EAB News 2003-03-13: EAB NetNews Bulletin

EAB NetNews - March 2003

E A B N E T N E W S No 15 (13 Mar 2003)

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



Reports are just coming in that European Ombudsman Jacob Söderman has upheld a complaint made by the Universal Esperanto Association against the European Commission on the grounds of language discrimination.

The Universal Esperanto Association had lodged the complaint in April 2002, because of the growing number of job advertisements requiring "English native speakers".

The complete text of the response is still awaited at the UEA Brussels Communications Centre, their general secretary, David Ferguson, told NetNews today. Press information may be obtained from the Brussels office of the European Esperanto Union http://www.lingvo.org (+32 2 50013 03 44) or from the Universal Esperanto Association http://www.uea.org. The decisions are announce at http://www.euro-ombudsman.eu.int/decision/en/ec.htm, so watch this place.

In the mean time, a book has just been published on language discrimination in the European Union. It's called "English-Only Europe?" (2003, Routledge ISBN 0-415-28807-X) by Robert Phillipson, Professor of English in the Copenhagen Business School. The book deals with the threat to language diversity and equality in the EU, and it offers some solutions, including one involving Esperanto. It also deals with the problems of native English speakers!

On the back cover are statements by two Welshmen: British European Commissioner Neil Kinnock, and the General Secretary of the European Esperanto Union David Ferguson.

Professor Phillipson is also the author of "Linguistic Imperialism" (1992, Oxford: Oxford University Press (365 pp). Fourth printing 1997).

"Nepre aĉetinda" [Definately worth buying] was the comment from Professor Renato Corsetti, president of the Universal Esperanto Association uea.org>.


Obituaries have been appearing throughout the world's press of the American composer Lou Harrison, who died on February 2. He was known for his experimental compositions, blending Asian and Western musical styles and instruments. He was also known for his wide musical tastes, having studied under Schoenberg, worked with John Cage, and composed an twelve-tone opera, yet later turning to diatonic composition and expansive melody.

He was, as The Guardian put it, "a fluent advocate of Esperanto" http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/news/obituary/0,12723,889241,00.html. Three of his works were give Esperanto titles. In 1961 he published his 'Koncherto por la Violono kun Perkuta Orkestro' [Concerto for Violin with Percussion Orchestra], the instrumentation consisting of organ, glockenspiel, vibraphone, tube chimes, celesta, piano, jangles,gong, sticks http://www.musicweb.uk.net/classrev/2001/May01/Harrison.htm. In 1963 he wrote 'Pacifika Rondo' [Pacific Circle], which had its premiere, in Honolulu the following year. Then in 1973 he completed 'La Koro Sutro' [The Heart Sutra] http://www.esperanto.be/fel/but/lib/kors.html, a Buddhist inspired choral work with an Esperanto translation of a Buddhist text. This was for mixed chorus and Americal Gamalan, with percussion ensemble. The première was the following year in San Francisco.

A Lou Harrison web site gives a list of his compositions and published recordings, and descriptions of some of his compositions http://www.sjsu.edu/depts/music_dance/centers/harrison_archive/.


The public showing of Incubus, Shatner film in Esperanto, was well worth the trip down to London Sci-Fi Film Festival, even if it is available on video. The showing was in the Classics part of the festival programme, and was preceeded by a morning session on lo-no (low or no) budget film making, of which Incubus was an interesting example. Festival organiser Louis Savy gave a little intro before showing the film, and talked of his own reactions on first seeing it. "I was ready to take the micky", he said, "but I enjoyed it. It was really great!"

I'd taken the opportunity to make myself known, and to introduce the other Esperanto speakers present, including a Mongolian student, Altan, who is currently studying at Reading University. I asked her afterwards if she could have followed the dialogues in the somewhat corrupted Esperanto without the subtitles. "No", she replied. That didn't surprise me; neither could I. That was a pity; it would have been so easy for them to have got the Esperanto sounding almost perfect.

Louis asked me afterwards how I found the Esperanto. "It's like getting the spirit of a piano piece across, but playing wrong notes", I replied. He smiled as he got the message. "I wouldn't know", he added.

Emily Barlaston (stage name), who first alerted us to the showing of the film, wrote in, saying that Incubus's producer, Tony Taylor, had told him that the dialogue was in good Esperanto. "I heard part of it in the Internet, and it was absolutely terrible", Emily said. There are reports that William Shatner thought his own unique pronunciation would change the future pronunciation of Esperanto. "Kia naivulo!" [How naive!], Emily exclaimed. (Can anyone find an English word for 'naivulo'?). Emily then compared it with another classic, Charlie Chaplin's 'The Great Dictator', which also used Esperanto. "They made a mess of the words in that, too, but the language was only to be seen (on the street, for example)." I think I saw that one before I learned Esperanto, though, so I wouldn't know.

There's an interview on Incubus with Tony Taylor at http://www.reelcriticism.com/ziggyrealm/columns/taylorinterview_1_31_03.html.


Angela Tellier has been appointed as EAB's new education co-ordinator, working from home on a one-day-a-week basis. Her contract started on March 1.

Her general responsibility is for education within EAB (Grahame Leon-Smith represents EAB to external education bodies). This involves our 'education system', says Angela, explaining that this means course materials, examinations, and related activities. Angela will be co-ordinating a modernisation project, with suitable advertising material, and administration.

At the moment she is preparing a leaflet for advertising the present correspondence courses, including the new Elementary course, which should be ready before the British Congress in May.

She is also organising beginners course with Paul Gubbins at the Wedgwood Memorial College in Barlaston for October 24-26. "We especially want to attract those who recently completed, or are about to complete, the free postal course", she said.

Angela's whole family is fluent in Esperanto. Her children learned the language from her during home-schooling, and then her husband, Dominic, suddenly turned up speaking the language. Together with Malcom Jones, Angela is also responsible for the Urso-Kurso, a course for children, designed for working with their parents http://www.nl-papa.hu/ipr/urso-kurso.htm.


Elizabeth Stanley, who runs an Esperanto group at Sir Thomas Rich's School http://schoolsite.edex.net.uk/1932/ in Gloucestershire wrote: "Just a quickie to let you know - for general info and for NetNews - what we're doing at my school for International Mother Tongue day (21st Feb). I heard about this UNESCO initiative through an Esperanto email and suggested to Jeckie Hewett, our Language College coordinator, that it would be appropriate for us to do something to mark the day. She, bless her, has been working away setting up an evening that involves some of our link primary schools and community groups, so we will have a programme of entertainment in a variety of languages: Bengali, Gujerati, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, French German, Spanish and Italian. (I might have missed a couple!) Esperanto contribution will be a poem about the Holocaust "Al la Juda Foririnta" and a display board bearing messages from around the world. I asked people to email or write sending their greetings on Mother Tongue Day in their mother tongue and in Esperanto. I've had a very good response and mail is still coming in. I'm not making a big song and dance, just including Esperanto in the evening. I'm very pleased with the attitude of our Headmaster who, at speech day and in the school magazine, simply included Esperanto in his list of languages offered by the school."

After the event, Elizabeth wrote in, saying: "Our Mother Language Day celebration was a big success. I was very pleased with the Esperanto display put together by one of my pupils, incorporating all the emails and postcards we were sent in response to my request for greetings in people's mother tongues with Esperanto translations. I was also delighted with the poster produced to advertise the evening. I asked one of the sixth form to do it and just gave him a copy of the programme and left the design to him. He decided to incorporate all the flags that went with the languages represented on the programme - so I was presented with a beautiful poster which had the Esperanto flag flying with all the others! Also radio Gloucestershire got in touch and asked a few questions about Esperanto."

The International Mother Language Day http://www.unesco.org/education/imld_2003/, proclaimed by UNESCO's General Conference in November 1999, has been observed annually since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The Universal Esperanto Association issued a press release in support of the event. "We wish for every child to have the human right to be education in his mother tongue. We wish for every person to have the human right to take part in international life on the basis of linguistic and cultural equality... On the international level, the neutral language Esperanto is the means to enusre the Languistic Human Rights of all. In this sence, the Esperanto movement celebrates, with UNESCO, International Mother Language Day", the bulletin stated.


An impressive professional Esperanto portal was launched earlier this year by a company in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. The portal is named 'Ĝangalo' [Jungle], and is to be found at http://www.ĝangalo.com. The entry page lists the main current news events, with Esperanto news competing for space with other world events. This makes the Esperanto part highly selective and focused (We try to do in NetNews, too!).

The portal includes reviews, humour, games, a chat room and more, and it's updated daily. "Is this a commercial venture?", I asked the editor, Flavio Rebelo. "Yes", he replied, "this portal is professional, and as such, has to make a profit." They have a six person team working on keeping it constantly updated. "The whole thing started off in my head three years ago", Flavio explained, "The practical steps (programming, design, searching for content, equipment) started six months ago."

He is confident that the portal will eventually make a profit (presumably through advertising), but the numbers of visitors has to be built up first, he said. His company, Lingva, runs a language school, which teaches Esperanto. They promote the courses by showing Esperanto in practice, rather than just talking about the philosophy. "This sort of promotion is bringing to our school a different type of student - people who wish not only to learn the language", Flavio explained, "but, together with us, to conquer it in aspects of human life. That is extraordinary."

Flavio has already set his sights on Europe. "The business is ready to work together with any Esperanto association, club, institution or private individual, who wishes to teach the international language professionally", he told NetNews. "And from Britain, as well as from the whole of Europe, we are expecting invitations to work together, orders for books on our method [the Lingva method], and also, perhaps, for invitations for lecturing, and giving seminars and teachers' courses." Flavio is a professionally qualified teacher of Esperanto, English, Spanish and Italian.

Flavio has ambitious plans. By (our) summer he will have set up the first private publisher of CDs in South America, under the name 'Suda Kruco' [Southern Cross].


I mentioned in NetNews 13 that I had received a phone call from Dermod Quirke on keying in multilingual symbols in Word, following the NetNews 12 report that Apple had given an Esperanto language option in its Macintosh computers. Dermod told me about a system of Word macros, which he and his colleague Brian Bolser had developed http://www.dermod.dircon.co.uk/eureka.doc This sistem is intended not just for Esperanto, but for any multilingual use, in particular, language translation. 'Eureka', makes use of the Word AutoCorrect facility, which will convert a key sequence to a predefined character sequence. So, for instance, you could configure the sequence '\c\' to insert the letter c-circumflex.

The system was then extended by John Wells, to cover the International Phonetic Alphabet http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/eureka-ipa.doc, which, as a professor of linguistics and phonetics, was close to his heart. John emailed me shortly afterwards, giving the link to Eureka. "I found the discussion [in NetNews] on PCs too pessimistic", he wrote, "Why not emphasise that every new Windows computer now has ready-made Esperanto letters? Because that's how it's been for several years, though not many people know that. (Macintosh has lagged terribly behind)". [my translation]

"Keyboarding is not a problem, and doesn't need any special commercial program", John added, "Read the article by Dermod Quirke http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/Eureka.doc,and recommend it to others."

I've been following some of the discussion on the Macintosh Esperanto discussion group e_Mac e_Macatesperanto.se. Since the introduction of the Esperanto language selection into their Jaguar (MacOŜ) software, the group has been discussing how to set up the full Esperanto facilities on the machine. Apple now wants to provide every primary and secondary school teacher in Europe with a copy of Mac OS X version 10.2 http://www.apple.com/uk/education/macoŝforteachers/.

But Grahame Leon-Smith has been pressing me on how to use the Esperanto alphabet in emails. I tried, some time ago, to explain to Demon Internet why they shouldn't strip out 8-bit characters in emails going through their system, because some people want to receive emails in other languages from other countries. The concept seemed a bit advanced for them. But modern email systems will now encode the text and then decode it at the other end, so that non-English characters survive the transmission.

In my office, we installed the Mozilla browser and email program http://www.mozilla.org/, which I reported on in the last NetNews, onto my Unix system, and then the Esperanto language pack (very easy). The menus are in Esperanto with the correct characters (but aren't yet 100% translated). We'd just upgraded the popular 'kde' graphical interface http://www.kde.org/, which was already partially translated into Esperanto - but the language versions don't seem to have been included yet in the new version. There's a team working on that http://i18n.kde.org/.

To read emails with Esperanto letters, all that's required is to make sure that the default character set is set to 'autodetect' for receiving.

The remaining question now is how to key in non-English characters. Aaron Irvine, in Northern Ireland, has produced a web page www.lingvo.org/klavaro, giving links to programs which will reconfigure the keyboard for a Windows computer. Microsoft provide a fixed number of slots for language selection, and Esperanto is not amongst them (perhaps no-one asked for Esperanto!). The highly recommended program 'Ek' will allow you to replace any one of these languages with Esperanto. Unfortunately, the author of this and the multilingual text editor UniRed has, to everyone's surprise, decided to quit Esperanto, and so - with his permission - I copied his extensitve website to http://esperanto.org/finkel.

Amongst Aaron's links, I found a young computer enthusiast in Wiltshire, who has been designing various European layouts for the ergonomic Dvorak keyboard http://eurokeys.steveszone.com/. You'll see he's included Esperanto. He currently uses a normal QUERTY keyboard at work, but configured for the Dvorak layout. "but where possible I change the keys physically around, such as on my home PCs, where the screwd river method came in handy!", he told NetNews.

So, what about keying in Esperanto letters with Unix systems? I thought I'd better sort this one out for my own system. I found a standard utility for reconfiguring the keyboard, called xmodmap http://unixhelp.ed.ac.uk/CGI/man-cgi?xmodmap. It looked a little complicated, so I carried on searching. I found a good overview by Bertil Wennerngren http://www.bertilow.com/komputo/linukso.php, which pointed me to a simple program that took a few seconds to install from the Internet, and which made the reconfiguration much easier. It's called xkeycaps, and it's lurking in http://www.jwz.org/xkeycaps/. So now I can use Esperanto letters for all programs that support Unicode, simply by entering, for instance, AltGr-c for c-circumflex. For anything unusual, I wouldn't remember the key combinations anyway, so I can just call up the standard kde program kcharselect, and insert the character into the text using three mouse clicks.

Having set that up, I tried a search on Google http://google.com - which for me is set up for Esperanto as the default language - entering the Esperanto special characters directly from the keyboard, to see whether Google would know what to search for. Google did :-)

My guess is that in a year or so, something like this will be pretty standard for most Unix systems.


Can ZEOs (Zamenhof Esperanto Objects) be mobile, I wonder. I've just received a note from the news service Ret-Info http://www.eventoj.hu on a new sports car model 'Esperante GTS' http://www.panozauto.com/ by Panoz Auto Development, for use in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) club events. So it's not likely to become a mobile advert for Esperanto in the UK, like Daewoo's Espero http://www.carsurvey.org/model_Daewoo_Espero.html. The Daewoo group subsidised the publication of an Esperanto translation of their founder's autobiography http://www.sudakruco.org/035/21.html, and the profits went towards a project of the Universal Esperanto Association http://www.uea.org/esperanto_p/dokumentoj/komunikoj_jan1998/gaz03c.htm. Besides the 'Espero' ['hope'], there is also the 'Cielo' ['sky'], and the 'Nubira' - though I'm not too sure whether that name was taken from Esperanto; it means literally 'Cloud-going'.

For that matter, I'm not sure whether the ubiquitous 'Montego' ['mountain'] is taken from Esperanto, either. I used to count the Esperanto words I'd see on my weekly commute from London to Utrecht - I'd see about 15-20. Now I find a list of 83 brand names which happen to be Esperanto words. At least, I presume that the Dutch bank 'Rabo Bank' didn't really mean to call their bank 'Robbery Bank'. The most established Esperanto name (intentionally, I believe) must be that of the soft drink 'Mirinda' ['wonderful'] http://www.mouthshut.com/readreview/27065-1.html.

If you really want to see the word 'Esperanto' on the vehicle body, have a look at http://www.werbeauto.com/1625112.htm. The 'Esperante GTS' is described as having a unique body. Another Mobile Zeo with a unique body has also just appeared, under the name "Esperanto Rio-Body" http://www.erospa-shop.de/?pid=30162&bnr=200883.


"Meet other language mad people! You'll find people from the language companies, those that have languages they're not using at work and those that are just starting out with their language learning! Come along and get some advice and motivation!" That's an invitation from Language Advantage http://www.languageadvantage.com/party/index.htm to their London party on May 8 (18:30 onwards). There'll be free salsa lessons, and a DJ and dance, if you're really into the spirit. For people outside the London area, how about organising a language party of your own? Language Advantage will give you tips and ideas, and even advertise it for you.

Pictures of the Centenary New Year Party of the London Esperanto Club have been posted on their website at http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/lek-uni.htm. To take part in the club's real centenary celebrations, reserve the last weekend in April (25-26). Details are yet to come, but it will be held in the School of Oriental and African Studies, in Bloomsbury, central London. There'll be a welcoming evening at the usual club premises on the Friday evening. Early in May will be the club's AGM, but an AGM with a difference. On the occasion the the club's centenary, they're to be unceremoniously chucked out of the premises; the Countrywide Holidays Association is to sell the building. So come with some imaginative thinking!

Also celebrating their centenaries this year, I hear, will be the Esperanto societies in Glasgow http://www.skotlando.org/glasgow/ and Edinburgh http://www.skotlando.org/edinburgh/. Talking of centenaries, you may wish to try your hand at designing an emblem for the Japanese Esperanto Centenary, and go in for a 10000 yen (80¤) prize, then request details from them at esperantoatthn.ne.jp.

At the London Esperanto Club on March 28 there'll be a Multicultural Concert of Music and Dance to be presented by HRH Princess Dr Marahaj Guru Kumari of Tripura State, India, and by Universal Cultural Exchange Promotions. There'll also be an optional meal for £5 per head (as they say!) if you order this fairly soon from June or Peter Miles on 020 8428 2829. The club bulletin, which arrived yesterday, also states "HRH also contemplates arranging for us a tour of Tripura State and India, lasting about 4-6 weeks, in late December 2003 / early January 2004. You would be asked to pay only for a return flight to Calcutta - about £500".

There is much to report on the Scottish Esperanto Congress, to be held in Glasgow 23-26 May 2003, according to the Scottish Esperanto Association's website http://www.skotlando.org/News/Scottish%20Congress%202003.htm, though it doesn't actually give details. The theme is communication. "This will be particularly interesting because it will also host the British Congress", says the web page. Young British Esperantists are hoping to relaunch their activities during this congress, according to their new website, currently under construction at http://www.jeb.org.uk. A circular on the JEB relaunch has just been put into my hands - it arrived this morning from Esperanto House.

The next event in Barlaston is the SATEB (non-nationalists) weekend (May 16-18), and there will later be the annual Esperanto Summer School (9-15 August) http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PGubbins/barlasto.htm. The best listing of the Esperanto events at Barlaston seems to be that of the West Midlands Esperanto Federation http://www.esperanto.westmidlands.btinternet.co.uk/stoke.html.

If we go south, following the British Congress, we can have an interesting weekend at the French Congress (May 19 - June 1) at the Chateau de Grésillon in Baugé http://grezijono.kastelo.free.fr/indekso.htm, simultaneously with an 'inter-association' meeting of various specialist groups. Later (September 1-7) in Brittany there will be an international 'Bretona Bubado' [Breton Fooling Around!], organised for the young in spirit, by the "creators of the Skota Semajno [Scottish Week]". See http://www.bretonabubado.org/index.html.

It's probably time to think of the World Esperanto Congress (July 26 - August 2), the International Youth Congress (July 19-26) and the Children's Esperanto Congress (July 26 - August 2), all in Sweden http://www.uea.org/esperanto/index_kongres.html.

I like the idea of Esperanto groups organising language parties though!


Outbreak of war is always a sombre occasion in the Esperanto community. There are often members of the community on both sides, and commencement of hostilities signifies yet another failure in achieving some sort of peaceful co-existance. There has always been a strong pro-peace feeling amongst Esperanto speakers and supporters, and, indeed, laying down some sort of framework upon which peace could be built was fundamental to the birth and nurture of Esperanto. Even so, the Esperanto movement is outside politics. Both sides in the UK parliamentary debate are arguing for the best way to achieve peace. Esperanto is more to do with the grass roots level, of direct personal contact, without linguistic barriers, either practical or psychological.

During the Kosovo conflict I was in discussion with a Serbian Esperantist of a different persuasion from my own. It was all very civilised. I almost felt like saying "With enemies like that, who needs friends?".

I wonder what the international stage would have looked like now if President Bush had been a fluent speaker of Arabic, Farsi and Korean. It wouldn't have solved the central problem, but at least we'd have had less of the crusading talk. This takes me back to the Iran hostage crisis, when, if I thought I'd have the slightest chance of getting the president's attention, I'd have suggested at least making some effort to address the Iranians in their own language. Looking back on it, I think Jimmy Carter would have listened; the Iranians were at the time very sensitive about what they saw as US imperialism. The message transmitted can depend on the language in which one expresses it. Making at least some attempt in Farsi, and doing the rest in Esperanto, would have got the same message across: whatever our differences, we respect your language and culture.

The Universal Esperanto Association, in its 'Language of Peace' programme ("Lughatu-ssalam / Lingvo de Paco") http://www.uea.org/esperanto/index.html has set up an emaildiscussion group hiwar-al-hadharat-interciviliza-dialogoatyahoogroups.com for encouraging dialogue between Arabs and non-Arabs, in any language, including Esperanto. The program also aims to provide material help to refugees, and to run Esperanto courses for Palestinians and other Arab refugees. The first annual report of a parallel project, "Lingvo de Paco / Zaban-e-Salam", for Afghan refugees, has been published. The project has resulted in 201 Afghan Esperanto-speaking ex-refugees, and there is now a small Esperanto office in Mashad.

Perhaps we should have car stickers with the slogan "Amikiĝu kun arabo; amikiĝu kun judo" [Make friends with an arab; make friends with a Jew]. That captures the spirit of Esperanto.


EAB NETNEWS - a newsletter from Esperanto Association of Britain
Wedgwood Memorial College, Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent, ST12 9DE
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