Welcome to Internet Pages from the Esperanto Association of Ireland (EAI)

Esperanto holds its annual world
congress on the island of Ireland
for the first time!

106th World Congress of Esperanto
Queen's University Belfast
17 - 24 July 2021

. . . . and a footnote to the panels

The Universal Esperanto Association, which organises the World Esperanto Congress each year, has chosen Belfast as the host city for 2021.

Members of both the Esperanto Association of Ireland and the Esperanto Association of Britain will play their part together in helping to make the congress a success.
Come and join in the fun.

Esperanto, a supra-national language, is designed to be easy to learn and use.  It belongs to no single country, so the national language of no country or group of countries gains any political, commercial or cultural advantage from its use.

The Esperanto Association of Ireland was founded in Dublin in 1905.  It represents speakers in the whole of island and promotes the study and wider use of the language.  It publishes currently a bi-monthly bulletin.

It is used by at least a million people but they are spread thinly across a hundred countries.  Despite two separate recommendations by UNESCO only Hungary teaches it officially in schools. The bigger languages oppose this.

The current EU constitution promotes only languages belonging to member countries.  It will need a special decision by EU institutions to allow any trial of Esperanto and that will require member countries to agree first.

Learning any language requires study, time and practice.  However Esperanto has no irregular verbs, nouns, spelling or anything else.  It builds words in a logically consistent intuitive way, yet is expressive and sonorous.

The internet has vastly changed the Esperanto world.  Wikipedia provides facts, Youtube music, blogs and talks, Duolingo and Lernu! free interactive courses, Google Translate tries hard  and Amikumu where to find your nearest speakers. 

How Esperanto works

Keep in mind that Esperanto is intended for world-wide use.  It is an auxiliary language, simply constructed but with unlimited possibilities, not a replacement for current languages, but a protector for them.

Vocabulary . . .    English speakers will recognise a lot of Esperanto words, especially when written down.  They will recognise even more if they studied at school a language like Latin, French or Spanish.  They will recognise nearly [1] everything if they also studied some German.

But . . .

Esperanto is designed as a global language.  It has to work for more than just speakers of English, French, Spanish or German.  Everyone needs to feel it is theirs.

So . . .

The way Esperanto builds words up from small unchangeable bits, just like in Lego, is more like what happens in Hungarian (though that modifies its bits at times), even more like what happens in Turkish or Chinese where the bits are not modified.

Don’t worry.   Most Esperanto speakers think only about the vocabulary side.  They usually just take Esperanto’s word-building as a refreshing challenge, indeed as unexpected fun compared to English or French.  And they certainly don’t need to know anything about how Turkish or Chinese works.  With respect, that’s for Turks and Chinese and students of their languages.

And the fun . . .   English cannot move from ‘dine’ to ‘dinner’ without adding an extra ‘n’ and changing how it pronounces the ‘i’.   Unlike moving from ‘mine’ to ‘miner’ for example.  English cannot use the model of ‘I whitened my shoes last night’ to create the sentence ‘I will blue-en my boots tomorrow night’.   Esperanto can do just that!   It encourages playing with its material, having fun with it.  If the rules are followed, it will not let players down.  And you will be understood.  Maybe even earn a smile.  It’s just as important to avoid embarrassment.  Esperanto avoids idioms.  It is quite unlike English or French in this.  So if you say in Esperanto that someone ‘has dug his own grave‘, you would mean just that.  In a transnational context such ‘a spade is a spade’ plainness is important for unambiguous communication.

What rules?

Just one way to pronounce each letter, only one place to put the stress accent in a multi-syllable word, one system each for making nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, the same one letter to make every plural, one word for saying ‘you’, etc.  Traditionally there are just sixteen rules, but in practice these have implications to be picked up as the language gets fully extended.

Creativity . . .

Esperanto is a recognised member of PEN International and has in its short life already produced two outstanding poets.  Top novelists take longer. 

Esperanto has a group of 45 inter-related words, which often give newcomers some bother as no other language has such a complete system, logically constructed.  However one can admire such a system without rapidly acquiring mastery of it!