METM23 presentation

La internacia lingvo – Using Esperanto to ease communication

Siru Laine, Barcelona, Spain

Imagine a global language that has only one variant, sixteen grammar rules, and no exceptions. This language is currently being used by governments and universities, and you can reach a conversational level in a matter of days. From a language professional’s point of view, it might sound suspicious, or even artificial – which it actually is.

Esperanto is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language in the world. It was created to ease communication between peoples by being easy to learn. Although the aim of becoming the universal lingua franca has not been reached, Esperanto has hundreds of native speakers, is increasingly popular in language-learning applications such as Duolingo, and has had its own culture for decades.

However, Esperanto is still often viewed as an old, romanticized way toward world peace, and not many people know that it is still actively spoken on all continents (bar one curious exception!) and is widely used in literary publications. As one of just a handful of medical translators in the world who have Esperanto as their working language, I have had to correct quite a few myths and misconceptions regarding this intriguing “conlang.”

In this presentation, I will give a short introduction to Esperanto, including its history, grammar, and vocabulary. I will relate how and why I became a fluent Esperantist and explain how Esperanto can be used as a means to ease communication and in professional environments such as translating, interpreting, and teaching. I will share some anecdotes from my years as a language professional, exemplify the relevance of Esperanto today, and, hopefully, bust a few more myths about this fascinating, yet often misunderstood language.

Everyone interested in linguistics, uncommon languages, and the concept of constructed or auxiliary languages is welcome. Bonvenon!
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About the presenter

Siru Laine is a Finnish medical translator based in Barcelona. She holds a BA in Icelandic as a second language and an MA in translation studies, both from the University of Iceland. Siru works with several source languages and is an active member of the Esperanto community.