Saturday, June 21, 2014

Trouble in Esperanto-Land

Get your tickets early!
1910 seemed to have both good and bad for the Esperanto movement. On the one hand, preparations were being made for the 1910 Universala Kongreso, the first outside of Europe. On June 21, 1910, the Washington Times reported that noted Brazilian musician would be giving a concert in D.C. as part of the Esperanto congress.

That was the good news.
Washington lovers of music are looking forward to a visit to the Capital in August of C. Quiririo de Oliveira, of the National Institute of Music, Rio de Janeiro. Senor Oliveira, accompanied by Joas Baptista Mello Souza, an officer in the Brazilian ministry of interior, will come to Washington for the Esperanto congress, and probably remain in the city for a week. 
At the Esperanto headquarters today it was announced that a special concert would be given during Oliveira’s stay and that the famous master of music had consented to take part in it. Both Oliveira and Souza are said to be ardent Esperantists.
Señor Oliveira might have been famous in his day, but I haven’t been able to find anything else about him.

Now the bad news.

The Bisbee Daily Review had a question that any Esperantist, particularly those in 1910 might find ominous: Can you speak “Ido”?
Can You Speak “Ido?”
An alleged improvement upon the now widely known international language Esperanto is the result of the labors of a subcommittee appointed by the international committee on artificial languages which met in Paris under the presidency of the famous chemist Ostwald in 1907. This new interlanguage is called Ido. It has its dictionaries, grammars and reading books prepared for the use of readers of eight or nine existing languages. It has been described as a “quintessence of European languages,” and its advocates claim that it is simpler and easier to learn than Esperanto and that many are adopting it. Professor Otto Jespersen says it is a "purified Esperanto, freed from the arbitrary word coinages and word clippings of that language, its illogical and insufficient rules of word formation and its clumsy alphabet.
Some things should be noted about this account. The “international committee on artificial languages” was self-created and summoned. Some attempts were made to get various international societies to participate, since many of them were calling for an international language, but in the end, the group met without anyone promising to take heed of their decisions. While the rules of the committee was that no language could be presented by its creator, this was waived for Ido. It seems likely that the committee had rigged things to favor Ido; although the committee was heavy in Esperantists, many of them abandoned Esperanto for Ido, including Ostwald and Jespersen.

Like Oliveira and Souza, Ostwald and Jespersen had been ardent Esperantists.
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