For example you would say "la angla" when referring to English. Why 1) is it an adjective and 2) do you use "la"? It doesn't seem to fit internally with the grammar. Is it adopted from another language or is there some deeper reason that I am missing?

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3 Answers 3


It's merely an abbreviation: la angla = la angla lingvo. This way of naming languages has been totally conventionalised, so that you can find this structure even with languages where the language name is primary, for instance la latina = latino 'Latin'. Only with Esperanto you don't usually say "la esperanta".

  • Thank you. That's very nice and simple. I was hoping the answer would be this nice. It's just really hard to google the word language and Esperanto in the same phrase and get anything other than stuff about the Esperanto language.
    – DonkoXI
    Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 7:45
  • 1
    I've actually just learned that "la espan" is some kind of slang for Esperanto, so even that works! But it's very uncommon, of course. Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 8:33
  • For such questions it is always a good idea to look into Bertil Wennergren's grammar PMEG (bertilow.com/pmeg/detala_enhavo.html), see here for la + language: bertilow.com/pmeg/gramatiko/difiniloj/la/… Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 13:12

It's short for la angla lingvo.

Without "la" it would be "an English language."


Just like in English, there are invisible (or implied) words.

  • Mi parolas la anglan lignvon = Mi parolas la anglan.

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