Esperanto, the international language, has nothing but potential as far as our readers are concerned.
Esperanto is a living language, according to our readers
The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.
Esperantists keep the dream alive
Learning any language improves one's career, as probably one can get more informed, get more skills in one's own language and so on. But reaching a deep knowledge of Esperanto is not as time consuming as for national languages, so the development of relationships to others in the same professional field is easier and more productive. I speak to my children only in Esperanto. They are six and four years old and bilingual in Portuguese and Esperanto. Our aim, for my Esperanto-speaking wife and me, is to give them some resources to easily learn more languages, but especially to become open-minded to cultural diversity in the world. That is commonly overridden by the international use of English. Esperanto is a sort of "linguistic handshaking", as some writer brightly defined it. - James R. Piton, Brazil
Certainly Esperanto has a bright future. It's a pity that only a few people know that Esperanto has become a living language. During a short period of 121 years Esperanto is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide, according to the CIA World factbook. It is the 17th most used language in Wikipedia, and a language choice of Google, Skype, Firefox and Facebook. Native Esperanto speakers, who have used the language from birth, include World Chess Champion Susan Polger, Ulrich Brandenberg the new German Ambassador to NATO and Nobel Laureate Daniel Bovet. - Brian Barker, Great Britain
Creator of Esperanto, Ludwik Zamenhof, hoped to create a universal language
English-speaking countries are rich and privileged, but they are increasingly dissatisfied that they are pitifully monolingual. The US, the UK and Australia all bemoan this fact and try to find solutions, but solutions are hard to find when the language of choice is so ill-defined, language teachers are much too scarce and time is short in our overcrowded curriculum. Esperanto faces a renaissance, not for any greatly idealistic reason, but for the practical reason that all primary school teachers can be equipped to teach it, at the time when children can best learn a second language. While learning Esperanto, the children can make meaningful contact with any of over a hundred cultures, giving them a second working language and a broad intercultural perspective by the end of primary school. They then enter middle school with the confidence, skills and perspective to choose, and succeed in, a third language in high school. By serving our own children well, giving them an achievable language goal in the 140 or so hours available for second-language instruction in primary school, Esperanto will become a normal part of English-speaking childhood. Whether the children and their primary teachers will choose to use the language they share to further the cause of international social justice remains to be seen. - Penelope Vos, Australia
The 89th International Esperanto Conference was held in Beijing in 2004
I do think that Esperanto can make communication much easier and fairer than English. I think people will in the end realise that Esperanto has many advantages and that English is too hard to spell, to pronounce, to learn as a second language. But people are often stubborn and reject Esperanto without having a good look at it. Therefore it will still be quite a while before everyone uses Esperanto. - Nicole Else, Australia
Regardless of whether Esperanto ever becomes the dominant lingua franca, it will have its niche and its adherents. Thoughtful mother tongue speakers of English are now wondering whether our lack of foreign language skills leads to political arrogance. And if it turns out that multilingualism promotes problem solving skills, then our ignorance of foreign languages will put us at a disadvantage. Students find Esperanto encouraging because they can quickly see the progress they are making. Personally I used Esperanto to brush up on my German by translating Hermann Hesse's "Demian" into Esperanto. - Detlef Karthaus, Canada
The dream of increased equality has spread Esperanto in Europe in the past and is spreading it in countries like Nepal and Togo today. The American dream is spreading English throughout the world - and the American nightmare makes it unlikely and undesirable for English to take over completely. All such dreams mutate through time, and people dream much less than they did before of English or Esperanto as the universal first language. Slowly, but inevitably, the focus turns on the question of language, not as a means of communication, but as a means of expression. - Jens Stengaard Larsen, Denmark
Of course Esperanto has a future. It has more than 120 years of existence. Why should it stop? People get married with that common language and children speak it as their mother tongue. Adventure goes on and won't stop just because Esperanto is an extraordinary and simple experience and can be taught everywhere. - Roy, France
Most of the world languages are spoken by small groups of people with a tendency to disappear. Many other languages, including Esperanto, have a long term future. As long as the media keeps telling the general public that Esperanto is not widespread, the general public will not bother to learn the language. We have to work very hard to let people know that Esperanto is a living language spoken in most countries. Right now I am planning a visit to Beijing, China, and my stay will be much easier and more rewarding because there will be many Esperanto-speakers ready to help me. Most of the time it is very difficult to understand and be understood by people that studied English for ten years. There are no communication problems with people that have studied Esperanto during a tenth of that time. When they spoke English to me, it was because they wanted to sell me something. When they spoke Esperanto to me, it was because they wanted to be my friends. - Enrique, Argentina