Current Issue Excerpts


CHRISTOPHER CLAUSEN

Esperanto,
    English,

     and the
          Curse of Babel




     Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof looked forward to the day when speakers of Polish, Russian, Yiddish, and German could escape the blinders of their native tongues. His revolutionary new language would give the world an easily mastered, logical common tongue. Yet at the same time that Zamenhof was propagating Esperanto, linguistic nationalists throughout Europe were reviving or standardizing old languages - from Irish to Slovak to Norwegian - precisely in order to strengthen national distinctions and to rekindle nationalist passions ...




CHRISTOPHER CLAUSEN, a longtime contributor to Queen's Quarterly, wrote at greater length about the attractions and dangers of national cultures in his book Faded Mosaic: The Emergence of Post-Cultural America.


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