Hello! It’s time for Fact Friday with Screenhog. I am Screenhog, and today we’re talking about Esperanto.
In the late 1800’s there was a man named Ludwik Zamenhof, who was fascinated by the idea of a world without war, where everyone would understand each other and work out conflict peacefully. For that to happen, he reasoned, the people of the world would all need to speak one language, and so he created a new language: Esperanto.
Zamenhof hoped that the language would be so easy to learn that everyone would start using it. Has that happened? Well, no, although there are some great things that Esperanto has going for it. Unlike English, where one letter can have multiple pronunciations, every one of the 28 letters in Esperanto has only one way to say it. (No spelling bees in Esperanto; if you hear the word, and you know the alphabet, you already know how to spell it!) The language is similar to many of the languages in Europe, meaning that many of its words are already familiar to you: country is “lando”, fast is “rapida”, and big is “granda”.
Despite only have a few thousand native speakers around the world, it is the world’s most successful constructed language. Esperanto has even shown up in popular culture: the British TV show Red Dwarf mentioned it frequently, video game Final Fantasy XI had a theme song with Esperanto lyrics, and there were two feature films made with dialogue entirely in Esperanto. One of them even starred Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner… which is ironic, because having a language like Esperanto all over the galaxy might have made interplanetary relations on Star Trek a lot easier.
This has been Fact Friday. Screenhog out.