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Subject: Esperanto FAQ (Oftaj demandoj) Part 1/2
This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:23:20 GMT
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for
soc.culture.esperanto and email@example.com
This posting attempts to answer the most common questions from those new
to the newsgroup soc.culture.esperanto (or the corresponding mailing
list esperanto-l), or to the language Esperanto itself. Please send
suggestions, corrections and complaints about this FAQ to the
maintainer, Yves Bellefeuille <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Post questions about
Esperanto in the newsgroup or send them to the mailing list, not to the
Because of the increasing internationalization of the net, I have
attempted to make this FAQ as relevant as possible to readers in various
countries. It's still somewhat biased in favour of the US, though.
This FAQ is available as follows:
Posted once a month in Usenet group soc.culture.esperanto. (Also
gatewayed to mailing list esperanto-l; see section 16).
The FAQ can be downloaded in text format from this location.
Send a message to:
with the following contents:
Changes this month:
- many E-mail addresses and URLs updated.
- ELNA's FTP archive permanently down (sections 7 and 16).
- number of hits on standard WWW search engines updated (section 16).
- several URLs updated.
Quite a delay between updates; my apologies.
- Cathy Schulze has passed away; updated address for course at SFSU to
Ellen M. Eddy <email@example.com> (section 7).
- added E-mail address for Rolf Beau (section 7).
- updated contact information for Lojban (section 11).
- removed Center BBS, Slovenia (section 17).
PART I: THE LANGUAGE ESPERANTO
1. What is Esperanto?
2. How easy is Esperanto to learn?
3. Where does Esperanto's vocabulary come from?
4. What about Esperanto's grammar and word-order?
5. How many people speak Esperanto?
6. How can I use Esperanto once I've learned it?
7. Where do I find classes, textbooks, etc.?
8. How come Esperanto doesn't have <favourite word or feature>?
9. What are some common objections to Esperanto? How do speakers of
Esperanto respond to them?
10. Are there any famous Esperanto speakers?
11. What about other "artificial" languages like Loglan, Ido, etc.?
12. What are PAG, PIV, PMEG, PV, TEJO and UEA?
13. How do you say "I love you" in Esperanto?
PART II: ESPERANTO, COMPUTERS AND THE INTERNET
14. How can I type and display Esperanto's accented characters?
15. How can I represent these characters in E-mail or on Usenet?
16. What Esperanto material is available on the Internet?
17. What Esperanto material is available on other (non-Internet)
PART I: THE LANGUAGE ESPERANTO
1. WHAT IS ESPERANTO?
Esperanto is a language designed to facilitate communication between
people of different lands and cultures. It was first published in 1887
by Dr. L. L. Zamenhof (1859-1917) under the pseudonym "Dr. Esperanto",
meaning "one who hopes", and this is the name that stuck as the name of
the language itself.
Esperanto is considerably easier to learn than national languages, since
its design is far simpler and more regular. Also, unlike national
languages, Esperanto allows communication on an equal footing between
people, with neither having the usual cultural advantage favouring a
Esperanto's purpose is not to replace any other language, but to
supplement them: Esperanto would be used as a neutral language when
speaking with someone who doesn't know one's own language. The use of
Esperanto would also protect minority languages, which would have a
better chance of survival than in a world dominated by a few powerful
2. HOW EASY IS ESPERANTO TO LEARN?
For a native English speaker, we may estimate that Esperanto is about
five times as easy to learn as Spanish or French, ten times as easy to
learn as Russian, twenty times as easy to learn as Arabic or spoken
Chinese, and infinitely easier to learn than Japanese. Many people find
that they speak Esperanto better after a few months' study than a
language they learned at school for several years.
A knowledge of Esperanto makes it much easier to learn other foreign
languages, and there is some evidence that it is actually more efficient
to learn Esperanto first, before learning other languages, rather than
to study foreign languages directly. For example, one may become more
fluent in French by first studying Esperanto for 6 months and then
studying French for a year and a half, rather than studying French for
two continuous years. The reason may be that Esperanto's regular grammar
and word formation and flexible syntax makes it easier to understand
other languages' grammar and rules.
3. WHERE DOES ESPERANTO'S VOCABULARY COME FROM?
About 75 % of Esperanto's vocabulary comes from Latin and Romance
languages (especially French), about 20 % comes from Germanic languages
(German and English), and the rest comes mainly from Slavic languages
(Russian and Polish) and Greek (mostly scientific terms).
The words derived from Romance languages were chosen to be as
recognizable as possible throughout the world. For example, the word
"radio", although technically Romance, is now used internationally.
Someone knowing only Russian and looking at a text in Esperanto would
immediately recognize perhaps 40 % of the words, without even having
studied the language.
Esperanto is phonetic: every word is pronounced exactly as it is
spelled. There are no "silent" letters or exceptions.
4. WHAT ABOUT ESPERANTO'S GRAMMAR AND WORD-ORDER?
Even more than its vocabulary, it is Esperanto's grammar and rules which
makes it exceptionally easy. Unnecessary complications have been
eliminated: there is no grammatical gender, the word order is relatively
free, etc. The rules have also been simplified as much as possible:
there is only one verb conjugation, all plurals are formed the same way,
a prefix can be added to any word to change it to its opposite
(good/bad, rich/poor, right/wrong), and so on. Thus, after perhaps 30
minutes' study, one can conjugate any verb in any tense. This is a
tremendous simplification compared to national languages.
Esperanto's flexible word-order allows speakers from different language
families to use the structures with which they are most familiar and
still speak perfectly intelligible and grammatically correct Esperanto.
This also makes Esperanto an excellent translator of such different
languages as Chinese, Japanese, Latin, English and French.
5. HOW MANY PEOPLE SPEAK ESPERANTO?
This is a very common question, but nobody really knows the answer. The
only way to determine accurately the number of people who speak
Esperanto would be to conduct a world-wide census, and of course this
has never been done.
However, Professor Sidney S. Culbert of the University of Washington,
Seattle, USA, has done the most comprehensive survey on language use
ever attempted. He has conducted interviews in dozens of countries
around the world and tested for "professional proficiency", i.e. much
more than just "hello, please, goodbye".
Based on this survey, Prof. Culbert concluded that Esperanto has about
two million speakers worldwide. This puts it on a par with "minority"
languages such as Lithuanian or Hebrew. For more information on this
survey (partly in Esperanto), see
The results are also published in the _World Almanac and Book of Facts_.
[There's a lot of debate over how many people speak Esperanto. Sometimes
there is a tendency to exaggerate the number of Esperanto speakers, or,
on the contrary, to minimize it. I've seen numbers ranging from 100 000
to 8 million. Prof. Culbert's estimate has two advantages over any
other I've seen:
1. The method is sound. Doing a world-wide survey is the only valid way
to estimate the number of Esperanto speakers, but it's so difficult that
Prof. Culbert is the only person who has ever attempted to do so, to my
2. The study attempted to find out how many people speak *all*
languages, not just Esperanto. We can see whether the results obtained
for other languages make sense; if they do, then the result for
Esperanto is probably as valid as any other.
In short, Prof. Culbert's estimate that two million people speak
Esperanto around the world is the most accurate answer we're likely to
get. -- Ed.]
Some parents teach Esperanto (along with the local language) to their
children; it is estimated that perhaps a thousand people speak Esperanto
as a first language.
6. HOW CAN I USE ESPERANTO ONCE I'VE LEARNED IT?
Here are some of the many different ways people use Esperanto:
- Esperanto is an ideal second language. Many adults want to learn
another language, but don't have the time or energy to learn a national
- Correspondence. Write to people in a dozen countries without learning
a dozen languages.
- Travel. Esperanto can be used to see the world. There are lists of
Esperanto speakers willing to host other Esperantists in their own
house or apartment for free.
- International understanding. You can't be friends with people if you
can't talk to them! Esperanto helps break down the language barriers
- Meeting people from other countries, especially at conventions, or
when Esperanto speakers from other countries come visiting. (It's also a
good way to meet interesting people from your own country!)
- Joining the world. Esperanto is a way to treat everyone on our planet
on the basis of complete equality, meeting them half-way. No more trying
to communicate "uphill" for one side.
- Literature. The world's masterpieces have been translated to
Esperanto, including the Kalevala and works by Garcia Marquez, Saikaku,
Shakespeare, Gibran, Brecht, Tagore, Kawabata, Dante, and Mickiewicz.
Many works have been translated to Esperanto which are not available in
one's own language.
- Hobbies, especially collecting stamps or postcards, or discussing any
subject with people in other countries.
7. WHERE DO I FIND CLASSES, TEXTBOOKS, ETC.?
For US residents, the Esperanto League for North America is the best and
most reliable source for Esperanto materials. They offer a free basic
correspondence course (by snail mail, but see below for an E-mail
course), and may be offering a more detailed and advanced paid
correspondence course. They have an extensive catalogue of books,
including texts, reference, fiction, poetry, cassette tapes and audio
CD-ROMs. Their address is:
Esperanto League for North America
El Cerrito CA 94530
tel. 1-800-ESPERANTO (1-800-377-3726) toll-free (USA and Canada)
for a free information package
tel. (510) 653-0998
WWW site: http://www.esperanto-usa.org/
A more immediate source of texts, especially for those with access to a
university, is your local library. The quality of the books will vary
widely, of course, but most of the texts, even the older ones, will
provide a reasonable general introduction to the language.
One exception, mentioned here only because it was surplused to *many*
libraries around the US, is the US Army's "Esperanto: The Aggressor
Language", which is more of a curiosity than a useful textbook. This
book was prepared to make military exercises more realistic by having
the opposing forces speak different languages, as would be the case in a
real war. The soldiers playing the role of the aggressor were taught
Esperanto, hence the strange title. Unfortunately, the book is extremely
poor and contains a great many mistakes; in addition, its emphasis is on
military terms, not on everyday vocabulary.
The problem with most old texts is that they are... well... old! Their
presentations can seem very bland and old-fashioned, and their
"cultural" information about the Esperanto community will often be
hopelessly out of date. One recent US textbook is Richardson's
"Esperanto: Learning and Using the International Language". It is
available from ELNA and perhaps some libraries.
Another book, "Teach Yourself Esperanto" by Cresswell and Hartley, is a
very useful introduction to the language. The "Teach Yourself" series
can often be found in ordinary bookstores.
Another good, if a bit old-fashioned, textbook, "Step by Step in
Esperanto" by Butler, has recently been reprinted and is available from
ELNA. Still another book recommended by more than one participant is
"Saluton!" by Audrey Childs-Mee. This is entirely in Esperanto, with
Wells's two-way "Esperanto Dictionary" is a good choice for beginners.
This dictionary is in the same series as "Teach Yourself Esperanto" and
is also often available in ordinary bookstores. For a more thorough
treatment, see Butler's one-way "Esperanto-English Dictionary", and
Benson's one-way "Comprehensive English-Esperanto Dictionary".
Free Esperanto courses by E-mail are available in several languages.
Typically, these have 10 lessons and teach a vocabulary of a few hundred
words. The system is the same as for traditional correspondence courses:
the instructor sends a lesson; the student does the exercises and sends
them back; the instructor corrects the exercises and sends the next
Free Esperanto Course
Marko Rauhamaa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cours gratuit d'esperanto
Ken Caviness <email@example.com>
Steffen Pietsch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mianfei Shijieyu Kecheng
ZHONG Qiyao <email@example.com>
Andrej Ananjin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Other languages are also available; see
for a list.
Macintosh owners with HyperCard and MacinTalk can take advantage of an
introductory HyperCard course on Esperanto. This can be downloaded from
(See under "FTP archives".)
Each summer, San Francisco State University and the University of
Hartford (Connecticut) offer a curriculum of Esperanto courses, in which
one may participate at beginning, intermediate, or advanced levels.
These courses are available for credit or on a non-credit basis. They
are widely considered to be one of the best opportunities to learn to
speak Esperanto "like a native", and draw students and faculty from
around the world.
San Francisco State University:
Ellen M. Eddy
11736 Scott Creek Dr SW
Olympia WA 98512
tel. (360) 754-4563
information at http://www.best.com/~donh/Esperanto/sfsu/
University of Hartford:
tel. (800) 234-4412 or (860) 768-4978
Other institutions offering Esperanto courses on a regular basis
Chateau Gresillon, 49105 Bauge, tel. 02 41 89 10 34
La Kvinpetalo, rue de Lavoir, 86410 Bouresse, tel. 05 49 42 80 74
Dr. Ilona Koutny, Linguistics Institute, Adam Mickiewicz University,
ul. Miedzychodzka 3-5, 60-371 Poznan, tel. 61 861-85-72,
Jagiellonian University, Krakow. Contact: Maria Majerczak,
ul. Armii krajovej 7 M, PL-30-150 Krakow, tel. 12 638-14-49
Karlskoga Folkh"ogskola, Box 192, 691 24 Karlskoga, tel. 0586-64600,
Kultura Centro Esperantista, C.P. 311, 2301 La Chaux-de-Fonds,
tel. (032) 9267407
In the following countries, you may contact the national Esperanto
organization to receive information on courses, buy books, etc.
Australia Esperanto-Asocio, 9 Ballantyne Street, Thebarton SA 5031,
tel. (08) 8443-8997
Book Service: c/o T. Elliott, PO Box 230, Matraville NSW 2036,
tel. (02) 9311-2246
Brazila Esperanto-Ligo, C.P. 3625, 70084-970 Brasilia (DF),
tel. (061) 226-1298
E-mail: email@example.com, http://www.esperanto.org.br/
Book Service: Same as above
Kanada Esperanto-Asocio, P.O. Box 2159, Sidney BC, V8L 3S6
Book Service: 6358-A, rue de Bordeaux, Montreal QC, H2G 2R8,
tel. (514) 272-0151, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cxina Esperanto-Ligo, P.O. Kesto 825, 100037 Beijing,
tel. (010) 68326682
Book Service: El Popola Cxinio, P.O. Kesto 77, 100037 Beijing
Unuigxo Franca por Esperanto, 4 bis, rue de la Cerisaie,
75004 Paris, tel. 01 42 78 68 86
Book Service: Same as above
Germana Esperanto-Asocio, Immentalstr. 3, 79104 Freiburg,
tel. (07 61) 28 92 99
E-mail: email@example.com, http://www.esperanto.de/gea/
Book Services: M. Fuehrer, Am Stadtpfad 11, 65760 Eschborn,
and Rolf Beau, Saxoniastr. 35, 04451 Althen,
Itala Esperanto-Federacio, Via Villoresi 38, 20143 Milano,
tel. (02) 58 100 857
Book Service: Cooperative Editoriale Esperanto, same address
Japana Esperanto-Instituto, Waseda-mati 12-3, Sinzyuku-ku,
JP-162-0042 Tokyo-to, tel. (03) 3203 4581
Book Service: Same as above
Rusia Esperantista Unio, P.f. 74, 367000 Mahackala,
tel. (8722) 630643,
Moscow office: P.f. 57, 105318 Moskva, tel. (095) 2437456,
Book Service: Same as Moscow office
Sveda Esperanto-Federacio, Vikingagatan 24, 11342 Stockholm,
tel. (08) 34 08 00
Book Service: Same as above
Svisa Esperanto-Asocio, Jurastrasse 23, 3063 Ittigen (Bern)
Book Service: Kultura Centro Esperantista, C.P. 779,
2301 La Chaux-de-Fonds
In the UK:
Esperanto-Asocio de Britio, 140 Holland Park Avenue,
London W11 4UF, tel. (0171) 727-7821
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.esperanto.demon.co.uk/
Book Service: Same as above
World Esperanto Association:
Universala Esperanto-Asocio, Nieuwe Binnenweg 176,
3015 BJ Rotterdam, The Netherlands, tel. +31 10 436 1044
Book Service: Same as above
Book catalogue available online in WAIS format at:
These are just some of the countries with Esperanto organizations; many
more are listed at
8. HOW COME ESPERANTO DOESN'T HAVE <FAVOURITE WORD OR FEATURE>?
Although Esperanto is a planned language, it has developed well beyond
the point at which some authoritative person or group can dictate
language practice, however great the temptation may be to "tinker" with
the language. For example, many people are critical of the presence of a
feminine suffix and absence of a corresponding masculine suffix, and
have suggested masculine suffixes (-icx, -un, -ucx, -ab), neutral
pronouns (sxli, hi, ri), and/or re-interpretations of familiar words
such as redefining "frato" (brother) to mean "sibling". But there is no
single individual or committee that will simply dictate changes such as
these before they achieve general use.
Just as with any other language, the only way for such novelties to
attain acceptability is for them to be used in correspondence,
literature, and conversation by a growing number of people. If you see a
genuine lack in the language's existing stock of roots and affixes, you
may propose a new coinage and see if it catches on. Be warned that such
neologisms are often controversial and will meet with criticism in
proportion to the extent to which they break with the "Fundamento de
Esperanto" (the language's canon) or to which they are redundant to the
existing language. You should expect to receive the same reaction as if
you were proposing a new word or feature for your own language.
9. WHAT ARE SOME COMMON OBJECTIONS TO ESPERANTO? HOW DO SPEAKERS OF
ESPERANTO RESPOND TO THEM?
(I am indebted to Ken Caviness for preparing this material. Quotations
have been edited.)
Isn't English spoken world-wide already?
Interestingly, while English was spoken by about 10 % of the world's
population in 1900, and by about 11 % in 1950, it is today spoken by
about 8.5-9 %. The corollary is that, for better than 90 % of the
world's population, it is *not* the de facto means of international
English is a very difficult language to learn unless you've been
immersed in it since birth. English spelling is said to be more
difficult than any other language except Gaelic. English grammar,
although it may be fairly simple, is riddled with exceptions. Verbs
are very often irregular. Many people just aren't going to devote
several years of effort to learn it!
English has gained its present stature because of the current
economic and political power of English-speaking countries. In the
past, every super-power has briefly seen its native tongue used
internationally: France, Spain, Portugal, the Roman empire. In fact,
one of the main reasons why Esperanto was never adopted by the
League of Nations was that France blocked efforts to adopt it. At
the time, French was "the international language", and France
expected it to stay that way forever. They were proven wrong within
Although many people all over the world study English and often
think they speak it well, the number of people who can participate
in a non-trivial conversation in English is very small outside
English-speaking countries. Knowing English may be sufficient to
survive as a tourist in many places, but not for more.
One Chinese Esperanto speaker described Esperanto as a linguistic
handshake. When two people shake hands they both reach out halfway.
When two people speak Esperanto they have both made the effort to
learn a relatively easy, neutral language instead of one person
making the huge effort to learn the other person's difficult
national language and the other person making no effort at all
except to correct his/her interlocutor's errors.
Esperanto isn't a real language, is it?
Yes, actually it is. You see, it's been used in all conceivable
circumstances for over 100 years. Whatever you have to say, you can
say it in Esperanto.
It's said that Umberto Eco, before he started supporting Esperanto,
once said in class that Esperanto isn't a real language "because you
can't make love in Esperanto". A girl later wrote to him and said,
with some embarrassment, "I'm sorry, Professor, but it *is* possible
to make love in Esperanto. I've done it."
Personally, I don't believe it. I mean, I don't believe she actually
said so. Oh, forget it. ;-)
Wouldn't any universal language break up into dialects?
(1) Esperanto is intended to be your *second* language, so it
remains relatively intact: people primarily create slang, idioms,
etc., in their native language.
(2) Esperanto is intended for cross-cultural use, therefore use of
too many colloquialisms, etc., jeopardizes your chances of being
understood (which is presumably your intention). This acts as a
stabilizing influence on the language.
Regional dialects appear when people communicate mostly with their
geographical neighbours and rarely with people from further away.
Dialects tend to disappear when long-range communication dominates
(as can be observed in many parts of the world after the
introduction of radio and television). There is also the not
insignificant observation that Esperanto has not formed any dialects
in its more than one hundred years of existence.
Can an artificial language have its own literature?
Duncan C Thomson:
Esperanto has just as much literature (original, not just
translated) as any other language of a similar number of speakers.
Just because you haven't heard of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Have you heard of Auld, Szathmari, Kalocsay? Galloway, Gray, Kelman?
None of them, probably, but you would probably not be as quick to
claim that Scotland did not have a literary culture.
[Several tens of thousands of books have been published in
Esperanto; the library of the British Esperanto Association has
30 000 volumes. There are about 100 periodicals of some importance,
plus countless local bulletins and newsletters. At one point there
was even a daily newspaper in Esperanto! I have no idea how they
managed to distribute it to the subscribers in a timely
manner. -- Ed.]
Isn't Esperanto "too European"?
The argument seems to always come down to the difference between
agglutination and separate roots. Or "Eastern" and "Western" style
languages, broadly speaking (I know it's an over-simplification).
Some people think every concept needs its own root, others are happy
to begin with some basic set and modify. Two incompatible systems of
I consider Esperanto to be a good compromise between "Western"
root-based thinking and "Eastern" agglutinative thinking (again,
very roughly speaking). Having a Hungarian background, I delight in
the simple elegance of Esperanto word-building. [Unlike just about
every other language in Europe, Hungarian is *not* Indo-European; it
comes from a completely different language family. Thus, it is as
unrelated to Esperanto as English is to Arabic, for example. -- Ed.]
I think there is something for everyone in Esperanto, no matter what
your linguistic background, and that this is one major reason why it
is the most successful of the auxiliary languages.
The other night I was having dinner here in the Detroit area with
Koralo Chen, an Esperanto speaker from China whose home is very
close to Hong Kong. I presented this objection to him. Koralo Chen
replied that he had often heard this objection but that it made
little sense to him. In his part of the world the major languages
are completely unlike each other. Knowing Chinese doesn't help with
learning how to speak Korean or Japanese, for instance.
I can see why this objection makes good theoretical sense to some
Westerners, but it makes no sense at all to those Chinese who, like
Koralo Chen, need not a theoretically perfect but very practical
language to learn for international communication.
Should we create a language with words from all around the world?
Manuel M Campagna:
The International Auxiliary Language Association (IALA) researched
this point scientifically, and came up with the conclusion that
while there are 6 170 languages in the world (not including
dialects) AT THIS TIME, there is no evidence that a language with
one word from each language would be more popular. Indeed it would
be an unworkable hodgepodge.
This objection has been handled at length by Prof. Pierre Janton. In
brief, there are two major facts to take into account. First of all,
there are thousands of languages in the world and if Esperanto
attempted to create its vocabulary from even 10% of them you would
simply get a language which would be very difficult to learn for
everybody instead of the real Esperanto which is relatively easy for
Secondly, the world-wide spread of Euro-American science, commerce,
technology, geopolitics, entertainment, etc., has meant that many
technical terms from "Western" languages have entered the vocabulary
of many other languages too. So, in fact, the European basis for
Esperanto's vocabulary is a lot more international than appears at
However, the whole argument is really irrelevant because the
internationalism of Esperanto -- or of any other planned language --
cannot reside in its vocabulary for the reason just mentioned.
In fact, what makes Esperanto a truly "international" language (as
distinct from a "world" language like English) is its extraordinary
semantic flexibility which allows speakers from different language
families to translate their own thought patterns directly into
Esperanto and produce something which is perfectly intelligible and
Isn't Esperanto hard for speakers of non-Indo-European languages?
Manuel M Campagna:
Non-IE speakers thank you for your protective attitude, but they can
and do fend for themselves, and Esperanto is very popular in
Hungary, Estonia, Finland, Japan, China, Vietnam... The current
[1995-1998] president of the Universal Esperanto Association is a
Korean university professor of *Economics*. The most attended
international meeting in *5000 years* of Chinese history was the
1986 Universal Congress of Esperanto in Beijing, being the largest
both by the number of delegates and the number of countries
10. ARE THERE ANY FAMOUS ESPERANTO SPEAKERS?
*** I hope to expand this section, but I guess I could do
*** worse than to start with some Nobel Prize winners! ;-)
Nobel Prize Winners:
Sir William Ramsay (Chemistry, 1904)
Awarded the Nobel Prize "in recognition of his services in the
discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air, and his
determination of their place in the periodic system".
Participated in many Esperanto conferences and meetings.
Sir Joseph J. Thomson (Physics, 1906)
"In recognition of the great merits of his theoretical and
experimental investigations on the conduction of electricity by
Vice-President of the International Esperanto Science Association.
Alfred Hermann Fried (Peace, 1911)
"Founder of _Die Friedenswarte_" (a peace publication).
Author of an Esperanto textbook and contributor to the magazine
Charles Ribert Richet (Medicine, 1913)
"In recognition of his work on anaphylaxis".
Daniel Bovet (Medicine, 1957)
"For his discoveries relating to synthetic compounds that inhibit
the action of certain body substances, and especially their action
on the vascular system and the skeletal muscles".
Learned Esperanto as a first language.
Reinhard Selten (Economics, 1994)
"For [his] pioneering analysis of equilibria in the theory of
Author of two books in Esperanto on games theory.
11. WHAT ABOUT OTHER "ARTIFICIAL" LANGUAGES LIKE LOGLAN, IDO, ETC.?
People create languages for a variety of purposes. J.R.R. Tolkien's
languages of Sindarin and Quenya, for example, were created partly as a
recreation, and partly to fulfil a literary purpose. Many languages have
been created as international languages; only Esperanto has continued to
grow and prosper after the death of its originator.
Many of the people who have attempted to promulgate international
languages more "perfect" (i.e., more "international", more "logical", or
whatever) than Esperanto have failed to understand that -- given a
certain minimum standard of internationality, aesthetic quality, and
ease of learning -- further tinkering not only fails to substantially
improve the product, but interferes with the establishment of a large
community of speakers. A language like, say, Interlingua might be (by
some individual's criteria) "better" than Esperanto, but in order for it
to be worth uprooting the established world of Esperanto and creating an
equivalently widespread world community of Interlingua speakers, it
would have to be visibly and profoundly an improvement over Esperanto of
prodigious proportions. No international language project has yet
produced such an obviously ideal language.
In the net community, one of the best known planned language projects is
James Cooke Brown's Loglan (and its revised offshoot Lojban). While some
enthusiasts do see Loglan and Lojban as competitors to Esperanto, the
languages were conceived not as a tool to facilitate better
communication, but as a linguistic experiment, to test the Whorf
hypothesis that a language shapes (or limits) the thoughts of its
speakers. They are thus deliberately designed to bear little resemblance
to existing human languages. While Loglan and Lojban are unlikely (and,
by design, perhaps unsuited) to succeed as international languages, both
are interesting projects in their own right.
The address to write for Loglan information is:
The Loglan Institute
3009 Peters Way
San Diego CA 92117
tel. (619) 270-1691
For Lojban, contact:
Bob LeChevalier, President
The Logical Language Group, Inc.
2904 Beau Lane
Fairfax VA 22031-1303
tel. (703) 385-0273 (day/evenings)
Those interested in Mark Okrand's "Klingon" language can join a mailing
list; to subscribe, send a message to:
consisting of the body line:
subscribe tlhingan-hol Your_Real_Name
There is a general "constructed language" (Conlang) mailing list; to
subscribe, send a message to:
consisting of the body line (not subject):
There is also an "auxiliary language" (Auxlang) mailing list. The
difference between this list and Conlang is that Auxlang deals more
particularly with languages designed to enhance international
communication, such as Esperanto. To subscribe, send a message to:
consisting of the body line (not subject):
Finally, fans of Tolkien's language creations can join a
Tolkien-language mailing list. To subscribe, send a message to:
with the following subject line or body line (either will do):
subscribe tolklang Your_Real_Name
As for our own Esperanto newsgroup, many readers are interested in other
planned languages, and discussion of these can often be informative and
interesting. But politeness dictates that "Esperanto-bashing" in an
Esperanto forum is inappropriate and should be avoided.
12. WHAT ARE PAG, PIV, PMEG, PV, TEJO AND UEA?
As with other groups, there are some common acronyms that come up from
time to time here.
PAG: Plena Analiza Gramatiko, an analysis of Esperanto grammar. It is
not authoritative, and many people will disagree with some of
its conclusions, but it is the most detailed reference work to
date on Esperanto grammar.
PIV-S: Plena Ilustrita Vortaro, a very complete Esperanto dictionary
(i.e., it is entirely in Esperanto) containing not only the
officially recognized words, but many more that are in general
(and not so general) use. Some of its entries are dubious, but
it is a highly useful reference work. PIV is now quite
expensive. It was published in 1970, with a supplement in 1987
("PIV-S" means "PIV with Supplement"). A new edition is
currently being prepared.
PMEG: Plena Manlibro de Esperanta Gramatiko, an analysis and
commentary on Esperanto grammar. Available online at
PV: Plena Vortaro. PIV's little brother, so to speak; it was written
in 1953 and contains fewer technical terms, neologisms, etc.
TEJO: Tutmonda Esperantista Junulara Organizo, the World Organization
of Young Esperantists. Members of UEA under 30 years of age are
automatically members of TEJO. TEJO publishes a bi-monthly
magazine called "Kontakto" and a quarterly newsletter called
"TEJO Tutmonde", and sponsors the annual international youth
congress (Internacia Junulara Kongreso, or IJK).
UEA: Universala Esperanto-Asocio, the World Esperanto Association. It
publishes a monthly magazine cleverly titled "Esperanto",
produces a "Jarlibro" (yearbook) containing information on
national and special-interest Esperanto organizations and
contacts, and sponsors the annual international Esperanto
congress (Universala Kongreso, or UK).
13. HOW DO YOU SAY "I LOVE YOU" IN ESPERANTO?
"Mi amas vin."
There are several WWW sites with lists of ways to say "I love you" in
various languages. Try