What is Esperanto?
Esperanto is a language, but not of any country or ethnic group: it is a neutral, international language.
The basic rules and words of Esperanto were proposed by L. L. Zamenhof at the end of the 19th century. Within a few years, people started learning it and formed a worldwide community. Since then, Esperanto has been in use (and freely evolving) just like any other language.
Esperanto has a very regular structure. Words are often made from many other roots, and in this way the number of words which one must memorise is made much smaller. The language is phonetic, and the rules of pronunciation are very simple, so that everyone knows how to pronounce a written worde and vice-versa. All this make the learning of the language relatively easy.
Most Esperanto roots are similar to words from Romance, Germanic or Slavic languages. However, Esperanto is not merely a "pot-pourri" of those languages, but a true and independent language in itself - structurally more similar, furthermore, to non-European languages than to European ones.
Esperanto is most useful for neutral communication. That means that communication through Esperanto does not give advantages to the members of any particular people or culture, but provides an ethos of equality of rights, tolerance and true internationalism. This can be seen in many diverse situations: international meetings, books, magazines, music, the Internet of course, and often also in private and family life.
Young people can have very meaningful experiences through Esperanto: being hosted free of charge in the homes of people in other countries and making contact with their culture without barriers; enjoying international festivals and training at interesting seminars; becoming acquainted with and learning more foreign languages; and becoming active and taking an interest in TEJO, as the case should arise.
Introduction to the language
Esperantic Studies Foundation