Articles on Esperanto and Latino sine Flexione back in the day (early 20th century)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I like the curious and positive character of newspapers near the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Browsing them you can find some pretty interesting ideas or inventions that never eventually succeeded (note the post directly below on the "electrical corset") but weren't regarded with any cynicism at the time either, just a simple report of what it was made for and what its goals are. This shows that the prejudice against IALs / constructed languages isn't something necessarily inherent, but rather a sign of the cynicism with which "new" ideas (because the idea of an IAL isn't a new idea anymore) seem to be received now. I found two newspapers from that time mentioning Esperanto and Latino sine Flexione.

First the one mentioning Esperanto: it's the Lake County Times, from 30 July 1907.

TO CONVERSE IN ESPERANTO

Those Who Are Learning New Language Will Congregate at Jamestown.

INTEREST WIDESPREAD

Many Learning New Tongue and Geneva, Switzerland is Crazy Over It.

Norfolk, Va., July 30. -- A special dispatch from Geneva where the world's congress of Esperantists has recently been in session, says:

This whole town is Esperanto crazy. There is Esperanto food, Esperanto cigarettes and Esperanto liquor, specially made for the delectation of lovers of the new language. Plays are also performed in the new tongue and some very remarkable proposals have been made during the course of the discussion. The most astonishing of all, perhaps, is that there should be in various parts of the world "Esperantist Consuls," to give guidance and information to tourists, which plainly shows that those who have learned the language have the intention of forgetting their mother tongues. Dr. Zamenhof, the popular inventor of Esperanto, has received numerous offers of marriage.

This is remarkable in that it shows how strong is the hold that Esperanto has taken upon its devotees. Geneva is far away in Switzerland, but in the case of Esperanto it is not necessary to go away from home to learn the news.

The action of the management of the Jamestown exposition in inviting the Esperantists of the world t oassemble in convention at the great Ter-Centennial celebration, has caused widespread comment and has aroused intense enthusiasm among Esperantists both in the United States and Europe, and it is now certain that not only will there be an immense attendance of students and speakers of Esperanto but there will be installed at the exposition the first exhibit of Esperanto ever made for exposition purposes.

It will be extensive and comprehensive covering the entire history and development of the new language, and that it will astonish the educational world is certain.

The Harvard Esperanto society, through Professor Harry W. Norse, of Harvard university, has cgonsented to co-operate with the exposition management to make the Esperanto congress a success, as has also the American Esperanto association, through its secretary, J. F. Twembly, and every university and college in America teaching Esperanto as well as all societies interested in its propagation, will be united to lend assistance and participate not only in the exhibit but in the proceedings of the congress.

As the next world's Esperanto congress will be held in England, either at Cambridge or in London, the gathering at the Jamestown exposition will be distinctly American, but as it will probably be held before the world's congress, it is likely many foreign Esperantists of note will attend.

The Esperantists will have at least two official days at the exposition and one of them will be widely advertised as Esperanto day, and a special program, including a naval demonstration and military review, will signalize the introduction of Esperanto to the world at large. On that great day everything will be Esperanto. Officials of the exposition will welcome their guists in the new international tongue andf a local bureau of information will be maintained for the benefit of foreigners.

As to the exhibit: It will include charts, text books, dictionaries, translations of Shakespeare, Homer, Dante, Mollere, Dickens, Wagner's operas, etc., and it is not unlikely that a drama will be produced in Esperanto.

The universities having professors either actually teaching or actively at work on Esperanto are Harvard, Princeton, Ohio, Nebraska, California, Minnesota, Virginia Polytechnic institute besides many colleges. There are twenty publications in the world devoted to it, one exclusively to medicine and another to science.

This little verse, by Christina Rossetti, in English and Esperanto, may give the reader an idea of what the new language is like.

THE WIND

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I;
But when the leafy curtain trembles,
The wind passes by.

LA VENTO.

Kiel estas vidinta la venton?
Nek mi, nek vi;
Sed kiam la folioj pendas trementa,
La vento trepasas.

Kiel estas vidinta la venton?
Nek mi, nek vi;
Sed kiam la arboj salutas iliajn kapojn
La vento trespasas.

L'Amerika Esperantosto, the first journal devoted to Esperanto to be issued in America, is being published in Oklahoma City.

Now go back three years to 5 October 1904, and we find a mention of Latino sine Flexione in the Republican-News, from Hamilton, Ohio. It goes as follows:



SCIENTIFIC SPECIALS.

Sir Norman Lockyer has been elected president of a new society for the popularizing of science called the British Science Guild.

The botanical papers report that De Vries, the great Dutch experimental evolutionist, has by long continued selection produced a variety of clover which has normally four leaves.

Soapstone is now fused by the oxyhydrogen flame into a clear glass. This can be drawn into very fine fibers, which have all the advantages of the quartz fibers used for delicate suspensions, and is likely to prove otherwise serviceable.

Scientific attention is being directed to the universal language proposed by Prof. Peano. This is Latin witohut inflexions, tenses and moods, as well as genders, persons, cases and numbers, being abolished. It should be easily introduced on account of the general study of Latin.

A five horse power motor is given by a member of the Manchester Association of Engineers....

and so on as it continues through the scientific news of the day.

8 comments:

Bill Chapman said...

Thank you for sharing these jewels with us. I hope you will find and share some more. The mention of Esperanto Consuls did indeed become a reality. Since Universala Esperanto-Asocio was sewt up in 1908,there has been a network of volunteers scattered through whose role is to help travellers (U.K.spelling!) and provide specialist advice. I am Ĉefdelegito for theUnited Kingdom, and my network of Delegitoj is busy responding to enquiries of all kinds.

Antonielly said...

Cool! I didn't know Zamenhof had gotten so much prestige that ladies became very interested in getting married to him!

Certain things do not change. Most ladies nowadays still value more the social prestige (and/or the economic power) of a man than any other attribute. And most men value more the physical beauty of a woman than anything else when choosing potential partners.

Capital Z said...

I have to wonder what Zamenhof's wife thought of the marriage proposals, especially since it was her dowry that financed the initial publication of Esperanto books.

Hoss said...

The Lake County Times article is a real gem; thank you for posting it. May I ask what database you found it in?

데이빛 / Mithridates said...

Sure - newspaperarchive.com. There's a lot of great stuff there on just about every IAL - Esperanto, Ido, Latino sine Flexione, you name it. Good luck getting a front page mention like that for an IAL today.

Hoss said...

Thanks very much!

Hoss said...

Thanks very much!

Antonielly said...

Cool! I didn't know Zamenhof had gotten so much prestige that ladies became very interested in getting married to him!

Certain things do not change. Most ladies nowadays still value more the social prestige (and/or the economic power) of a man than any other attribute. And most men value more the physical beauty of a woman than anything else when choosing potential partners.

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