Zamenhof's 150th birthday on PRI's 'The World' radio

Paging Dr. Esperanto, and what not to say in Ireland’s parliament
By Patrick Cox, PRI's The World, December 17, 2009

An old program commemorating Zamenhof's 150th birthday, with links, as well as a sound file on Esperanto.  This broadcast also deals with words proscribed by the Irish Parliament.

Arika Okrent and Esther Schor are interviewed, with some attention to the Jewish roots of Zamenhof's creation. Okrent sees the late 19th century as the era of social engineering experiments. Schor discusses Zamenhof's background and motivations, as well as the egalitarian ethic of the Esperanto movement. And of course Incubus is mentioned. Okrent's moral: hand over your language and alow others to ruin its perfection, if you want it to succeed. At the end there's a recording of "The Girl from Ipanema" in Esperanto.

As an appendix, Cox gives us more of Schor's interview beyond the limits of the original broadcast format. She expands on Zamenhof's background, including his early preoccupation with the Jewish question, his desire to reform the Jewish religion, his project to reform Yiddish, his participation in the Zionist movement, projects all eventually abandoned for Esperanto. Schor describes Zamenhof's intervention and strategy for Esperanto in some detail, as well as the growth of the language over the ensuing 122 years. She mentions neologisms in connection with the ability to form compound words. Cox finds it difficult to pin down the motivations of Esperantists. Schor learned Esperanto to undertake her scholarly project; there are diverse motivations for others. She acquits herself very well in her presentation of the Esperanto world. Schor's forthcoming book on Esperanto is announced.

The Esperanto segment of this radio program comprises the first 20 minutes, 30 seconds. The rest concerns the Irish Parliament. This is an exceptionally fair treatment of Esperanto.

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