Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

Building a fairer world through Esperanto

Esperanto is alive and used in over 120 countries, yet many people still know nothing about it, says the World Esperanto Association president, who was recently in Slovakia for a World Congress.

Mark Fettes(Source: Courtesy of M. Fettes)

There is a lot to learn about the diversity of the world through Esperanto, says Mark Fettes, President of the World Esperanto Association which held its world congress in Slovakia for the first time ever in late July. The Slovak Spectator took the occasion to talk to Fettes about his experience with the language and about how Esperanto has changed over the years.

TSS: How long does it normally take to learn Esperanto and when is the best time to start?

Mark Fettes (MF): Some people manage to learn enough Esperanto to hold a conversation in a few weeks. My sister did - she took an intensive three-week course in the US when she was 23, and then travelled to Mexico and Cuba, and when I met her she was able to converse. There is no best time to start - I have had fluent conversations with ten-year-olds and eighty-year-olds.

TSS: When did you start?

MF: I was 14 when I started the learning the language. It went very slowly at first because I was learning on my own, in New Zealand. I did not become really fluent until my early 20s.

TSS: Has Esperanto changed since you started with it? Does Esperanto evolve like other languages do?

MF: Yes, the language is constantly evolving to include new words and expressions, just like other languages. The Internet, for instance, has brought the need for a whole new vocabulary of websites and browsers and apps. Esperanto is very well designed to make it easy to come up with new words. There is no central authority, people try various new words and eventually some of them become widely used.

How has Esperanto changed in the digital era> What is the future of the language?

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

Annual subscription
29 €
Buy
You save 17.80€ compared with monthly subsription
Quarterly subscription
9.90 €
Buy
You save 1.80 € compared with monthly subsription
Monthly subscription
0.98 €
Buy
Price is only for new subscribers for their first month. All other months are standard price of 3.90 €

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • All exclusive materials published on our web page
  • A PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you (26 issues a year)
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

Top stories

EC scrutinises state aid for Jaguar Photo

There is a question whether the scrutiny may impact the carmaker’s plans to invest in Slovakia.

The construction site of a brand new plant of Jaguar Land Rover near Nitra.

Vote-buying scandal lands village mayor in court

Some Roma claiming the mayor of Gemerská Poloma, Miroslav Michalka was buying votes, have changed their testimonies.

Stanislav Kučerák (blue shirt) is a key witness in the vote-buying case.

Police president refuses the proposals of students

He turned down their suggestions for a public debate but invites them to talk about corruption at the Police Corps Presidium.

Police President Tibor Gašpar

How to sell Slovak books to English readers

Slovak literature makes it to the big bookstores of London, but it is unlikely to become a bestseller yet.

On Wednesday, Slovak literature will be presented in one of the biggest bookstores in London. Among the new books translated into English is also the anthology of current Slovak prose selected and translated by Magdalena Mullek and Júlia Sherwood.