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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

462               The Loom of Language
provided by Esperantists), Esperanto could boast of about 4,000
publications, consisting of original works., translations, text-books,
propaganda items, etc In Albania it became a compulsory subject in
secondary and higher education In China the University of Peking
offered courses. Madrid, Lisbon, and several German towns placed it
on the curriculum of Police Schools In Great Britain it was popular
in Labour Colleges, and got some encouragement fiom such publicists
as Lord Bryce, H G Wells, Lord Robert Cecil, and Arthur Henderson
In the USSR, the People's Commissariat foi Pubhc Education
appointed a Commission to examine its claims in January 1919, and
to report on the advisability of teaching an international language
in Soviet schools The Commission decided for Esperanto, though
Zinoviev favoured Ido Five German towns made Esperanto a com-
pulsory subject in primary schools under the Weimar Republic, and
the National Esperanto Institute for the training of teachers at Leipzig
received official recognition from the Ministry of the Interior During
the winter 1921-22 there were 1,592 courses in Germany for about
40,000 adults, half of them working-class people On June 8,1935, the
National-Socialist Minister of Education, Bernhard Rust, decreed that
to teach Esperanto in the Third Reich was henceforth illegal. The
reason he gave was that the use of artificial languages such as Esperanto
weakens the essential value of national peculiarities
Esperanto just failed to gain support which might have made history
In spite of wire-pulling and high-grade publicity management, its
promoters were not able to peisuade the League of Nations to come
out unequivocally in favour of its use as the international language.
Whether this was a calamity the reader may judge from what follows
Let us first look at its phonetic build-up
Though Esperanto uses all the letters of the Roman alphabet except
three (Q, X, V), its aspect is unfamiliar on the printed page This is due
to its five accented consonants, (?, (?, /?, J, S> a novelty open to more
than one criticism, more particularly that such symbols impede recog-
nition of international roots and slow down the speed of writing The
corresponding sounds are equally open to unfavourable comment The
H (fake h in horn) and the fi (like ch in Scots locH) are difficult sounds
for people brought up to speak Romance languages. Other sounds
which cause embarrassment to many nationals are represented by such
combinations as ęSC (= sts), KC (= kt$), and NKC, e g funkcio
(function) In contradistinction to the practice of Volaprjk, which had
end-stress appropriate to the importance of its suffixes, the accent of