Class notes, Jan 26

Reminder: class now starts at 6:10 (instead of 6:00).

What is Esperanto?

In the first class we talked briefly about the different (and sometimes conflicting) ways people think about and use Esperanto. For many people, Esperanto is seen primarily as an egalitarian solution to the language problem. This view was articulated well by Claude Piron, a Swiss psychologist and UN translator:

We also watched a few parts of Esperanto estas…, a documentary made by volunteers from around the world. You can watch the rest of the film (in multiple languages) at YouTube.


  • Read the chapter on the Esperanto alphabet and spend some time practicing the sounds of the language.
  • Sign up for a free account at the excellent learning site, and check out the alphabet page. It has sound files so you can compare your own pronunciation against a model.
  • If you like, explore further chapters of Esperanto estas… online, and/or read the Guardian article for more background on the history and culture of the language.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, start working on chapter 1 of the text!

Spring course starts Jan 26!

Photo © UR Mathematics

We’re once again offering a beginner’s course this semester in the Hylan building. The goal is to teach you basic communications skills so you can start using the language right away.

All are welcome. To sign up, just come to our first class, next Tuesday (Jan 26th) at 6pm in Hylan 1106A. And if you have friends who might be interested, please pass along this announcement ASAP—we only hold the class once each year!

This is the third time we’ve offered the course in the Spring. Our track record is pretty good so far: three of our students have received scholarships to study at NASK, the prestigious North American Summer Esperanto Institute held at UC San Diego. (Not only is NASK a lot of fun, but students also receive five college credits that can be transferred back to UR.)

For more details, see the course description.