Should proper nouns be transcribed with Esperanto letters or not? For example "Gia" (Italian name): Do I write "Ĝia" or "Ĝiao" or "Giao" or "Gia"?

2 Answers 2


The tradition within UEA is to transscribe the names of towns where UKs are held. Also the names of famous esperantists are usually transcribed or they have taken an Esperanto name.

I would say that for others, it depends. The more pronunciation differs from the Esperanto pronunciation, the better is the idea to transcribe.

Take for instance the Italian esperantist Gian Carlo Fighiera. If he does not have an Esperanto name, you can write "Gian" and provide a pronunciation hint, e.g. "Gian [Ĝian]". Or you can fully go with the transcribed version using a stipulative introduction "Gian, poste en formo Ĝian laŭ elparolado". But it really depends on the situation.

Names written in non-Latin-based writing systems, for instance the former emperor 嘉靖, are always latinized into form that follows pronunciation, so Ĝiaĝing. Here you can use an introduction like "Ĝiaĝing (ĉine 嘉靖, piĝine: Jiājng)" like they have done in Wikipedia.

  • So, what do you suggest? "Ĝiao" or "Ĝia" ?
    – Masoud B
    Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 7:15
  • it seems there is not the same way. look these wikipedia pages. eo.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gian_Carlo_Fighiera eo.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%9Cia%C4%9Ding
    – Masoud B
    Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 7:33
  • I added those two examples. Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 8:16
  • In my opinion, if the only change needed to esperantize a name is adding a hat ^ (as in the example given), I think it's OK to add it without sweating over the details, so Ĝia. On the other hand, if you changed J to Ĝ (or kept the J but changed the pronunciation as it is done with some “classic” names, like John → Johano), then I'd write a longer note as suggested: “originala: John, prononco: Ĝon, ktp”.
    – marcus
    Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 14:48
  • @marcus, except that pronunciation-wise "g" and "ĝ" stand quite apart – up to the point that you can say that they have nothing in common. Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 6:21

Historically there was a tendency (idealism) to Esperantize names, and in case of say the bible it was apt and unavoidable.

Nowadays a more modest approach is to let the latin names as they are (and also not accusativized): Gia. Following the transcription of non-latin scripts I think non-misforming accents are possible: Ĝia. Especially where the pronunciation is probably unfamiliar to the reader. Ĝon for John forms a secret language. Or better (as possible for all names) make a footnote of the phonetic pronunciation. Anything else would have needed a footnote for the original name!

Only in settings without couleur locale, like in a school play, a short story in any city, one might consider invented, hence Esperanto names, where Johano might be more appealing than Johannes or better prononciable.

Geographic names are a bit more Esperantized, though not for village level names. This is not uncommon in other languages: Liège/Luik/Lüttich, Aachen/Aken, Nijmegen/Nimwegen.

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