Don’t Say “NO!” to Esperanto

Grrrrrr!  A couple of evenings ago, I sat down to copy the second communication to me (April 19) by Mr. Stephen Thompson,  of the Northwestern United Kingdom (his first response is one of the “Comments” in the “On to Z!”  thread).  I copied and pasted his entire communication (including two links to other sites he provided) and then added some comments of my own. Twice I hit the key for “Submit Comment” and twice the whole assemblage disappeared. (This second comment never appeared on the Website, only in my “Inbox” via earthlink.net.)

Melissa Garcia, who manages the WordPress functions of the “Observer” Blogs, may be able to explain and perhaps “detox” the problem . . . .

I shall mention here a few of the observations and expectations that Mr. Thompson shared.  But first a bit of background:  Latin is commonly regarded as the first, historically, of international or universal languages,  accompanying as it did the global spread of the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance eras.  At times other languages have become dominant in certain areas, as French did as the “language of diplomacy”  and with English today as the language of global commerce (universally used by air traffic controllers, for example).   Hundreds of attempts have been made to construct and get adopted a universal language.  The most popular of these is “Esperanto,”  which was invented and promulgated by a Polist linguist, Ludwig L. Zamenhof(f), who, as Mr. Thompson points out, was born 150 years ago this month.  Sidebar: I find it interest that Mr. Zamenhof chose as the name of his language a word closely related to the “Romance” language (Spanish, French, Portuguese)  words meaning “to hope” or “to hope for.”

Esperanto is less closely related to English in part because it is an inflected and not a syntactic language; that is, the functions of the “form words” (nouns, verbs, pronouns, adverbs, and adjectives) are disclosed by the changes in forms of the stem word and not by  the sequencing  (word order) of these words. As the “euro” increasingly becomes accepted and adopted as an international currency in the Western World, one wonders if “Esperanto” might yet follow as the chosen universal language.

Now to return to Mr. Thompson’s April 19 message . . . .

He answered my query about the possible existence of an “Esperanto Culture” by saying that there were some half-dozen Esperanto speakers in his rural community.  He does also usually attend the annual British Congress of Esperanto and once a week presents to his local Primary School a part of a project titled “Springboard to Languages,”  which, he writes, “uses Esperanto to raise language awareness in young children as preparation for further study of foreign languages.  My school is one of five piloting the project. (Details at http://www.springboard2languages.org.home.htm)”

Mr. Thompson also indicates that he has several foreign visitors each year who are interested in his work.  Should you be interested in learning more, go to the “Pasporta Servo,”  a directory of contacts in some eighty countries who will provide hospitality to Esperanto speakers.  For information on this go to

http://www.tejo.org.eo/ps_lingv_en.

Good to hear from Mr. Thompson.  Perhaps other “Esperantists” from abroad will contribute some more to this thread!

RJR

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3 Responses to “Don’t Say “NO!” to Esperanto”

  1. Bill Chapman Says:

    Hello from Wales

    I am happy to take up your invitation to contribute.

    Personally, I’ve made friends around the world through Esperanto that I would never have been able to communicate with otherwise. And then there’s the Pasporta Servo , which provides free lodging and local information to Esperanto-speaking travellers in over 90 countries. In the past few years I have had guided tours of Berlin and Milan in the planned language. I have discussed philosophy with a Slovene poet, humour on television with a Bulgarian TV producer. I’ve discussed what life was like in East Berlin before the wall came down, how to cook perfect spaghetti, the advantages and disadvantages of monarchy, and so on. I recommend it, not just as an ideal but as a very practical way to overcome language barriers.

    Earlier this year I stayed with an African couple in Douala, Cameroon, thanks to Esperanto, living and eating as they do.

    This may not be high culture, but it does show that the language is thoroughly useful.

  2. inga johanson Says:

    One of many good things with Esperanto is that you can straighten up your own language, whatever it is. Esperanto gives you a good view of the Grammer. When you earn the grammer of esperanto you understand the grammer of your own language. Then it will be even more easy to learn a third, fourth or even fifth new language.
    Another nice effect is the possibility to play with this language esperanto.
    Try Scrabbel / Skrablo or Litertriso http://en.lernu.net/lernado/ludoj/litertriso/index.php
    If you ever played with LEGO. you will understand how to play and create.
    You can creat your own poem or hajku here
    http://esperanto.lodestone.org/ktp/fridujo/

  3. Raymond Rundus Says:

    Zowie! Our Blog is going international of late. First Stephen Thompson of the Northwestern United Kingdom, then Bill Chapman of Wales and finally Inga Johanson, who is, to me at least, obviously Nordic, and I would surmise probably Swedish.

    The one common connection here is that each of these students of and users of Esperanto have found that language to be a key to extending friendships to people in other countries and also a means to developing mutual cultural interests, such as Ms. Johanson’s mention of forms of what we call “Scrabble” and also, in a later E-mail to me mention that the famed American folk singer Pete Seeger recorded, when already in his nineties, two songs in Esperanto. She provides a YouTube link for me.

    We Americans (our newly-elected President might attribute this to a kind of arrogance) seem convinced that, if other peoples want to communicate with us, they can darned well learn English. It may be, in retrospect a century or so from now, almost a cosmic irony that the majority of speakers in our country will be of Hispanic ancestry, and Spanish would have become an “official tongue” some years earlier.

    Certainly, we are becoming more and more aware that it is increasingly important that we not only buy and use Chinese and Japanese products but that, at the corporate and governmental levels, we might well be better served if we were bilingual or maybe even trilingual. And what has the war in Iraq illustrated about the importance of having a growing number of our military and our diplomats fluent in one or more of the Semitic languages. . . .

    RJR

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