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Lernu: about Esperanto

I had a first approach to Esperanto about 20 years ago as a young student who casually joined an introductory meeting, I have to say that it didn’t have such a great impact on me and just came back to it some days ago when I discovered lernu, a website to learn and practice Esperanto.

Esperanto is an artificial language developed  by Dr. L.L. Zamenhof (1859-1917) who aimed to propose Esperanto as an internationally recognized second language that would allow people who speak different native languages to communicate without replacing anyone’s language. His language would be easy to learn, so that the inequalities between native speakers and non-native speakers wouldn’t play a relevant role.

Some people criticize Esperanto as an artificial language without a culture of its own, but this criticism is rejected by Esperanto communities who state that Esperanto culture can be easily found, for example, in the number and quality of literary works that is proportionally larger in Esperanto than in other languages. I don’t feel comfortable with this definition of “culture”, I mean, culture is something more than what is produced through the language: it affects the language itself.

Anyway the following video shows some fascinating issues about language learning and I believe it’s worth watching.

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  1. Bill Chapman
    March 26, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    An interesting message. Esperanto is more than just a literary language. It has a long-established speech community. I’ve used it for decades during my travels for contacts in other countries whose languages I don’t speak – in Bulgaria, Slovenia and Croatia, for example.

  2. geoffreyking
    April 3, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    A couple of years ago while I was with a group of Esperantists I asked around the group as to how they came to take up Esperanto. Almost everyone had the same experience as I did; a chance meeting somewhere which lead to nothing much, then another chance meeting years later in a different context which reinforced the earlier impression and finally got them started.
    In other words, people apparently need to come across Esperanto on at least two completely different unrelated occasions before they get motivated to learn the language; and it looks like you had the same experience.

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