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Pronounced /ˈjʊərəʊˌpæntəʊ/Help with pronunciation

Europanto is a sort of language, the tongue-in-cheek creation of Diego Marani, a translator working for the European Council of Ministers in Brussels. He writes regular columns in it in Swiss and Belgian newspapers, and has also produced a book and a board game. The name is a blend of European with Esperanto, the international language invented by Dr Ludovik Zamenhof in the 1880s. But Diego Marani feels Esperanto’s chance of acceptance has gone, a product of a linguistic environment that no longer exists; today, he argues, English is dominant, a lingua franca used by many groups with no link to the Anglo-Saxon world. In his manifesto, a fine example of straight-faced humour, he says that Europanto, based on English with many words injected from other European languages known to the speakers, “is intended to give voice to the frustrations of the vast majority of people who are forced to use English even though their command of the language is not very good” and that “instead of trying to compete with English, the aim is to cause the language to implode, to destroy it from within”. So far, it’s no more than a fun intellectual game, but you never know.

Si no comprende este compte de Noël, no panic: este perfectly normal. Er ist écrit in der erste overeuropese tongue: the Europanto. Europanto ist 42% English, 38% French, 15% le rest van de UE tonguen und 5% mixed fantasia mots out from Latin, unlikely-old-Greek et mucho rude Italian jurones.

Le Soir illustré, Dec. 1996

Signor Marani launched Europanto as a joke, a way of whiling away the time during interminable Council meetings, but it has proved enormously popular and le ciel ist now der termino, as the Panto-ists might say.

Guardian, Feb. 1999

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 13 Feb. 1999

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Last modified: 13 February 1999.