A: Between 1877 and 1885, a Polish Jew named L. L. Zamenhof constructed a beautiful synthesized language to aid in world peace. Zamenhof hoped that his universal, easy-to-learn dialect might create a world where people could communicate with one another using words rather than bullets. His language, Esperanto (which means “one who is hoping” in Esperanto and “one whose hope is a bit unrealistic,” in English), caught fire with European intellectuals, but never took root with the public at large.
Amazingly, however, there are actually some two million Esperanto-speakers worldwide today. But on the whole, people still prefer communicating with bullets: in the 20th century, there were some 110,000,000 war-related deaths. Of course, that shouldn’t stop you from learning it. Esperanto advocates say it’s easier to learn than most any other language. Still, that means you will only be able to say things like, “Pierre is going to the library with his friend the acrobat,” for the first six months.