I have been let know that the Esperanto community is known to be resistant to change. Languages like Ido and Zamenhof's Reformed Esperanto haven't got nearly as much attention as the main language, which currently even has native speakers.

However, I think that the advances of technology probably have incorporated into Esperanto more technical words (like komputilo), and the language is so elastic that it allows those changes to happen naturally. One thing that has striked my attention is the -x word system that is different from Zamenhof's own -h system, and I think technology probably had its impact there.

So, my question is: How much has Esperanto changed over all those years (almost 130 now)? And how resistant the community has been to the change of Esperanto? After reading some texts, it seems that the Esperanto youth is always looking for reforms, like the adoption of Ido, and Riism, but how much is that widespread?

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    This is a pretty broad question. Answers to it will probably need to just give an overview, but more specific questions for each type of reform can be asked separately. Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 22:26
  • For a particular trend, see this question esperanto.stackexchange.com/questions/4/… Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 8:33
  • I agree that the question is too broad. There are at least three different questions that could be answered here. Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 19:11
  • Maybe focus on just technology or just youth or just resistance to change or just reformism/Ido/riism? Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 23:07

2 Answers 2


I actually can't tell you "how much" it has changed, I simply can't quantify it. However I can give you a few examples.

Shifted meanings of words

  • The verb "ŝati ion". Originally it meant something like "appreciate sth.". Nowadays it is used more in a way like English "to like sth.". For the former meaning you would use "aprezi ion".

  • The adjective "kara". Its original meaning was "expensive". The meaning shifted to English "dear". (The English "dear" also has the informal meaning of "expensive"). For "expensive" in Esperanto you would use nowadays "multekosta".

Outdated grammar features.

AFAIK the Fundamento allows to pluralize "unu" to "unuj" meaning something like "single ones". Nowadays you would rather say "unuopaj".

New word roots.

There are many of them used vastly. Many of them are acknowledged by the Academy of Esperanto but not all of them.

More flexible grammar usage

In my impression grammar features are used in a more flexible way than in the time of the Fundamento. Like the independent use of suffixes like "Baldaŭ iĝas tago." or "La ejaj istoj estis tre afablaj." or "La vetero aĉas."

  • The form "unuj" is still in use, though less so than in early days (check in the Tekstaro de Esperanto). It doesn't mean "single ones". Rather, it means something more similar to "some", especially when contrasted to "aliaj" ("others"). So "unuopaj" is not a replacement for "unuj". Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 10:11
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    Under shifted meanings, one could include the tendency of many nouns, including those with -ulo, -isto, -anto, etc. to become gender-neutral, whereas in the time of Zamenhof, one would usually (but not always) add -ino to refer to a woman. The Ekzercaro has the example " ― Virino, kiu kuracas, estas kuracistino ... ― La doktoredzino A. vizitis hodiaŭ la gedoktorojn P. "; nowadays I would say "virino kiu kuracas estas kuracisto" , and doktoroj instead of gedoktoroj.
    – Max
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 15:14

Just one amusing aspect of the changes.

In the beginning, Esperanto was remarkably influenced by the Russian language. This resulted in some strange constructed words, made according to the Russian grammar. They disappeared over the time and were replaced by the better ones.

Some examples:

  • elrigardi (calque of выглядеть) was replaced by aspekti
  • elpendaĵo (calque of вывеска) was replaced by reklamo, ŝildo
  • subaĉeti (calque of подкупать) was replaced by korupti

But some of calques still exist. The most known one is eldoni (издавать) , which I would even consider as an own root rather than a combination of el+doni.

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    I've heard subaĉeti, though. But if I heard elpendaĵo, I would have no idea what it means.
    – Mutre
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 8:59
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    Yes, "subaĉeti" is still used a lot, but "elrigardi" really has completely disappeared in its original meaning, and is now only used in its more logical sense "to look outside (from the inside)". Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 10:12
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    I don't understand the suggestion that the new creations are somehow "better". Slavic languages are definitely underrepresented in the vocabulary, compared to Romance and Germanic ones, so more Russian-derived words make Esperanto more balanced and international. Moreover, words such as subaĉeti are to a large degree compositional (unlike korupti): when you give a bribe, you get something for your money, so it's possible to view it as a form of buying, and the prefix sub- uses a metaphor that works in many languages, e.g. in English you can speak of an "under-the-table deal".
    – miĥaŭ
    Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 13:13

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