FunHow many people speak Esperanto in the world?

How many people speak Esperanto in the world?

Esperanto is a planned language that emerged at the end of the 19th century as a neutral and international language that served as a bridge between all the cultures and peoples of the planet. Developed by the Polish ophthalmologist LL Zamenhof in 1887, he used the nickname of “doctor Esperanto” to sign his books and decided that this was the name that would receive the lingua franca that he had developed and that was so much needed at a time of colonialist expansionism and early moments of globalization.

The political and social moment in which Esperanto appeared was not exactly the calmest. In Europe, Britain, France and Germany were racing against time to spread their influence, and their respective languages (English, French and German) were vying for the possibility of becoming an international language. However, the respective governments were not willing to cede such privileges to speakers of other languages, so that none of these three languages came to rise as an international language. It was then that Esperanto made its entrance onto the scene, which managed to spread due to its neutrality, ease of learning and lack of political connotations .

Although there were governments that supported and rejected the Esperanto project equally, this polarization was carried to the extreme after the Great War and during World War II. Esperanto used to be associated with more liberal ideologies and left positions such as socialism or communism. It is estimated that, in the interwar period, there were about 20,000 speakers of so-called ‘neutral Esperanto’ and another 10,000 of ‘non-neutral’ or socialist Esperanto. Esperanto has undergone a renaissance during the last 50 years and is currently widely disseminated and supported by numerous institutions, international organizations and governments .

Today, the number has increased considerably. According to statements by Roberto Garvía , professor in the Department of Social Sciences at the Carlos III University of Madrid, to the SINC Agency, it is estimated that there are some 100,000 fluent Esperanto speakers worldwide .

Esperanto is characterized by three distinctive features: its internationality, its neutrality, and its simple and lively nature . Things like being a completely phonetic language or having no grammatical gender make it a technically easy language to learn and explain the tremendous success it has had over the years. Its popularity has reached such a point that there are courses to learn the language, dictionaries and virtual libraries dedicated solely to Esperanto. More than 30,000 books, films and songs have already been translated into this international language and it even has its own day: December 15 , coinciding with the birth of Zamenhof, is International Esperanto Day.

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