Bridge of Words: Esperanto and the Dream of a Universal Language

Metropolitan: Holt. Oct. 2016. 384p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780805090796. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781429943413. LANG
OrangeReviewStarPoet and author Schor (English, Princeton Univ.; Emma Lazarus) studied and traveled widely for seven years preparing this history and current account of Esperanto, the only successful constructed language. First detailed in a book published in 1887 by Polish physician and polyglot Ludwig Zamenhof (1859–1917), Esperanto means "one who hopes." Logical and consistent, used around the world, Esperanto meets tests of translation into and from other tongues. There are 16 rules—no exceptions. Example: "Mia filino legas la novan libron" means "My daughter reads the new book." The literature and poetry, original and translated, is impressive: the Library of Congress has a major collection. Schor's learning is deep and her style inviting. This is an insightful book about a unique invention that fosters communication and protects diversity.
VERDICT This book integrates personal experience and objective scholarship and will appeal to general readers as well as adepts of linguistics.
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