Archive for the ‘Esperanto’ Category

Esperanto Trail

Posted on August 28th, 2010by Michelle
In Culture, Esperanto | Leave a Comment »

Reading the latest issue of Lonely Planet magazine, I came across a short piece on the Esperanto Trail in Poland.

Ludwig Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto, was born in the city of Bialystok, northeast Poland, and the newly launched Esperanto Trail visits aspects of his life including his birthplace. Some train timetables at Bialystok station are even written in Esperanto.

The trail is part of the wider Culture Trail, which includes Bialystock Esperanto Centre. Bialystock is a place where many different languages and cultures meet, and this may have influenced Zamenhof’s dream to create a ‘universal’ language.

This dream was never fulfilled – as evidenced by the Trail’s signage, which is in Polish, Esperanto and English.

Esperanto anniversary

Posted on July 28th, 2009by Michelle
In Culture, Esperanto, Events, Invented languages | Leave a Comment »

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.


Posted on July 15th, 2009by Michelle
In Esperanto, Invented languages | Leave a Comment »

The conlag flagAfter writing about Klingon for a recent post, I was intruiged by the concept of invented languages – that is, languages that have been created by people from scratch.

Also known as constructed languages, or conlags, there seem to be a number of reasons for people creating their own languages – chief among them being “cool idea!” Others have more utopian views, such as the creator of Esperanto (probably the most famous of conlags) who envisioned his language being spoken as a second language by those all over the world as a means to promote understanding.

I’ve stumbled across a number of interesting conlags whilst searching the internet, including Toki Pona, “a minimal language that focuses on the good things in life” and Interlingua, “an international auxiliary language developed by the International Auxiliary Language Association with financing from the Rockfeller Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation, the Research Corporation and principally the family of the heiress Alice Vanderbilt Morris and her husband and children”, making it probably the most well-funded of the conlags.

Despite the dreams of their creators, however, conlags remain in the minority, as evidenced by another of their names – auxiliary languages. Whilst it’s unlikely that you will meet a fellow Toki Pona speaker on your summer holiday in Ibiza, wouldn’t it be great if you did? After all, the point of language is to enable communication.

So, you’re interested in creating your own language, check out this toolkit.