Thursday, 30 July 2015

lernu! or dum spiro spero

The World Youth Esperanto Summit will be held in Wiesbaden next week (nur auf Deutsch) in order to raise awareness for this constructed auxiliary language. Though fluent speakers are approaching some three million individuals and the principles of lingual harmonisation—not to displace established languages and dialects but to give individuals a third-way (also in the propædeutic—raŭmistoj sense of learning for its own sake and not necessarily for proficiency) of shared communication into hopes of promoting peace and reconciliation, the movement, which began in 1905, faced many challenges and successive totalitarian regimes sought to marginalise its momentum and utility by deeming it subversive or even cultish.

Despite these hardships, however, historically Esperanto was an official language in the condominium of Neutral Moresnet and is presently the language of instruction of San Marino’s institutions of higher education. I wonder to what degree the adherents of the original goal of the widespread use of Esperanto as a lingua franca, incorporating elements of many branches of the Indo-European family of languages and outliers, has been displaced by the dominance of English pidgin and technically enabled dialectic and whether what we’re heir to isn’t far off from the fina venko, the final victory that a universal language could help end wars and cultural jingoism. The name of the language means “one who hopes,” like the Latin phrase dum spiro spero, “while I breath, I hope” or where there’s a will, there’s a way. Kion vi pensas? Is this language a relic for hobbyists or really an instrument for understanding? I hope I get the chance to spy some bilingual signage around town at least while the conference is being held.