dhr. prof. dr. W.H. Jansen

Interlinguïstiek en Esperanto (bijzondere leerstoel vanwege de Stichting Internationaal Esperanto-Instituut)
  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
  • Herengracht  286
    1016 BX  Amsterdam
  • W.H.Jansen@uva.nl

Short biography

Born in Amsterdam in 1948 I passed my A-levels in 1965 and took an M.Sc. in aerospace engineering at Delft Technical University in 1970. In 1974 I joined the European Space Agency (ESA), where I worked as a project engineer and project manager until 1989. In my spare time I continued to cultivate my interest in languages. In 1989 I took an M.A. in comparative linguistics with a specialization in Basque at Leiden University. From 1989 until 1998, when I retired from ESA, I was responsible for setting up and implementing a program of scientific experimentation in the field of weightlessness research on unmanned Soviet and Russian spacecraft. During my entire career in aerospace management English and French were my formal office languages. My most frequently used languages in the field were English, German and Russian. In 1992 I had my own laboratory built in Moscow, designed for all prelaunch and postlanding work on the scientific payloads we were to fly in the years to come and for the reception of telemetry fromthe orbitingsatellites. After 5-6 major missions the funding of my program was considerably reduced and I was given an opportunity to leave the Agency. I decided to make a career switch and became a self-employed language teacher and researcher. In 2002 I was appointed to the vacant chair of Interlinguistics and Esperanto at UvA and set up a program of teaching and research. The initial full-term course in interlinguistics, which has been running annually between September and December, was complemented in 2006 by a full-term language acquisition course of Esperanto, which is held every year between February and May.

What about 'Interlinguistics and Esperanto'? In my personal biography it all happened in the reverse order, i.e. Esperanto first, to be followed by interlinguistics at a much later stage. I can only guess it must have had something to do with my father's collection of Esperanto books that triggered my first interest in the language. For a future engineer it was also evident that there was nothing in the 'uncontrolled' natural world that couldn't be redesigned by man for better performance, so why not redesign language? Learning and practicing Esperanto raised questions as to how this language works in detail and this led to further studies in esperantology, the specialized branch of descriptive linguistics that deals with the structure and the functioning of Esperanto. From there it was a small step to interlinguistics, the science of artificial languages for interhuman communication in general (planned languages or auxiliary languages are other designations for languages of this type). The foundations for my studies in esperantology and interlinguistics were laid by my specialization in comparative linguistics and Basque in particular.

Esperanto is my only L2 which comes close to what I call a mother tongue, a feeling I share with Esperanto speakers from all over the world and whichIhave addressed, both from a psychologicaland structural point of view, in my inaugural speech of September 4th, 2009 (see 'recent publications').

My wife is Italian, and Italian is our second family language, though Esperanto was the first language we had in common. We did, however, not impose it on the children, who grew up bilingually, i.e. Dutch-Italian.

Early publications

  • Books written
    - The Story of Moslab (Noordwijk, European Space Agency, 1993).
    - Biological Experiments on the Bion-10 Satellite (Noordwijk, European Space Agency, 2001). Co-author.
    - Baskisch-Nederlands, Nederlands-Baskisch (Noordwijk, the author, 1996) The very first dictionary between Basque and Dutch.
    - Basque-English, English-Basque, Dictionary and Phrasebook (New York, Hippocrene Books Inc., 1998). Co-author.
    - Het geheim van het meer (Groningen, Gopher Publishers, 2001). The first children's book directly translated from Basque into Dutch. Original title: Urtegi misteriotsua.
    - Beginner's Basque (Hippocrene Books Inc., New York , 2002). Textbook Basque for English-speakingbeginners.
    - Relax! (Amsterdam, Veen, 2002). Essays and columns on language and culture.
  • Books edited
    - Korte brochure over de internationale taal Esperanto (Vereniging Esperanto Nederland, 1996). Historical issue on the centennial of Esperanto in The Netherlands.
    - Esperanto, Van taalproject tot levende taal (Vereniging Esperanto Nederland, 1999). Popular scientific introduction.
  • Articles written
    -'A numerical review of three Basque dialects' in International Journal of Basque Linguistics and Philology , ASJU, XXIV-3, 1990.
    -'Acento y entonación en Elorrio' in International Journal of Basque Linguistics and Philology , ASJU, XXVI-2, 1992.
    -'La rusa lingvo en la novaj rilatoj de Europa Spac-Agentejo [The Russian language in the new relations of the European Space Agency]' in Language Problems and Language Planning , vol. 16, No. 3, 1992.
    -'Zuiverheid en zuivering in het Baskisch', in Nicoline van der Sijs (ed.): Taaltrots. Purisme in een veertigtal talen (Contact, Amsterdam/Antwerp, 1999). On purism in Basque.
    -'La germana kaj Esperanto [German and Esperanto]' in Monato , April 2000.
  • Book reviews
    -'Kaijhin Maru' in: Esperanto 750 (5), May 1968. Review of the Esperanto-translation from Japanese by Osaki Kazuo of Nogami Jaeko's short-story: Kaijhin Maru, Japana Esperanto-Instituto, 1966.
    -'Mejloshtono por du minoritatoj [A milestone for two minorities]' in: Esperanto 1043 (12), December 1992. Review of the Esperanto textbook for Basque speaking students by Aitor Arana: Esperantoa ikasgai, Hots, Legazpi, 1990.
    -'Richega donaco post jardekoj [A rich gift after decades]' in: Esperanto , 1086 (11), November 1996. Review of the Italian-Esperanto dictionary by Carlo Minnaja: Vocabolario italiano-esperanto, Cooperativa Editoriale Esperanto, Milano, 1996.

Books, articles, reviews and lecture texts

'De kunsttaaloptie in de talige toekomst van Europa [The artificial language option in the linguistic future of Europe]' in De talige toekomst van Europa - volgens een plan? [The linguistic future of Europa - following some plan?]. Internal publication no. 73 of the Institute for General Linguistics of the UvA. Text of the lecture delivered at the symposium with the same title, held in Amsterdam on December 17th, 2002. In Dutch.

'Studoj pri interlingvistiko/Studien zur Interlinguistik [Studies in interlinguistics]' in Language Problems & Language Planning, vol. 27, issue 3 (2003): 279-289. Review of the Festschrift for Detlev Blanke 'Studoj pri interlingvistiko/Studien zur Interlinguistik' edited by Sabine Fiedler and Liu Haitao (Kava-Pech, Dobřichovice near Prague, 2001). In English.

'Esperanto' in Neerlandia, issue 4 (2004): 31-33. Article in Dutch.

'Esperanto - een taal zonder vandalen [Esperanto - a language without vandals]' in Linguaan, issue 9 (2004): 27. Column in Dutch.

'Esperanto. Spiltaal in een meertalige omgeving [Esperanto. Pivot language in a multilingual environment]' in Linguaan, issue 4 (2005): 8-11. Article in Dutch.

'Farita profesie - kaj enhave kaj aspekte [Professionally done - both contents and lay-out]' in Esperanto, vol. 99, issue 1192(5), 2006: 111-112. Review of the book 'Symposium on Communication Across Cultural Boundaries' by Christer Kiselman (Kava-Pech, Dobřichovice near Prague, 2005). In Esperanto.

'Een wereldtaal. De geschiedenis van het Esperanto [A world language. The history of Esperanto]' in Language Problems & Language Planning, vol. 30, issue 1 (2006): 89-92. Review of the book 'Een wereldtaal. De geschiedenis van het Esperanto' by Marc van Oostendorp (Athenaeum - Polak & Van Gennep, Amsterdam, 2004). In German.

'Das Niederländische im Kontext der europäischen Sprachenpolitik [Dutch in the context of a European language policy]' in: Blanke, Detlev and Jürgen Scharnhorst (ed.): Sprachenpolitik und Sprachkultur (Peter Lang, Frankfurt, 2007). In German.

Wortstellungsmodelle im ursprünglichen und im heutigen Esperanto - Zeugen einer natürlichen Entwicklung der Syntax? [Word order models in early and contemporary forms of Esperanto - Witnessing a natural development in syntax?]. Proceedings of the 16th annual meeting of the Gesellschaft für Interlinguistik, Berlin, December 2, 2006. In German.

Woordvolgorde in het Esperanto [Word order in Esperanto] (LOT, Utrecht, 2007). PhD thesis in Dutch with summaries in English, Esperanto and German.

Beginner's Basque (Hippocrene, New York,2007). Second and updated edition of the textbook for English-speaking beginners, incl. audio-cd.

'Esenca lernolibro de la itala lingvo [Essential textbook of the Italian language]' in Language Problems & Language Planning 32:1 (2008: 64-66). Review of Marco Mezzadri (2006. Perugia. Guerra Edizioni). In Italian.

Naturaj Vortordoj en Esperanto [Natural word orders in Esperanto]. Rotterdam. 2008. Universala Esperanto-Asocio. In Esperanto.

'Baskisch und Esperanto: ein Strukturvergleich [Basque and Esperanto: a structural comparison]' in: Sabine Fiedler (ed.) Esperanto und andere Sprachen im Vergleich [Esperanto compared to other languages]: p. 33-54. Berlin. 2009. GIL. In German.

Esperanto, een taal om van te houden [Esperanto, a lovable language]. Amsterdam. 2009. Amsterdam University Press. Text of the inaugural speech following the appointment to the special chair of Interlinguistics and Esperanto at UvA. In Dutch.

'La Fundamenta Esperanto: nekontesteble eŭropa, sed... [Esperanto as it was baselined in 1905: indisputably European, but...]' in: Detlev Blanke and Ulrich Lins (editors) La arto labori kune [The art of working together]. Festschrift for Humphrey Tonkin: p. 271-284. Rotterdam. 2010. Universala Esperanto-Asocio. In Esperanto.

'Pri la natureco de vortordoj en Esperanto [On the naturalness of word orders in Esperanto]' in: A.S. Mel'nikov (ed.) Current Problems in Linguistics: p. 106-111. Rostov-on-the-Don, Russian Federation. 2009. Federal Agency for Public Education. In Esperanto.

Inleiding in de interlinguïstiek [Introduction into interlinguistics] (2010). Internal UvA publication: textbook for students following the BA-level course on interlinguistics. Seventh revised edition since its first publication in 2002. In Dutch.

'331 dictionary entries covering Dutch loans in Basque (100) and Esperanto (231), including introductory descriptions of Basque and Esperanto' in: Nicoline van der Sijs Nederlandse woorden wereldwijd: p. 51-52, 68, 163-723. The Hague. 2010. Sdu. In Dutch.

'Niederländisch-Deutsch-Esperanto. Eine Kette, die verbindet' in: Cyril Brosch and Sabine Fiedler (eds.) Florilegium Interlinguisticum: p. 107-126. Frankfurt am Main. 2011. Peter Lang. In German.

2013

2012

2011

  • W. Jansen (2011). Niederländisch - Deutsch - Esperanto: eine Kette, die verbindet. In C. Brosch & S. Fiedler (Eds.), Florilegium interlinguisticum: Festschrift für Detlev Blanke zum 70. Geburtstag (pp. 107-126). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

2012

  • W.H. Jansen (2012). Esperanto. Amsterdam: UvA Readers On-line.
  • W. Jansen (2012). The learnability of the reflexive in Esperanto. Linguistics in Amsterdam, 5(1), 57-80.[go to publisher's site]
  • W. Jansen (2012). Inleiding in de interlinguïstiek: syllabus bij de keuze module Interlinguïstiek: studiejaar 2012-2013. Amsterdam: Universiteit van Amsterdam.

2011

2010

  • N. van der Sijs, M. Abramovitsch, W. Bakhuis, J. Balkenende, G. Blanker, J. Dubbeldam, B. Brusse, R. Chin, I. Dashchenko, F. Doderer, J. van Donselaar, J. Falkenstein, H. van Grafhorst, D. Grit, S. de Haan, D. van Haaren, E. Heins, T. Hoogervorst, T. Huis in 't Veld-Syptchenko, P. Iakoubova, M. Jacobs, W. Jansen, B. Janssen, P. Janssens, J. van de Kamp, J. Kamphuis, I. Katoele, A. Korteweg, P. Kramer, K. Kuiper, R. Kurpershoek, R. Otten, M. Pirieva, R. Schrama, N. Siedych, P. Starmans, S. Theunissen, C. Valk, J. Wassenaar & H. Sijes (2010). Nederlandse woorden wereldwijd. Den Haag: Sdu Uitgever.
  • W. Jansen (2010). Valzaj spertoj en Alagna (Valsesia). Etnismo: informilo pri etnaj problemoj, 86, 10-12.[go to publisher's site]

2009

  • W. Jansen (2009). Pri la natureco de vortordoj en Esperanto. In A.S. Melnikov, T.E. Isaeva, L.A. Lysakova, V.S. Shvedova & T.A. Mamedova (Eds.), Current problems in linguistics, philology and the methodology of foreign language teaching in the non-humanities (pp. 106-111). Rostov-on -the-Don: State Department of Higher Professional Education.

2013

2012

2010

  • W. Jansen (2010). La fundamenta Esperanto: nekontesteble eŭropa, sed…. In D. Blanke & U. Lins (Eds.), La arto labori kune: festlibro por Humphrey Tonkin (pp. 271-284). Rotterdam: Universala Esperanto-Asocio.

2009

  • W. Jansen (2009). Baskisch und Esperanto: ein Strukturvergleich. In S. Fiedler (Ed.), Esperanto und andere Sprachen im Vergleich: Beiträge der 18. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Interlinguistik e.V., 21.-23. November 2008 in Berlin Vol. 16. Interlinguistische Informationen. Beiheft (pp. 33-54). Berlin: Gesellschaft für Interlinguistik.

2008

  • W. Jansen (2008). [Review of the book Esenca lernolibro de la itala lingvo: gramatika lernolibro por komencataj lernantoj akompananta gis meza nivelo: kun testoj de memtaksado]. Language Problems and Language Planning, 32(1), 64-66.
  • W. Jansen (2008). Naturaj vortordoj en Esperanto. Rotterdam: Universala Esperanto-Asocio.

2007

2006

2007

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