Paul Makepeace ;-)


Out of sheer curiosity, I started learning Esperanto aged about 13 and took the free correspondence course getting to about lesson 7 or 8. I didn't do much with it besides quite enjoy the lessons I completed and writing to my tutor.

Years later, I then met a couple of fantastic Esperantists speakers (Mark Rison and Edmund Grimley-Evans) at university which re-ignited my interest. I took a GCSE exam in 1995, and attended a Brita Kongreso (British Congress). This event blew my mind – after really only a few weeks study I managed halting but workable conversations with folks there who couldn't speak English, not to mention the experience of stand- up comedy, entirely in Esperanto. There is a difference between knowing something, and understanding it. Before the congress I knew Esperanto was a Good Thing™. During and after I really understood that it was a good thing.

I never became especially fluent, and there wasn't quite the critical mass of exposure and internal will to maintain it. Instead, I contented myself with occasional evangelism and attempts at disspelling the misconceptions and (frequently charged) disparagement people seem to reflexively produce when Esperanto is mentioned. (It continues to amaze me the power bringing up the subject of artificial languages has to trigger an apparently mindless, ill-considered rant amongst even well-educated intelligent people.)

Then in July 2003 I entered into a rather odd auction...