Book Review: Esprimo De Sentoj En Esperanto

Esprimo De Sentoj En Esperanto, by Prof. D-ro Edmond Privat

I am certainly no stranger to reading books about or in Esperanto [1], and this book offers the Esperanto equivalent of the of the contemporaneous literature I have read in English from the early 1900’s.  This particular volume was printed in a small quarto and takes the author’s lectures from 1929 and 1930 while he was a lecturer at the University of Geneva, and turns them into a short book of about 60 pages.  This is the sort of book, actually, that one would expect to see in English if it were meant to advertise or promote the language, but written in Esperanto for an insider audience, if I can be considered an insider when it comes to reading Esperanto, that is, it reads a lot like bragging in a good way.  The author, to be sure, also includes some ideas of why certain aspects of Esperanto have not caught on like others have, but the book is really written for an insider audience, for those who already know enough about the author’s writing style and about the language itself to follow along with the arguments that he is making.

As is customary, for whatever reason, in Esperanto books, the table of contents of this short volume are in the back.  Each of the chapters is fairly short, only about 5 or 6 pages apiece, and they deal with a variety of subjects ranging from the sound and rhythm of Esperanto, to its potential at assimilating the words of other languages and its immense flexibility in word order, to a comparison between Esperanto and other languages in terms of the regularity of grammar, to the fitness of Esperanto for both logical and rational discussion as well as irony and poetry and whimsy, the diverse role of affixes in Esperanto, the value of Esperanto as an international language, and the failure of the diminutives in the language because of the preference of using -et instead of -chj and -nj.  The result of reading this book is that the reader gets the sense of Esperanto and its best qualities from one of its foremost early scholars, and someone whose work certainly gave Esperanto a great deal of its strength and appeal from the point of view of linguistics and apologetics.

Overall, this book is quite an excellent one.  The text on the back of this book notes that Privat was a multi-talented person who used all of his talents for Esperanto, and that is certainly in evidence here.  The author is committed to the increase in peace, shows an admirable regard for Eastern and African civilizations and their contribution to Esperanto, to the flexibility of Esperanto as a language and to the increase of the well-being of humanity.  There is no doubt that Privat is both an adroit tactical debater when it comes to defending Esperanto as a language and defending its legitimacy and its superiority in ease of use and flexibility and orderly qualities to other languages, and in order to follow along with him one has to know a little bit of English, a little bit of German, a little bit of French, and a little bit of Latin.  Fortunately I happen to know a little bit of all of those languages (and hopefully more than a little bit of English), but this is writing at a very high level for all of its brevity, and one hopes that the students in Dr. Privat’s classes got a lot out of his lectures.  Even now they convey a great deal of worth.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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2 Responses to Book Review: Esprimo De Sentoj En Esperanto

  1. Pingback: Esperanto And The EU’s Unusual Revenge | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Inventing English | Edge Induced Cohesion

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