Soap Vox Lecture | Wed 15 Jan | Ed Robertson

at 18:00 in Lecture Theatre 4, Appleton Tower

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Esperanto – The Used-to-Be Artificial Language


In 1887 Esperanto was launched as yet another proposal for a universal language. In the 30 years between then and its founder’s death in 1917, it acquired fluent speakers in many parts of the world, the gaps in the launch prospectus’s vocabulary started being filled in, and Esperanto’s expressiveness was extended by speakers exploiting the flexibility of the language. In the early years of the 20th century there is the first documented case of a native speaker. Zamenhof’s founding grammar claimed to have only 16 rules, and had a wordlist of under 1000 entries; today’s standard reference grammar of Esperanto, Wennergren’s Plena Manlibro de Esperanta Gramatiko, has nearly 700 pages, and the largest monolingual Esperanto paper dictionary has just under 47000 entries. While Esperanto has not come anywhere near its founder’s fantasies of solving the world’s communication problems, and today probably still has fewer than 50000 currently active fluent speakers worldwide, of whom perhaps less than 1000 are native speakers, it has survived almost 127 years, it is spoken all over the planet, has had three nominees for the Nobel Prize in Literature in recent years, and the Esperanto-language Wikipedia is 32nd in size among the languages of the world, just behind Turkish and Kazakh, and just ahead of Slovak and Danish. So, is Esperanto a real language now?

Entry is £1 and FREE to active members. Membership can be purchased on our EUSA profile (http://www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/societies/society/langsoc/) or otherwise at that night.

The talk will start at 6:00 p.m. and last about 1 hour. It will be followed by a Q&A session (about half an hour). We will then go to a pub for food and drink with the speaker.

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Our talks are public lectures open to all, regardless of whether you are a student or not or what or where you study if a student. We aim for all of our events to be accessible to all; please feel free to contact us beforehand if you require assistance or further information.

– See more at: http://langsoc.eusa.ed.ac.uk/#sthash.5VKLm4Uw.dpuf

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