Esperanto at Stanford University


Classes at Stanford > Reference Material > Lessons > Pronunciation

Esperanto Pronunciation

The Esperanto alphabet consists of 28 letters. They look almost exactly like the English letters except that: the letters Q, W, X and Y have been removed; and 6 letters, C, G, H, J, S and U, that can stand alone, also can have diacritics (“accent marks”) on them. C, G, H, J and S can have the circumflex "^"; and U can have the breve, which looks like a small "u".

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 (except Latin and some recently invented languages). 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. Modern 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, as well as Esperanto on the 'net, 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. While a graphical browser is not necessary, you will be missing A LOT, without one. Without a graphical browser you may use the “x” method explained below.) To get these fonts for a Microsoft Windows machine, you should go to and install the appropriate files.

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 written pronunciation explanations 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.

There are some diphtongs:

General pronunciation rules.

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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