I don't get to hear Esperanto speech often so I am not sure how to pronounce . For example Neŭtrala or Eŭropo.

How do you pronounce it?

  • 1
    Why makes you think that could be anything else than the sound of e followed by the sound of ŭ? – miĥaŭ Nov 27 '16 at 14:28
  • @miĥaŭ Diphthongs have different sounds. For example 'aj' does not make the sound of 'a' followed by a 'j' – Lumo5 Nov 27 '16 at 14:30
  • Well, I do pronounce aj by combining a and j. And that's correct, according to Fundamento: "Every word is to be read exactly as written, there are no silent letters". Where did you learn that it should be pronounced in some different way? – miĥaŭ Nov 27 '16 at 14:44
  • While I would disagree with Tony's thought that AJ is anything more than A+J, the original question is a legitimate question. See answers below. – Tomaso Alexander Nov 27 '16 at 15:57
  • 2
    @Tony - I think you're splitting hairs, and two can play at the wiki game: (i̯) "The close front unrounded vowel is the vocalic equivalent of the palatal approximant [j]. The two are almost identical featurally. [...] [i̯] with the non-syllabic diacritic and [j] are used in different transcription systems to represent the same sound." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Close_front_unrounded_vowel – Tomaso Alexander Nov 28 '16 at 8:58

Here is John Wells pronouncing the words feŭda, neŭtrala and Eŭropo in the pronounciation CD of the EAB.

  • Thanks. John Wells considered Eŭ as a diphthong whereas many other early esperantists did not. This link is very helpful. – Lumo5 Nov 28 '16 at 6:27
  • John Wells, who is still alive today and who was born two or three decades after Zamenhof's death, should probably not be considered an "early Esperantist." – Tomaso Alexander Nov 28 '16 at 9:27
  • John Wells does not consider the Esperanto diphthongs to be separate phonemes like the diphthongs in English. So when he calls them "diphthongs", this is just his term for a combination of a vowel and a semivowel. It does not imply that the semivowel in the diphthong is pronounced differently than if it comes before the vowel in its syllable. – Marcos Cramer Dec 2 '16 at 18:08

"American Esperantist" has a short video with the common diphtongs. The answer to your question is 34 seconds in. See link.



Tony, you seem to have some odd ideas about phonetics.

You say that "-aj" in Esperanto isn't pronounced like [a] followed by [j], but that is exactly how it's pronounced.

You claim that "early esperantists did not consider as a diphthong" — can you share the source of that claim, because I've never heard it before, and it doesn't make any sense to me.

Sorry to appear negative, but I don't think it's helpful to others to let strange assertions go unchallenged on a site that aims to curate the best information for future reference. Hopefully the audio and video links posted above will answer your actual question though.

  • 2
    Tim - I'm not sure what SE-etiquette requires me to do in this situation (contact you off board, flag the question for not being an answer, leave a comment like this one) - but while I agree with the content of your post, it's not an answer to the question and so would probably be better as a comment on the original question (using the "add a comment" link). There are already similar comments on the original question and on the chosen "accepted answer" in this thread. – Tomaso Alexander Nov 29 '16 at 11:04
  • You're quite right, the content I wrote above is a comment on an answer, not an answer in its own right. Not sure I can change it now though. – Tim Morley Nov 29 '16 at 11:17
  • @TimMorley Saluton Tim. Thanks for the question. -aj is pronounced as a diphthong, so it is not pronounced like [a] followed by [j]. It sounds like 'eye'. "There are also six historically stable diphthongs: /ai̯/, /oi̯/, /ui̯/, /ei̯/ and /au̯/, /eu̯/. However, some authors such as John C. Wells regard them as vowel + consonant combinations (/aj/, /oj/, /uj/, /ej/, /aw/, /ew/), while Wennergren regards only the latter two as diphthongs" - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto_phonology – Lumo5 Nov 29 '16 at 15:38
  • @TomasoAlexander Can you copy and past it into a comment so the content is not lost? – Lumo5 Nov 29 '16 at 15:44
  • If these details are important, my suggestion would be for someone to make them a new question/answer. – Tomaso Alexander Nov 29 '16 at 18:20

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.