Esperanto
Author: David Poulson


Teaching & Learning Part Two. Andreas Cseh

Author: David Poulson
Published on: May 4, 2001

Introductory note for new visitors to the Esperanto Topic.

If you have only just begun to take an interest in Esperanto and wish to know some basic information about this fascinating subject, please start your reading at the first article of this series. Having already completed 80 articles, I am now at the stage of writing articles for those readers who have learned quite a lot about the Esperanto language and movement already, and who are now wanting to find out more than just the basic introductory information. To get to the beginning of this series

After you have read the first article, click on the link at the top of the page which says "Articles" to find the rest of the series, which is listed in reverse chronological order. _______________________________________________________

Andreas CSEH (or Andreo Cxe, as he himself used to write it,) was born on the 12th of September 1895 in Marosludas in Hungary. Since 1918 this town has been called Ludus and it's location is now within the borders of Rumania. In 1919, he was ordained a priest but, as we will see, his true vocation was Esperanto.

Cseh, as I am going to call him, learned Esperanto in 1910 after responding to an advertisement in a newspaper and he very soon became an enthusiastic supporter of the Esperanto movement. When he began to actively promote the use of the language to other people, he soon became convinced that the key to the successful development and dissemination of Esperanto was to be found in teaching the language effectively to as many people as possible. In 1920, aged twenty five, he organized and presented his first Esperanto course in a town called Sibiu.

The people who attended his classes were mainly from working-class backgrounds, were of various nationalities, and spoke several different langauges, so Cseh accepted the fact that he would be unable to teach his course with the help of a single bilingual textbook. He therefore adopted the approach taken by his fellow Hungarian, Julio Baghy, when the latter was a prisoner of war in Siberia and was confronted with the same problem. Both of these great teachers used what is known in the Esperanto movement as 'la rekta metodo' - the direct method - of teaching the language.

Cseh became totally absorbed in his teaching and propaganda activity and, in 1924, he obtained permission from his bishop to dedicate himself completely to Esperanto. He became the Secretary of the International Central Committee of the Esperanto movement in Geneva, and he also helped to organize the International Conferences (UKs) which were held at Geneva (1925), Gdansk (1927) and Budapest (1929). It was at the last of these he taught his first course in pedagogy, or teaching methodology.

In 1927 he was invited by the Mayor of Stockholm and Prince Charles of Sweden to teach Esperanto classes in that country and one of the courses being for members of the Swedish Parliament, and, in April of the same year, the Swedish Teachers' Federation published the first printed edition of his course.

During the next few years, Cseh taught Esperanto classes in many European countries ' Estonia, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary,, Latvia, Norway, Poland and Switzerland. As well as teaching the language itself, he taught his own style of teaching (the Cseh Method) to other Esperanto teachers. Then, in 1930, with the help of a Dutch couple, J.C. and J.R.G. Isbrucker, he founded the International Cseh-Institute of Esperanto in Arnhem. By sheer coincidence, the novel I am reading at the moment is 'Akbar', a story of the great Indian Emperor who ruled the sub-continent between 1556 and 1605. This fine story was written in 1872 by P.A.S. van Limburg Brouwer, translated into Esperanto by the Isbruckers and J. Ziermans, and the second edition (the version I am reading now) was published by the Cseh Institute in 1936. However, the place of publication given on the title page, is the Hague, not Arnhem, because that is where the Institute moved to in 1933. It is still in existence there but, since 1952, it has been called the 'Internacia Esperanto-Instituto,' (I.E.I). I shall be describing the work of this Institute in my next topic article, due to appear on Friday May the 18th.

Cseh also founded, in 1932, and edited a journal called 'La Praktiko' mainly for beginning and intermediate students of Esperanto. The quality of the language used in this journal, however, is said to have been very high and a journal of that kind was something new for the Esperanto movement. Not surprisingly, 'La Praktiko' was very popular and widely read.

Another very ambitious and less successful initiative of Cseh was the foundation in 1942 of the Universala Ligo and the creation of a special Esperanto currency - the Stelo. This currency remained in use for quite a long time...I'm not sure exactly how long, but certainly for more than 30 years. Perhaps it ceased to be used when the Universala Ligo declined in importance and popularity after Cseh was confined to an old people's home. He died in 1979 and is buried in the Hague, his adopted home for almost 50 years.

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