Esperanto, the last word

Subject: Esperanto, the last word
From: Ellen Snell Adams <SnellAdams -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 1994 12:29:46 -0500

Discussion of this language Esperanto is germaine to the list, because we
have been discussing ways to make our documentation more politically correct
and less gender-specific.

And besides, I couldn't stand it. Being the curious sort, I had to look up
this issue.

Here's what Compton's Encyclopedia (1994, Online Edition)
has to say about Esperanto. Pay special attention to what it says about word
gender and nouns.

<<ESPERANTO. best-known attempt at creating a universal language is
Esperanto, a word that means "hopeful." It is an artificial language
constructed by Ludwik L. Zamenhof, a Russian physician and oculist. Zamenhof
laid down the basic principles and structure of the new language in 1905 in
his book `Basis of Esperanto'. It is estimated that more than 100,000 persons
worldwide use the language, and several dozen periodicals are published in
People accustomed to French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish, find
Esperanto relatively easy to learn because its words are derived from roots
commonly found in European languages, especially the Romance languages. The
words are phonetic--spelled as they sound--and the grammar is relatively
simple. Nouns, which have no gender, end in the letter o. Plurals end in
"oj." When used as the object of a verb the nouns end in "on" for the
singular and "ojn" for the plural. The definite article ("the") for all nouns
is "la." Adjectives also have special endings, depending on usage in a
sentence. Verbs do not change their endings within a tense, no matter which
person is used. Other word endings are used to indicate shades of meaning.
To popularize the language the Universal Esperanto Association was founded
in 1908. It has memberships in 83 countries. There are also national and
professional associations that promote use of the language. There is an
annual World Esperanto Congress.>>

Ellen Adams
ellena -at- tolstoy -dot- sc -dot- ti -dot- com
Houston, TX

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