What is Esperanto?

A great number of languages has always disturbed communication between different peoples. Therefore people from ancient time have dreamed about a language understandable by everyone. It would be very useful to unite people, especially in the sphere of science, commerce, tourism, sport. The introduction of a language common to all mankind will change our world beyond recognition, will bring the humanity to the next stage of development. The progress will speed up significantly. Just think: any man will be able to communicate with anyone in any spot of the world. Everyone will have to learn only one language.

We try to translate works of every people into the languages of others, but it's nonproductive, laborious, expensive. And we can translate only small part of world literature. The most of it is still inaccessible for us. But if the only international language existed every literary work in the world would be translated into this language and many works would be written in it already. So all intellectual wealth would be accessible for everyone.Our life is too short. We must learn and study all the time. Alas! We spend a great part of our time nonproductively learning languages. We would benefit if thanks to existing of common language we would be able to pay attention to more important things. Instead of learning different languages people would be able to learn only one understandable by everyone.

We must understand that if all people knew that it's enough to learn only one language to communicate with the whole world, a lot of good teachers, teaching courses would appear, everyone would learn this language with great pleasure and eagerness. Finally all parents would bring up their children speaking this language.

The international language for all people can be one of the dead languages (for example, Latin) or one of the national languages (for example, English) or a specially constructed artificial language.

Among dead languages only Latin deserves attention. Latin has been used as international for long. Students in many countries are obliged to learn Latin. But have you ever met people speaking Latin well? No, because Latin is too difficult to learn and does not have modern notions. By the way, even during the prosperity of Latin only elite could speak it.

Among national languages only English has a chance to become really international. But even if it happens so it will be in many years from now, even not in this century. Because more than 5.5 billion people don't know English. And most of those who know English as foreign can not speak it well. Mainly young people learn English. Only some of them take it seriously. And there are hundreds of millions of poor people in the world. They do not learn English because they do not have possibilities to waist years, to put great efforts into it and to spend much money.

Moreover there is no guarantee that English will be popular for long. Once French was very popular, soon Chinese will become stronger.Furthermore usage of English as the only international language will subject other languages to discrimination. English-speaking nations get great advantage in comparison with others, because they have not to learn English as a foreign language!

The humanity needs a neutral language not belonging to any nation and very simple to learn.Esperanto can be such a language. Why Esperanto and not another constructed language? Because Esperanto happened to be the most successful among all constructed languages. It has been tested in different situations for many years and has proved its ability to become a language common to all mankind. But why is Esperanto so suitable for international communication? English has a plenty of difficulties and exceptions. Esperanto has taken the best features of many languages. It is not inferior to English in the beauty, flexibility and expressiveness. Esperanto is much easier than English. The main languages used to construct Esperanto are French, German, English and Russian. Contribution of Russian is significant therefore the structures of both languages are similar.

Esperanto has one disadvantage: only about 2 million people know it. But it is easy to change. If it is accepted as the main international language, already in a few months not only rich and well-educated people but also poor and uneducated people all over the world would be able to speak it.

I'll introduce to you the structure of Esperanto.

The alphabet of Esperanto is based on the Latin alphabet. Every letter is always read the same. One letter – one sound. So it's easy to read and to write a new word correctly. The stress is fixed and is always on the last but one vowel sound. For example: absoluta, adreso, aero, aktiva, aktuale. Esperanto is very euphonic and resembles Italian.

The vocabulary consists of international words. So many words will be familiar to you. For example: akvo, akurata, analizi. It is enough to know 1200 roots to speak Esperanto, because a speaker can knowingly construct other words adding to a root prefixes, suffixes and endings every of which has its certain meaning. For example the prefix mal- gives an opposite meaning: bona – malbona; varma – malvarma. The suffix –in- denotes females: patro – patrino; onklo – onklino. The suffix –il- denotes a tool: flugi – flugilo.

The grammar of Esperanto is amazingly simple in comparison with grammars of national languages. Only 11 endings are used:
-o noun: sporto
-a adjective: sporta
-j plural: studentoj
-n accusative: Mi amas cin.
-e adverb: bone
-i infinitive: sporti
-is past tense: sportis
-as present tense: sportas
-os future tense: sportos
-u imperative mood: sportu
-us conditional mood: sportus.

There are no genders, conjugations, declinations and irregular verbs. There are only two cases: nominative and accusative. Meanings of other cases are expressed with the help of prepositions. There are only 3 tenses: past, present and future.

More than 100 novels have been written in Esperanto. Esperanto has literature translated from more than 50 languages; there is special and scientific literature. There are radio stations broadcasting in Esperanto. There are hundreds of sites in The Internet. Textbooks of Esperanto have been published in more than 50 languages.

There are Esperanto associations in tens of nations on all continents. From time to time Esperanto is used as a working language during international scientific congresses.

Maybe you have a question, why has not Esperanto become popular yet? It is because some people do not know what Esperanto is because yet there is no country with Esperanto being an official language. And the UN does not consider the problem of multilinguism. Also few people believe that Esperanto is not inferior to national languages in the beauty, flexibility and expressiveness. Instead of opposing they should read something about Esperanto in The Internet, to look through its textbook.

There are many, hundreds of thousands and even millions of Esperantists. But their movement was weak because they did not have one center. Esperantists are spread all over the world. It was difficult for them to cooperate and to communicate.

But the world has changed. Now one geographic center is not necessary. Any Esperantist can communicate to any another one via The Internet. Yes, now there is no country with Esperanto being an official language. But a virtual country of Esperanto exists in The Internet. Anyone wishing can become a citizen of the country of Esperanto. Thanks to The Internet the number of Esperantists grows rapidly.


The article was made using information from: www and "Лингвистический энциклопедический словарь" (Ярцева, 1990).

Author: Dmitry Dotsenko (Доценко Дмитрий, DOCENKO Dmitrijo,
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
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