The real numbers of Esperanto speakers worldwide are hard to pin down. Some estimates suggest there are two million people using it as their second language. (Alessandro Bianchi/REUTERS)

Montreal is getting ready to host the next World Esperanto Congress

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Montreal will receive the symbolic flag of the World Esperanto Congress in 2020 today in Lahti, Finland. For the occasion, the largest city in the French-speaking province of Quebec is expected to host at least a thousand people, according to the World Esperanto Association.

For a week, Esperanto speakers from all over the world will gather to exchange and participate in activities aimed at eliminating language barriers between participants.

The 105th World Esperanto Congress, to be held in the Quebec province from 1 to 8 August 2020, will be on the theme: “The UN at 75: Dialogue and understanding in a changing world”. It aims to highlight the contribution of the United Nations to peace and development since its foundation.

The participants will also be able to discover the region with trips organised specifically for them.

It is worth noting that this is the first time that the World Esperanto Congress will be held in Montreal and the second time only in Canada. It was last held in Vancouver in 1984.

“Esperanto is also a means of bringing the whole world to Montreal, and providing a glimpse of what a fairer and more inclusive globalization could mean for its peoples. Linguistic democracy needs to be an integral part of our understanding of sustainable development,” said Mark Fettes who is Canadian and the outgoing president of the World Esperanto Association.

The Esperanto even has its own flag. (Ziko)

A language that belongs to no one

Esperanto is not attached to any country, people or religion. It’s a made-up language developed “to foster mutual understanding between peoples and respect for linguistic and cultural diversity.”

Created 132 years ago by Polish ophthalmologist Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof, the language is very easy to learn, all spellings being phonetic and words can be easily modified for meaning.

Each letter can only be pronounced one way, and each sound can only be spelled one way. There are few grammatical rules. All verbs are strictly regular. By learning just 500 root words, speakers can build a vocabulary of more than 5,000.

Esperanto is largely a blend of the Indo-European and Latin lexicon with a simplified 28-letter alphabet.

Some examples of the language:

  • Bonan matenon: Good morning
  • Domo: House
  • Historio: history
  • Virino: Woman
  • Viro: Man
  • Urbo: city
  • Nombro: number
  • Agrabla: nice, pleasant
  • Froma​​​​ĝo: cheese

With files from CBC

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6 comments on “Montreal is getting ready to host the next World Esperanto Congress
  1. Avatar Ĵenja Amis says:

    The registration for the World Esperanto Congress is already open! https://uea.org/kongresoj/alighilo

  2. Congratulations for your article about Esperanto. Please note that informal gatherings of Interlingua also regularly take place in many cities of Canada. Interlingua is the most widespread naturalistic international language according to Wikipedia. As a truly modern Latin, it extracts the international Graeco-Latin vocabulary common to today’s languages. Zero word of Interlingua has been invented or deformed. Published in 1951 by the International Auxiliary Language Association, its reference works are the Interlingua-English Dictionary and the Interlingua Grammar, both available at the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec or Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), as well as the Public Library of Toronto. More than 200 books, grammars and dictionaries have been published in this international language. The members of the Union Mundial pro Interlingua are scattered throughout 5 continents. In Québec, the Société québécoise pour l’interlingua organizes activities of this international language. The Conferentia international de interlingua will be held this year in Praga, in the Czech Republic. Here is the Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights translated into Interlingua:

    Tote le esseres human nasce libere e equal in dignitate e in derectos. Illes es dotate de ration e de conscientia e debe ager le unes verso le alteres in un spirito de fraternitate.

    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

  3. Avatar Amer says:

    Nice article….i would like to participate in this congress,.what are the fees

  4. Avatar Emma says:

    What is the registration fee for the world Congress coming up AUGUST 2020?

  5. Nice article with one tiny slip-up: Latin truly IS an Indo-European language. What needs clarification is that since 1887 Esperanto has grown in depth and vocabulary in much the same way that other languages do: user acceptance. When Zamenhof introduced his plan there were no computers or airplanes or cars or many other discoveries in the sciences. Esperanto speakers have filled these gaps and have created an international culture that is easily accessible to all world citizens. We are planning on being there next year (we live in Florida) and we hope that many who do not yet speak Esperanto come to Montreal to experience this unique culture of tolerance, openness and diversity. Estu bonvenaj!