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Subject: Esperanto FAQ (Oftaj demandoj) Part 1/2

This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:23:20 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: esperanto/faq
All FAQs posted in: soc.culture.esperanto
Source: Usenet Version

Archive-name: esperanto/faq/part1 Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-Modified: 1999-06-23 URL: http://www.esperanto.net/veb/faq.html
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for soc.culture.esperanto and esperanto-l@netcom.com (monthly posting) 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 <yan@storm.ca>. Post questions about Esperanto in the newsgroup or send them to the mailing list, not to the maintainer. 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: Usenet: Posted once a month in Usenet group soc.culture.esperanto. (Also gatewayed to mailing list esperanto-l; see section 16). WWW: http://www.esperanto.net/veb/faq.html The FAQ can be downloaded in text format from this location. FTP: at rtfm.mit.edu/pub/faqs/esperanto/faq/ E-mail: Send a message to: mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu with the following contents: send faqs/esperanto/faq/part1 send faqs/esperanto/faq/part2 quit Changes this month: [July 1999] - many E-mail addresses and URLs updated. [March 1999] - ELNA's FTP archive permanently down (sections 7 and 16). - number of hits on standard WWW search engines updated (section 16). - several URLs updated. [February 1999] Quite a delay between updates; my apologies. - Cathy Schulze has passed away; updated address for course at SFSU to Ellen M. Eddy <eddyellen@aol.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) on-line services? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 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 native speaker. 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 languages. 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 http://www.rano.demon.co.uk/nombro.html 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 knowledge. 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 language. - 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 between countries. - 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 Box 1129 El Cerrito CA 94530 USA tel. 1-800-ESPERANTO (1-800-377-3726) toll-free (USA and Canada) for a free information package tel. (510) 653-0998 E-mail: elna@esperanto-usa.org 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 many pictures. 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 lesson. In English: Free Esperanto Course http://www.iki.fi/pacujo/esperanto/course/ Marko Rauhamaa <marko.rauhamaa@iki.fi> In French: Cours gratuit d'esperanto http://www.southern.edu/~caviness/cge/CGEquoi.html Ken Caviness <esperanto@southern.edu> In German: Kostenloser Esperanto-Kurs http://www.esperanto.de/sprache/kurse/kek/ Steffen Pietsch <kek@esperanto.de> In Chinese: Mianfei Shijieyu Kecheng http://www.cs.hku.hk/~sdlee/esperanto/ cxinaj-pagxoj/kurso-informoj-gb.html ZHONG Qiyao <zhong@accton.com.tw> In Russian: Andrej Ananjin <andreo@esperanto.msk.ru> Other languages are also available; see http://www.esperanto.net/veb/lerni.html for a list. Macintosh owners with HyperCard and MacinTalk can take advantage of an introductory HyperCard course on Esperanto. This can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.stack.nl/pub/esperanto/hypercourse.dir/ (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 USA tel. (360) 754-4563 E-mail: eddyellen@aol.com 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 include: In France: Chateau Gresillon, 49105 Bauge, tel. 02 41 89 10 34 La Kvinpetalo, rue de Lavoir, 86410 Bouresse, tel. 05 49 42 80 74 In Poland: Dr. Ilona Koutny, Linguistics Institute, Adam Mickiewicz University, ul. Miedzychodzka 3-5, 60-371 Poznan, tel. 61 861-85-72, E-mail: ikoutny@main.amu.edu.pl Jagiellonian University, Krakow. Contact: Maria Majerczak, ul. Armii krajovej 7 M, PL-30-150 Krakow, tel. 12 638-14-49 In Sweden: Karlskoga Folkh"ogskola, Box 192, 691 24 Karlskoga, tel. 0586-64600, E-mail: info@fhsk.karlskoga.se In Switzerland: 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. In Australia: Australia Esperanto-Asocio, 9 Ballantyne Street, Thebarton SA 5031, tel. (08) 8443-8997 http://www.esperanto.org.au/ Book Service: c/o T. Elliott, PO Box 230, Matraville NSW 2036, tel. (02) 9311-2246 In Brazil: Brazila Esperanto-Ligo, C.P. 3625, 70084-970 Brasilia (DF), tel. (061) 226-1298 E-mail: bel@esperanto.org.br, http://www.esperanto.org.br/ Book Service: Same as above In Canada: Kanada Esperanto-Asocio, P.O. Box 2159, Sidney BC, V8L 3S6 http://www.esperanto.com/kea/ Book Service: 6358-A, rue de Bordeaux, Montreal QC, H2G 2R8, tel. (514) 272-0151, E-mail: esperanto@sympatico.ca In China: Cxina Esperanto-Ligo, P.O. Kesto 825, 100037 Beijing, tel. (010) 68326682 Book Service: El Popola Cxinio, P.O. Kesto 77, 100037 Beijing In France: Unuigxo Franca por Esperanto, 4 bis, rue de la Cerisaie, 75004 Paris, tel. 01 42 78 68 86 Book Service: Same as above In Germany: Germana Esperanto-Asocio, Immentalstr. 3, 79104 Freiburg, tel. (07 61) 28 92 99 E-mail: gea@esperanto.de, http://www.esperanto.de/gea/ Book Services: M. Fuehrer, Am Stadtpfad 11, 65760 Eschborn, and Rolf Beau, Saxoniastr. 35, 04451 Althen, E-mail robo.espero@t-online.de In Italy: Itala Esperanto-Federacio, Via Villoresi 38, 20143 Milano, tel. (02) 58 100 857 Book Service: Cooperative Editoriale Esperanto, same address as above In Japan: Japana Esperanto-Instituto, Waseda-mati 12-3, Sinzyuku-ku, JP-162-0042 Tokyo-to, tel. (03) 3203 4581 E-mail: jei@mre.biglobe.ne.jp Book Service: Same as above In Russia: Rusia Esperantista Unio, P.f. 74, 367000 Mahackala, tel. (8722) 630643, Moscow office: P.f. 57, 105318 Moskva, tel. (095) 2437456, (095) 9239127 E-mail: junusov@dagestan.ru, http://www.openweb.ru/koi8/esperanto/reu.htm Book Service: Same as Moscow office In Sweden: Sveda Esperanto-Federacio, Vikingagatan 24, 11342 Stockholm, tel. (08) 34 08 00 E-mail: sef@esperanto.se Book Service: Same as above In Switzerland: 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: eab@esperanto.demon.co.uk, 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 E-mail: uea@inter.nl.net, http://www.uea.org/ Book Service: Same as above Book catalogue available online in WAIS format at: wais://wwwtios.cs.utwente.nl/librokatalogo These are just some of the countries with Esperanto organizations; many more are listed at http://www.esperanto.net/veb/land.html 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? Don Harlow: 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 communication. David Wolff: 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 twenty years. Konrad Hinsen: 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. Sylvan Zaft: 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? Ken Caviness: 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. Yves Bellefeuille: 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? Ken Caviness: (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. Konrad Hinsen: 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"? Joseph Voros: 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 thinking. 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. Sylvan Zaft: 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. David Poulson: 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 all. 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 first sight. 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 grammatically correct. 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 represented. 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 gases". 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 _L'esperantiste_. Charles Ribert Richet (Medicine, 1913) "In recognition of his work on anaphylaxis". Active Esperantist. 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 non-cooperative games". 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 USA tel. (619) 270-1691 E-mail: loglan@compuserve.com For Lojban, contact: Bob LeChevalier, President The Logical Language Group, Inc. 2904 Beau Lane Fairfax VA 22031-1303 USA tel. (703) 385-0273 (day/evenings) E-mail: lojban@lojban.org http://xiron.pc.helsinki.fi/lojban/ http://www.lojban.org/ Those interested in Mark Okrand's "Klingon" language can join a mailing list; to subscribe, send a message to: listserv@kli.org 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: listserv@brownvm.brown.edu consisting of the body line (not subject): subscribe conlang 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: listserv@brownvm.brown.edu consisting of the body line (not subject): subscribe auxlang Finally, fans of Tolkien's language creations can join a Tolkien-language mailing list. To subscribe, send a message to: tolklang-server@dcs.ed.ac.uk 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, 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 http://purl.oclc.org/NET/pmeg. 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 http://www.dina.kvl.dk/~fischer/alt.romance/language.html http://personal.inet.fi/koti/krista.hauhio/feelings.htm