Be indulgent ! (may need proofreading)
The international language Esperanto
The international language Esperanto is a language that was constructed and planned from the very beginning to facilitate communication among peoples of various idioms. Its own characteristics (only 16 simple rules of grammar, no exception, total correlation between speach and writing, etc.) make esperanto the fastest language to learn ! Furthermore, those using esperanto to communicate with foreign speakers place themselves de facto in a situation of linguistic equality: one doesn't push his/her own language to the other.
Esperanto went a long way since its initial published appearance in 1887, by the physician L.L. Zamenhof from Warsaw (PL). There is nowadays (at least) hundred of thousands of speakers in the world, in more than 120 countries. Their number is not precisely known… but anyone learning esperanto soon understand that there is out there –in the world– much more possibilities to benefit from this language than one can ever make use of !
Esperanto is useful for… (among other things)
- travelling. You can get free hosting from a widespread network of Esperanto-speaking hosts. Or make new friends by becoming a host yourself !
- taking part in all sort of events organized among Esperanto-speakers: congress, meetings, culture festivals and other events of all sorts. Each year, a few hundred of those meetings are organized on the five continents.
- getting in touch with other people who are as passionate as you are about some field of interest, but who just don't speak your language. The panorama is vast: sciences, history, literature, tourism-cycling, Chess game, Go, IT-related interests, ethnography, linguistics rights, nature stewardship, sustainable development, vegetarism or veganism, naturism, religions, philately. etc. etc. Just name it There is probably a thematic group about it or individuals using esperanto for their international contacts !
Furthermore, there is a large translated literature, but also an original one. Any great literary work from another culture is always translated to esperanto by a native of the original work. And to some extend, esperanto is also used as a communicational tool by some scientists, for commerce and within many NGOs, etc.
For our part – here at KES – we want to inform you that there is also a long history of relationships between Quakerism and the international language esperanto.
To mention a few, let's talk about Edmond Privat (1889-1962), a renowned esperanto-speaker. He started learning Esperanto in 1903, at the age of 14, and became a famous internationally active diplomat, doctor in History, university professor, writer, journalist and Peace activist from Switzerland. He also served as president of UEA (the World Esperanto Association).
Even today, esperanto-speakers worldwide still have a clue about who he was, but few of them know that Edmond Privat was also a Quaker. Edmond Privat shared some profound values with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), since long known for its peace testimony and lack of dogmatism. At first, Privat was active in the Quaker Society of its country (Switzerland), as though he was not yet formally a Quaker himself. (He was then what the Quakers call a "friend of Friends"). In 1936, he applied to officially become a member of this Society, in which he was also known with some fame. With the Quakers, Edmond Privat organized the Gandhi's conference in Lausanne (Switzerland) in 1931. After that, when Gandhi went back to India, Edmond Privat and his wife (who had accompany the Mahatma to Marseille, to wave him good bye) finally embarked with him on the ship. Privat stayed many months in India with Gandhi and wrote a few books about that.
The british esperanto community of course knows his name well: Montagu Christie BUTLER (1884-1970)
English musician, and one of the weighty esperantist of its time. He was active for decades on many fields of the esperanto life in Britain, i.a. as a librarian, translator and dictionnary-writer. He was also quaker.
Other Esperantist were also Quakers
For example, Albert Goodheir (1912 – 1995), poet, scottish and dutch.
Or a few active nowadays :
Sally Phillips (Hastings, England),
Eric Walker (Ipswich, England),
John Murray (Carrickfergus near Belfast, North-Ireland),
Thomas Heberlein (Hameln, Germany),
Douglas Draper (Oslo, Norway) –
Mario Bélisle (Switzerland).
Also known was: David Kelso (Scotland), who tragically disappeared in 2010.