The international language that works

An easy second language for everyone

Every year, our world seems smaller. Ships carry a thousand items between countries. Jets carry passengers across oceans and around the world. Satellites bring us live television coverage from Europe and Asia. Every year, Canadians in every walk of life communicate more and more with people of other countries.

One barrier remains...As a result of this tremendous increase in contacts with the outside world, Canadians are realising that there is still a major barrier to international communication -- the language barrier!

Canadians have long heard the cliche that "Wherever you go, people speak English." In fact, at most ten percent of the world speaks English! Often, in other countries, only the people in the best hotels of the largest cities can use English, and even they are often not very fluent.

Anyone who has visited a foreign country and struggled with the language barriers understands this. Canadians are at last discovering what the rest of the world has long known: there is a real need for an international language.

Fortunately, there is such a language...
photo of Dr.Zamenhof Its name is Esperanto. It was created by Dr. Ludwig L. Zamenhof, a Polish physician, who published it in 1887. Since then, Esperanto has been learned by millions. Of the many projects and proposals for an international language over the centuries, Esperanto is the only one that has stood the test of time and is being spoken today. It is in daily use by many thousands of people all over the world, and the number is growing constantly. Many international meetings are held in Esperanto. Books and magazines are published by the thousands to meet the demands of an international public. Some of the largest international firms put on special advertising campaigns in Esperanto. Hotels, restaurants and tourist resorts compete for the patronage of the Esperanto-speaking traveller.

Esperanto's impressive success as the language of international communication is due to three basic advantages. it is easy to learn. It is politically neutral. And it has many practical uses.

Esperanto is easy...Esperanto is much easier to learn than any other language. In fact, it can be learnd in about a quarter of the time needed to learn a national language! The spelling is easy: each letter has exactly one sound. The pronunciation is easy, and the accent is always on the next to last syllable. The grammar is easy: there are only sixteen rules, with no exceptions. (That means, for example, that there are no irregular verbs.) The vocabulary is easy, too: many international words are used, such as telefono (telephone), biologio (biology), and matematiko (mathematics). Esperanto gives a very "natural" impression in spoken or written use; and, because of its high ratio of vowels to consonants, it is often said to resemble Spanish or Italian.

Esperanto also uses prefixes, suffixes, and interchangeable endings to reduce the number of words to be learned. For example, in English we make the words friendly, unfriendly, and friendship from the root word friend. Esperanto carries this idea much further, making the vocabulary easier to learn.

In short, Esperanto has been rationally constructed for ease of learning. This has made it especially popular with busy men and women who cannot spend years learning a foreign language, which would be useful in only a small part of the world. Because of these features, Esperanto is attractive as an introduction to other foreign language studies. In the Hawaiian schools, for example, the study of Esperanto is a basic part of that state's innovative English program.

Esperanto is neutral...The second major reason for Esperanto's success is that it is neutral. It belongs to no one country. Many people in America and England say that English is already spoken so widely and is such an "important" language in the world that it should be officially adopted by all nations as the international language. This view is very unpopular in many countries.

This attitude is not merely because English is one of the most difficult languages to learn. The new nations of Africa and Asia are very reluctant to accept English (or any major language) for international communication because of the political overtones. For example, the countries of the Soviet bloc would not want to use English as an official international language, just as we would be reluctant to accept Russian in that role (as some Soviet publicists have actually suggested).

The Western nations have also shown their sensitivity to questions of linguistic equality. Quebec has rejected English as its official language; the Common Market nations insist on using all their languages in Brussels; the UN spends tens of millions of dollars every year translating into five official languages and into fifteen for UNESCO!

Esperanto is not the property of any one nation, group of nations, or social class. It belongs to everyone. It has no political or historical implications to hinder its acceptance. Every person who uses Esperanto is on an equal linguistic footing with all other Esperantists.

Esperanto's popularity in smaller nations and in Asian countries, such as Japan, is largely due to this neutrality. This promotes a spirit of friendship and brotherhood among Esperantists which is quite impressive to everyone who sees it in use.

Esperanto is practical...Esperanto offers exceptional practical advantages. Coordinating these advantages is the worldwide organization, the Universal Esperanto Association.

Esperanto flag

The UEA, from its headquarters in Rotterdam, maintains a network of over 2,000 representatives in about 100 countries, sponsors many international activities, and issues a Yearbook containing the addresses of its representatives and information on current international activities. There are more than a dozen international professional associations including, for example, teachers, scientists, journalists, doctors, and lawyers. These groups sponsor meetings, publish journals, and otherwise promote the technical use of Esperanto. Other international organizations serve the interests of Esperantists who share the same religious affiliation -- such as Catholics, Protestants, Quakers, Buddhists, Bahai's -- or who share a hobby, such as stamp collecting, bicycling, chess, or computers.

...for travel Travellers who know Esperanto are not confined to talking with a few people who cater to tourists. By writing to an Esperanto representative in each place they visit, they can be sure of being met and helped. Wherever they go, they know they will find friends who speak the same language and share common interests. They will meet and talk with the people of the country, instead of merely looking at its monuments. At international meetings where Esperanto is used, they can be sure of clear and animated discussions in corridors, lobbies, and nearby cafes, free of earphones and interpreters.

letter-deluge ...for correspondence
Through Esperanto you can get to know other countries and their people without ever leaving home. Books and magazines in esperanto bring the news and culture of other countries to your door. And, through friendly correspondence with people in other countries, you can broaden your horizons and learn more about the world. Many Esperantists correspond with those abroad who share their hobbies, others on topics of professional interest. Many seek to learn about foreign customs and how people live.

Lively discussions in Esperanto take place on the internet daily. As computer usage grows around the word, so grows the need for, and usefulness of, Esperanto for worldwide communications via 'the net'.

A scientifically constructed language Some people ask, "But isn't Esperanto an artificial language?" Of course it is. So is every language in the world. The word "artificial" means "made by human beings", and every language has been created by human beings. The difference between Esperanto and other languages is that Esperanto was scientifically designed to do a special job -- the job of international communication -- and it does that job superbly.

Esperanto and the UN In October 1966, the UEA presented the Secretary general of the United Nations with a proposal recommending that the UN solve the language problem by supporting the use of the International Language, Esperanto. The petition was signed by almost a million individuals and by 3,843 organizations representing 71 million more people from all over the world. Today, an esperanto office operates across the street from the UN, staffed by a professional linguist and several volunteers.

Esperanto and You The national Esperanto group in the United States of America is the Esperanto league for North America (ELNA). In Canada the Canadian Esperanto Association (CEA) performs the same tasks of providing information, assisting local groups, organizing classes and annual conventions, and cooperating with the UEA. For more information check the appropriate web site (see the bottom of my homepage!). Esperanto does not aim at replacing the existing national languages; but it overcomes the present linguistic chaos by serving as a neutral instrument of international communication for all.


Structure: The core grammar of Esperanto consists of only 16 rules, with no exceptions. In spite of this simplicity, Esperanto can express the finest shades of meaning.

Vocabulary: The word roots in Esperanto have been taken from many national languages according to the principle of maximum internationality. Thus, many of them are already known to people of all nations. Many words -- an average of ten to fifteen, but sometimes as many as fifty may be formed from one root. This building block approach helps make Esperanto easy to learn.

Technical vocabularies: More than 125 technical Dictionaries and vocabularies in some fifty branches of science, philosophy, technology, and handicrafts have been published in Esperanto.

Literature: Esperanto literature includes translated and original novels, short stories, plays, poems, scientific works and dissertations. The library of the British Esperanto Association contains well over 30,000 items in Esperanto.

UNESCO: The UEA has consultative relations with UNESCO. By the resolution of December 10th, 1954, the General Conference of UNESCO recognised that the results achieved by Esperanto intellectual exchanges, and in bringing people together are in accordance with the aims and ideals of UNESCO; that is, Esperanto contributes to international cooperation in the fields of education, science, and culture.

Magazines: Various magazines and literary, scientific, profesional and religious reviews in Esperanto are published regularly in all parts of the world.

Radio: Over a dozen radio stations, including stations in Peking, Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Valencia, Warsaw, and Zageb, regularly broadcast in Esperanto, for a total of over fifteen hundred hours a year.

Conventions and conferences: Every year an increasing number of conventions, conferences, courses and study groups use Esperanto as their working language, In 1983 about 12,000 people attended international meetings using Esperanto exclusively.

Esperanto organizations: The Universal Esperanto Association has members in over a hundred countries; there are 63 affiliated national associations; 22 professional international associations;a workers' association; and more than 1250 clubs and societies in the world. Moreover, 2,000 delegates and specialty delegates in all countries are at the service of Esperantists.

Local groups: If you live in a large city, check your phone book for a nearby Esperanto association. These groups can provide lessons, books, and practice sessions. There are local groups in many cities.

Learn Esperanto! Use it in your professional work, in your travels, in your international relationships!


Test your language ability Inteligenta persono lernas la lingvon Esperanto rapide kaj facile. Esperanto estas la moderna, kultura lingvo por la tuta mondo. Simlpa, fleksebla, belsona, gxi estas la praktika solvo de la problemo de universala interkompreno. Esperanto meritas vian seriozan konsideron. Lernu, kaj uzu, la internacian lingvon Esperanto.

Check your translation: An intelligent person learns the language Esperanto rapidly and easily. Esperanto is the modern, cultural language for the whole world. Simple, flexible, musical, it is the practical solution of universal mutual understanding. Esperanto deserves your serious consideration. Learn, and use, the international language Esperanto.


Esperanto at a glance

The alphabet:


Note: To make this document readable for people whose browsers are not configured to use fonts with supersigned letters, supersigns are represented here by an "x" after the letter.

Every letter has only one sound, always pronounced. ACCENT or STRESS is on the next-to-last syllable.

The vowels, A, E, I, O, U have approximately the sounds heard in bar, bear, beer, bore, boor.

The consonants are pronounced as in English except as noted here:

A as in "father" . . . I as in "machine" . . . C as "ts" in "bits"

J as "y" in "yes" . . . Cx as "ch" in "church"

Jx as "s" in "measure" . . . . . G as in "get" . . . . . S as in "said"

Gx as "j" in "jet" . . . . . Sx as "sh" in "shed" . . . H as in "hat"

HX as "ch" in (Scottish) "loch" UX as "w" in "water"

The parts of speech are formed by adding endings to root words.

O is the noun ending, and adjectives end in A

tablo (a table) nova (new)

J is added to form plurals direct object adds N

Inteligentaj personoj lernas la internacian lingvon.

(Intelligent people learn the international language.)

Esperanto havas facilajn regulojn.

(Esperanto has easy rules.)

The ending of an adjective is the same as the ending of the noun that it modifies.

VERBS:- Infinitive  Present  Past  Future Imperative Conditional


vidi vidas vidis vidos vidu vidus

to see sees saw will see see! would see

The ending is the same regardless of number or gender.

Adverbs end in E libere (=freely)

Numbers: 1 - unu, 5 - kvin, 9 - naux
. . . . 2 - du, 6 - ses, 10 - dek,
. . . . . 3 - tri, 7 - sep, 100 - cent,
. . . . . 4 - kvar, 8 - ok, 1000 - mil.

Examples:- 12 = dek du, 278 = ducent sepdek ok

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