Here at EuroTalk, we love languages (obviously). And we particularly enjoy discovering fun facts about languages; they’re all so different and each has its own unique character. So we’ve decided to bring back the Language of the Week series. Each week, we’ll choose a new language, and we’re always open to suggestions!
This week’s Language of the Week is Esperanto, to celebrate its release as the 128th language in our uTalk app, which we’re very excited about…
Some of you may not have heard of Esperanto, or you may want to learn some more about it; so here are some interesting facts about the world’s most widely spoken constructed language:
- Dr Zamenhof introduced Esperanto in 1887; his aim was to allow people from many different native languages to communicate with each other through a second shared language, whilst retaining their individual cultural identities.
- Esperanto’s full name is ‘Doktoro Esperanto’, which translates into ‘one who hopes’ – this reflects the aim of Dr Zamenhof, who wanted this language to create peace and diplomacy across the world.
- Although the language did not become as popular as Dr Zamenhof predicted, today there are still a large number of people who speak the language. Estimates range from 10,000 fluent speakers to 2 million people who understand quite a lot, and it is spoken all over the world. There are also over 1,000 native speakers of the language:
- The four main languages that Esperanto’s roots are taken from are Italian, French, German and English. However, Esperanto has no irregular verbs – unlike French, which has over 2,000!
- J.R.R. Tolkien had a huge interest in Esperanto, stating that people should ‘back Esperanto loyally’. He even had his book The Hobbit translated into Esperanto.
- Esperanto is believed to be easier to learn than any other language. Here are some simple phrases:
- Smile! – Ridetu!
- Have a good day – Bonan tagon
- Have a cup of tea – Havu tason da teo