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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Esperanto

This posting attempts to answer the most common questions from those new to the newsgroup soc.culture.esperanto (or the corresponding mailing list esperanto-l), or to the language Esperanto itself. Please send suggestions, corrections and complaints about this FAQ to the maintainer, Yves Bellefeuille <yan@storm.ca>. Post questions about Esperanto in the newsgroup or send them to the mailing list, not to the maintainer.

Last Modified: 23 June 1999

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for

soc.culture.esperanto and esperanto-l@netcom.com

(monthly posting)

Because of the increasing internationalization of the net, I have

attempted to make this FAQ as relevant as possible to readers in various

countries. It's still somewhat biased in favour of the US, though.


1. What is Esperanto?

2. How easy is Esperanto to learn?

3. Where does Esperanto's vocabulary come from?

4. What about Esperanto's grammar and word-order?

5. How many people speak Esperanto?

6. How can I use Esperanto once I've learned it?

7. Where do I find classes, textbooks, etc.?

8. How come Esperanto doesn't have <favourite word or feature>?

9. What are some common objections to Esperanto? How do speakers of

Esperanto respond to them?

10. Are there any famous Esperanto speakers?

11. What about other "artificial" languages like Loglan, Ido, etc.?

12. What are PAG, PIV, PMEG, PV, TEJO and UEA?

13. How do you say "I love you" in Esperanto?


14. How can I type and display Esperanto's accented characters?

15. How can I represent these characters in E-mail or on Usenet?

16. What Esperanto material is available on the Internet?

17. What Esperanto material is available on other (non-Internet)

on-line services?




Esperanto is a language designed to facilitate communication between

people of different lands and cultures. It was first published in 1887

by Dr. L. L. Zamenhof (1859-1917) under the pseudonym "Dr. Esperanto",

meaning "one who hopes", and this is the name that stuck as the name of

the language itself.

Esperanto is considerably easier to learn than national languages, since

its design is far simpler and more regular. Also, unlike national

languages, Esperanto allows communication on an equal footing between

people, with neither having the usual cultural advantage favouring a

native speaker.

Esperanto's purpose is not to replace any other language, but to

supplement them: Esperanto would be used as a neutral language when

speaking with someone who doesn't know one's own language. The use of

Esperanto would also protect minority languages, which would have a

better chance of survival than in a world dominated by a few powerful



For a native English speaker, we may estimate that Esperanto is about

five times as easy to learn as Spanish or French, ten times as easy to

learn as Russian, twenty times as easy to learn as Arabic or spoken

Chinese, and infinitely easier to learn than Japanese. Many people find

that they speak Esperanto better after a few months' study than a

language they learned at school for several years.

A knowledge of Esperanto makes it much easier to learn other foreign

languages, and there is some evidence that it is actually more efficient

to learn Esperanto first, before learning other languages, rather than

to study foreign languages directly. For example, one may become more

fluent in French by first studying Esperanto for 6 months and then

studying French for a year and a half, rather than studying French for

two continuous years. The reason may be that Esperanto's regular grammar

and word formation and flexible syntax makes it easier to understand

other languages' grammar and rules.


About 75 % of Esperanto's vocabulary comes from Latin and Romance

languages (especially French), about 20 % comes from Germanic languages

(German and English), and the rest comes mainly from Slavic languages

(Russian and Polish) and Greek (mostly scientific terms).

The words derived from Romance languages were chosen to be as

recognizable as possible 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 perhaps 40 % of the words, without even having

studied the language.

Esperanto is phonetic: every word is pronounced exactly as it is

spelled. There are no "silent" letters or exceptions.


Even more than its vocabulary, it is Esperanto's grammar and rules which

makes it exceptionally easy. Unnecessary complications have been

eliminated: there is no grammatical gender, the word order is relatively

free, etc. The rules have also been simplified as much as possible:

there is only one verb conjugation, all plurals are formed the same way,

a prefix can be added to any word to change it to its opposite

(good/bad, rich/poor, right/wrong), and so on. Thus, after perhaps 30

minutes' study, one can conjugate any verb in any tense. This is a

tremendous simplification compared to national languages.

Esperanto's flexible word-order allows speakers from different language

families to use the structures with which they are most familiar and

still speak perfectly intelligible and grammatically correct Esperanto.

This also makes Esperanto an excellent translator of such different

languages as Chinese, Japanese, Latin, English and French.


This is a very common question, but nobody really knows the answer. The

only way to determine accurately the number of people who speak

Esperanto would be to conduct a world-wide census, and of course this

has never been done.

However, Professor Sidney S. Culbert of the University of Washington,

Seattle, USA, has done the most comprehensive survey on language use

ever attempted. He has conducted interviews in dozens of countries

around the world and tested for "professional proficiency", i.e. much

more than just "hello, please, goodbye".

Based on this survey, Prof. Culbert concluded that Esperanto has about

two million speakers worldwide. This puts it on a par with "minority"

languages such as Lithuanian or Hebrew. For more information on this

survey (partly in Esperanto), see


The results are also published in the _World Almanac and Book of Facts_.

[There's a lot of debate over how many people speak Esperanto. Sometimes

there is a tendency to exaggerate the number of Esperanto speakers, or,

on the contrary, to minimize it. I've seen numbers ranging from 100 000

to 8 million. Prof. Culbert's estimate has two advantages over any

other I've seen:

1. The method is sound. Doing a world-wide survey is the only valid way

to estimate the number of Esperanto speakers, but it's so difficult that

Prof. Culbert is the only person who has ever attempted to do so, to my


2. The study attempted to find out how many people speak *all*

languages, not just Esperanto. We can see whether the results obtained

for other languages make sense; if they do, then the result for

Esperanto is probably as valid as any other.

In short, Prof. Culbert's estimate that two million people speak

Esperanto around the world is the most accurate answer we're likely to

get. -- Ed.]

Some parents teach Esperanto (along with the local language) to their

children; it is estimated that perhaps a thousand people speak Esperanto

as a first language.


Here are some of the many different ways people use Esperanto:

- Esperanto is an ideal second language. Many adults want to learn

another language, but don't have the time or energy to learn a national


- Correspondence. Write to people in a dozen countries without learning

a dozen languages.

- Travel. Esperanto can be used to see the world. There are lists of

Esperanto speakers willing to host other Esperantists in their own

house or apartment for free.

- International understanding. You can't be friends with people if you

can't talk to them! Esperanto helps break down the language barriers

between countries.

- Meeting people from other countries, especially at conventions, or

when Esperanto speakers from other countries come visiting. (It's also a

good way to meet interesting people from your own country!)

- Joining the world. Esperanto is a way to treat everyone on our planet

on the basis of complete equality, meeting them half-way. No more trying

to communicate "uphill" for one side.

- Literature. The world's masterpieces have been translated to

Esperanto, including the Kalevala and works by Garcia Marquez, Saikaku,

Shakespeare, Gibran, Brecht, Tagore, Kawabata, Dante, and Mickiewicz.

Many works have been translated to Esperanto which are not available in

one's own language.

- Hobbies, especially collecting stamps or postcards, or discussing any

subject with people in other countries.


For US residents, the Esperanto League for North America is the best and

most reliable source for Esperanto materials. They offer a free basic

correspondence course (by snail mail, but see below for an E-mail

course), and may be offering a more detailed and advanced paid

correspondence course. They have an extensive catalogue of books,

including texts, reference, fiction, poetry, cassette tapes and audio

CD-ROMs. Their address is:

Esperanto League for North America

Box 1129

El Cerrito CA 94530


tel. 1-800-ESPERANTO (1-800-377-3726) toll-free (USA and Canada)

for a free information package

tel. (510) 653-0998

E-mail: elna@esperanto-usa.org

WWW site: http://www.esperanto-usa.org/

A more immediate source of texts, especially for those with access to a

university, is your local library. The quality of the books will vary

widely, of course, but most of the texts, even the older ones, will

provide a reasonable general introduction to the language.

One exception, mentioned here only because it was surplused to *many*

libraries around the US, is the US Army's "Esperanto: The Aggressor

Language", which is more of a curiosity than a useful textbook. This

book was prepared to make military exercises more realistic by having

the opposing forces speak different languages, as would be the case in a

real war. The soldiers playing the role of the aggressor were taught

Esperanto, hence the strange title. Unfortunately, the book is extremely

poor and contains a great many mistakes; in addition, its emphasis is on

military terms, not on everyday vocabulary.

The problem with most old texts is that they are... well... old! Their

presentations can seem very bland and old-fashioned, and their

"cultural" information about the Esperanto community will often be

hopelessly out of date. One recent US textbook is Richardson's

"Esperanto: Learning and Using the International Language". It is

available from ELNA and perhaps some libraries.

Another book, "Teach Yourself Esperanto" by Cresswell and Hartley, is a

very useful introduction to the language. The "Teach Yourself" series

can often be found in ordinary bookstores.

Another good, if a bit old-fashioned, textbook, "Step by Step in

Esperanto" by Butler, has recently been reprinted and is available from

ELNA. Still another book recommended by more than one participant is

"Saluton!" by Audrey Childs-Mee. This is entirely in Esperanto, with

many pictures.

Wells's two-way "Esperanto Dictionary" is a good choice for beginners.

This dictionary is in the same series as "Teach Yourself Esperanto" and

is also often available in ordinary bookstores. For a more thorough

treatment, see Butler's one-way "Esperanto-English Dictionary", and

Benson's one-way "Comprehensive English-Esperanto Dictionary".

Free Esperanto courses by E-mail are available in several languages.

Typically, these have 10 lessons and teach a vocabulary of a few hundred

words. The system is the same as for traditional correspondence courses:

the instructor sends a lesson; the student does the exercises and sends

them back; the instructor corrects the exercises and sends the next


In English:

Free Esperanto Course


Marko Rauhamaa <marko.rauhamaa@iki.fi>

In French:

Cours gratuit d'esperanto


Ken Caviness <esperanto@southern.edu>

In German:

Kostenloser Esperanto-Kurs


Steffen Pietsch <kek@esperanto.de>

In Chinese:

Mianfei Shijieyu Kecheng



ZHONG Qiyao <zhong@accton.com.tw>

In Russian:

Andrej Ananjin <andreo@esperanto.msk.ru>

Other languages are also available; see


for a list.

Macintosh owners with HyperCard and MacinTalk can take advantage of an

introductory HyperCard course on Esperanto. This can be downloaded from


(See under "FTP archives".)

Each summer, San Francisco State University and the University of

Hartford (Connecticut) offer a curriculum of Esperanto courses, in which

one may participate at beginning, intermediate, or advanced levels.

These courses are available for credit or on a non-credit basis. They

are widely considered to be one of the best opportunities to learn to

speak Esperanto "like a native", and draw students and faculty from

around the world.

San Francisco State University:

Ellen M. Eddy

11736 Scott Creek Dr SW

Olympia WA 98512


tel. (360) 754-4563

E-mail: eddyellen@aol.com

information at http://www.best.com/~donh/Esperanto/sfsu/

University of Hartford:

tel. (800) 234-4412 or (860) 768-4978

Other institutions offering Esperanto courses on a regular basis


In France:

Chateau Gresillon, 49105 Bauge, tel. 02 41 89 10 34

La Kvinpetalo, rue de Lavoir, 86410 Bouresse, tel. 05 49 42 80 74

In Poland:

Dr. Ilona Koutny, Linguistics Institute, Adam Mickiewicz University,

ul. Miedzychodzka 3-5, 60-371 Poznan, tel. 61 861-85-72,

E-mail: ikoutny@main.amu.edu.pl

Jagiellonian University, Krakow. Contact: Maria Majerczak,

ul. Armii krajovej 7 M, PL-30-150 Krakow, tel. 12 638-14-49

In Sweden:

Karlskoga Folkh"ogskola, Box 192, 691 24 Karlskoga, tel. 0586-64600,

E-mail: info@fhsk.karlskoga.se

In Switzerland:

Kultura Centro Esperantista, C.P. 311, 2301 La Chaux-de-Fonds,

tel. (032) 9267407

In the following countries, you may contact the national Esperanto

organization to receive information on courses, buy books, etc.

In Australia:

Australia Esperanto-Asocio, 9 Ballantyne Street, Thebarton SA 5031,

tel. (08) 8443-8997


Book Service: c/o T. Elliott, PO Box 230, Matraville NSW 2036,

tel. (02) 9311-2246

In Brazil:

Brazila Esperanto-Ligo, C.P. 3625, 70084-970 Brasilia (DF),

tel. (061) 226-1298

E-mail: bel@esperanto.org.br, http://www.esperanto.org.br/

Book Service: Same as above

In Canada:

Kanada Esperanto-Asocio, P.O. Box 2159, Sidney BC, V8L 3S6


Book Service: 6358-A, rue de Bordeaux, Montreal QC, H2G 2R8,

tel. (514) 272-0151, E-mail: esperanto@sympatico.ca

In China:

Cxina Esperanto-Ligo, P.O. Kesto 825, 100037 Beijing,

tel. (010) 68326682

Book Service: El Popola Cxinio, P.O. Kesto 77, 100037 Beijing

In France:

Unuigxo Franca por Esperanto, 4 bis, rue de la Cerisaie,

75004 Paris, tel. 01 42 78 68 86

Book Service: Same as above

In Germany:

Germana Esperanto-Asocio, Immentalstr. 3, 79104 Freiburg,

tel. (07 61) 28 92 99

E-mail: gea@esperanto.de, http://www.esperanto.de/gea/

Book Services: M. Fuehrer, Am Stadtpfad 11, 65760 Eschborn,

and Rolf Beau, Saxoniastr. 35, 04451 Althen,

E-mail robo.espero@t-online.de

In Italy:

Itala Esperanto-Federacio, Via Villoresi 38, 20143 Milano,

tel. (02) 58 100 857

Book Service: Cooperative Editoriale Esperanto, same address

as above

In Japan:

Japana Esperanto-Instituto, Waseda-mati 12-3, Sinzyuku-ku,

JP-162-0042 Tokyo-to, tel. (03) 3203 4581

E-mail: jei@mre.biglobe.ne.jp

Book Service: Same as above

In Russia:

Rusia Esperantista Unio, P.f. 74, 367000 Mahackala,

tel. (8722) 630643,

Moscow office: P.f. 57, 105318 Moskva, tel. (095) 2437456,

(095) 9239127

E-mail: junusov@dagestan.ru,


Book Service: Same as Moscow office

In Sweden:

Sveda Esperanto-Federacio, Vikingagatan 24, 11342 Stockholm,

tel. (08) 34 08 00

E-mail: sef@esperanto.se

Book Service: Same as above

In Switzerland:

Svisa Esperanto-Asocio, Jurastrasse 23, 3063 Ittigen (Bern)

Book Service: Kultura Centro Esperantista, C.P. 779,

2301 La Chaux-de-Fonds

In the UK:

Esperanto-Asocio de Britio, 140 Holland Park Avenue,

London W11 4UF, tel. (0171) 727-7821

E-mail: eab@esperanto.demon.co.uk, http://www.esperanto.demon.co.uk/

Book Service: Same as above

World Esperanto Association:

Universala Esperanto-Asocio, Nieuwe Binnenweg 176,

3015 BJ Rotterdam, The Netherlands, tel. +31 10 436 1044

E-mail: uea@inter.nl.net,


Book Service: Same as above

Book catalogue available online in WAIS format at:


These are just some of the countries with Esperanto organizations; many

more are listed at



Although Esperanto is a planned language, it has developed well beyond

the point at which some authoritative person or group can dictate

language practice, however great the temptation may be to "tinker" with

the language. For example, many people are critical of the presence of a

feminine suffix and absence of a corresponding masculine suffix, and

have suggested masculine suffixes (-icx, -un, -ucx, -ab), neutral

pronouns (sxli, hi, ri), and/or re-interpretations of familiar words

such as redefining "frato" (brother) to mean "sibling". But there is no

single individual or committee that will simply dictate changes such as

these before they achieve general use.

Just as with any other language, the only way for such novelties to

attain acceptability is for them to be used in correspondence,

literature, and conversation by a growing number of people. If you see a

genuine lack in the language's existing stock of roots and affixes, you

may propose a new coinage and see if it catches on. Be warned that such

neologisms are often controversial and will meet with criticism in

proportion to the extent to which they break with the "Fundamento de

Esperanto" (the language's canon) or to which they are redundant to the

existing language. You should expect to receive the same reaction as if

you were proposing a new word or feature for your own language.



(I am indebted to Ken Caviness for preparing this material. Quotations

have been edited.)

Isn't English spoken world-wide already?

Don Harlow:

Interestingly, while English was spoken by about 10 % of the world's

population in 1900, and by about 11 % in 1950, it is today spoken by

about 8.5-9 %. The corollary is that, for better than 90 % of the

world's population, it is *not* the de facto means of international


David Wolff:

English is a very difficult language to learn unless you've been

immersed in it since birth. English spelling is said to be more

difficult than any other language except Gaelic. English grammar,

although it may be fairly simple, is riddled with exceptions. Verbs

are very often irregular. Many people just aren't going to devote

several years of effort to learn it!

English has gained its present stature because of the current

economic and political power of English-speaking countries. In the

past, every super-power has briefly seen its native tongue used

internationally: France, Spain, Portugal, the Roman empire. In fact,

one of the main reasons why Esperanto was never adopted by the

League of Nations was that France blocked efforts to adopt it. At

the time, French was "the international language", and France

expected it to stay that way forever. They were proven wrong within

twenty years.

Konrad Hinsen:

Although many people all over the world study English and often

think they speak it well, the number of people who can participate

in a non-trivial conversation in English is very small outside

English-speaking countries. Knowing English may be sufficient to

survive as a tourist in many places, but not for more.

Sylvan Zaft:

One Chinese Esperanto speaker described Esperanto as a linguistic

handshake. When two people shake hands they both reach out halfway.

When two people speak Esperanto they have both made the effort to

learn a relatively easy, neutral language instead of one person

making the huge effort to learn the other person's difficult

national language and the other person making no effort at all

except to correct his/her interlocutor's errors.

Esperanto isn't a real language, is it?

Ken Caviness:

Yes, actually it is. You see, it's been used in all conceivable

circumstances for over 100 years. Whatever you have to say, you can

say it in Esperanto.

Yves Bellefeuille:

It's said that Umberto Eco, before he started supporting Esperanto,

once said in class that Esperanto isn't a real language "because you

can't make love in Esperanto". A girl later wrote to him and said,

with some embarrassment, "I'm sorry, Professor, but it *is* possible

to make love in Esperanto. I've done it."

Personally, I don't believe it. I mean, I don't believe she actually

said so. Oh, forget it. ;-)

Wouldn't any universal language break up into dialects?

Ken Caviness:

(1) Esperanto is intended to be your *second* language, so it

remains relatively intact: people primarily create slang, idioms,

etc., in their native language.

(2) Esperanto is intended for cross-cultural use, therefore use of

too many colloquialisms, etc., jeopardizes your chances of being

understood (which is presumably your intention). This acts as a

stabilizing influence on the language.

Konrad Hinsen:

Regional dialects appear when people communicate mostly with their

geographical neighbours and rarely with people from further away.

Dialects tend to disappear when long-range communication dominates

(as can be observed in many parts of the world after the

introduction of radio and television). There is also the not

insignificant observation that Esperanto has not formed any dialects

in its more than one hundred years of existence.

Can an artificial language have its own literature?

Duncan C Thomson:

Esperanto has just as much literature (original, not just

translated) as any other language of a similar number of speakers.

Just because you haven't heard of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Have you heard of Auld, Szathmari, Kalocsay? Galloway, Gray, Kelman?

None of them, probably, but you would probably not be as quick to

claim that Scotland did not have a literary culture.

[Several tens of thousands of books have been published in

Esperanto; the library of the British Esperanto Association has

30 000 volumes. There are about 100 periodicals of some importance,

plus countless local bulletins and newsletters. At one point there

was even a daily newspaper in Esperanto! I have no idea how they

managed to distribute it to the subscribers in a timely

manner. -- Ed.]

Isn't Esperanto "too European"?

Joseph Voros:

The argument seems to always come down to the difference between

agglutination and separate roots. Or "Eastern" and "Western" style

languages, broadly speaking (I know it's an over-simplification).

Some people think every concept needs its own root, others are happy

to begin with some basic set and modify. Two incompatible systems of


I consider Esperanto to be a good compromise between "Western"

root-based thinking and "Eastern" agglutinative thinking (again,

very roughly speaking). Having a Hungarian background, I delight in

the simple elegance of Esperanto word-building. [Unlike just about

every other language in Europe, Hungarian is *not* Indo-European; it

comes from a completely different language family. Thus, it is as

unrelated to Esperanto as English is to Arabic, for example. -- Ed.]

I think there is something for everyone in Esperanto, no matter what

your linguistic background, and that this is one major reason why it

is the most successful of the auxiliary languages.

Sylvan Zaft:

The other night I was having dinner here in the Detroit area with

Koralo Chen, an Esperanto speaker from China whose home is very

close to Hong Kong. I presented this objection to him. Koralo Chen

replied that he had often heard this objection but that it made

little sense to him. In his part of the world the major languages

are completely unlike each other. Knowing Chinese doesn't help with

learning how to speak Korean or Japanese, for instance.

I can see why this objection makes good theoretical sense to some

Westerners, but it makes no sense at all to those Chinese who, like

Koralo Chen, need not a theoretically perfect but very practical

language to learn for international communication.

Should we create a language with words from all around the world?

Manuel M Campagna:

The International Auxiliary Language Association (IALA) researched

this point scientifically, and came up with the conclusion that

while there are 6 170 languages in the world (not including

dialects) AT THIS TIME, there is no evidence that a language with

one word from each language would be more popular. Indeed it would

be an unworkable hodgepodge.

David Poulson:

This objection has been handled at length by Prof. Pierre Janton. In

brief, there are two major facts to take into account. First of all,

there are thousands of languages in the world and if Esperanto

attempted to create its vocabulary from even 10% of them you would

simply get a language which would be very difficult to learn for

everybody instead of the real Esperanto which is relatively easy for


Secondly, the world-wide spread of Euro-American science, commerce,

technology, geopolitics, entertainment, etc., has meant that many

technical terms from "Western" languages have entered the vocabulary

of many other languages too. So, in fact, the European basis for

Esperanto's vocabulary is a lot more international than appears at

first sight.

However, the whole argument is really irrelevant because the

internationalism of Esperanto -- or of any other planned language --

cannot reside in its vocabulary for the reason just mentioned.

In fact, what makes Esperanto a truly "international" language (as

distinct from a "world" language like English) is its extraordinary

semantic flexibility which allows speakers from different language

families to translate their own thought patterns directly into

Esperanto and produce something which is perfectly intelligible and

grammatically correct.

Isn't Esperanto hard for speakers of non-Indo-European languages?

Manuel M Campagna:

Non-IE speakers thank you for your protective attitude, but they can

and do fend for themselves, and Esperanto is very popular in

Hungary, Estonia, Finland, Japan, China, Vietnam... The current

[1995-1998] president of the Universal Esperanto Association is a

Korean university professor of *Economics*. The most attended

international meeting in *5000 years* of Chinese history was the

1986 Universal Congress of Esperanto in Beijing, being the largest

both by the number of delegates and the number of countries




*** I hope to expand this section, but I guess I could do

*** worse than to start with some Nobel Prize winners! ;-)


Nobel Prize Winners:

Sir William Ramsay (Chemistry, 1904)

Awarded the Nobel Prize "in recognition of his services in the

discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air, and his

determination of their place in the periodic system".

Participated in many Esperanto conferences and meetings.

Sir Joseph J. Thomson (Physics, 1906)

"In recognition of the great merits of his theoretical and

experimental investigations on the conduction of electricity by


Vice-President of the International Esperanto Science Association.

Alfred Hermann Fried (Peace, 1911)

"Founder of _Die Friedenswarte_" (a peace publication).

Author of an Esperanto textbook and contributor to the magazine


Charles Ribert Richet (Medicine, 1913)

"In recognition of his work on anaphylaxis".

Active Esperantist.

Daniel Bovet (Medicine, 1957)

"For his discoveries relating to synthetic compounds that inhibit

the action of certain body substances, and especially their action

on the vascular system and the skeletal muscles".

Learned Esperanto as a first language.

Reinhard Selten (Economics, 1994)

"For [his] pioneering analysis of equilibria in the theory of

non-cooperative games".

Author of two books in Esperanto on games theory.


People create languages for a variety of purposes. J.R.R. Tolkien's

languages of Sindarin and Quenya, for example, were created partly as a

recreation, and partly to fulfil a literary purpose. Many languages have

been created as international languages; only Esperanto has continued to

grow and prosper after the death of its originator.

Many of the people who have attempted to promulgate international

languages more "perfect" (i.e., more "international", more "logical", or

whatever) than Esperanto have failed to understand that -- given a

certain minimum standard of internationality, aesthetic quality, and

ease of learning -- further tinkering not only fails to substantially

improve the product, but interferes with the establishment of a large

community of speakers. A language like, say, Interlingua might be (by

some individual's criteria) "better" than Esperanto, but in order for it

to be worth uprooting the established world of Esperanto and creating an

equivalently widespread world community of Interlingua speakers, it

would have to be visibly and profoundly an improvement over Esperanto of

prodigious proportions. No international language project has yet

produced such an obviously ideal language.

In the net community, one of the best known planned language projects is

James Cooke Brown's Loglan (and its revised offshoot Lojban). While some

enthusiasts do see Loglan and Lojban as competitors to Esperanto, the

languages were conceived not as a tool to facilitate better

communication, but as a linguistic experiment, to test the Whorf

hypothesis that a language shapes (or limits) the thoughts of its

speakers. They are thus deliberately designed to bear little resemblance

to existing human languages. While Loglan and Lojban are unlikely (and,

by design, perhaps unsuited) to succeed as international languages, both

are interesting projects in their own right.

The address to write for Loglan information is:

The Loglan Institute

3009 Peters Way

San Diego CA 92117


tel. (619) 270-1691

E-mail: loglan@compuserve.com

For Lojban, contact:

Bob LeChevalier, President

The Logical Language Group, Inc.

2904 Beau Lane

Fairfax VA 22031-1303


tel. (703) 385-0273 (day/evenings)

E-mail: lojban@lojban.org



Those interested in Mark Okrand's "Klingon" language can join a mailing

list; to subscribe, send a message to:


consisting of the body line:

subscribe tlhingan-hol Your_Real_Name

There is a general "constructed language" (Conlang) mailing list; to

subscribe, send a message to:


consisting of the body line (not subject):

subscribe conlang

There is also an "auxiliary language" (Auxlang) mailing list. The

difference between this list and Conlang is that Auxlang deals more

particularly with languages designed to enhance international

communication, such as Esperanto. To subscribe, send a message to:


consisting of the body line (not subject):

subscribe auxlang

Finally, fans of Tolkien's language creations can join a

Tolkien-language mailing list. To subscribe, send a message to:


with the following subject line or body line (either will do):

subscribe tolklang Your_Real_Name

As for our own Esperanto newsgroup, many readers are interested in other

planned languages, and discussion of these can often be informative and

interesting. But politeness dictates that "Esperanto-bashing" in an

Esperanto forum is inappropriate and should be avoided.


As with other groups, there are some common acronyms that come up from

time to time here.

PAG: Plena Analiza Gramatiko, an analysis of Esperanto grammar. It is

not authoritative, and many people will disagree with some of

its conclusions, but it is the most detailed reference work to

date on Esperanto grammar.


PIV-S: Plena Ilustrita Vortaro, a very complete Esperanto dictionary

(i.e., it is entirely in Esperanto) containing not only the

officially recognized words, but many more that are in general

(and not so general) use. Some of its entries are dubious, but

it is a highly useful reference work. PIV is now quite

expensive. It was published in 1970, with a supplement in 1987

("PIV-S" means "PIV with Supplement"). A new edition is

currently being prepared.

PMEG: Plena Manlibro de Esperanta Gramatiko, an analysis and

commentary on Esperanto grammar. Available online at


PV: Plena Vortaro. PIV's little brother, so to speak; it was written

in 1953 and contains fewer technical terms, neologisms, etc.

TEJO: Tutmonda Esperantista Junulara Organizo, the World Organization

of Young Esperantists. Members of UEA under 30 years of age are

automatically members of TEJO. TEJO publishes a bi-monthly

magazine called "Kontakto" and a quarterly newsletter called

"TEJO Tutmonde", and sponsors the annual international youth

congress (Internacia Junulara Kongreso, or IJK).

UEA: Universala Esperanto-Asocio, the World Esperanto Association. It

publishes a monthly magazine cleverly titled "Esperanto",

produces a "Jarlibro" (yearbook) containing information on

national and special-interest Esperanto organizations and

contacts, and sponsors the annual international Esperanto

congress (Universala Kongreso, or UK).


"Mi amas vin."

There are several WWW sites with lists of ways to say "I love you" in

various languages. Try






Esperanto has six letters with accents: c, g, h, j, and s can have a

circumflex accent (^), and u can have a breve accent (similar to the

lower half of a small circle).

All modern operating systems, word processing programs, etc., can handle

these characters. Usually all that is required is to type some

combination of keys to represent them. However, "dumb" terminals

generally cannot overstrike accents with arbitrary characters, and so

cannot display Esperanto's accented characters, or any other language

with accents.


(Thanks to Arnold Victor and Dmitri Horowitz for preparing the following


Fonts with Esperanto's accented characters are available for use under

Mac OS. Due to the lack of a generally accepted standard encoding,

several encodings are currently in use; however, ISO 8859-3 (also called

"Latin-3") is becoming more and more common. Apple has proposed a

different standard encoding called "MacEsperanto".

To type Esperanto's accented characters conveniently, use an Esperanto

keyboard layout. Each encoding corresponds to a particular keyboard

layout; thus, if you are using a Latin-3 font, you must also use the

Latin-3 keyboard layout.

Fonts are installed as follows:

- Quit all applications first.

- Put the Esperanto font files in the Fonts folder in the System Folder.

(Or drag-drop the font file on the System Folder icon and it will

automatically be placed in the right folder.)

Keyboard layouts are installed as follows:

- Quit all applications first.

- Put the keyboard layout file in the System suitcase in the System

Folder. (Or drag-drop the keyboard layout file on the System Folder

icon; when the dialog appears, confirm that you want the file placed in

the right folder.)

To use Esperanto fonts in an application, do the following:

- Use the Keyboard control panel (under Control Panels in the Apple

menu) to select the appropriate keyboard layout. Esperanto keyboard

layouts are usually symbolized by a green star or by the Esperanto flag

(a green flag with a star in the upper left corner).

- Choose an Esperanto font with the same encoding as the keyboard layout

in the application.

With most keyboard layouts, including Latin-3, the accented characters

are typed by pressing the Option key together with the letter to be

accented. For example, Option and lowercase c will type the accented

letter c^, Option and uppercase C will type the accented letter C^, and

so on. With some keyboard layouts, the accented character u^ is placed

under Option-w.

You can check the location of the accented characters as follows:

- Make sure the appropriate keyboard layout is selected.

- Open the Key Caps desk accessory in the Apple menu.

- Select an Esperanto font with the same encoding as the keyboard layout

from the Key Caps menu.

- Check the keyboard layout displayed with the Option key, with the

Shift key, and with both the Option and Shift keys pressed.

A keyboard menu will let you switch between keyboard layouts more

conveniently. It appears on the menu bar to the left of the application

menu, which is itself on the outer right. It can be recognized by the

small flag which shows the selected keyboard layout.

With Mac OS version 8, a keyboard menu appears automatically when more

than one keyboard is selected in the Keyboard control panel (under

Control Panels in the Apple menu).

If you are using Mac OS version 7.x, you must install a system extension

to have the keyboard menu. A shareware extension called "Outboard

Keyboard" (5 USD) can be downloaded as part of the package Carpetbag



Install it as follows:

- Put the extension in the Extensions folder in the System Folder. (Or

drag-drop the keyboard layout file on the System Folder icon; when the

dialog appears, confirm that you want the file placed in the right


- Restart the computer.

Esperanto fonts with matching keyboard layouts can be downloaded from





The following resources are useful when using Esperanto in Internet


- Plug-in tables for the popular mailing program Eudora which allow you

to send and receive messages in MacEsperanto, Latin-3, and Code Page

853. Bitmap fonts and a keyboard layout are included. See



- A detailed description of how to convert Unicode TrueType fonts from

MS-Windows to MacEsperanto. The fonts are freely available from

Microsoft. See




WordPerfect 5.1 natively supports Esperanto's accented characters.

To display the Esperanto characters, select the 512-character screen

from the Setup menu: do Shift-F1, 2, 1, 5.

To type an accented character, type Ctrl-V and the code (including the

comma) as listed in the file CARACTER.DOC:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Letter: C c G g H h

Code: 1,100 1,101 1,122 1,123 1,126 1,127

^ ^ ^ ^ - -

Letter: J j S s U u

Code: 1,140 1,141 1,180 1,181 1,188 1,189

You can also type Ctrl-V followed by the character and the accent mark;

for example, Ctrl-V, C, ^, gives C-circumflex. However, there is no

breve on the keyboard, so u-breve cannot be done this way.

Lowercase circumflexed j looks lousy in most fonts, so many users prefer

to use a regular j and overstrike a circumflex accent: Shift-F8, 4, 5,

1, j, ^ (you may have to press the ^ key twice for the symbol to

appear), Return, Return, Return.

Your editor finds it convenient to use a macro called Alt-c to type

c-circumflex, Alt-g to type g-circumflex, and so on. The letters can

then be converted to upper case if desired by using Block (Alt-F4, or

F12) and then Switch (Shift-F3, 1).

If you wish to type and see the accented characters with a program that

does not natively support them, for example, a text editor, then you can

use the freeware programs VGA-ESP and Klavint.

VGA-ESP makes the 12 accented characters available on the monitor. The

only requirement is to have an EGA, VGA or Super VGA video card -- any

computer bought after 1985 should be fine.

Klavint provides an easy way to type these characters in applications

that don't support them natively. Once Klavint is installed, you can

type the accented characters by using the semi-colon key. For example,

;c will give the letter c^ and ;g will give the letter g^. Other options

are also available, as explained in the documentation.

VGA-ESP and Klavint are available at


Source code in assembler is provided; the programs are copyrighted but


Windows 3.1 and Windows 95:

Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 are very similar in this respect, so we'll

deal with them at the same time, indicating any differences.

Many fonts with the necessary accented characters are available at



To view True Type fonts without having to install them, use the

freeware program Trowser, available at


Esperanto fonts are also included with the commercial program

WordPerfect for Windows.

To install new fonts under Windows 3.1, go to the group Main, open

Control Panel, then open Fonts. Choose "Add", indicate the font's

location, and choose OK.

Under Windows 95, go to the Control Panel and open Fonts. In the File

menu, choose "Install New Fonts", indicate the font's location, and

choose OK.

Another option is to use the freeware program Supersigno, which

automatically adds the necessary characters to your existing fonts. This

program is available at


To type the accented characters, use the "Character Map" program,

located in the Accessories group. Choose your font, then click on the

character. You can either use Double-Click, Copy and Paste to copy the

character to your application or, more simply, use the keystroke

combination indicated in the bottom right corner of the Character Map


Almost all Esperanto fonts use the Latin-3 coding. Here are the

keystrokes for these fonts. In all cases, press and hold the Alt key,

type the code using the numeric keypad (not the numbers on the top row

of the alphabetic keypad), and release the Alt key.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Letter: C c G g H h

Code: 0198 0230 0216 0248 0166 0182

^ ^ ^ ^ - -

Letter: J j S s U u

Code: 0172 0188 0222 0254 0221 0253

Under Windows 3.1, you may find it easier to use the Recorder

application (in Accessories) to create macros for these keystroke

combinations. Recorder is no longer included with Windows 95, but you

can copy it from a Windows 3.1 installation and run it under Windows

95. Remember that Recorder must be running to replay a macro.

Here's how to create a macro that will automatically type c-circumflex

when you press Ctrl-C. (These instructions are adapted from the on-line

help for Recorder.)

1. Position the cursor in the application where you want to start

recording the macro.

2. Switch to Recorder.

3. From the Macro menu, choose Record.

4. In the appropriate boxes, specify a macro name (for example,

c-accent) and the shortcut key (Ctrl-C). You can also type a

description, if you want.

5. To begin recording the macro, choose the Start button.

6. Type the keystrokes for c-circumflex (Alt-0230). [This only works for

me if I type the keystroke combination twice. I have no idea

why. -- Ed.]

7. To stop recording, click the Recorder icon, or press Ctrl-Break.

8. Select the Save Macro option and choose the OK button.

9. From the File menu, choose Save As and save the macro.

Another way to type the accented characters is to use the freeware

program Keys, available at


This program provides a convenient way to remap the keyboard. Yet

another option is to use the program Supersigno mentioned above, which

also provides an easier way to type the accented characters.

[To do: Evaluate and add Ek, available at


for Windows 95/98.]


(Thanks to Konrad Hinsen for the following information.)

It is sometimes possible to install a font with Esperanto's accented

characters on a Unix system not using the X Window System, but the

procedure to do so is different for each Unix system and possibly for

each terminal type. Look in your documentation, or ask your system

administrator. In the case of Linux, there is a fairly standardized

procedure if you are working on an EGA/VGA screen. Check the

documentation of the command setfont, which is part of most Linux


If you are using a Unix system with X11 (by far the most popular

windowing system for Unix), you must install a text font with ISO 8859-3

encoding (also known as "Latin-3"). Several such fonts are listed at


A good font set is


which contains ISO 8859-3 versions of the Adobe fonts Courier, Times,

Helvetica, and New Century Schoolbook in several sizes. It also contains

installation instructions.

Once you have installed an appropriate font, you must tell your programs

to use it. Most X11 programs, e.g. xterm or emacs, accept the option

"-fn fontname" to specify the font to be used. X11 font names can be

rather long and complicated; use the program "xfontsel" to select a font

and obtain its full name. Note that some older Unix programs are not

"8-bit clean", which means that they do not recognize characters with

codes over 128 as letters. Such programs cannot be made to work with ISO

8859-3 fonts, but neither with the common ISO 8859-1 (Latin-1) fonts

used for Western European languages.

To write in Esperanto, you must also be able to type accented

characters. Unfortunately, this is a much more difficult problem. The

X11 input system is, well, rather messy, and details differ between

versions and vendors. Another problem is that different keyboards are

used in different countries, and that you probably want to keep all the

characters on your keyboard accessible. So there are two problems:

deciding how you want to type the additional characters, and persuading

X11 to arrange the keyboard correctly.

Basically, the options for typing Esperanto characters are:

1) Via some unused keys or key combinations. Keys that are

often unused are the function keys or the shifted numeric keypad

keys. Assigning the Esperanto characters to such unused keys is

rather straightforward, and will be explained below.

2) Via the standard keys plus a modifier. Modifiers are keys such

as Shift, Control, Meta, or Alt. The Shift combinations are usually

all taken, and Control, Meta and Alt are used by many programs for

command entry, so in most cases this option is difficult to realize.

3) Via the compose key. X11 supports the entry of accented characters

via a special "compose" key. Unfortunately, many programs don't work

correctly with the compose key, and most X11 implementations support

it only for the ISO 8859-1 character set. You may be able to work

around these obstacles, but no general recommendations can be given.

The first option is implemented as follows:

1) Create a file called .xmodmaprc in your home directory, containing

the following lines:

== File .xmodmaprc ====================================================

! Define Esperanto accented characters on shifted function keys

! ccircumflex

keysym F1 = F1 ae

! Ccircumflex

keysym F2 = F2 AE

! gcircumflex

keysym F3 = F3 oslash

! Gcircumflex

keysym F4 = F4 Ooblique

! hcircumflex

keysym F5 = F5 paragraph

! Hcircumflex

keysym F6 = F6 brokenbar

! jcircumflex

keysym F7 = F7 onequarter

! Jcircumflex

keysym F8 = F8 notsign

! scircumflex

keysym F9 = F9 thorn

! Scircumflex

keysym F10 = F10 THORN

! ubreve

keysym F11 = F11 yacute

! Ubreve

keysym F12 = F12 Yacute

== End of .xmodmaprc ==================================================

2) Execute the command

xmodmap $HOME/.xmodmaprc

To have this command executed automatically, you must put it into a

special file, which might be called .xinitrc, .xsession or something

else; you will have to ask your system administrator for assistance.

The keyboard definition shown above will put the 12 special Esperanto

characters on the 12 function keys when used together with the Shift



*** I'd like to add information on other operating systems,

*** especially OS/2 and Windows NT. Please contact me if you wish

*** to help with this.


TeX and LaTeX:

(Thanks to Edmund Grimley-Evans for this information.)

TeX and LaTeX are professional typesetting systems, available as free

software for most computers. Though they are not always easy to use,

they are extremely flexible; they are the standard tool for typesetting

scientific articles and are often used for complex typesetting in the


With TeX or LaTeX any diacritic can be applied to any character, so it

is no harder to produce c-circumflex (\^c) than e-acute (\'e), say. A

large number of "style files" exist to facilitate the use of particular

languages; "esperant.sty" and "espo.sty", available at


and elsewhere, both allow Esperanto's diacritics to be entered as

"^C ... ^u", and the same convention is used by the Babel package for

LaTeX2e which supports about 30 language, including Esperanto.

The programs produce "^j" by putting a circumflex onto a dotless j.

Although TeX's default Computer Modern font has a dotless j (\j), most

commercial fonts, including those that are built into laser printers, do

not. There is a work-around, available as "dotlessj.sty", that involves

blanking out the dot on an ordinary j; see


Note that the Babel package does not include a hyphenation table for

Esperanto so it is usually best to discourage automatic hyphenation

(\hyphenpenalty=5000) and specify the hyphenation of particular words

where required (\hyphenation{Esp-er-anto}).


Accented characters are not included in standard, 7-bit ASCII. Since

only 7-bit ASCII can be reliably transmitted over the net, this leads to

problems when trying to use Esperanto in E-mail and Usenet news. These

problems are not unique to Esperanto; all languages with accents have


Two approaches are possible: using ASCII to represent the accented

characters, or using 8-bit codes and sending them somehow over the net.

Using Standard ASCII:

There are two major work-arounds to represent Esperanto's accented

letters using standard 7-bit ASCII: using the letter "h" to represent

the circumflex, and using the letter "x" to represent all accents.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ -

Esperanto letter: c g h j s u

"h" method: ch gh hh jh sh u

"x" method: cx gx hx jx sx ux

The "h" method is canonical in Esperanto since the "Fundamento de

Esperanto", which forms the basis of the language, expressly provides

for it. Note that "u with breve" is represented by "u" alone, not "uh".

The "x" method is a recent coinage and first appeared among computer

users; it is used only on the Net.

The following arguments are made in favour of the "x" method:

- The "h" method is ambiguous. Is the letter "h" really supposed to be

there, or is it supposed to represent an accent? The letter "x" doesn't

exist in Esperanto, so there is no ambiguity: any "x" in an Esperanto

text must represent an accent. Rebuttal: This kind of confusion never

happens in practice. "Flughaveno" can only be the Esperanto word for

"airport", since "flug^aveno" isn't a word.

- The "x" method is more suitable for machine treatment of text

(sorting, indexing, etc.). In Esperanto, letters with accents are

different from letters without accents: the alphabet is A, B, C, C^, D,

etc. Since "x" is very close to the end of the alphabet, sorting

algorithms will almost always put the accented letters in their proper

alphabetical order. Rebuttal: These are highly specialized needs.

People who must make their texts machine-treatable can use whatever

method suits their requirements, but this is irrelevant for the vast

majority of Esperanto speakers.

The "x" method was very popular in the early years of the net, but the

"h" method has clearly been gaining ground recently, as more "ordinary"

Esperantists (as opposed to professional computer users, etc.) have

started using the net. Either method may be used with confidence.

The "x" method is perhaps more suitable for beginners, since it removes

all ambiguity, so that a beginner won't try to look up "flug^aveno" in

the dictionary.

Other methods are also used, such as typing a circumflex accent (^)

before or after the accented letter, but these are rarer.

These work-arounds should only be used when one is restricted to 7-bit

ASCII. It is wrong to use them when the real characters are available.

All word processing programs can handle the accented letters correctly;

most typewriters (especially electronic typewriters) can also do so. It

is also wrong to use these work-arounds when hand-writing.

Using 8-bit Codes:

Esperanto is covered by the 8-bit encoding known as Latin-3 (ISO

8859-3:1988). Since 8-bit codes usually cannot be reliably transmitted

over the net, some "data massaging" is necessary.

For E-mail, a standard known as MIME (Multi-Purpose Internet Mail

Extension) converts 8-bit characters to 7-bit ASCII for transmission,

and converts the message back to 8 bits upon reception. Many E-mail

programs can do this conversion automatically; however, users with shell

accounts (especially students) often cannot see MIME messages properly.

For this reason, one should ensure that the recipient's system supports

MIME before sending messages in this format.

The use of MIME in Usenet is neither specifically permitted nor

expressly prohibited. Most newsreaders can't handle postings in MIME, so

it is best not to use it in Usenet.

Some users post messages in soc.culture.esperanto and other Usenet

groups using "raw" Latin-3 codes, without attempting to "protect" them

with a 7-bit encoding. This has lead to some heated discussions between

those who say that they can receive the original 8-bit Latin-3 codes,

and those who say that they often (or always) receive gibberish.

Even if the codes are transmitted properly, they can only be viewed as

Esperanto characters if a Latin-3 font is used; users whose language

requires the use of an incompatible 8-bit font (e.g. Russian and

Japanese) will have problems viewing these characters in any event.

Esperanto's accented characters are covered by the incipient "wide

character" standard Unicode (ISO 10646-1:1993), so these problems will

be solved if and when Unicode is widely adopted and implemented. Unicode

is a widely endorsed 16-bit character code covering all languages,

including non-alphabetic languages such as Chinese and Japanese.


For everyday use, it is probably best to use either the "h" method or

the "x" method, both for E-mail and for Usenet news. These methods are

widely used and recognized, and both work well in practice.

If one is sure that the recipient can handle MIME messages, then this

format can be used for E-mail.

No satisfactory 8-bit solution exists today for Usenet. Either the "h"

method or the "x" method should be used for Usenet news.



The main Usenet newsgroup devoted to Esperanto is soc.culture.esperanto.

It has an estimated readership of several tens of thousands. The group's

charter specifies that postings may be in Esperanto on any topic, or

about Esperanto in any language (e.g. informational postings or requests

for information).

The preferred language of soc.culture.esperanto is Esperanto. Beginners

are ESPECIALLY ENCOURAGED to post in Esperanto, or maybe bilingually in

Esperanto alongside their native tongue. The complete text of the

charter is available at:



If you are cross-posting articles to other newsgroups, please do NOT

post in Esperanto, unless English (or the usual language of that

newsgroup) is also included, preferably as the primary language. Aside

from being rude, such postings have tended to create a lot of unwanted

cross-posted response traffic, usually of an anti-Esperanto inflammatory

nature. Similarly, while it may sometimes be appropriate to mention

Esperanto in other newsgroups, continued discussion of Esperanto in

inappropriate groups like comp.lang.c will generate more heat than

light, and should be avoided.

For those who cannot read the newsgroup, there is a "news to mail

gateway" which sends the postings to subscribers by E-mail. All

correspondence related to the mailing list should be sent to:


Every message sent to the mailing list is forwarded to

soc.culture.esperanto, and every article from soc.culture.esperanto is

forwarded to the mailing list. Thus, if you are reading the newsgroup,

you do not need to be on the mailing list.

To UNsubscribe from the mailing list, again send a message to:


The newsgroup is also gatewayed to the FidoNet echo Esperanto (see below

under FidoNet).

Incidentally, the link between the newsgroup and the mailing list means

that mailing list members will sometimes see strange messages having

nothing to do with Esperanto, caused when some lackwit cross-posts a

message to all the soc.* newsgroups. These people do not read the

newsgroup anyway, so replies sent to the mailing list (rather than the

original sender) will not reach them.

The newsgroup alt.uu.lang.esperanto.misc should deal in principle with

Esperanto instruction ("UU" stands for "Usenet University"), but it is

little used in practice. Still, it is an appropriate place for

beginners' questions, information on learning Esperanto, etc.

The two groups just mentioned -- soc.culture.esperanto and

alt.uu.lang.esperanto.misc -- have existed for several years. Very

recently, some new groups have been created in the alt.* hierarchy.

Because of the rules which apply to that hierarchy, alt.* groups are

often created without any real need and with no clear purpose.

There is some traffic in alt.talk.esperanto, mostly articles

cross-posted from soc.culture.esperanto or other groups.

There are also several groups in the newly-created alt.esperanto.*

hierarchy, but their propagation is poor and they are hardly used,

except perhaps for alt.esperanto.beginner.

In short, soc.culture.esperanto (and its corresponding mailing list) is

appropriate for all posts in or about Esperanto. If desired, questions

about learning Esperanto, help for beginners, and the like may be posted

instead in alt.uu.lang.esperanto.misc or, perhaps, in

alt.esperanto.beginner, but they are still entirely appropriate in

soc.culture.esperanto. It is probably best to ignore the other groups.

FTP Archives:

The following FTP archive has a major Esperanto collection:


esperanto-texts.dir: Texts in Esperanto

fonts.dir: Esperanto fonts for Macintosh, DOS, Unix

hypercourse.dir: HyperCard course for Macintosh

introductions.dir: General information about Esperanto

other-tongues.dir: Comparisons between Esperanto and other

auxiliary languages

software.dir: Programs related to Esperanto

word-lists.dir: Dictionaries and glossaries

An FTP archive is also being prepared at


but was not yet set up at the time of writing.


There is now A LOT of material about Esperanto on the Web. Here are some

resources which should help you find what you want.

Mult-lingva inform-centro (Multilingual Information Centre):


Information on Esperanto and links to Esperanto resources in

35 languages.

Lists of Esperanto associations with WWW pages:


Links to national Esperanto organizations with WWW pages. In

Esperanto, but each country is represented by its flag, so it

should be easy enough to find the information you're looking



Links to international Esperanto organizations with WWW pages.

In Esperanto.


Home page of the World Esperanto Association and of the World

Organization of Young Esperantists. In Esperanto and English.

The following pages are entirely in Esperanto:

"Yellow Pages":


List of Esperanto resources on the Web. Maintained by Martin

Weichert. Much of the information in this section of the FAQ is

taken from the "Yellow Pages".

Virtual Esperanto Library:


Links to information about Esperanto, organizations, culture and

science, and computers. Maintained by Martin Weichert.

See also the usual WWW search services, for example Yahoo at:




If you're feeling adventurous, try simply searching for "Esperanto" with

Alta Vista (700 000 references), Infoseek (25 000 references), or

Deja News (48 000 references using "Power Search").

Mailing Lists:

Usenet newsgroup soc.culture.esperanto is available as a mailing list.

See under "Usenet", above.

Other mailing lists include:

BJA-LISTO: On planned languages with a social base, or "social

interlinguistics". To subscribe, send "subscribe bja-listo

your_name@your_address" to majordomo@helsinki.fi. See also the WWW

pages at



DENASK-L: Esperanto as a home language or first language. Most active

subscribers seem to be parents raising their children in Esperanto. Mail

to Jouko Lindstedt <jouko.lindstedt@helsinki.fi> to subscribe. See also

the WWW page at


ESPER-L: General discussion in Esperanto. To subscribe, send "subscribe

esper-l" to listserv@vm.ege.edu.tr.

VERDVERD: About ecology. To subscribe, send "subscribe verdverd

your_name@your_address" to listserv@tichy.ch.uj.edu.pl. Maintainer:

Andrzej Zwawa <zb@zb.most.org.pl>.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC):

Channel #esperanto: Tuesday, 15:00 - 17:00 UTC,

and Monday, 3:00 - 6:00 UTC

Esperanto instruction: Thursday, 2:00 UTC

Other Internet Resources:

Enrique Ellemberg <enrike@aol.com> coordinates an Esperanto penpal

service. For more information, see



or send mail to Enrique.

Some libraries have on-line listings of their Esperanto holdings. On the

Internet, try:

Library of Congress, USA (550 titles):


telnet locis.loc.gov

Limited hours during week-ends

University of California, USA (640 titles):

telnet melvyl.ucop.edu

Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen, The Netherlands (475 titles):


telnet opc.ubn.kun.nl

username "opc"

Universitaet des Saarlandes, Germany (535 titles):

telnet opac.ub.uni-sb.de

Internationale Esperanto-Museum Wien, Austria

(18 000 titles, of which about 1000 are currently listed in the

on-line catalogue):




Several Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes) provide Esperanto services.

In North America:

USA: Microdot BBS, (812) 944-3907, New Albany, Indiana (near


Part of the WWIV network of BBS systems. WWIV systems may

subscribe to the Esperanto group "La Samideanoj".

USA: Satronics TBBS, (215) 464-3562 (1200-2400 bps 8-N-1),

(215) 698-1905 (28 800 bps 8-N-1)

Sysop: Mark F. Miller <Mark.F.Miller@mail.tju.edu>

Has an Esperanto forum. No telnet or WWW access.

Satronics TBBS is a non-commercial, community-supported BBS.

In South America:

Brazil: EducNet BBS, +55 61 347 24 83; area no 5 is in Esperanto

Sysop: Erasmo Gagliardi <gagliard@brnet.com.br>

In Europe:

Netherlands: Esperantlingva Bultenejo Saluton!,

tel. +31-53-4326886. FidoNet 2:283/323.

Sysop: Wim Koolhoven <wim@saluton.iaf.nl>

Devoted entirely to Esperanto.

Italy: AGORA' telematiko, Torre Argentina Societa' di

Servizi S.p.A.

tel. 39-6-6892828 (10) 300/1200/2400 MNP5 N81

39-6-6832366 (10) 300 > 9600 MNP5 N81 V42 V42bis USRobotics

1421 (Easy Way Itapac)

Itapac NUA 26500016 (32) 1200 N81 S71 DNIC 0222

Tymnet login: agora (16) 2400 N81 S71

Internet telnet: agora.stm.it

Sysop: "Esperanto" Radikala Asocio <E.R.A.@agora.stm.it>


International echo: ESPERANTO (same as Usenet group

soc.culture.esperanto), Mario Mueller, 2:241/200.9

Dutch echo: ESPERANTO.028, Wim Koolhoven, 2:283/323

Portuguese echo: ESPERANTO_36, Ze Manel, 2:361/1

(Or Fausto Karvalo, 2:361/1? Still works?)

Common, partly in Russian: ESPERANTO.RUS, Anatoli Gulidov,


Courses, for speakers of Russian and Ukrainian: DR.ESPERANTO,

Va Milushnikov, 2:465/101.2


The mailing list ESPER-L mentioned above is also available in Bitnet.

Send "subscribe esper-l" to listserv@trearn. (Use this address only if

mailing from a Bitnet account. If mailing from an Internet account,

use the address listserv@vm.ege.edu.tr, as mentioned above.)

Minitel, France:

3615 ESPERANTO (1,27 FRF/min):

General information, contacts, upcoming events

3614 CNX*#ESPERANT (0,36 FRF/min):

Discussion group, personal mailboxes

3614 CNX*#JEFO (0,36 FRF/min):

Reserved for members of JEFO (French Organization of Young


3614 PING

Online chat and mailbox service in four languages

(French, Esperanto, Italian, and English)


"300 pages about/in Esperanto"


CompuServe Information Service (CIS) has an Esperanto board in its

Foreign Languages Education Forum. CIS subscribers can type GO FLEFO for

further information.


There is an Esperanto forum in the section "Foreign Languages".

America On Line (AOL):

America Online has about 140 members whose list of interests include

"Esperanto", but no specific Esperanto forum exists.


GEnie has some discussion of Esperanto in the Public Affairs Roundtable

board, Category 15 -- International Affairs, Topic 29.


This FAQ was written by Mike Urban <urban@netcom.com>. It was brought up

to date and is now maintained by Yves Bellefeuille <yan@storm.ca>.

Principal contributors: Ken Caviness <caviness@southern.edu>, Alan Gould

<agolincs@agolincs.demon.co.uk>, Edmund Grimley-Evans

<edmundo@rano.demon.co.uk>, Don Harlow <don@donh.vip.best.com>,

Konrad Hinsen <hinsen@cnrs-orleans.fr>, Dmitri Horowitz

<horowitz@xs4all.nl>, Arnold Victor <arvimide@mars.superlink.net>,

Martin Weichert <martinw@cs.chalmers.se>, and David Wolff