2012: Archive

Thank you!

“It’s because of ESF that L.L. Zamenhof’s dream continues to inspire the hopeful, but it’s because of Lernu.net that the hopeful are finding their way.”

These are the words of an ESF donor, James Bulls from Canada. And he’s right. For ten years already, tens of thousands of learners “find their way” to Esperanto thanks to Lernu.net, and many young Esperantists can’t even image Esperantoland without lernu! With over 130,000 registered users from around 200 countries (in many of which there is no organized Esperanto movement), Lernu is the largest Esperanto website in the world.

This year, Lernu.net celebrates its 10th anniversary. To many people we owe our deepest thanks for it, among others, organizers, programmers, writers of the courses that created the website, as well as the outstanding volunteers who continue to animate it. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t forget the essential role ESF played in financing Lernu. The website is free to use, but not free to run (due to costs of programming, servers, administration, etc.). Now, ESF is making another big investment in the preparation of a new Lernu that will be launched in early 2013 and which will contribute to the advancement of the Esperanto movement.

To ensure that Lernu continues to exist and to evolve, ESF needs support from Esperantists. We sincerely thank our current donors, and we ask you to consider making a one-time donation to the campaign 100,000 EUR for ESF (kampanjo.ikso.net) or become a monthly supporter of the foundation (https://esperantic.org/en/donations/online). See below some testimonies from our generous donors (see more at https://esperantic.org/en/testimonies).
Trefflé Mercier, Canada: “I don’t hesitate to support ESF, because for me, this foundation is the most important and effective for spreading Esperanto and getting people to accept it. You only need to take a look at the various activities that ESF supports, to understand that the money donated to this foundation is well used and bears concrete and useful fruits.”

Luís Ladeira, Portugal: “I support ESF because it is an important supporter of important Esperanto institutions, scientific research, and events. Since 2002, when I became an Esperantist, I have become accustomed to seeing ESF in serious and progressive Esperanto activities. We should support ESF!”

Benny Lewis, Ireland (famous Irish polyglot): “Learning Esperanto was just a fun week project for me initially, but I didn’t realize how much it would open my world up to so many incredible people. I’ve literally spent months of my life just speaking Esperanto at gatherings! Lernu.net was instrumental in helping me get the foundations needed to get into many conversations and make lifelong friendships!”

Alain Zugetta, France: “Esperanto is a wonderful tool for communicating with people from the whole world. I donate to lernu! because I want to support it, and I admire the whole team, which works hard for the success of lernu.net.”
Fernando Maia Jr., Brazil: “I donate to ESF because I agree with and trust the work that they fund. ESF runs and supports some of the most important spaces for Esperanto on the internet, always with a modern eye and inspiring results.”

Francisko Lorrain, Canada: “Among current Esperanto organizations, I think that ESF is the one that, through its various continuous, professional-quality projects, has most concretely and energetically contributed to spreading Esperanto in recent years.”

To all Esperantists, ESF wishes happy Zamenhof day and happy New Year 2013!

2012-12-15 15:31:56


New Lernu services aimed at traditional Esperanto movement as well

The online Esperanto learning site Lernu is seeking ways to strengthen its ties with the “traditional” Esperanto movement and serve a wider ranger of users. For some time now Lernu has a the “Word of the Day” service which sends subscribers an Esperanto word every day, along with definitions and examples of usage. Although Lernu itself is very multilingual, those messages are available only in Esperanto, because this service is aimed at more experienced (non-beginner) Esperanto speakers wishing to expand their vocabulary.

At the request of users, the Lernu team is working with former president of UEA (Universal Esperanto Association) Renato Corsetti and an international team of volunteers to create a similar service for beginners, “Easy Word of the Day”. The new service will not replace the current word of the day, as users will be able to subscribe to the two services separately. The new words will be easy fundamental words with example sentences and translations in the most used languages of Lernu.

“Many Esperanto speakers should be able to benefit from the service”, remarked Erin Piateski, who heads development of Lernu on behalf of Esperantic Studies Foundation, which financially supports Lernu. “Lernu is not intended only for beginners, but would like to contribute to the linguistic and cultural knowledge of the Esperanto movement in general.”

The Lernu team is also discussing with SAT (Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda – World Non-National Association) the possibility of offering the contents of the Plena Vortaro de Esperanto (PIV – Comprehensive Esperanto Dictionary) through lernu.net in order to facilitate access to this resource for our users. SAT and Lernu already share a common system of user accounts – you can use your Lernu account to access PIV for free at www.vortaro.net, and if you create an account for www.vortaro.net, you can use the same account with Lernu.

After its launch in early 2013, according to Piateski, the new version of Lernu will include a common interface for several different websites. “Our intent is to add more and more services that will be useful for the traditional Esperanto movement,” she explains. “Those services will be accessible through one user account, instead of having to remember various usernames and passwords for several different websites.”

Donations to ESF support ongoing improvements to lernu.net as well as other important projects. Would you like to support the expansion, improvement and enhancement of Lernu as a tool for spreading Esperanto throughout the world?  Donate to the campaign “100,000 euros for ESF” http://kampanjo.ikso.net/en/ 

2012-12-02 15:31:38


Lernu reveals a glimpse of its new course story

Lernu.net, with a community of almost 130,000 registered users, is the largest project supported by ESF. Thousands of people have studied Esperanto using Lernu’s free courses and learning tools. Currently ESF is financing a complete overhaul and re-launch of the site to make it more compatible with new technologies and to improve and update its content.

In early 2013, lernu.net will be re-launched with completely new content – including a new comprehensive course, a new library and new forums. The new course for beginners is being designed for the A1/A2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. It will be based on a story written specifically for lernu.net by popular author Anna Lӧwenstein. Lӧwenstein is working with experienced educator Birke Dockhorn to write an interesting and engaging story that gradually introduces grammatical elements and becomes more difficult with each chapter. Through the story students will learn how to handle various life situations in Esperanto – and also some situations more specific to the Esperanto community.

Although conventional language courses often use boring texts for language instruction, the Lernu team feels that an interesting story can be just as effective for teaching a language and encourage students to finish the course to see how the story turns out. The story will be enriched by exercises, created by Birke Dockhorn, and illustrations created specifically for lernu.net.

You can read a fragment of the new course and see an example of the illustrations here:


Donations to ESF support ongoing improvements to lernu.net as well as other important projects. Would you like to support the expansion, improvement and enhancement of Lernu as a tool for spreading Esperanto throughout the world?  Donate to the campaign “100,000 euros for ESF” http://kampanjo.ikso.net/en/

2012-10-31 22:08:12



Enriched, expanded library planned for new Lernu

The new library, which will be launched with the new Lernu in early 2013, will have a much wider collection of content than the current library. The contents will include many works of Esperanto literature, and also sounds and videos with accompanying text. The planned library will be especially useful to beginners, with its ability to translate words with a simple click, but its contents will be rich and varied enough to be interesting for Esperantists of all levels. Part of the project is to include, with permission, texts from the literature archive of Don Harlow, an important American Esperantist who died several years ago. The new library will make his work available to a new generation of Esperantists, in an easy-to-use form. ESF is financially supporting the creation of the new library as part of its support for a complete renovation of Lernu. If you want to contribute to the project, the Lernu team (teamolernu.net) is looking for volunteers to help enter texts; a high level of Esperanto is not necessary. Financial gifts in support of ESF’s work are also greatly appreciated (http://kampanjo.ikso.net/en/).

Libera Folio recently published an article on the new Lernu library:

http://www.liberafolio.org/2012/nova-reta-biblioteko-aperos-ce-lernu (in Esperanto)

2012-09-13 19:33:27


Dr. Esther Schor and Dr. Sho Konishi join ESF’s Advisory Board

ESF is delighted to welcome two more scholars from prestigious universities to its advisory board. Both have worked or are working on research projects linked to Esperanto.

Esther Schor, Ph.D.

Esther Schor is Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of English at Princeton University. She received her Ph.D. from Yale and taught briefly at Tufts University and Barnard College, Columbia University. She specializes in British Romanticism, teaching courses in Romantic Poetry and Poetics, Romantic Historicism, Romantic Drama, and Travel Literature; active in the program in Judaic Studies, she also teaches American Jewish Literature, Introduction to Judaism and Yiddish literature in Translation. Her other strong teaching interest is Biblical studies (the Bible as Literature; Bible Criticism and Theory).

Her biography, Emma Lazarus, won the National Jewish Book Award. She is the author of  Bearing the Dead: The British Culture of Mourning from the Enlightenment to Victoria and the editor of the Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelley. She co-edited The Other Mary Shelley: Beyond “Frankenstein” and Women’s Voices: Visions and Perspectives. Her most recent volume of poems is Strange Nursery: New and Selected Poems; her current project is a cultural history of the Esperanto movement.


Sho Konishi, Ph.D.

Sho Konishi is a historian at Oxford University.  He completed most of his undergraduate education in Russia.  He earned his Ph.D. in the History Department and the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, and served as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. He is currently a university Lecturer in the Faculty of History and the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies at Oxford University, where he also serves as a Governing Body Fellow and the current Senior Tutor of St. Antony’s College.  He is also Faculty Fellow of the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, Oxford.

His current research interests include epistemology, the transnational history of emotions, anarchist natural science and ethnography, and he has a particular interest in the place of language in the history of human knowledge production. His publications have covered a broad range of themes in Japanese and global history, from Esperanto, agriculture, art and aesthetics, science, to world order, revolution, anarchism, entomology, and religious thought and practice.

2012-08-07 16:19:44


New ESF subsidiary will manage Lernu, other web projects

The Esperantic Studies Foundation (ESF) is establishing a wholly-owned company to manage the ongoing development of projects such as lernu.net, the well-known multilingual website for learning Esperanto.

Meeting in Montreal, Canada for its annual strategy session, the ESF Board of Directors appointed Erin Piateski as the founding CEO of the new company, to be registered in Washington, DC under the name ESF-enrete.

“Our goal is to make the various web projects self-sustaining, while ensuring that they don’t come to dominate the Foundation’s overall agenda,” said ESF president Mark Fettes. “We are extremely encouraged by the development of Lernu, and will continue to build on its success. Erin has played a key role in our strategic planning for the web projects over the past few years, and we are delighted to welcome her in this new role.”

An MIT-educated mechanical engineer, Piateski has been actively involved with Lernu since before its launch in 2002. As CEO she will work closely with others in the site’s core management team. Her priorities include strategic planning, building partnerships with individuals and organizations, and management of the site’s hundreds of volunteers.

“Lernu is already the largest online community of Esperanto speakers and learners,” noted Piateski. “ESF has played an essential role in the site’s development, and we look forward to building on this relationship through ESF-enrete. We see the project as uniquely positioned to foster collaboration among Esperanto speakers worldwide and to raise Esperanto’s profile with the general public.”

One day of the Montreal meeting was dedicated to plans to modernize and expand Lernu with new courses, forums, and an extensive library, all built on an improved technical foundation. A launch of the new site is planned to roughly coincide with Lernu’s tenth anniversary in late 2012 or early 2013

Did you learn Esperanto with Lernu? Do you know someone who learned Esperanto thanks to Lernu? Do you support the idea of a comprehensive, effective Esperanto learning website accessible throughout the world? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, please show your support with a donation to the “100,000 euros for ESF” campaign  http://kampanjo.ikso.net/en/ !

2012-07-18 19:11:38


ESF releases annual report, convenes to discuss strategy

(July 4, 2012) — As the Board of Directors of the Esperantic Studies Foundation (ESF) prepares for a three-day strategic retreat in Montreal, the Foundation has made available its Annual Report and Tax Return for 2011 on its website (esperantic.org/en/about/finreports).

Outgoing president Humphrey Tonkin characterizes 2011 as a year of “new directions” for ESF, which is making a significant investment in efforts to expand the web presence of Esperanto.

“The Foundation’s goal is not only to provide funding for a number of new initiatives in this field, but also to direct that funding in such a fashion that it will lead to self-sufficiency and even the generation of re-investable surpluses,” writes Tonkin in the President’s Letter. “Meanwhile, web activity is increasing by leaps and bounds, not only generated by ESF-funded activities but also following in the wake of what appears to be spontaneous and accelerating international interest.  In short, this is an exciting and challenging time for Esperanto itself.”

A noted interlinguistic scholar and translator, Tonkin also cautions that ESF needs to define its strategic interests in the study of aspects of planned languages and interlinguistics. “One of the challenges in 2012 will be to move beyond web-based activity to rediscover other activities in other scholarly and pedagogical areas.  With more resources, the Foundation could do so much more – and development efforts aimed at raising additional funds have become a high priority.”

ESF’s Board of Directors will meet in Montreal from July 9-11, 2012, to review all aspects of the Foundation’s program and define its strategic priorities for the next few years.

You too can be a part of the exciting new directions ESF is taking. Go to http://kampanjo.ikso.net/en/ to contribute to the “100,000 Euros for ESF” campaign today!

2012-07-04 19:54:23


360 People Take CEFR Esperanto Exam

With great success, on June 9th, 2012, the worldwide CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) Esperanto exam was held at 29 testing sites in 17 countries around the world. In all, 360 people took the test.

The event was organized and coordinated by Katalin Kovats (editor of the website edukado.net), using all the “magic” of edukado.net and other media.

At the testing sites she was assisted by local commissioners who, having been trained by her in advance, diligently and responsibly carried out thier duties.

As a result of systematic planned communications, the event was attended by journalists and television crews at many of the testing sites. Around 10 articles and interviews are expected (or have already come out).

Throughout the testing day the director was in contact with the testing sites, enabling her to immediately publish photos, reports, and intervene as needed.

The testing session in Vicenza, Italy, was visited by the two directors of the Hungarian testing center ITK (in charge of the examination) for quality control purposes.

The tests (several thousand pages!) will travel to Hungary where they will be corrected and evaluated. The results should be available within 4 to 6 weeks, and certificates sometime in August.

With this special testing session the number of those having taken the test reached 920 – leaving us with the challenge of reaching 1000 by the end of the year.

For information on the CEFR Esperanto Exam (« KER-ekzameno » in Esperanto) :http://edukado.net/ekzamenoj/ker

Edukado.net is one of ESF’s most successful initiatives. If you support the website edukado.net and ESF’s other educational projects, please consider making a tangible gesture of support with a donation to the “100,000 Euros for ESF” campaign: http://kampanjo.ikso.net/en/

2012-06-24 23:06:01


Changes on ESF Board as Strategic Shift Continues

In a planned transition, Humphrey Tonkin stepped down as President of the Esperantic Studies Foundation (ESF) during the Board’s April business meeting. Vice-president Mark Fettes was unanimously approved as his successor by the Board.

Tonkin, 72, had been the Foundation’s president since it was established in 1968.

“Dr. Tonkin’s leadership has been essential to ESF’s development,” affirmed Fettes, a professor at Simon Fraser University in Canada. “I am very pleased that he will remain on the Board of Directors, where we can continue to benefit from his experience and wisdom.”

In his final President’s Report to the Board, Tonkin noted that ESF is moving in “new directions” by making “a significant investment in efforts to expand the web presence of Esperanto.”

“This is a major shift for us, although it’s the culmination of work over the past decade,” Fettes confirmed. “We are moving from a primary focus on research and scholarship to a more pro-active investment in the development of the online Esperanto community. We see this as an approach that, in the longer term, will enable us to expand our traditional research role as well.”

In other changes on the Board, Derek Roff was elected Vice-President, joining Grant Goodall in that role. Anna Bennett and Bonnie Fonseca-Greber remain on the Board as Treasurer and Secretary respectively, along with Board members Geoffrey Greatrex and Wally Du Temple.

Timothy Reagan, a former Executive Director of ESF, stepped down from the Board in preparation for a move to Kazakhstan, where he will serve as Dean of a new graduate school of education at Nazarbayev University. Reagan will continue to serve on ESF’s Advisory Board.

2012-05-25 14:26:51


ESF invests in the internet successes of Esperanto

When, more than a decade ago, it took the first steps in creating edukado.net and lernu.net, Esperantic Studies Foundation (ESF) only vaguely envisioned the boom of social media worldwide. Now the fruits of that early vision are coming to light.

Since then, the internet revolution has contributed to a strengthening of Esperanto’s status among languages of the world – as demonstrated most recently through the addition of Esperanto as the 64th language used in Google Translate. In this achievement, as in many others like it, ESF played a significant role. Through long-term investment in the work of talented volunteers and professionals, the Foundation helps expand and enhance Esperanto’s presence on the internet.

Of all the online community based projects undertaken thus far, two in particular stand out and show enormous potential: Lernu (with approx. 115,000 registered users) and Esperanto Wikipedia (with over 160,000 articles). ESF is currently financing a large-scale redesign and expansion of Lernu, aiming to modernize and transform it into a multi-faceted community of Esperanto users.

As for the Esperanto Wikipedia, ESF sponsored the WikiTrans translation system (developed by linguist Eckhard Bick, Denmark), which is capable of providing a rough translation of the entire content of the English Wikipedia within 10 days. After those translated texts are edited (by a human editor), they can greatly enrich the content and raise the status of Esperanto in Wikipedia, where it already ranks in the “second tier” of most used languages – i.e. those that have at least 100,000 Wikipedia articles.

Google has yet to make public details concerning the parallel texts (i.e. texts with identical content available in both Esperanto and English) used as a basis for the Esperanto version of Google Translate. Nevertheless, it would be astounding if Google had not used parallel texts produced through those two large internet projects among their principal sources.

The following collection of interesting facts about Lernu and WikiTrans demonstrates the growing importance of ESF’s internet-based work. This work, however, is open to the contributions of all who are willing to help – for example, by writing, editing or translating articles for the Esperanto Wikipedia (perhaps using WikiTrans), by “liking” Lernu on Facebook (www.facebook.com/lernu.net), through social networking, volunteering or by donating to Lernu/E@I’s “100,000 euros for ESF” campaign: http://kampanjo.ikso.net

•    Over 218 million page visits since 2004
•    Approx. 115,000 registered Lernu users in 218 countries and territories
•    Over 1,000 “likes” within one day of an invitation to join Lernu’s official Facebook page being sent to the Lernu community. With almost 4,000 “likes” now, Lernu reaches over a million people (i.e. through friends of fans)
•    The U.S. has the largest number of visits (over a million since 2005) and registered users (over 15,000)
•    Brazil comes in second after the U.S. both in terms of number of visits (approx. 800,000 since 2005) and registered users (over 10,000)
•    France, Germany and Poland occupy third, fourth and fifth place as to number of visits, while Hungary, China and Germany take those places with respect to registered users
•    China and South America (most notably Colombia) show signs of significant growth (en certain regions there’s been a growth of over 100% in the last three months compared to the same time last year)

WikiTrans (eo.wikipedia.org/wiki/WikiTrans)
•    WikiTrans uses approx. one gigabyte of words in its database
•    As early as August 2010 WikiTrans had already made 1.5 million Wikipedia articles available online
•    More than 3 million articles from the English Wikipedia can be translated in 10 days
•    WikiTrans regularly re-translates articles to catch changes and modifications so that the content remains current
•    When you are looking for an article that has an English version but not yet an Esperanto version, you can go to the WikiTrans translated version.

2012-05-01 15:34:59


The University of Texas at Dallas welcomes NASK 2012!

For the 2nd time, NASK presents a short session, this time in sunny Dallas, Texas. So bring your hat, swimsuit, sunscreen, and even cowboy boots! Arrive on June 25th and depart on July 4th—eight days chock-full of learning and fun! Early registration has already started: sign up by March 22nd and save 50 dollars!

The University of Texas at Dallas (UT-D) is a rapidly growing university with lots of new buildings, right in the middle of the Dallas/ Fort Worth metro area. NASK students will reside in a separate area on the fourth floor of the new dorm and will share a three-person suite: each participant will have a private room with a shared common area, restroom and a shower. The dormitories are air conditioned, equipped with a large laundry room (free washers and dryers), and the classes will take place in the same building. Free Internet is also available (you must bring your own Ethernet cable). The cafeteria is a pleasant seven minute walk from the dorm, and it serves a variety of dishes to choose from.

The international team consisting of Spomenka Štimec (Croatia), Tim Westover (U.S.), and Birke Dockhorn (Germany) will provide three levels of instruction. Hoss Firooznia will serve as an assisting teacher and will organize extracurricular activities.

This year students can come earlier in order to participate in the Esperanto-USA convention June 22nd-25th (same place and the same dorm). If you would like to participate in the Esperanto-USA convention, you’ll need to register and make necessary arrangements: www.esperanto-usa.org

The general fee for NASK 2012 (courses, lodging and board) is: US$ 625.00 until March 22nd, and US$ 675.00 thereafter. Scholarships are available for full-time students and teachers, and also for residents of Latin America.

Please contact Ellen M. Eddy, the administrator, at eddyellen@aol.com. For more information, please visit the NASK website (http://esperanto.org/nask).

If you support the idea of NASK and other Esperanto educational programs sponsored by ESF, but are unable to personally participate in NASK, consider donating to the “100,000 euros for ESF” campaign: http://kampanjo.ikso.net/en/ !

2012-02-23 02:40:04


Lernu grows in China – ESF finances exploratory visit

Having become the second largest economy in the world after the United States, China is also becoming a “superpower” among users of lernu.net, the online Esperanto learning site.  Not only does China currently have the fastest growing group of registered Lernu users, but also one of the highest percentages of new visits to lernu.net. To learn ways of cultivating this fertile ground, some of E@I’s and Lernu’s key activists have been traveling throughout China for most of this month (Feb. 1-24).

With the aim of better understanding Chinese culture and life and also establishing contacts with active Chinese Esperanto speakers, E@I and Lernu activists Peter Baláž, Indrė Pileckytė, Yevgeniy and Neringa Gaus are visiting several Chinese cities (Beijing, Haikou [Hainan island], Hong Kong, Shanghai, Nanjing), meeting with local Esperanto speakers in each city.  The trip is being sponsored by ESF as part of this year’s redesign and expansion of Lernu, for which the knowledge and contacts gained during the trip will be beneficial.

In addition, due to the success of SES (Somera Esperanto-Studado: Summer Esperanto Study Session) in Europe, the team is looking for suitable potential locations for a similar event in Asia.  After the trip the team will report back to ESF in detail about their experiences and accomplishments.

Would you like to support the expansion, improvement and enhancement of Lernu as a tool for spreading Esperanto throughout the world?  Donate to the campaign „100,000 euros for ESF” http://kampanjo.ikso.net/en/ !  So far we’ve raised almost 9000 euros – add your name to the list as well!

2012-02-19 14:33:42



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