Now widely used on the internet and in tourism, Esperanto also has an extensive original literature. Its uses include theatre, the cinema and music. Radio stations in Brazil, China, Cuba and the Vatican broadcast regularly in Esperanto. China Television broadcasts in Esperanto and many more programs are available online.
Following a short period of 127 years Esperanto is now in the top hundred of about 6,800 languages worldwide. It is the 27th most used language in Wikipedia, and it is a language choice of Firefox, Ubuntu and Facebook. The latest of languages added by Google Translate is Esperanto.
Despite persecution by both Stalin and Hitler, more people now speak Esperanto than ever before. Lord Reith, as the first Director General of the BBC also sent a memo to all members of staff prohibiting any mention of the word “Esperanto” by the BBC. Happily the instruction was ignored.
The language is in daily use worldwide with the major growth areas in Asia and Africa. The World Esperanto Association enjoys consultative relations with the United Nations and the Council of Europe and is using its position to defend minority language rights.
Esperanto speakers include World Chess Champion Susan Polgár, Ulrich Brandenburg the German Ambassador to Russia and Nobel Laureate Daniel Bovet. Financier George Soros learned Esperanto as a child.
Celebrity Esperanto students include, William Shatner, Stephen Fry and Josie Long. Brian Barker of the Esperanto Lobby added “There are two urban myths which need to be challenged. Firstly that “everyone speaks English” and secondly “no-one speaks Esperanto”. Neither of these are true and both need to be challenged.”