This page is in progress (just like all my other pages)!

A list of various techniques in Esperanto that I've found useful in things like translations and fiction. This is certainly not a complete list. For how to write insults, go see my page on insults. A dialect is a difference in speech between fluent or native speakers of a language from different towns, countries, etc that use that language (ex. English in England versus in the USA, or in one section of New York versus another) whereas a socialect is between different social classes (street gangsters, or racketmen, versus businessmen).

In the USA, people don't think about these much anymore and simply call them all "accents", but an accent is influence from an actual other language (ex. a Frenchman speaking English). In the USA, dialects and socialects are rapidly disappearing, but they're still alive and well in most other countries, even to the point where two neighbouring towns may speak noticably differently. To get a taste of American socialects, watch 1930's movies with gangsters in them, you'll particularly notice speech differences in most movies with James Cagney as he tends to be a hoodlum or racketeer who speaks really casually, and often runs into at least one upper-class person who speaks with a different socialect.

Some people act as if it's impossible to show dialects, socialects, and other such things in Esperanto—this is simply because most people are not creative or attentive. There is a clear difference in how an Englishman writes and speaks Esperanto compared to how, say, a German would (or another person who is used to using tons of compound words). Likewise, since sentence order is relatively flexible, a Japanese person might use a different order than a Swede.

Some people, mostly young people who go online all the time, use tons more loanwords ("mangao, blogo...") compared to someone who doesn't ("japana bildhistorio, rettaglibro"). People from different languages even use different punctuation styles. Also, if there are syonyms for a word, people might choose which one to use based on how nice it feels in their own language (for example, I would much rather say something else besides "sinjoro" for "mister", like maybe "(mal)fraŭlo"! Sinjoro just sounds very ugly to me)

1. Drop the -o off words. Instead of "homo (human, person)" we can say hom'. Only a single -o can be dropped, not -e or -a or -on, and so on. Only drop the -o when the final sound is easy to say on its own, ex. ul' or em' is fine, but tr' would be difficult for many people. You should probably include the ' when dropping the o, it's just polite to the reader (although I personally wouldn't think it mattered). Anyway, just actually say the sentence aloud and see if a "lazy person" would say it without the o!

2. Use a lot more euphemisms, especially if they're vulgar. For example, instead of "tualetejo (place for using the toilet; bathroom)" we can say "fekejo (shit-place)". Meanwhile "necesejo (necessary-place)" is actually even more polite than "tualetejo" because its meaning isn't even completely guessable. In the right context, we could say "to capture at sea" to mean "to kidnap out of a sea of people (off the city street)". We can say things like "bird" instead of "singer", or "chest-thumper" instead of "heart", as long as the context is clear.

For some inspiration look at slang from the 1930's, which was big on imagery. However, ALWAYS add footnotes explaining your strange usage! Please don't make people think that your usage is normal if it's at all not literal, is what I mean. You will ALWAYS have absolute beginners reading your stuff.

3. Use prefixes or suffixes a little improperly or strangely. For example, "knaĉjo = knabo + ĉjo". Ĉjo is supposed to be used for a person's name, and supposed to be used with more intimate friends. So for example, if your name is Frederik and some creep you don't know comes up going "Heeeeey Freddie", it feels bad. But if they also break the grammar rules a little like with "knaĉjo", it makes them feel even more like a sleezeball (because thugs tend to use different grammar and slang than other people). However make sure to put a footnote explaining any strange usages!! The usages shouldn't be too jarring. Don't completely change what a suffix means, or anything!

4. Use the -as ending all the time instead of "estas -a", etc. So say "ruĝas (it's red)" instead of "estas ruĝa (it's red)". While in general people do this in Esperanto already, sometimes there are really situations where it's better to write "estas -a", so it feels a little like stretching the grammar like in #3. The as-form is just faster to say and write.

5. Turn all manner of nouns, adjectives, etc. into verbs even when it wouldn't normally be done because your native language stops you from thinking that way. This is too difficult to teach in a brief way, but two examples from Swedish are "to night = to become night-time", "to neck = to drink directly from the bottle(neck), to tablecloth - to set the table". Of course, these can only be used when the context makes it clear what is meant.

Likewise, compound words can be rather vague. "varmilo (warm-tool) = microwave, burner, heater, fire". "parolujo (speech-container) = telephone receiver, cassette tape, CD, record, mp3, voicebox". "vidujo (view-container) - TV, VHS, postcard, picture, those little plastic toys that hold round bits of cardboard with pictures on them (View-Master Slide Viewers)". Such is the nature of slang and casual use!

6. Cut down on the vocabulary as much as possible. REALLY as much as possible; the more you cut down, the more informal it gets! The first step is using "mal (opposite)" whenever possible, ex. malgravediĝi = "to opposite-pregnant-become" = to have a baby, to stop being pregnant" or "malkaj = without, subtract". The second step is cutting out all the quasi-prefixes and suffixes and using only "real" Esperanto roots instead. For example:

somero (summer) = malvintro (opposite-winter); sudo (south) = malnordo (opposite-north);
nenio (nothing) = malĉio (opposite-everything). by the way, this is the real way to say "nothing" in some languages.
psiĥologisto (psychologist) would be said spiritstudisto (mind-study-for-job) or something similar; thus biologio (biology) would be vivstudado (life-ongoing-study)
blogo (what some people use for blog) would be retĵurnalo, rettaglibro (online diary)
kilogramo (kilogram) would be milgramo
antidoto (antidote) would be kontraŭveneno (contra-poison), or simply kuraco (cure)
pseŭdosufikso (pseudo-suffix) would be kvazaŭpostvorto (quasi-post-word) or nevera postaĵo (non-true after-thing) or something similar.
eterna (eternal, forever) would be ĉiama (for always).
stacio (station, terminal) would be (trajn)ripozejo (train rest-place) or -kuŝejo (-lay-place) or even -renkontejo (-meeting place)

— The tele- in televidilo (television) is special. Tele- means not "far; from far away" but actually "bridging distances; connecting two (far-away) places". There is not actually a root in Esperanto that already means this, and all of its replacements are long and wordy. So you can expand this meaning to use it with words that you normally wouldn't think to, if you keep its real meaning in mind. For example, "mi teleos" = "I am going to bridge distances; I'm going on a journey" (some might take it to mean "I'm going to play around with electronics that have names beginning in tele-").

If you think about the stereotype of an "uneducated" person, thug, etc, they have a horrible vocabulary and spell everything wrong. So using these tips to shorten the amount of vocabulary can achieve a similar nuance. I do NOT recommend to use l' instead of la because to a lot of people it seems fancier (ex. like French) and also it makes pronunciation difficult.

7. Use -n more often as a way to skip the prepositions. Ex. "al mi(n)" = "min".

1. Use only older words. Find an early dictionary, for example this one from 1906, and absolutely only have the person use words from that dictionary (use a thesaurus when you search it - sometimes the most common words we use for something today aren't what they used back then), unless it's completely impossible to say what you want with them.

Thus, for example, you could have things like "televidilo (television)" become "kvadrata forvidilo (square away-see-tool)", as long as it wasn't too confusing (Swedish people sometimes say "that square" to mean "that computer", for example). Also, as much as possible, only use meanings from the old dictionary (some words have a little changed meaning now). By the way, "to type" would be "klavi (to key - ex. to use a piano keyboard)".

2. Use ĥ instead of k whenever there's an option (ex. ĥirurgio instead of kirurgio - "surgery").

3. Try to copy Zamenhof's writing style as much as possible.

4. Use a higher vocabulary level, based on that dictionary. For example, use the name of a beautiful, poisonous flower to describe a woman. Generally speaking, the further back in time you go (up to a point), the more vocabulary people knew. Just imagine your grandpa who can name all the plants in a stranger's garden but calls the internet "that soul-sucking device that no one should use".

A tip: If you can't think of how to simplify a word, look it up in Japanese or Chinese and see what each of the Chinese characters are in it, or what the word compounds are. Either use an online dictionary directly, or type the word into Wikipedia and then switch to go to the page in another language, then look up the compounds using the dictionary. This can save a lot of thinking time. You can also try it with other languages that use compounds more, like German or Icelandic.
1. Use a lot of difference sentence structures. Not just "Mi ŝatas ĝin" but also "ĝin ŝatas mi" and "ĝin mi ŝatas" etc. Be very creative!! Test the boundaries of the grammar. Challenge yourself to never use a sentence structure that's exactly like how the English one would be.

2. (This tip is for both "showing accents/foreigners" and "showing trendy people"): Use more loanwords. To be honest I absolutely don't want to recommend doing this - I think no matter how you write, you should always strive to use as small a vocabulary as possible because it's already difficult enough for people from languages like Chinese where all the base vocabulary is completely different. But if you are trying to make a point, then yes, use more loanwords, and make them come from a small language like Faroese, Sami, Ainu or even Anglo-Saxon, so that definitely most people can't recognize them on sight (it stops feeling chic or foreign if they seem like words someone would actually use, so don't use words from modern English!!). This includes even the standard greetings - instead of "saluton", use "ĉau, lo, sal" for example.

3. Use shorter forms of words if it means you can cut part of the useless root out. This was actually directly stated by Zamenhof to be allowed, if the new shorter root wouldn't become the same as another word. Thus, for example, "civilizacio - civilization" doesn't need the -tion (-cio) ending, and could be simply "civilizo".

4. You can add -e, -a etc to words that wouldn't normally have them when it fits the grammar, ex. "ambaŭ = ambaŭe", "pli = plia". Some people already do this. Personally I think it just makes sense to have them since it makes the entire language more regular if we do. Likewise, add -o to ex. "kial - why, for what reason" to get "kialo - a reason".

5. Double up words more at the root, ex. "babili = babibabili". Most people would assume this to mean the same as the -eg or -ad suffixes, or to simply be a funny way to talk. Of course, don't leave out those suffixes just because you doubled the root—treat the new root as if it were completely normal.

6. You can use the difference between ci/vi. Ci is "you (one person)", vi is "you guys, you lot, you fellows, y'all (you for two or more people)". The words have nothing at all to do with politeness levels, although some people have that mistaken idea (Zamenhof said himself that it's only about the number, not about politeness). Since most people seem to not use them, this adds "chic" or "foreign" factor. They can also be used to help show the dialect of someone from a language like all the Germanic-Nordic ones, where these differences exist in their languages (du/ni in Swedish, あなた/あなたたち in Japanese, thou/ye in older English...)
This section is just made-up based on what little we have of the early forms of Esperanto, and of some European language trends. Of course, the amount of the stuff below that you use or don't use is up to you:

1. Spelling changes: v could be w, and j, ĵ could be y, ŷ. This is based on the current and historical spellings/fonts of German, English and Swedish, and also that w and y don't already exist in Esperanto so there could be no confusion.

2. la could be plural when necessary and spelt laj (or "lay" if using the j-to-y change). likewise, instead of "vi, ni" use "mij, cij".

3. use «» quotes since that's what Zamenhof liked, along with the tips from the "old man speech" above. Thus, an example:

Ho, yes. Li mortigis la wetejestrayn dungintoyn preskaŭe unu yaro antaŭe. «Mi ne certas,» Yohano diras, kay si bongrimacas, dolĉe. «Eble mi alportos cin memoraŷon.»

4. Instead of using bolding, italics, etc, in the Germanic countries they used to use spaces. So instead of this writing it would be t h i s w r i t i n g.

5. In the past, everyone used different types of punctuation, and there were a lot more symbols with special meaning than the few that we use today. At different points in time, Japanese for example used katakana in place or person names, or underlined them (nowadays they're written normally, in kanji). This kind of stuff can be looked up online. Of course, make footnotes explaining the usage of any abnormal punctuation (even with normal punctuation it could be necessary, for example not all languages have ; !)

Grammatical Cases:

1. One case, the vocative, already sort of exists. This is the form that words are put in when we show that we're directly talking to someone ("Look, boy" instead of "Look, a boy"). It's simply adding "ho!" to the front of the word, the same as we add "oh" modernly (oh my god, oh brother, O' Captain my Captain). Thus, for example, "Ho bela hundo! = O' beautiful hound!".

2. We can actually add one case without any big problems—the posessive (genitive) one, which is 's, s' and "whose, his" in English. This is already uniquely present in demonstrative pronouns only, which is why we say ties - that person's, that one's and not "tia" (because we can say "la knaba hundo - the boy's hound" along with "la hundo de la knabo - the hound of the boy" to show posession). So we can simply take that -es ending and make it a unique posessive (-ejs would be the plural form, just like how -j goes before -n when saying -ojn). Thus:

Kies hundo? La knabes hundo. La knabejs hundo = Whose hound? The boy's hound. The boys' hound.

3. If really, really needing dative case for some reason, we can take it from "Arcaicam Esperantom", which is a fake archiac dialect of Esperanto that goes way too far with its changes and becomes unintelligible. That case is -d (-jd in plural). Of course, only use this case if you actually know how to use it properly! Overall I strongly recommend that you only use dative if you are using Esperanto to teach languages like German or Icelandic which still has it marked at the end of words. That way you can directly translate things as well as mark which case the words are in. Otherwise, when simply wanting to write older Esperanto, it's enough to use only "-n, -es" and one or both of the spelling changes.
1. Use MORE regular forms than people really do. Ex. "mij = ni; cij = vi" (likely this would only work in writing because mij sounds just like mi...?). Add -e, -a etc. even to words that don't have to have them (ex. ankaŭe). Chop off the non-productive prefixes whenever doing it wouldn't change them into an already-existing word (sentema = tema; danĝero = danĝo; civilizacio = civilizo). Regularize all the nouns that people tend to think of as a certain gender at the root (patro = virpatro, then "patro" becomes simply "parent" and not "father"). 2. Use compounds like what they use in their native language, for example, I've seen in Swedish things like "If you're just a little finger-patient" (you can use your fingers if you're patient). However, this usually requires actually knowing the language...

3. We can change word order around, and have each character use a word order specific to their language (as much as possible), but to help demonstrate dialects we can even change how punctuation is used when that character is speaking or thinking, as there are no real rules for punctuation in Esperanto (simply "do what is true for your own language"). So here are the quotation marks for some other countries and languages:

»sdf« - Older Nordic style (from 20+ years ago I think, was certainly always used 100 years ago), and is still used, especially in all the Germanic-Nordic ones that aren't Swedish or Icelandic. Also used in Czech and German.

"sdf" - English, Vietnamese, et cetera style.

—— sdf. (long dash mark) - Spanish, modern Swedish, et cetera style.

«sdf» - Zamenhof's style, and used in various languages like Basque, Catalan, French, Greek, and Russian.

「sdf」- Japanese, Chinese and Korean style.

„sdf“ - Estonian, German etc. style (yes, German can have two styles).

You can read more here.

4. We can add symbols to certain letters or letter combinations in order to note strange pronunciation. For example, n can become ṋ, likewise ô, ṱ, ẑ, ṋ, ḽ, î, ê, ḓ, â. If wanting to be really clear, we can add marks that don't exist in Esperanto, like ĝ / ǵ, ĥ / ḧ, ŭ / ů. Nowadays you can do anything with Unicode or an edited font! Please do not actually change the overall letters (ex. do NOT change "vizaĝo" to "visaĝo"), instead use symbols like these. Add a note at the beginning of the text explaining the usage. Remember that absolute beginners at Esperanto WILL be reading your text and they will be confused by any real spelling changes!!

5. Similarly, you can switch to using the x- or h- system with certain characters, for example "mi logxas/loghas ĉi tie" instead of "loĝas". However I don't recommend it because it's difficult to read, and in particular, the x-method looks extremely ugly and a bit unpronouncable (so I would use the h-method, if I had to do this).

6. To show an actual foreign language, instead of writing in that foreign language, simply use its script to write in Esperanto (as closely as possible) and then include a key at the front or back of the book. Use the h or x convention as necessary, and spell out all words properly even if it breaks the spelling rules of the original language (ex. in runes, people typically skipped double letters, but DON'T do this if using them to write esperanto!). For example...:

Runes: (aka. for symbolizing Old Norse, Icelandic, Scandinavian or Faroese): Mi loĝas ĉi tie. ᛉᛁ᛫ᛚᚬᚵᚼᛅᛋ᛫ᚲᛁ᛫ᛏᛁᚽ᛬ (mi loghas ki tie).
The dot ᛫ or a space, or another symbol, is the space. the two dots ᛬ or another symbol, is the period. (Runes weren't strict, so they could be written backwards or upside-down or with other symbols for the spaces etc.) The "k" used in "ĉi" is simply a k from another time period, because the ĉ sound doesn't exist.






















c ᛏᛋ

ne vere:


Katakana (Japanese) - the font itself would have to be edited to accomodate the ロ゜but the below spelling is based off ex. how they spell Ainu and foreign languages in Japanese. Likewise, hiragana could be used, but the font would also have to be edited (as a few more symbols like the small "su", don't exist):
ミ ロ°ジャㇲ チ ティエ
み ろ°じゃ(す) ち てぃえ

Hanguel (Korean - note that I don't know Korean so this could be wrong, I just followed Wikipedia):
separated: ㅁㅣ ㄹㅗㅈㅏㅅ ㅊㅣ ㅌㅣㅔ
together: 미 로잣 치 티ㅔ

7. Some people have done things like used an offshoot language (Ido) as a dialect but I don't recommend that because it's confusing. As stated above, you WILL have people who are beginners to Esperanto reading what you write (whether it's on your blog or in your book) and so...
Esperanto is pretty bad at politeness levels. It may even be worse than English. It's fitting for a language that's truly trying to make everyone follow the Jante law, but it's a pain in translating!

Generally speaking, a whole lot of languages use indirect speech, and possibilities when being polite. That is to say, "I" becomes "the current author" or "the author of this text"; "you" or "he" becomes "(family name)", "Mr. (family name)", "one", or "the person" etc. depending on context; "do this" becomes "(I would be happy) if you were to do this..." or "I know you're busy, but is it possible for you to do this?", etc. There are also often mentions, whether directly or indirectly, about how the other person's social status, actions, items, etc. are more important or otherwise better than the speaker's or better than other people's in general, for example "your remarkable/lovely daughter" and "your enviable/esteemed position". Also, of course, proper grammar should be used (always use -n when it should be!) and in general the sentences tend to get longer due to all of the paraphrasing.

Firstly, there are a few general polite words:

bonvole, bonvolu - "goodwill", please
dankon, dankegon, koran dankon, koregan dankegon... - thanks, thank you very much, etc.
laŭvole - "according to want", voluntarily, to taste, if you want to
peti - to request, beg
degni - (a very rare word, it won't be in some dictionaries). to deign, to condescend (to do something that one considers is below one's dignity". this is used in japanese for example, where they say something equivalent to "would you please be so kind as to condescend and do this thing for me..."
komplezi - to be so kind as to comply; to do a favour; to oblige and...

Specific Titles:
moŝto = majesty, eminence, your honor, etc.
reĝo = noble ruler (king, queen...)
princo = someone who is not necessarily a heir to the throne (prince, princess)
kronprinco; kronota princo = heir to the throne; crown prince or princess
sinjoro - Mr., Miss, Mrs. (doesn't denote if someone is married or not)
fraŭlo - Mr., Miss, Bachelor, Bachelorette (specially denotes that they are unmarried)
First of all, use the ci/vi difference as noted above. I've actually met Nordic people who didn't want to learn Esperanto as soon as they noticed there was no ci/vi difference (listed in whatever sources they were learning), because "if Esperanto was actually logical, it would have this difference - it clears up a lot of misunderstandings that can arise, and most languages have this difference too". Not to mention, all the Nordic languages (even Greenlandic and Sami languages) have this difference in them.

Generally speaking, when the sentence is a question, is particularly stressed, is referring back to something that was just said, is a secondary clause, or when an adverb comes at the very beginning of the sentence, the word order is switched a little. Compare:

(insert examples)

That's just an example of how you can add a little flavour to speech by using the basic sentence structure rules from another language.

Basically, a whole lot of words are compounded. Icelandic and Faroese compound the most, so we have words like "í móðurmálslærugreinardiskursinum" (in mother-language's-learn-article-discs-the; en la patrin'lingvo'lern'artikol'diskoj). Meaning, of course, "in the (computer) discs that have articles about learning one's mother tongue".

I can't possibly teach you the logic of Germanic compounding here to a point where you could sound like a Germanic speaker who never learnt a foreign language before Esperanto. For that you simply have to study older English (ex. Anglo-Saxon), or another Germanic language. One example is that, in Swedish, "to farm" is "to land-habitually-use" (att bruka = kutimi; landbruk = "landkutimo" = cultivation, farming etc). "Husband, Master of the house" is literally "house + farmer (husbonde)".

There are however a few general things I can teach you:
1. Swedish specifically doubles a lot of words to sound funny, friendly or cute, for example "hej hej = hello", "natti natt = nighty-night", "puss puss = kiss kiss". The other languages also do this but not to the same extent. Swedish also uses a lot more sound-effect words compared to the other Germanic-Nordics (ex. "pling it" instead of "hit the button to make the bus stop"). While it uses them way more than English does, it doesn't use them as much as Japanese. Anyway, this can be done in Esperanto by repeating part of the root word (babili = babbabili).

2. None of the Scandinavian languages (Swedish, Norwegian, Danish) have any difference between most "hello" and "goodbye" words, thus a Scandinavian will say "hey" to mean both "hello" and "well, see you later". Also, all of them are very fond of taking nouns and turning them into verbs ("to neck = to drink from the bottleneck"). They also tend to call it "American (language)" (amerikanska - usona) instead of saying "American English", for example. With many things they are simply more general than English, except for when it comes to some things regarding qualities, where they're much more exact than English.

3. Prepositions are very often prefixed to the verb. Thus "I put on my shoes" could very well be written "I onput my shoes". There are a few patterns to this but it doesn't need to be talked about here.

4. in Old Norse, Swedish, etc. usually there is no difference marked between present and future tense, as it's seen as obvious due to context. So "It won't work" is written "It works not; It isn't working" even if talking about how a future plan won't work. "The train is going to/will arrive at two" would be written "The train arrives at two". "He'll be five this year" is written "He is five this year". So these kinds of differences can be used as "accents".

5. They do NOT ask "How are you? (Kiel fartas ci?)" everytime they meet or start a conversation with someone. That question is reserved for either if the person was ill the last time they met, or if it's been a very long time since they've met the person. However people from the USA ask this every time a new conversation starts (so you may very well get this question from a Nordic person less than once a year, but from an American once every day).

6. Insults are usually weak by English's standards, so they're things like "sheep skull", "old maid/hag", "that's no (kind of) idea" (that's a stupid idea; don't do that; that's not worth even thinking about", "dirt-sock", and of course things like "go to where the peppers grow; go to the forest (of hell); go to hell; go to the east (or south or wherever it was said that Hell was, in the old norse sagas or in the bible)!", all meaning "go to hell". Finns however, or so I hear, use a lot more insults relating to genitals and so on. They also have their own special insults for their neighbouring countries, for example "potato" or "butter" relates to Denmark (ex. something like "you butter-eater!" = "you stupid Dane!" because they use way too much butter). A few Swedes I know are fond of saying "you hamburger!" or "your mother was a hamburger!" etc. when insulting people from the USA.

7. There are of course, key vocabulary differences between an English speaker and a Nordic person. For example, words relating to ice, snow, flora, fauna, and work-tools (as in for cutting wood etc) are much more in common, everyday use. Generally speaking, a Swede will look at a field and be able to tell you the types of grass, flowers and trees that are there and if they are edible, or they can hear the birds and tell you which types are singing, or they will be able to tell you which tools are used to make what. Instead of simply saying "a tree, a flower" or "a red flower", the Swede will want to say specifically which type ("a birch"). But this same Swede will simply say "a thick shirt" to mean "a sweater/jumper".

To learn these differences you simply have to learn the language and be immersed in the culture (unfortunately). But among other things, one keyword that can make your writing sound instantly a little more Scandinavian is to use "kafumi (att fika)", which is like "having a cosy coffee (or snack, with friendly people, and probably chatting idly)". You can also make liberal use of the various words like "komforta, malĝena, etoso" meaning "cosy" and "good atmosphere" (mysig, hygge).