Which languages ​​make up Esperanto?

What is Esperanto?

The international language Esperanto is a common second language of people in over 120 countries worldwide. The basics of this language that unites people were published in Warsaw in 1887 by Ludwik Zamenhof. Since then, Esperanto has developed into a living language with an active community of speakers and its own culture.

Esperanto can be learned relatively quickly - around a quarter of the time it takes for languages ​​such as English or Spanish. The basics of Esperanto can usually be learned in two or three weekend courses. The language has a simple structure and it is regular.

Esperanto is more neutral than other languages ​​because it does not give any country a particular advantage over other countries.

Living language

Esperanto is a living language that is used at international meetings of young people, adults and families. Around 100 books appear in Esperanto every year. There are regular magazines and Esperanto music groups that can also be found on youtube. The radio station Muzaiko offers an ongoing program in Esperanto, with Esperanto music, reports and interviews.

Esperanto culture

The Esperanto version of Wikipedia has as many articles as the Danish, Slovak or Croatian versions. Firefox, Linux desktops and OpenOffice can be installed on Esperanto, the search engine Google and the blog service provider ipernity also offer their services in Esperanto. The Chinese government publishes news daily in ten languages, one of which is Esperanto. The Chinese radio also provides information abroad in Esperanto, as does the magazine “El Popola Ĉinio”.

Can be learned quickly

Esperanto was created with the idea of ​​being able to learn as quickly as possible. That is why Esperanto has a grammar based on only sixteen basic rules. There are no irregular verbs or other things that often make languages ​​so difficult. How easy Esperanto really is naturally depends on the individual. The more previous knowledge you have of other foreign languages, the easier it is. Conversely, Esperanto can also help you to understand and learn foreign languages ​​better in general, as you can see through grammatical principles more easily without being confused by irregular forms.

How quickly you can learn Esperanto, of course, also varies from person to person. Many Esperanto learners start using Esperanto in practice after twenty or thirty hours of study, e.g. B. on the Internet. With a correspondence course, you can usually learn Esperanto in ten to fifteen weeks to the point where you can read magazines or Internet pages in Esperanto and write e-mails (with 15 to 30 minutes of study time per day).

More neutral than other languages

Esperanto does not belong to any country, any people or any continent. You take a step towards people from other countries. Each speaker leaves their own native speaker comfort zone and speaks on a common level with others. At the same time, most longtime Esperanto speakers consider the language part of their personal identity. It feels like its own language and is often more familiar than other foreign languages. In addition, after a few years, many speakers have a better command of Esperanto than the languages ​​they may have learned in school. This makes them feel more secure and speak more freely.

The effect of the predominance of a national language was examined in 2005 by Prof. Grin, among others, who examined the economic consequences of foreign language teaching for the French government. Grin - who incidentally does not speak Esperanto - explained that comprehensive English teaching in Great Britain brings annual financial benefits of EUR 25 billion. Conversely, the other countries have to spend a correspondingly large amount of time and money learning and using English.

Growth of the Esperanto language community

According to various estimates, several hundred thousand people around the world actively speak the language today. A few million have learned Esperanto. Esperanto is also spreading in regions such as Brazil, Africa, Nepal and China. In the last hundred years the number of Esperanto speakers has increased about a thousandfold. For comparison: the number of English speakers has increased about twenty-fold during this period.

Number of national associations of the Esperanto World Federation 1950-2015
(Aliĝoj - additions)

There is much more support behind the spread of English than behind Esperanto. Esperanto is largely dependent on the commitment of the individual who learns Esperanto in addition to other languages; some are also committed to making Esperanto better known.

The number of native Esperanto speakers is also increasing. The first known native Esperanto speaker was born in 1904. In the 1950s, a study found around 150 children and young people who grew up with Esperanto as their mother tongue. Today the number of native Esperanto speakers is estimated at between one thousand and two thousand. The increasing number of native speakers shows that Esperanto is becoming more and more established - after all, you speak Esperanto with your children especially if you have a good command of the language yourself and have many Esperanto friends.

There are now about a hundred people for whom Esperanto has become the main language, i.e. the language they speak more than their other languages.

Esperanto and English

English is suitable for many purposes and in many cases it certainly makes sense to learn and speak English. In contrast, Esperanto is much easier to learn than English. Students need much less time and have much faster learning success with significantly less effort. On the other hand, Esperanto is a language that does not grant any country a particular advantage, as is the case with English.

Despite ten years of schooling in English and courses at universities, only a few manage to achieve a high level of English. Compared to a native speaker of English, many remain inferior in terms of expressiveness, idioms, and grammatical correctness. If you want to publish a text in English, you usually need a native English speaker to look through the text. Which language students (have to) learn has always been a question of the economic, scientific and cultural domination of countries. While it was once Latin, French, and Russian, today it is English. In 50 years' time, Chinese might be playing that role.

And the most important thing about Esperanto is, as is so often the case: Just try it out! You should learn Esperanto for at least ten minutes to get a feel for how the language is structured: Lernu.net offers a first introduction.