How many people speak Esperanto?

Esperanto has been around for 115 years. If it is so great, why is it only spoken by 20 000? I think the question is wrongly posed. The question should be why so many have learned Esperanto. It is not the language of any nation. One cannot go to an Esperanto-country as a tourist. If one learns Greek, one can go to Greece and take part of their enormous cultural treasures. The equivalent is not available for someone who has learned Esperanto.

Why have they learned Esperanto?

The reason why people learn Esperanto is mainly idealism.

In Budapest in Hungary there is a faculty in Esperanto where one can study the language at quite a high level and also take a doctor’s degree. There Esperanto is used as a starting point, a base, for the study of other languages. They have also worked with computers who speak Esperanto. Teachers in Hungary are paid higher wages if they speak Esperanto.

© Hans Malv, 2004