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146450.  Tue Feb 13, 2007 8:54 am Reply with quote

I’ve got a fair number of snippets on Esperanto, if anyone’s interested. I quite like this one, for a starter:

William Auld (1924-2006) was the first man to be nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature for work written in Esperanto. He was the headmaster of a comprehensive school in Scotland.

He was regarded as the world’s leading literary translator of Esperanto. His best known original work was La Infana Raso (This Mewling Race), a long modernist poem inspired by Ezra Pound’s Cantos.

When he was nominated for the Nobel in 1999, it caused embarrassment to the local library in his home town of Dollar, Clackmannanshire. They had an exhibition running, celebrating local writers, and hadn’t included him; they'd never heard of him. They quickly put together a tribute to Dollar’s own Nobel nominee.

He was nominated twice more: 2004 and 2006.

He became entranced with Esperanto in the Gorbals public library as a child. He was attracted by the “egalitarian” and “brotherhood of man” aspects of the auxiliary language. His scoutmaster gave him an Esperanto textbook, and he never looked back; his best friend shared his enthusiasm, and before long they spoke to each other exclusively in Esperanto. (This wouldn't have been quite so eccentric as it sounds, in pre-War working-class and progressive circles in Glasgow, which was a left-wing, internationalist place).

Auld flew Spitfires during WW2, spending his off duty hours teaching Esperanto to his RAF comrades. Post-War he became an English teacher. His first book of poetry, ‘Spiro de l’Passio’ (Breath of Passion) was published in 1952.

His output was considerable: poems, anthologies, textbooks, translations - more than 50 books altogether.

He considered Esperanto to be his native tongue as a writer, and found it ideal for poetry. “Many of the words end in ‘o’,” he explained, adding that it was a very lyrical language. His masterpiece, he believed, was his translation of ‘Lord of the Rings’ published in 1995.

He presented his personal collection - of 4,000 items of Esperanto literature - to the National Library of Scotland.

The last line of his Telegraph obit is a little poignant: “Bill Auld is survived by his wife (with whom he spoke Esperanto daily) and his two children (with whom he did not.)”

Daily Telegraph, 22 Sep 06.,,1875653,00.html

147852.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:47 am Reply with quote

“Mia kusenveturilo estas plena da angiloj” is Esperanto for “My hovercraft is full of eels,” according to a list of that phrase in many languages included at, a site you really want to look at if you’re doing anything on the English language, or languages generally, or alphabets ancient and modern.

147865.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:13 am Reply with quote

I started learning Esperanto using an online course before Christmas, but it kinda tailed off due to lack of time, inclination etc. However I did make a start, so if it would be useful I can start to pick it up again.

147889.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:45 am Reply with quote

I did a correspondence course in the late 70s, Egg (£1 from the Trade Union and Co-op Esperanto Group); but, like you, tailed off due to etc. Perhaps we should both take it up again, then we can talk about the others without them knowing what we're saying ...

147891.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:46 am Reply with quote

Hey - we could have the credits to one of the shows in Esperanto!

147895.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:50 am Reply with quote

Jes, varma lakto estas bona.

147899.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:55 am Reply with quote

Elf, unsurprisingly, is elfo.

147907.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:09 am Reply with quote

Hm, tiuj elfoj ...

147908.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:12 am Reply with quote

The www which you see in web-adresses is translated to ttt in esperanto, Tut Tera Teksajo (the j should have a circumflex over it).

I think it translates as "across the world textile" or something like that.

Link to acronyms

147940.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:54 am Reply with quote

Alas, the only Esperanto word I can remember is the one for 'bird'.


147959.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:46 am Reply with quote

That sounds like it should be Italian :)

Talking of translating "www", are there any countries in the world where people have done this, or does everyone just use www?

147968.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:08 pm Reply with quote

In Welsh it's still written www but called 'w driphlyg' (= triple double-u).

I'm sure I've heard it called 'ooh-ooh-ooh' on a continental radio station - could've been in Italy, where they don't even have a letter 'w' in their alphabet.

It'd be a bit of a mouthful in French, too, given that their name for the letter is 'double-v' (pronounced 'doobluh-vay').

147991.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:49 pm Reply with quote

As in English. Wasn't it Douglas Adams who said that it was the only thing whose abbreviation was longer than its full name?

At least the French can call it vé vé vé if the alternative is felt too unwieldy - after all, they pronounce "W C" vé cé.

I'm pretty sure that the whole world writes it www though.

148083.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 3:58 pm Reply with quote

I like that the Italians don't have a W, though. Questions that prompt for funny foreign accents always bring home the bacon. Maybe we should give this a bit more thought.

Might work particularly well if we had Jonathan Ross on again.

148294.  Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:34 am Reply with quote

A rather little known fact: Nazis hated the idea of esperanto and tried to eradicate it. When in Odessa many years ago, I saw a very moving tiny bust of Lazarus Zamenhof, the inventor of esperanto, in one of the city's little old courtyards. I was told that during World War II, when Odessa was occupied by the Germans, local residents - at a considerable risk to themselves - removed the sculture and hid it in a well. Had the Nazis discovered the bust, they would have certainly punished the perpetrators and had the sculpture destroyed, for apart from being the founder of esperanto, Zamenhof was a Polish Jew. But they didn't! The locals, who had no idea of what esperanto was about, were nevertheless looking after the bust lovingly and seemed very proud of having kept it intact.


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