(Historical photo, photographer unknown.)
Esperanto is one of the world’s best ideas — an inspired synthesis of several major languages, with streamlined, regular grammar and pronunciation, that can serve as a common language for all mankind.
Linguists estimate that Esperanto can be learned at a fraction of a time required to learn any national language. The reasons are many:
- Unu litero, unu sono (one letter, one sound) — every letter is always pronounced the same way. The accent always falls on the second-to-last syllable. No exceptions. Not only does this make Esperanto easier to learn, but the language is quite pleasant to listen. For example, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” sounds even more hauntingly beautiful in Esperanto than in English. (Come to one of our meetings if you’d like to request a rendition!)
- Esperanto’s vocabulary is drawn from many major languages to maximize the ease of learning — speakers of different languages always find plenty of words they can easily recognize in Esperanto. It is based on just 16 rules — again, without exceptions. Examples of these rules are:
- Parts of speech are coded by word endings. For example, all nouns end in “o,” all adjectives in “a,” all adverbs in “e,” and so on.
- Esperanto uses a well-organized system of affixes — interchangeable beginings and endings of words which greatly reduce the number of words which must be learned.