In the photo: Director of Interlinguistic Studies Ilona Koutny (right) with Humphrey Tonkin and Katalin Kováts
Founded in 1997 within the Institute of Linguistics in the Faculty of Modern Languages and Literature of Adam Mickiewicz University (AMU) in Poznań, the post-graduate program of Interlinguistic Studies began with its first group of students in 1998 and has been continued with new groups beginning every three years. This September after 20 years the 7th Interlinguistic group began their studies with 20 participants from 12 countries (China, Korea, Turkey, Brazil, the USA, France, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Russia, Kazakhstan and Poland). The Esperantic Studies Foundation (ESF) for 15 years has funded several scholarships for students which makes a larger number of participants possible.
The course (September 12-20, 2017) offered a rich program. Prof. Humphrey Tonkin led classes on Esperanto culture, presenting it in a broad historical context. Prof. Aleksandr Melnikov contributed classes on the relationship between language and culture and on the personality of Esperantists. Jukka Pietilänen lectured on publications in Esperanto. Prof. Tonkin also taught introductory classes on Esperanto literature, concentrating on poetry in the first period. He was followed by Tomasz Chmielik who lectured on the prose of that period. A simultaneously interesting and rigorous introduction to phonetics was provided by Prof. Nicolau Dols Salas. Interlinguistics (in a narrow sense) was the topic of classes given by Prof. Věra Barandovská-Frank who was able to use the preliminary version of her university textbook on interlinguistics. This happy event marked the first of a planned series of textbooks emerging from the 20 year experience of Interlinguistic Studies.
The previous group, which began as the largest in the history of the studies finished in the same way with a record-breaking 11 students finishing their final examinations and defending their theses in the areas of linguistics (Karina Oliveira from Brazil, Bengt Olof Åradsson from Sweden and Arina Osipova from Russia); interlinguistics (Ida Stria and Michał Kozicki from Poland); language pedagogy (Félix Lobo from Spain and André Staes from Belgium); communication (Johan Derks from the Netherlands by way of Serbia); and literature (Rafael Zerbetto from Brazil by way of China, Fernando Pita from Brazil and Xesús Muíños from Spain), the twelfth student to finish was Paweł Fischer Kotowski from Poland from the previous group.
As in previous years, the language pedagogy specialization of the third years consisted of teacher training in which it is possible to receive a separate teachers diploma from the International League of Esperanto Teachers (ILEI). On this occasion, three participants from Poland (Krystyna Worobiej, Markéta Wilkus and Mariusz Hebdzyński) and one from France (Jean-Claude Roy) acquired the diploma after presenting their diploma papers and passing a comprehensive examination.
The interlinguistics session was directly followed by the Fourth Interlinguistics Sympozium (September 21-22, 2017) devote to The role of international languages from the time of Zamenhof to the modern multicultural world and with the goal of celebrating the Year of Zamenhof as well as the 20 years of Interlinguistic Studies. It was opened for a large audience with three official languages, Esperanto, English and Polish. About 80 participants from different countries were on hand for topics related to language policy, planned languages, linguistics, literature, the Esperanto movement and the teaching of Esperanto in three parallel sections over two days. A total of about 50 papers presented (for the report, see here).
For the Thursday opening the Rector of AMU, Prof. Andrzej Lesicki, sent a letter of congratulations; His personal high estimation of the 20 years of Interlinguistic Studies was expressed by Prof. Maciej Karpiński, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Modern Languages and Literature; Stefan MacGill offered greetings on behalf of the Universal Esperanto Association, of which he is the Vice-President. The first plenary lecture, Esperanto: A Language Policy Assessment, by Humphrey Tonkin was open for the university community. Věra Barandovská-Frank followed with a lecture on the subject of interlinguistics and presented the preliminary edition of her interlinguistics textbook. Friday morning there were also two plenary lectures. Ilona Koutny, the director of Interlinguistic Studies outlined the 20 year history of the programme connecting it with the 50 year history of university instruction of Esperantology and interlinguistics which began with the Esperanto department at Budapest University in 1966. Sabine Fiedler illustrated how humour works in Esperanto with many entertaining examples.
Thursday evening a celebratory banquet was held. Attendees included previous and new students, instructors, participants from the symposium and other guests. They enjoyed the delicious food and a musical program (featuring Zuzanna Kornicka and the French group La Kompanoj). The director of the studies thanked the instructors and ESF for their support and held a moment of silence for the passing earlier in the year of Zbigniew Galor, whose contributions to the studies remain unforgettable. She also congratulated the students who completed their studies...
On the weekend, the Esperantological theme was continued with the traditional cultural festival Arkones with lectures, music and films.