When I penned my blog yesterday on Spanish and English my hand hesitated over the keyboard as I debated on whether to include Chinese and Esperanto.
Well I did the former and not the latter. I promptly received a comment from Brian Barker which can be read in full below yesterday’s blog. He stated: “There is an alternative to English (or Spanish) as the dominant World Language, and its name is Esperanto.
Esperanto is now within the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide, according to the CIA factbook. It is the 17th most used language in Wikipedia, and in use by Skype, Firefox and Facebook.
Native Esperanto speakers, include George Soros, Ulrich Brandenburg the new German Ambassador to NATO, and World Champion Chess Player, Susan Polger.”
I have known many people in my long life and only one of them was an Esperanto speaker. Indeed he was a fanatic but apart from those people he conversed with at meetings in London he was unable to communicate with any of us around him in that tongue as we only spoke English.
There are an estimated 1,500,000,000 English speakers world-wide and some 417,000,000 Spanish speakers. For Esperanto I found estimates of between 100,000 and two million speakers with only up to 2,000 “native speakers”.
What Esperanto lacks and both English and Spanish have is a solid culture behind the language. In both cases you do not just speak English or Spanish for by being able to do so you open up a rich heritage going back hundreds of years and that is being added to all the time. In addition the two languages gave to the world both Shakespeare and Cervantes – debatably the world’s two greatest writers.
In the unlikely event I have ever to speak to George Soros – I can do so in English. I suspect that apart from his native Hungarian and of course Esperanto, this high cultivated man also has other linguistic strings to his mighty bow.