Reason to Learn Esperanto
- To say that Esperanto is easy to learn is an understatement. Leo Tolstoy, an Esperanto advocate, once said that he learned the basics of Esperanto in four hours. Let me say that again: four hours. Whether this is true or not is debatable, but regardless you can get a firm handle on Esperanto in a far shorter amount of time than would take to learn other languages.
- In addition to Esperanto being ridiculously easy to learn, it also has its fair share of speakers, an estimated two million people worldwide. It is by far the most successful artificial language ever created. This may not seem like a significant number of speakers, but this is enough speakers to where you can still happen upon speakers in your travels or online. For example, if you are traveling to another country, look up the local Esperanto speakers. You can then use them as a resource to be able to navigate the country you are visiting. Because Esperanto learners must choose to learn it, they likely share a similar mindset, an open-mindedness, a willingness to communicate with strangers, etc.
- I have heard it said that learning Esperanto can actually help you learn other languages you are struggling to understand. The argument goes something like this. By learning Esperanto, you have familiarized yourself with the process of learning a new language and now are better equipped to learn a second foreign language. This argument is also substantiated by research. Studies have shown that students who first spent time learning Esperanto actually were able to get a handle on other languages faster than their peers who spent the same amount of time only learning other languages. This is an incredibly important find because it shows that spending a few months learning Esperanto will actually make you learn your target language must faster in the long run.
- Esperanto can also give you access to untranslated texts. Let me explain what I mean. Some Esperanto speakers are also active translators. Interested in reading Spanish literature? There is likely Esperanto speakers who have translated texts from Spanish into Esperanto, giving you access to these otherwise inaccessible works.
Free Esperanto Resources
- http://en.lernu.net/ - Lernu is a fantastic resource. Available in almost any language you want, it includes a variety of comprehensive courses that will help you master the basics of Esperanto.
- http://facila.org/ - has many different articles written in Esperanto for you to read through. This site is great for beginning speakers who already have a little Esperanto under their belt.
- http://www.fluentin3months.com/forum/resources-2/esperanto/ - this comment thread has a variety of wonderful suggestions as well as short descriptions of the various sites. Definitely worth checking out. I would personally recommend Pasporta a la Tuta Mondo, which one of the users suggests. It is a show shot in Esperanto that is available on youtube. It is a great resource to use to acclimate yourself to hearing Esperanto spoken out loud.
- http://www.learnlangs.com/esperanto/resources - another site that I checked out in detail as I was learning Esperanto. Gerda Malaperis is one of my favorites. It is an entertaining course you can really make use of once you are ready for more intermediate level material.
Photo Credit: Martin Schmitt