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cockswain's avatar

What happened to Esperanto?

Asked by cockswain (15254points) March 25th, 2010

I think it was like the 60s or 70s, there was an effort to make this the universal language. I once actually saw a clip of an Esperanto movie starring William Shatner. What became of this movement? Do people speak it anywhere?

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20 Answers

squidcake's avatar

I tried to learn Esperanto at one point.
That lasted about a week.
I used to think it was the coolest thing ever, though.
It’s sad though, because the guy who invented it though it was going to catch on and everyone would love it and it would quickly become the universal language…
and now pretty much no one speaks it.

DominicX's avatar

People speak it, but not that many. Too bad. The Esperanto Wikipedia has over 127,000 articles.

It makes a cooler international language than English…but it really seems to be that English is becoming the international language.

Anon_Jihad's avatar

It looks like a high speed collision of Spanish and Russian . . . wtf?

WestRiverrat's avatar

US military used to use it for the OPFOR. Back when they didn’t want to offend the Warsaw pact by identifiing the primary adversary of the time. Once Reagan tossed that bit of idiocy out, not many people felt the need to use it.

ChaosCross's avatar

People are too lazy to learn yet another language lol

Just_Justine's avatar

You know I was thinking about it the other day I also wondered what had happened to it. It was a great language and great idea.

AstroChuck's avatar

Esperanto is still very much alive, as is Ido (an offshoot of Esperanto). Both have quite the following but I’ve never understood why. I don’t think many speak them outside of clubs dedicated to them. Both international auxiliary languages are a messy hodge-podge. I’ve always felt that Interlingua is a much better man-made tongue. If you speak English and have ever taken Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, or French in school (or vice versa) and flunked it, you can read Interlingua. Romanova and Latine Sine Flexione (more a siplified Latin than an auxiliary language) are a little more obscure but are both an improvement over Esperanto.
And just to demonstrate what a language uber-nerd I am, I’ve created my own international auxiliary language called Pan Idome Latine. It has an extensive vocabulary and everything but is really easy to learn.

DominicX's avatar


Dude, you are too awesome. I’ve never met anyone who also created their own language. Can’t say I’ve done that yet, but I am in the process of creating one. Only it would make a terrible international language because it’s pretty complex. :P

WestRiverrat's avatar

@AstroChuck I am confused. Are not all languages man made?

AstroChuck's avatar

No. Some are made by women.

cockswain's avatar

@AstroChuck That was an incredible answer. How did you become so knowledgeable about all that? Latine Sine Flexione?

cockswain's avatar

Wait a second…are you some kind of huge Trekkie? And William Shatner inspired you to study all this?

AstroChuck's avatar

Sorry, I wrote it wrong. It’s Latino Sine Flexione. It means “Latin without inflections”.

iam2smart99037's avatar

@WestRiverrat – They mean that most languages evolve over a long period of time, as Old English evolved into the language we know today. It is in this sense that Modern English wasn’t “man made”, it just changed. Esperanto and the other languages were instantly created by using parts of existing languages and creating some new ones.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Esperanto was a stupid idea in the first place. Thus, it didn’t catch on. That’s what happened.

mattbrowne's avatar

Nice try, but unsuccessful. Dead languages are doomed. Italian is the language of the Vatican, not Latin. The new Esperanto is “International English” which is not the same as American or British English, because there are more than a billion speakers who influence the changes in the English language, not just native speakers. Some loan translations end up in Webster’s at some point. Here’s a good candidate

gets almost 800,000 hits.

Here’s the concept of the new Esperanto

EEnrique's avatar

I always marvel about the people that give bad opinions about Esperanto, without knowing anything about Esperanto, without ever having spoken Esperanto, nor even participated in a meeting where people from many countries speak all the time in Esperanto.

Would you care about the opinion about football, baseball, basketball, from a person that never played a game, not even watched a game?

Up to now nobody have improved on Esperanto. The best known try started about 100 years ago, and is only a reform of Esperanto, intend to be easier to learn for people that know some European languages. Its name is Ido.

Esperanto is the easiest language to learn. The basic course can be completed in less than 20 hours. Spoken fluency can be acquired in 50 to 100 hours. You can find thousands of books and magazines online. Links to many of those books, magazines, web pages, videos you can find in this page:

A added benefit to learning Esperanto, is that after knowing it, learning other languages result a little bit easier. Many Esperanto speakers went on to learn other languages.

Knowing Esperanto connects you with people from most countries, that are willing to chat with you. They learned Esperanto just for that, to speak with people of other countries.

I have been helping people to learn Esperanto in many countries. They start here:

To answer your question: Esperanto has been spreading around the world since its publication in 1887. It never stopped.


EEnrique's avatar

I was at the World Esperanto Convention in Wien, Austria. In the convention auditorium there were 3033 people from 75 countries. No need for translators. Everybody was capable of speaking and understanding Esperanto.

After the formal meeting, you could walk to any of the participants and freely communicate with them. There was not advantages for the natives of any one country. All of us had learned Esperanto because we wanted to.

If you could be present at an international meeting where people are communicating so easily, you will also like to spend 20 – 50 hours to learn and understand our language.


cockswain's avatar

Wow, you have a lot of info. Thanks. I originally thought it was some fad from the 70s that got a boost when Shatner jumped onboard.

RenataVentura's avatar

Hi, guys. I learned Esperanto in four months. It’s an incredible language. You should try it out. Scientific studies all over the world have proven that learning esperanto increases a person’s capacity for logical thinking, and decreases the number of years it takes to learn any other foreign language. It also raises kids math scores by up to 40%. And it only takes from 6 months to one year of studying.

People say Esperanto didn’t work. But every meaningful revolution takes time to happen. This was the case with women’s rights, the fight against racism and against homophobia. It takes time because people always fight against change.

But Esperanto has already worked. There are about 2 million people in more than 150 countries speaking it, and this number grows everyday. Esperanto has more than 140 thousand articles on Wikipedia. Google, Facebook, and other websites have versions in Esperanto, for the sheer number of speakers that use it everyday for global communication.

The chinese government has prepared hundreds of teachers in Esperanto and even has a Masters Degree in Esperanto. It also broadcasts a TV news program and has a radio in Esperanto.

The Hungarian version of SAT has Esperanto as one of its language tests.
In Brazil, the government is voting on a law that will make Esperanto one of the languages to be learned at school.

So, Esperanto is growing.

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