Anki tells me im at something like 500+ vocabulary words, though their all at different states of being learned; and I spent a considerable amount of time this weekend forcing myself to introduce myself, ask questions and reply to comments on various corners of the web were esperantists converse.
Esperanto is an agglutinative language. Which means you can build words from various roots, suffixes and prefixes. Which means a small amount of vocbulary can take you a bit further than in a non-agglutinative language.
There does seem to be though kind of a stickling point here though in that not all constructed words are equal. Which I kinda touched on before but hit more home this week. When I went around introducing myself as a ‘novulo’. Made from the compound words ‘nova’ (new) and ‘ulo’ which is sort of a gender-neutral informal person identifier; like guy or dude. Kind of like calling one’self a newbie or newcommer.
One or two esperantists were quick to point out that this was not the propper word. ‘Komencato’ being the usual noun for this (though it wasn’t part of my vocabulary at the time.) Which closely hews to the english word beginner.
This is some pretty fine splitting of hairs. And several esperantists were quick to counter correct that novulo is fine and is even in the official canon.
But it does kind of highlight something I struggle with. Which is there actual do appear to be kind of preferred routes through the agglutinative construction. Doktoro for what I can tell is a much more common word for doctor than ‘kuracisto’ ( made up of the parts ‘kruaci’ - to cure and ‘isto’ - the suffix indicating a professional person. ) Though conversely the later might make more sense to people if Doctoro isn’t a cognate in their native tongue.
Maybe some of this is a bit more exacerbated too because im using a rather old book from my shelf to learn. Also a lot of such things will come out in the wash as I get more comfortable writing in the language.