I couldn’t help noticing that some of my readers were looking up “Esperanto” after I mentioned it in “The University as a Fount of Idiocy.” For those who are still curious about it but haven’t gotten around to looking it up, perhaps the following will be helpful.
Esperanto is an artificial language, like Pig-Latin, created in 1887 by a guy named Zamenhof. He hoped with all mankind speaking the same language, world peace would ensue. That should give you an idea of how seriously to take this project.
As a child in the 1950s, I remember Esperanto as a hot topic: all the whoopee crowd were into it. In 1954 the United Nations recognized it as an official language: there was even a plan to establish an Esperanto-speaking country in a tiny sliver of land on the German-Belgian border. This came to nothing. But in 1985 UNESCO recommended that its member nations adopt Esperanto as a language. Those nations already had languages, so the UN recommendation came to nothing.
According to Wikipedia, “Estimates of Esperanto speakers range from 10,00 to 2 million active or fluent speakers” worldwide. What would you think of a mechanic who estimated the cost of your car repair as, “Oh, anything from $100 to $20,000”? What they really mean is they haven’t got the foggiest idea how many people speak Esperanto.
I believe there was a Chinese government official who, not long ago, recommended that the Chinese language be replaced by Esperanto, but I don’t know what happened to him.