As I understand from history of Esperanto, Zamenhof had send out a Promeso: a text with urge to give a promise to start learning esperanto if two (?) million people would give the same promise.

Is there any contemporary incarnations of this idea?

It seems to be a good way to introduce people to the possibility of the international language without a lot of pressure. If advertised, it could be a good way to measure the amount of existing speakers.

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    Could we edit the question to "if there is a certain number of speakers"? This is actually more in line with the original idea of the pledge. There are certainly enough speakers. We get enough bad press as it is. ;-) Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 20:54
  • Thank you for the suggestion, previous wording didn't correctly identify unsubstantiated implication of "not enough speakers today", but also wasn't entirely accurate to the intial purpose of "promise" - it was counting not speakers, but people who would promise to learn it. Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 8:25

2 Answers 2


No, not to my knowledge.

In my opinion, the closest thing we have to such a count is the number of Esperanto learners on Duolingo: currently over 500,000 with over 1,000 new learners per day. With the launch of other Esperanto courses, we should reach 2 million learners by 2018 and 10 million by 2025, thus in some way fulfilling Zamenhof's "promise" from 1887.

I have to echo the sentiments of Neil Roberts earlier criticizing the marketing strategy of this idea. While a good idea in 1887, I believe this is a terrible idea in 2016. Even in 1887, 10 million (the original number) was way too high to be realistic in the pre-Internet age. However, to see how many active speakers there are, I'm happy we have Esperantujo.directory and soon, the app Amikumu.

In any case, we already have "enough" speakers worldwide to make it useful. When speaking about marketing strategy, I'm disappointed that so many in our community focus on the original goal, which makes us look like a failure. Instead, it is more useful to compare it to other planned languages, which in that light makes Esperanto a huge success that over a million people are still speaking it a century after its original creator is no longer with us!

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    Hmm, this doesn't really answer the question "Is there any contemporary incarnations of this idea?" Counting actual Esperanto learners is both more and less powerful: It counts people who actually start learning and don't wait until more people did promise to do so, but it also counts people who just tried to learn the language, but then ceased for whatever reason, and wouldn't start again regardless how many ones promise anything. Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 21:48
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    I added "No, not to my knowledge." at the beginning to make the answer explicitly clear. Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 9:23

There used to be one at lapromeso.com. It made quite a buzz at the time and even some famous people signed it such as Stephen Fry. Sadly the site now seems to have disappeared.

In some ways these kinds of sites can leave a negative impression because 2 million is such an enormously ambitious goal and it looks a bit sad when the number of signatures is far from that, even if an otherwise impressive amount of progress is made.

For keeping track of the number of speakers I think the modern esperantujo.directory could be a good start.

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    If only we could get more people to mark the map; I know for a fact that I'm not the only Esperantist in Colorado!
    – kristan
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 19:33

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