Esperanto is a constructed language. It is the most regular and easiest language to learn. It has several characteristics that make it a tool of choice for practicing logopedic exercises. The summary below is described in more detail in my pedagogical thesis "School integration: the hope of Esperanto"
What is Esperanto?
It is a language built in 1887 by a Polish doctor (Ludovic Zamenhof) who was keen to improve communication between peoples. It is currently spoken by more than 2 million people in more than 120 countries. It conveys an unparalleled cultural diversity by promoting equality between different ethnic groups, because it does not belong to any particular people, but to everyone.
These main characteristics are:
- A logical language: 16 grammar rules without exception. The most important rules:
- Esperanto has only one defined article:’la‘ (la pomo: the apple, la hundo: the dog)
- All nouns end with the letter ‘-o‘, all adjectives with the letter ‘-a‘ (la bona pomo)
- Plurals are formed by adding the letter’-j‘ at the end of the word (unu pomo, du pomoj).
- Adverbs by the letter ‘-e‘, verbs to the infinitive by the letter ‘-i‘, in the present tense by the letters ‘-as‘, in the past tense ‘-is‘ and in the future ‘-os‘. (Mi sidis. Nun mi manĝas. Poste vi pagos)
- The accusative is indicated by the final ‘n‘.
- An easy language: based on the prefix-root-suffix construction, the vocabulary is very quickly rich.
- mal- = opposite : bona / malbona = good / bad ; fermi / malfermi = close / open ; …
- -et- = small: domo / dometo = house / cottage; arbo / arbeto = tree / shrub; …
- -in- = female: ĉevalo / ĉevalino = horse / mare; feo / feino = fairy (neutral) / fairy (female) ; …..
- …there are about forty of them…
- A phonic language: Each letter is pronounced in one way and each sound is written in one way. See the pronunciation table at the end of the document.
Why Esperanto for Dyslexia?
In speech therapy practices, dys children do language rehabilitation. This is extra work to do in addition to their disadvantage in the classroom. In particular, they work on the concepts:
- Phoneme-grapheme association
- Syllables (sound cutting)
- Morphology of words (root, suffix, prefix).
- Syntax (combination of words to form sentences).
- Semantics (meaning of words).
Esperanto allows these concepts to be put into practice in the classroom, benefiting all other students:
- The combination of grapheme and phoneme Composed of 28 phonemes for 28 graphemes, each letter is pronounced and everything that is pronounced is written. So there is no spelling problem. (See the pronunciation table at the end of the document) By doing dictations in Esperanto, we can highlight problems of logic and/or hearing as well as for reading aloud.
- Syllables In Esperanto, the tonic accent is given to the penultimate syllable. The notion of syllable becomes useful and the cutting of words more obvious. "La bela floro"; "La universitato"
- Word morphology Affixes and roots are actively used to build words and enrich one’s vocabulary. mal- = opposite : bona / malbona = good / bad ; closed / malfermi = close / open ; … -et- = small : domo / dometo = house / cottage ; arbo / arbeto = tree / shrub ; … -in- = female : ĉevalo / ĉevalino = horse / mare ; feo / feino = fairy (neutral) / fairy (female) ; ..
- Syntax The construction of sentences in Esperanto follows simple rules and without exception. The fast ĉevalo manĝas the pomon antaŭ the pordo. The horse quickly eats the apple in front of the door. [La ĉevalo] is the subject, because it is not introduced by a preposition and does not end by’n'[fast] is the adverb (it ends by ‘e’)[manĝas] is the verb conjugated in the present tense (it ends by ‘as’)[the pomon] is the complement of direct object (it ends by the accusative ‘n’)[antaŭ the pordo] is an complement of indirect object introduced by ‘antaŭ’ (front)
- Semantics The meaning of words is contained in its senses With the notion of affixes (prefixes-root-suffixes), the student is allowed to construct his semantic fields. By broadening the notion of affixes and roots, several roots can be combined to form words. On the other hand, one can guess the meaning of a word by analyzing it. Sindonema can be written, to facilitate its analysis, sin’don’em’a. sin : relative to self-donation : comes from doni = to give em : inclination, tendency, quality (for a living being) a : adjective The word therefore qualifies a person who tends to give of himself, or, in English "devoted".
Learning Esperanto makes it possible to work in the classroom what the student with dyslexic disorders works in a speech therapy office. The goal is not to replace speech-language pathologists, but to provide additional tools so that the effects of dyslexic disorder can be reduced more quickly. More than just a tool, Esperanto helps to restore the student’s confidence by allowing him or her to experience success in the field of languages in the school environment. Learning Esperanto could therefore be beneficial not only to dyslexic students, but also to all students with language difficulties.