Esperanto in Toronto?

by Clair Lasater

Despite the dominance of English as a world-wide lingua franca, Esperanto yet retains robust legitimacy. Like storied Canadian heavyweight George Chuvalo engaging an impossible opponent, the once would-be international language keeps stepping up, quite potently, to fight another improbable round.

L. L. Zamendof's language, for example, is broadcast, AM, FM, and shortwave, from such places as the Vatican, and the People's Republic of China. Vatican Radio transmits Esperanto shortwave and television. The Vatican also delivers Esperanto audio on demand. China Radio International bestows listeners daily Esperanto programming. (China has been broadcasting in Esperanto regularly for forty-seven years.) Visitors may navigate the CRI internet website, in several languages - including Esperanto.

Radio Havana transmits in Esperanto, and maintains a sizable and easily accessible archive of past programs. Uruguay, Poland, Melbourne, Kaliningrad and Vancouver's Radio Verda, Brazil, and Switzerland all provide Esperanto-language programming. A number of internet home-sites of these broadcasters also provide access to programs broadcast earlier. And, Esperanto television is not unheard of.

Schools, colleges, and universities provide courses in the popular language. Esperanto is a teaching language at the International Academy of Sciences, San Marino. Stanford University, the University of Rochester, San Francisco State University, and the University of Hartford, (Connecticut), have recently provided Esperanto courses.

Where can a devotee of Esperanto find materials to learn the language? offers over 1,000 materials from which to select. Consider Esperanto in Twenty Lessons, or purchase an Esperanto-English/English-Esperanto Phrasebook. Tyros might enjoy Beginner's Esperanto, ordered from Amazon. Barnes and Noble can also supply over two hundred titles. A post on one internet forum maintains that Beijing proffers an Esperanto bookstore.

My Google cue "esperanto phrasebook" delivered up a number of free Esperanto phrasebook sites. Such internet phrasebooks provide expressions regarding numbers, problems, colors, transportation, eating, bars, shopping and other real life situations. Esperanto aficionados can say, "I'm sick," - "Mi malsanas," or "How much is it to send a letter to the USA?" - "Kiom kostas sendi leteron al Usonon?" Perhaps an Esperanto enthusiast is travelling. "Horaron, mi petas," gets him or her a schedule. (Seriously speaking, however, I must say that I've found phrasebooks an invaluable device in teaching and learning a language. I make this fact well known to my college and university Spoken English students in China. "Phrasebooks are worth gold," I tell them - and I mean it.)

Esperanto scholar Li Shijun has translated into Esperanto, three of the four Chinese masterworks - Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Outlaws of the Marsh, and Journey to the West. Each is a three or four volume novel. This work took eighteen years.

Esperanto associations, institutes and clubs abound. A Wikipedia article, "List of Esperanto Organizations" catalogues alliances in eighty-eight (my count), countries: Benin, Israel, Serbia, Bosnia, Azerbaizan (Azerbaijani Esperanto Association, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Iran, Nepal, and China ( Chinese Esperanto League), for example. The same lengthly piece further lists another ninety, (my count), Esperanto societies devised by such groups as, workers, bicyclists, music lovers, writers, lawyers, educators, radio amateurs, and philatelists.

Then there are the smaller snug cliques of Esperanto enthusiasts, like the South Lancashire Esperanto Group in northwest England. "We meet every month at 'The Shrimper' in Marshside, Southport for lectures, publications, conversation, and social events ...." ( We enjoy learning and using Esperanto at our monthly Saturday meeting in Southport and other Lancashire towns. Lancashire Lantern - found under the Google prompt, "South Lancashire Esperanto Group").

The Toronto Esperanto Circle, reports on their website, "We meet each Monday (Tuesday, if Monday is a public holiday in Ontario) between 6pm and 8pm, in the cafe, "COFFEE ZONE" 30 Carlton St. ... After 8pm some of us go to one of the local restaurants to eat, and continue the conversation."


China Radio International
English-Esperanto Virtual Phrase Book
Master Any Language
Free Language

Beijing Review, online article, May 27, 2011, updated, June 2, 2011,

"Life With Esperanto" (Interview of Li Shijun) Peoples Daily, online article, July 28, 2004, "CRI marks 40th anniversary of Esperanto Broadcast"

Wikipedia article, "List of Esperanto Organizations"

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