Enthusiastic Speakers Keep Utopian Language Alive

| 1/14/2009 10:11:15 AM

Esperanto began as a stab at linguistic utopia. Imagining a world unfettered by communication barriers, Ludovic Lazarus Zamenhof invented the grammatically simple language in late-19th century Poland. He dreamed that it eventually would be adopted worldwide as a universal second tongue. While these ambitious plans never reached fruition, the Boston Phoenix reports that a small, but tight-knit, international community of speakers keep Esperanto alive.

These loyal fans translate books, write songs, and hold annual conferences. They’ve also benefited from a host of web resources, using services like Skype and Facebook to stay connected and practice conversation. It helps that the language has only 16 basic grammar rules; the simple structure makes it easy for budding Esperantists to learn quickly.   

Check out the article to learn more about the language and read comments by some enthusiastic speakers. Wikipedia’s also got an extensive page on Esperanto, with plenty of historical info and good links for further exploration. 

(Thanks, AltWeeklies.)

2/19/2009 12:55:05 PM

If you would like to learn Esperanto, I can help you finish the basic course in less than 20 hours. Then we will be chatting in Esperanto. Please email me. My address is at the top and bottom in all my web pages. Just click my name. http://esperantofre.com/edu/lernua.htm Best wishes, Enrique From Freemont, California, USA http://esperantofre.com

2/11/2009 7:47:38 PM

Recently, a month or two ago, there was a competition of ideas at change.org. In a second round of votes the idea of teaching Esperanto in the American public schools came in 25th with about 3600 votes. I wrote to the editors of UTNE Reader about this. I am quite happy that you have written about Esperanto in UTNE READER, as it is among my very favorite magazines for several years. Different Esperanto speakers are motivated for different reasons. I am o.k. that this article is in a spirituality section. Noted esperanto speakers have been religious Quakers, Unitarians, Spiritists (in Brazil) and a Shinto offshoot in Japan (Oomoto). Christian Esperanto speakers are in many countries. They remain a notable minority within the world-wide movement. There are organized Atheist Esperanto speakers and worker Esperanto organizations as well. Thankyou Miranda.

Brian Barker
2/11/2009 2:15:40 PM

Esperanto is not utopian and certainly not "just alive" It's unfortunate that only a few people know that Esperanto has become a living language. After a short period of 121 years Esperanto is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide, according to the CIA factbook. It is the 17th most used language in Wikipedia, and in use by Skype, Firefox and Facebook. Native Esperanto speakers,(people who have used the language from birth), include George Soros, World Chess Champion Susan Polger, Ulrich Brandenberg the new German Ambassador to NATO and Nobel Laureate Daniel Bovet. Further arguments can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LV9XU Professor Piron was a former translator at the United Nations. A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at http://www.lernu.net

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