d41586-019-01797-0_16770476There is absolutely no doubt that a serious scientist today needs to have a superior level of English. As Michael Gordin states, however, “many economic and geopolitical forces made English the dominant language of research, for better or worse.” It is true that “there’s nothing about English that makes it intrinsically better for science than any other language.” In fact we believe that the constructed language Esperanto might be a suitable alternative. It has already been proved that a high proficiency of Esperanto can be obtained faster than that of English in a comparable amount of time and effort (e.g. Richmond, I. M. (1993). Esperanto: A Tool for International Education. Aspects of Internationalism: Language & Culture, 3, 57; Maxwell, D. (1988). On the acquisition of Esperanto. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 10(1), 51-61; Szerdahelyi, I., & Frank, H. G. (1976). Zur pädagogischer Bestimmung relativer Schwierigkeiten verschiedener Sprachen [On the pedagogical determination of the relative difficulty of various languages]. Grundlagenstudien aus Kybernetik und Geisteswissenschaft, 17, 39-44).

The Universal Medical Esperanto-Association (UMEA) has used Esperanto as scientific language successfully in medicine since 1908 (http://umea.fontoj.net). The International Esperanto Science Association (ISAE) was founded in 1906 and is also still active (https://www.scienca-asocio.com). The International Academy of Sciences in San Marino (http://www.ais-sanmarino.org/index_en.html) has adopted Esperanto as an international working language. Michael Gordin thinks that “English has acquired a vocabulary for concepts and processes… A lot of languages don’t have that history, so they don’t have the infrastructure of scientific vocabulary.“ On the contrary; all of the scientific Esperanto associations mentioned above are active in the field of terminology. The Universal Esperanto Association has a well-established expert group working on terminology. Unfortunately the concept of Esperanto is not well-known any more, and is often instinctively ridiculed. Therefore we think that it is our task to hint on its existence, an estimated two million speakers worldwide and transparent scientific terminology ready for use. Almost everybody who gave learning Esperanto a try was convinced of its usefulness after that.


Christoph Klawe
on behalf of the UMEA