(An 8-minute overview)
(To understand the people speaking if you don’t understand Esperanto, make sure closed captions are turned on – on a computer, click the button after the video starts.)
Who created it?
Dr Ludwik Zamenhof created Esperanto in present-day Poland in 1887. Esperanto has been developing and is constantly changing with the addition of modern words as the needs arise. This keeps Esperanto alive. Many people use it as their daily language.
Isn’t English the international language?
National languages like English give an unfair advantage to their native speakers. People who have studied English for over ten years still feel at a disadvantage when they are talking with a native speaker.
English is rich and expressive, but is very time-consuming to master as a second language. Although a superficial knowledge of English is very common throughout the world, it is only the fourth most common native language.
What is Esperanto like?
Esperanto is based on sixteen fundamental rules. The parts of speech are formed from root words by adding appropriate letters. E.g. nouns end in “o”; adjectives end in “a”; nouns and adjectives form plurals by adding “j”; verbs are easily formed and never irregular.
Word order is not critical and even beginners can put together sentences that are easily understood.
Havi (to have)
Ludi (to play)
Kanti (to sing)
Esperanto estas tre bona lingvo por internacia komunikado inter homoj, kiuj interesiĝas pri aliaj landoj kaj kulturoj.
(Esperanto is a very good language for international communication between people who are interested in other countries and cultures.)
How is Esperanto used?
The Esperanto version of Wikipedia has over 250 000 articles (more than the Hebrew version, for example).
Books and magazines
Esperanto serves as a bridge between national or ethnic cultures. One example of this is the thousands of books that have been translated into Esperanto from national or ethnic languages. They include the great classics (such as Plato’s Republic, Hamlet, Pinocchio, and Tao Te Ching), as well as more obscure works written in minority languages.
Monato is a monthly magazine about world events and issues. Its articles are not written by foreign correspondents (who seldom have really deep knowledge or understanding of local society) but by the very people who live in those countries and have directly experienced the events they describe.
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) publishes its magazine, The UNESCO Courier, in Esperanto.
Every year new Esperanto songs and albums by artists in various genres are released. You can find Esperanto radio programs and podcasts online. There are regular cultural festivals where people can enjoy various aspects of Esperanto culture. To listen to some Esperanto music, go to www.vinilkosmo.com.
Esperanto is well represented in social media, including a group on Facebook with over 22 000 members. Esperanto is also widely used on other platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Skype and Telegram.