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Some Basic Information about Esperanto and USEJ

  1. What is Esperanto?
  2. What is USEJ?
  3. How can I learn Esperanto?
  4. How can I join USEJ?
  5. Where can I get more information?
  6. Information for speakers of Esperanto
What is Esperanto?

Esperanto is a constructed language. It was invented over 100 years ago to be a common and neutral second language through which people of different first languages could communicate. Esperanto was also designed to be easy to learn. It was invented without the irregularities and complicated rules of many existing languages. The vocabulary is also easier to learn because of the regular way in which new words are built.

People learn Esperanto for many different reasons. Through Esperanto one can make contacts with people from around the world. One can read books and magazines from other countries and listen to international radio broadcasts. Using Esperanto can also be a very useful and rewarding way to travel. And, of course, learning a logical language can be a great way to exercise the brain and prepare for learning other languages.

For more information on Esperanto, read what TEJO, the world organization for young Esperanto-speakers, has to say about Esperanto. And for more in-depth information, read Don Harlow's overview of Esperanto, selected chapters from Don's The Esperanto Book, or Sylvan Zaft's book Esperanto: A Language for the Global Village.

These links and more can be found on the multilingual website, which maintains links to information on Esperanto in 57 languages.

What is USEJ?

USEJ is an organization of young Esperanto-speakers in the United States. The name is an acronym for Usona Esperantista Junularo, which means US Esperanto Youth Group in English.

USEJ was founded in 1992 as the youth section of the Esperanto League for North America (ELNA). USEJ is also the US representative of TEJO, the World Esperanto Youth Organization. The mission of USEJ is to encourage the use of Esperanto in the US, to support young Esperanto-speakers through information and events, and to organize the teaching of Esperanto throughout the country.

How can I learn Esperanto?

Sounds interesting, huh? So how can you learn to speak it? Click here for information on how to learn Esperanto.

How can I join USEJ?

USEJ is just the youth part of ELNA, not a separate organization. So anyone who joins ELNA and is 27 years old or younger automatically becomes a member of USEJ. There is no separate membership process for USEJ. To join ELNA, visit the ELNA website.

Another way to "join" USEJ is to subscribe to our electronic mailing lists and participate in our events. Because that's really what USEJ is about. It's about Esperanto-speaking kids from around the country working together and helping each other out.

Where can I get more information?

For more information, visit the websites of the Esperanto League for North America (ELNA), and the World Esperanto Youth Organization (TEJO). For information on how people use the language, browse through our page of links.

If you have any questions that aren't answered here, please email us.

Information for Esperanto speakers

Speakers of Esperanto might find the following websites to be useful sources of current information about the Esperanto community:

  • TEJO-Aktuale - a weekly newsletter of the Esperanto youth community which can be read online or received by email
  • Gxangalo - a web portal in and about Esperanto, with daily news items, links to websites, to games, forums, everything!
  • Eventoj / Ret-Info - Eventoj is a twice-monthly newsletter of the Esperanto community published in Hungary and Ret-Info is a related email news service that filters announcement from other sources and sends them to subscribers
  • Online Information Center - advice, facts, prepared flyers, posters, and more for people and organizations seeking to inform others about Esperanto.

Top 10 Facts About Esperanto

  1. It's very easy compared to other languages
    It was published in 1887 with only 16 grammatical rules, no verb conjugations or irregular verbs, and totally phonetic prononciation and spelling. It's written with a 28-letter latin alphabet with 6 supersigns, in which each letter has only one sound. Most people learn it independently from teach-yourself books or email courses.
  2. It's based on native languages
    The vocabulary is based on Latin, Germanic and Slavic word roots, and its grammatical structure resembles Japanese, Zulu, Turkish and Hungarian. It has the pure vowels and rolled R of latin languages (it sounds a bit like Italian, some say) and some exotic as well as commonly recognized consonant sounds.
  3. It works like a puzzle
    A small vocabulary of word roots can be combined in an unlimited number of ways and combinations to make words for virtually everything you can express in native languages, but with fewer word parts to memorize. This makes it possible for beginners to have decent conversations without needing a large vocabulary, by putting word roots together to make up their own words as needed.
  4. It's become a living language
    Over 5 generations of speakers have used it in every possible situation, even daily as a home language for international couples. New words (cell phone, chat room, laptop) are constantly being adopted, and style and grammar have steadily evolved since a century ago.
  5. Its speakers organize international meetings
    All over the world, from local get-togethers to worldwide conferences with participants from over 100 countries, speakers make friends and practice the language. Meetings cover the gamut of subjects, from political discussions to cultural festivals to youth parties.
  6. It's reached high art
    Translated and original literature, including poetry, have been produced in the thousands. A prolific Scottish writer was recently nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and currently the 'Iberian School' of authors is at the forefront of literary development.
  7. It's even got rock music
    Since the 1960's, when the youth movement began to take off, dozens of professional-quality albums in Esperanto have hit the market. Styles range from rock, funk, and rap to renaissance chamber music and folk singing. Groups from Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Catalunia and Brazil are currently the rage.
  8. It's got both pragmatists and idealists
    While many of its speakers support the original goal of using Esperanto in all international communication, others simply enjoy the many benefits that its small, intimate community provides (cultural education, friendship, travel, etc.) without worrying about whether the language will ever become used worldwide.
  9. Some meetings have simultaneous translation
    Several professional translators speak the language and provide their services to the Esperanto community at meetings like last spring's Spanish Esperanto Conference, where many non-Esperanto-speakers participated in lectures and discussions that were simultaneously translated into Spanish. Twice yearly, the World Esperanto Youth Organization's semi-annual seminars are translated to and from English using the UN-style headsets and booths in the Council of Europe's translation-equipped youth centers.
  10. It was the object of two UNESCO resolutions
    UNESCO acknowledged in 1954 and again in 1985 that the goals and accomplishments of the World Esperanto Association, in helping people make personal connections across cultural borders, reflect its own ideals. UNESCO recommended that international NGOs explore the possibility of using the language.