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How the Esperanto Language Clings to Survival in China

How the Esperanto Language Clings to Survival in China

Today, the constructed language of Esperanto is likely unknown to most young Chinese people, but the country is home to one of the world’s few Esperanto radio stations, publications, and museums. Esperanto has a long, complicated history in China, leaving it an active present-day community.

It was 1887 when Ludovic L. Zamenhof, a Polish linguist, published a booklet envisioning an international language under the pen name Doktoro Esperanto (literally, the one who hopes). The constructed language — soon to be known as Esperanto — focused on simplicity, with few grammatical rules, genderless nouns, and uninflected verbs. Its vocabulary, too, is largely based on other European languages.

His project quickly gained interest across Europe, and it only took a few short years for the first Esperanto societies to emerge in Russia and France — and eventually it was brought to China at the turn of the twentieth century as the country searched for its own path to modernization.

Read all about the history of Esperanto in China, which goes back over 100 years.

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