Language
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What is Europanto?

Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

Europanto is a constructed language that incorporates various elements of several European languages. Although journalist and translator Diego Marani created Europanto as a humorous way to demonstrate how people frequently include common words and phrases from their native tongue while trying to communicate in a foreign language, it actually took a firm hold in the international community. In fact, Marani, who was also an interpreter for the European Council of Ministers in Brussels, published several columns and articles in Europanto in Swiss and Belgian newspapers in the late 1990s. He even published a book and invented a board game, both of which feature Europanto.

Before Europanto, other constructed languages created a stir. In the late 19th century, Dr. Ludovik Zamenhof is credited with inventing a secondary international language called Esperanto. Since this creation of mixed languages intended to promote international peace and tolerance, it was named from the word Esperanto, which translates to mean "one who hopes." A subsequent international language known as Ido endeavored to combine components of English, French, Greek, and Latin, but never gained the popularity of Esperanto or Europanto.

Woman standing behind a stack of books
Woman standing behind a stack of books

The primary reason that Marani created Europanto lies in the fact that many Europeans are consistently challenged to exercise and interpret communications in English, even though they may possess only a meager grasp of the language. To counteract this dilemma, Marani promoted a language that was predominantly English, but with a healthy dose of French, a language commonly second to many Europeans. In addition, Europanto also contains a sprinkling of Italian, German, and Spanish, as well as Latin and Greek root words. This system enabled non-English speakers to draw from the pool of common English words and phrases they did have command of and combine it with elements of other languages to be better understood; no matter what one’s knowledge of foreign languages, Europanto is fairly easy to comprehend by most people.

Marani never intended Europanto to replace English or even become a bonafide language in its own right. In fact, he still regards it as a joke invented to deal with his own frustration at the forcing of the English language on the global community. Nevertheless, his hobby has led to the appearance of Syberspel English, yet another form of a constructed international language that has become prevalent on the Internet.

Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

Contributing articles to LanguageHumanities is just one of Karyn’s many professional endeavors. She is also a magazine writer and columnist, mainly for health-related publications, as well as the author of four books. Karyn lives in New York’s Catskill Mountain region and specializes in topics about green living and botanical medicine.

Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

Contributing articles to LanguageHumanities is just one of Karyn’s many professional endeavors. She is also a magazine writer and columnist, mainly for health-related publications, as well as the author of four books. Karyn lives in New York’s Catskill Mountain region and specializes in topics about green living and botanical medicine.

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Discussion Comments

anon137809

nice article.

dharma

Interesting. I would like to hear this spoken in everyday speech. An example would be nice.

bestcity

You would think that a constructed language like this would take of and become highly popular, but not so. Even Esparanto is not that popular and it has been around for quite some time, something like since the late 1800's.

But who knows, maybe Europanto will take of faster, it is still so very new.

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      Woman standing behind a stack of books