Communication is vital, bottomless in importance to the world and possibly beyond. Communication is also ever changing, one of the least stagnant things we have. New words are created, used and some are adopted into everyday language, even accepted into our dictionaries. The world is full of different languages, different cultures and endless groups of people with endless interests and goals.
Esperanto was started as a way to link people with different cultures and languages. If everyone could understand one universal language then we could all communicate no matter what part of the planet we are from or where our cultural background takes us.
Would you learn a new language? At least a few words? Would you like to be able to give a friendly greeting to anyone in the world, anywhere, no matter what languages each of you use to communicate day to day?
Esperanto (help·info) is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto (Esperanto translates as ‘one who hopes’), the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, in 1887. Zamenhof’s goal was to create an easy-to-learn and politically neutral language that would foster peace and international understanding between people with different regional and/or national languages.
Esperanto was created in the late 1870s and early 1880s by Dr. Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof, an ophthalmologist of mixed cultural heritage from Bialystok, then part of the Russian Empire. According to Zamenhof, he created this language to foster harmony between people from different countries.
After some ten years of development, which Zamenhof spent translating literature into Esperanto as well as writing original prose and verse, the first book of Esperanto grammar was published in Warsaw in July 1887. The number of speakers grew rapidly over the next few decades, at first primarily in the Russian Empire and Eastern Europe, then in Western Europe, the Americas, China, and Japan. In the early years, speakers of Esperanto kept in contact primarily through correspondence and periodicals, but in 1905 the first world congress of Esperanto speakers was held in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. Since then world congresses have been held in different countries every year, except during the two World Wars. Since the Second World War, they have been attended by an average of over 2,000 and up to 6,000 people. Zamenhof’s name for the language was simply La Internacia Lingvo “the International Language”.