The Esperanto language was developed by Dr. L. L. Zamenhof in Europe over a hundred years ago. No one knows exactly how many people speak any language fluently. Some estimates put the speakers of Esperanto at more than a million. They live everywhere in the world. Zamenhof`s idea came from his experience in European communities which were made up of separate groups who gathered together because they spoke the same language. Next door to them was another enclave of people who spoke only their own language. There may have been ten or more different groups clustered near each other, yet they could not communicate outside their little language zones.
This led to great difficulties in trade and social interaction. Zamenhof felt that he could create a simple language which everyone could learn as their second tongue. Then they could peacefully and productively communicate.
As you can imagine, there was great resistance. Learning another language is time-consuming and difficult. But many people did learn Esperanto and communication did improve.
Today people around the world who speak only their native language and Esperanto can communicate fully with each other. With email and the internet, I can and do write to people in China, Mali, Russia, Italy, France, Korea, and any other country in the world where someone speaks Esperanto.
The subtitle of this article says that Esperanto can be good for you. Here`s how: Esperanto is so much easier to learn than a national language that you can be speaking and writing it within months. Because of its logical organization of roots and affixes, what you learn about Esperanto transfers easily to your study of other languages. It is estimated that a person who studies Esperanto first, can learn another language in about half the time it would usually take.
You can find more information about Esperanto at this site:
Esperanto, the word, is made up of the root -esper- hope, the noun ending -o-, and the suffix -ant- doer. So the word means – one who hopes.
Dr. Zamenhof published his book under the name, Dr. Esperanto, one who hopes for a better world through increased communication.
All Esperantists have the same hope and invite you to learn more.
Jack Wilson ©2006
Jack Wilson is an Esperantist and translator working out of Tempe, Arizona.
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