Monday, September 05, 2016

Using the Bible to learn Esperanto

Oni povas uzi la Biblion por lerni Esperanto. La retejo Jesus Army Multilingual Bible enhavas la Biblion en Esperanto kaj angla kaj multe da alia lingvoj.
L. L. Zamenhof, creator of the Esperanto language, himself translated the Old Testament of the Bible into Esperanto. And from that time on, the Bible has been a textbook for Esperanto students of many linguistic backgrounds. [Vikipedio (Esperanto Wikipedia): L. L. Zamenhof]

Why is this so? The Bible, from Genesis through Revelation, is conveniently divided up into chapters and verses. And the Bible is available in hundreds of languages around the world. There are many Bible sites which allow you to compare Bible translations in various languages. My favorite is the Jesus Army Multilingual Bible.

The Jesus Army site has the Esperanto Bible (except for the Deuterocanonical books which are missing from many Protestant Bibles.) Let's look up a random verse in the Esperanto Bible, John 6:35: "Jesuo diris al ili: Mi estas la pano de vivo; kiu venas al mi, tiu neniam malsatos, kaj kiu kredas al mi, tiu neniam soifos."

Look at the page for John chapter 6 in the Jesus Army site.  On the right side of the page are links to many other Bible translations in English, and many in other languages. Let's click on the King James Version--- that will take us to John chapter 6 in the King James. Here is the verse in English: "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."

Now, using an English-Esperanto dictionary or an appropriate web page, you can study the Esperanto version word-for-word. If you are an absolute beginner to Esperanto, start with the part of the Bible verse in boldface. It contains the most basic of Esperanto verbs, estas. It's the present tense of the verb 'to be' and means am, is, or are.

It contains the first person pronoun, mi which means 'I'. And two basic verbs, pano and vivo--- bread and life.

But what if there is a person who wants to learn Esperanto but doesn't speak English, or not very well. Let's say an African who speaks Xhosa. There is a Xhosa Bible on the Jesus Army page. Here is John 6:35 in Xhosa: "Wathi ke uYesu kubo, Isonka sobomi esi ndim; lowo uzayo kum, akasayi kulamba; lowo ukholwayo kum, akasayi kunxanwa naphakade."

There is a great deal of material in the Bible for the beginning Esperanto student to study. You will not run out of things to learn for years. And many of the great minds of history such as Isaac Newton and Copernicus have believed that the Bible has good and worthy content that does the reader good.

Permission to translate this article into other languages is freely given so long as you post a link back to this article, and make a comment on this blog post giving a link to where you have put up your translation. 

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Esperanto language study:

I am going to be starting a study of some basic learn-Esperanto text on this blog. I will be using a textbook that is in the public domain, likely The Esperanto Teacher by Helen Fryer, which is available as a free ebook.

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