A First Course in Ido

Stage 1.

Now let's get on to actually learning some Ido. By the end of stage 2 you should be able to construct quite complicated sentences, but we will need to progress to that point gradually. So first let's introduce some nouns. Here are the words for some familiar everyday things:

domo - a house
hundo - a dog
pomo - an apple
libro - a book

As you can see, there is no word for "a" or "an" in Ido (ie. there is no indefinite article). Here are some more nouns:

animalo - an animal
frukto - a fruit, fruit

Let's introduce our first verb, esas, which means "is", "are" or "am". We can now form our first simple sentences.

Hundo esas animalo - A dog is an animal
Pomo esas frukto - An apple is a fruit

As you will have probably guessed by now, all nouns (object-words) in Ido end in -o in the singular. This means that whenever you read a sentence of Ido you can immediately decide which words are singular nouns. Any noun can be turned into a plural by simply removing the final -o and adding -i instead. So here are some plural nouns:

libri - books
domi - houses
hundi - dogs

Now since our verb esas means "are" as well as "is", we can easily change our sentences:

Hundi esas animali - Dogs are animals
Pomi esas frukti - Apples are fruits

Although there is no indefinite article in Ido, there is a definite one. The word for "the" is la. Let's now illustrate this:

la libro - the book
la libri - the books
la pomo - the apple
la hundi - the dogs

By now you will have noticed some similarities between Ido and English. Compare, for instance, hundo with "hound" and domo with "domestic". Often these links can help you to remember Ido words. You are probably wondering exactly how to say all these words you have seen. Let's take a break then to learn some pronunciation.

Ido is a phonetic language, which means that by looking at a word you always know exactly how to say it. Compare this with English, where we have, for example, "bear" and "fear", "tour" and "sour". This is one of the biggest difficulties for the learner of English. Let's first see how the vowels are pronounced:

a - as in father
e - as in veil
i - as in machine
o - as in total
u - as in rule

In fact, these are the "continental values" for the vowels, so that Ido sounds a little like Italian or Spanish when spoken. There are also two vowel pairs (diphthongs) in Ido: au and eu. The vowels are not quite pronounced separately, the sounds being merged. So au should sound more like the "ow" in "cow", and similarly for eu.

Now let's look at the consonants. These are pronounced as follows:

b,d,f,k,l,m,n,p,v,w,z - all pronounced as in English
c - as the ts in bets
g - as in give
h - always sounded, as in hat
j - as in French, or the sound of s in pleasure
qu - as in queen
r - trilled as in Scottish, Spanish or Italian speech
s - as in seven
t - as in table
x - as in exit
y - as in yes
ch - as in much
sh - as in ship

Armed with this information, now go back and make sure you can correctly pronounce the Ido words above before going on. And you now know how to say `Ido' itself: "ee-doh". The next step is to introduce some more useful words:

en - in
sur - on
e/ed - and (both forms equally valid)
hike - here
La hundi esas en la domo - The dogs are in the house
La pomo esas sur la tablo - The apple is on the table
La libri esas hike - The books are here

There is only one word we haven't introduced in these sentences: tablo - table. Now let's introduce a few more words and make our sentences even more interesting:

dolca - sweet
bela - beautiful
kelka - a few
floro -flower
La bela flori esas sur la tablo
La pomi esas dolca hike
La libri esas en la domo e kelka hundi esas hike

The first three words in the last list are adjectives, that is, words that describe things. These always end in -a in Ido. Let's introduce some more:

granda - big, large
rapida - fast, quick
mikra - small
La mikra pomo esas sur la granda tablo

The adjective can be placed before or after the noun in Ido, according to taste. What we need now are a few more verbs, such as have, go or read. We have so far seen the verb esas. This is actually a form of the infinitive esar - to be. All infinitives (to be, to go etc.) in Ido end in -ar. To get the present tense we simply replace this with -as, and this is the same for all verbs in Ido. There are no irregular verbs in Ido! So here are some verbs:

havar - to have
ludar - to play
sidar - to sit
prenar - to take
lektar - to read
irar - to go
La patro lektas la libro - The father is reading the book
La hundo prenas la pomo - The dog takes the apple
La kato sidas sur la bela tablo - The cat sits on the beautiful table
La kato ludas kun la hundo - The cat plays with the dog

There is no distinction in Ido between the two English present tenses: reads and is reading, but the meaning should be clear from the situation. Now let's have a look at the numbers in Ido, starting with the numbers from 1 to 10: un, du, tri, quar, kin, sis, sep, ok, non, dek.

Tri pomi e sis libri esas sur la mikra tablo - Three apples and six books are on the small table

Ido uses a decimal number system, so the numbers 11-99 are formed from the first ten as follows:

dek-e-un - eleven
dek-e-du - twelve, etc.
duadek - twenty
duadek-e-un - twenty-one
triadek-e-un - thirty-one etc.
nonadek-e-non - ninety-nine

Ninety-nine, for instance, can be thought of as "nine times ten plus nine" in Ido. Notice that -a- is used to "multiply" numbers, and -e- is used to "add" them.
To say "there is" or "there are" in Ido we use simply esas:

Esas quaradek-e-sis pomi en la gardeno - There are forty-six apples in the garden

Now let's introduce the personal pronouns, words like "I", "you" and "us":

me - I/me
tu, vu - you (one person)
il(u), el(u), ol(u) - he/him, she/her, it
ni - we/us
vi - you (more than one person)
ili, eli, oli, li - they/them

The long forms for il(u) etc. are not often used without endings. The forms ili etc. are used for males, females and objects respectively, while li is used when we don't need to convey any of these meanings. There is also a singular analogue lu, which is used to mean "he or she". The pronouns tu and vu are familiar and formal forms respectively (like French "tu" and "vous").

El kompras libro en la butiko, ma il kompras jurnalo - She buys a book in the shop, but he buys a newspaper

One of the most important features of Ido is the use of affixes. For example, most words for people in Ido are neutral:

kuzo - cousin (male or female)
doktoro - doctor (male or female)
frato - sibling

We use the suffix -ul- for the male version, and -in- for the female. So kuzino is a female cousin, fratulo means brother and fratino means sister. Note that the suffix is placed between the root and the final -o. One important exception is that patro = father, matro = mother and genitoro/i = parent(s). We will meet more affixes in Stage 2.

We have seen how to make statements, but how do we turn these into questions? To ask a question in Ido we put the question-word ka before the statement:

Ka li esas hike hodie? - Are they here today?
Ka vu havas la blua libro? - Have you got the blue book?

Here are the other important question-words:

quo/qui - what (singular/plural)
qua/qui - who (singular/plural)
qua - which
ube - where
kande - when
pro quo - why
quale - how

Ube ni iras? - Where are we going?
Qua venas kun ni? - Who is coming with us?

The last thing we will learn in Stage 1 is how to greet people and use set phrases. This is best done by example:

Bona matino! - Good morning!
Bona jorno! - Good day!
Quale vu standas? - How are you?
Tre bone, danko - Very well, thank you
Yes/No - Yes/No
Quale vu nomesas? - What is your name?
Me nomesas James - My name is James

Now proceed to Stage 2.

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