EAB News 2002-10-05: EAB NetNews Bulletin

EAB NetNews - October 2002


E A B N E T N E W S No 12 (5 Oct 2002)


*** Keeping you up-to-date about Esperanto, for people in the UK ***


1. CORSETTI CHALLENGES BLUNKETT: "SPEAK UP FOR LANGUAGES"
2. WORLD TV DEBUT FOR SHATNER FILM
3. ESPERANTO COMES HOME!
4. EUROPEAN DAY OF LANGUAGES CREATES INTEREST
5. MAC-ESPERANTO
6. "EQUAL RIGHTS FOR LANGUAGES" CALL TO EU
7. NEW UK FILM ENTERPRISE TAKES OFF
8. BUILDING BRIDGES


1. CORSETTI CHALLENGES BLUNKETT: "SPEAK UP FOR LANGUAGES"

On the occasion of the European Day of Languages, 26 September 2002, Dr Renato Corsetti, President of the World Esperanto Association, has challenged the UK Home Secretary, Mr David Blunkett, to spearhead a "linguistic culture change" in Britain, and to "speak up for languages", following Mr Blunkett's remarks that immigrants in the UK should speak English at home.

Mr Blunkett's remarks that not speaking English in the home caused "schizophrenic rifts" within the family brought protests from various immigrant organisations, who felt strongly that they should not be told what language to use in their own homes. Throughout Europe, the remarks were seen as further proof of the arrogance of English speakers in a world where the English language has become dominant.

"My concern is that the UK has a strong reputation for not making the effort in language learning, and that the UK government is actually reinforcing this attitude by implying a low social status to foreign languages", Dr Corsetti told Mr Blunkett. "It would appear that Asian languages, for instance, have a lower social status in the UK than those officially taught in UK schools. This is paradoxical, because it means that the languages that children are in fact best at are precisely the low-status ones, which are not taught in your schools. It's almost as if, if you want to learn a foreign language in the UK, you do it despite the education system, rather than because of it", wrote Dr Corsetti.

Bur Dr Corsetti went on to say, "The UK could within a short time have a large work force of highly skilled linguists in most major languages of the world. All that is required is a culture change: instead of seeing immigrant languages just as a problem, they should be seen as part of the solution. Britain could be best in Europe at languages". "I therefore challenge, you, Mr Blunkett, as Home Secretary, to "speak up for languages", and to spearhead that linguistic culture change in the UK", wrote Dr Corsetti.

The World Esperanto Association campaigns for language rights, and promotes Esperanto as a comparatively easily learned second language, which would enable minority languages and cultures to survive, rather than being in competition with the language of the dominant power at any one time.

* The above is the text of a UEA press release of 26 September 2002. The text of Dr Corsetti's letter will be found on the EAB NetNews website http://esperanto.org/uk/eabnetnews. "Speak up for languages" is the slogan launched by CILT (Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research) for the 'European Day of Languages' campaign. Mr Blunkett's statement about immigrants speaking English at home was widely reported in the British press, for instance in the BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/world_at_one/2261653.stm and political programmes http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2263141.stm. Background information on attitudes to language learning in Britain was given in EAB NetNews 10 and 11 http://www.esperanto.org/uk/eabnetnews.


2. WORLD TV DEBUT FOR SHATNER FILM

It's not often that a film is given its TV debut 37 years after being produced, especially if it's a science fiction film. It's probably even rarer for a film produced entirely in Esperanto to reach the TV screens anyway. So the announcement that Incubus, starring William Shatner - later made famous by his role as Captain Kirk in Star Trek - is to have its debut on the 13th of this month is bound to raise more than a few eyebrows.

Incubus is the only film ever produced for general release entirely in Esperanto, and was only the second film to be produced in Esperanto at all. The previous year (1964) saw the publication of Angoroj, made for and by Esperantists. But Incubus was an "art house film experiment", set on the mysterious island of Nomen Tuum. This island is inhabited by succubi, female demons who lure corrupt men to an untimely death. So, in contrast to the later Star-Trek, where practically everything seems to come out in English, everything in Nomen Tuum came out in Esperanto.

The film was first released in France in 1965, and then ... they simply lost the the film!

Thirty years later a single copy turned up, with French subtitles. Somehow, they managed to replace them with English subtitles before rereleasing the film. Its debut will be on 'Sci-Fi Channel' in California, on October 13 at 1 a.m. ET http://tv.zap2it.com/news/tvnewsdaily.html?28193.

I asked the BBC when they were going to broadcast Incubus http://www.bbc.co.uk/home/feedback/, and they phoned me back to say that they don't currently have any plans, but that will register my interest in the film. An alternative idea might be to acquire the video, which is now available in PAL/VHS, from the website http://incubusthefilm.com/. This website also contains an interesting writeup on Esperanto, and how they came to use it. "... the language is highly poetic, evocative and serves the actors well in Incubus", they write, "What began as a theatrical embellishment turned out to have depth and dramatic impact in its own right".

However, not everyone appreciates Shatner's Esperanto pronunciation. William Harmon, in San Francisco, described the preparation of the Esperanto text in the news group soc.culture.esperanto http://groups.google.com/groups?q=shatner+esperanto+pronunciation&hl=eo&lr=&ie=UTF-8&selm=1998032806084801.BAA24136%40ladder01.news.aol.com&rnum=4. "Those of us who sat through the preview in San Francisco howled with laughter", he wrote. In the UK, The Inquirer reports: "because Shatner made his own pronunciation up, he believes that he may have influenced the way the language is now spoken worldwide" http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=5378. A sound clip can be heard via Real Audio at the http://incubusthefilm.com/ site by following the "speak it" link in the text.


3. ESPERANTO COMES HOME!

That's not a headline from the local paper in Polish Bialistok, where Zamenhof developed his ideas for an international language, but from The Sentinel, the local paper of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire.

Cutting the green ribbon to formally open Esperanto House - the new headquarters of the Esperanto Association of Britain - Lord Mayor of Stoke on Trent, Cllr. Ellis Bevan, spoke about the long relationship between the City and Esperanto. The City has a street 'Eperanto Way', and a pub called 'La Verda Stelo' (now, unfortunately, he added, called 'The Green Star'). He also referred to Horace Barks, his very distinguished predecessor, commenting on how much Horace had done for the City and for Esperanto. He hoped that the Esperanto Association may be setting a trend for other national organisations to move their HQs to North Staffordshire. Then, before cutting the ribbon to enter Esperanto House, he said a few words in Esperanto.

The plaque on Esperanto House was uncovered by Professor Renato Corsetti, President of the Universal Esperanto Association. He gave an entertaining speech - in Esperanto, of course - emphasising the key role for British Esperantists to play in the world movement.

Polish ambassador Dr Komorowski gave a particularly stimulating speech about Esperanto. "There must be something irresistable about it", he said, "We believe that Esperantists should look to the future, and the language should be allowed to develop and prosper".

After the formalities, the guests and participants were invited to look around at various exibitions in the House, as well as in the College. All the issues of EAB NetNews (from the relaunch) were on display, to bring attention to what's actually happing concerning Esperanto in the 'real world'.

The regional TV news programme included a light-hearted look at Esperanto, including a very short, but effective, interview with Dr Corsetti. Reports appearing in the Sentinel and Sunday Sentinel have been put into the esper-brit discussion group's files area http://groups.yahoo.com/group/esper-brit/files by Michael Seaton (and Renato is trying to persuade more British Esperantists to join this group), for transferring later to the NetNews site. An interview with Viv O'Dunne and Lydia Arnold - the two sisters who look after the office in Esperanto House - appeared later in the Sentinel.

The surrounding three-day event seemed to meet with a lot of enthusiasm, too. Dr Corsetti created a lot of interest with his researches on young children's use of Esperanto, with lots of amuzing examples. I've put a summary of his speech on the NetNews website http://esperanto.org/uk/eabnetnews. Dr Corsetti also led a discussion on the activities and structures of various national Esperanto associations. He said that the structure in Britain was a bit of a mistery to the outside world, and it did, indeed, appear that we have a rather complex network in comparison. Quite a lot of interest was arroused when Grahame Leon-Smith and I (on behalf of my wife Helen, who is planning to organise the EAB information activities, but was unable to attend), outlined possible practical steps forward in promoting the language in educational circles, and in bringing the public's attention to the language.

It seemed very clear that the relationship with the College was already bringing a new degree of professionalism to the association. "Voluntary associations play a vital role within this civic participatory tradition", said Wedgwood Memorial College's principal, Dr Derek Tatton, "Now, with the WEA and other voluntary organisations, this College will gain from the support and experience of the Esperanto Association". The College, being residential, invites tutors and lecturers from all over the UK and the globe. "Now, with new technology, this village will be in touch more than ever - through the developments in Esperanto House - with the Global Village", he concluded.

An illustrated report appears on the EAB website at ../.


4. EUROPEAN DAY OF LANGUAGES CREATES INTEREST

Elizabeth Stanley, who teaches at Sir Thomas Rich's School in Gloucester http://www.geocities.com/strs_glos/, reports that her Esperanto group took part in the school's celebrations of the European Day of Languages. She talked about Esperanto in the school assembly, and the school choir sang in Esperanto, and two bible readings were performed in Esperanto.

The school was granted language college status in 2000 http://www.geocities.com/strs_lang/, which means that they receive a government grant not only to teach languages at the school, but also at local feeder schools. In the curriculum they teach Spanish, German and French, but in club activities they teach also Latin, Chinese and Hindi - and now Esperanto, with seven pupils aged from 13 to 17. They are now looking for other schools to correspond with in Esperanto, and they are planning to vizit the EU's Euroscola next year http://e.euroscola.free.fr/nun.htm

Bee Wickens in Chesterfield wrote: "I visited the languageadvantage site [mentioned in the previous issue of NetNews] and, as usual, was incensed to find us left out, Yet Again(!), so sent a pretty long E-mail, outlining our virtues, benefits, value to the world etc ... Well, the upshot you can see for yourself below."

And below, indeed, was a very encouraging reply from Sarah Carroll at Language Advantage.

"Bee, Thanks for your email and for visiting http://www.languageadvantage.com I've read your email and was compelled to take a look at your website ... I'm fascinated by the language - and have, of course, heard of it, but not ever taken the time to understand anything about it (at least I admit it, sorry!). We at www.languageadvantage.com have focused initially on some of the most widely spoken languages in the world - Mandarin, English, Hindi and so on - and those languages most widely used in work situations. ... I like the idea of everyone switching into Esperanto as a chosen international language in meetings etc... Do you have any examples of it being used at work? ... Perhaps you'd like to write a special feature about Esperanto for us at www.languageadvantage.com? ... I'd also be quite happy to add resources for learning Esperanto (good quality and easily available to everyone in the world!). We could also add your URL to our language organisations listings ... And, if you'd like to keep up-to-date with the best and most innovative in the language world, then why not sign up for our free newsletter at http://www.languageadvantage.com/newsletter".

They also sent details of a European Day of Languages party in London, which John Wells kindly posted on the website of the London Esperanto Club http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/lek.htm. Language Advantage are also running a 'Languages at Work 2002' survey http://www.languageadvantage.com/surveys/poll.htm. "Please get as many of your family, friends and colleagues to complete this survey as possible!", they say.


5. MAC-ESPERANTO

A century of controversy on the Esperanto alphabet may now be drawing to a close, following the inclusion of Esperanto in the latest operating system of Macintosh computers. Formally called Apple MacOS X v.10.2 - but announced as 'Jaguar' - this system will enable users simply to click on a menu and select Esperanto from the list of languages.

Jaguar uses the internationally accepted Unicode standard, so that emails sent in Esperanto should be compatible with other systems, and files should be transferrable from computer to computer without alphabet problems.

However, so far, the Esperantisation seems to be far from complete. Janko Luin, in Sweden explains (in Esperanto): "The news is that in Mac OS X 10.2 one can select one's preferred language, but not a complete translation into Esperanto".

"Mac OS X is a multilingual system in that it allows the user to change the language of the programs, and even of the system itself to the selected language - on condition that the program supports Esperanto. So the existence of Esperanto as a language in Mac OS X is not as a translated system, but as a possibility of using translated programs (and also the system itself) in Esperanto. For instance, Mozilla [the public domain version of the Netscape 6 web browser] already exists in Esperanto translation, and so its interface can be shown in Esperanto."

Stanley Neil Glass, in the United States, explains that one can select the keyboard (eg: "U.S. Extended"), and for the c-circumflex etc, you click on 'option | 6' followed by the letter, and for u-breve you click on 'option | b' then the letter. Sounds a bit of a hassle to me, for regular use, compared with, say, a simple Alt-letter, or an automatic conversion of, say, "c^" or "ĉ".

Rather surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be anything on Apple's own website at http://www.apple.com about the languages selectable. But a picture of the language menu with Esperanto in it can be seen by clicking on the attachment link at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/e-inf/message/47 (though rather curiously, they've put 'Esperanto' with an 'n' ending).

So what would have to happen for the operating system to appear fully in Esperanto? I asked Janko: "Is this in the hands of Steve Jobs [of Apple], or could anyone contribute to the translation, as is the case with public domain software?" "Theoretically it's in the hands of anyone", Janko replied, "but it's a big job to translate the whole of an operating system, and it's a job that has to be carried through for each small update of the system". So, it seems it's in our hands.

There is already an Esperanto spell checker, cocoAspell, which can be downloaded for the Mac http://www.applelinks.com/articles/2002/05/20020517120307.shtml. And for an extra $20, you can acquire the apple macintosh education authoring tool and learning program, 'Learning Imp', said to be "the ideal supplement to a language course", and is available in Esperanto http://www.smalltalkfactory.de/learningimp/imp.htm.

Now that Apple has at least made a start on making Esperanto available, it is likely that Microsoft will follow on, since the two often follow each other's leads.

Current problems in using Esperanto with PCs are related to the lack of Esperanto keyboards - every country has its own - and the lack of keyboard driver programs that enable input of Esperanto letters from whatever keyboard the user has available. Such driver programs for Esperanto can be purchased commercially (I installed Esperanto characters in an Archimedes computer (inputting with 'Alt-letter'). But the problem with Microsoft systems is that only Bill Gates can add a new language. The only possibility is to overwrite one of the language options already existing. There is a public domain program called Ek, which can be installed on a Windows machine, and can be set to overwrite whatever language you select. This was written by Jurij Finkel, and can be downloaded from http://www.esperanto.mv.ru/Ek/. Jurij is also the author of a powerful multilingual Esperanto text editor called UniRed http://www.esperanto.mv.ru/UniRed/Help/Esperanto/index.html.

Microsoft's Word for Windows can display Esperanto letters on the screen, but provides no way for entering them on the keyboard. A template was developed by Bill Walker for Word 97 and later, to enable use of Esperanto letters http://home.btclick.com/ukc802510745/software/abeodoc.htm. William Rowe sent NetNews a set of instructions on how to create a template for Word 2000, which I hope RobERTo will post on the NetNews website when he sends this issue out http://esperanto.org/uk/eabnetnews.

Just a year ago, however, the World's first operating system which could use Esperanto was announced in Japan. This was based on TRON, an operating system designed for use with Japanese, Chinese and Korean. The Esperanto version is known as EspeTRON, and is available for installing into PCs from Japanese company Personal Media Corporation. A news report, with links, is to be found at http://tronweb.super-nova.co.jp/tronnews01-10.html. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who's tried EsperTRON out, or for that matter, Jaguar, or Ek.


6. "EQUAL RIGHTS FOR LANGUAGES" CALL TO EU

The European Esperanto Union has called on the EU to include the principle of "real, factually equal rights of all citizens of the Union to languages" in the EU's forthcoming written constitution.

The call was embodied in a resolution of the Fifth Congress of the European Esperanto Union, held at the end of August in Verona, Italy, attended by around 300 people.

They also called for this principle to be put into practice as soon as possible. The Congress invited the European Commission, and the national governments in Europe, to "fulfil as soon as possible, the desire expressed in the Conclusions of the Council of Ministers in 1995, on "Language Diversity and Multilingualism", confirmed in February 2002, and establish a permanent conference of national representatives, experts and politicians, to explore all options, including that offered by the international language, Esperanto, as well as arranging suitable experiments toward that goal."

"We discussed the increasing inequality due to the language problem, as well as the forthcoming enlargement of the European Union," said David Ferguson, general secretary of the European Esperanto Union". The Congress also called upon the European Commission to study ways of implementing real equal rights of all citizens of the Union, regardless of the mother tongues. "There is growing pressure upon Europeans not only to accept the idea that the common language for Europe is already English, but also to invest a great deal of time and money in order to learn English. Despite this great investment, native born English-speaking citizens are exceptionally favored in, among other things, obtaining employment in European organisations and businesses", David explained.

"Many Europeans are very worried about what is happening to their languages. It is not just a problem of Germans or French using so many English words in their own languages, but of concrete economic and social problems", David told the 300 or so Congress members. Speaking in Esperanto, he said, "Europeans are worried that major companies, and the European Commission, prefer native English speakers for an increasing amount of jobs. Governments are worried that US or UK companies have an unfair advantage as European industry shifts to English."

The European Esperanto Union is now working closely with French, Italian, and other language associations to defend language diversity. "European Commissioners talk all the time about language diversity. At the same time, European languages are being pushed out of ever more domains by English. That's why we need to work together," David said.

"That's not the language diversity the European Commission promised us during last year's 'European Year of Languages". However, the economic gains to English-speaking countries may one day dry up, David warned, just like North Sea Oil.

David Ferguson is employed at the Union's Brussels Centre as as general secretary. Sean O'Riain, an Irish diplomat in Berlin, was elected president of the European Esperanto Union.


7. NEW UK FILM ENTERPRISE TAKES OFF

A twenty-minute professional quality film with commentary in Esperanto has just been published by EKo Publishing. It's called 'Balonfesto' [Balloon Party], and presents ballooning as a sport or hobby, filmed mostly at the annual 'balonfesto' in Bristol. The text is provided on a sheet, so that Esperanto students and teachers can use and enjoy the film together.

Brian Burnett, of EKo Publications, explains:

"My colleague, Kevin, was a film-maker with the Liverpool University film unit for nearly 20 years until a cost-cutting exercise closed down the unit in March 2001. About 3 years ago, we made a promotional film - using some amateur footage from Paul Gubbins, combined with footage that Kevin shot at Barlaston during the Summer school.

"So, Kevin had some spare time and several hours of footage of hot-air ballooning, so we put together 'Balonfesto', with the help of Malcolm Jones who produced a script, from Kevin's notes, and did the commentary.

"We would like to produce some more material of this kind. Kevin has the equipment and expertise; Malcolm has the linguistic knowledge; and I can deal with the administration, etc. However, we have now run out of money so must rely on sales of past productions. Insufficient sales equals no more Esperanto productions.

"A few years ago, Paul Gubbins wrote a script for me for a teaching course, but we haven't had the money to develop it, so various versions sit in my PC waiting for something to happen. Meanwhile, a couple of people have suggested developing the ballooning film as teaching material, and I would like to do that, but it takes time - and I must still earn a living, apart from dealing with family commitments and other interests (mainly wildlife and wildlife conservation)".

"There is a lot more that I could do - but finance is the limiting factor", Brian added.

The film is available for PAL from Brian Burnett (EKo), Nant Yr Hafod Cottage, Llandegla, WREXHAM LL11 3BG. Rete: indesignekoataol.com Tel. 01978 790442, and costs 23 Euros, including postage and packaging.


8. BUILDING BRIDGES

An 'Esperanto Bridge' has been opened at an educational 'working farm' in Wethersfield Essex, in a small ceremony organised by the Eastern Federation. The farm encourages school visits, and so the opening was geared to the interests children in the area who are learning Esperanto. The ribbon was cut by Rebecca Clamp, the youngest of the local students of the Esperanto postal course.

Boydells Diary Farm is known by some of the visitors to the British Esperanto Congress in Saffron Waldon, held some years ago, when the farm was visited by a number of children from the congress. Then Boydells specialised in rare breeds, but it was subsequently devastated in the Footh-and-Mouth crisis, and has had to restock.

Their website states: "Boydells Dairy Farm is a small working farm, run by the Threadgold family consisting of Roy and Cherry, with son Kiley in partnership. The farm is open to the public and specialises in sheep milking. Set in the beautiful North Essex countryside only an hour's drive from central London, it provides a fun-packed and educational visit for children and adults alike" http://members.farmline.com/boydells/.

Public monuments to Esperanto or Zamenhof are called 'ZEO's' in the trade (though perhaps technically it has to be on public territory - I'm not sure!). I wonder how many ZEO's we have in the UK. I notice there's an Esperanto Cafe Bar at 56, South Rd Waterloo, Liverpool. Does anyone know of any others? I suppose EAB's new Esperanto House is one, too, and particularly the roadside sign that tells people they've arrived. Please do write in if you spot any other ZEO's - either to NetNews, or, perhaps even better, to one of the email discussion groups given in the EAB NetNews footer.

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EAB NETNEWS - a newsletter from Esperanto Association of Britain
Wedgwood Memorial College, Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent, ST12 9DE
Tel: 01782 372 141 Fax: 01782 372 393
Website: http://www.esperanto.org.uk
Editor: Ian Fantom, eabnetnewsatesperanto.org, tel: 01635 38592

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