Children have learnt that all Esperanto nouns end in an ‘o’ — that the ‘o’ is a small flag saying: ‘Hi! I am a noun!’

It is fun for children to point out the nouns in an Esperanto sentence, and they love trying to use this knowledge to ‘hunt’ the nouns in similar sentences in other languages. Yes – other languages have nouns in them too! The children are learning analysis, learning to transfer their skills; becoming ‘language aware’.

Imagine the children have been studying ‘animal’ words in Esperanto and have learnt amongst others fiŝo and muso.

Imagine children understand Mi havas fiŝon kaj muson, so now we might introduce a German sentence: Mi havas fiŝon kaj muson. Ich habe einen Fisch und eine Maus.

We use it to discuss capitals… Yes, fiŝo and muso are ‘flagged’ with an ‘o’ saying: ‘Hi! I’m a noun’ so are Fisch and Maus nouns too? Yes! But what’s different about them? Ha! Other languages use capitals as well – but in a different way.

Does English use them for nouns? For all nouns? For some? Which nouns? The discussion can be used to revise the use of capitals in English.

Children can be encouraged to ‘discover’ language for themselves. For example, having learned the future tense in Esperanto, children are asked to explore pairs of sentences referring to present and future time in different languages and to suggest a ‘rule’ to explain how each language pair changes the present tense to the future.

Present tense – ‘now’ Future tense – ‘next’
Mi manĝas pomon. Mi manĝos pomon.
I eat an apple. I will eat an apple.
Ich esse einen Apfel. Ich werde einen Apfel essen.
Je mange une pomme. Je mangerai une pomme.

Further examples in Vocabulary and Sentences.