What is Esperanto?

Esperanto is an expressive, flexible language for international communication. It’s independent of any nationality, ethnicity, religion, or political ideology. Esperanto isn’t meant to replace anyone’s native language; it’s a shared second language that enables people from different backgrounds to meet on an equal footing.

Part of Esperanto estas…, a documentary made by an international team of volunteers. For subtitles, click CC.

Why Esperanto?

It’s relatively easy to learn.
Most languages have a lot of irregularities and exceptions. Students have to invest enormous amounts of time memorizing the trivia of verb conjugations, irregular spellings, and genders of inanimate objects.

With Esperanto, you get to spend more time learning how to communicate. It has no irregular verbs, no grammatical genders, and a simple, phonetic spelling system. Students can gain fluency in a fraction of the time required to learn other languages.

It opens doors to world culture.
For over a century, millions of people have been using Esperanto to make friends around the globe. The expressiveness of the language makes it especially popular for literature; tens of thousands of translated and original works have been published so far, from cultures both large and small.

Few other languages give you access to radio broadcasts from Beijing, poetry from São Paulo, news from Brussels, short stories from Kaliningrad, rap from Helsinki, and friends from dozens of countries.

It’s practical.
Want to see the world on a shoestring budget? Like exploring foreign cities? Why depend on a tour guide when you can just speak directly to the locals — or even stay with them, for free? That’s what the Pasporta Servo is for: it’s a free service for Esperanto-speaking tourists in over 90 cities worldwide. (We occasionally get visitors via the Pasporta Servo here in Rochester; if you’d like a chance to meet them, join our mailing list!)
It’s fun. (Yes, really!)

Esperanto can be a beautiful language. Its agglutinative word structure and flexible grammar are well suited to puns, wordplay, and an elegance of expression that can’t easily be duplicated in other tongues.

Just the rich original literature itself is “worth the price of admission.” The 20th century produced a wealth of world-class Esperanto authors; one of the most notable was William Auld, the Scottish poet whose epic La infana raso was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.