To the editors:
Your article "Anybody Here Speak Esperanto?" [June 26] was an excellent discussion of the subject. However these points should be noted:
1. There are 3,000 languages in the world, and reciprocal noncomprehension causes serious personal and social problems, while it aggravates others. Beginning with Plato, philosophers have advocated a common second language for mankind, and the prophet Zephaniah predicted one. Lacking this common language, the UN wastes $170 million/year for translations, superpower leaders can't negotiate without dependence on interpreters, ethnic groups are suspicious and hostile toward each other, tourists cannot make their needs known to police, fire, or medical personnel, etc, etc.
2. People who work to solve social problems--in this case, Esperantists--are not dreamers, but are extremely responsible and practical. Human welfare is indeed worth the effort. Those who close their eyes to problems are the real dreamers.
3. Esperanto, for instance, has shown itself capable of solving a much more immediate problem than the need for world peace, namely improving language education. Esperanto doesn't need to be spread by schools as badly as schools need Esperanto to facilitate the study of English and foreign languages. Students need to learn Esperanto as a model language, for its systematic grammar regularity. Following Esperanto as a language preparation course, students will be able to cope with the irregularities and inconsistencies of languages. Right now they are not: $50 million/year are spent in Illinois to teach foreign languages, but hardly anybody is learning them.
4. There is no such thing as a biologically natural language. All languages are artificial creations of humans. Esperanto is distinguished from the ethnic languages by its purposeful planning by a man skilled in languages, who chose the best features available. Ethnic languages originated with grunting cavemen, and haphazardly evolved over time. It is not surprising that Esperanto is linguistically streamlined, while all ethnic languages (English, French, Chinese, etc) are masses of chaos.
5. A good idea can be delayed, but not avoided forever. The metric system--conceived 300 years ago--is a good example. The linguistic superiority of Esperanto assures its eventual widespread use.
We invite the public to enroll in our new 15-lesson correspondence course. Checks for $30 should be sent to the Esperanto Society of Chicago, PO Box 64774, Chicago IL 60664-0774.
R. Kent Jones
Esperanto Society of Chicago