language would benefit us all
Oct. 27, 2005
What would it be like if each young child on Planet Earth would be taught an
international language besides the native tongue? Linguistically inclined
persons would still be free to study languages of interest, from Aramaic to
Zulu, with the added advantage of an easy means of communication for
international business, travel and fun.
Oct. 24 was United Nations Day. It was so designated by presidential
proclamation to commemorate the establishment of the United Nations on Oct. 24,
1945. President Franklin Roosevelt was credited with the use of "united nations"
when it was first used in the "Declaration by United Nations" on Jan. 1, 1942.
How much more efficient it would be for the United Nations to carry out its many
obligations in one single language for all represented nations instead of the
need to have simultaneous translations of several national languages through the
use of earphones. A young Jewish boy living in Poland saw the need for people to
communicate through a single language. Estrangements among the Jews, Germans and
Poles in his area would be removed and friendships would flourish. With a few
friends he formed a small club through which they practiced together his
invention. He called it Esperanto.
The imaginative boy was Ludwig Zamenhof (1859-1917). Later his father
destroyed the boy's notes, making it necessary for young Zamenhof to reconstruct
his secret language from memory.
Since its public introduction in 1887, the number of speakers of Esperanto has
grown to more than 2 million worldwide. Children of Esperantists learn this
universal auxiliary language from an early age. When they attend Esperanto
conventions they converse in Esperanto with other children no matter how far
they live from each other, no matter what their different ethnic backgrounds.
There are many "artificial" languages but Esperanto seems to be the most widely
known and practiced. Its champions also believe it is the easiest to learn, does
not replace any native language, is politically unbiased and has been tested,
accepted and used in more than 100 countries for more than 100 years.
Earliest interest was shown in Rumania, Bulgaria and Russia. National Esperanto
associations have existed in Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand,
Ireland, Scotland, Britain and the United States.
Surely it's long overdue for the world's leaders to gather, discuss and adopt an
existing language or a new one as the official worldwide choice, a key to a
streamlined system of planetary communications.
Estelle Rouse, who lives in Gold Canyon, has lived in Central America and in
seven U.S. states, and has traveled in Central America, Europe and the Middle