Topic: Constructed languages/Esperanto
Esperanto () is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. It was created by Polish ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhof in 1887, when he published a book detailing the language, The International Language whose editions in Russian, Polish, German, French and English, under the pseudonym “Doktoro Esperanto” together constitute the “original edition”, usually referred to by Esperantists as “La Unua Libro” (“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" (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 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 those 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 approximately two million speakers, a small portion of whom are even native speakers, it is the most widely spoken constructed language in the world. Although no country has adopted Esperanto officially, Esperantujo is the name given to the collection of places where it is spoken, and the language is widely employed in world travel, correspondence, cultural exchange, conventions, literature, language instruction, television, and radio. Some people have chosen to learn Esperanto for its purported help in third language acquisition, like Latin.
While many of its advocates continue to hope for the day that Esperanto becomes officially recognized as the international auxiliary language, an increasing number have stopped focusing on this goal and instead view the Esperanto community as a "stateless diasporic linguistic minority" based on freedom of association, with a culture worthy of preservation, based solely on its own merit.
- "Esperanto, an International Language" | 2020-04-25 | 35 Upvotes 48 Comments