Esperanto - Stanford University site-map
Esperanto Pronunciation
The Esperanto alphabet consists of 28 letters. They look exactly like the English letters except that: 4 letters have been removed, Q, W, X and Y; and 6 letters that can stand alone also can have diacritics ("accent marks") on them, C, G, H, J, S and U. There are 2 diacritics: the circumflex "^"; and the breve, which looks like a small "u". The breve is found on top of the letter U and the circumflex is found on the letters C, G, H, J and S.
Note that the internet was invented in the USA. EVERY other language on this planet has some difference with the English used on the internet. The differences range from some kind of diacritic to a totally different alphabet. So Esperanto is equal to all other languages of the world in its handicap in using the internet to represent itself. Some internet browsers can already see the character set properly. If the following letters:
look like the letters in this picture (with the diacritic marks)
(This is a graphic showing the
letters of the Esperanto alphabet.)
then you already can read these pages and Esperanto text in general with this browser.
If the letters do not correspond with the picture of the letters then you probably just need to get the fonts to show them. (If you do not even see the graphic then you do not have a graphical browser. This is not necessary as you may use the "x" method explained below.) To get these fonts for a Micro$oft Windows machine, you should go to and download all of the files listed in pink and install them. This is a total mess because Micro$oft has stopped supporting their own, universally useful creation. There's no money in it, i suppose. If you have a Mac or are running Linux, you probably have everything you need already. Please let me know if you have any problems with this.
The "X" method of representing the Esperanto alphabet.

Note, that there is no "x" in the Esperanto alphabet! When someone is reading from the internet and they cannot see the real letters, we use the "X" to signify that the letter before the x had an accent mark on it. So, finally, here is the Esperanto alphabet using the "x" method:

A B C Cx D E F G Gx H Hx I J Jx K L M N O P R S Sx T U Ux Z
Everyone who can access the internet can see those letters.

Even if you have a browser that can see the correct letters, you need to know this "x" method so that you will not be confused when you see it on the internet somewhere, including this site. I will be putting the "x" method writing of the word after the original, in brackets so that no matter what you use to see these pages, they will have all the information you need.
(Why the "x" was chosen will be explained in class.)

Also note that the following pronunciation ideas are based on my years in California and not on my origins in The Bronx. Please listen in class to really hear these sounds or check the link below if you can play sounds on your computer.
    Only those letters marked with a "*" are different from US English.
  • A - a like when the doctor tells you to "say ahh"
  • B - b as in bob
  • * C - ts as in lots
  • * Ĉ [Cx]- ch as in church
  • D - d as in doe
  • E - e as in bet
  • F - f as in far
  • G - g as in go
  • * Ĝ [Gx] - g as in George
  • H - h as in hat
  • * Ĥ [Hx] - ch as in Scottish loch or German ach (this is the only strictly non-English sound)
  • I - i as in machine
  • * J - y as in yes
  • * Ĵ [Jx] - like the s in pleasure
  • K - like the c in cat
  • L - l as in love
  • M - m as in money
  • N - n as in noun
  • O - o as in boat
  • P - p as in peace
  • * R - trilled like in Spanish or Italian OR gutteral as the French and Germans do it
  • S - s as in start
  • * Ŝ [Sx] - sh as in shop
  • T - t as in toga
  • * U - oo as in boot
  • * Ŭ [Ux] - w as in slow
  • V - v as in vote
  • Z - z as in zoo
    There are some diphtongs:
  • AJ - like the y in my
  • AŬ [AUx] - like the ow in how
  • EJ - like ay in play
  • EŬ [EUx] - like an exaggerated too high-class British person saying the o's in "Oh no"
  • OJ - like oy in boy
  • UJ - like the Spanish uy in muy
    General rules.
  • Each word is spelled exactly as it sounds. There are no silent letters.
  • Each vowel marks a syllable and the stress is always placed on the next to last syllable.
US English speakers should read this for some help with pronunciation. Again, come to class to hear and see how they are pronounced.
If you have sound capabilities on your computer you may be able to use this link to Don HARLOW's pronunciation page (sounds in .au format).
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