The Esperanto language is a language (almost) like any other. It has its own culture, literature and magazines, etc. However, unlike all other languages, the Esperanto language does not have its own country, nor does it have its own people. What it has instead is a community.
The Esperanto language is a supranational language that goes beyond the confines of a given nation. Esperanto is a universal language because 2 million speakers have learned it. These speakers live in 120 countries across the world.
But, what is the point of learning Esperanto? That question is exactly what we’ll be taking a look at today.
Why learn the Esperanto language, a universal language created over 120 years ago?
What Is the Esperanto Language and Who Speaks It?
Reasons to Learn the Esperanto Language
Esperanto is a constructed language created by a man named Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof, also known as Doktoro Esperanto (“doctor Esperanto”).
Constructed languages are the opposite of natural languages. They start with a plan, and do not develop over time depending on how people use them. You might be familiar with some other constructed languages.
Dothraki, for instance, if you’re a Game of Thrones fan.
Zamenhof introduced the universal language for the first time in a book called “International Language” in 1887. He had high hopes for the language and believed that it could deliver peace to the world by eliminating conflicts that arise from linguistic and cultural differences. (Unfortunately, this didn’t work out so well. The proof? World War I.)
Since then, over 2 million people in 120 countries have learned Esperanto! However, these numbers could be higher because it is hard to estimate the number of people who speak the Esperanto language. It is also difficult to know where they are situated in the world. But, why would so many people want to learn a language that doesn’t have a nation of its own?
Reason #1 For Learning the Esperanto Language: It’s an International Language
And that’s a good reason. Esperanto doesn’t belong to a people or nation. But it does belong to a community of people. They have freely chosen it to communicate, not with their neighbors, or workmates, but with people scattered around the four corners of the earth.
Actually, the idea of its creator was to create a universal language to get rid of the language barrier. Language barriers impede communities in their ability to understand each other.
These limitations stop worldwide discussions on the same subjects from happening.
If everyone spoke the same universal language, we would be able to have a good view of the social, cultural and politic issues which concern us all.
Reason #2: It Has a Different Culture
The culture of this language is associated with an ideal,which is for everyone to have access to the same international means of communication without linguistic discrimination.
For those wondering what this means, linguistic discrimination occurs when those whose native tongue is a dominant language—English, notably—don’t have to learn it to be understood, to have access to knowledge or even to take part in international affairs and exchanges.
Nowadays, if a country wants to access the international market, it will have to use English because it is the dominating language in international business. But the fact that some must learn English in addition to their native language, puts them at a disadvantage compared to Anglophone countries.
There is an imbalance within the world of international business.
Zamenhof wanted to eliminate linguistic discrimination with his new language. Everyone starts off at the same place. How so? Well, everyone must learn the language to communicate. It’s a neutral language.
Actually, one of the objectives of this language is transnational education.That’s the idea that everyone should have the same access to knowledge, no matter their nationality or walk of life.
Reason #3: It’s Easy to Learn
Zamnhof intended for Esperanto to be easy to learn
Why you should learn Esperanto (and how to do it!)
Why learn Esperanto? This is a question many people have when they hear about Esperanto.
In this guide I’ll try and look into the personal, linguistic and social benefits that one might obtain simply by learning Esperanto, and I'll also provide resources and courses for how to learn Esperanto quickly.
Last updated: May 17, 2016
What is Esperanto?
Esperanto is a constructed language, created by Ludwig Zamenhof in 1887 and is designed to be easy to learn and very regular.
Zamenhof was living in a culturally diverse city and had a dream that a common language would help unite the people, who all had their own languages.
The language itself is designed to be easy and fast to learn, so that it can act as a bridge language between people with different native languages. Most people reckon that a solid month of Esperanto will get you way beyond minimum to conduct normal conversations and make new friends.
Today the language serves a similar function, as it carries with it a society of Esperantists who have open minds about foreign cultures and even languages, making it awesome if you are into learning other languages as well. I assume you are, since you are on a language learning blog.
Why should I learn Esperanto?
I think you should learn Esperanto because it's a fun and simple constructed language that has millions of speakers worldwide and easy to learn. Learning it will also give you more confidence if you decide to learn other languages.
Here's some more information on these arguments
Learn Esperanto to learn other languages easier!
This is one of the main benefits that gets thrown around these days. How does it work exactly, how can Esperanto help you learn other languages? The answer is somewhat complicated and split into several parts but allow me to explain.
It boosts confidence. By learning a language in no time, and quickly using it to start speaking, you introduce your mind to the fact that it is in fact possible. This removes the mental block that some people might have about learning languages, the people who might say that it is too difficult to learn foreign languages.
Study: Learning Esperanto drastically improved French students' results
The value of learning Esperanto for learning other languages has been proven by several studies, one famous example saw students provided with one year of Esperanto followed by 3 years of French. The results were then compared against a control group who had had 4 years of French.
The conclusion: In summary, it was concluded that, among the less intelligent students, those who devoted a year to Esperanto succeeded better in French after four years, without additional study time for that language in the three years spent studying it.
Esperanto also introduces a bare minimum of grammar that changes words if they appear in the accusative. If you do not have experience with languages that have these word changes, then it can open your mind to how that works in a simple and easy way. It’s interesting that some Esperanto learners, still find the Accusative ending difficult, even though they speak far more complex languages.
A slight addition to this point is that learning a language, however simple, is also character building. You will grow as a person and if you design consistent habits, those habits will rub off on everything you do. You will be proud of yourself for having achieved something and by then on you will be unstoppable.
I think that grammar advantage is fairly limited though. So I wouldn’t learn Esperanto exclusively for that.
Join a vibrant community and make friends around the world
The other major advantage for learning Esperanto is that you join a truly global phenomenon. At first I was highly skeptical of this concept, and I compared it a bit to the secret clubs at school. People who were arrogantly trying to place themselves over others by making their own little clubs.
This is luckily not the case with Esperanto. When I first went to the Polyglot gathering in June, I met a lot of Esperantists and they were all incredibly nice people. I asked around why anyone should learn the language, and they shared what I am sharing with you today.
After the conference, I knew I wanted to learn Esperanto.
The people who I talked to were very friendly and I immediately understood that learning Esperanto is not just about the language, it’s also about having an open mind towards other cultures and languages.
I spent some hours doing vocabulary-intense courses, but it was not until I actually joined an Esperanto course hosted by Judith Meyer and Chuck Smith, that I actually started using the language – and fast!
Within 2 days I was able to use Esperanto as the only means of communication. It wasn’t fantastic, particularly due to my limited studying, but it was an incredible experience. I shared more of my feelings of this trip back in my Esperanto trip reports a while back.
Today the primary global social initiatives of the Esperanto movement are the congress and the pasporta servo. However, there are events all over the world at any given time. Simply check this EVENT CALENDAR for upcoming Esperanto gatherings.
The Yearly Congress – A conference with thousands of people, who meet up to discuss the language, network, meet new friends and listen to interesting presentations. It has been held 99 times so far, with the 100th being in Lille, France next year. I’m aiming to attend, if my budget allows.
Update: Judith Meyer, an experienced Esperantist, added that the Congress is a bit formal, and advised new young esperantists to go for the yearly youth conference. Check out the details on their main website: http://tejo.org
Pasporta Servo – The true original couchsurfing. Way before there was CouchSurfing.com and other couchsurfing websites the Esperanto movement had already established their service. The premise was simple, you would live for free with other Esperanto speakers as long as all communication happened in Esperanto.
The website just received a redesign, so go check it out!
How to learn Esperanto
This article is about the language. For other uses, see Esperanto (disambiguation).
EsperantoesperantoEsperanto flagPronunciation[espeˈranto] (listen)Created byL. L. ZamenhofDate1887Setting and usageInternational: most parts of the worldUsersNative: estimated 1,000 to several thousand (2016)L2 users: estimates range from 63,000 to two millionPurposeconstructed language
International auxiliary language
Writing systemLatin script (Esperanto alphabet)Esperanto BrailleSigned formsSignunoSourcesVocabulary from Romance and Germanic languages, grammar from Slavic languagesOfficial statusRegulated byAkademio de EsperantoLanguage codesISO 639-1eoISO 639-2epoISO 639-3epoLinguist ListepoGlottologespe1235Linguasphere51-AAB-daEsperantujo: 120 countries worldwideThis article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
|LanguageGrammar · PhonologyOrthography (Braille)Vocabulary · Etymology|
|HistoryZamenhof · Proto-EsperantoUnua Libro · Dua LibroLa EsperantistoFundamento de EsperantoDeclaration of BoulogneMontevideo ResolutionManifesto of RaumaManifesto of PragueModern evolution of Esperanto|
|CultureEsperanto movementEsperantist · EsperantujoLiterature · Music · FilmLa Espero · Libera FolioLiteratura MondoNative speakers · LibrariesPop culture referencesPublications · Symbols · ProfanityZamenhof Day|
|Organizations and servicesWorld Esperanto CongressAkademio de EsperantoUniversal Esperanto AssociationWorld Esperanto Youth OrganizationInternational Youth CongressEsperanto Youth WeekWorld Anational AssociationEncyclopedia · Pasporta ServoPlouézec MeetingsEuropean Esperanto UnionEurope–Democracy–EsperantoPanamerican CongressSkolta Esperanto Ligo|
|Related topicsAuxiliary languageConstructed languageIdo · Interlingua · NovialOccidental · VolapükAnationalism|
|WikimediaConstructed languages portal · Task force · Book · OutlineEsperanto Wikipedia (Vikipedio)Vikivortaro · Vikicitaro · VikifontaroVikilibroj · VikikomunejoVikispecoj · Vikinovaĵoj|
Esperanto (/ˌɛspəˈrɑːntoʊ, -ˈræn-/) is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. It was created by Polish ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhof in 1887. Zamenhof first described the language in The International Language, which he published in five languages under the pseudonym “Doktoro Esperanto”. (This book is often nicknamed in Esperanto as la Unua Libro i.e. The First Book.) The word esperanto translates into English as “one who hopes”.
Zamenhof's goal was to create an easy and flexible language that would serve as a universal second language to foster world peace and international understanding, and to build a “community of speakers”, as he believed that one could not have a language without such a community.
His original title for the language was simply “the international language” (la lingvo internacia), but early speakers grew fond of the name Esperanto and began to use it as the name for the language just two years after its creation. The name quickly gained prominence and has been used as an official name ever since.
In 1905, Zamenhof published Fundamento de Esperanto (“Foundation[Note 1] of Esperanto”) as a definitive guide to the language. Later that year, French Esperantists organized with his participation the first World Esperanto Congress, an ongoing annual conference, in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France.
The first congress ratified the Declaration of Boulogne, which established several foundational premises for the Esperanto movement; one of its pronouncements is that Fundamento de Esperanto is the only obligatory authority over the language; another is that the Esperanto movement is exclusively a linguistic movement and that no further meaning can ever be ascribed to it. Zamenhof also proposed to the first congress that an independent body of linguistic scholars should steward the future evolution of Esperanto, foreshadowing the founding of the Akademio de Esperanto (in part modeled after the Académie française), which was established soon thereafter. Since 1905, the congress has been held in a different country every year, with the exceptions of the years during the World Wars. In 1908, a group of young Esperanto speakers led by the Swiss Hector Hodler established the Universal Esperanto Association in order to provide a central organization for the global Esperanto community.
Esperanto grew throughout the 20th century, both as a language and as a linguistic community.
Despite speakers facing persecution in regimes such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Stalin, Esperanto speakers continued to establish organizations and publish periodicals tailored to specific regions and interests.
In 1954, the United Nations granted official support to Esperanto as an international auxiliary language in the Montevideo Resolution.
 Several writers have contributed to the growing body of Esperanto literature, including William Auld, who received the first nomination for the Nobel Prize in Literature for a literary work in Esperanto in 1999, followed by two more in 2004 and 2006. Those writing in Esperanto are also officially represented in PEN International, the worldwide writers association, through Esperanto PEN Centro.
The development of Esperanto has continued unabated into the 21st century.
The advent of the Internet has had a significant impact on the language, as learning it has become increasingly accessible on platforms such as Duolingo, and as speakers have increasingly networked on platforms such as Amikumu.
 With up to two million speakers, a small portion of whom are native speakers, it is the most widely spoken constructed language in the world. Although no country has adopted Esperanto officially,[Note 2] Esperantujo
A beginners guide to Esperanto
Baa Baa Black Sheep
'Ba, ba, safo! Cu vi havas lanon?' 'Jes, tri sakojn: prenu en la manon! Unu por la mastro, unu por mastrin', Kaj unu por la eta knabo ce la strata fin' '
· Translated into Esperanto by MC Butler
In a Baptist church hall on the edge of Ipswich, 20 people are holding a meeting. Among them are a quantity surveyor and a retired film-maker, an A-level student and a 95-year-old former teacher.
Together, they have some routine business to discuss; membership, accounts, that sort of thing.
Then, after homemade soup and vegetarian nibbles, there's a general knowledge quiz, put together by Roy Threadgold.
Threadgold is an Essex dairy farmer whose ewe's milk cheese wins prizes and, with his jovial face and long sideburns, he looks the part. So when he stands up and announces the first question, it is surprising – almost shocking – to hear his words.
Are they Hungarian? Portuguese? A variety of Slovenian? Some words sound half-familiar, yet this is not French or German, and it certainly isn't Essex. One thing is clear.
Whatever language Threadgold is using, his audience understands him.
For no sooner has he begun the quiz than they are teasing him for clues or pressing him for clarification, and all in the same exuberant tongue, with its “o” and “oi” sounds, and its hints of known languages.
An outsider chancing upon this gathering would almost certainly assume that here was a band of expatriates, come together to share fond memories of a distant homeland.
Only later might the truth dawn – that it is the shared language, not some common origin, that binds them.
For, apart from Dominique, a French database administrator who happened to pitch up in East Anglia, everybody here is as British as the day is wet. They just happen to speak Esperanto.
Not that anyone “just happens” to speak Esperanto. For this language has no territory to call its own. Intended for use as a universal second language – an auxiliary tongue by means of which all people, no matter what their origins, might communicate freely – it is a constructed thing, a deliberate invention that must be deliberately learned.
The fact that, 116 years after the birth of Esperanto, few people reading this article will know a single word of it – may not even be aware of its existence – is an indication of just how reluctant the world has been to take that obvious next step. In 1965, William Shatner starred in Incubus, the first film to be made in the language.
Conrad Hall, the cinematographer on that project, went on to shoot American Beauty. But what became of Esperanto? Neither the UN nor the EU has adopted it as a working language, and not a single multinational corporation or charity employs it in its day-to-day dealings. Yet nobody in this church hall seems unduly downhearted.
Which isn't to say they don't occasionally feel ever so slightly indignant.
Listen to Roy Simmons. A 53-year-old assistant headteacher at a comprehensive school in east London, he has come to Ipswich because, in his spare time, he is president of the Eastern Esperanto Federation, whose meeting this is.
Simmons is happy to tell anyone that, until 1994, when he chanced to see a book on the subject, he had never heard of Esperanto. But it was love at first sight. “I was captured by the language,” he recalls, and promptly enrolled on a course.
Yet his attempts to pass on his enthusiasm have almost always fallen on deaf ears. And not just deaf ears, but ears that are positively closed.
“What I find strange,” Simmons says, “is that, when you mention Esperanto, people never ignore it. They are violently against it. Even in schools. If you say you're going to teach Russian, people might say, 'Oh, that's a waste of time', and just forget it.
But they will go on at you for ages about why you shouldn't teach Esperanto. Apart from anything else, Esperanto is a great basis for learning other languages. That is also true of Latin. But Latin takes a long time to learn, whereas Esperanto doesn't. I became fluent in two years.
Don't forget, he designed it for uneducated farm-workers who had 10 minutes a day.”
He? Ah, that must be Ludovic L Zamenhof.
Bialystok in the 1860s was no place to grow up. A city in the north-east of what is now Poland, it was at the time under Russian rule. Violence between ethnic Poles, Russians, Germans and Jews was commonplace, and every week brought fresh news of barbarism and cruelty between these isolated and mutually intolerant communities.
It was here, where lack of understanding translated readily into racial hatred, and racial hatred begat violence, that, in 1859, Ludovic Zamenhof was born to a language teacher and her linguist husband. By his mid-teens, young Ludovic had seen enough of man's inhumanity to man to convince him of the need for a common language that would facilitate understanding between peoples.
Having been brought up to speak Polish, German, Russian, Yiddish and Hebrew, and having a good knowledge of English and French, Zamenhof knew that no existing language would fit the bill. For one thing, the fact that they were associated with a particular country, race or culture meant that they lacked the neutrality any international language would need in order to be accepted.
And, for another, the fact that they were weighed down by copious rules, yet at the same time were riddled with illogicalities and exceptions, meant that they lacked another essential characteristic of a universal second language: ease of learning by ordinary people.
This difficulty factor also ruled out Latin and classical Greek – all of which left Zamenhof with only one option: to devise his own language.