What does the creation of Esperanto tell us about the power of language? Can a neutral language, if properly implemented, actually achieve the goals Zamenhof set out to achieve?
Below are two articles that dig into the history, goals, and current status esperanto.
“Esperanto was invented in 1887 by a Polish ophthalmologist named L.L. Zamenhof, who hoped his creation would bring about world peace. Zamenhof saw a turbulent world divided by language, and concluded that the situation was too complicated, essentially unfair, and ultimately doomed. He believed that the languages people already spoke were oversaturated with history, politics, and power, making it impossible to communicate clearly. Esperanto was a fresh start, a technology that would allow its speakers to sidestep the difficulties of natural languages altogether.
“He made it as easy to learn as possible, with no irregular verbs, a vocabulary adapted from Romance language roots, and a simple, genderless, almost caseless grammar.”
““If mortality is what it is like to live after Eden, misunderstanding,” she writes, “is what it is like to live after Babel.” This is not just a psychological misfortune but, more pressingly, a political one. Because we don’t speak the same language as our neighbors, we can’t see their point of view, and therefore we are more likely to rob them and kill them.”