Wouldn’t it be great to have a universal second language that is easy to learn and can be used to communicate with millions of people around the world? One language that is a blend of all the others sounds like a utopian fantasy, but could it be a reality.
Let me introduce to you Ludwig
While still in school, Dr. Ludwig developed Esperanto – a new international auxiliary language. It is structured by a set of 16 grammatical rules, no tricky exceptions, and built around a lexicon of word roots coming from primarily Roman languages. Around 75% of all words come from French and another 20% is rooted in the Anglo-germanic languages. Surprisingly, only about 1% of the vocabulary can be traced back to his native Slavic languages. Esperanto includes a very small portion of Hebrew, Arabic
And why do we mention dr. Zamenhof and his Esperanto?
I learned about Esperanto and Dr. Zamenhof during a history class in High School. I was fascinated by the idea of intentionally creating something so complex yet approachable by finding similarities between languages around Europe. I find it impressive that someone’s dream was to stop wars by connecting people with a new language. While Esperanto might not be used as a universal language the way Zamenhof imagined, Esperanto is still used by millions of people. The language has a thriving community of people around the world.
When we were trying to find a name for our language learning project, we toyed with ideas rooted in English, Spanish or my native Polish. I remember sitting at an airport and waiting for my flight to Chicago with Google Translate opened in my browser. I had a list of random words associated with language learning and was trying them out one by one. While clicking around Google’s interface I noticed Esperanto as a language they offer. At that