This year’s John Buchanan lecture was given by Professor Sabine Fiedler from the University of Leipzig, who gave an informative talk on ‘Phraseology as a Mirror of Culture – A Survey with Examples in Esperanto, English and German’. Particularly interesting were examples in the planned international language Esperanto. Professor Fiedler explained that phrases and proverbs in Esperanto reflect different cultures, and classified them into three groups: those which have entered the language from various other languages, those consciously created, and – perhaps most interestingly – those which have originated out of the language and cultural life of the Esperanto speech community itself, and thus encapsulate the very essence of Esperanto’s own unique culture.
Professor Wim Jansen from the University of Amsterdam and current Buchanan Lecturer added a short epilogue illustrating how an international language such as Esperanto has the unique potential of allowing the wealth of phrases and proverbs from lesser-known languages and cultures to reach a worldwide audience, using examples on this occasion from Basque.
The University of Liverpool, and more particularly the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, has a long tradition of activities and events associated with Esperanto, and the Buchanan Bequest, gifted to the University in 1930, has helped to ensure that the University retains its position as the leading institution for Esperanto research in the UK.
Dr Angela Tellier, one of the organisers of the event and Honorary Fellow at the University of Liverpool, earlier commended the University of Liverpool for its commitment to Buchanan events and highlighted the importance of supporting research into Esperanto.