The Most Serene Republic of San Marino. According to legend, the tiny country of San Marino was founded in 301AD by Saint Marinus of Rab, and is thus the world’s oldest republic. Occupying 24 square miles around Mount Titano in the middle of Italy, it is the fifth smallest country in the world. [more inside]
Google's logo today commemorates the 150th birthday of Ludovic Lazarus Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto, an artificial language designed as an international auxiliary communication mode. Perhaps surprisingly, approximately 1,000 people worldwide are native Esperanto speakers, the most famous of which is George Soros. Many of these are children born into households with parents who met at the Universala Kongreso de Esperanto. [more inside]
Amabil amico, Con grand satisfaction mi ha lect tei letter de le mundolingue. Arika Okrent, author of the new book In The Land of Invented Languages, lists 500 constructed languages, from the well-known (Esperanto, Volapuk, Loglan) to the utterly obscure (Neulatein, Rosentalographia, Mundolingue.) MetaFilter's own languagehat reviews the book. Okrent writes about Klingonophones in Slate. Alternatively, you might choose to learn not to speak Esperanto. Previously on MetaFilter, all you wanted to know about Loglan/Lojban but were too syntactically ambiguous to ask.
Neutral Moresnet - a wedged-shaped, almost Esperanto speaking, janiformed currency using, one-step anthem playing, created because of a zinc mine, mini-state, that is now nothing more than some border markers. [more inside]
I've been grooving on some of the music of Persone a lot lately (some full-length mp3 samples here). They're one of the most noticeable Esperanto 'rokbandoj', though by all means not the only one. I'm fond of Jomo kaj Liberecanoj (sample in Spanish, Esperanto, and French) as well. Of course, Esperanto isn't the only constructed language with some music; there apparently is a CD in Klingon (you only hear samples), and some song translations and info about a CD here, and there is also a bit of recorded music in Elvish (scroll down to "Elvish Music"). But most of it seems to be in Esperanto.
An index to 1,696 constructed languages. (or just look at the top 200) From the Nadsat of a Clockwork Orange and Tolkein's Quenya to Star Trek's Darmonk, a language based solely on parables (though Gene Wolfe got there first) and Borges's language of Tlon, there is plenty here for science fiction fans and language geeks alike. And, yes, for all you fanatics, Esperanto is listed, as is your source for news in Special English, limited to a 1500 word vocabulary.
Today is World Esperanto Literature Day. December 15th is the birthday of the creator of Esperanto, Dr. L. L. Zamenhof. Don't speak Esperanto yet? You can learn Esperanto on the web, via email, or at home. After all of that learning you may want to relax by playing a game, watching a movie (starring William Shatner!) or listening to some music.
I never realized how great Wikipedia was for quick-and-dirty guides to languages. For example, did you know that Esperanto uses affixes to cut the number of adjectives one must learn in half? Or that Finnish has fifteen noun cases, including six locative declensions? Or that Vedic Sanskrit was tonal? How about that Cherokee verbs each have 21,262 inflected forms? I could play with this forever.
Move over, Esperanto. ould this be a powerful enough alternative to the legacy of Zamenhof to catch on? Could it threaten to end linguistic diversity?