Esperanto is essentially English, French, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Polish, Czech, Finnish, Japanese, Mandarin, Thai, and Russian all divided by 18.Will McGree (in John Cowan's Essentialist Explanations)
Esperanto is a constructed “international auxiliary language” that was created by the Polish ophthalmologist Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof in the late 19th century. Esperanto was not the first constructed language; for example, Solresol and Volapük were also created in the nineteenth century. However, Esperanto is the most successful constructed language. According to the most optimistic estimates, there may be as many as two million users of Esperanto worldwide.
Esperanto was designed to be easy to learn. It has a regular (and easy) grammar, and its vocabulary is easy to learn for speakers of European languages. It is also an easy stepping stone towards other foreign languages (see The Propaedeutic Value of Esperanto below).
The creation of auxiliary languages still continues. More recent examples include Ido (considered the most successful offspring of Esperanto), Afrihili (which is meant to be easy to learn for Africans) and Lingwa de planeta or Lidepla (based on the most widely spoken languages of the world). See also the YouTube video Why People Make Their Own Languages by Xidnaf.
Not all constructed languages are auxiliary languages. For example,
the languages of Middle Earth created by Tolkien and
the languages used in George R. R. Martin's
A Song of Ice and Fire
were created as parts of the
fictional words invented by these authors and are not used in the real
world (except perhaps in fan communities).
Another well-known example is Klingon. (Someone even tried to raise his son as a native speaker of Klingon.)
“Don't learn Esperanto!”: a humorous video on reasons for (not?) learning Esperanto.
Resources for Learning Esperanto
Before the arrival of the Internet, most people learnt Esperanto from books and later from self-study courses accompanied by audio materials. The World Wide Web has given the Esperanto community more convenient ways to learn the languages and to communicate with other learners and Esperantists. Many learning materials are now available on the Web.
- Lernu: the most important site for learning Esperanto online.
- Saluton! Esperanto Aŭtodidakte: self-study course created by Audrey Childs-Mee.
Kurso de Esperanto:
a multimedia computer program for teaching yourself Esperanto. It contains 12 lessons.
- iKurso: French website with a Esperanto language course in 10 lessons.
- Esperanto on Duolingo.
- Esperanto Phrases (on linguanaut): basic phrases in English and Esperanto.
- Fundamento de Esperanto: one of the most important references on the grammar of Esperanto.
- Plena Manlibro de Esperanta Gramatiko (PMEG): another important Esperanto grammar (available under a Creative Commons licence).
- Kálmán Kalocsay; Gaston Waringhien: Plena analiza gramatiko de Esperanto (Rotterdam: Universala Espersanto-Asocio, 1985) Another grammar of Esperanto, also available online: Plena Analiza Gramatiko.
- Verda Drako el Ĉinio: an Esperanto YouTube channel maintained by Chinese speakers of Esperanto. The channel also has a playlist entitled Esperanto for Chinese speakers, which contains over 40 (short) videos.
- How do I self-study Esperanto? Where should I start? (discussion on Quora).
- Evildela is a videoblog in Esperanto on YouTube.
- Vanege: YouTube channel with many videos in Esperanto.
This dictionary provides both definitions and translations (in many languages)
but its interface is only availabe in Esperanto.
(The dictionary is available under the GNU General Public License Version 2, so it can be copied and hosted elsewhere under the same licence terms.)
- Rajki, Andras: Esperanto Etymological Dictionary (for download).
- Vortaro: Plena Ilustrita Vortaro de Esperanto.
Materials in Esperanto
- Smith, Chuck: Esperanto Basics (55 minutes, YouTube): this lecture from the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin in 2014 is almost entirely in Esperanto and has no subtitles.
- Vikipedio: the Esperanto version of Wikipedia!
- edukado.net: site with materials for learners of Esperanto. The site itself is entirely in Esperanto.
- Le Monde diplomatique in Esperanto.
- Lingvo.org: Esperanto, internacia lingvo por Eŭropo kaj la mondo.
- Akademio Internacia de la Sciencoj (AIS) San-Marino: the San Marino Academy of Sciences uses Esperanto as its official language.
- Scienca Revuo (scientific articles in Esperanto; since 1949).
- Teleskopo (another scientific journal in Esperanto).
- China Radio International (CRI): Esperanto: news in Esperanto.
- El Popola Ĉinio: an Esperanto magazine published in China.
- China Interreta Informa Centro: the Esperanto version of the news site China.org.cn.
- Tekstaro de Esperanto: a searchable text corpus of the Esperanto language.
- de Ugarte, David: Esperanto, lengua para pensar mejor, TEDx Madrid 2012 (11 minutes, YouTube): apparently the first TED or TEDx talk in Esperanto.
- Parolu: a YouTube channel with videos in Esperanto.
- Multe da Ridoj: comics in Esperanto.
Esperanto: What & Why
The Propaedeutic Value of Esperanto
- Propaedeutic value of Esperanto: Wikipedia article that summarizes several studies where Esperanto was used as a first foreign language in order to make it easier to learn other foreign languages.
- Read, Robert L.; Brewer, Steven D.: Who Knows Where Esperanto Might Lead?, Language (magazine), April 2009.
- Tellier, Angela: Esperanto as a starter language for child second-language learners in the primary school. 2nd edition. Barlaston: Esperanto UK, 2013. ISBN ISBN 978-0-902756-35-9.
- Bishop, Alan J.:
EKPAROLI Project Report 1994 - 1997:
report on an Australian project on the value of teaching
Esperanto as a preparatory method for speeding up Asian language learning and teaching. It concluded that Esperanto would be a good choice for a first foreign language in primary school.
- Fabián Jiménez, A.: How Learning Esperanto Can Help You Learn Other Languages, italki (no date).
- Lewis, Benny: Just 2 weeks learning Esperanto can get you months ahead in your target language (no date).
- Morley, Tim: Learn Esperanto first (17 minutes, YouTube): presentation at TEDxGranta 2012, in which a teacher explains how he used Esperanto as a first stepping stone towards other foreign languages in a primary school in the UK.
- Burton, Charlotte: Esperanto? What's that and why should I care? (8 minutes, YouTube).
- Gelman, Gabriel: Was ist Esperanto und warum solltest Du die Sprache lernen? Interview mit dem Esperantisten des Jahres 2016 Chuck Smith, Gründer der Esperanto-Version von Wikipedia und Duolingo, Sprachheld-Blog, 28.05.2017.
Other Reasons for Learning Esperanto
- Paul (LangFocus): Esperanto – A Useless Language?: Paul, who learnt some Esperanto (mainly on DuoLingo) but who does not consider himself an esperantist, explains what Esperanto is and what the benefits are of learning the language.
- Marian, Jakub: Learning Esperanto: Is it worth it? (no date).
- What language should I learn first? Esperanto or Spanish? Why? (discussion on Quora).
- Esperanto: Like a Native (6 minutes, YouTube): video with interviews with 6 of the circa 1000 native speakers of Esperanto.
- Esperanto: One of the World's Best Underutilized Ideas and Its Contributions to World Culture and Esperanto: One of the World's Best Underutilized Ideas Part 2: Q&A (YouTube)
- Why does anyone learn Esperanto?, BBC Magazine, 16.07.2008.
- Why 20 Hours? Why Esperanto? (3 minutes, YouTube).
Other Information about Esperanto
Esperanto Stack Exchange:
a question and answser site about Esperanto, launched as a “public beta” in August 2016.
Questions related to learning Esperanto:
- Wolff, David T.: Questions and Aswers about Esperanto: A guide for activists, Esperanto USA, 2003.
- Thompson, Tom: The Challenge of Esperanto, Omniglot (no date).
- Ian Carter talks about Esperanto on BBC York (19 minutes, YouTube). Ian Carter of the Esperanto Association of Britain (EAB) started learning Esperanto in the 1960s. The interview was recorded on 25 January 2016.
- A Guide To The Main International Esperanto Events, Whistling In The Wind (blog), 01.09.2015. (For a full list of events—in Esperanto—see La Esperanto-centro: EVENTOJ.) See also the blog's entire category of blogposts about Esperanto.
- The Duty Of Every Intellectual Man And Woman To Learn Esperanto (1909), Whistling In The Wind (blog), 25.03.2015.
- Dumas, John: Never Too Late to Learn Esperanto!, Imp of the Diverse (blog), 21.01.2016.
- Dumas, John: Esperanto Vanishes from the North American Review, Imp of the Diverse (blog), 28.03.2015.
- Docx, Edward: Esperanto: the language that never was, Prospect, 19.05.2016 (and in the June 2016 issue of the magazine).
- L’espéranto : une langue artificielle ? (22.11.2015) and La langue la plus difficile du monde (15.01.2016).
- Matthieu: L’espéranto, une langue qui dépasse les frontières, Le monde des langues
- Deutscher Esperanto-Kongress.
- Esperanto Research
Esperantic Studies Foundation (ESF),
established by Dr. Humphrey Tonkin in 1968.
The Foundation was conceived as a vehicle for promoting scholarly research and dialogue on issues concerned with world language problems and policies, including the planned international language Esperanto.See its publications page, its research page and the article State-of-the-Art: Esperanto Linguistics by Asya Pereltsvaig.
- What research has been done on the effects of learning Esperanto on acquiring other languages?, a question on Linguistics Stack Exchange.
- Do I need to learn Esperanto?, a question on Linguistics Stack Exchange.
- Why do experts recommend learning Esperanto?, a question on Language Learning Stack Exchange.
- Esperanto-urbo: website about the town Herzberg am Harz. In 2006, the town council officially adopted the designation 'Esperanto-urbo' (Esperanto Town). The website contains information about courses, projects and other activities related to Esperanto.
- Saluton, Esperanto: Brückensprache für Jedermann, SprachenNetz, 25.08.2016. A German article about Esperanto.
- esperanto.net: a website with information about Esperanto in 65 languages.
- Esperanto on Reddit.
- Komputeko: prikomputila terminokolekto: about computing and Esperanto.
Telegram estas mesaĝilo, kiun uzas multe da esperantistoj (jam 50+ grupoj).
- La Esperantista Mondmapo: a map of Esperanto speakers around the world.
- Li, David C. S.: Between English and Esperanto: what does it take to be a world language?, International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 261 (2003): 33-63.
- Gobbo, Federico: Linguistic Justice, van Parijs, and Esperanto, , October 2016. DOI: 10.1515/auseur-2016-0008.
- Gobbo, Federico: Are planned languages less complex than natural languages?, Language Sciences, October 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.langsci.2016.10.003.
- United States Department of the Army: Esperanto the aggressor language.
- Esperanto to Become Official EU Language, YouTube, 1 April 2017.
- Universala Esperanto-Asocio (UEA): the Universal Esperanto Association, founded in 1908.
Esperanto in Deutschland:
website with lots of information about activities, local associations, etc. related to Esperanto.
For example: Esperanto Baden-Württemberg . For other associations in Germany, see Esperanto in den Bundesländern.
- Deutscher Esperanto-Bund e.V. (YouTube presence of the German Esperanto association).
- Esperanto Association of Britain.
- Esperanto France.
- Esperanto USA.
- Esperanto Society of Ireland.
- Federación Española de Esperanto (Spain).
- Esperanto Nederland (Netherlands).
Kupolo de la Esperanto-organizaĵoj en Belgio
Asocio Por Esperanto (Wallonia).
The page Bierlando Belgio discusses Belgian beer.
- 中国世界语网站绿网 / Verda Reto - la Ĉina Esperanta Retejo (most of the website is in Chinese; there is not too much content in Esperanto). The website also has a forum.