March 8, 2015
How does a new language come into existence? Usually, it's a long and slow process in which one language is evolved from another collectively and overall unintentionally by a community of speakers. However, in the case of Esperanto, its grounds were laid by a single person named L. L. Zamenhof more than 125 years ago. Since then, Esperanto has turned into a living language thanks to its engaged speaker community. The native language of my guest Johannes is German, but Esperanto has become his everyday language that he uses to communicate not only with his flat mates but also with his many other friends from all over the world. In this episode, we talk about Johannes' fascination for Esperanto as a language and the associated subculture, Esperanto's ultimate killer application, why Volapük didn't become as successful, Esperanto native speakers, Esperanto's complicated family background, the problematic integration of chopsticks, and the general nerdiness of Mr. Zamenhof. Time goes so fast (and interviews get so long) when you're having fun, therefore the interview with Johannes is delivered in two parts.