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EAB News 2011-10-21: A personal account of "Course you Can"

Learning the language

EAB ran two Esperanto events at Barlason in October 2011; Drondo was a discussion circle, using Esperanto to explore topics, and "Course-you-can" was a beginners course for people who only have minimal experience in the language, perhaps through correspondence courses by post or online. Here is a personal account from a first-time particpant.

I've always missed deadlines. I know that about myself. Usually I manage to organise my life so that it doesn't get me into too much trouble. Occasionally I have an epic fail on the planning front which means I end up somewhere late, flustered and underprepared.

That was the scenario when I fell out of the taxi at Wedgewood Memorial College for my beginner's Esperanto course five minutes before the evening meal was due to start, threw my bag in the general direction of my bedroom and dashed into the dining room before sitting down at the first table I found.

Which was when I remembered that there were also some advanced Esperanto speakers who were attending a discussion group at the college that weekend to hone their skills and that meals would be taken together. The subtle clue was that everyone at the table I had chosen was speaking a foreign language.

After about five minutes (probably noting my slightly blank expression) the group at the table switched unobtrusively into a mixture of English and Esperanto so I wouldn't feel too excluded while still taking the chance to practice Dr. Zamenhof's magnificent tongue. Don't misunderstand me - I was busy listening to Esperanto spoken properly for the first time in my life (we'll ignore the video on Youtube with Captain Kirk giving it a try ...).

It was wonderful. Ever since I was a teenager I've liked the idea of Esperanto without knowing why. I think it's something to do with the concept of an equal universal language which enables humans from different cultures to meet on level terms. I'd finally acted on my ambition to start learning the lingo (it's a long time since I've been a teenager) and it was already surpassing my expectations.

That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the weekend. Though I was less advanced than other people on the beginner's course I managed to just about hold my own and I thoroughly enjoyed the classes and tuition. The experienced speakers proved more than willing to share their experience and knowledge of Esperanto at break times and during evenings at the pub. Many of them had spent a whole lifetime inhabiting this parallel world and it was often startling to discover (usually by accident) the depth of their experience and accomplishments.

I look forward to my first Congreso ....

Susan Badham

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