Refascinated with Esperanto

A wave of fascination with Esperanto laps against my mind every once in a while like a flowing tide. I experience the first wave of this kind in 1986 when I was still an MA student in linguistics in Kyoto, Japan. Having spent the past few weeks intensively preparing the three talks I am going to give at the forthcoming 96-a Universala Kongreso de Esperanto in Copenhagen and renovating the website of Esperanto-Ligo en Israelo as its new webmaster, I am experiencing this wave again.

I have also reread Zamenhof's monumental essay entitled Esenco kaj estonteco de la ideo de lingvo internacia [Essence and Future of the Idea of an International Language]. He sounds like a modern prophet. Every word of his is so convincing, but unfortunately, his prophesy has not been fully realized. His conclusions, which still remain actual, are as follows (translations are mine):

  1. La enkonduko de lingvo internacia alportus al la homaro grandegan utilon. [Introduction of an international language would bring to the humankind a huge benefit.]
  2. La enkonduko de lingvo internacia estas tute ebla. [Introduction of an international language is entirely possible.]
  3. La enkonduko de lingvo internacia pli aŭ malpli frue nepre kaj sendube efektiviĝos, kiom ajn la rutinistoj batalus kontraŭ tio ĉi. [Introduction of an internatioal language will be realized more or less soon and without doubt, no matter how much the followers of the routine would fight against this.]
  4. Kiel internacia neniam estos elektita ia alia lingvo krom arta. [As an international language any language other than an artificial one will never be chosen.]
  5. Kiel internacia neniam estos elektita ia alia lingvo krom Esperanto; ĝi aŭ estos lasita por ĉiam en ĝia nuna formo, aŭ en ĝi estos poste faritaj iaj ŝanĝoj. [As an international language any language other than Esperanto will never be chosen; it will either be left for ever in its present form, or certain changes will be made later in it.]

Unfortunately, we have not made any substantial progress since the days of Zamenhof. Actually, the situation has even worsened since then with the ever intensifying hegemony of English, especially its US variety. Not being a native speaker of (American) English, I find the present situation totally unfair, as its native speakers are enjoying a kind of linguistic "free ride". I am also fully aware how absurd it is that I am writing this very blog entry in English. I really hope that sometime in the future, if not in my lifetime, the humankind will learn to be wise enough to make Zamenhof's prophesy come true.

PS: If this blog entry happens to have kindled your interest in Esperanto, I would recommend you visit the following two websites as "appetizers":

  • Esperanto.net [basic information about Esperanto in tens of ethnic languages, hopefully including your mother tongue]
  • Lernu! [online course in Esperanto in a number of ethnic languages]