Chu vi parolas Esperanton?

For many, English is just the way the modern world communicates. It is the language to unite countries – be they poor or rich – through a universal standard. Nonetheless, for an estimated 2 million speakers of Esperanto, English is the language of the richest and militarily most powerful countries in the world. It is not neutral; the language’s dominance has allowed English-speaking countries to establish cultural and economic hegemony by exporting their films, books, music, and even commercial services around the world. And if you want to get on in life, work for the United Nations or an international company, then you need to speak good English, preferably studying in an English-speaking country.

“Bush and Blair have become Esperanto’s best friends,” says Probal Dasgupta, professor of linguistics at India’s University of Hyderabad. “Globalization has put a wind in our sails, making it possible for people to have interest in Esperanto as not only a language, but also a social idea.” Ian Fantom, of the British Esperanto-Association agrees: “Esperanto is a public domain planned language, created over a hundred years ago, to help people from different countries and cultures to communicate on equal terms.

Its inventor, Ludwig Zamenhof, disclaimed any copyright for the language.” Fantom says the language belongs to everyone. Zamenhof, from Warsaw, published the grammar and basic vocabulary in 1887. He thus laid the foundation for an easy-to-learn language to promote international understanding and peace. The lexicon derives primarily words used internationally, usually Lating-based, while structures can be formed liberally as in languages like Turkish or Japanese.

But why didn’t the idea catch on? The 2 million Esperanto speakers worldwide equal approximately the number of Slovene speakers worldwide. Critics say the actual number is lower. Esperantists complain they aren’t taken very seriously by governments or states, where country elites often study at English-speaking universities. And with very few pupils learning Esperanto at school or at university, there doesn’t seem to be a popular demand.

Adepts of Esperanto are also still sad that that the League of Nations and United Nations have not given the language official status. And to top that, the language was mistrusted and squashed by dictators like Hitler and Stalin.

However, Ian Fantom thinks Esperanto is now experiencing a revival: “As global communication becomes technically so immediate, Esperanto is being used much more intensively. Surprisingly, for us Europeans, the Internet has made a radical difference to the Esperanto communities in some developing countries, where even the thought of possessing a telephone may be still a dream for many.”

“I was inspired by the ideals behind the language, and at that stage it was particularly relevant to me as China was beginning to open its doors to the outside world,” says Yu Jianchao, deputy-director of China’s Esperanto short-wave service. She took a two-year course in Esperanto in a Beijing university in the 1980s.

Esperanto is certainly experiencing a return on the Internet with hundreds of discussion groups, a dozen Internet radio programs, including China, Cuba and Polish radio, and, an Internet news site worthy of Yahoo. The portal gives information on Esperanto in 60 languages.

Keeping the worldwide Esperanto community together is a culture of traveling the world and accepting strangers. A free overnight accommodation service for Esperanto-speaking travelers ( contains addresses of 1200 hosts in 82 countries. There are more than a hundred annual international conferences and meetings held – of course – without translators or interpreters ( The biggest is the World Congress of Esperanto, that brings together around 2000 people. This year it will take place in Beijing.

Esperanto Main Website:
To learn more go to or

Below is a link to a famous song in Esperanto by the band Persone.


Bluaj tagoj, grizaj tagoj – Blue days, grey days
Kun la familio- With the family
Nigraj noktoj, blankaj noktoj – Black nights, white nights
Tro multe da viskio – Too much whiskey
Kaj realeca sent’ – And a feeling of reality
Aperas dum moment’ – Appears for a moment

Kaj mi demandas min – And I ask myself
Kiam mi estas kun si – When I am with her
Cu mi estas sola? – Am I alone?
Jes mi demandas min – Yes, I ask myself
Kiam mi estas kun si – When I am with her
Cu mi estas sola? -Am I alone?

Mi nur bonfartas en la kaoso – I’m only good in chaos
Dum vivo frapas vange – Whilst life slaps me on the cheek
Mi nur felicas kiam mi ploras – I’m only happy when I cry
Cu ne estas strange? – Isn’t that strange?
Kaj realeca sent’ – And a feeling of reality
Aperas dum moment’ – Appears for a moment

(To see full text go to

More Esperanto music can be found at:

February 5th, 2004 by