What is Esperanto?
Esperanto is a language, but not of any country or ethnic group: it is a neutral, international language.
The basic rules and words of Esperanto were proposed by L. L. Zamenhof at the end of the 19th century. Within a few years, people started learning it and formed a worldwide community. Since then, Esperanto has been in use (and freely evolving) just like any other language.
Esperanto has a very regular structure. Words are often made from many other roots, and in this way the number of words which one must memorise is made much smaller. The language is phonetic and the rules of pronunciation are very simple, so that everyone knows how to pronounce a written word and vice-versa. All this make the learning of the language relatively easy.
Most Esperanto roots are similar to words from Romance, Germanic or Slavic languages. However, Esperanto is not merely a “pot-pourri” of those languages, but a true and independent language in itself. In fact it is structurally more similar to some non-European languages than to European ones.
Esperanto is most useful for neutral communication. That means that communication through Esperanto does not give advantages to the members of any particular people or culture, but provides an equality of rights, tolerance and true internationalism. This can be seen in many diverse situations: international meetings, books, magazines, music, the Internet and also in private and family life.
More on using Esperanto
For even more information on Esperanto, download the free booklet: Discover Esperanto (PDF, 24 pages, 3 MB)