2017’s YO!Fest, a key highlight of Europe Calling - a year of events to mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Maastricht treaty - brought together 3,000 young people to debate key topics on the future of Europe.
6 and 7 february 2017

Esperanto 101: Learn the most widely used international auxiliary language!

Maija Maunu

Maija Maunu is an 18-year-old young person who’s passionate about discovering the world. She was born and raised in Finland but her heart has taken her all around the world and will hopefully continue to do so. In Finland she is the spokesperson of her local youth council. Maija trains youth councils around Finland and volunteers in a youth exchange organisation. She has also had the honor to be a young ambassador to the USA and the youth delegate of Finland in the Congress of the Council of Europe. Maija says she's very excited to be writing about her thoughts for the YO!Mag and she hopes you stick around and get inspired by her stories!


Saluton!Ai??MiAi??nomiA?asAi??Maija.Ai??MiAi??estasAi??deAi??Finnlando.

I just introduced myself in EsperantoAi??(a skill I gained in aAi??YO!FestAi??workshop!)Ai??and if you speakAi??at least one of the biggestAi??European languagesAi??there is a high chance that youAi??understoodAi??that.Ai??About 75% of Esperanto’s vocabulary comes from Latin and Romance languages, especially French. About 20%Ai??comes from Germanic languages, German and English, and the rest comes mainly from either Slavic languages like Russian and PolishAi??or fromAi??Greek.

What is this language,Ai??andAi??why would you want to learn it?

Esperanto is an international languageAi??devised in 1887 by Dr. Ludwig LazarusAi??Zamenhof.Ai??ZamenhofAi??originally designed the language toAi??break language barriers,Ai??and toAi??help the peopleAi??living in intercultural areas to get along better.

The words from Romance languages were chosen to be the most recognizable throughout the world. For example, the word “radio”, although technically Romance, is now used internationally. Someone knowing only Russian and looking at a text in Esperanto would immediately recognize around 40ai???% of the words without even having studied the language.

Esperanto is the Ai??most widely used international auxiliary language and isAi??especiallyAi??popular in Eastern Europe,Ai??Eastern Asia and South America.Ai??There are approximately 1,000 native speakers, 10,000 peopleAi??whoAi??can speak Esperanto fluently, 100,000Ai??whoAi??can use it actively, 1 millionAi??whoAi??understand a lot ofAi??the language, and about 10 millionAi??whoAi??have studied it to some extent.

For a native English speaker Esperanto is said to beAi??five times as easy to learn as Spanish or French, ten times as easy to learn as Russian and twenty times as easy to learn as Arabic or spoken Chinese.Ai??Esperanto is considerably easier to learn than national languages, since its structure isAi??simpler and more regular.

Did you know thatAi??knowingAi??EsperantoAi??can also help you with learning other foreign languages?

Itai??i??s said and experiencedAi??that it isAi??very helpfulAi??to learn Esperanto before learning other languages. For example, youAi??may become more fluent in French by first studying Esperanto for 6ai???months and then studying French for a year and a half,Ai??instead of justAi??studying French for two years. The reason may be that Esperanto’s regular grammar and word formationAi??makeAi??it easier toAi??get a hold on otherAi??languages’ grammar and rules.

For example,Ai??lerniai???= to learn,ai???lernejoai???= a school,ai???lernantoai???= a pupil/student andai???lernejestroai???= aAi??principal. The affixesAi??also have a meaningAi??alone:ai???ejoai???= place,ai???estroai???= leader/headAi??and therefore allAi??the compounds can be formed logically. Easy, right?

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The best part is that there are endless options for ways of studying Esperanto. Start withAi??theAi??DuolingoAi??appAi??and if you like it, you can find free courses online or find a university that offers courses for Esperanto learners. An Esperanto studentAi??explained whyAi??he studies Esperanto:

“It’s real. It has real speakers. It has literature. It does not have one culture, but rather aAi??diverse beautiful mixed culture from all over the world. And learning it takes way less time than any other language ever, so I can just learn Esperanto fast and learn other languages after that.ai???

I think I will check out theAi??DuolingoAi??content for Esperanto right now.

Maija Maunu

Maija Maunu is an 18-year-old young person who’s passionate about discovering the world. She was born and raised in Finland but her heart has taken her all around the world and will hopefully continue to do so. In Finland she is the spokesperson of her local youth council. Maija trains youth councils around Finland and volunteers in a youth exchange organisation. She has also had the honor to be a young ambassador to the USA and the youth delegate of Finland in the Congress of the Council of Europe. Maija says she's very excited to be writing about her thoughts for the YO!Mag and she hopes you stick around and get inspired by her stories!

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