Esperanto is an international auxiliary language devised in 1887 by Dr. Ludovic Lazar Zamenhof (1859-1917), a Jewish Eye Doctor, under the pseudonym of 'Doktoro Esperanto'. He originally called the language 'La Internacia Lingvo' (The International Language), but it soon became known as Esperanto, which means 'the hoping one'.
The majority of Esperanto roots are based on Latin, though some vocabulary is taken from modern Romance languages, and from English, German, Polish and Russian. Roots can be combined with affixes to form new words, for example: lerni = to learn, lernejo = a school, lernanto = a pupil/student, lernejestro = a headmaster. The affixes can also stand alone: ejo = place, estro = leader/head, etc.
Today Esperanto is the most widely used international auxiliary language and is particularly popular in Eastern Europe and China. There is a flourishing Esperanto literature including books, magazines and poetry.