L. L. Zamenhof

more than a year ago

In addition to the revelation that the earth is not the centre of the universe (thank you, Copernicus), the theory of radioactivity (a nod to Marie Skłodowska-Curie) and the catalyst for the collapse of communism across Europe (Lech Wałęsa and co.), you can add the invention of Esperanto – the most widely spoken constructed international language (we thought it was Klingon) – to the long list of contributions Poles have made to our blessed world.

Developed by Dr. Ludovic Lazarus Zamenhof in the late 1870s/early 1880s, Esperanto was created as a communication tool that would foster peace and understanding between different ethnicities and nationalities. Born in Białystok to Lithuanian-Jewish parents in 1859, Zamenhof displayed an obvious propensity for languages from an early age, speaking both his father’s Russian and mother’s Yiddish natively, and soon achieving fluency in German (which his father taught for a living) and Polish which became the native language of his children. Later French, Latin, Greek, Hebrew and English were added to the list with his command of Italian, Spanish and Lithuanian not falling far behind.


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