Sunday, May 23, 2010

What's all this, then?: An explanation of insanity

"Love your neighbor as yourself." -Matthew 22:39

"My non-violence demands universal love, and you are not a small part of it." -Mahatma Gandhi

"It's easier to be an asshole to words than to people." -Randall Munroe

150 years ago, a young man named L.L. Zamenhoff introduced a new language to the world. What he called Esperanto was created to foster international understanding, and maybe even world peace. Today, it is believed that there are up to two million fluent speakers of Esperanto living in the world today, in 115 countries. Esperanto has helped create international friendships, culture and a sense of unity among speakers.

And giiiirl, I want in on that!

Wait, who are you?

I'm just your average theatre nerd, with a dash of fashion designer, a pinch of writer, and a whole lot of "There must be more than this." I am a junior in high school, an aspiring actress, part-time superhero and full-time gay magnet.

I have always been fascinated with other cultures and languages, mostly because I'm sick and tired of being just plain American. I like my rights, but I don't like being associated with boorish bigots, so I often find myself fantacizing about travelling to new and exciting places. Over the course of my life, I've been to Canada (who in the Pacific Northwest hasn't?), Germany (technically), Italy, Costa Rica and Dallas (yes, it's a foreign country!). Italy really left an impression on me, with its laid-back atmosphere and deep cultural history. Costa Rica made me realize that there WAS more to life than working and earning and not letting oneself just "be". Nothing in America can rival that.

I'm also a pacifist. I'm opposed to war of all kinds, capital punishment, and torture (or whatever the Newspeakers call it... aggressive interrogation?). Nothing merits the taking of human life, especially a cause which could have been solved with greater understanding on the part of both sides.

All of these things mixed together produces my desire to study the international language of peace, Esperanto.

You're crazy, girl...

You know what? Maybe I am. I've been studying French for three years. I know that learning a new language is really hard. But here's the cool thing: Esperanto was created to be easy to learn. Take a look below, see how much of that you can understand just based on your knowledge of English and whatever foreign language you studied in school.

Rikardo donis libron al Maria.

Can you get it? If you took Spanish or French, or if you're just really awesome like that, you could probably figure out that the above sentence says something about a guy named Rikardo giving (dar/donner) a book (un libro/un livre) to a girl named Maria.

That's what's so great about Esperanto. It takes inspiration from a bunch of different languages, so not only can anyone learn it, but it sounds natural being spoken by anyone. It's really great for-

Okay, okay, WHY are you blogging about this, woman?

Two reasons...

1.) I want attention (who doesn't?). If I get enough people tracking my progress, I'll be more likely to stick with my studies. I'm relying on you all to badger me about it.

2.) I want to spread the word about the cause which inspired the language- world peace, unity and respect.

Fair. How are you gonna do this?

There's a great website, It's entirely devoted to teaching Esperanto, forming connections between Esperantists, and developing Esperanto culture. They have lesson plans, correspondance courses, everything. That's where I'm gonna go to learn. I'll be keeping track of my progress on this blog, along with my daily successes or frusterations.

I need to get back to my sandwich.

Okay. :)

Let's boldly go!