Esperanto-parolantoj bonvolu iri al mia Hejm-Paĝo.

Esperanto is the International Language invented by Ludovik Zamenhof, a Warsaw eye specialist, and published in 1887. Of the many hundreds of similar language projects, it is the only one to have established a world-wide community, and a network of contacts in almost every country of the world.

I taught myself Esperanto from books when I was a child; but it was not until after my student days that I first went to an international meeting - the "Internacia Junulara Kongreso" (IJK - International Youth Congress) in the Netherlands in 1979. I was hooked; since then I have been back many times to similar annual events: the "Universala Kongreso" (World Congress), which like the IJK is organised in a different country each summer; the "Internacia Seminario" (IS), which is held each New Year in Germany (now so popular that the German Esperantists organise two gatherings held concurrently); the Easter gathering in Italy; the summer gathering in Hungary; and numerous smaller meetings. For example, in 1996 I went to the Italian Easter Festival in Sant Orsola, with 200 people from 20 countries, the World Congress in Prague (3000 people from 70), the Hungarian summer gathering (75 from 15) and the IS in Freiburg in Germany (350 people from no less than 32 countries).
Each time I go back I meet about 50% old friends and 50% new ones.

I often receive visitors from other countries, making contact using an address-list which allows Esperanto speakers to arrange mutual hospitality. I am also program secretary for the London Esperanto Club. London being the cosmopolitan place it is, there are a large number of overseas residents, and also frequent visitors to the Club from other countries. Esperanto is the main language spoken.

The Language

Esperanto is logical and regular, and makes use of a neat and consistent system of word combination. These features make it more precise and flexible, and far quicker to learn than ethnic languages - I have often had conversations using the language, with people who have started learning only months, sometimes weeks before, both in the London Club and at international gatherings.

Is Esperanto "easy"?

This depends on what you mean by "easy". Beginners in Esperanto show time and time again that they can reach a proficiency, often through informal study, in a matter of months that in an ethnic language would typically take years of intensive tuition. Even so, it takes hard work and commitment, as well as a kind of mental boldness, to acquire a new language - be it ever so simplified and even given ideal learning materials and teaching, which are not always available. Not everyone succeeds and unfortunately many drop out.

In addition, Esperanto contains a number of mechanisms and makes many distinctions which do not exist in English or most ethnic languages. Apart from the much-criticised accusative case, there is also, for example, the distinction in the word "to change" in the 2 sentences: "the weather changed", compared with "he changed his clothes" ("la vetero ŝanĝiĝis"; "li ŝanĝis siajn vestojn"). These and similar features give Esperanto a power and precision which frequently cannot be achieved in English without cumbersome secondary clauses; but at the same time they can put off the beginner who may find them unfamiliar, or not understand their purpose.

This is the unavoidable position in which a language with the aims of Esperanto finds itself: no matter how straightforward it is in terms of regular grammar and word-formation, there will always be trade-offs between "easiness" and completeness. Esperanto doesn't make compromises on this second point - it is a complete language capable of expressing any idea or emotion in whatever context is needed, in many ways more so than English.

Esperanto is clear, precise and elegant; it is also neutral, belonging equally to whoever uses it. It is the best way I know of meeting people from other countries.

The "Movement"

People who ask: "isn't Esperanto a lost cause?" miss the point of the movement, because for the most part it is just a crowd of people getting together to have a good time.

Having said that, much energy is put into promoting the advantages of the language, by the World Esperanto Association (UEA) and by local and national organisations. In the World Congress in Prague, in July 1996, UEA published a new statement of the aims, principles and thinking of the Esperanto Movement, called the Prague Manifesto, which you can read on another page.

Useful Links:

General Information:

The following documents are all in English, although some of them contain links to pages in Esperanto or other languages:

Correspondence Courses by E-mail:

  • Using English: Marko Rauhamaa <Marko.Rauhamaa(a)>.
  • Cours Gratuit d'Espéranto - en Français: Ken Caviness <cavinessk(a)>.
  • Esperanto-Kurs - auf Deutsch: Deutsche Esperanto-Jugend <neffets(a)>.

Other Information:

Universala Esperanto-Asocio (World Esperanto Association):
Nieuwe Binnenweg 176, NL-3015 BJ Rotterdam;
tel: +31-10-436 1044; fax: +31-10-436 1751.

British Esperanto Association/Esperanto-Asocio de Britio:
Wedgwood Memorial College, Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent ST12 9DG;
tel: +44-1782-372 141; fax: +44-1782-372 393.

The London Esperanto Club:
The London Irish Centre, 50-52 Camden Square, London NW1 9XB;
President and Secretary: David Thornell, +44-20-7722 5360;

Meetings are each Friday, from 6 - 10 pm, and include a beginners’ class, a talk in Esperanto, and either an advanced class or a discussion forum.

Esperanto League for North America:
PO Box 1129, El Cerrito CA 94530, USA;
tel: +1-510-653-0998; fax: +1-510-653-1468.

Back to my Home Page.

Antony Rawlinson;
Last updated: 29 May 2007.