Page last updated at 09:57 GMT, Saturday, 6 February 2010

How to talk 'proper Kairdiff' - in Esperanto

Esperanto meeting
En ord' amik'? (or "Allright butt?") in Esperanto, Kairdiff-style

Young Esperanto speakers are in Cardiff for their first meeting in Wales to discuss interest in the language.

Esperanto Youth of Britain members hope the visit to the city known to locals as "Kairdiff" will boost the language.

Heather Easom, a member of the Cardiff Esperanto Society, said it was growing in popularity because of the internet.

In Esperanto, the Kairdiffian "I loves a pint of dark at the Arms Park" is "Placegas al mi pajnto da 'malhela' ce la Kaaardifa Blaaazona Paaarko."

There are at least two million fluent speakers of Esperanto, which uses words stemming from a variety of European languages.

Esperanto is not of any country or ethnic group, but is a neutral, international language that was first proposed by in the 1880s by Dr Ludwig Lazar Zamenhof, with words stemming from a variety of European languages.

KAIRDIFF ESPERANTO (or some of the phrases you could hear on Cardiff's streets)
Alright butt? Fancy going to Caroline Street for Clarksie's and chips? - En ord' amik'? Cu ni al Karolina Strato iru por Klarksa?o kaj termpomfingroj?
Where to is the Millennium Stadium? - Apud kie trovigas la Jarmila Stadiono?
I loves a pint of dark at the Arms Park - Placegas al mi pajnto da 'malhela' ce la Kaaardifa Blaaazona Paaarko
Who's that coming over the hill, it's Michael Chopra - Kiu venas trans' la montet', estas Michael Chopra
I'll do it now in a minute - mi faros gin nun, post momento
Phrases courtesy of Heather Easom

Within a few years, people started learning it and formed a worldwide community.

Since then, it has been in use just like any other language, particularly by people who like to travel.

Ms Easom was brought up in Cardiff speaking the language because her parents had met at an Esperanto meeting, when she said the language was in its heyday.

She said she used to go along with them to get-togethers of fellow speakers in Cardiff, where she was in the minority of people who spoke it as their first language.

Regular grammar

She believed in recent years that she was the only Esperanto speaker left in the city until she was contacted by two learners about six months ago and they formed a group.

"We get together about once a month just to talk and it's amazing how quickly the others have come on speaking the language," said Ms Easom, who also speaks fluent French and is partly fluent in Welsh.

"It was invented to be as easy as possible to learn. It's very regular in the way the grammar is formed."

She said there are only six members of the Cardiff group so far, but they were keen for others with an interest to join them.

"I think the internet has created more interest," she said.

The Automatic
I took 11 years to learn Welsh in school and I'm not fluent. But I've learnt Esperanto in less than a year
Rob Hawkins, singer in The Automatic

"Twenty years ago if you wanted to learn you had to do a correspondence course or go to the library. Now there are lots of online courses."

Group member Rob Hawkins, who is the lead singer and bassist of The Automatic, has been learning Esperanto since March last year and said he had found it much easier than French and Welsh.

"I took 11 years to learn Welsh in school and I'm not fluent. But I've learnt Esperanto in less than a year," he said.

"It has lots of benefits. I've met some really interesting people and it's good for travel. And because it's a neutral language, it really helps when you speak to someone from another country.

"For example, if you go to France and try to speak to someone in French, you're aware they know what they're talking about and you don't. With Esperanto you're on an equal footing."

When the group meet their UK counterparts in Cardiff, they will take a tour of the city and visit the Doctor Who set.

In May, about 1,000 speakers from around the UK will gather in Llandudno for the British Esperanto Congress.



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