Teddy Nee, a language enthusiast blogger, shared his passion for the Esperanto language and his learning experience with us this month. He speaks Medan Hokkien, Indonesian, English, Chinese, Spanish, Esperanto, Portuguese, and French. His mission is to make the world a better place through language learning, by inspiring people to learn foreign languages and experience other cultures.
Where it all started!
Almost every new acquaintance I meet at a language meeting I attend every weekend ask me the question: “why Esperanto” after they find out that I speak the language. Then, our conversation usually continues with me explaining what Esperanto is, where it is spoken, and so on. These questions are actually not surprising, because even though Esperanto is a popular language among some, it is not spoken as widely as English.
I have read many articles mentioning that Esperanto is the easiest language to learn on earth. It is definitely the most neutral and best suited to solve the language barriers we face. It is unbelievable to encounter such great power in a language. It was a Polish oculist who created Esperanto more than 126 years ago, and it is known to be the most spoken artificial language in the world.
Driven by my curiosity after reading up on Esperanto, I was intrigued to learn in order to find out the real essence of this mysterious language.
Is learning online the way to go?
The internet plays a very important role in the development of Esperanto. There are Esperanto speakers in many countries. So far, I have only met one Esperanto speaker in person, everyone else I met online. We always use Esperanto to communicate with each other, this somehow, makes me feel special!
So what does Esperanto sound like?
Esperanto has many similar words as some European languages such as French, Spanish, and German. The grammatical structure resembles languages like Russian or Chinese. It is indeed a real mix of languages. Some people say it sounds like Italian, but in fact, it really depends on the speaker. Considering that Esperanto speakers come from various linguistic backgrounds everyone has a different accent.
Let me show you several random sentences in Esperanto:
Bonan matenon al tuto! – Good morning everyone!
Saluton, kiel vi fartas? – Hi, how are you? Mi volas iri al la restoracio – I want to go to the restaurant
Ĉu vi ne havas katojn aŭ hundojn? – Don’t you have cats or dogs?
Li kaj ŝi estas gefratoj – He and she are siblings
Esperanto estas internacia lingvo – Esperanto is an international language
Tiu domego estas mia – That mansion is mine
Ne krokodilu! – Don’t speak other language than Esperanto!
”krokodilu” is the imperative form of “krokodili (to crocodile)”, which means speaking another language other than Esperanto. Funny, isn’t it?
This is how I learnt the “easiest” language on earth!
I began learning Esperanto in May 2013 after having watched several videos about its history and international society. It is said to be so easy to pick up, that many Esperanto learners are able to hold a conversation after only a matter of months. During my process of learning, I used resources I could find online, and luckily, there are plenty available!
I read Libera Esperanto-Libro, a book full of real-life conversations of Esperanto congress attendees and everyday discussions, which I found very useful since it covers a variety of topics. I began to exchange messages on Lernu, a widely known Esperanto learning website after only a week of study.
Not long after that, I felt quite confident to join Esperanto Skype groups in order to chat with other Esperanto speakers from various countries. I wrote my 1st short article in Esperanto after 3 weeks of study and my 2nd short article after 2 months of study.
Although I do not have the chance to practice speaking much, I have been using Esperanto in writing, listening, and reading. Writing is one of my personal methods when learning a language. At the moment, I am managing my Esperanto blog Nia Lingvo, which means “Our Language”. This blog is where I share my passion for the language with those aspiring to become fluent as well.
Why should you learn Esperanto?
One of the many reasons someone decides to learn a language is to be able to use it at work. On this basis, I cannot recommend Esperanto. This does not mean that Esperanto does not have business value. Language is a mean of communication. According to this principle, any language is valuable as long as the language enables you to convey your message, and makes information interchange possible.
Many Esperantists use Esperanto to get to know people from other countries. These relationships actually have opened many opportunities, including the cooperation to work together. You can find many Esperanto-themed associations or groups in several countries offering volunteer positions. Some people, including myself, teach Esperanto as a side job.
I have also made many friends from around the world through Esperanto. I feel that the Esperanto digital community is ever-growing. You might have previously thought that you can get to know international people through the use of the English language, however, keep in mind that not everyone speaks English. In this case, Esperanto can serve as an alternative common language. For me personally, Esperanto has been the easiest language I have ever learnt.
So, have I sparked an interest for you to start learning Esperanto?
Check out Teddy’s blog!
Or you can also find him on various social media channels: