Someone should buy one of these for Srikanth Reddy, because I think of his poem about Esperanto every time I wear it.
Fun facts about Esperanto (via Wikipedia):
Esperanto was developed in the late 1870s and early 1880s by ophthalmologist Dr. Ludovic Lazarus Zamenhof, an Ashkenazi Jew from Bialystok, now in Poland and previously in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but at the time part of the Russian Empire. After some ten years of development, which Zamenhof spent translating literature into the language as well as writing original prose and verse, the first Esperanto grammar was published in Warsaw in July 1887. The number of speakers grew rapidly over the next few decades, at first primarily in the Russian empire and Eastern Europe, then in Western Europe and the Americas, China, and Japan. In the early years speakers of Esperanto kept in contact primarily through correspondence and periodicals, but in 1905 the first world congress of Esperanto speakers was held in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. Since then world congresses have been held in different countries every year, save for during the two World Wars. Since the Second World War, they have been attended by an average of over 2000 people, and by up to 6000.
Ethnologue estimates that there are 200 to 2000 native Esperanto speakers (denaskuloj), who have learned the language from birth from their Esperanto-speaking parents. (This usually happens when Esperanto is the chief or only common language in an international family, but sometimes in a family of devoted Esperantists.)
The most famous native speaker of Esperanto is businessman George Soros. Also notable is young Holocaust victim Petr Ginz, whose drawing of the planet Earth as viewed from the moon was carried aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia.
Esperanto has never been an official language of any recognized country, though there were plans at the beginning of the 20th century to establish Neutral Moresnet as the world’s first Esperanto state, and the self-proclaimed artificial island micronation of Rose Island used Esperanto as its official language in 1968. In China, there was talk in some circles after the 1911 Xinhai Revolution about officially replacing Chinese with Esperanto as a means to dramatically bring the country into the twentieth century, though this policy proved untenable.
Leave a Reply