Sherlockian.Net: Esperanto

by Darold Booton, Jr. (, for Sherlockian.Net

All Sherlockians (or Holmesians) know that 1887 marks the year when Arthur Conan Doyle and the publishers of Beeton's Christmas Annual first gave Dr. John Watson the opportunity to regale the reading public with the adventures of the now internationally known consulting detective Sherlock Holmes, for it was in that year that A Study in Scarlet appeared in the pages of that publication. Since then Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes have become as familiar as household words throughout the world.

Perhaps fewer know that in the same year Dr. Ludvick Lazar Zamenhof, a polish oculist, introduced into the world a project that he had developed since his teenage years, the international language, Esperanto. Before Zamenhof other proposals for a universal language had been made, and thousands have been made since his, but Esperanto stands as the most widely accepted with its two million speakers in over one hundred countries, its large body of original and translated literature, including the Bible, Shakespeare, and, for the readers of this website, the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

About Esperanto

The grammar of Esperanto falls within the bounds of sixteen short rules. Because by intention Esperanto contains none of the “linguistic overhead” of national languages (absolutely no irregularities, no conjugation of verbs, no declension of nouns, no grammatical gender, and no inflection), a speaker of a European language can learn to read Esperanto in three to six months. Others may take a only little longer. A free Esperanto course is available through the Internet.

The Esperanto alphabet has 28 letters:

a b c ĉ d e f g ĝ h ĥ i j ĵ k l m n o p r s ŝ t u ŭ v z

When the technological precursor to the internet was developed, the developers apparently did not think that anyone except English speakers would use it and so little accommodation was made for the markings of other languages. With the introduction of the extended ASCII character set it became possible, though sometimes not easy, to represent other languages. In the internet English is represented by the “iso-8859-1” character set; other Latin-based languages by some other “iso-8859-x” character set. Esperanto may be represented by “iso-8859-3” character set, or as it is sometimes called “Latin-3”. Another standard for representation of international characters is Unicode, which can represent thousands of different characters.

Esperantists usually use Latin-3, Unicode, or the “x-method” to present their pages in the internet.

To view Latin-3 a user must download a set of Latin-3 fonts, install them in Windows, and using the “preferences” in the browser, set it to use these Latin-3 fonts.

To use Unicode, the user need only have Windows 98 or the later version of Windows 95 and a current browser (current version of Mozilla, Netscape, or Internet Explorer). Read more about Latin 3, Unicode, and Esperanto here.

The x-method simply represents the special Esperanto characters as ĉ = cx, ĝ = gx, ĥ = hx, ĵ = jx, ŝ = sx, ŭ= ux. And the user need do nothing special to read the text. This method works even with a text-based browser.

Sherlock Holmes in Esperanto

Here are a set of links to Sherlock Holmes stories in Esperanto now appearing on the internet. (In fact, however, one of the novels, The Hound of the Baskervilles, is currently available in book form translated by William Auld as La Ĉashundo de la Baskerviloj and is available through the Esperanto League for North America or the Esperanto Association of Britain — see links below.)

  • La aventuro de la dancantoj [Darold BOOTON] | Unicode Version ("The Dancing Men")
  • La aventuro de la kriplulo [A. K. BECK] | Unicode Version ("The Crooked Man")
  • La aventuro de la malaperinta trikvarono [Darold BOOTON] | Unicode Version ("The Missing Three-Quarter")
  • La mararmea traktato [Dominique CORNICE] ("The Naval Treaty")
  • La Musgrava rito [Darold BOOTON] ("The Musgrave Ritual")
  • La sangofagoj [Darold BOOTON] ("The Copper Beeches")
  • La viro kun la tordita lipo [Sylvan ZAFT] ("The Man with the Twisted Lip")
  • Studo en skarlato [W. D. B. [Dez] HACKETT](from chapter ii of A Study in Scarlet)

    Other Esperanto links

  • Esperanto access (see especially the literature link at this site)
  • Esperanto League for North America (The United States)
  • Canadian Esperanto Association
  • Esperanto Association of Britain
  • Australian Esperanto Association
  • Universal Esperanto Association
  • Ken Caviness
  • Peter Jameson’s Secret Language — Dr. Sylvan Zaft
  • Esperanto: A Language for the Global Village — Dr. Sylvan Zaft
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