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.
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:
- Cockpit: iu -- "u" is my sound for the number 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.).
- Business class: io -- I used an image of The Thing holding Io under his arm. "Io" means thing (something, what thing, that thing, etc.).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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".
- 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.
- A seats in economy class: iam -- "am" is a suit of armor in a block of ice. It is holding an hourglass (time).
- Aisle: iom -- a yogi saying "om" on top of a particle accelerator (quantum -> quantity)
- 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.