Esperanto (ĕspəränˈtō) [key], an artificial language introduced in 1887 and intended by its inventor, Dr. Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof (1859–1917), a Polish oculist and linguist, to ease communication between speakers of different languages. In the 20th cent. it has been taught in schools and universities throughout the world but has not received wide acceptance as an international language. Its grammar and lexicon are relatively unfamiliar to users who do not know other Indo-European languages; its syntax, spelling, and pronunciation are influenced especially by Slavonic. See international language.
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