Esperanto and Education: Toward a Research Agenda
Esperanto is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. The name derives from Doktoro Esperanto, the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof first published the Unua Libro in 1887. The word itself means 'one who hopes'. Zamenhof's goal was to create an easy and flexible language as a universal second language to foster peace and international understanding.
Although no country has adopted the language officially, it has enjoyed continuous usage by a community estimated at between 100,000 and 2 million speakers. By some estimates, there are about a thousand native speakers.
Today, Esperanto is employed in world travel, correspondence, cultural exchange, conventions, literature, language instruction, television (Internacia Televido) and radio broadcasting. Some state education systems offer elective courses in Esperanto, and there is evidence that learning Esperanto is a useful preparation for later language learning.
Propaedeutic Esperanto is the theory that teaching the Esperanto human language to first-year language students before they embark upon other secondary (non-native) languages, makes learning the additional languages more effective. Helmar Frank's experiments and research at Paderborn and for the San Marino International Academy of Sciences concluded that one year of Esperanto in school, which produces a communication ability equivalent to what the average pupil reaches in other European languages after six to seven years of study, accelerates and improves the learning other languages after learning Esperanto. The propaedeutic value of Esperanto was described for the first time by Antoni Grabowski in an article of 1908.