EAB News 2002-06-21: EAB NetNews Bulletin

EAB NetNews - June 2001

E A B N E T N E W S No 9 (21 Jun 2002)

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



Jaques Chirac, before his recent reelection as president of France, promised to submit to the French government, and in particular to the ministry of education, the issue of including Esperanto as an optional subject for the schools 'baccalauréat' examination (roughly equivalent to our 'A' levels), as well as the issue of recruiting sufficient examiners in the language.

His interest in the furtherance of Esperanto appears to be based on his wish to retain cultural diversity, and his belief that Esperanto would be a strong factor with respect to harmony and understanding. Jaques Chirac is well-known for his views on the defence of the French language.

Esperanto supporters are now hoping that this will not be a repeat of the Mitterand fiasko, when in 1981 François Mitterrand made a similar promise, then promptly forgot all about it when he was elected to office. Jacques Chirac, however, has already shown some committment by voting for the introduction of Esperanto into the local syllabus when he was president of the council (Conseil Général) in the 'departement' of Creuse (Corrèze).

The full text is posted at http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/luarlandoj/message/157.


"The European Commission, through Vice-President Neil Kinnock, asked the JICS (Joint Interpreting and Conference Service) to set up a working group to examine projects on the teaching of Esperanto and consider to what extent it could be used as an intermediary language for interpretation."

Thus began a parliamentary question, submitted my Italian MEP Maurizio Turco in January http://www2.europarl.eu.int/omk/OM-Europarl?L=EN&PROG=WQ&PUBREF=-//EP//TEXT+WQ+E-2002-0075+0+DOC+SGML+V0//EN&LEVEL=5&SAME_LEVEL=1&NAV=S. The question continued by asking whether the working group had actually been set up, and, indeed, whether the request had been submitted. It asked about the consistency of the working group, how one would gain access to the reports, and what conclusions had been reached.

Replying, Neil Kinnock stated: "SCIC has indeed examined this question internally and with a number of its external partners in university and academic circles". I'm not sure whether in Eurospeak that means that the working group was set up or not. Unfortunately, I haven't yet learned Eurospeak.

Neil Kinnock explained: "As far as SCIC is aware, there are no professionally qualified Esperanto interpreters and educational institutions in Member States, on which SCIC relies for the provision of courses in interpretation, are unlikely to include Esperanto among the languages they provide. For logistical and financial reasons SCIC itself is not in a position to launch a training programme in Esperanto for existing and future interpreters. Training an interpreter to the required standard in an official language for passive use takes three to four years of part-time study and costs about ? 70.000".

Interesting, but how does that translate to the cost of training an interpreter in Esperanto for a linguist already skilled in the art of interpretation?

"Furthermore", he continued, "there is no evidence that using Esperanto as a relay language would lead to an improvement in the overall quality of interpretation. On the contrary, recourse to a language that is not used in everyday life would run the risk of not being able to convey the full range of messages and ideas communicated during meetings".

Aha - perhaps we should have brought our children up in native Eurospeak for clearer communication, rather than Esperanto.

"There is a shortage of interpreters in many existing and future Community languages. In line with Commission policy of concentrating resources on core activities, SCIC's immediate priority is to ensure that an adequate number of interpreters is available in these languages, particularly those of the candidate countries and has initiated a series of action plans committed to achieving this goal."

Erm... hang on. Wouldn't that take three to four years of part-time study, too, and at a cost of about ? 70.000 per language per interpreter? So how does that compare with the equivalent cost and time for Esperanto, with full-time study and presumably a cost of a fraction of ? 70.000? Maurizio Turco had asked for access to the working group's reports. Did the working group actually exist? Perhaps Maurizio Turco's questions should be put one at a time, for the benefit of those who don't understand this Eurolingo thing.

Last year, Neil Kinnock came under fire from the French and German foreign ministers for his plans to to cut down on the number of languages used in EU translation http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk_politics/newsid_1490000/1490243.stm, arguing that the plan would favour English. The correspondent of Le Monde described it as "a perfidious British plot in order to transform the EU into a sort of English speaking area. On a note of consolation, thought, I did read that Neil Kinnock is trying to learn French, but that he is having problems declining verbs and mastering pronunciation http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/pruden040700.asp. Having had difficulty in declining French, it seems that he's now declining Esperanto!


The Esperantic Studies Foundation http://esperantic.org is offering grants for Esperanto speakers who wish to follow a three-year course in Interlinguistics at Poznan University in Poland. The grants will cover just tuition fees, and up to three will be allocated each year.

The course covers Esperanto phonetics, grammar, semantics, lexicology, linguistic communication, applied linguistics, the history of Esperanto, and there's even a module on current problems in the Esperanto movement. Most of the course involves distance learning, but there is a week's residential course each semester.

The course is open for anyone who has reached approximately A-level or equivalent qualifications, and has a good knowledge of Esperanto. The Esperantic Studies Foundation will give priority to applicants who show the most potential in research or scientific writing.

Applications for the course should be sent to Ilona Koutny ikoutnyatamu.edu.pl by 15 August, and applications for an ESF grant should be sent to Mark Fettes mfettesatesperantic.org by 31 July. A description of the course contents is given at http://esperantic.org/ced/fakoj.htm.


Jenny Goddard, who runs a small Esperanto class for children in Painswick, Gloucestershire, is organising a tour in the UK for seven members of a young dance group, who are learning Esperanto in the Czech Republic. Also taking part in the tour will be seven children from Painswick, who are learning, or who speak Esperanto.

The tour is due to begin on June 21, when they will present dances and ĉech fables at the London Esperanto Club http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/lek.htm. From London they will travel straight to Scotland, where they will perform at a primary school in Coatbridge, and at an old people's home. Then they travel down to Painswick, and perform at three primary schools in Gloucester and one in Stroud (where Jenny hopes to start an Esperanto class), and to all the language teachers of a Gloucester school designated the status of "Language College".

A provisional programme has been posted on the NetNews website (including contact details).


Last summer, President of the Universal Esperanto Association, Renato Corsetti, met with some Esperantists who are active in the World Federalist Movement and discussed possible collaboration between the two movements. As a first step, it was thought that an Esperanto "event" (and perhaps also a stall) at the forthcoming WFM Congress in London in July 2002 might be a start. He asked EAB's Director of Development, David Kelso, to take the idea forward with Professor John Roberts (Esperantist and Federalist).

David Kelso writes: "Since September 2001, I have been engaged in very protracted exchanges with a number of people in the WF movement with a view to setting up some such event. Thanks to the generosity of Etsuo Miyoshi, Esperanto-Federalist, a room has been reserved in Imperial College (the congress venue) and a slot arranged in the official Congress programme for Sunday 14 July, 1600 - 1900 hrs. Ron Glossop (Esperantist-Federalist) of USA has volunteered to make an input; I am happy to do likewise; UEA and EAB are both happy to contribute in the form of publicity material, refreshments etc. What is lacking so far is bodies! We have no control over how many federalists choose to drop in to the meeting, but I am working on the assumption that perhaps 30 or so (out of approx 100) may do so. I should like to approximately match that number with esperantists.

"What I envisage is that we devote 50-60 minutes to an introduction to Esperanto for world federalists; 50-60 minutes to an introduction to world federalism for Esperantists; and 50-60 minutes to a joint session (with refreshments) where we would explore the overlap of interests and areas of potential collaboration. Any variations on that suggestion are welcome. It would be understandable if some esperantists chose to skip the intro to Esperanto (first hour) and some federalists the intro to federalism (third hour); hopefully all would be there for the joint session."

The World Federalist Movement World Congress will take place at Imperial College in London, from July 11-15, and the details are at http://www.worldfederalist.org/congress/index.html.


Building work on Esperanto House is now complete, and work is going ahead to prepare this new Headquarters of EAB at the Wedgwood Memorial College in Barlaston for a grand opening in September.

Liz O'Dunne writes from Barlaston:

"Geoff King, David Bisset and Jean Bisset have worked tirelessly for two solid weeks, with a little help from youngsters David Lane and Sam O'Dunne. The Butler library collection arrived on Friday 31 May, I'm not quite sure how many boxes there actually were but it looked like 'hundreds'! and for the last fortnight each box has been opened and every book has been dusted before being arranged by librarian Geoff King on the new shelves in The Butler Library.

"Jean Bisset along with Pam Howe (WMC's garden designer) and WMC handymen David and Jeff have made good progress with the landscaping of the land surrounding Esperanto house. My son Sam (13) is a very keen gardener and has been Jean's 'right hand man' during his half term break from school, helping with digging and weeding.

"David and Jean Bisset stayed on longer than expected and as I am typing this are heading back to Scotland for a well deserved rest.

"Now work can begin next week on the task of moving the office. The phone lines will be active in the new building from 24 June. However patience from members would be greatly appreciated during the next couple of weeks as moving an office is almost as traumatic as moving house.

"I am currently preparing the invitations for the official opening on September 17, these should be mailed out by the end of this week. Members should receive a booking form for the three day event in the next edition of Update."


The new Management Committee, elected during the British Congress in May, held a weekend seminar at the Wedgwood Memorial College in Barlaston on 7-9 June, during which, areas of responsibility were decided.

This followed on from the post-AGM meeting in Stoke, in which Edmund Grimley-Evans, David Bisset, and Joyce Bunting agreed to continue as President, Vice-President and Honorary Treasurer respectively, and Geoffrey Sutton agreed to be the association's new Honorary Secretary. Geoffrey recently returned to the UK, after many years working abroad.

During the Barlaston weekend, areas of responsibility other that those of the offices were decided. Helen Fantom, who is new to the committee, will take on responsibility for publicity, though not for the formal opening of Esperanto House. Helen will also take on matters concerning the leasing agreement for Esperanto House, and will be available for advising on financial matters.

Previous President of EAB, Grahame Leon-Smith, has just rejoined the committee, thus making a come-back to Esperanto after twenty years of concentrating on other educational and charity matters. Grahame takes on responsibility for education and, with Edmund Grimley-Evans, IT applications. Grahame Blakey, also newly elected at the AGM, takes on the book service, though dealing with second-hand books will come under the library. Frank Spilsbury is to help Grahame Leon-Smith with education and IT.

David Bisset will now focus mainly on the Butler Library (see the article on Esperanto House in this issue), in line with his professional experience as a librarian. He will also continue with his responsibility for arrangements for the official opening of Esperanto House in September. Edmund Grimley-Evans will be responsible for overall co-ordination and international relations. Geoffrey Sutton is to oversee policy on publications (He has previously been editor of UEA's 'Esperanto' review). Joyce Bunting is to oversee the working of the office, liaison with Wedgwood Memorial College, and will also deal with the association's handbook.

Outside the committee, EAB's Development Director, David Kelso will have to reduce his time to about 50 days a year, because of other committments, but the office staff from the College will be invited to increase their hours of working for the EAB office. David will be responsible for organisation, liaison with groups, federations, kindred organisations, policy development, volunteer networks, and possibly media. Terry Page continues to be responsible for congresses. The editors of the three publications remain the same: Paul Gubbins (British Esperantist), Eric Walker (EAB Update) and Ian Fantom (EAB NetNews).


If you're quick, you'll just be in time to sample the end of Terry Page's language course with music at Kvinpetalo in France. It finishes tomorrow, but it looks an intriguing way for the organiser of the British Congress to go for some relaxation!

You've probably just read about the 'Esperanto Event' at the World Federalists Congress in London from July 11-15. We'd love to hear about it afterwards from any participants ....

The Esperanto Summer School at the Wedgwood Memorial College in Barlaston runs from 10-16 August. This is for intermediate and advanced students, and is run by Paul Gubbins. And in September (7-8) there is a Scottish Esperanto Study Weekend in Dunblane. You may, however, be interested in doing a full-time course for up to 16 weeks in Sweden. This is from 2 September, at the Karlskoga People's High School (Lars Forsman lars.forsmanatfhsk.karlskoga.se). It's multinational, and they use only Esperanto. Or perhaps you'd just prefer to settle for the Internacia Amikeca Renkontiĝoo, Aylesford, Kent (Terry Page terry-pageatsupanet.com).

The big international event of the year is the World Esperanto Congress in Fortaleza, Brazil, from 3-10 August, and the congress of the Sennaciaca Asocio Tutmonda takes place in Alicante from 1-8 July.

You'll find most of the details in the calendar of events run by Eventoj http://www.eventoj.hu/kalendar.htm. Incidentally, they're celebrating their tenth anniversary in Budapest this coming July.

If you're in the London area and are religious, you may be interested in the new web site of the London Ecumenical Services, held monthly in Esperanto http://uk.geocities.com/keb560319/edlhejm.htm.


I had been trying to get NetNews out regularly, once a month, but I didn't quite manage it! The current style of NetNews was to some extent experimental. I had been wondering for quite a while (decades, I think), what would happen if someone were to report Esperanto news aimed primarily at people who had a passing interest in the language (or in the association, even), rather than the enthusiasts. That means sifting through a lot of material, being selective, looking out for real-world information, investigating interesting stories, and putting together reports from various sources.

The result was a general outburst of enthusiasm. That was great! But it was also rather time-consuming. As someone said "Sorry my letter is so long, but I hadn't got time to write a shorter one". Whoever it was: thanks, you've said it for me.

But also, as soon as you start investigating, you then want to start putting things right! So when there were only four candidates for the committee when the deadline expired, I did insist on either publishing the candidates' names, or publishing an extended deadline for all the members. Then, you feel under pressure to investigate the reasons behind the lack of candidates, and to do something about it. Well, I did something about it, and so felt I was a bit too close to the elections to be seen to be impartial (and not everyone at the time thought I was), so I thought it best to hold back on NetNews for a while.

So that's why there's been a gap. One thing that emerged is the need for some sort of forum for discussing matters arising from NetNews. I was going to set up a NetNews email group, but there are two already existing email groups for this country, one in Esperanto, and one in Esperanto and English. They are currently underused, so why not make those the place to direct NetNews readers for taking the issues a little further? For details, see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/esper-brit/ and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/esperanto-in-britain.


EAB NETNEWS - a newsletter from Esperanto Association of Britain
Editor: Ian Fantom, eabnetnewsatesperanto.org, tel: 01635 38592
EAB Office: Esperanto Association of Britain, Wedgwood Memorial College, Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent, ST12 9DE
Tel: 01782 372141 Fax: 01782 372393
Web: http://www.esperanto.org.uk

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