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Esperanto Rhymes With Tonto

incubus1by Jonathan B. Perry

I mentioned in the Logan’s Run post that I’d visited a peace museum which also, ironically, featured an exhibit on population control. At this peace museum outside of Lincoln, NE (which is now closed) they took things a crazy step further: there was also an exhibit featuring the joys of Esperanto. Esperanto is that weird language created in the late 19th century which was designed as a secondary language to facilitate communication between other languages and possibly people using bongs. The Esperanto people also throw peace in there as one of its intended attributes (that must be how they fit it into the museum). Basically, it’s

L L Zamenhof created Esperanto

L L Zamenhof created Esperanto

like speaking a combo of broken English, broken Spanish, and broken Italian and hoping to be understood by some hot French chick across the café.

It’s believed that there are a thousand native speakers today, while over the last century Esperanto has been used by approximately 100,000 to 2 million people, many of whom are probably bachelors who also speak Klingon, I‘m quite sure. It just so happens that a movie was made in the 1960s using Esperanto. Incubus was a horror B-movie, starring the great William Shatner (of TJ Hooker fame), that used only Esperanto in its dialogue. It’s kind of an interesting arty movie, if a little Satanic around the ears, and while that might not achieve peace, it‘s good for killing a lazy afternoon. And possibly good taste.

Some Esperanto Links:

www.esperanto.net

lingvo.org

en.lernu.net

Kurso de Esperanto

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14 Responses to “Esperanto Rhymes With Tonto”

  • Bill Chapman:

    You’re entitled to your view, of course, but there’s nothing weird about Esperanto. I’ve been using Esperanto on my travels for many years, and it has certainly enriched my life.

    A good introduction to this delightful planned language can be found at http://www.esperanto.net

  • I’ve met hundreds, if not thousands, of Esperanto-speakers over the past 50 years from around the world, but as far as I am aware not a single speaker of Klingon. I’m told that there were 12 of these latter in 1996, plus more who can manage a few ritual greetings and responses, but rarely a free conversation. And besides, Esperanto has a point, or seven to be precise, listed in its Prague Manifesto:
    http://lingvo.org
    Shatner’s Esperanto is atrocious and his lines were learned off by heart for the movie Incubus! To hear normal Esperanto try listening to one of the daily broadcasts from Radio Polonia:
    http://www.polskieradio.pl/eo/

  • Nothing “weird” about Esperanto.

    I agree, however, that it’s unfair that only a few people know that Esperanto has become a living language.

    During a short period of 121 years Esperanto is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide, according to the CIA World factbook. It is the 17th most used language in Wikipedia, and in use by Skype, Firefox and Facebook.

    Native Esperanto speakers,(people who have used the language from birth), include George Soros, World Chess Champion Susan Polger, Ulrich Brandenberg the new German Ambassador to NATO and Nobel Laureate Daniel Bovet. According to the CIA Factbook the language is within the top 100 languages, out of all languages, worldwide.

    Confirmation of this can be seen at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8837438938991452670 A glimpse of the language can be seen at http://www.lernu.net

  • admin:

    I honestly do think Esperanto is fascinating & it’s interesting to find people who’ve used it. Thanks so much for the resource. I’ll have to add it in to a re-edit.

  • admin:

    It’s great to find Esperanto speakers. I really do think it’s a very interesting language and idea.
    I wondered about the language use in the movie, though Shatner is always a little halting with his speech. How did the other actors do speaking it? Did any of them know Esperanto otherwise?
    Thank you for the Radio resource. I’ll have to add that to a re-edit.

  • Saluton! (Hi!) from another Esperanto speaker. My experience with Esperanto is that it is complete, harmonious and expressive, as much so as any other living language, with the added advantages of being several times easier to learn and being spoken by people around the world. I find it fun to speak and use it regularly. You should give it a try – http://en.lernu.net has lots of free learning resources, and http://www.kurso.com.br has a nice multimedia introductory course.

    About Incubus, I found Shatner’s Esperanto pronunciation to be particularly atrocious, audibly influenced by his Montreal French. The other actors’ pronunciations were mediocre to OK, but Shatner was the only one for whom I had to read the subtitles (at times) to figure out what he was saying. To my knowledge, none of the actors actually spoke Esperanto.

  • admin:

    George Soros, huh? Pretty cool.

  • admin:

    Saluton to you, Michjo!

  • Great site, pictures and interesting blogs.
    I will return Alistair

  • Karl:

    (Okay, I know this post is almost 2 years old–I’m reading through your older posts). Looks like you touched a nerve with your mocking of Esperanto! I just wanted to add that in the movie Gattaca (great movie, BTW), the loudspeaker announcements in the background were in Esperanto (or so I’ve heard).

  • admin:

    No way! That’s awesome! That’s a great movie, too. I’ll have to look for it.

  • admin:

    Oh, and I wasn’t doing a full-on mock of Esperanto (was I?). I meant is as more of a fun introductory piece.

  • Please be assured that Esperanto speakers do have a sense of humour.

    This is our public relations office for example http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/trailer-for-espero-the-worlds-first-esperanto-sitcom/12207247/

  • admin:

    Cool! Thanks for the link.