If humankind can create airplanes, cellphones, and penicilin, surely we can tackle the hassle of language. Why doesn’t some brainiac come up with the perfect language that everyone can learn?

Before you get all riled up, be assured this question is rhetorical. To start, this is not a new idea.

In the late nineteenth century, a Polish oculist and linguist named Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof set out to create a universal language that would promote peace and harmony among all the world’s inhabitants.

Dr. Zamenhof published guides to his invented language under the pseudonym “Doktoro Esperanto,” which means “Dr. Hopeful.” The name of the language, Esperanto, was derived from this pseudonym. (Esperance is an archaic word for “hope.”)

Dr. Zamenhof intended for Esperanto to be easy to learn and speak. The words are spelled as they are pronounced, and the grammar is simple. But the language is based on word roots in major European languages, and for non Indo-European speakers, the mechanics of the language are quite unfamiliar.

While Esperanto failed to gain the international acceptance that Dr. Zamenhof had hoped for, the artificial language has been taught throughout the world. Some estimates claim that there are up to several million Esperantists, or Esperanto speakers.

Curious? Here are a few words in Esperanto to get you started:

• Hello – Saluton

• Yes – Jes

• No – Ne

• Peace – Pacon

On a sillier note, what’s the deal with Pig Latin? Why isn’t it called “Sheep Latin,” and how does it work exactly? Here’s our answer.

Let us know if you think the notion of a universal language is a good idea, or even possible, below.


The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY) April 3, 2007 Byline: Debra J. Groom Staff writer Children abducted in the middle of the night and forced to become soldiers.

Schools burned down.

People displaced from their homes for years.

The 18-year civil war in Northern Uganda has ravaged the lives of children and adults in the African country. Students at Pulaski High School learned about this through the school’s Global Awareness Club.

And the more they learned, the more they wanted to help.

The club, a fledgling group at the school, is raising money to help rebuild and buy supplies for Sir Samuel Baker Secondary School in Gulu, Northern Uganda. Buildings at the school have been burned down, and supplies have disappeared.

Monique Frey, the club’s co-adviser and a 10th-grade English teacher, got the club going early this school year when she was studying the genocide in Darfur, in Sudan. go to website pulaski high school

She met with students to talk about what’s happening in Darfur, and soon they started researching and talking about other problems in Africa.

Then they learned about an organization called Invisible Children. They got a copy of the movie of the same name. What they learned moved them to take action.

“Thousands and thousands of people are in these displacement camps in horrible conditions,” Frey said. “And children are abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army and forced to become children soldiers.” The film documents the civil war in Northern Uganda and how children are abducted and brainwashed to become soldiers. It shows some of these children leaving their homes at nightfall and walking for hours to sleep in cities to keep from being abducted.

The movie and the cause it portrays have touched so many students that the Global Awareness Club is one of the fastest-growing groups at the school.

“I watched the movie and it made me want to do so much more,” said senior and club member Dana Ortolano. “It made me realize how much I can do here.” “I came to this club and got really passionate about this,” said club member and high school junior Celia Douglass. “I couldn’t be sitting not doing anything while all of this was going on.” The club, which now boasts 50-plus members, became part of the Schools 4 Schools event sponsored by Invisible Children. Nearly 500 schools across the United States are raising money to help rebuild schools in Northern Uganda. pulaskihighschool.net pulaski high school

“The children there value education, but it’s not easy to get,” said Douglass. “It made me appreciate things a lot more.” “When I saw the movie, it was really moving to see what these people have to go through daily,” said Ortolano.

“I knew I had to join this club and spread the awareness,” said club member and school sophomore Kelly Lambie.

So far, the club has raised nearly $3,000 with two screenings of the movie “Invisible Children,” a Winter Olympics at the school, a talk by one of the Lost Boys of Sudan and a breakfast with the Easter Bunny. A festival with bands, speakers and vendors is set for May 6 as a wrap-up event.

Frey and club co-adviser Jill Truax, a high school reading teacher, said the club also is educating people throughout Pulaski about the situation in Northern Uganda.

“The education piece is the most important,” Truax said.

Anyone who would like to donate to the club’s effort should call the high school at 298-5103. Debra J. Groom can be reached at dgroom@syracuse.com or 592-7140.


PHOTO Gary Walts/Staff photographer ROBERT PHILIPS,5, of Pulaski, poses with the Easter Bunny at Pulaski High School last week. The Easter Bunny event is part of several local fundraising efforts to aid Sir Samuel Baker Secondary School in war-torn Northern Uganda. Buildings at the school have been burned down, and supplies have disappeared.

MAP: Helping Uganda. The Post-Standard.


  1. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 25, 2013 - 5:50 am

    A language is not going to “promote peace and harmony.” That’s just silly. We live in a fallen world; therefore, we will never be able to get along perfectly, despite our best efforts. It sure would be great if we all spoke the same language (no more embarrassing language faux pas! :) ), but we wouldn’t be any different than we are today.

  2. les offres d emploi au maroc -  July 7, 2013 - 7:16 am

    It’s in point of fact a great and useful piece of information. I am happy that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Brian Kennedy -  May 17, 2013 - 7:22 pm

    I support a culture-neutral mandated auxillary language, here’s why:

    1. Esperanto was invented before american global imperialism. Before esperanto could take hold, America became a superpower and the english language gained popularity.
    2. The globalism of the internet, as well as previous inventions, ie. telephone, negates the argument that languages are destined for eternal constant change by isolation. In random, colloquial spurts sure, but not in general.
    3. if you say that english is already the international language, then your argument that it would be too hard to learn is moot, or complaining that esperanto is difficult for asian and arabic roots, standard english is by far harder than any comprehensive “synthetic” root language.
    4. the idea behind a global AUXILLARY language to promote peace and true communication is exactly why simply using an accepted native language (english) is counterproductive and biased, regardless of current popularity.
    5. I believe in enforcing the education of a global auxillary language, but not in enforcing its use. If you want to experience the cultural flavor of another language you should be able to, as esperanto will not eradicate culture if it is auxillary.
    6. Esperanto is based off of the Indo-European family of languages, which is by far the most populous family of native speakers today, almost half of the world. And if even China has schools mandating it, that compounds the applicability even further.
    7. The problem with body language and facial expressions as a universal language is that they are largely unconscious, and the lack of syntax leaves gaps in comprehension(same with ASL).
    8. It is an established anthropological observation that unfamiliarity breeds fear and distrust.

  4. Paul Blart -  May 8, 2013 - 11:35 am

    ok we don’t want to know your story, we just want real answer

  5. lol -  October 30, 2012 - 2:40 am

    I think it would be good

  6. kyle c wilson -  June 28, 2012 - 2:24 am

    oops forgot to say the new language needed isn’t to replace all just so all can communicate when need be and it be easy, it would definately be a whole lot simpler days i beleive if we all new one new and easy language it could fix heives of problemos lol i know it can so i will create soon just gotta make it simple as possible

  7. kyle c wilson -  June 28, 2012 - 2:21 am

    yes a very simple new language should be created, and in every school and have to learn it to graduate and pass all around the world but not literlly forced, we need the different ones for sure, but it will never create peace, not with every1 having so many different religions, i mean who kills themself to kill others to kill others cause they beleive they go get rivers of honey and 72 virgins? i mean honestly what kinda heaven would that be, sex sex and more sex and that’s it, who wants that honestly not me, i like sex but not to that extent, would a god who created earth and humans perfect with out anything wrong not one thing, earth and man so perfect, i mean we weren’t made up over a weekend, think of the stuff we have accomplished cause we are so smart, i don’t beleive for one second a god that good would just give us sex sounds kinda lame and boring if you ask me? plz people email me with ur thoughts of what i have said here at kylwilson underscore 21 at yahoo.com plz and thanx

  8. Helga -  March 23, 2012 - 9:23 am

    Esperanto is a disharmonious and useless substitute. It won’t ever replace any of the human languages.

  9. geo -  November 3, 2011 - 11:36 pm

    Many people are posting here that don’t understand the very idea of Esperanto at all – IT IS NOT TO BE EVERYONE’S LANGUAGE – it will only help you to communicate with foreigners. So Esperanto is not going to replace any actual language in use. English is very difficult – it takes many long years to master for foreigners. Esperanto is much easer so more people could learn it and actually use it at much higher level than they do in English. Esperanto is fair, cost effective, easy, yet very powerful, less ambigous than English. The only problem is – the Americans do not speak it, so the whole world must learn English, the only language the Americans can understand…

  10. hira -  January 26, 2011 - 5:15 am

    literacy has increased in pakistan due to the emphases on education. in 1991 it was about 36 per cent, and in 2007, it was nearly 50 per cent though this varies from region to region.are you hungry.

  11. Marco A. Cruz -  December 26, 2010 - 8:46 pm

    I would like to point out that Esperanto is intended as INTERNATIONAL AUXILIARY language rather than UNIVERSAL language. It would be easier to learn it before you travel to another country. It has been suggested as the working language for European Parliament and even for UN.

  12. demon_of _knowledge -  December 18, 2010 - 1:16 pm

    the idea of angel of knowledge sucks!!! body language is a corifian dentorting sambulin form of language. you said that it’s a pretty universal as are facial expressions? what an UDO idea! it’s such a bogrit igit igit!! your not really an angel of knowledge the real thing is your just a croshit of clumpage.

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