Esperanto

Well after many a visit to Angelfishy’s gregg page, I decided to discover a bit about this language called esperanto.

It was a constructed international language, which had no particular link to any other languages and very much based on roots, from which many words can be formed. These days as I read, its only spoken by around 1 – 2 million people, mainly in Asia and Europe. By a quick glance, the writing looks like a Romantic Language like spanish or portugese.

I wonder if there are any esperanto speakers on this forum, or who know friends? I would be interested to hear first hand something about the language, how it works, who you talk to, and how you learned it?
I read of a recent holocaust diaries released that was written by a boy Petr Ginz, a native Esperantist as his parents were supporters of the language, whose diaries have been translated from esperanto.

Heres a photograph of a page of his diary
http://www.radio.cz/pictures/holocaust/denik_meho_bratra1.jpg

sourced from

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/62641

(by michael_lisitsa
for everyone)

12 comments Add yours
  1. As far as Esperanto goes, I know more than anyone in town, probably! But that isn't saying much. I can read it with ease and have a pretty good vocabulary in it and an okay sense of the grammar. However, Alex here in the group is fluent. I pretty much rely on him and the rest of the Esperanto community to write well-formed Esperanto. When I wrote the Esperanto Gregg Shorthand Wikipedia page ( http://eo.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregga_stenografio ), almost every sentence had to be revised by another wiki surfer.

    Esperanto is a great language, though. I love the look and sound of it. And it is pretty easy, too.

  2. Well, it has been a lot of time that I don't study Esperanto. But, when I studied by myself, I learned that roots where taken from Latin, and for creating new words, suffix are added to them, according to their grammar function (verbs, nouns, adjectives, articles, etc.), gender (femine, masculine or neutre). number (singular or plural) and case (dative, accusative, etc.). It's a simple artificial language, because it has only few grammar rules; and its main purpose is being an international language for worldwide communication.   Example: Root –> AM Suffixes: "I" is for verbs, "O" is for nouns, so AMI is "to love" and AMO is "love".

  3. I was very interested and enthused in Esperanto for a good four years but now I haven't actively used the language or participated in groups for at least two years. I'd be happy to share my reasons why.

    Valo: It's as simple or complex as one makes it out to be. The rules themselves are regular, which makes it simple for beginners. However, the nuances are just as complex as any national language, and beyond the basics, things get trickier, hence the "eternal beginner" stage many Esperantists find themselves in.

    Also one correction: Esperanto has only the (multipurpose) accusative case and the nominative, no dative.

    To further your example of "am-":

    "am-" (love) makes "ami" (to love) and "amo" (love)
    "bon-" (good) makes "bona" (good) and "bono" (goodness, more commonly 'boneco'), and "boni" (to be good).

    But there are some cases where the root is not what you'd expect it to be, or where it's just as idiomatic as any language:
    "sxovel-" (to shovel) makes "sxoveli" (to shovel) but "sxovelilo" (lit. 'shovelling tool' or 'shovel)
    "al" (to) can make "aligxi" (to subscribe)
    "don-" (to give) can make "eldoni" (to publish)

    If you have any questions about its grammar/vocabulary, I'd be happy to contribute my thoughts 🙂

  4. Hi–I've been away for a few days (visiting our son in Texas) and haven't had a chance to respond to the "Esperanto" thread.   The first book on Esperanto was published in 1887.  So the language has had more than a century of existence–and in my opinion progress.  Estimates of the number of speakers can be up to 2 million, although it's really impossible to know.  I usually tell people that there are more speakers of Esperanto than speakers of Icelandic or Basque.  (No one thinks those languages are silly just because the speaker communities are small).   Esperanto is also unique among other "constructed language" projects in that it has a  relatively huge literature in print, both translated and original.  The Esperanto translation of "Lord of the Rings" was just issued in a new, revised edition.   The root words of Esperanto are mainly European, with a majority of Romance roots followed by German and slavic.  There are also a large number of English cognates ("birdo" = "bird", "evento" = "event", etc.).  I wouldn't say the roots are Latin, other than by derivation through the Romance languages (chiefly French).   Dr. Gregg was intensely interested in Esperanto.  He wanted shorthand to become the universal writing method, and also wanted a universal language.  He attended the 1910 World Esperanto Congress that was held in Washington, DC, and early issues of the Gregg Writer used to include occasional news items about Esperanto events and facts.    In the U.S., there's a well-known 3-week "Summer Esperanto Institute" for intensive language study.  It was originally held at San Francisco State University, moved to the School for International Training in Vermont for a few years, and is now at the University of California-San Diego.    I'd be happy to provide more information if anyone's interested.  I learned Esperanto as a 16-year-old kid, now nearly 40 years ago . . . . close to the time I started studying shorthand.  I do think there's some correlation there, although I'm not sure what it is.   Happy new year to everyone.   Alex

  5. Esperanto was authored by a Polish physician named L. L. Zamenhof.  He published an original booklet about the language, then a second, but as author did not claim any rights to the language–he essentially sent it out for people to use and develop naturally.  (This was in contrast to an earlier invented language, Volapuk, whose author insisted on maintaining absolute control . . . Volapuk consequently stagnated and died away).    Zamenhof grew up in the city of Bialystok, and as a child was struck by the animosity between the different language communities in the town:  Polish, Russian, German, Yiddish . . . and he thought one common second language would be a potential solution.  He developed the language as quite a young man, a teenager in fact, but refined it and published it when he was in his mid-20s.    Since its original publication Esperanto has of course grown and developed, just as any other language would.  The basic grammar remains the same (I can read Esperanto texts from the 1880s with no problem) but the vocabulary has increased, and certain style and usage patterns have emerged.   Esperanto has a sizeable literature, both original and translated.  For examle, the entire Bible is available (Zamenhof himself translated the Old Testament), as well as a translation of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.    Alex

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