Esperanto: the story of Zamenhof’s constructed language

Explainosphere publikigis antaŭ 5 monatoj

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Esperanto, a language developed by this guy. Esperanto is a planned language, that means that its creation was not spontaneous and its growth was not fully organic. Just someone created it and spread it.

Zamenhof considered that if everyone spoke the same language, “education, ideals, convictions, aims, would be the same too, and all nations would be united in a common brotherhood”. Awww that was sweet! His goal: To make it the second most spoken language in the world.

Was Zamenhof, aka “Dr. Esperanto”, Ambitious? yes! Successful? Mmm, it’s tricky! Let’s look at the backstory first, an we’ll let you decide.

The language is only made up of 16 rules. Its grammar is simple and borrows words from other mainstream languages, most of them from western Europe.

It was featured in Paris in the Exposition Universelle of 1900, where people fell in love with it and was projected as the language of the future.

The language began to earn speakers along Europe, Zamenhof was nominated to a Nobel Peace Prize and there was an attempt to establish an Esperanto-speaking tiny territory: Amikejo.
Esperanto was thriving even more, and its creator became a kind of rockstar, streets, an asteroid and a genus of lichen were named after him, even a Japanese sect, Oomoto, that encouraged the use of Esperanto and had Zamenhof as a kind of god.

World War One destroyed the idea of Amikejo, but Esperanto was proposed as the official language of the recently born League of Nations, but France said “en aucun cas!”

Then World War II ended all of it. The language was accused as a tool of Zionism and Stalin disliked it too. Esperanto was spoken in concentration camps, and the Soviets speakers were sent to forced labor. All these events weakened the movement for the coming years.

A few years later, the Internet was born and it fit great with the Esperanto. If you want the story of the internet, you should check out our video about it.

So the internet created an environment where speakers could be in touch with Esperanto every day, also it became meeting point for the language enthusiasts to make their own contributions.

The Esperanto version of Wikipedia has a similar amount of articles to the Turkish or Korean version. Google, Facebook and Telegram also have Esperanto versions. There’s even, a free service exclusive for Esperanto speakers.

If you google “Esperanto”, there are 1 550 000 000 of results about it. Google Translate works with Esperanto too.

Then another platform was born to help, just like Superman with Earth: Duolingo, an app to learn languages. The creators decided to add the Esperanto service to the app, and many online members of the Esperanto community got involved in the process, launching the language course for English speakers in 2014.

I would talk more about the app, but Duolingo is not sponsoring us, we’ll wait for their call.

Concerned about irregular verbs or weird pronunciation? Esperanto does not have that either, so they are made for each other.

The app has increased the amount of Esperanto speakers. Around 1.1 Million users have signed up to for courses, about half of them speak it and one in four finish the whole program.

It’s fair to say that the app is not enough the learn the language, so nowadays there are some real meetings for people who want to enhance their proficiency. In these meetings, you’ll often find the Esperanto flag, where green means hope, and there’s a star for each one of the five continents.

Nowadays, Esperanto is the most widely spoken planned language in the world.

Now let’s practice a little bit: Mi esperas, ke vi ŝatis la filmon, aboni al la kanalo kaj vidi vin baldaŭ.

Well, we need more practice, and that’s all for now. Stay fresh.

Concerned about irregular verbs or weird pronunciation? Esperanto does not have that either, so they are made for each other.

The app has increased the amount of Esperanto speakers. Around 1.1 Million users have signed up to for courses, about half of them speak it and one in four finish the whole program.

It’s fair to say that the app is not enough the learn the language, so nowadays there are some real meetings for people who want to enhance their proficiency. In these meetings, you’ll often find the Esperanto flag, where green means hope, and there’s a star for each one of the five continents.

Nowadays, Esperanto is the most widely spoken planned language in the world.

Now let’s practice a little bit: Mi esperas, ke vi ŝatis la filmon, aboni al la kanalo kaj vidi vin baldaŭ. -”I hope you liked the video, subscribe to the channel and see you soon.”

Well, we need more practice, and that’s all for now. Stay fresh.

__________

Here at Explainosphere, we like explaining things. As curious and eccentric as they may seem, we believe there is always someone, somewhere, trying to figure out how things work.

If we answered your question on Esperanto, please leave us a message in the comments.

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