Overview of Esperanto

Accented Letters

You will have noticed letters with a symbol above them. Esperanto has six such accented letters. These are, with their pronunciations:

Esperanto Letter                  Closest English sound
ĉ
ch in church
ĝ
g in gentle
ĥ
ch in the Scots word "loch"
ĵ
s in pleasure
ŝ
sh in shall
ŭ
w in now

Where Esperanto fonts or Unicode are not available you can use ch, gh, hh, jh, sh and u on its own instead. Many Esperantists nowadays use the unofficial forms cx, gx, hx, jx, sx, and ux in informal communications such as email and instant messaging. Most Esperantists prefer to use the official accented letters whenever they can.

Remaining Consonants

The remaining consonants of the Esperanto alphabet are pronounced the same way as they are in English with the exception of the following: "c" is pronounced like the "ts" in "tsunami"; "j" is pronounced like the "y" in "yellow"; "r" is trilled as in Italian or Spanish.

Vowels

Esperanto vowels are pronounced the way an Italian or a Spaniard would pronounce them, so "i" is pronounced like "ee" in English, and "u" like "oo".