Much improved and updated site for learning Esperanto
If you don’t know any foreign language but are interested in learning one, it turns out that if you first learn Esperanto as your first foreign language, the learning of your target language is facilitated and improved—see this Wikipedia article.
At first blush it might seem that the time studying Esperanto would be better spent in studying the target language, but note the following from the Wikipedia article on Esperanto:
The Institute of Cybernetic Pedagogy at Paderborn (Germany) has compared the length of study time it takes natively French-speaking high-school students to obtain comparable ‘standard’ levels in Esperanto, English, German, and Italian. The results were:
2000 hours studying German = 1500 hours studying English = 1000 hours studying Italian (or any other Romance language) = 150 hours studying Esperanto.
So the time it takes to learn Esperanto is a fraction of the time it takes to learn a national language. The same article notes:
(Main article: Propaedeutic value of Esperanto)
Four primary schools in Britain, with some 230 pupils, are currently following a course in “propaedeutic Esperanto”—that is, instruction in Esperanto to raise language awareness and accelerate subsequent learning of foreign languages—under the supervision of the University of Manchester. As they put it,
Many schools used to teach children the recorder, not to produce a nation of recorder players, but as a preparation for learning other instruments. [We teach] Esperanto, not to produce a nation of Esperanto-speakers, but as a preparation for learning other languages.
Studies have been conducted in New Zealand,United States,Germany,Italy and Australia. The results of these studies were favorable and demonstrated that studying Esperanto before another foreign language expedites the acquisition of the other, natural language. This appears to be because learning subsequent foreign languages is easier than learning one’s first foreign language, whereas the use of a grammatically simple and culturally flexible auxiliary language like Esperanto lessens the first-language learning hurdle. In one study, a group of European secondary school students studied Esperanto for one year, then French for three years, and ended up with a significantly better command of French than a control group, who studied French for all four years.
The reason I bring up this notion now, is that the on-line Esperanto study site, lernu.net, has been revamped and significantly improved. From an email I received:
In July 2016, the site was completely rebuilt from scratch. The work on the new site took several years: it was necessary to create the course with many exercises, design hundreds of illustrations, write a new grammar guide, find a variety of texts for the library, voice and comprehensibly translate the texts, and lay out and program everything. The new site now looks and works better on modern computers and mobile phones, and is also easier to navigate. The changes go far beyond the appearance of the site; the entire contents of the site were redesigned as well. The site now has a comprehensive and interesting course, a rich library, and a completely new forum. We warmly invite you to visit the new site, if you haven’t yet done so.
“Lernu” is the imperative of the verb “lerni” (to learn).
Take a look at the site, and consider using Esperanto as an introduction to foreign-language learning.
UPDATE: Read the first section of this page for some good examples of how Esperanto vocabulary is quite rapidly and easily acquired. Click the speaker icon by each word to hear it said aloud.