If I want to systematically expand my knowledge of roots, should I use Baza Radikaro Oficiala, or is there any better source?

I know that it is the official list of roots, but I'm wondering about the practical usefulness. If there are several ways of expressing the same thing, is the way that uses the official roots the most popular one? Will my speech and writing be easier to understand if I only stick to the official roots?

There are over 5000 official roots, should one master all of them before moving to other, unofficial roots? Or is there any other list that is more suitable for practical learning?

  • One should accept that learning is not only systematic, but erratic lifely too. If you encounter a squirrel, sciuro, then that is a good point to learn a knew word. The baza radikaro should be recognizable for 70 % to an English
    – Joop Eggen
    Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 17:40
  • Sure, I'm not saying that the only way I'm going to learn. But I know that systematic learning of vocabulary works for me quite well.
    – miĥaŭ
    Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 17:48
  • I started with a beautiful dictionary (Dutch by Middelkoop), so I understand. The best method seems to be making sentences invoking some image, some learn best be walking, others by speaking or writing.The first 4-6 groups they consider suiited for courses. I am afraid even Esperanto cannot be learned by first learning all words. Do translation work (privately!) and such
    – Joop Eggen
    Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 17:53

3 Answers 3


I used BRO to help me learn back in the day. It suited my detail-oriented personality very well. I recall, though, that I learned some pretty obscure words a few levels in.

My thought is that 5000 roots is way too many to pick from one list. Try a smaller number - like 1000 words - then move on to words from lists you make yourself -- or learn in context.

  • Dankon! Any idea how to choose the right 1000 words/roots? Are there any frequency lists?
    – miĥaŭ
    Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 18:54
  • 2
    La unuaj ses niveloj de BRO egalas proksimume 1000 vortoj. Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 23:55

I think that the Baza Radiakro Oficiala (BRO) is a very good list for people who like to learn a language by learning words from a list of common words. Given the size of BRO, it makes sense to pay attention to the partitioning of BRO into nine levels: First you should check out how many of the lower levels yo already fully cover, and then start learning the missing words from the lowest level that you don't yet fully cover.

BRO was based on a frequency list as well as on the order in which words were taught in a number of Esperanto textbooks. So it certainly a list well-suited for practical learning.

At the time when BRO was defined, computational linguistics was still in its infancy, and no large corpus of electronically stored Esperanto texts existed. So its frequency list was built on a very small corpus. I have made a frequency list based on the Tekstaro de Esperanto, using an automatic tool for determining the roots in a word (so it is not 100% perfect, and it does not exclude proper names from the roots). This frequency list could also be useful for you.


I deliberately learned only the second half of the BRO: when I learned about it, I already knew the words of the first half. It seems to me that the study of BRO helped greatly with reading and understanding books in Esperanto.

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