• News/Talk
  • Music
  • Entertainment

A Weekend of Esperanto (Yes, Esperanto)

Listen to this Story
Larger view
View the Slideshow

In the late 1800s, a Polish eye doctor had the idea to revolutionize the world by inventing a universal language. This language was supposed to promote world peace. He called it Esperanto. Although it didn't catch on as planned, it's still alive and well at the North American Summer Esperanto Institute in San Diego. Weekend America's Krissy Clark went to find what all the talk was about.

A Brief Glossary of Esperanto

Susurirustling (specifically, the "sound of rustling leaves")
Munde citizanoWorld Citizen
EsperantoHope, or One who hopes
UmoWatchamacallit, thing-a-ma-jig (The cool thing about this word is that you can add Umo to other words, to modify them. So "Vendredumi" would mean "To Friday around." This was what Esperanto teacher Paul Gubbins finally conceded to as an appropriately Esperanto translation for "TGIF."
Gufujo The owl's nest. It's also used to mean "where the party is."
KrokodiloCrocodile. But it also is the very impolite act of two Esperanto speakers from the same country reverting to their native tongues in the company of other. Esperanto speakers who don't speak that language, therefore shutting down international communication. This reporter caused many krokodilo moments while she was at the Esperanto Institute.

Special Web Audio

Esperanto teacher Paul Gubbins reads a love poem written by one of his students. It was lying on the coffee table in his dorm room (0:37).

Paul translates the poem, and explains how you can make really cool words in Esperanto (1:18).


  • Comment | Refresh

  • By Mike Conway


    The Esperanto word for "Yes" is actually "Jes" but is pronounced like the English.

  • Post a Comment: Please be civil, brief and relevant.

    Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. All comments are moderated. Weekend America reserves the right to edit any comments on this site and to read them on the air if they are extra-interesting. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting.

      Form is no longer active


    You must be 13 or over to submit information to American Public Media. The information entered into this form will not be used to send unsolicited email and will not be sold to a third party. For more information see Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Download Weekend America

Weekend Weather

From the January 31 broadcast

Support American Public Media with your Amazon.com purchases
Search Amazon.com:
 ©2015 American Public Media