From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Flag of Esperanto|
|Created by||L. L. Zamenhof|
|Setting and usage||International auxiliary language|
|Total speakers||Native: 200 to 2000 (1996, est.);|
Fluent speakers: est. 100,000 to 2 million (in about 115 countries)
|Category (purpose)||constructed language|
|Category (sources)||Vocabulary from Romance and Germanic languages; phonology from Slavic languages|
|Regulated by||Akademio de Esperanto|
|Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode.|
Esperanto (help·info) is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto, the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, in 1887. The word esperanto means "one who hopes" in the language itself. Zamenhof's goal was to create an easy to learn and politically neutral language that would serve as a universal second language to foster peace and international understanding.Esperanto has between 100,000 and 2 million speakers in about 115 countries, and approximately one thousand native speakers, i.e. people who learned Esperanto as one of their native languages from their parents.Although no country has adopted the language officially, Esperanto did get official recognition by UNESCO in 1954. Today, Esperanto is employed in world travel, correspondence, cultural exchange, conventions, literature, language instruction, television,, movies, and radio broadcasting. The first international Esperanto congress was organized in France, Boulogne-sur-Mer, in 1905. Since then international conferences and meetings have been organized around the world with Esperanto every year.  At least one major search engine, Google, offers searching of Esperanto-related websites via an Esperanto portal.
There is evidence that learning Esperanto may provide a good foundation for learning languages in general. Esperanto is also the language of instruction in one university, the Akademio Internacia de la Sciencoj in San Marino.
Esperanto was created in the late 1870s and early 1880s by Dr. Ludovic Lazarus Zamenhof, a Jewish ophthalmologist from Bialystok, at the time part of the Russian Empire. According to Zamenhof, he created this language to foster harmony between people from different countries. His feelings and the situation in Bialystok may be gleaned from an extract from his famous letter to Nikolai Borovko:
The place where I was born and spent my childhood gave direction to all my future struggles. In Bialystok the inhabitants were divided into four distinct elements: Russians, Poles, Germans and Jews; each of these spoke their own language and looked on all the others as enemies. In such a town a sensitive nature feels more acutely than elsewhere the misery caused by language division and sees at every step that the diversity of languages is the first, or at least the most influential, basis for the separation of the human family into groups of enemies. I was brought up as an idealist; I was taught that all people were brothers, while outside in the street at every step I felt that there were no people, only Russians, Poles, Germans, Jews and so on. This was always a great torment to my infant mind, although many people may smile at such an 'anguish for the world' in a child. Since at that time I thought that 'grown-ups' were omnipotent, so I often said to myself that when I grew up I would certainly destroy this evil.—L. L. Zamenhof, in a letter to one N. Borovko, ca. 1895
After some ten years of development, which Zamenhof spent translating literature into Esperanto as well as writing original prose and verse, the first book of Esperanto grammar was published in Warsaw in July 1887. The number of speakers grew rapidly over the next few decades, at first primarily in the Russian Empire and Eastern Europe, then in Western Europe, the Americas, China, and Japan. In the early years, speakers of Esperanto kept in contact primarily through correspondence and periodicals, but in 1905 the first world congress of Esperanto speakers was held in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. Since then world congresses have been held in different countries every year, except during the two World Wars. Since the Second World War, they have been attended by an average of over 2,000 and up to 6,000 people.
Relation to 20th-century totalitarianism
As a potential vehicle for international understanding, Esperanto attracted the suspicion of many totalitarian states. The situation was especially pronounced in Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin.
In Germany, there was additional motivation to persecute Esperanto because Zamenhof was Jewish. In his work, Mein Kampf, Hitler mentioned Esperanto as an example of a language that would be used by an International Jewish Conspiracy once they achieved world domination. Esperantists were killed during the Holocaust, with Zamenhof's family in particular singled out for murder.
In the early years of the Soviet Union, Esperanto was given a measure of government support, and an officially recognized Soviet Esperanto Association came into being. However, in 1937, Stalin reversed this policy. He denounced Esperanto as "the language of spies" and had Esperantists exiled or executed. The use of Esperanto was effectively banned until 1956.
Esperanto has never been an official language of any recognized country. However, there were plans at the beginning of the 20th century to establish Neutral Moresnet as the world's first Esperanto state. Qian Xuantong, a Chinese linguist, promoted the replacement of Chinese with Esperanto. In addition, the self-proclaimed artificial island micronation of Rose Island used Esperanto as its official language in 1968.
The U.S. Army has published military phrasebooks in Esperanto, to be used in wargames by mock enemy forces. In the summer of 1924, the American Radio Relay League adopted Esperanto as its official international auxiliary language, and hoped that the language would be used by radio amateurs in international communications, but its actual use for radio communications was negligible.
Esperanto is the working language of several non-profit international organizations such as the Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda; most others are specifically Esperanto organizations. The largest of these, the World Esperanto Association, has an official consultative relationship with the United Nations and UNESCO. Esperanto is also the first language of teaching and administration of one university, the International Academy of Sciences San Marino.
As a constructed language, Esperanto is not genealogically related to any ethnic language. It has been described as "a language lexically predominantly Romanic, morphologically intensively agglutinative, and to a certain degree isolating in character". The phonology, grammar, vocabulary, and semantics are based on the western Indo-European languages. The phonemic inventory is essentially Slavic, as is much of the semantics, while the vocabulary derives primarily from the Romance languages, with a lesser contribution from the Germanic languages. Pragmatics and other aspects of the language not specified by Zamenhof's original documents were influenced by the native languages of early speakers, primarily Russian, Polish, German, and French.
Typologically, Esperanto has prepositions and a free pragmatic word order that by default is subject-verb-object. Adjectives can be freely placed before or after the nouns they modify, though placing them before the noun is more common. New words are formed through extensive prefixing and suffixing.
Esperanto is written with a modified version of the Latin alphabet, including six letters with diacritics: ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ, ŝ (with circumflex) and ŭ (with breve). The alphabet does not include the letters q, w, x, or y except in unassimilated foreign names.
The 28-letter alphabet is:
All letters are pronounced approximately as in the IPA, with the exception of c and the letters with diacritics:
Writing diacritic letters
The letters with diacritics (found in the "Latin-Extended A" section of the Unicode Standard) once caused problems with printing and computing. This was particularly true with the five letters with circumflexes, as they do not occur in any other language. The diacritics are normally only a problem now with computing situations such as internet chat groups and databases that are limited to ASCII characters.
There are two principal workarounds to this problem, which substitute digraphs for the accented letters. Zamenhof, the inventor of Esperanto, created an "h-convention", which replaces ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ, ŝ, and ŭ with ch, gh, hh, jh, sh, and u, respectively. A more recent "x-convention" has gained ground since the advent of computing. This system replaces each diacritic with an x after the letter, producing the six digraphs cx, gx, hx, jx, sx, and ux. This latter system is useful for automated alphabetic word sorting, as each letter with a diacritic is ordered correctly after the preceding letter: for example, cxa comes correctly after cu, just as ĉa would. This system is also useful for simple computerized conversion back into the standard orthography, as there is no ambiguity.
There are computer keyboard layouts that support the Esperanto alphabet, and some systems use software that automatically substitutes x- or h-convention digraphs with the corresponding diacritic letters. One example of this is EK for Microsoft Windows.
- (For help with the phonetic symbols, see Help:IPA)
Esperanto has 22 consonants, 5 vowels and 2 semivowels that combine with the vowels to form 6 diphthongs. (The consonant [j] and semivowel [i̯] are both written with the letter j.) Tone is not used to distinguish meanings of words. Stress is always on the penultimate vowel in fully Esperanto words unless a final vowel o is elided, a practice which occurs mostly in poetry. For example, familio "family" is [fa.mi.ˈli.o], with the stress on the i, but when the word is used without the final o (famili’), the stress remains on the i: [fa.mi.ˈli].
The 22 consonants are:
The sound [r] is usually rolled, but may be tapped [ɾ]. The [v] is normally pronounced like an English v, but may be pronounced [ʋ] (between English v and w) or [w], depending on the language background of the speaker. A semivowel [u̯] normally occurs only in diphthongs after the vowels [a] and [e], not as a consonant [w]. Common, if debated, assimilation includes the pronunciation of nk as [ŋk] and kz as [ɡz].
A large number of consonant clusters can occur, up to three in initial position (as in stranga, which means "strange") and four in medial position (as in instrui, meaning "teach"). Final clusters are uncommon except in foreign names, poetic elision of final o, and a very few basic words such as cent "hundred" and post "after".
There are also two semivowels, [i̯] and [u̯], which combine with the cardinal vowels to form six falling diphthongs: aj, ej, oj, uj, aŭ, and eŭ.
Since there are only five vowels, a good deal of variation in pronunciation is tolerated. For instance, e commonly ranges from [e] (French é) to [ɛ] (French è). These details often depend on the speaker's native language. A glottal stop may occur between adjacent vowels in some people's speech, especially when the two vowels are the same, as in heroo "hero" ([he.ˈro.o] or [he.ˈro.ʔo]) and praavo "great-grandfather" ([pra.ˈa.vo] or [pra.ˈʔa.vo]).
Esperanto words are derived by stringing together prefixes, roots, and suffixes. This process is regular, so that people can create new words as they speak and be understood. Compound words are formed with a modifier-first, head-final order, as in English (compare "birdsong" and "songbird").
The different parts of speech are marked by their own suffixes: all common nouns end in -o, all adjectives in -a, all derived adverbs in -e, and all verbs in one of six tense and mood suffixes, such as the present tense -as.
Plural nouns end in -oj (pronounced like English "oy"), whereas direct objects end in -on. Plural direct objects end with the combination -ojn (pronounced to rhyme with "coin"); -o- indicates that the word is a noun, -j- indicates the plural, and -n indicates the accusative. Adjectives agree with their nouns; their endings are plural -aj (pronounced "eye"), accusative -an, and plural accusative -ajn (pronounced to rhyme with "fine").
The suffix -n, besides indicating the direct object, is used to indicate movement and a few other things as well.
The six verb inflections consist of three tenses and three moods. They are present tense -as, future tense -os-, past tense -is, infinitive mood -i, conditional mood -us and jussive mood -u (used for wishes and commands). Verbs are not marked for person or number. For instance, kanti means "to sing", mi kantas means "I sing", vi kantas means "you sing", and ili kantas means "they sing".
Word order is comparatively free. Adjectives may precede or follow nouns; subjects, verbs and objects may occur in any order. However, the article la "the", demonstratives such as tiu "that" and prepositions (such as ĉe "at") must come before their related nouns. Similarly, the negative ne "not" and conjunctions such as kaj "and" and ke "that" must precede the phrase or clause that they introduce. In copular (A = B) clauses, word order is just as important as it is in English: "people are animals" is distinguished from "animals are people".
The core vocabulary of Esperanto was defined by Lingvo internacia, published by Zamenhof in 1887. This book listed 900 roots; these could be expanded into tens of thousands of words with prefixes, suffixes and compounding. In 1894, Zamenhof published the first Esperanto dictionary, Universala Vortaro, which had a larger set of roots. The rules of the language allowed speakers to borrow new roots as needed; it was recommended, however, that speakers use most international forms and then derive related meanings from these.
Since then, many words have been borrowed, primarily (but not solely) from the Western European languages. Not all proposed borrowings become widespread, but many do, especially technical and scientific terms. Terms for everyday use, on the other hand, are more likely to be derived from existing roots; komputilo "computer", for instance, is formed from the verb komputi "compute" and the suffix -ilo "tool". Words are also calqued; that is, words acquire new meanings based on usage in other languages. For example, the word muso "mouse" has acquired the meaning of a computer input device based on a parallel usage in English. Esperanto speakers often debate about whether a particular borrowing is justified or whether meaning can be expressed by deriving from or extending the meaning of existing words.
Some compounds and formed words in Esperanto are not entirely straightforward; for example, eldoni, literally "give out", means "publish", paralleling the usage of certain Western European languages (such as German). In addition, the suffix -um- has no defined meaning; words using the suffix must be learned separately (such as dekstren "to the right" and dekstrumen "clockwise").
There are not many idiomatic or slang words in Esperanto, as these forms of speech tend to make international communication difficult—working against Esperanto's main goal.
Below are listed some useful Esperanto words and phrases along with IPA transcriptions:
|Good morning||Bonan matenon||[ˈbo.nan ma.ˈte.non]|
|Good evening||Bonan vesperon||[ˈbo.nan ves.ˈpe.ron]|
|Good night||Bonan nokton||[ˈbo.nan ˈnok.ton]|
|Goodbye||Ĝis revido||[dʒis re.ˈvi.do]|
|What is your name?||Kiel vi nomiĝas?||[ˈki.el vi no.ˈmi.dʒas]|
|My name is John||Mi nomiĝas Johano||[mi no.ˈmi.dʒas jo.ˈha.no]|
|How are you?||Kiel vi fartas?||[ˈki.el vi ˈfar.tas]|
|Do you speak Esperanto?||Ĉu vi parolas Esperanton?||[ˈtʃu vi pa.ˈro.las es.pe.ˈran.ton]|
|I don't understand you||Mi ne komprenas vin||[mi ˈne kom.ˈpre.nas vin]|
|I love you||Mi amas vin||[mi ˈa.mas vin]|
|One beer, please||Unu bieron, mi petas||[ˈu.nu bi.ˈe.ron, mi ˈpe.tas]|
|What is that?||Kio estas tio?||[ˈki.o ˈes.tas ˈti.o]|
|That is a dog||Tio estas hundo||[ˈti.o ˈes.tas ˈhun.do]|
The following short extract gives an idea of the character of Esperanto. (Pronunciation is covered above; the main thing for English speakers to remember is that the Esperanto letter j has the sound of the English letter y.)
- «En multaj lokoj de Ĉinio estis temploj de drako-reĝo. Dum trosekeco oni preĝis en la temploj, ke la drako-reĝo donu pluvon al la homa mondo. Tiam drako estis simbolo de la supernatura estaĵo. Kaj pli poste, ĝi fariĝis prapatro de la plej altaj regantoj kaj simbolis la absolutan aŭtoritaton de feŭda imperiestro. La imperiestro pretendis, ke li estas filo de la drako. Ĉiuj liaj vivbezonaĵoj portis la nomon drako kaj estis ornamitaj per diversaj drakofiguroj. Nun ĉie en Ĉinio videblas drako-ornamentaĵoj, kaj cirkulas legendoj pri drakoj.»
- English translation:
- In many places in China, there were temples of the dragon-king. During times of drought, people would pray in the temples that the dragon-king would give rain to the human world. At that time the dragon was a symbol of the supernatural. Later on, it became the ancestor of the highest rulers and symbolised the absolute authority of the feudal emperor. The emperor claimed to be the son of the dragon. All of his personal possessions carried the name "dragon" and were decorated with various dragon figures. Now dragon decorations can be seen everywhere in China and legends about dragons circulate.
The majority of Esperanto speakers learn the language through self-directed study, online tutorials, and correspondence courses taught by volunteers. In more recent years, teaching websites like lernu! have become popular.
Esperanto instruction is occasionally available at schools, including four primary schools in a pilot project under the supervision of the University of Manchester, and by one count at 69 universities. However, outside China and Hungary, these mostly involve informal arrangements rather than dedicated departments or state sponsorship. Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest had a department of Interlinguistics and Esperanto from 1966 to 2004, after which time instruction moved to vocational colleges; there are state examinations for Esperanto instructors. In Brazil, an effort is being made to approve a law to teach Esperanto in public schools.
Various educators have estimated that Esperanto can be learned in anywhere from one quarter to one twentieth the amount of time required for other languages. Claude Piron, a psychologist formerly at the University of Geneva and Chinese-English-Russian-Spanish translator for the United Nations, argued that Esperanto is far more intuitive than many ethnic languages. "Esperanto relies entirely on innate reflexes [and] differs from all other languages in that you can always trust your natural tendency to generalize patterns. [...] The same neuropsychological law [—called by] Jean Piaget generalizing assimilation—applies to word formation as well as to grammar."
The Institute of Cybernetic Pedagogy at Paderborn (Germany) has compared the length of study time it takes Francophone high school students to obtain comparable 'standard' levels in Esperanto, English, German, and Italian. The results were:
- 2000 hours studying German =
- 1500 hours studying English =
- 1000 hours studying Italian =
- 150 hours studying Esperanto.
It should be noted, however, that these figures can only reflect the respective learning difficulty of these languages for native French speakers. They should be compared to figures from other countries to allow for a more general perspective on the learning difficulty of Esperanto. It should be noted in the chart above, Italian would naturally be easier for French speakers to learn since they are both Romance languages, where German is a Germanic language, for example.
Four primary schools in Britain, with some 230 pupils, are currently following a course in "propedeutic Esperanto"—that is, instruction in Esperanto to raise language awareness and accelerate subsequent learning of foreign languages—under the supervision of the University of Manchester. Studies have been conducted in New Zealand, United States, Germany, Italy and Australia. The results of these studies were favorable and demonstrated that studying Esperanto before another foreign language expedites the acquisition of the other, natural, language. This appears to be because learning subsequent foreign languages is easier than learning one's first, while the use of a grammatically simple and culturally flexible auxiliary language like Esperanto lessens the first-language learning hurdle. In one study, a group of European secondary school students studied Esperanto for one year, then French for three years, and ended up with a significantly better command of French than a control group, who studied French for all four years. Similar results have been found for other combinations of native and second languages, as well as for arrangements in which the course of study was reduced to two years, of which six months is spent learning Esperanto.
Geography and demography
Esperanto is by far the most widely spoken constructed language in the world. Speakers are most numerous in Europe and East Asia, especially in urban areas. Esperanto is particularly prevalent in the northern and eastern countries of Europe; in China, Korea, Japan, and Iran within Asia; in Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico in the Americas; and in Togo in Africa.
Number of speakers
An estimate of the number of Esperanto speakers was made by Sidney S. Culbert, a retired psychology professor at the University of Washington and a longtime Esperantist, who tracked down and tested Esperanto speakers in sample areas in dozens of countries over a period of twenty years. Culbert concluded that between one and two million people speak Esperanto at Foreign Service Level 3, "professionally proficient" (able to communicate moderately complex ideas without hesitation, and to follow speeches, radio broadcasts, etc.). Culbert's estimate was not made for Esperanto alone, but formed part of his listing of estimates for all languages of over 1 million speakers, published annually in the World Almanac and Book of Facts. Culbert's most detailed account of his methodology is found in a 1989 letter to David Wolff. Since Culbert never published detailed intermediate results for particular countries and regions, it is difficult to independently gauge the accuracy of his results.
In the Almanac, his estimates for numbers of language speakers were rounded to the nearest million, thus the number for Esperanto speakers is shown as 2 million. This latter figure appears in Ethnologue. Assuming that this figure is accurate, that means that about 0.03% of the world's population speaks the language. This isn't Zamenhof's goal of a universal language, but it represents a level of popularity unmatched by any other constructed language.
Marcus Sikosek (now Ziko van Dijk) has challenged this figure of 1.6 million as exaggerated. He estimated that even if Esperanto speakers were evenly distributed, assuming one million Esperanto speakers worldwide would lead one to expect about 180 in the city of Cologne. Van Dijk finds only 30 fluent speakers in that city, and similarly smaller-than-expected figures in several other places thought to have a larger-than-average concentration of Esperanto speakers. He also notes that there are a total of about 20,000 members of the various Esperanto organizations (other estimates are higher). Though there are undoubtedly many Esperanto speakers who are not members of any Esperanto organization, he thinks it unlikely that there are fifty times more speakers than organization members.
Finnish linguist Jouko Lindstedt, an expert on native-born Esperanto speakers, presented the following scheme to show the overall proportions of language capabilities within the Esperanto community:
- 1,000 have Esperanto as their native language.
- 10,000 speak it fluently.
- 100,000 can use it actively.
- 1,000,000 understand a large amount passively.
- 10,000,000 have studied it to some extent at some time.
In the absence of Dr. Culbert's detailed sampling data, or any other census data, it is impossible to state the number of speakers with certainty. Few observers, probably, would challenge the following statement from the website of the World Esperanto Association:
- Numbers of textbooks sold and membership of local societies put the number of people with some knowledge of the language in the hundreds of thousands and possibly millions.
In 2009 Lu Wunsch-Rolshoven used 2001 year census data from Hungary and Lithuania as a base for an estimate, resulting in approximately 160,000 to 300,000 to speak the language actively or fluently throughout the world, with about 80,000 to 150,000 of these being in the European Union.
Ethnologue relates estimates that there are 200 to 2000 native Esperanto speakers (denaskuloj), who have learned the language from birth from their Esperanto-speaking parents. This usually happens when Esperanto is the chief or only common language in an international family, but sometimes occurs in a family of devoted Esperantists.
The most famous native speaker of Esperanto is businessman George Soros. Teodoro Schwartz, his father, was an Esperantist. Also notable is young Holocaust victim Petr Ginz, whose drawing of the planet Earth as viewed from the moon was carried aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003 (STS-107).
Esperanto speakers can access an international culture, including a large body of original as well as translated literature. There are over 25,000 Esperanto books, both originals and translations, as well as several regularly distributed Esperanto magazines. Esperanto speakers use the language for free accommodations with Esperantists in 92 countries using the Pasporta Servo or to develop pen pal friendships abroad through the Esperanto Pen Pal Service.
Every year, 1,500–3,000 Esperanto speakers meet for the World Congress of Esperanto (Universala Kongreso de Esperanto). The European Esperanto Union (Eŭropa Esperanto-Unio) regroups the national Esperanto associations of the EU member states and holds congresses every two years. The most recent was in Maribor, Slovenia, in July-August 2007. It attracted 256 delegates from 28 countries, including two members of the European Parliament, Ms. Małgorzata Handzlik of Poland and Ms. Ljudmila Novak of Slovenia.
Historically, much Esperanto music, such as Kaj Tiel Plu, has been in various folk traditions. In recent decades, more rock and other modern genres have appeared, an example being that of the Swedish band Persone. There is also a variety of classical and semi-classical choral music, both original and translated, as well as large ensemble music that includes voices singing Esperanto texts. Lou Harrison, who incorporated styles and instruments from many world cultures in his music, used Esperanto titles and/or texts in several of his works, most notably La Koro-Sutro (1973). David Gaines used Esperanto poems as well as an excerpt from a speech by Dr. Zamenhof for his Symphony No. 1 (Esperanto) for mezzo-soprano and orchestra (1994–98). He wrote original Esperanto text for his Povas plori mi ne plu (I Can Cry No Longer) for unaccompanied SATB choir (1994).
Detractors of Esperanto occasionally criticize it as "having no culture". Proponents, such as Prof. Humphrey Tonkin of the University of Hartford, observe that Esperanto is "culturally neutral by design, as it was intended to be a facilitator between cultures, not to be the carrier of any one national culture." The late Scottish Esperanto author William Auld has written extensively on the subject, arguing that Esperanto is "the expression of a common human culture, unencumbered by national frontiers. Thus it is considered a culture on its own." Others point to Esperanto's potential for strengthening a common European identity, as it combines features of several European languages.
Famous authors in Esperanto
Some of the best-known authors of works in Esperanto are:
In popular culture
Esperanto has been used in a number of films and novels. Typically, this is done either to add the exotic flavour of a foreign language without representing any particular ethnicity, or to avoid going to the trouble of inventing a new language. The Charlie Chaplin film The Great Dictator (1940) showed Jewish ghetto shops designated in Esperanto, each with the general Esperanto suffix -ejo (meaning "place for..."), in order to convey the atmosphere of some 'foreign' East European country without referencing any particular East European language.
Two full-length feature films have been produced with dialogue entirely in Esperanto: Angoroj, in 1964, and Incubus, a 1965 B-movie horror film. Canadian actor William Shatner learned Esperanto to a limited level so that he could star in Incubus. In Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) shop and road signs in Esperanto appear in many background scenes.
Other amateur productions have been made, such as a dramatisation of the novel Gerda Malaperis (Gerda Has Disappeared). A number of "mainstream" films in national languages have used Esperanto in some way, such as Gattaca (1997), in which Esperanto can be overheard on the public address system. In the 1994 film Street Fighter, Esperanto is the native language of the fictional country of Shadaloo, and in a barracks scene the soldiers of villain M. Bison sing a rousing Russian Army-style chorus, the "Bison Troopers Marching Song", in the language. Esperanto is also spoken and appears on signs in the film Blade: Trinity.
In the British comedy Red Dwarf, Arnold Rimmer is seen attempting to learn Esperanto in a number of early episodes, including Kryten. In the first season, signs on the titular spacecraft are in both English and Esperanto. Esperanto is used as the universal language in the far future of Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat and Deathworld stories.
Musician Stephen Kellogg has acknowledged that his song "Shady Esperanto and the Young Hearts" from his 2009 album "The Bear" is a reference to the language of Esperanto. In his song, though, Shady Esperanto is a character.
The opening song 'Memoro de la Ŝtono' in the popular Video Game Final Fantasy XI was written in Esperanto. This was the first game in the series that was online and the composer Nobuo Uematsu felt that Esperanto was a good language to symbolize worldwide unity. It has been performed worldwide.
In 1921 the French Academy of Sciences recommended using Esperanto for international scientific communication. A few scientists and mathematicians, such as Maurice Fréchet (mathematics), John C. Wells (linguistics), Helmar Frank (pedagogy and cybernetics), and Nobel laureate Reinhard Selten (economics) have published part of their work in Esperanto. Frank and Selten were among the founders of the International Academy of Sciences in San Marino, sometimes called the "Esperanto University", where Esperanto is the primary language of teaching and administration.
Goals of the movement
Zamenhof's intention was to create an easy-to-learn language to foster international understanding. It was to serve as an international auxiliary language, that is, as a universal second language, not to replace ethnic languages. This goal was widely shared among Esperanto speakers in the early decades of the movement. Later, Esperanto speakers began to see the language and the culture that had grown up around it as ends in themselves, even if Esperanto is never adopted by the United Nations or other international organizations.
Those Esperanto speakers who want to see Esperanto adopted officially or on a large scale worldwide are commonly called finvenkistoj, from fina venko, meaning "final victory", or pracelistoj, from pracelo, meaning "original goal". Those who focus on the intrinsic value of the language are commonly called raŭmistoj, from Rauma, Finland, where a declaration on the near-term unlikelihood of the "fina venko" and the value of Esperanto culture was made at the International Youth Congress in 1980. These categories are, however, not mutually exclusive.
Symbols and flags
The earliest flag, and the one most commonly used today, features a green five-pointed star against a white canton, upon a field of green. It was proposed to Zamenhof by Irishman Richard Geoghegan, author of the first Esperanto textbook for English speakers, in 1887. The flag was approved in 1905 by delegates to the first conference of Esperantists at Boulogne-sur-Mer. A version with an "E" superimposed over the green star is sometimes seen. Other variants include that for Christian Esperantists, with a white Christian cross superimposed upon the green star, and that for Leftists, with the color of the field changed from green to red.
In 1987, a second flag design was chosen in a contest organized by the UEA celebrating the first centennial of the language. It featured a white background with two stylised curved "E"s facing each other. Dubbed the "jubilea simbolo" (jubilee symbol), it attracted criticism from some Esperantists, who dubbed it the "melono" (melon) because of the design's elliptical shape. It is still in use, though to a lesser degree than the traditional symbol, known as the "verda stelo" (green star).
Esperanto has been placed in many proposed political situations. The most popular of these is the Europe – Democracy – Esperanto, which aims to establish Esperanto as the official language of the European Union. The Irish political party Éirígí has recently adopted the green star as its emblem partly in support of Esperanto as an international language instead of English.
Various volumes of the Bahá'í literatures and other Baha'i books have been translated into Esperanto.
In 1908, spiritist Camilo Chaigneau wrote an article named "Spiritism and Esperanto" in the periodic "La Vie d'Outre-Tombe" recommending the use of Esperanto in a "central magazine" for all spiritists and esperantists.
Esperanto then became actively promoted, at least in Brazil, by spiritists. The Brazilian Spiritist Federation publishes Esperanto coursebooks, translations of Spiritism's basic books, and encourages Spiritists to become Esperantists.
The first translation of the Bible into Esperanto was a translation of the Tanakh or Old Testament done by L. L. Zamenhof. The translation was reviewed and compared with other languages' translations by a group of British clergy and scholars before its publication at the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1910. In 1926 this was published along with a New Testament translation, in an edition commonly called the "Londona Biblio". In the 1960s, the Internacia Asocio de Bibliistoj kaj Orientalistoj tried to organize a new, ecumenical Esperanto Bible version. Since then, the Dutch Remonstrant pastor Gerrit Berveling has translated the Deuterocanonical or apocryphal books in addition to new translations of the Gospels, some of the New Testament epistles, and some books of the Tanakh or Old Testament. These have been published in various separate booklets, or serialized in Dia Regno, but the Deuterocanonical books have appeared in recent editions of the Londona Biblio.
Two Roman Catholic popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, have regularly used Esperanto in their multilingual urbi et orbi blessings at Easter and Christmas each year since Easter 1994. Christian Esperanto organizations include two that were formed early in the history of Esperanto, the International Union of Catholic Esperantists and the International Christian Esperantists League. An issue of "The Friend" describes the activities of the Quaker Esperanto Society.There are instances of Christian apologists and teachers who use Esperanto as a medium. Nigerian Pastor Bayo Afolaranmi's "Spirita nutraĵo" (spiritual food) Yahoo mailing list, for example, has hosted weekly messages since 2003.Chick Publications, publisher of Protestant fundamentalist themed evangelistic tracts, has published a number of comic book style tracts by Jack T. Chick translated into Esperanto, including "This Was Your Life!" ("Jen Via Tuta Vivo!")
Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran called on Muslims to learn Esperanto and praised its use as a medium for better understanding among peoples of different religious backgrounds. After he suggested that Esperanto replace English as an international lingua franca, it began to be used in the seminaries of Qom. An Esperanto translation of the Qur'an was published by the state shortly thereafter. In 1981, Khomeini and the Iranian government began to oppose Esperanto after realising that followers of the Bahá'í Faith were interested in it.The founder of 'Pakistana Esperanto-Asocio' Prof. Allama Muztar Abbasi from Murree Pakistan wrote several books on Esperanto and compiled the Esperanto-Urduo Vortaro (Esperanto-Urdu dictionary). Moreover, he is the first Pakistani who translated Qur'an from its original text into Esperanto. The translation of Qur'an with the name of Vera Libro was published in 2000.
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Esperanto was conceived as a language of international communication, more precisely as a universal second language. Since publication, there has been debate over whether it is possible for Esperanto to attain this position, and whether it would be an improvement for international communication if it did; Esperanto proponents have also been criticized for diverting public funds to encourage its study over more useful national languages.
Since Esperanto is a planned language, there have been many criticisms of minor points. An example is Zamenhof's choice of the word edzo over something like spozo for "husband, spouse", or his choice of the Classic Greek and Old Latin singular and plural endings -o, -oj, -a, -aj over their Medieval contractions -o, -i, -a, -e. (Both these changes were adopted by the Ido reform, though Ido dispensed with adjectival agreement altogether.) Some more common examples of general criticism include the following:
- Esperanto has not yet achieved the hopes of its founder to become a universal second language. Although many promoters of Esperanto stress the successes it has had, the fact remains that well over a century since its publication, the Esperanto-speaking community remains comparatively tiny with respect to the world population. In the case of the United Kingdom, for instance, Esperanto is rarely taught in schools, because it is regarded by the government as not meeting the needs of the national curriculum. Many critics see its aspirations for the role of a preponderant international auxiliary language as doomed because they believe it cannot compete with English in this regard.
- The vocabulary and grammar are based on major European languages, and are not universal. Often this criticism is specific to a few points such as adjectival agreement and the accusative case (generally such obvious details are all that reform projects suggest changing), but sometimes it is more general: Both the grammar and the 'international' vocabulary are difficult for many Asians, among others, and give an unfair advantage to speakers of European languages. One attempt to address this issue is Lojban, which draws from the six most populous languages Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, English, Hindi, Russian, and Spanish, and whose grammar is designed for computer parsing.
- The vocabulary, diacritic letters, and grammar are too dissimilar from the major Western European languages, and therefore Esperanto is not as easy as it could be for speakers of those languages to learn, even though it is much easier to learn than any other European language. Attempts to address this issue include the younger planned languages Ido and Interlingua.
- Esperanto phonology is unimaginatively provincial, being essentially Belorussian with regularized stress, leaving out only the nasal vowels, palatalized consonants, and /dz/. For example, Esperanto has phonemes such as /x/, /ʒ/, /ts/, /eu̯/ (ĥ, ĵ, c, eŭ) which are rare as distinct phonemes outside Europe.
- Esperanto has no culture. Although it has a large international literature, Esperanto does not encapsulate a specific culture.
- Esperanto is culturally European. This is due to the European derivation of its vocabulary, and its semantics; both infuse the language with a European world view.
- The vocabulary is too large. Rather than deriving new words from existing roots, large numbers of new roots are adopted into the language with the intent of being internationally accommodating when in reality the language only caters to European languages. This makes the language more difficult for non-Europeans than it needs to be. A similar argument is made by many Esperanto speakers, not against the language itself but against the way it is (in their view) misused by many (mostly European) speakers; they argue that compounds or derivations should be used whenever possible, and new root words borrowed only when absolutely necessary.
- Esperanto asymmetry in gender formation makes it sexist. Most kin terms and titles are masculine by default and only feminine when so specified. There have been many attempts to address this issue, of which one of the better known is iĉism (used by the Esperantist writer Jorge Camacho), from which Riism derived.
- Esperanto is, looks, or sounds artificial. This criticism is often due to the letters with circumflex diacritics, which some find odd or cumbersome. Others claim that an artificial language will necessarily be deficient, due to its very nature, although the Hungarian Academy of Sciences has found that Esperanto fulfills all the requirements of a living language.
Though Esperanto itself has changed little since the publication of the Fundamento de Esperanto (Foundation of Esperanto), a number of reform projects have been proposed over the years, starting with Zamenhof's proposals in 1894 and Ido in 1907. Several later constructed languages, such as Universal, were based on Esperanto.
In modern times, attempts have been made to eliminate perceived sexism in the language. One example of this is Riism. However, as Esperanto has become a living language, changes are as difficult to implement as in ethnic languages.
|Look up Esperanto in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Akademio de Esperanto (Academy of Esperanto)
- Distributed Language Translation (Distribuita Lingvo-Tradukado) (DLT)
- Encyclopedia of Esperanto
- EoLA (an international festival of Esperanto arts and literature)
- Esperantic Studies Foundation
- Esperantido (reforms of Esperanto)
- Esperanto Antaŭen
- Esperanto as an international language
- Esperanto and Ido compared
- Esperanto and Interlingua compared
- Esperanto and Novial compared
- Esperanto in popular culture
- Esperanto library
- Esperanto magazine
- Esperanto Wikipedia
- Esperantujo (the Esperanto community)
- Indigenous Dialogues (project to empower organisations of indigenous peoples)
- list of Esperanto organizations
- Lojban (see under Comparison with other auxiliary languages)
- Monato (a monthly world news magazine)
- North American Summer Esperanto Institute
- Reformed Esperanto
- Semajno de Kulturo Internacia
- World Esperanto Association (in Esperanto, UEA: Universala Esperanto-Asocio)
References and notes
- ^ a b c Ethnologue report for language code:epo
- ^ Byram, Michael (2001). Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning. Routledge. pp. 464. ISBN 0-4153-3286-9.
- ^ See the quotation from Zamenhof's writings.
- ^ Jouko Lindstedt (January 2006) (PDF). Native Esperanto as a Test Case for Natural Language. University of Helsinki - Department of Slavonic and Baltic Languages and Literatures. http://www.ling.helsinki.fi/sky/julkaisut/SKY2006_1/1FK60.1.5.LINDSTEDT.pdf.
- ^ Unesco and Esperanto
- ^ Traveling network of Esperanto; Pasporta Servo
- ^ Esperanto Edukado.net
- ^ Internacia Televido
- ^ Espranto movies
- ^ Radio in Esperanto: In 2007 Polskie Radio made its last radio broadcast, moving programming to the internet. However, other nations such as China and the Vatican continue radio broadcasts.
- ^ International Esperanto meetings
- ^ Google Esperanto portal
- ^ See Language acquisition above.
- ^ Akademio Internacia de la Sciencoj (AIS) San-Marino
- ^ The letter is quoted in Esperanto - The New Latin for the Church and for Ecumenism, by Ulrich Matthias. Translation from Esperanto by Mike Leon and Maire Mullarney
- ^ Adolf Hitler (1924). "Mein Kampf". Volume 1, Chapter XI. http://www.hitler.org/writings/Mein_Kampf/mkv1ch11.html. Retrieved 2007-05-22.
- ^ About ESW and the Holocaust Museum
- ^ a b Donald J. Harlow, The Esperanto Book, chapter 7
- ^ La utilización del esperanto durante la Guerra Civil Española, Toño del Barrio and Ulrich Lins. Paper for the International Congress on the Spanish Civil War, (Madrid, 27–29 November 2006).
- ^ The Languages of China by S. Robert Ramsey
- ^ The Maneuver Enemy website
- ^ Blank, Detlev (1985). Internationale Plansprachen. Eine Einführung ("International Planned Languages. An Introduction"). Akademie-Verlag. ISSN 0138-55 X.
- ^ Maire Mullarney Everyone's Own Language, p147, Nitobe Press, Channel Islands, 1999
- ^ UEA.ORG: Esperanto en universitatoj
- ^ enhavo
- ^ Elte Btk
- ^ Entidades manifestam apoio à proposta de incluir ensino de Esperanto na grade de disciplinas da rede pública (Portuguese) Agência Senado
- ^ Is Esperanto four times easier to learn? | Esperanto-USA
- ^ Piron, Claude: "The hidden perverse effect of the current system of international communication", published lecture notes
- ^ Flochon, Bruno, 2000, « L'espéranto », in Gauthier, Guy (ed.) Langues: une guerre à mort, Panoramiques. 4e trim. 48: 89-95. Cited in François Grin, L'enseignement des langues étrangères comme politique publique (French)
- ^ Springboard to Languages
- ^ Report: Article in Enciklopedio de Esperanto, volume I, p.436, on the pedagogic value of Esperanto.
- ^ Report: Christian Rudmick, The Wellesley College Danish-Esperanto experiment.
- ^ Report: Edward Thorndike, Language Learning. Bureau of Publications of Teachers College, 1933. Interlingua.org
- ^ Helen S. Eaton, "The Educational Value of an Artificial Language." The Modern Language Journal, #12, pp. 87-94 (1927). Blackwellpublishing.com
- ^ Protocols of the annual November meetings in Paderborn "Laborkonferencoj: Interlingvistiko en Scienco kaj Klerigo" (Working conference: Interlinguistics in Science and Education), which can be obtained from the Institute of Pedagogic Cybernetics in Paderborn. Also in the works by Frank, Lobin, Geisler, and Meder.
- ^ Study International Language (known as Esperanto) Commission, Interministerial Decree April 29/October 5, 1993, Italian ministry of public instruction.
- ^ Study Monash University EKPAROLI project home page
- ^ Williams, N. (1965) 'A language teaching experiment', Canadian Modern Language Review 22.1: 26-28
- ^ home
- ^ a b Sikosek, Ziko M. Esperanto Sen Mitoj ("Esperanto without Myths"). Second edition. Antwerp: Flandra Esperanto-Ligo, 2003.
- ^ Afrika Agado
- ^ Culbert, Sidney S. Three letters about his method for estimating the number of Esperanto speakers, scanned and HTMLized by David Wolff
- ^ Number of Esperantists (methods)
- ^ Lindstedt, Jouko. "Re: Kiom?" (posting). DENASK-L@helsinki.fi, 22 April 1996.
- ^ a b c An Update on Esperanto, Universala Esperanto-Asocio (World Esperanto Association)
- ^ 
- ^ Population by knowledge of languages
- ^ Esperanto Koresponda Servo ("Esperanto Pen Pal Service"), accessed March 29, 2008.
- ^ Ziko van Dijk. Sed homoj kun homoj: Universalaj Kongresoj de Esperanto 1905–2005. Rotterdam: UEA, 2005.
- ^ Kaj Tiel Plu Esperanto folk music as downloadable MP3 file
- ^ Persone Esperanto rock music as downloadable MP3 file
- ^ Auld, William. La Fenomeno Esperanto ("The Esperanto Phenomenon"). Rotterdam: Universala Esperanto-Asocio, 1988.
- ^ "Esperanto" by Mark Feeney. The Boston Globe, 12 May 1999
- ^ "Kion Signifas Raŭmismo", by Giorgio Silfer.
- ^ "Prague Manifesto" (English version). Universala Esperanto-Asocio, updated 2003-03-26.
- ^ Esperanto flag, flagspot.net
- ^ Esperanto flag: The jubilee symbol
- ^ Esperanto flag
- ^ The Oomoto Esperanto portal
- ^ "The Baha'i Faith and Esperanto". Bahaa Esperanto-Ligo ( B.E.L. ). http://www.bahai.de/bahaaeligo/angla/englisch.htm. Retrieved 2006-08-26.
- ^ (Portuguese) O Espiritismo e o Esperanto (Spiritism and Esperanto)
- ^ "Uma só língua, uma só bandeira, um só pastor: Spiritism and Esperanto in Brazil by David Pardue" (PDF). University of Kansas Libraries. http://www.math.uu.se/esperanto/207pardue.pdf#search=%22esperanto%20%2Breligion%22. Retrieved 2006-08-26.
- ^ "La Sankta Biblio - "Londona text"". http://home.att.net/~el_sxadaj/kbiblio.htm. Retrieved 2006-08-26.
- ^ Eric Walker (May 27, 2005). [Expression error: Missing operand for > "Esperanto Lives On"]. The Friend.
- ^ Bayo Afolaranmi. "Spirita nutraĵo". http://groups.yahoo.com/group/spiritanutrajxo/. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- ^ Esperanto "This Was Your Life"
- ^ a b "Esperanto - Have any governments opposed Esperanto?". Donald J. Harlow. http://www.webcom.com/~donh/efaq.html. Retrieved 2006-08-26.
- ^ "Esperanto in Iran (in Persian)". Porneniu. http://porneniu.wordpress.com/learn-esperanto/. Retrieved 2006-08-26.
- ^ Esperanto.org
- ^ Christopherculver.com
- ^ There have been a number of attempts to reform the language, the most well-known of which is the language Ido which resulted in a schism in the community at the time, beginning in 1907. See "Why Ido?." The International Language of Ido. 18 March 2008. 4 February 2009 Idolinguo.org.uk.
- ^ "Why Ido?." The International Language of Ido. 18 Mach 2008. 4 February 2009 Idolinguo.org.
- ^ BBC NEWS
- ^ Why Esperanto Is Different - New English Review
- ^ a b Is Esperanto's vocabulary bloated?
- ^ Lojban
- ^ "Why Ido?."
- ^ Claude Piron, Linguistic Communication - A Comparative Field Study, studies about problems in learning languages
- ^ C.E. King, A.S. Bryntsev, F.D. Sohn, Report on the implications of additional languages in the United Nations system, Geneva: UN, Joint Inspection Unit, 1977, document A/32/237
- ^ What is Esperanto?
- ^ New Statesman - Spreading the word
- ^ a b c Critiche all'esperanto ed alle altre lingue internazionali
- ^ Europe's Babylon
- ^ La Bona Lingvo, Claude Piron. Vienna: Pro Esperanto, 1989. La lingvo volas eleganti, ne elefanti. "The language wants to be elegant, not elephantine."
- ^ "Ĉi-tiu Esperanto estus turka...", Renato Corsetti. 2007.
- ^ Seksaj vortoj - Bertilo Wennergren - Plena Manlibro de Esperanta Gramatiko
- ^ Camacho, Jorge. Sur la linio. Rakontoj kaj noveloj de Georgo Kamaĉo. Enkonduko de Fernando de Diego. - Berkeley : Eldonejo Bero, 1991.
- ^ Claude Piron cites and replies to several such criticisms in his Le Défi des Langues (Paris: L'Harmattan, 1994).
- ^ Laŭ la komuna opinio de gvidaj fakuloj de la Instituto, Esperanto apartenas al la kategorio de vivaj lingvoj. Pli detale traktante la temon, konsiderante la historion kaj la nunan staton de Esperanto, a.) ĝi estas grandmezure normigita, b.) amplekse sociiĝinta, c.) ne-etna viva lingvo, kiu en sekundara lingva komunumo plenumas ĉiujn eblajn lingvajn funkciojn, kaj samtempe ĝi funkcias kiel pera lingvo. - Ĉi supre diritaj respegulas la sciencan starpunkton de nia Instituto. "Malgranda fina venko" - en Hungario
- Emily van Someren. Republication of the thesis 'The EU Language Regime, Lingual and Translational Problems'.
- Ludovikologia dokumentaro I Tokyo: Ludovikito, 1991. Facsimile reprints of the Unua Libro in Russian, Polish, French, German, English and Swedish, with the earliest Esperanto dictionaries for those languages.
- Fundamento de Esperanto. HTML reprint of 1905 Fundamento, from the Academy of Esperanto.
- Auld, William. La Fenomeno Esperanto ("The Esperanto Phenomenon"). Rotterdam: Universala Esperanto-Asocio, 1988.
- Butler, Montagu C. Step by Step in Esperanto. ELNA 1965/1991. ISBN 0-939785-01-3.
- DeSoto, Clinton (1936). 200 Meters and Down. West Hartford, Connecticut, USA: American Radio Relay League, p. 92.
- Crystal, Professor David, article "Esperanto" in The New Penguin Encyclopedia, Penguin Books, 2002.
- ditto, How Language Works (pages 424-5), Penguin Books, 2006. ISBN 978-0-141-01552-1.
- Everson, Michael. PDF (25.4 KB). Evertype, 2001.
- Forster, Peter G. The Esperanto Movement. The Hague: Mouton Publishers, 1982. ISBN 90-279-3399-5.
- Gledhill, Christopher. The Grammar of Esperanto: A Corpus-Based Description. Second edition. Lincom Europa, 2000. ISBN 3-8958-6961-9.
- Harlow, Don. The Esperanto Book. Self-published on the web (1995–96).
- Wells, John. Lingvistikaj aspektoj de Esperanto ("Linguistic aspects of Esperanto"). Second edition. Rotterdam: Universala Esperanto-Asocio, 1989.
- Zamenhof, Ludovic Lazarus, Dr. Esperanto's International Language: Introduction & Complete Grammar The original 1887 Unua Libro, English translation by Richard H. Geoghegan; HTML online version 2006. Print edition (2007) also available from ELNA or UEA.
|Esperanto edition of Wiktionary, the free dictionary/thesaurus|
Find more about Esperanto on Wikipedia's sister projects:
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Learning resources from Wikiversity
- Lernu.net - Multilingual Portal to Learn Esperanto
- UEA.org the World Esperanto Association
- Esperanto books at Project Gutenberg
- Esperanto at the Open Directory Project
- The Multi-Lingual Information Centre, information and numerous Esperanto-related links in over 60 languages.
- Articles, studies and discussion about problems of Esperanto and other international languages (articles in 25 languages) by Claude Piron.
- Online Esperanto keyboard
- Esperanto QWERTY keyboard for Windows using spare keys
- Esperanto QWERTY keyboard for Mac and Windows using alt/opt keys
- Esperanto Dvorak keyboard for Windows using spare keys
- News in Esperanto (some podcasts included)
- Google Esperanto interface
- Universal Esperanto Portal
- Course for Esperanto Learners
- The Amazing Story of how Esperanto came to be by The New Republic