Speaking an Invented Language like a Native

Simon proudly tells how his six-year-old daughter Sarah recently read her favourite story by herself for the first time. This in itself is an important milestone, but it’s even more special because Sarah didn’t read it in English – she did it in Esperanto. She is one of the few people in the world who speak an invented language as a native language.

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I’m the only one with a mask at an anti-mask protest

There’s more flags than masks here. Half a dozen Irish flags, just in case we forget which country we’re in. A banner is unfurled “Only slaves wear masks”.  As the only person wearing a mask in this crowd of 50 outside the GPO, I stand out. A woman takes up a microphone and starts speaking about taking back control. For no particular reason she shouts “Up the Ra! And I mean the Real IRA, not those other messers!” Three gardaí (wearing masks) wander over but the speaker shouts them down. Soon the whole crowd is chanting “We have no contract with you!” (which they believe means they don’t have to obey the gardaí) until they leave. I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into.

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How do you say “Happy New Year” in Esperanto?

At first glance, it looks like an ordinary congress held every year to celebrate the New Year. During the day participants attend various talks and play games, and during the night they party at concerts. But there is one important difference. Everything, from the group discussions on social issues to the late night flirting over drinks, is done through the language of Esperanto. The participants are here to party, but also to promote a language few have even heard of.

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