It’s A Language For The Hopeful

Posted in Rocket Powered Stuff by Rocket Boy Gid on November 23, 2008

As you all know, I’m currently in self-exile and one of the things that I hoped to accomplish during this extended me-time is to learn a new language all by myself! I looked at different languages from around the world and tried to figure out which ones I can really get around to using. As of this moment, I’m pretty fluent in Filipino (Tagalog) and English with a little bit of Spanish, a combination that’s not entirely rare in the Philippines. I considered French but it’s too fancy for my taste. German is too harsh sounding, at least to me it is. Chinese and Japanese both involve studying a completely new and different alphabet and that doesn’t look too inviting. Besides, even if I do study a single language I’ll only be able to use it if I go to its place of origin and that’s not really practical unless I want to make a career out of being a linguist. So I needed a language that I can use anywhere in the world. That was when I discovered Esperanto.

If we all study Esperanto as a second language, people from different countries can speak in equal footing because we’re all using a language that is of second nature to all participants.

In 1887, a hopeful Dr. Ludwig L. Zamenhof, under the pseudonym Doktoro Esperanto (Dr. Esperanto), put together the “artificial” language Esperanto in his book entitled Unua Libro. Esperanto, which means ‘one who hopes’, hopes to Unua Librobe the first auxiliary language of the world. What the hell is an auxiliary language, you ask? Say, for example, you saved enough money to finally quit your job and go to that backpacking trip across Europe you’ve always daydreamed about. In preparation for this lifelong dream, you studied French, Spanish, Greek, Italian, German, Portuguese, Romanian, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian, and Polish because you wanted to be able to speak well with the people of the countries in your itinerary, and maybe because you were just so obsessive-compulsive. Now imagine if there was just one language that you can study and still communicate well with the different peoples of the world. Just one language? Hell yeah, sign me up now! That was the idea behind the formulation of Esperanto. No, the backpacking trip wasn’t part of it, but the concept of an international language was. If we all study Esperanto as a second language, people from different countries can speak in equal footing because we’re all using a language that is of second nature to all participants.

So anyway, I discovered this little tutoring website which offers an email correspondence with a certified Esperanto speaker. After you sign up for the course, you will be assigned a “tutor” who will help you with general stuff and answer some of the questions you have that isn’t on the course. At the end of each lesson, there are exercises which you have to answer and then email the answers to your “tutor” who will then check if you got them correctly. They’re just basic courses but the website also offers advanced courses for those who already has some background in speaking Esperanto. After the ten lessons, you get to print out this cute little certificate which means you have completed the course. Then you can give yourself a nice pat on the back and continue on to the advanced courses.

Why is this important? Besides the noble objective Esperanto has since its inception, I also plan to use it as the official language of an underground anarchist society in the novel that I’m writing. Esperanto was formed with hopes that someday the world would be united enough to speak one language and this cool motive definitely qualifies Esperanto as a Rocket Powered Stuff. Kudos to Dr. Zamenhof a.k.a. Dr. Esperanto and continue reading my blog for more Rocket Powered Stuff from around the world.


6 Responses

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  1. Lune said, on November 23, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    You might be interested in this article. Good luck with your writing project!

    Eble vi interestiĝu je la suba artikolo. Bonsanĉon pri via verkaĵo!

  2. rocketpoweredstuff said, on November 23, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Thanks, I checked it out. I never knew the G8 has such negative meanings to some people. But I kinda knew Esperantists were once associated with international conspiracy, and that history makes for a good plot device. I’m sure Esperanto has good intentions though.

  3. Lune said, on November 24, 2008 at 10:10 am

    I do not believe one can characterize the politics of Esperantists with any general statement. We are of all political stripes. Esperanto is a linguistic tool that can be used by anyone who takes the time to use it. Anybody who wants to take their cause to a global level.

    Most Esperantists, in my experience, just want to talk. (and talk and talk and talk…) And we believe that words are better than bullets when it comes to making friends and influencing people.

    I hope that in your story, you will not show all Esperantists as anarchists.

  4. rocketpoweredstuff said, on November 25, 2008 at 12:05 am

    Don’t worry, in the story not all Esperantists are anarchists. It’s kind of the other way around actually because all the member anarchists of Bagong Katipunan (the name of the organisation) speak Esperanto. Personally, I like Esperanto and I think it’s cool. So I definitely won’t allow it to be shown in a bad light. Especially not by myself. Thanks for all the comments though!

  5. Bill Chapman said, on November 25, 2008 at 6:32 am

    It was good to see the mention of Esperanto here.

    I’ve used Esperanto on my travels and I recommend it as a practical way of getting to know ordinary people in other countries.

  6. rocketpoweredstuff said, on November 26, 2008 at 1:40 am

    Thanks for the comment, Bill!

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