Last week, a new "amiko" in Uzbekistan asked for help with translating his letter to travel agents from Esperanto into English. This is what he wrote (in essence):
THINK OF IT!
If international tourists were led to contact the people who will serve them -- chauffeurs, waiters, tour guides, and targeted sales people, Esperanto-speaking tourists would have the opportunity to speak with someone who speaks their language. They would be able to speak in a common language that was dear to them. Regardless of what people often say, Esperanto is a normal human language. Most importantly, it is well-sounding, simple, easy-to-learn and easy-to-use for expressing even the most delicate thoughts. That's because it is liberated from the burdens of hundreds of years of trying to "naturally" merge neighboring languages. Esperanto merges virtually all European languages . . . and not naturally with complicated variations but strategically with commonsense unifying affixes. And the root words are, as they should be, the roots from the Hindu-European languages, with approximately 1/3 Germanic (English & German) and 2/3 Latinate and Slavic, with word constructions similar to those of the Turkish languages.
The international dictionary of classical languages . . . with a great ability to evolve, easy orthography (method of spelling), a clear phonetic structure and grammar, without exceptions, makes Esperanto exact and flexible.
The great philologist, I.A. Boduen de Kurtene, acquired Esperanto in 20 hours. Almost the same was said to have been the case with the great Russian author, Graf Leo Tolstoy. Experience shows that all people can acquire Esperanto within 3-4 months.
My proposal will not make a revolution in tourism, but it can make traveling to foreign countries more alluring, more informative, and more culturally rich. Maybe this service, which I am proposing below, will send to tourist agencies more inquisitive people. We need to do that, so more tourists will want to learn Esperanto for their use and pleasure. There exists the notion that "citizen diplomacy" that is carried out by simple goodwill and responsible discussions will shape the destiny of humanity. This traveling to other countries with the knowledge and use of Esperanto we could call "folk tourism."
Think of it, millions of tourists roam through the world every year. For many of them, a visit to a foreign country is limited to the watching of a documentary on the beauty and points of interest, including their people. At its best, that is like a film in virtual reality that might permit us to see, hear, smell, feel, even "taste" with the tongue or other parts of the body; but in all such occasions, the tourists totally fail to have speaking contacts with the local people. Watching that film is the full extent of their enrichment. However, many tourists are not content with that. I saw that in Samarkand, centrally located on the Silk Road (between China and the West); that day, at the ancient mausoleum a woman enthusiastically cried out, "Now I am ready to die; I have seen Samarkand!" Her dream became reality! The others on the tour, also desiring to communicate with the locals, resigned themselves to the situation that they were powerless when it came to linguistically communicating.
Tourists are planning their trips well in advance. Maybe the travel agents could propose a 2 to 3-months Esperanto course to their travelers before they leave. For this first time, to help popularize the habit of linguistically preparing for the trip, a crash-course will be available free of charge. Local, national and international Esperantists will not only provide free instruction but also provide the learning materials for those without computers.
Of course, the esperantists in the tourist destination must accurately know the time of arrival for a group with tourists expecting to meet an Esperanto-spoken person. The tourist offices could somehow instruct the local esperantists on the rules governing the meeting and hosting of international tourists, if that is necessary. The local esperantists will be able to arrange that these tourists, who learned Esperanto before their journey, are taken in by the Esperanto clubs, or simply accommodated by a local esperantist during their visitations of the local attractions; that is, where available, the local esperantists will be able to accept these tourists, converse with them, show the local attractions, host the tourist(s) in their home, etc. In the future, once the tourist world rallies around Esperanto and requires Esperanto-spoken tour guides, maybe these agents will receive some remuneration from the travel office or the visitors themselves. The agencies must be sure that the local esperantists will meet the tourists who have prepared for their trip by having learned this simple and necessary language.
And, naturally, not all tourists want or feel the need for communicating with the locals. Nor are all tourists expected to learn and know how to speak Esperanto. But the ones who don't, will see the advantages of knowing Esperanto and soon sport a born-again enthusiasm over the usage of Esperanto for low-cost international travel.
TO TOURIST PROFESSIONALS WISHING TO KNOW WHAT'S WHAT, we say:
In the language Esperanto, the grammatical gender is missing. The prepositions have only a single meaning. The word order (syntax) doesn't matter. To learn other national languages, one has to memorize all words and their combinations - THAT IS DIFFICULT AND WASTES BOTH TIME AND ENERGY; but to learn Esperanto, one simply has to learn the word roots and 16 grammar rules. The same can be said about the verb tenses, participles, adverbs, and adverb-participle combinations (parolo – speech; parola - oral; parole – orally/verally/by word of mouth; parolanto - the speaker; parolanta – (the act of) speaking; parolante – in a pedagogical fashion).
As you can see, E-o clearly distinguishes nouns, adjectives, and adverbs; all have their own word endings. And of the numerals, one has to remember only 14 of them. All the rest are created from these fourteen, even the ordinals (by adding -a): 1 – unu, 2 – du, 3 – tri, 4 – kvar, 5 – kvin, 6 – ses, 7 – sep, 8 – ok, 9 – naŭ, 10 – dek (deka – the tenth ...; dekо – ten of something); dek du – 12 (dekduo – dozen), sesdek – 60, dudek unu – 21.
Esperanto is virtually the only foreign language in which one can learn to become native-like. Case in point: Esperanto poetry and books written and recited by Vietnamese, Russians, or the French are indistinguishable according to accent.
HERE IS A MINI LECTURE ON ESPERANTO, almost understandable for all Europeans (except maybe the Fins and the Turks).
Our main argument in favor of Esperanto should be that, of the languages they have learned, people have only between 200 and 500 words and a smattering of grammar at their disposal in order to make themselves understood . . . even in languages they have studied for years toward this end. Languages other than Esperanto are difficult to learn owing to their irregularity and to difficulties regarding their pronunciation, which diverge widely from their writing system. Although Esperanto is a totally mature and expressive language, an average person can learn it well in the space of a few months. People don't learn Esperanto as a foreign language; they immediately use it creatively knowing a minimal lexicon and an extremely simple grammar. Pronunciation fully conforms to the written form, nouns end in -o, adjectives in -a, plurals in -j, object nouns in -n, the present-tense in -as, with suffixes -in for feminine forms, -et for diminutives, and -id or offspring. The personal pronouns are MI, VI, LI, ŜI, NI, VI, ILI.
As stated above, unu = 1, du = 2, tri = 3, kvar = 4, kvin = 5, ses = 6, sep = 7, ok = 8, naŭ = 9, dek = 10, dek du = 12, sesdek = 60.
THE ONLY VARIANT (truncated word endings used for poetry and songs):
Himno de ĝojo (Ode to Joy)
from Beethoven's ninth symphony
Ĝojo, bela dia lumo, Vi mirakle ligas kune
Vi - filino de l'ĉiel'. Dividitojn de la sort'.
Al vi venas nun adeptoj Fratoj estas ĉiuj homoj,
Por saluti kun fidel'. Kiujn tuŝis via fort'.
dio - God; saluti - to greet, to hail; nun - now; lumo - light; fidelo - faithfulness; miraklo - miracle; ligi - to join, to bind; dividito - people divided or separated; de la sorto - by fate; tuŝi - to touch. Good dictionaries and online lessons are at http://lernu.net, http://edukado.net, http://www.icxlm.org/, http://www.icxlm.org/5minutoj.pdf and http://gefratoj.net.
If you are curious about anything in this article, including the learning of the language, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive absolutely free of charge lessons in Russian, Esperanto and English. Everyone will receive addresses of Esperanto courses in virtually any country's language. Write to: email@example.com.