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Is Obama a Secret Esperanto Speaker?

Updated on December 4, 2009

Some strange writers at the web have "accused" him of this.

It would honour him if he were guilty.

But I doubt very much that he is.

If I go to the web site of the White House and search for "esperanto", I get the answer:

"Did you mean?

(The placing of the question mark is theirs, not mine. Perhaps young Obama has not studied quite as diligently as he has asked today's youth to do - at least not interpunction?)

They say he is bought by George Soros, whose father was an Esperantist, and who himself once managed to escape to the West through an Esperanto congress; but even if Obama is bought (which I don't know if he is, or by whom, or if ever there has been a president who wasn't), this doesn't say anything about his present interests, or even about Soros'. As far as I know, none of these two gentleman has supported Esperanto in any way after coming into riches.

By the way: Esperanto is not the same thing as Español; see

At least once, Esperanto was discussed by the US Congress.

In 1914, House or Representatives, 63rd Congress, 2nd Session.

The document can be read at

It's interesting to see how times they are a-changin'. Prof. A. Christen, who presented Esperanto at the occasion, was keen to emphasize the commercial values of the language, but said that "personally I should not want an international language for poetry".

It has gone the other way around. The use of Esperanto in commerce is still very limited (it does exist, but in a small scale; Mr Soros certainly didn't get his millions by using it), but Esperanto poetry (as well as prose fiction) has prospered, and at least three Esperanto poets have been nominated for the Nobel Prize of Literature.

(But, coming to think about what other people have been nominated to Nobel Prizes, and even got it, that is perhaps not very much to boast about...)

Well, this session was held March 17th, 1914. Two months later came the shot in Sarajevo, and then World War I, and the idea of international brotherhood was tuned down for a while, and afterwards the world was not the same.

Still, Esperanto survived two world wars and the rise of television, and is now strengthened by Internet.

Which probably isn't used in quite the way its pioneers thought either.


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    • profile image

      Lionel Vidoni 6 years ago

      I'm director of a travel agency in the island of Kefalonia, Greece, and my website is commercial AND in Esperanto :)

      Kore el Grekio

    • Pierre Savoie profile image

      Pierre Savoie 6 years ago from Canada

      It's a big misunderstanding. Obama has nothing to do with Esperanto. The way he'll play with your tax-money, he's a DESPERADO.

    • profile image

      Sinjoro Eng 6 years ago

      Esperanto speakers must support the esperanto speakers' business. This is what i am doing now. I termed it as VSM verda stela mono.

      A waiter told me that he said 'saluton' to a traveller who has walked into the restuarant and the traveller replied,"Saluton".

      This shows that the esperanto speakers did not speak to the people in esperanto first but in stead would be English in Asia.

      How esperanto would be prosperous ?

    • Gunnar Gällmo profile image

      Gunnar Gällmo 8 years ago from Stockholm

      There are several restaurants around the world called "Esperanto" (the word has never been protected, and when Zamenhof launched the language, he waived all copypright). Most of those restaurants have nothing to do with the Esperanto movement, but the one in Stockholm is rumoured to have excellent food. I don't know if this is true - it's so expensive I can't afford to test.

    • timbgunter profile image

      Timothy B. Gunter 8 years ago from Arkansas

      I agree. Esperanto needs a business approach. There's a grocery chain called "Mi Tienda" and it sells in the U.S. How about a store called "Mia vendejo?"

    • timbgunter profile image

      Timothy B. Gunter 8 years ago from Arkansas

      Pres. Obama, I believe, is fluent in Spanish. El presidente habla español muy bien y su español es mucho mejor que lo de Bush.

    • Gunnar Gällmo profile image

      Gunnar Gällmo 8 years ago from Stockholm

    • profile image

      Roberto Pantaneiro 8 years ago

      I learned Esperanto when I was about 14 years old. Now I'm 47, and thanks to Esperanto propaedeutical side-efeccts now I'm able to speak several languages, including English. I don't believe Esperanto is a language for the future. It is here and now. I use English to make money, but I use Esperanto to make friends. I wouldn't mind to make money through Esperanto, though. It just didn't happen yet. Perhaps that's what we need nowadays, a business approach to esperanto in order to make it meaningful to our global money-oriented society.

    • profile image

      Bill Chapman 8 years ago

      I'm an Esperanto speaker,and I recommend the language to anyone really interested in the wider world.

    • profile image

      Brian Barker 8 years ago

      I support the use of Esperanto, for whatever reason.

      The World indeed does need a common auxiliary language.

      Your readers may be interested in the following video at Professor Piron was a translator with the United Nations in Geneva.

      A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at

    • vrajavala profile image

      vrajavala 8 years ago from Port St. Lucie

      chuckle on the comment about Esperanto Nobel prize winners.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      I once had a Spanish teacher, Tom Kovary, who claimed to be a native speaker of Esperanto.