This article is from the Esperanto FAQ, by Mike Urban email@example.com and Yves Bellefeuille firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
For US residents, the Esperanto League for North America is the best and
most reliable source for Esperanto materials. They offer a free basic
correspondence course (by snail mail, but see below for an E-mail
course), and may be offering a more detailed and advanced paid
correspondence course. They have an extensive catalogue of books,
including texts, reference, fiction, poetry, cassette tapes and audio
CD-ROMs. Their address is:
Esperanto League for North America
El Cerrito CA 94530
tel. 1-800-ESPERANTO (1-800-377-3726) toll-free (USA and Canada)
for a free information package
tel. (510) 653-0998
WWW site: http://www.esperanto-usa.org/
A more immediate source of texts, especially for those with access to a
university, is your local library. The quality of the books will vary
widely, of course, but most of the texts, even the older ones, will
provide a reasonable general introduction to the language.
One exception, mentioned here only because it was surplused to *many*
libraries around the US, is the US Army's "Esperanto: The Aggressor
Language", which is more of a curiosity than a useful textbook. This
book was prepared to make military exercises more realistic by having
the opposing forces speak different languages, as would be the case in a
real war. The soldiers playing the role of the aggressor were taught
Esperanto, hence the strange title. Unfortunately, the book is extremely
poor and contains a great many mistakes; in addition, its emphasis is on
military terms, not on everyday vocabulary.
The problem with most old texts is that they are... well... old! Their
presentations can seem very bland and old-fashioned, and their
"cultural" information about the Esperanto community will often be
hopelessly out of date. One recent US textbook is Richardson's
"Esperanto: Learning and Using the International Language". It is
available from ELNA and perhaps some libraries.
Another book, "Teach Yourself Esperanto" by Cresswell and Hartley, is a
very useful introduction to the language. The "Teach Yourself" series
can often be found in ordinary bookstores.
Another good, if a bit old-fashioned, textbook, "Step by Step in
Esperanto" by Butler, has recently been reprinted and is available from
ELNA. Still another book recommended by more than one participant is
"Saluton!" by Audrey Childs-Mee. This is entirely in Esperanto, with
Wells's two-way "Esperanto Dictionary" is a good choice for beginners.
This dictionary is in the same series as "Teach Yourself Esperanto" and
is also often available in ordinary bookstores. For a more thorough
treatment, see Butler's one-way "Esperanto-English Dictionary", and
Benson's one-way "Comprehensive English-Esperanto Dictionary".
Free Esperanto courses by E-mail are available in several languages.
Typically, these have 10 lessons and teach a vocabulary of a few hundred
words. The system is the same as for traditional correspondence courses:
the instructor sends a lesson; the student does the exercises and sends
them back; the instructor corrects the exercises and sends the next
Free Esperanto Course
Marko Rauhamaa <email@example.com>
Cours gratuit d'esperanto
Ken Caviness <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Steffen Pietsch <email@example.com>
Mianfei Shijieyu Kecheng
ZHONG Qiyao <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Andrej Ananjin <email@example.com>
Other languages are also available; see
for a list.