December 15 is Zamenhof Day in the Esperanto Community, celebrating the birth in 1859 of Leyzer Zamenhof, Polish ophthalmologist and inventor of Espertanto.
Zamenhof was fascinated with the idea of a world without war and believed that an international language could be a vehicle to make that happen.
He grew up in a multi-lingual area. He was given the Hebrew Name Eliezar by his parents, however since his home was part of the Russian Empire, it was recorded as Лейзер Заменгов, Leyzer Zamengov, using the Yiddish form of his forename and the Russian form of his surname.
Many late documents also include the patronymic Маркович, Markovich or son of Mark. His family name is of German origin and was originally written Samenhof; this was later transcribed into Yiddish as זאַמענהאָף, then re-romanized back as Zamenhof. The change of the initial letter from « S » to « Z » is not unusual, as in German an initial « s » is pronounced [z].
All of this no doubt contributed to his desire for a unified language.
There is ongoing debate to the number of Esperanto speakers in the world. I’ll give you a few attributed numbers.
Sidney Culbert, a retired psychology professor at the University of Washington and long-time Esperantist, concluded that between one and two million people speak Esperanto at a Foreign Service Level 3.
The 2019 online version of Ethnologue gives “L1 users: 1,000 (Corsetti et al 2004)”.
Summarized from Wikipedia.
You can read more at the Esperanto website.
L. L. Zamenhof (15 December 1859 – 14 April 1917)
Disclaimer: The information on this website is accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of writing. I make no guarantee as to its accuracy. Its purpose is to inform, educate, amuse, and raise awareness about causes and opportunities around the globe. I also encourage civil debate in the comments.