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On July 26, 1887, Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof published Unua Libro, the first book in the invented “universal” language of Esperanto. Today, Esperanto is the most popular international auxiliary language (IAL) in the world. An IAL is a language spoken by people who do not share the same native language.
 
Esperanto is based on roots common in many European languages, such as French, German, and Russian. Zamenhof invented Esperanto to encourage communication and peace between the ethnic groups in his hometown of Bialystock, now a part of Poland. “In Bialystok the inhabitants were divided into four distinct elements: Russians, Poles, Germans and Jews; each of these spoke their own language and looked on all the others as enemies,” Zamenhof wrote.
 
Today, more than a million people speak Esperanto. It is one of the easiest languages to learn—it’s phonetic, which reduces spelling errors, and only has 16 rules of grammar. For instance, all singular nouns end in O—amiko is friend, amo is love, geografio is geography. 
communication
Noun

sharing of information and ideas.

encourage
Verb

to inspire or support a person or idea.

Esperanto
Noun

constructed language based on common root words from many European languages.

ethnic group
Adjective

people sharing genetic characteristics, culture, language, religion or history.

grammar
Noun

study of the way language is constructed.

inhabitant
Noun

resident.

international auxiliary language (IAL)
Noun

language meant for communication between people who do not share a common native language. Also called an interlanguage or auxlang.

invent
Verb

to create.

language
Noun

set of sounds, gestures, or symbols that allows people to communicate.

phonetic
Adjective

having to do with pronunciation.

publish
Verb

to provide a written piece of work, such as a book or newspaper, for sale or distribution.

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