July 26th, 1887 – A Global Language

Today-In-History

Esperanto is a constructed international auxiliary language. It is the most widely spoken constructed language in the world. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto (“Esperanto” translates as “one who hopes”), the pseudonym under which physician and linguist L. L. Zamenhof published the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, on July 26th, 1887. Zamenhof’s goal was to create an easy-to-learn, politically neutral language that would transcend nationality and foster peace and international understanding between people with different languages.

esperanto_black

Dr. Esperanto’s International Language, usually referred to as Unua Libro (English: First Book), was the first publication to describe Esperanto, then called the International Language (Esperanto: Lingvo Internacia). It was first published in Russian on July 26th, 1887 in Warsaw, by Polish oculist L. L. Zamenhof. Over the next few years editions were published in Polish, Russian, Hebrew, French, German, and English. This booklet included the Lord’s Prayer, some Bible verses, a letter, poetry, the sixteen rules of grammar and 900 roots of vocabulary. In the book Zamenhof declared, “an international language, like a national one, is common property” and renounced all rights to the language, effectively putting it into the public domain. Zamenhof signed the work as “Doktoro Esperanto” (Doctor One-Who-Hopes). Those who learned the new language began to call it “Esperanto” after Zamenhof’s pen name, and Esperanto soon became the official name of the language.

The first English edition, entitled Dr Esperanto’s International Tongue, was translated by Julian Steinhaus. When Richard H. Geoghegan pointed out that Steinhaus’s translation was in very poor English throughout, Zamenhof destroyed his remaining copies and engaged Geoghegan to produce a fresh translation.

In 1905, Zamenhof re-published the sixteen rules of grammar, in combination with a dictionary and a collection of exercises, in a work entitled Fundamento de Esperanto (Foundation of Esperanto).


 

Trackbacks & Pings

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar