December 15, 2009

Google Doodle marks Zamenhof, Esperanto

Today, the world woke up to a funky Google Doodle featuring a white and green flag with a green star. To many the connection is not obvious, but today Google is honoring the 150th birthday of L.L. Zamenhof. Zamenhof was an opthalmologist and philologist, but his biggest claim to fame was inventing Esperanto, a constructed language used for international communication.

Esperanto's flag is a green rectangle with a smaller white square with a green star superimposed in the top left corner, and it was worked into Google's Doodle today. Ironically, Google offers search results in Esperanto. Green in Esperanto's flag symbolized hope, white - peace, and the five-pointed star symbolized five continents united together.

Interestingly, Zamenhof himself spoke Russian, Polish and Yiddish. Living in a Polish town where many different cultures coexisted side by side inspired Zamenhof to create a language anyone could understand regardless of cultural heritage.

In 1887, Zamenhof created the language he called Esperanto (stands for "hopefull"), which borrowed linguistic elements from a mix of languages Zamenhof learned in his lifetime. Zamenhof firmly believed the creation of international language is bound to promote peace and tolerance. And, although the language was not universally adopted, it was spoken by nearly two million people at one point. It is still widely used in correspondence, conventions, broadcasting, and military. For his life's work Zamenhof was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and even has a planet named after him.

1 comment:

  1. Esperanto has been the most useful language for me in aquiring friends for the past 39 years. (I speak Hebrew, Portuguese and Spanish well and several others poorly).
    For free hosting of foreign friends go to A diverse overview of Esperanto is at