Lasha Chakhunashvili / Photo: From Archive of Lasha Chakhunashvili
We know that Esperanto is a neutral international language. In your opinion what are the advantages of speaking this language and how was it of use to you personally?
First of all, neutrality is perhaps the best characteristic of Esperanto when it comes to its linguistic advantages compared to the rest of Lingua Francas. Plus, there is a completely stunning international community of speakers worldwide with whom you can interact right after learning the language. You can simply make a lot of interesting friends from many countries, travel without having to worry about language barriers while using the special Esperanto travel service (similar to that of ‘’Couchsurfing‘’) which is called ‘’Pasporta Servo’’ (passport service), allowing you to stay at Esperantists’ for free. I myself made use of the Pasporta Servo while travelling to Poland for example where I made friends and met interesting nice people.
Additionally, there are a lot of international meetings, congresses and other interesting gatherings of Esperanto speakers taking place in every season of the year. The most important ones include ‘’World Congress of Esperanto’’ (Universala Kongreso, taking place since 1905) and ‘’International Youth Congress of Esperanto’’ (Internacia Junulara Kongreso) both held annually in different countries around the world, with hundreds of people participating from various regions of the globe.
What Esperanto-related events have you participated in and how important they were to you?
The very first Esperanto event that I took part in was the 6th Middle Eastern Meeting (la 6-a Mezorienta Kunveno) held in Yerevan (Armenia) in the spring of 2013. It was also my first visit to a foreign country (though a neighboring one) and a really unique opportunity to make friends with amazing people from various countries. It was also a great opportunity to use my knowledge of Esperanto for the first time while communicating with other participants.
It was an exemplary occasion to make sure that Esperanto is indeed a language of peace and friendship, devised against hostility among nations. I was the only Georgian person taking part in this event and it was amazing to see how Turks, Armenians, Germans, French and Polish came together to celebrate the re-emergence of the Esperanto movement in the Caucasus region. I was more than happy after hearing the organizers’ decision to hold the next meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia and we did it last year when Esperanto speakers from a lot of countries arrived to the 7th Middle Eastern Meeting (la 7-a Mezorienta Kunveno) especially dedicated to the famous 13th century Georgian poet – Rustaveli, whose epic poem ‘’The Knight in The Panther’s Skin’’ has been prepared for a new publication in Esperanto. This summer there is the festive 100th World Congress which is going to be held in France and I am going to be one of the lucky participants. Besides, I am going to take part in this year’s International Youth Congress which will take place in Germany right after the 100th World Congress.
For all those who are interested in learning Esperanto, what is the best way you would recommend for them to start with?
Being a history geek, I would recommend going through the history of the language first which will further boost their interest in Esperanto. One of the best ways to acquire the language is a popular website Lernu especially designed for Esperanto learners. The website works in various languages, so that the learner can easily choose a preferred one. Besides, we’ve got Facebook today! Here the learner can find a huge community of real Esperanto speakers who will wholeheartedly assist and give advice on any topic while learning the language.
Besides, numerous language learning websites provide lots of brilliant materials for learning Esperanto. For example, the famous Duolingo website just added Esperanto to its learning space and it’s impressive to see that thousands of new users have already registered just after a few days of launching it. But in case you’re not an online learner there are dozens of printed textbooks and reading materials available on Amazon in various languages (especially if you decide to study using English).
Could you explain to us how is Esperanto the easiest language on earth? What would be your message to people who have never heard of Esperanto before?
It’s been quite a long time accepted by linguists that Esperanto is indeed one of the easiest (if not the easiest of all) languages on the planet. Thanks to its ingeniously designed grammatical structure (strictly unchanged since its publication in 1887) and vocabulary system that enables the speaker to feel completely comfortable with the language. L. L. Zamenhof, the initiator of Esperanto sought to make the new language easily accessible to people with different language backgrounds, using his genius linguistic wit to develop a new revolutionary masterpiece which we now know as Esperanto!
My message to people who have never heard of Esperanto would firstly be to just google the word ‘’Esperanto’’ and discover is enormously interesting history, people, international culture… For young people, it’s a great life opportunity to not only expand their horizons of interest and worldview but also to make friends from all over the world, promote their own cultures, communities, discover like-minded friends and just enjoy life!
How would you say “Good bye Youth Time and talk to you soon” in Esperanto?
Ĝis la revido, Juna Tempo! Ĝis la baldaŭa interparolo!