The problems of international communication and linguistic rights are recurring debates in the present-day age of globalization. But the debate truly began over a hundred years ago, when the increasingly interconnected world of the nineteenth century fostered a desire for the development of a global lingua franca. Many individuals and social movements competed to create an artificial language unencumbered by the political rivalries that accompanied English, German, and French. Organizations including the American Philosophical Society, the International Association of Academies, the International Peace Bureau, the Comintern, and the League of Nations intervened in the debate about the possibility of an artificial language, but of the numerous tongues created before World War II, only Esperanto survives today.
Esperanto and Its Rivals sheds light on the factors that led almost all artificial languages to fail and helped English to prevail as the global tongue of the twenty-first century. Exploring the social and political contexts of the three most prominent artificial languages—Volapük, Esperanto, and Ido—Roberto Garvía examines the roles played by social movement leaders and inventors, the strategies different organizations used to lobby for each language, and other early decisions that shaped how those languages spread and evolved. Through the rise and fall of these artificial languages, Esperanto and Its Rivals reveals the intellectual dilemmas and political anxieties that troubled the globalizing world at the turn of the twentieth century.
Introduction Chapter 1. The Emergence of Linguistic Conscience
PART I. VOLAPUKÜK Chapter 2. A Language in Search of a Problem Chapter 3. Who Were the Volapükists? Chapter 4. "Pandemonium in the Tower of Babel": The Language Critics Chapter 5. "Strangled in the House of Its Friends": Volapük's Demise Chapter 6. "My Troubled Child": The Artist and the Kulturkampf
PART II. ESPERANTO Chapter 7. "The Purpose of My Whole Life": Zamenhof and Esperanto Chapter 8. "Let Us Work and Have Hope!": Language and Democracy Chapter 9. "The Menacing Thunderstorm of Reforms": First Esperantists and First Crises Chapter 10. The French Resurgence Chapter 11. "Bringing Together the Whole Human Race": Esperanto's Inner Idea
PART III. THE ESPERANTO CLUSTER: SAME LANGUGE, DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES Chapter 12. The Demographics of Esperantujo Chapter 13. Pacifists, Taylorists, and Feminists Chapter 14. "Hidden-World Seekers": Esperanto in New Wave and Old Religions Chapter 15. Freethinkers, Socialists, and Herderians
PART IV. IDO AND ITS SATELLITES Chapter 16. "One Ideal International Language": Ido Chapter 17. "Linguistic Cannibalism"
Notes Bibliography Index Acknowledgments
Roberto Garvia is Associate Professor of Sociology at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.
"Roberto Garvía has written an original narrative crammed with fascinating detail about the experiment in Esperanto as well as other less well remembered ideas. This marvelous book will appeal to all curious historians and linguists."—Cathie Carmichael, University of East Anglia
This book’s publication is supported by the Haney Foundation, a fund established by a generous gift from Dr. John Louis Haney, one-time chair of the English department at the University of Pennsylvania.