The characteristics of Esperanto

Esperanto was presented in Warsaw in 1887 as a 40-page brochure: International Language. Foreword and Complete Grammar, written by "Dr. Esperanto", a pseudonym of Ludwig Lazar Zamenhof. “Esperanto” means “he who hopes”.

The contents: an essay on the language problem and on the question of a world auxiliary language, a grammar with 16 basic rules, a list of about 900 internationally used words in a unified spelling system, and some specimen texts. Of course no 40-page brochure can contain a whole language. It was only the starting point for the genesis of Esperanto. Esperanto in its present form is the result of a century of development in the framework of a quickly formed international language community. Today we can draw up a first resume:

  1. Esperanto has not disintegrated into regional variants, but has conserved its unity. Historical developments often bring irregularities into a language system. But that is not true of Esperanto. The requisites of regularity and ease of learning are fulfilled today just as they were in 1887.
  2. Esperanto has proved to be a flexible and adaptable language that can cope with new demands and needs.

The reason for that positive development is probably the grammar consisting of 16 basic rules, and a productive system of word-building that allows the construction of many new words from relatively few elements.

last update 2/3/2016