Esperanto: A Language for the World

The First Esperanto Congress in 1905. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

The First Esperanto Congress in 1905. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1887, a book called “Dr. Esperanto’s International Language” was published for the first time.

Here are some things you may not have known about the language that came to be known as Esperanto.

It is known as a contracted international auxiliary language, meaning it was created and didn’t develop naturally.

A Polish eye doctor named L.L. Zamenhof created the language over the course of several years as a young man. By the time he was in secondary school, he spoke Russian, Yiddish, Polish, and German fluently. He knew Latin, Hebrew and French well; and had a basic knowledge of Greek, English and Italian.

He came to the belief that miscommunication between Russians, Poles, Germans and others was to blame for intergroup hostilities. He saw a common language as a way to close the gap between the groups.

By the age of 18, he had almost finished his universal language, but he was too young to publish his work. He left his hometown to study medicine in Moscow and then Warsaw before beginning his practice in Vienna. In 1887, he future father-in-law helped him publish his book in Russian under the pseudonym “Doctor Esperanto” or Doctor Hopeful. This name eventually became the language’s name.

About two-thirds of Esperanto’s vocabulary comes from Romance languages, such as French and Spanish, while the other third comes from Germanic languages. It follows the syntax of the Romance languages.

It’s estimated that two million people speak Esperanto to varying degrees, including as many as 2,000 native speakers.

It is the most widely spoken constructed language in the world, particularly in parts of Europe and East Asia.

Our question: Which Charlie Chaplin film featured signs written in Esperanto?

Today is Independence Day in both Liberia and Maldives. It’s Day of National Rebellion in Cuba and Day of National Significance in Barbados.

It’s unofficially Aunts and Uncles Day; National Bagelfest Day; and National Coffee Milkshake Day.

It’s the birthday of writer George Bernard Shaw, who was born in 1856; singer Darlene Love, who is 75 today; and actor Kevin Spacey, who turns 57.

Because our topic happened before 1960, we’ll spin the wheel to pick a year at random.

This week in 1986, the top song in the U.S. was “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel.

The No. 1 movie was “Aliens,” while the novel “Wanderlust” by Danielle Steel topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Weekly question

What is the largest number of in vitro fertilized babies to be born following one pregnancy?

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Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unua_Libro

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._L._Zamenhof

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_26

https://www.checkiday.com/07/26/2016

http://www.biography.com/people/groups/born-on-july-26

http://www.billboard.com/archive/charts/1986/hot-100

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_1986_box_office_number-one_films_in_the_United_States

http://www.hawes.com/1986/1986-07-20.pdf

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