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b2ap3_thumbnail_Flag_of_Esperanto.pngEsperanto is what’s known as a conlang, or constructed language, invented by L. L. Zamenhof in the 1870s/1880s. Living in a divided community of Russians, Poles, Germans, Old Believers, Catholics, Protestants and Jews, where everyone hated everyone else, Zamenhof believed a common language could bring people together.

In itself, it was a good idea but, as various other conlangs have discovered, it doesn’t really work. Esperanto may boast the greatest number of speakers, about 2,000,000, but in its 125-odd years of existence has only spread to about 0.03% of the world population. Today, it might have a couple of hundred native speakers (poor buggers).

What other qualities does it not bring to the table?:
• Other than the occasional novel or poem, it has nothing written in it. Everything has to be translated
• Based on Western European languages, it is of no help to Asians, Africans…
• Where place names help us understand the Celts or Etruscans, Esperanto has none
• Where probably every driver in the world recognizes “Stop!”, who the hell knows “Ĉesu!”?
• Where 80% of scientific papers are published in English (, Esperanto has essentially none
• Where 80% of websites are in English, there are at least 19 in Esperanto
• Where the world population has gone from an approximate 1.325 billion in 1875 to some 7.350 billion today (up 550%) and the English-speaking world from about 50 million to 1 billion (up 2000%), it is clear that Esperanto has no future other than that of a tiny group of learners who have failed to understand the concept of sunk cost fallacy…

So, to reiterate what I said in a recent tweet: “Esperanto is a game”. It’s a Lego house compared to a capital city, a stick man compared to Rembrandt. It is useless.

Nice flag though.


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