THE INTERNATIONAL AUXILIARY
GRAMMAR & COMMENTARY
Major-General George Cox
B.E.A. Publications Fund, No. 14
BRITISH ESPERANTO ASSOCIATION
[All rights reserved]
Reprinted, January, 1939
Printed in Great Britain
PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION
In this Fourth Edition of a work which, since its first appearance in August, 1906, has had a very favourable reception among English-speaking Esperantists in all parts of the world, advantage has been taken of the necessity for reprinting the work, to make a thorough revision of the text, and to introduce some other improvements.
Major-General Cox, born 1838, the author of the Commentary, died on 27th October, 1909, and the revision of the work has been carried out under the direction of the British Esperanto Association (Incorporated).
Footnotes to the Preface to the First Edition have been introduced to record facts not known to the author at the time.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION
Esperanto is the International Auxiliary Language created by Dr. L. L. Zamenhof, a doctor of medicine, residing at Warsaw, Poland. It is now hardly necessary to mention this fact, but there was a time, not very long ago, when many people thought that Esperanto was a patent medicine, or new kind of soap, or, in fact, anything except a language!
Its aim is not to displace existing languages, but to be a second language for the world, and its merits are now recognized by many eminent men of all nationalities.
If we consider the enormous advantages of a common language, understood by all, we shall at once confess what a blessing Dr. Zamenhof has conferred upon mankind, for:—
Firstly.—It enables anyone to correspond on any topic, social, commercial, or scientific, with persons of all nationalities.
Secondly.—Books of all descriptions can at once be translated into this common language, and sold all over the world; consequently, scientific and medical men will not have to wait, perhaps years, before some important treatise appears in their own language.
Lovers of fiction would also have at command the works of all the best foreign novelists.
Thirdly.—At international congresses the speeches and discussions could be in Esperanto, and understood by all present, the aid of interpreters being unnecessary, by which great saving of time would be effected.
Fourthly.—Treaties and Conventions with foreign Powers could be drawn up in the international language, and there would be no difficulty in determining their exact signification.
Esperanto was first introduced into Great Britain by Mr. Joseph Rhodes, of Keighley, Yorkshire, who formed the first group in that town in 1902. Shortly afterwards, in January, 1903, a group was formed in London, under the auspices of Mr. W. T. Stead, Editor of the "Review of Reviews," Miss E. A. Lawrence, and Mr. J. C. O’Connor, M.A., Ph.D., which resulted in the foundation of the present London Esperanto Club. The first English-Esperanto Gazette was founded by Mr. H. Bolingbroke Mudie, in November, 1903; this was followed in January, 1905, by "The British Esperantist," the official organ of the British Esperanto Association, which was then founded as the official organization of the Esperantists of the British Empire. Progress in the language was at first slow, but it is now advancing by leaps and bounds, and there are at present, in England, Ireland, and Scotland, some 60 societies, groups, and clubs, affiliated to the British Esperanto Association. There is also now an American Esperanto Association, with already a large number of energetic groups.
I hope that those who take up this Commentary on Esperanto will not think it necessary to wade through all its pages before they can read and write the language. All that is necessary for this purpose is to read the 16 simple rules, written by Dr. Zamenhof himself (par. 94), and a few paragraphs and examples on the Formation of Words (par. 40), and on the Parts of Speech (pars. 103, 107, 125, 149, 159, 238, 249, 262). This can easily be done in two or three hours; and then, with the aid of a small English Dictionary, you will be able to write a letter in Esperanto, which will be readily understood by any Esperantist.
Or, you can buy for a few pence various primers, first lessons, or instruction books, most of which contain a small vocabulary of common words. A tiny book, costing 1d., called the "Esperanto Key," weighing 1⁄5th of an ounce, containing a vocabulary of over 1,500 roots, with explanations of the suffixes, formation of words, etc., gives you the language in a nutshell. This little book is already published in nineteen different languages. If you wish to correspond with anyone of a different nation, all you have to do is to write your letter in Esperanto, enclose the "Esperanto Key" in the language of the person you are writing to, and he will understand your letter. This, you may say, is pure nonsense, but I assure you it is true, for on several occasions I have done this