Best Articles about Esperanto

Posted on 29. Jun, 2015 by in Uncategorized

I’m sad to announce this will be my last post for Transparent Language’s Esperanto blog. It’s been wonderful working with Transparent Language and our community here. So, for my final article, I’ve decided to highlight our top ten most read articles as well as a few of my personal favorites.

Top Ten Most Popular Articles

Start Reading Esperanto Literature
This guest post is still the most popular article on this blog and for good reason. Many Esperanto speakers want to read Esperanto and just don’t know where to start. This will guide you with a quick overview, so you can get started! For a more in-depth look at Esperanto literature, I’d recommend the Concise Encyclopedia of Literature in Esperanto.

Facila Vento — Easy Reading in Esperanto
If you just want to start reading Esperanto, Facila Vento is an excellent place to start. Most articles also provide the text read aloud, so you can train your listening comprehension while you read too.

Muzaiko: 24 Hour Radio Station
Who would’ve thought this 24/7 Esperanto radio station would still be around 4 years later? Well, it’s still alive and well. In the meantime, be sure to also check out Esperanto-TV.

New Comic about Esperanto
The American comic artist, Dan Mazur, published an interesting 12-page comic about native Esperanto speakers.

Chinese Learns Esperanto in Just 5 Months
Some criticize Esperanto as being too European and thus too difficult for Asians. However, Zhu Xin proves the ease of Esperanto as he speaks Esperanto better after 5 months of study than English after 7 years! Still think Esperanto is too European? Check out this article by Claude Piron: Esperanto: European or Asiatic Language.

3rd Gen Native Esperanto Speaker: Nils
It’s been a real pleasure to interview some native Esperanto speakers, which resulted in finding a 3rd gen native speakers: Nils! Read his story along with his father’s, an Esperanto DJ and a school teacher. Later we ended up creating this video about natives:

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Is Your Hobby a Waste of Time?
It’s funny how people criticize others for learning Esperanto, but make no judgment when it comes to other niche hobbies. Enjoy what you want and let life lead you on the most interesting adventures in whatever language you want!

Quick Esperanto Pronunciation Guide for English Speakers
I made this guide to help actors get up to speed as fast as possible in order to play Esperanto roles. However, it can also be useful to anyone who wants to start speaking Esperanto fast.

Trans in Esperanto
With the recent supreme court judgment, gay rights have been in the forefront in the news. However, transexuals are still often overlooked. This unique guest post gives us a glance at what it’s like to be trans in the Esperanto community.

How Esperanto Changed My Life
Do you really think Esperanto is useless? Here is my personal story of how Esperanto has been more useful than every other foreign language I’ve ever studied… and I’ve lived in Germany for the past ten years!

My Personal Favorites

The most popular is not always what was most dear to my heart. Here are articles I’m particularly proud of:

Lauren’s 6 Week Mission to Learn Esperanto
Benny Lewis set the Internet ablaze with his unusual mission to coach Lauren to learn Esperanto in 6 weeks! Also, don’t miss Benny’s famous post about how learning Esperanto can get you ahead in learning another language. Tim Morley continues on this topic in his TEDx Talk below:

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Founding the Esperanto Wikipedia
In this four part series, I chronicled the founding of the Esperanto Wikipedia. Also, did you know the Czech Wikipedia was translated from Esperanto?

Tale of Two Keyboards
This was my experiment to test the waters of the Esperanto iOS app market. $240 earned until someone released their own free Esperanto keyboard forcing me to match it by making mine free as well.

New Games in Esperanto
I personally want to spend more time producing more Esperanto games as I feel this is an area of Esperanto culture that needs more work. Also, don’t miss Evildea’s amazing series teaching Esperanto with World of Warcraft.

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Ĝis la revido! [Until the re-seeing!]

While it’s sad to write my last post for this blog, I want to give a special shout out to Transparent Language for giving our community a voice to tell our story to our many readers and wish them the best. I also want to thank our community from the bottom of my heart for all of your support and wish you the best with learning and using the international language in the years to come.

Is your hobby a waste of time?

Posted on 15. Apr, 2015 by in Uncategorized

How many times have you heard this?

Me: I’m going to learn Esperanto.
Friend: Why are you going to waste your time with that?

If you’ve ever considered learning Esperanto, the above dialog will play out over and over in your life like a broken record. Let’s try another:

Me: I’m going to learn how to play Shogi (Japanese Chess).
Friend: Wow, that sounds cool, have fun!

Shogi game in progress

Shogi game in progress

I’ve learned Esperanto and I’ve learned how to play Shogi to an intermediate level. Although I have to admit I’m quite rusty these days; I remember the rules, but I’ve forgotten the castles (opening defense formations). But, I digress. What I’d like to point out is how much I’ve “done” Esperanto and Shogi. I’ve met many interesting people by speaking Esperanto and by playing Shogi.

The experiences are, though, very different. I once had the chance to meet the American Shogi Champion. While dropping by the Shogi Championships one day in NYC (when I lived there), I had the random chance to play a game against a master while the rest of the room was playing tournament matches. However, I’d have to say that [outside of Japan] it’s easier to find Esperanto speakers than Shogi players.

Chillin' at the Esperanto Go Club in Tokyo

Chillin’ at the Esperanto Go Club in Tokyo

Even when the Tokyo Esperanto club invited me to Japan, I never got around to playing Shogi when I was there, but I did enjoy teaching Go to some Japanese people in Esperanto in a club owned by an Esperanto speaker there. How random! But such experiences abound when you mix foreign languages and hobbies. When someone moves to a new city and wants to make friends, I always recommend they seek out local groups for their hobbies. This way they already feel more comfortable due to their common interest. Plus, speaking is bound to come easier due to extensive knowledge of the hobby.

Now I want you to think back to the original dialogs above telling others about your hobbies. I bring this up, because we all know that all hobbies do not have the same level of prestige. Let me list a few and think of what you associate with them: stamp collecting, fashion, surfing, filmmaking, skydiving, watching football, playing poker, yachting, learning languages, knitting. Did you notice that different hobbies get different reactions from other people? Why is this?

I would say that you should enjoy your hobbies despite what others say about them. If you enjoy collecting stamps, but others say it’s not cool, so what? You’re a man who likes to knit? Cool! You want to watch football even though your intellectual friends say it’s lame? Fine, why not? Enjoy what you want and let life lead you on the most interesting adventures. You can never forge your own path if you’re just doing what everyone else says is popular and cool. Enjoy life… in whichever language you want!

Note for Esperanto Shogi players: You might also find it amusing that there are two books about Shogi in Esperanto: Invito al Japana Ŝako (beginner) and Japana Ŝako (intermediate). Some players even recommend these over English or Japanese books, because the Esperanto books give a great overview, unlike English or Japanese books, which tend to focus on specific topics and are thus more limited, yet deeper in scope.

Picture: Shogi (CC BY SA 3.0 Oliver Orschiedt)

Chinese learns Esperanto in just 5 months!

Posted on 30. Mar, 2015 by in Esperanto Language

Is Esperanto too European? I mean, is it too hard for Asians to learn it? In my early months of learning Esperanto, in 2002, I ran into a Chinese Esperanto speaker online, Zhu Xin (祝昕), who then lived in Beijing. But rather than tell you myself about his experience, I’d like to publish what he himself wrote only after just 5 months of learning Esperanto. So, here is his article from 2002, with my translation below each of his Esperanto paragraphs.

Komencanta Ĉina Esperantisto

(Beginning Chinese Esperanto Speaker)

Zhu Xin - Chinese Esperanto speaker

Zhu Xin – Chinese Esperanto speaker

Kiam mi estis infano, mi foje legis enciklopedion, kio speciale por infanoj. En ĝi mi trovis iom da vortoj pri artefarita lingvo Esperanto. Tiam mi miris, ke kiel lingvo povus esti artefarita, ĉu ĝi estas bona por uzi same kun la aliaj lingvoj, kaj ĝi eble estas tre malfacila lerni. Tiam, kiam mi ankoraŭ ne komencis lerni iu ajn fremdlingvojn, ŝajnis al me, ke lerni fremdlingvojn estas tre malfacile, precipe artefaritan lingvon Esperanton. Kaj mi neniam pensis, ke iam mi ellernos la Esperanton. Nun la fakto pruvis, ke mi eraris.

When I was little, I occasionally read a children’s encyclopedia. There I found some words about the artificial language, Esperanto. Then, I wondered how a language could be artificial, if it is good to use just like any other language, and it might be very difficult to learn. Then, when I still hadn’t yet started learning foreign languages, it seemed that learning one would be very difficult, even Esperanto. I never thought I would start learning Esperanto. Now, the fact proved that I was wrong.

Kvankam mi havis ian antaŭjuĝon pri Esperanto en mia infaneco, tamen mi neniam forgesis ĝin dum mia kreskado. Ŝajnis al mi, ke Esperanto estas tre fenomena, kiel roloj en fabela mondo. Kiam mi estis ĉirkaŭ 14-jaraj, leginte libron, kiu temas pri Zhang Haidi (ŝi diligente studadis spite al la sia kriplaĵo, kiu estas modelo de junuloj), mi konis, ke Zhang Haidi memlernis kelkajn fremdlingvojn inklude Esperanton. Tio refoje pliigis mian intereson pri Esperanto. Tamen mi ankoraŭ ne havis sopiron lerni Esperanton tiutempe. Eble tiam ĉar mi estis lernanta anglan lingvon, kiu tre ĉagrenigis min, en lernejo, kaj mi tute ne opiniis, ke Esperanto estas pli utila ol angla. Nun la fakto pruvis, ke mi ree eraris.

Although I had a prejudice against Esperanto when I was young, I never forgot about it while I grew up. It seemed to me that Esperanto is very phenomenal like the roles in a fictional world. When I was about 14 years old, I was reading a book about Zhang Haidi (she diligently kept studying even though she was crippled, being a model for young people), I learned that Haidi taught herself foreign languages, including Esperanto. This again intensified my desire, but I did not yet yearn to learn Esperanto. Possibly when learning English in school was irritating me, and I really didn’t think that Esperanto would be more useful than English. Again, I was wrong.

Nun oni havas interreton, kiu donis al mi bonan ŝancon por kontakti diversajn aĵojn inklude Esperanton. Iufoje, ĉirkaŭ antaŭ 5 monatoj, Mi hazarde eniris hejmpaĝon pri Esperaton. Tiam mi jam lernis anglan lingvon por 7-8 jaroj, sed mi ankoraŭ ne povis interparoli flue kun aliaj per ĝi. Do post kiam mi pli detale konis la avantaĝon de Esperanto, mi tuj sopiris lerni ĝin. Mi partoprenis retan Esperanto-kurson senkostan, eklernis Esperanton. Mi vere ekkontaktis Esperanton unuafoje. Dum lernado en la Esperanto-kurso, mi persone spertis la facilecon, riĉecon, precizecon kaj flekseblecon de Esperanto. Post ĉirkaŭ 6 semajnoj, kiam mi glate finis entute 10 lecionojn elementajn de la kurso, mi jam povis legi preskaŭ iajn ajn Esperantajn librojn helpe de vortaroj, kaj interparoli kun aliaj per simplaj frazoj. Mi sentis grandan agrablon, kion Esperanto donis al mi. Cetere mi ricevis “Diplomo de la Senkosta Esperanto-Kurso”, kion al mi sendis mia instruisto instruinta min en la reta Esperanto-kurso. La diplomo estis skribita jene:

Diplomo de la Senkosta Esperanto-Kurso

Nome de la instruisto Zhong Qiyao mi deklaras ke
Zhu Xin kontentige partoprenis en la komputilreta versio de la Senkosta Esperanto-Kurso en la Ĉina lingvo

Zhong Qiyao
Kursadministranto

Now we have the Internet which gave me a chance to learn about many different things, including Esperanto. Sometime, about 5 months ago, I randomly visited a webpage about Esperanto. By then, I had already studied English for 7-8 years, but I still couldn’t speak it fluently. So, after I had more details about the advantages of Esperanto, I immediately wanted to learn it. I took the free Esperanto course on the Internet and started to learn Esperanto. I really connected with Esperanto at first. Taking the course, I personally experienced the ease, richness, precision and flexibility of Esperanto. After about six weeks, when I finished all ten lessons of the course, I could already practically read any kind of book in Esperanto with the help of a dictionary and speak to others in simple sentences. I felt a great joy about what Esperanto gave me. Finally, I received the “Diploma of the Free Esperanto Course,” which my Esperanto tutor sent me. The diploma says the following:

Diploma of the Free Esperanto Course

As your instructor, Zhong Qiyao, I declare that
Zhu Xin participated in the internet version of the Free Esperanto Course in Chinese

Zhong Qiyao
Course Adminstrator

Ĝi ja estas grava memoraĵo sur mia Esperanto-vojo

It indeed is an important memory of learning Esperanto.

Lerninte la elementan Esperanton, kompreneble mi sopiras lerni plu. Sed mi preskaŭ ne povas trovi librojn pri Esperanto en ĝeneralaj libro-vendejoj. Do mi devas eniri malnovlibro-vendejojn por serĉi. Bonŝance kelkajn lernolibrojn, vortarojn kaj aliajn pri Esperanto mi trovis, kaj mi tuj aĉetis ilin tute ne hezite. Mi soife legadis tiujn librojn. Dank al la legado mi grade ekpovis ĝui Esperantajn literaturaĵojn. Antaŭnelonge, kiam mi legis sentimentalan romanon en Esperanto, mi larmis kortuŝite. Mi tre plezuras pro tio. Kaj mi neniam tiel sentis agrablon kiam mi legis anglajn librojn, kvankam mi lernis anglan lingvon por 7-8 jaroj kaj Esperanton nur 4-5 monatoj.

Having learned basic Esperanto, understandably I wanted to learn more. I could hardly find books about Esperanto in regular bookstores, so I had to search used bookstores. Luckily I found some instructional books, dictionaries and others about Esperanto and I immediately bought them without hesitating. I read those books with a thirst. Thanks to the reading, I gradually started to enjoy Esperanto literature. Now, when I read a sentimental novel in Esperanto, I weep as it touches my heart. I really enjoy that. I never felt that much joy when I read English books, even though I’ve studied English for 7-8 years and Esperanto for only 4-5 months.

Nun mi perceptas, ke mi ne nur povas studi Esperanton sole, sed ankaŭ devas kontaktiĝis kun aliaj esperantistoj ĉar mi jam estas esperantisto. Esperantisto, mi ŝatas ĉi tiun nomon, kiu simbolas idealon, entuziasmon, fortecon kaj tiujn bravulojn kiuj diligente sin dediĉas al la paco kaj progreso de la mondo. Mi ekkonis kaj ekkomprenis kio Esperanto-movado estas. Mi tre volas kontaktiĝi kun aliaj esperantistoj kaj mi jam komencis tiel fari. Ekzemple, mi baldaŭ membriĝos en Pekina Esperanta Asocio, kaj en la venonta monato mi partoprenos Esperantan renkontiĝon unuafoje.

Now I understand that I not only can study Esperanto by myself, but I also need to find other Esperantists, because I am already an Esperantist. Esperantist: I like this name which symbolizes ideals, enthusiasm, strength, and the brave ones who diligently dedicate themselves to peace and progress in the world. I’m starting to know and understand the Esperanto movement. I really want to contact other Esperantists and I’ve already started to do that. For example, I will soon become a member of the Beijing Esperanto Association, and next month I will participate in an Esperanto convention for the first time.