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Recently, the firm Roche Ltd, Consulting Group, a company based in Québec with over 1,800 employeees, has changed its name to Norda Stelo Inc.

Norda Stelo means “Northern Star” in Esperanto. “The name holds special significance for our employees because it represents the driver of our transformation the business plan we developed in 2013 which we often refer to as our Northern Star.

The use of Esperanto words is more common than I expected. It seems that many of these companies are owned by Esperanto-speakers. Lists can be found in the Internet about products and companies that use Esperanto words (some are coincidencial), here is an example.

I have found many companies which are using the lud radical:

  • Ludi (to play), is an old Swiss website for playing games online
  • Ludilo (toy), is a company in France that sells toys for children
  • Ludilo (toy), is a company in the Nederlands that sells toys for adults
  • Ludisto (player), is a german/international company that sells small videogames

My question is why they are chosing Esperanto words. What do they gain from using words from the constructed language?

  • 1
    I am a komencanto, and didn't 'officially' learn 'rabo' yet, but I was mightily amused to find the Dutch Rabobank on that linked list. It's appearance there is a coincidence, the name derives from the merger of the RAiffaisenbank and the BOerenleenbank, but I love the irony of a 'robberbank' – gerbnl Sep 26 '16 at 11:07
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I can think of a few reasons:

  1. They are not using Esperanto words on purpose. Esperanto uses a lot of Latin roots, so there are often similar-sounding words with similar meanings in Latin and other romance languages that may have been used as inspiration. For example, "ludo" and "ludi" are Latin, according to Google. (Obviously does not apply to your first example.)
  2. They couldn't find a name in their native language that wasn't already in use. Having a unique name can help with brand recognition and search engine optimization. If someone searches "northern star" they're going to get a lot of different things, but if they search "norda stelo" it is more likely that they will get that company as the first result.
  3. Someone in charge either speaks Esperanto or likes the idea of it and wants to do something to "advertise" for it.
  4. They want it to sound "futuristic"/"modern"/"sci-fi" or something. This is the reason why "Incubus" and Christopher Mihm's films are in Esperanto.
  • 2
    As the owner of Ludisto and Amikumu, I completely agree with this answer! – Chuck Smith Sep 27 '16 at 21:21
  • It should be added that choosing a name from an usual language may make it easier to register it as a brand. If you sell computers, you would have a hard time registering ‘Computer’ as a brand, as will be words for it in other well-known languages like ‘ordinateur’. But ‘komputilo’ will most probably not be a problem. – Manuel Eberl Oct 1 '16 at 22:04
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Esperanto adds a touch of the exotic without having to actually draw from any pre-existing culture. There's also a touch of romanticism in naming something using the "Universal Language", giving the implication of a business that's globally friendly. Esperanto also aids in brand recognition, since it has relatively little speakers and therefore would provide better recognizably than a similar word in English, Chinese, or any other language.

Marketing is pretty much the only reason companies choose to do anything involving their image, and using Esperanto in their corporate image has a lot of benefits that other languages wouldn't provide. I doubt they have much attachment to Esperanto as a language to actually speak.

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The language laws in Quebec require the company name to be in French. Some companies work under two names, one in French and one for the rest of Canada. The famous Canadian coffee shop Tim Horton's Donuts, changed its name to Tim Hortons, leaving out the "donuts" and the apostrophe which identifies it as an English name. It seems that by using an Esperanto name, Norda Stelo has circumvented the issue.

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Norda Stelo as indeed "neutral" choice between English and French is obvious.

The other reason is that Esperanto has its roots in the Indo-European language family, but is almost a quasi-secret language (like Latin was).

That coupled with a natural fondness of this simple language, seems to make it a choice that springs to mind. And non-esperantists can agree too.

The alternatives of artificial names, pure (Haagendaaz) or otherwise, or names of initials, probably has also its share.

The German car brand "Audi" stems from Latin. Nowadays the German brand "Back Factory" stands for a bakery chain, and is a funny example of using a common German word (Back, ie to bake) and a foreign English word (factory) in its brand name.

  • Audi is actually the Latin translation of the founder's name (August Horch, which means listen in English, and audi in Latin) – Oliver Mason Sep 26 '16 at 12:42
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Mi pensas, ke Esperanto estas uzata por ke la vortoj havu ion universalan, alilandan kaj futuristan senton. La vortoj similas ol nacilingvaj vortoj sed samtempe estas strangetaj. Krome, Esperantaj vortoj ofte estas klaraj kaj bone kompreneblaj en multaj lingvoj. Vortoj kiel "krk" aux aliaj vortoj kun multaj konsontantoj, povas esti malfacilan por kompreni kaj uzi en la tuta mondo.

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