Esperanto is international and inter-cultural

8th June 2007 at 01:00
I was intrigued by the comment from a Department for Education and Skills spokesperson, reported on May 18 in your sister paper, The TES, to the effect that Esperanto has nothing to offer in developing inter-cultural understanding. The whole point of Esperanto, surely, is that it is inter-cultural?

Learning French or Arabic or Chinese may give the learner some insight into one culture (or group of cultures). But Esperanto, used by people from countless cultures and language backgrounds around the world, can provide insights into many ethnic cultures, from a uniquely independent, neutral perspective.

I have used Esperanto in many countries for more than 40 years. I have no doubt that chatting with an Albanian family in a language that belongs equally to both of us gives me an incomparably better insight into their culture than I would gain through halting Albanian, Italian or English.

I wonder if the Department for Education and Skills's comment was based on research, careful study or (perish the thought) prejudice?

David Kelso

former HM chief inspectorate of education, Scotland, Kilncadzow, Carluke

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