I wrote a few weeks ago about the story of Esperanto. Given all the controversy over politicisation of the Irish Language and the gibberish produced in the name of “Ulster Scots”, it is obvious that a unifying language is needed for Northern Ireland – perhaps one we could all speak when we don’t fancy speaking our native tongue? What about a language that looks clearly different from English but doesn’t take an eternity to learn? What about a language which actually comes from the same country as our largest external minority, Poland? What about a language specifically set up to promote peace and bring people together? What about Esperanto?
Where Irish is unfortunately tied to politicised phrases and Ulster Scots is associated with straightforward ridicule, Esperanto is well known as the most successful constructed language ever and is designed specifically to unify rather than divide.
Not only is Esperanto easy to learn and set up to promote harmony and good relations between different groups, but it comes associated with a global community of its own whose objective is world peace. Who could object to that? By giving it prominence in Northern Ireland, we would be inviting peace makers from all over the world to our shores. It would earn us prominence and prove to the world that we are serious about building a new, peaceful and harmonious society.
What is more, Esperanto is easy to pick up quickly but also helps directly with learning other key languages. Primary school teachers could learn it quickly and use it as an introduction to other languages before pupils get to post-primary level. It is advantageous across the board too. Much of its structure is similar to German, while two thirds of its vocabulary comes from Latin or languages descended from it (mainly French and Italian). There is also significant Slavic influence, making our fellow citizens originally from Central and Eastern Europe immediately at home and helping us expand our trade into fast-growing economies beyond the old Iron Curtain. It is also used and shaped globally, further helping us develop an outward-looking approach essential to creating new trade and thus new jobs and wealth.
A rights-based Esperanto Language Act would include:
– the right for any pupils to learn Esperanto from P2, with teachers instructed to deliver this (designed to help later language learning);
– the right to correspond with authorities in Esperanto and with other citizens for trade (it may well be easier for Polish and Lithuanian citizens in particular to communicate with us in Esperanto, creating a fair and neutral environment of genuine equals); and
– the right to use Esperanto in daily life without discrimination (after all, it is a global language so cannot be deemed in any way exclusive).
So, there we have it. Esperanto is a potential second language for all which is easy to learn and obviously neutral, and which was designed to promote peace and unity among all people. It would give us the type of global outlook necessary to think the way others think and even learn other European languages to enhance trade and knowledge, leading to new wealth and jobs. It would also help with the integration of people arriving here, while giving us a reputation as a first-class location to promote peace and harmony regardless of background. Kio estas pri tiu propono, kion oni ne sxatus?!
You’ve noted the date. Obviously this proposal is not serious. It could not possibly be adopted. It is, after all, totally rational…