verbs, which do take direct objects.

You might also notice some sentences in Esperanto do not use the -N ending. There is an idea in Esperanto of equivalence: if the noun and the object are equal, then the accusative is not used. So, "N" shows a "direction of action" or "motion" The most common word to show equivalence is esti (to be), but you might find others later.

  • Esperanto estas bona lingvo. [Esperanto IS a good language. A language is Esperanto. Equivalent.]
  • Mia lando estas granda. [My country IS large. And large is my country. Equivalent.]
  • Mi manĝas bonan kukon. ["I'm eating good cake." Cake is the thing that is being eaten, and the -N shows the direction of the eating!]

There's a lot of power in "showing direction." Suffix -N can also be used as a shortcut for "to" or "into". For example, let's say you want to say, "She went to the playground." One way you could say this is very straightforward, Ŝi iris al la ludejo. (Playground = ludi, to play + ejo, place.) That works, using only roots we learned in Lesson 1. However, let's say you want to be a little more efficient in your word choice. (You are a master of Esperanto, of course, at only Lesson 2!) You can make the phrase "al la ludejo" into an adjective ludeje (ludi + ej + e). Now it is an adverb, that describes the verb iris. But as a clever Lesson 2 student, you remember that you must use the -N to show direction "TO" someplace, so you add the -N suffix: Ŝi iris ludejen.

One can also show direction in the middle of a prepositional phrase. Normally, when you use a preposition, you do not use an -N on the object of your preposition. However, if you want to show motion INTO an area, instead of just at the area, then the N is appropriate. For example, Li ludis en la ludejo. means "He played in the playground." However, if you said, Li ludis en la ludejon. you mean, "He played INTO the playground." Again, the -N shows motion into the playground.

One final note: The -N ending is also useful in sentences that only consist of one noun, like:

  • Saluton. (Hello.)
  • Pacon! (Peace!)
  • Bonvenon! (Welcome!)
  • Bonan tagon. (Good day.)

Here, these sentences are really shortcuts for phrases like "I give you (greetings)." or "I wish you (a good day)." So you can see how these are really objects of the full sentence.

Transitive verbs (9)[redakti]

Transitive verbs are verbs that take a direct object. Remember, the direct object (nouns and adjectives) get the -N ending. They conjugate just like the verbs in Lesson 1.

  • fari (to do or make something)
  • havi (to have something)
  • manĝi (to eat something)
  • trinki (to drink something)
  • legi (to read something
  • skribi (to write something)
  • voli (to want something)
  • instrui (to teach someone)
  • lerni (to learn something)

Sometimes, the "object" of a transitive verb might be another verb (in its -i form)!

  • Mi volas trinki teon. (I want to drink tea.)
  • Ŝi lernis fari kukojn. (She learned to make cakes.)

A few nouns (3)[redakti]

Here we have a few nouns, used in the above examples.

  • kuko (cake)
  • letero (written letter or note)
  • frukto (fruit)

The rest of Lesson 2: The table-words (35 + 2)[redakti]

In English we have a whole bunch of related words that sometimes follow a pattern and sometimes do not. Take a look at the following table

Useful table-words in English
every- no- some- any- that
where everywhere nowhere somewhere anywhere there
what everything nothing something anything that
how every way no way somehow any way that way
when every time no time sometime anytime then
one everyone no one someone anyone them
why every reason no reason some reason any reason that reason

OK, some of that doesn't work very well. As you can see, English is not a very regular language. Fortunately, these concepts are much easier in Esperanto! Just match up the row (9) and the column (5) for 45 new words for the effort of learning 14 pieces!

Useful table-words in Esperanto
that thing
"person" or "individual thing"
nobody / no one
who / which
that person / that one
"kind of"
some kind of
no kind of
what kind of
that kind of
every kind of
some reason*
no reason*
that reason
every reason*
some way
no way*
that way
every way*
some amount
no amount*
how much
that amount
every amount*
"belonging to"
their / its

The words in lighter gray with a star are not in the Kontakto list of the 1000 most important words in Esperanto, possibly because they are not used often enough. But I feel I should introduce them to you, for the sake of having the complete table! Some of the words not in the Kontakto list are very useful! Thus, we only count learning 35 words out of that 1000, even though you are learning 45. (10 bonus words!)

Note that the -o and the -u table-words are considered nouns, and will take the accusative -N ending! The "kind of" -a ending can also take an -N, if it describes a direct object.

These table-words are even more interesting, because you can add the root suffixes from lesson 1 to these words, to make new words:

  • kial (what reason?) + -o (noun) = kialo "reason" (The "why".)
  • iom (some amount) + et (little) + -e (adverb) = iomete "a little bit" ("Mi lernis Esperanton iomete.")
  • ĉiam (always) + -a (adjective) = ĉiama "eternal"

Let's add two more words to this list, which are often related to table-words, bringing lesson 2 to an even 50 words:

  1. ĉi (not to be confused with the "every" word-part above). Ĉi means "this one" – so "ĉi tiu" means this person, "ĉi tiel" means this reason, and "ĉi tie" means here (this place), and so on. Again, word order is not important, here: so you can say tie ĉi or ĉi tie. While it is usually paired with ti-words, you sometimes see it with other words — like "ĉio ĉi" means everything here. It's never hyphenated when you add it to a table-word, and the word "ĉi" almost never appears on its own (except maybe for an intentional poetic effect).
  2. ajn (pronounced like the English word "line" without the L) is a short word meaning "-ever", "it doesn't matter which" or "at all". So, the phrase tiam ajn means "any time at all". Ia ajn means "any kind at all" or "no matter the type". Neniom ajn would be the English "no amount at all". Ajn can also be made into an interesting adjective ajna for which there is not a direct equivalent in English, but means something like "any of them"!


You've almost finished Lesson 2, but now we must test your knowledge! You can use any resources to answer these questions; look back at Lesson 1 if you've forgotten those words.

Translate the following words and phrases into English:

  1. kiu
  2. iam
  3. kiel
  4. ĉio
  5. ĉi tie
  6. nenia
  7. kio
  8. iu ajn
  9. kial
  10. ie

Translate the following sentences into English. You may use any resources available to you. (Look for hints to unfamiliar words in the square brackets!) Then, for practice, speak the Esperanto sentences out loud.

  1. Ĉi tiu virino parolas bone.
  2. Ŝi havas skribilon. [skribi + il + o + N]
  3. Kie vi loĝas?
  4. Kion la viro faru?
  5. Li manĝos ĉion ĉi.
  6. Kiu viro parolas vian lingvon? Tiu parolas ĝin.
  7. Mi volas skribi leteron al vi.
  8. Kial vi neniam trinkas teon?
  9. Li faris ian malbonan manĝeton. [manĝi + et + o + N]
  10. Ŝi instruis lin en la manĝejo. [li + N] [manĝi + ej + o]

Translate the following sentences into Esperanto.

  1. The small man ate every unhealthy cake.
  2. Someone's fruit was in the school. [For school, think about the roots for "to learn" and "place".[1]]
  3. The woman will live nowhere at all in my country.
  4. I want to drink tea when I eat this kind of cake.
  5. They want to live in your country (for) this reason. [It's not necessary to translate the word "for" here.]


In Lesson 3, your vocabulary will take another giant leap forward, and you'll be able to understand most of an Esperanto rock ballad! On to lesson 3!


  1. But it really depends on your perspective, doesn't it? There's two ways of thinking about the word "school". You could think of it from a student perspective, as a place "to learn". You might also think of it from a teacher's perspective as a place "to teach"! What would that word be?