Esperanto is an artificial language created during the period 1877-1885 by a Polish oculist, Dr Ludovik L. Zamenhof, with the intention that it should become the second language of all the different-speaking peoples of the world. The word 'Esperanto' means 'the one who is hoping' and it originally referred to Zamenhof's first book, gradually becoming the name of the language itself.

Linguistically Esperanto is close to the Indo-European family of languages as regards vocabulary and grammar, 30% of the word roots are of Latin-Romance origin. It is spelt in the Roman alphabet, the orthography following the phonemic principle. The grammar of Esperanto is simplified: there is no grammatical gender, the word order is relatively free, there is only one verbal conjugation and all plurals are formed in the same way.

Estimates vary about the number of fluent speakers, from less than 1 million to over 15 million. There are speakers of Esperanto in about 115 countries. It is most widely used in central and eastern Europe, China, some areas of South America and southwest Asia.

CLASSIFICATION = artificial language, SCRIPT = Roman

Esperanto (Teach yourself) ESP CBEG 2(PACK)
Learn Esperanto ESP CBEG 1(CALL)
Esperanto: Language, literature, and community ESP REF 1