This page is a part of GNUPedia – the free encyclopedia and learning resource

Zamenhof, L. L. [Deutsche] [English] [Español] [Русский]

Zamenhof, Ludovic Lazarus (Ludwik Lejzer)

Ludovic Lazarus Zamenhof (1859-1917) was the creator of Esperanto – the most succesful of all the constructed international languages. He also was known as Dr. Esperanto – by this pseudonym he published in 1887 his work “Lingvo internacia”, which had the language's description and textbook.

Zamenhof was born the 15th of December 1859 in the Polish town Bialystok (then Poland was a part of Russian Empire). The town's population was made-up of four major ethnic groups: Russians, Poles, Germans, and Yiddish-speaking Jews. There were many quarrels between them, and that was making young Ludovic quite sad. He supposed that the main reason for the hate and prejudice lay in reciprocal misunderstanding, caused by the lack of one common language that would play role of the neutral communication tool between people of different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.

As a student of secondary school in Warsaw Zamenhof made attempts to create some kind of international language with a grammar that was very rich, but also very complex. When he studied English (along with German, French, Latin and Greek, he decided that the international language must have relatively simple grammar with a wide use of suffixes to make new forms of the words.

By the 1878 his project “Lingwe uniwersala” was almost finished. However Zamenhof was too young then to publish his work. Soon after graduation from the school he began to study medicine, first in Moscow, and later in Warsaw. In 1885 Zamenhof graduated from the university and began his practice as oculist. While healing people he continued to work on his project of the international language.

For two years he tried to raise funds to publish a booklet with the language's description until he received the financial help from his future wife's father. In 1887 the book titled as “D-ro Esperanto. Lingvo internacia. Antaŭparolo kaj plena lernolibro” (“Dr. Hopeful. International Language. Foreword And Complete Textbook”) was published. For Zamenhof this language wasn't a mere communication tool, but the mean of propagation. He wanted to preach the idea of peaceful co-existing of different people and cultures. Zamenhof even came up with the teaching “Homaranismo” in order to spread these ideas.

Zamenhof became informal leader of the new Esperanto-movement, though he never was striving to gain fame or power. Esperantists were calling him The Master, admiring him as a Teacher, but Zamenhof himself had a strong dislike for this title, and never took any official position inside the Esperanto-movement. He died in Warsaw the 14th of April 1917.

See also:

[Deutsche] [English] [Español] [Русский]

Author: Oleg Izyumenko

Updated: 30th of January 2001

Please send comments on this article to [email protected]

Hosted by