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esperanto flagThe international language Esperanto was given to the world by Doctor Ludovic Lazarus Zamenhof in 1887, after he grew up in a town where there were four different languages in common usage, and nobody spoke all of them. This lead to lots of misunderstandings caused by the lack of a common language that all parties felt comfortable using. Eventually, he decided to invent an artificial Language.

The method he used to create it was to take the common word roots from english, french and german, and make the spellings phonetic with regular affixes.

The language is easy to learn, with only sixteen short rules that you can copy out and carry with you on a single piece of A4 paper, and you can list the affixes on the reverse in case you can't remember the one you need.

This language is now so popular that the documentation for the free computer operating system Linux (which is maintained entirely by volunteers) is also available in esperanto.

There is a reasonable write up about it on the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy site.

There seems to be a similar ethos between those who will learn Esperanto, those who use Linux, and the people interested in general semantics.

For further information on this incredible language visit the Multilingual Informaton Centre who can tell you lots more about it.

There is an online Esperanto course.

You can also look at Zyra's Esperanto review for other links.

Interestingly, linguaphone will not do a course in this language.