Saluton! This week italki is trying out a new language. We decided to focus on esperanto – the constructed language created in 1887.
Why esperanto, rather than any other conlang?
Well, first of all, we’ve recently sponsored a language meet-up in Germany, based entirely around esperanto: International Youth Congress (IJK). We saw around 300 young people get together in Wiesbaden to practice esperanto, listen to lectures, and get their 100ITC voucher.
Besides simply showing support to the esperantists of the world, we are involved in the event and are involved in the esperanto community because esperanto learners need support. The fate of the lone esperantist can be difficult.
There are many reasons to learn this language:
- it is fast and easy to learn
- it has minimal exceptions
- which by extension means it lets you practice the formal logic behind language, any language, in a very hands-on way
- … and it is the gateway language to become a polyglot – (that’s a talk by an italki teacher, Tim Morley for TEDx)
- you get to travel the world with the support of the community (couchsurfing-style community organization that dates back to the 1970-ies!)
… but, it still seems that esperanto is seen as an odd hobby. There are very few native speakers, and this language, though built on a beautiful dream, has not found as much traction as it’s creator probably hoped.
It is, however, a very useful language to learn. We are actively looking for esperanto teachers, and are doing everything we can to support the community. The most important issue that the lone esperantist has is the lack of speakers with whom to practice day-to-day. Though IJK, polyglot gatherings, and other events help to build community, many esperantists get to meet and practice the language in person.
That’s great, but once the language enthusiasts disperse, there is often difficulty in practicing the language in a natural environment. Sure, there is media out there to support esperanto learning.
We feel that practice, one-on-one, is the best way to learn or keep up a language, so we have decided to put some effort behind building the esperanto community online, on italki.
In the spirit of support for the esperanto community, we have decided to take a few esperanto lessons with our teachers.
italki, meet esperanto!
Teddy Nee, who runs Nee’s Language Blog and the author of two italki Articles on esperanto, described the basics of esperanto grammar, including descriptions of the different parts of speech, plurals, and use of the accusative.
Tim Morley (mentioned above for his TEDX talk) gave us a fascinating description of worldwide esperanto community events and organizations such as the World Congress, IJK, and Pasporta Servo.
Members of six cultures and speakers of so many languages, tried to get the basics of this cool language while in our office. Sometimes we just like to take a step back and look at how awesome the future is.
We’re very thankful and glad that we have such cool teachers, and are really proud to support the esperanto community.