Dr Ludwig Lazar ZamenhofThe 150th anniversary of Dr Ludwig Lazar Zamenhof’s – the author of Esperanto – birth is just around the corner, to be marked by an Esperanto congress held in his birthplace of Bialystok, Poland.

I’ve briefly mentioned this conlag in previous posts, and I found an interesting BBC article about Esperanto being spoken in Israel.

Esperanto was designed to “foster harmony and coexistence” and is currently spoken by around one million people worldwide. The language appears to attract people who are both enthusiastic about the language and willing to meet and befriend others who speak it, fostering a community not unlike Zamenhof envisioned, if on a somewhat smaller scale – something that cannot be said for all languages. As an interviewee says:

“Let’s say you go to a little village in the south of France,” says Israeli Yehuda Miklaf. “You ask: Does anyone here speak English? And they say: Henri does. So you go and say to Henri: Hi, I speak English. And Henri says: That’s nice. “Then you ask: Who here speaks Esperanto? They say: Pierre does. So you come up to Pierre and say: Hi, I speak Esperanto. Pierre says: Have you had lunch? It really is like this.”

Read the full article here.