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Esperanto

This is the text of a tri-fold pamphlet created around 2007 to create interest in Esperanto as a means of international communication to build global revolutionary movements. For those wishing to speak or discuss Esperanto, contact us.

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What is Esperanto?

Esperanto is a language constructed by L.L. Zamenhoff in 1887. It is the most widely spoken constructed (or auxiliary) language in the world, and was developed to provide a worldwide, neutral second language to foster peace through universal understanding.

What are the benefits of Esperanto?

Image the busy working-class being able to communicate directly with anyone else in the world simply by learning one easy language. What potential would this have for unifying their struggle? This is the potential of Esperanto.

An 18-year-old young woman whose native language is French sits at the table with an 80-year-old anarchist whose native language is Bulgarian. As they sip coffee, he recounts his prison experiences before and during Communist rule. Out in the hallway, a 60-year-old Bulgarian woman and a 20-year-old Serb exchange information about their living conditions. During a meeting, a man from Extremadura explains to participants from different language groups that the bosses are organizing exploitation in the European Union in a way that transcends national boundaries…. Despite the wide range of political opinion and language, everybody communicates skillfully in Esperanto. This is the 81st Congress of the World Anational Association in Kazanlak, Bulgaria.

–Statement from the 2008 World Anational Association Congress

Esperanto is not intended to replace the native language of any peoples. On the contrary, Esperanto is designed as a universal second language. This would allow direct communication (no translators needed) with anyone on the planet. Because Esperanto is a second language for all, the imbalance that occurs between a native and second language speaker does not exist.

Additionally, Esperanto is a neutral language, meaning that the cultures and identities that correspond to the speakers’ primary language remain intact, rather than being displaced (as happens now with the imperial languages).

Esperanto is designed to be easy to learn regardless of native tongue and incorporates features of many different languages. This means that people from virtually every language can find something familiar in Esperanto, lowering their learning curve. A student can become conversational in as little as several weeks to a few months.

Lastly, learning Esperanto can speed up learning of other languages. Studies have shown that students taking one year of Esperanto followed by three of French were more fluent (in French) than students taking four years of French alone.

Does Esperanto have a radical history?

One of the first international uses of Esperanto was among anarchists in Asia, who used the language as an easy way to communicate directly with their European counterparts. Esperanto continued to be popular among anarchist and Marxist revolutionaries, particularly in Asia.

Errico Malatesta, at a meeting of the Anarchist International, endorsed a motion to officially adopt Esperanto as the primary language of the International.

In 1921, the Marxist Eugene Lanti created the Sennacieca Ascocio Tutmonda (an association of Marxists, anarchists, and others) that exists today.

Conversely, the language and its goals of universal communication and understanding have come under attack several times, being suppressed in Hitler’s Germany and, after early support in the Soviet Union, by Stalin’s USSR, among others.

The history of Esperanto is parallel to that of revolutionary struggle; its goals are complimentary and just as ambitious.

Mechanics of Esperanto

Here is a quick look at the mechanics of Esperanto. We will use a small vocabulary to introduce you to some words in Esperanto and use them for examples.

Spelling: Each letter corresponds to only one sound.

Pronunciation: There are no strange combinations of letters to create new sounds, and the accent is always on the next-to-last vowel.

Grammar: There are few rules and no exceptions.

Vocabulary: Esperanto has a grammar-coding system that creates new words by combining basic words with prefixes, suffixes, and each other. For example: the “mal-” prefix gives the opposite meaning to a word: alta = “tall/high”, malalta = “short/low”.

Nouns always end in “-o”
Adjectives always end in “-a”
Plurals always end in “-j”
Direct objects always end in “-n”

Esperanto has 28 Letters:
A, B, C, Ĉ, D, E, F, G, Ĝ, H, Ĥ, I, J, Ĵ, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, Ŝ, T, U, Ŭ, V, Z
Pronunciation: Ah, Boh, Tsoh, Choh, Doh, Eh, Foh, Goh, Joh, Hoh, Hoh (gutteral as in loch), Ee, Yoh, Shoh (as in garage) Koh, Loh, Moh, No, Oh, Poh, Rrroh (‘r’s are lightly rolled), Soh, Shoh, Toh, Ooh, Whoa, Voh, Zoh

 

Sample Vocabulary Words:
burĝaro: bourgeoisie alta: tall/high
hundoj: dogs katetojn: kitties (direct object)
vidi: to see amas: loves

 

Verb Tenses:
Infinitive (“-i”): vidi means to see
Present (“-as”): vidas means sees
Past (“-is”): vidis means saw
Future (“-os”): vidos means will see
Imperative (“-u”): vidu means see!
Conditional (“-us”): vidus means would see

If this interests you, now is the time to take action! Let us create a movement:

  • To aid revolutionaries in learning Esperanto by building networks for study, mutual encouragement, and direct communication;
  • To educate revolutionaries about the radical history of Esperanto and its current revolutionary potential;
  • To advocate the use of Esperanto in the international affairs of revolutionaries and their organizations;
  • To unite the working class of the world through teaching and advocating Esperanto as an easy-to-learn gateway to international communication; and finally,
  • To inspire the Esperanto speaking working class to revolutionary struggle and action.

 

For More Information:
DuoLingo Esperanto Course
Esperanto-USA
Lernu.net Esperanto Courses
SATEB – Workers’ Esperanto Movement
Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda (SAT)
Universala Esperanto-Asocio

 

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