Well publicized is that Michael Jackson's music video promoting his new CD called HIStory is just now coming out on MTV and movie theaters. However, little known is that not only is the green star on Michael's uniform a long-time, historical symbol of the International Language, Esperanto, but also that much of the background singing is in Esperanto. For example, "Ni konstruas i tiun skulptaon en la nomo de iuj landoj kaj tutmonda patrineco kaj la kuracpovo de la muziko." This means "We build this sculpture in the name of every land and the global motherhood and healing power of music."
The Esperanto Universal News Service (Novaa Universal Servo per Esperanto) NUSE
"Whereas San Francisco is the birthplace of the United Nations and home of the world-renowned Esperanto courses at San Francisco State University; and
Whereas the United Nations' goals of peace, human rights and democracy require that the world's nations and peoples increase their mutual understanding, which is a goal of the international language Esperanto; and
Whereas during the last 108 years, the international Esperanto movement has functioned as a model of borderless communication in which individuals from every part of the world and all social backgrounds interact freely in developing an international culture on the basis of human rights, peace, understanding, tolerance and
Therefore Be It Resolved That I, Frank M. Jordan, Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco, salute the ongoing cultural achievements and social understanding accomplished by means of the international language Esperanto, and do hereby proclaim this 7th day of October, 1995 as...
International Esperanto Action Day in San Francisco."
BODY: AS THE Babel of European Union languages grows ever more confusing, 2,700 Esperantists from around the mondo gathered here for their annual kongreso this week and called on political leaders to take their lingvo more seriously.
"International bodies must realise they have a huge communications problem," said Ine Meulendijks, a tax lawyer from Amsterdam. "Esperanto really could be a solution."
In the conference centre on the outskirts of Tampere, a sprawling industrial town 90 miles from Helsinki, delegates clustered round the noticeboard studying cards from Romanian Esperantist philatelists in search of Western stamps and Californian numismatists eager for eastern European coins.
The man from the local oficejo de turismo was besieged with requests for ekskursoj in the regiono, and in the crowded cafe, Koreans sipped biero with Slovakians, Americans quaffed kafo with Poles.
Speaking between luncho and an afternoon diskutgrupo for Esperanto-speaking cat -lovers, Ms Meulendijks said the EU alone had 11 official languages and 110 translation permutations.
"All of it would be unnecessary if they just learnt Esperanto," she said. "It has so many advantages. There are only 16 grammar rules and it's really creative - you can say almost anything you want. But they don't want to
Esperanto, invented in 1887 by the Polish philologist Ludwig Zamenhof, has survived worse threats than bureaucratic indifference. Hitler declared it a communist plot, while Stalin pronounced it a bourgeois
conspiracy and banished 11,000 Soviet Esperantists to Siberia. It is thought to be spoken by 1-3 million people worldwide, from Austrio to Zairio.
This year's conference, the 80th, drew enthusiasts from 68 countries. Besides a programme of seminaroj and kursoj, the gathering is a chance for professional and special-interest groups - from Chinese doctors and German
philosophers to Dutch naturists and Brazilian spiritualists - to swap experiences without interpreters.
"To be honest, I don't really know what's on the official programme," said Jardar Abrahamsen, a graduate student from Trondheim in Norway. "I just like meeting people and talking to them in a language we all understand. The evening entertainments are good, too. You should try one of the koncertoj."
On offer were the Swedish Esperantist rock group Persone, the Lithuanian ensemble Asorti, and a new play by the St Petersburg Esperanto Theatre - famed for their version of Shekspiro's Hamleton.
Many of the younger delegates, intent on amoro, saw the nightly disko as the best of the conference. Others saw Esperanto simply as a good way to enjoy a cheap holiday.
"You stay with Esperantists for free if you talk Esperanto to them," explained Stephen Boddington, aged 22, from Milton Keynes. "I went all round Europe for a month and it cost me about a hundred quid."
But with the EU estimated to be translating 3,150,000 words a day, at an average cost of 23p a word, Esperantists feel their language merits more official recognition.
"It's easy to learn, and it's neutral so no one country has an upper hand," said Angelos Tsirimikos, a Greek interpreter for the European Union. "Where I work we get memos telling us not to waste toilet paper in 11 different languages. That can't be right."
BODY: Esperanto linguists meeting in Finland urged the world Tuesday to take their artificial language seriously as a bridge across national divides.
Altogether 2,500 delegates from over 60 countries are conferring for seven days, partly on how to promote Esperanto as a neutral linguistic haven for all multinational organizations, including the United Nations.
Esperanto, devised in 1887 by Polish philologist Ludwig Zamenhof as an international auxiliary language, now claims to have more than eight million speakers worldwide.
"What we want is the same for the whole world," said Angelos Tsirimikos, a 42-year old Greek who earns his living as an interpreter for the European Union.
"We propose our easy, neutral language as a medium for communication for organizations like the EU which face language problems daily," he said by telephone from the 80th World Esperanto Congress in the central Finnish town of Tampere.
"I don't think we'd get very far by arguing for Esperanto as a way to save time and money," said Tsirimikos. "There's such a lot of waste anyway."
Congress spokesman Kalle Kniivila, a Finn who speaks Esperanto at home with his wife "all the time, unless we have guests," said Esperanto could help stamp out discrimination.
"The feeling we have using Esperanto is that we all stand on some kind of neutral ground, in a common language, which is not possible in English," he said.
Besides the official congress themes, delegates can follow courses in subjects as diverse as computing (Komputiko), astronomy/astrophysics (Astronomio/Astrofiziko) and Oriental massage (Yumeiho Masago).
Esperanto-speaking spiritualists are also meeting to talk to departed souls, radio amateurs and cat-lovers are swopping Esperanto experiences, and the Bahai religion, which uses Esperanto for part of its international contacts, has a stall.
"The goal of Esperanto is not to become the language of officialdom but to spread to ordinary people," Tsirimokos said.
BODY: BYDGOSZCZ, JULY 13: THE FIFTH EUROPEAN FORUM DEVOTED TO COOPERATION OF CITIES IN THE EUROPEAN INTEGRATION PROCESS OPENED ON THURSDAY DURING THE INTERNATIONAL ESPERANTO CONGRESS HELD IN BYDGOSZCZ, WITH ESPERANTISTS FROM AUSTRALIA, CANADA AND BRAZIL PARTICIPATING.
INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE CAN BE THE BEST MEANS OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN PEOPLE, EXCLUDING GOVERNMENT AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS, ACCORDING TO EXPERTS DEBATING IN BYDGOSZCZ, WHO WORK MOSTLY AS INTERNATIONAL TOURISM ORGANIZERS AND CULTURAL COOPERATION ACTIVISTS.
"WE ARE GOING TO PRESENT THE CONCLUSIONS FROM THE BYDGOSZCZ DEBATE TO THE WORLD CONGRESS OF ESPERANTISTS IN TAMPERE, FINLAND,"
ANDRZEJ GRZEBOWSKI OF THE "MONDA TURISMO" INTERNATIONAL UNION ORGANIZING THE FORUM ANNOUNCED.
BODY: English isn't phonetic enough.
The Spanish verb system is too difficult.
Esperanto, on the other hand, is nearly perfect, say the language's devotees.
That's why it should be adopted as the world's language, they say.
Esperanto, an invented language, has been around since 1857 (*) when Ludovik Zamenhof, an 8-year-old boy in Russia-occupied Poland, dreamed that "if people had an international language maybe they would get along better," said June Fritz of Wilber, Neb., who is secretary of the Nebraska International Language
"As he became an adult," Ms. Fritz said, "he realized that was a pipe dream, but the idea of one language we could all share never left him." Ludovik and his friends played around with their made-up language through high school, and he reworked Esperanto after college. He had to start from scratch because his father had burned the dictionary and writings he had done for fear the government would find out and punish them.
Zamenhof had a gift for languages but could see others having trouble learning them. For that reason he made the language consistent and easy to learn. There are only 16 grammar rules.
"There are no exceptions to the rules," Ms. Fritz said.
Zamenhof is said to have spent many hours in front of the mirror sounding out his words, trying also to make the language enjoyable to hear, she said.
Esperanto traces its roots to many of the European languages, including German, English, Spanish, French and Italian. (**)
To hear Ms. Fritz speak it, it resembles Spanish but with a few Germanlike guttural sounds thrown in.
Through the years, Zamenhof's original dictionary of about 700 words,(***) published in 1887, has been expanded into the thousands by its faithful.
An academy reviews each word before it is officially added to the dictionary.
"We would like eventually to see every child in the world have the opportunity to learn Esperanto," Ms. Fritz said. (#)
Such a development would help bring equality to the world's people and probably create a little peace along the way, she said.
The world's other languages foster competition and resentment as the different cultures tout their own languages, Ms. Fritz said.
English, for instance, has become the language of international commerce.
People around the world learn it to be economically competitive, Ms. Fritz said.
"It really is a chance to get rich," she said. "It's also used in a lot of scientific material, so students learn it." German has a following for much the same reason. Historically, French has carried a lot of weight, and the Roman Catholic Church was a proponent of Latin.
Letting the different languages develop their own following is fine, Ms. Fritz said.
"It, however, is a rather unfair system because you and I have the advantage," she said, referring to native speakers of English. "And other countries resent this - Germany for instance." Because Esperanto is an invented language, everyone learns it as a second tongue.
"It's neutral," Ms. Fritz said. "It belongs to everybody. It's not a political ballgame." Many followers of Esperanto belong to the Universal Esperanto Association. It has several thousand members, Ms. Fritz said. The Esperanto League for North America has over 1,000 members.
The Nebraska organization, founded in 1987, has only 12 members, but they are a loyal group and have had support from other organizations, including the organizers of Prairie Peace Park west of Lincoln, Ms. Fritz said.
The park, along Interstate 80, covers 20 acres and is dedicated to teaching that peace is attainable and not just a pipe dream.
Ten words or sayings in English and Esperanto, an invented tongue that devotees would like to see adopted as an international language.
Love - Amo / I love you - Mi amas vin / Hello - Saluton / Where's the bathroom? - Kie estas la necesajo? / Where are you from? - De kie estas vi? / Thank you - Dankon / Pass the salt - Salon mi petas / It's raining - Pluvas / The Huskers are number one - La Huskers estas numero unu / See you soon - is la revido
(*) Cxi tie videblas (pres)eraro - ja LLZ naskigxis en 1859 kaj la lingvo mem - en 1887 (NSt).
(**) Povra Boris KOLKER! - ja li ecx defendis disertacion, en kiu li KONVINKE pruvis/argumentis/dokumentis ankaux gravan rolon de la rusa lingvo en kreado de Esperanto! |:-)
(***) Mi memoras pri 900 radikoj.
(#) Nu, bravulino vi estas, kara June!
Jen brava knabino! June FRITZ - la (Gxenerala) sekretario de "The Nebraska International Language Association".
Jen al kiu oni devas helpi - per informado, konsiloj, morale, materiale ktp. Seru la "opinion leaders", helpu al ili kaj ili plue disvastigos vian "innovacion"/ideojn/doktrinon!
Saluton al June kaj iaj gekamaradoj-gesamideanoj!!! NikSt
BODY: The universal language of Esperanto
The article ''As English Spreads, Speakers Morph It Into World Tongue,'' May 17, demonstrates the failure of the world community to deal with global problems in a rational way. The global community needs a nationality- neutral common language which would be used as a second language by everyone. Esperanto was invented for this purpose in 1887. In 1921 and 1922 the League of Nations considered a resolution calling for the teaching of Esperanto to all the children of the world, but it was defeated by the French.
Because the United Nations, like the League of Nations, is run by the larger national governments, each trying to promote its own national language, Esperanto as the sensible language for global communication is still being thwarted. The article demonstrates how the resulting chaos will not be helpful even to speakers of English. As we move to oral communication between humans and computers, we will be losers again because computers can learn to understand and talk Esperanto, a completely phonetic and rule-guided language, more readily than they can handle English.
Ronald J. Glossop, Edwardsville, Ill.
Professor and coordinator of peace studies
Southern Illinois University
BODY: Esperanto has survived world wars, dictators and fractious nationalism.
And the fight goes on against indifference.
"A lot of people thought we'd died," said Arlyn Kerr, a Kirkland resident who speaks the would-be universal language devised 108 years ago by a Polish physician.
But Esperantists say their language remains very much alive - if not as widespread as they have dreamed.
Today Esperanto speakers number somewhere between 1 million and 4 million worldwide, with 3,000 to 4,000 in the United States. There are about 50 in the greater Seattle area, up from about a dozen a decade ago.
They speak a language that sounds something like Spanish or Italian, with Latin and Germanic roots and similarities here and there to many other languages, including Chinese and Japanese.
The language's appeal may have peaked early this century, but Esperantists see hope for a revival: The Internet may increase need for an international tongue, the European Parliament is considering designating Esperanto its
official language, and the World Almanac in recent years has added it to its roster of recognized languages.
Those are only steps toward the ultimate goal: seeing Esperanto become the world's second language.
Plenty of enthusiasm
What Esperanto backers lack in numbers, they make up for in enthusiasm. Among those gathered at a recent meeting were a university student, a high-school teacher, a recently arrived Russian, a few retirees and Armand Neshvad, a 33-year-old Iranian who wore a lapel button that read: "Mi amas Esperanto (I love Esperanto)." Neshvad, who said he speaks five other languages, speaks with an evangelist's fervor of Esperanto's ability to unite people of the world. And he appreciates its neutrality. "It doesn't belong to any nation," he said.
On a more basic level, Esperantists say their language makes it fun to travel. When The Boeing Co. sent Less Kerr to Moscow on short notice, he e-mailed a local Russian Esperantist. By the next day, he had a contact in
Russia who showed him Moscow and a culture he might otherwise have missed.
"We had a common language bond," Kerr said.
Esperanto's creator, Ludwik Zamenhof, believed it could help unify the world's peoples. Count Ruth Culbert among the true believers today.
"I believe it's the only chance for peace on this earth. It will help people get together, love each other, forgive each other. It's the only hope for the world or it will be destroyed," said Culbert, an energetic former educator now in her 80s. She's written four plays in Esperanto that have been produced in Australia, Iran and Port Townsend.
Her husband, Sidney Culbert, a retired University of Washington psychology professor who began studying Esperanto while at Stadium High School in Tacoma in 1931, appreciates its practicality for travel and loves its logical structure. He admires how it systematically uses words to create other words. For example, the word "wing" is built from the word "fly."
"If the world could be structured that efficiently," Sidney Culbert said with an almost idealistic sigh.
Esperanto has 16 grammatical rules - and no exceptions. The vowel system Zamenhof selected already existed in 40 percent of the word's languages, and was found in many others with just slight variations.
Zamenhof promoted the language energetically. He translated the Bible and Shakespeare into Esperanto and wrote essays, poetry and letters, encouraging others to try it.
"He used the language. And as he did, he discovered bugs, just as software developers do. And as any software developer would iron out the bugs, so did Zamenhof," said Jonathan Pool, a UW political scientist who has studied Esperanto.
Zamenhof's approach enabled Esperanto to emulate the process by which natural languages developed, allowing it to grow and gain more users, Pool said.
With 50 percent of it derived from Latin roots, 30 percent from Germanic roots and other languages sprinkled in, speakers of many native languages can find something familiar in Esperanto. The Esperanto League for North America estimates it takes one quarter of the time to learn that most languages take. It's easy to pronounce, read and write. Sidney Culbert says it can be learned in 200 hours.
From Tolstoy to Jackson
Leo Tolstoy, who found it useful as the first president of the International Vegetarian Club, reportedly learned it in two hours. Modern-day luminaries who use Esperanto include Pope John Paul II, Nobel Prize-winning economist Reinhard Selten and entertainer Michael Jackson, who reportedly has used Esperanto in a promotional video for his album "History," a collection of his greatest hits and new material planned for release this year.
Esperanto has had its detractors, too. The language reached its peak of popularity early this century. Then bellicose nationalism and two world wars took their toll.
Nazi leader Adolf Hitler denounced Esperanto speakers in his manifesto, "Mein Kampf," and persecuted them along with the Jews, Gypsies and others. Russian dictator Josef Stalin considered them spies and executed them. The Chinese and Japanese militarists believed Esperanto undermined their nationalistic aims.
Esperantists say they were making steady strides till the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the disarray of Eastern Europe, where Esperanto had flourished. Now the need for survival outweighs the need for a new language, Sidney Culbert believes.
But Esperanto suffers from some linguistic disadvantages as well, Pool said. It takes more syllables to say something in Esperanto than in English, making faster communication more difficult. Also, it's more prone to misunderstanding because the language lacks redundancies. If something isn't heard clearly, the meaning of words could be distorted, Pool said.
"Zamenhof got efficiency for the learner and sacrificed the efficiency of the user," Pool said.
Despite such problems, Pool believes Zamenhof's approach made sense. A language attracts more people if it's easier to learn, he noted.
The ease of the language impressed Jim Droege, a German teacher in Tacoma. After eight lessons in three months, he went to an Esperanto conference in Port Townsend and understood 80 percent of what he heard. He also thinks it's less threatening.
"No matter how well you speak a foreign language, you're still reaching up to connect with the person who's country you're in. In Esperanto, you meet in the middle. Both of you are foreigners," he said.
For Ros Leland, a dispatcher and espresso barrista, using Esperanto has less do with idealism, internationalism or intellectualism. He sees it on a more basic level.
"It exists. It's useful. And it's fun."
GRAPHIC: PHOTO 1) TERESA TAMURA / SEATTLE TIMES: RUTH CULBERT OF SEATTLE, A FORMER EDUCATOR, HAS WRITTEN FOUR PLAYS IN ESPERANTO THAT HAVE BEEN PRODUCED IN AUSTRALIA, IRAN AND PORT TOWNSEND. 2) ARMAND NESHVAD, A 33-YEAR-OLD IRANIAN, WEARS A BUTTON THAT READS: "MI AMAS ESPERANTO (I LOVE ESPERANTO)."
Esperanto in economics, business, and trade :
The 1994 economics Nobel Prize winner, Dr Reinhard SELTEN, is an Esperanto speaker who never passes an occasion to mention Esperanto in media interviews (see NY Times, 1994 10 12, Section D, p. 6) ; in the December issue of _esperanto_ there is an interview with him, which was conducted of course in Esperanto.
Contact Dr Thomas A. GOLDMAN, the publisher of Ekonomia Bulteno pri Usono (since 1980), a specialized monthly about the US economy. INTERFAKTO, box 42205, Washington DC 20015.
Contact Roland ROTSAERT of the Internacia Komerca kaj Ekonomia Fakgrupo (IKEF). They publish a quarterly (La Merkato) and a yearly (Identecsxildaro) and they also published a _large_ multilingual trade dictionary (not a tourist phrase-book !) in several editions, each time with added languages. There are several international commercial enterprises that use Esperanto. In Esperanto periodicals there are constantly want ads from (mainland) Chinese entrepreneurs seeking commercial representatives around the world.
100272.1601 /c`e/ compuserve.com . IKEF, Visspaanstr. 97, BE-8000 BRUGGE, Belgium.
In the current catalogue of the Universal Esperanto Association there are several books on economics, including several very different economic theories, most of which practically all US citizens never heard about. Interestingly there are communist books under "Politics" but none under "Economics" in the catalogue... Also under "Politics" there are titles which should have appeared under "Economics", such as "Evoluo de la kooperativa movado en Popola Respubliko Bulgario - Nacia Sperto" and "Kooperativoj kaj la junularo".
Manuel-M. CAMPAGNA . . . . 1 613 789 21 11
certified translator . . Ottawa (Ontario) Canada
(En/It/Eo -> Fr) . . ah514 /c`e/ freenet.carleton.ca
Interesting and apropos comment by Reinhard Selten, who just won the Nobel Prize for economics, during an interview with Ulrich Lins and Istvan Ertl (see the December issue of _esperanto_):
Q: You are at least the fourth Esperantist to be distinguished in the history of the Nobel Prize. It seems that Esperantists win the Nobel Prize relatively often, in proportion to the number of Esperantists. [My addendum: this seems to be quite true, though as far as Nobel Prize winners are concerned we are certainly talking small-number statistics. Statistically, even if we consider only the percentage of the world speaking Esperanto today rather than the considerably smaller average percentage over the past century, fewer than one Esperanto speaker would have won a Nobel Prize, assuming random distribution of awards.]
Selten: Learning Esperanto may not help towards a Nobel Prize, but it generally developes a person's intellectual level. Esperanto learned in one's youth gives a great advantage for appropriating other languages.
[English translation mine]
Others have commented on this whole business of expecting world leaders to promote an international auxiliary language. I will simply mention that, as the experience of Esperanto so far has shown, even when a given national leader personally _likes_ the idea or the language, he (or, presumably, she) will usually take _no_ steps to promote it. Two good examples are former Prime Minister Harold Wilson of Great Britain and former President Franz Jonas of Austria
Wilson learned Esperanto as a boy at a Scout Jamboree in the Netherlands. After his retirement from political life, he happily accepted a position as (I believe, honrary) chairman of TUCEG, the Trades Unions & Crafts Esperanto Group, in Great Britain. In between times, as Prime Minister, Esperanto was to him anathema -- _English_ was the world language, and Esperanto was simply nonsense.
Jonas was a more interesting case. Not only did he speak Esperanto fluently (I once heard him give a twenty-minute speech in the language), but as a young man he was active in the Esperanto movement, and in fact got his political start in the workers' Esperanto movement in Central Europe in the thirties. But as President of Austria (a position he held for a number of years) he did little or nothing to promote the cause of Esperanto (or conlangs in general), in his own country or in the so-called international community.
So depending upon the great and near-great to come to their senses and give the world an IAL seems, at least on the basis of what's happened so far, to be a sure-fire recipe for oblivion.