Why I write web pages in Esperanto The Tower of Babel
The Tower of Babel, Bruegel, 1563

Why I write web pages in Esperanto

Vidu cxi tiun pagxon en Esperanto. (See this page in Esperanto).

Last change: Tue Apr 24 19:51:12 UTC 2001

About 86% of all web pages are in English (German is second at 5%) and, happily, I speak English as my mother tongue. Why then do I waste my time writing most of my web pages in Esperanto? There are three reasons:

  1. English is the main web language, but the cause is not any natural goodness of English, but history: most computers on the Internet happen to be in English-speaking lands. But history is fickle: in 30-60 years most of them might be in Chinese-speaking lands and then Chinese will become the main language.

  2. The golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I want others to write their pages in a language that is easy for me to understand. Esperanto is easier to learn than any national language.

  3. I would like to have two versions of each page -- one in English, one in Esperanto. But to do this I would have to do nearly twice as much work. Nonetheless, I hope someday to have a translation program -- whether I find one or write one. And, in my opinion, translating by machine from Esperanto to English (or any other major language) would be much easier than the reverse (even when its done manually it's easier). In fact, I think that Esperanto would make a better base language for such a translator than any existing national tongue.

Inotherwords, if a World Wide Web page, as its name suggests, is for the whole world, then it should be in a language for the whole world. Chinese, English, German, etc, are languages great and good, but Esperanto is far easier for anyone to learn.

There are, of course, simple, artificial languages other than Esperanto -- I was tempted by Interlingua for a while -- but Esperanto is the giant of its field and the only one that is not stillborn, the only one that lives and breathes with a beating heart, which smiles, runs and jumps. And in this, I follow the advice of Tolkien.

So my rule of thumb: Write a web page in Esperanto -- unless it would only interest people who happen to speak my mother tongue -- and then translate it into other languages as time permits.

(If you want to learn Esperanto, or just find out more about it, click here).

Created Jan 1996 by Stephen Kalb.
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~stefano@pobox.com/11.480 C 32 19:51:12