What the h*ck is Esperanto?

And why should you care?

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Esperanto is the most widely-spoken constructed language in the world. It was created in the late 1800s by a Polish-Jewish ophthalmologist named L. L. Zamenhof, who had three main goals with the language:

  1. That it would be really easy to learn

  2. That it could be used as a common language to communicate with people of any nationality

  3. That it would be a living language, actively used and picked up by people all around the world

Estimates are a little difficult, but there are likely around two million people around the world who speak Esperanto currently. For a constructed (made-up) language, that’s not too bad.

So why should you learn Esperanto?

Esperanto is widely spoken for a constructed language, but in comparison to something like Spanish, it’s not as useful day-to-day, as you won’t run into as many people who speak it. So why learn it at all?

There are a couple of main reasons people learn Esperanto. The first is that people believe in the (admittedly idealistic) mission of the language, to connect people around the world and foster connection and understanding.

Another is that they are interested in the phenomenon and simply want to learn more about this constructed language and the culture that has grown up around it.

However, the most compelling — and often overlooked — reason, is that learning Esperanto helps you learn other languages quicker and better.

There have been a number of experiments carried out over the last hundred years or so regarding Esperanto’s effects on further language acquisition, and the results indicate that learners who learn Esperanto actually learn other languages more effectively afterward.

Learning Esperanto helps you learn other languages quicker and better.

There are a number of reasons for this. Esperanto is a very regular language, meaning that it really sticks to its grammar rules (unlike most other languages that have evolved naturally), and this makes it incredibly easy to learn and understand. This regularity has the effect of enabling the learner to understand the building blocks of how language works in general, without all the confusing rules and exceptions that other languages tend to introduce, and apply those learnings to their language studies down the road.

On a simpler note, it also just gives the learner a big boost of confidence to understand a language and be able to communicate in it, which is a powerful experience.

If you’re even remotely interested in Esperanto, we highly suggest spending some time learning it. It goes (relatively) quickly and helps to set you up for success in learning other languages in the future.

You can find more language content and tools to learn on the Forge app for iOS and Android.