Esperanto Vocabulary

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See also the How to Learn Esperanto page.

Table of Correlatives

Question and answer words are linked in a separate system. It consists of five beginnings and nine endings which can be combined in many ways.[1]

Beginning Short clarification
ki- [what]
ti- [that]
i- [some]
ĉi- [every]
neni- [no]
Ending Short clarification
-o thing
-u one, or person
-a kind of, sort of
-el manner, in ... way
-e place
-am time
-om quantity (amount)
-al reason, for ... reason
-es one's, person's

Together they form a table:

kio - what, what thing tio - that, that thing io - something, anything ĉio - everything, all things nenio - nothing
kiu - who, which one tiu - that person, that one iu - someone, somebody ĉiu - everyone, everybody neniu - no one, nobody
kia - what kind of, what (a) tia - that kind of, such a ia - some kind of, any kind of ĉia - every kind of, all kinds of nenia - no kind of
kiel - how, in what way tiel - that way, thus, like that, so iel - somehow, in some way ĉiel - in every way neniel - in no way
kie - where, in what place tie - there, in that place ie - somewhere, anywhere, in some place ĉie - everywhere, in every place nenie - nowhere, in no place
kiam - when, at what time tiam - then, at that time iam - sometime, anytime, ever ĉiam - always, at all times neniam - never, at no time, not ever
kiom - how much, how many, what quantity tiom - so much, as many, that quantity iom - some, some quantity ĉiom - the whole quantity, all of it neniom - not a bit, none, no quantity
kial - why tial - for that reason ial - for some reason ĉial - for every reason nenial - for no reason
kies - whose ties - that one's ies - someone's ĉies - everyone's nenies - no one's


Memorizing the Table of Correlatives

I (Josh) memorized this while traveling by making a clockwise journey around the inside of a plane:

  1. Cockpit: iu -- "u" is my sound for the number 2[2], so I used a swan image in a glass of iced tea, which is my image for 01 ("one"). Iu is "one" (someone, that one, which one, etc.).
  2. Business class: io -- I used an image of The Thing holding Io under his arm. "Io" means thing (something, what thing, that thing, etc.).
  3. Across from door: ia -- the number 4 has the sound "a" in my mnemonic system, so I pictured a flag (4) with an image for "kind". "Ia" means "kind": some kind, that kind, etc.
  4. Front of economy class: ie -- The sound "e" in my system is 7 and my image for 7 is a boomerang. A slang word for Amsterdam is "mokum" which comes from Hebrew (via Yiddish) and means "place". So I pictured an Amsterdam coffeeshop with boomerangs on the wall.
  5. Back of plane: iel -- it sounds almost like "eel" and mean's "way" or "manner", so I pictured Bill & Ted in a fish tank with eels saying "waaayyyy".
  6. Back bathroom: ial -- in my system, the sound "al" is represented by the image of a werewolf in a block of ice. In Esperanto, it means "reason" (some reason, what reason, etc.). I picture Voltaire ("reason") turning into a werewolf in a block of ice.
  7. A seats in economy class: iam -- "am" is a suit of armor in a block of ice. It is holding an hourglass (time).
  8. Aisle: iom -- a yogi saying "om" on top of a particle accelerator (quantum -> quantity)
  9. Outside the plane's door: ies -- I don't remember my image for this one, but there was a hat involved. The word stuck by itself. :)

I memorized the suffixes with the above journey, and then the prefixes like this:

  • no prefix -- "some"
  • "T" for "that"
  • "K" for "question"
  • "N" for "none"
  • "Cx" for the "ch" in "each"

For a similar memorization method, see this comment in the Art of Memory blog.

References

See Also