Society 12:59 26/07/2013

Esperanto Day is celebrated today

July 26 is Esperanto Day with events held all over the world.

A major international conference in Rekjavik, Iceland, with over 1,000 participants is being held this week and the only language used is the international language, according to Language Magazine.

The President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, has already addressed the Conference in Esperanto.

Esperanto is a young language. Despite its short history of 125 years it is in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide according to the CIA World Fact book and is the 29th most used language in Wikipedia, ahead of Danish and Arabic. It is a language choice for Google, Skype, Firefox, Ubuntu, and Facebook. Google translate recently added the language to its prestigious list of 64 languages.

Famous Esperanto-speaking pioneers have included J.R.R. Tolkien, former British Prime Minister Sir Harold Wilson, William Shatner, Leo Tolstoy, and financier George Soros.

The World Esperanto Association enjoys consultative relations with the United Nations, UNESCO, and the Council of Europe. The Association is using its position to defend the rights of minority languages at the United Nations.

Esperanto is officially taught in 150 universities and other institutions of higher learning and in 600 primary and secondary schools in 28 countries. It has a rich body of literature consisting of more than 50,000 titles, with new publications released every week throughout the world. There is a lectureship in the language at the UK’s Liverpool University.

“There are two urban myths about the international language problem,” said Brian Barker of the Esperanto Society. “One is that everyone speaks English and the other is that no-one speaks Esperanto. Both are untrue and both need to be challenged.”


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