Andy Peetermans

What language is this blog written in?

Have you ever heard of Esperanto?

Ever since he was a kid, Lazer Zamenhof (1859-1917), who spent the greatest part of

Lazer Zamenhof

his life in what is today called Poland, had a special dream: bringing humankind closer together.

“If I had not been a Jew from the ghetto, the idea of uniting humanity would not have come to me at all, or at least it would not have been able to dominate me in so stubborn a manner through all of my life.”

He thought this idea could be partly achieved if all humans possessed a neutral common  language for international communication. After deciding a living national language could never be neutral nor universally acceptable, and that the classical languages, while relatively neutral, were too complicated and too unadapted to modern life, he came to the conclusion that the international language, in order to attain the desired neutrality, needed to be a designed language. He first began designing such a language when he was a schoolboy, and by the time he published his project, it had gone through many a revision and Zamenhof himself was already approaching thirty.

Publication took place in July of 1887. Since that time, Esperanto has gathered a substantial international community of speakers; the language project, created by the mind of one man, has evolved into a real living language. Esperanto has never reached the goal Zamenhof intended for it, and most probably will not do so in any foreseeable future, but it has never lost the love, affection and support of its speakers. Thus, it is still available for anyone who wishes to use it, for any purpose.

Why do people learn Esperanto?

Not every Esperanto speaker is as idealistic as its creator was. Esperanto can be learned for several reasons:

  • Esperanto was designed to be regular and easy to learn: some people come to it out of intellectual curiosity.
  • Learning Esperanto gives easy access to the community of people who speak it: it is a way to make new friends, across all kinds of borders (there are thousands of speakers, spread across virtually every country in the world).
  • The Esperanto community is a kind of diaspora: there is a sense of shared identity. It teaches us to sympathise with all kinds of minorities.
  • You can use Esperanto to create new art, or to get access to the art others created and create in it. Esperanto has a rich poetic tradition of over a century. Some works are really outstanding: in the fifties, the Scotsman William Auld wrote a long poem La infana raso (The Child Race), which in itself could be a valid reason to learn the language.

William Auld (1924-2006), perhaps the greatest Esperanto poet

All the colored countries have a national Esperanto organization

More information?

www.lernu.net

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