The Esperanto Teacher/The alphabet
THE ALPHABET. SOUNDS OF THE LETTERS.
In Esperanto each letter has only one sound, and each sound is represented in only one way. The words are pronounced exactly as spelt, every letter being sounded.
Those consonants which in English have one simple sound only are exactly the same in Esperanto; they are—b, d, f, k, l, m, n, p, r, t, v, z (r must be well rolled).
q, w, x, y are not used.
c, g, h, s, which in English represent more than one sound, and j are also used with the mark ˆ— c ĉ, g ĝ, h ĥ, j ĵ, s ŝ.
c (whose two English sounds are represented by k and s) has the sound of ts, as in its, tsar.
ĉ like ch, tch, in church, match.
g hard, as in go, gig, gun.
ĝ soft, as in gentle, gem, or like j in just, Jew.
h well breathed, as in horse, home, how.
ĥ strongly breathed, and in the throat, as in the Scotch word loch. (Ask any Scotsman to pronounce it). ĥ occurs but seldom. It is the Irish gh in lough, and the Welsh ch.
j like y in yes, you, or j in hallelujah, fjord.
ĵ like s in pleasure, or the French j, as in dejeuner, Jean d'Arc.
s like ss in ass, less, never like s in rose.
ŝ like sh in she, shall, ship, or s in sugar, sure.
In newspapers, etc., which have not the proper type, ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ, ŝ are often replaced by ch, gh, hh, jh, sh, or by c', g', h', j', s', and ŭ by u.
ŭ is also a consonant, and has the sound of w in we, as Eŭropo, or u in persuade.
The vowels a, e, i, o, u have not the English, but the Continental sounds.
a always like a in ah! or in tart.
e like e in bend, but broader, like e in there.
i is a sound between ee in meet and i in is.
o like o in for, or in the Scottish no, or au in aught.
u like oo in boot, poor.
a, e, i, o, u are all simple sounds, that is, the mouth is kept in one position while they are being sounded. In learning them lengthen them out, and be careful not to alter the position of the mouth, however long they are drawn out. In the compound sounds given below the shape of the mouth changes; to get the correct pronunciation sound each letter fully and distinctly, gradually bringing them closer until they run together, when they become almost as follows:—
aj nearly like ai in aisle, or i in nice, fine.
ej nearly like ei in vein.
oj nearly like oy in boy, or oi in void.
uj nearly like uj in hallelujah.
aŭ like ahw, or nearly ou in house, pronounced broadly, haouse.
eŭ like ehw, or ey w in they were, ayw in wayward.
Practise saying aja, eja, oja, uja, aŭa, eŭa several times quickly. Then gradually drop the final a.