The Polish home city of the 19th century founder of Esperanto is teaching the artificial language with panels in local buses to honor the 150th anniversary of his birth, authorities said Thursday.
Bialystok council announced it was paying homage to Ludwik Zamenhof by replacing on-board advertising with teach-yourself Esperanto panels providing vocabulary and basic phrases, Poland’s PAP news agency reported.
The move in the northeastern city is part of preparations for an anniversary congress of Esperanto-speakers from around the globe, due to take place from July 25 to Aug. 1.
Zamenhof, who was Jewish, was born in Bialystok on Dec. 15, 1859.
At the time, the city was part of the Tsarist Russian empire, and the hub of an ethnically diverse region inhabited by speakers of Polish, Yiddish, Belarusian and Russian.
Zamenhof dreamed of a day when people would be able to communicate in a universal language free of political connotations and misunderstandings, fostering world peace.
In his spare time, the ophthalmologist Zamenhof devised the easy-to-learn tongue in 1887 from elements of Romance, Germanic and Slavic languages and a slice of Latin and Greek grammar.
The language’s name is derived from his writer’s pseudonym Esperanto, a reference to the word “hope”.
Zamenhof died in 1917 and was buried in Warsaw’s Jewish cemetery.
Around two million people worldwide are estimated to speak Esperanto.(AFP)