Fotograaf: Eduard Lampe

dhr. prof. dr. ir. W.H. (Willem) Jansen

Interlinguïstiek en Esperanto (bijzondere leerstoel vanwege de Stichting Internationaal Esperanto-Instituut)
  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
  • Bezoekadres
    Kunsthistorisch Instituut
    Spuistraat 134  Amsterdam
  • Postadres:
    Postbus  15540
    1001 NA  Amsterdam

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.


  • Jansen, W. (2016). 'Mustuka': nederlanderatik mailegatutako hitza? Bulletin du Musée Basque, 186, 69-79. [details] [PDF]
  • Jansen, W. (2016). Derivation in the lexicon: the case of Esperanto. Linguistics, 54(5), 1101-1133. DOI: 10.1515/ling-2016-0024 [details]


  • Jansen, W. (2015). Grammar: a complex structure. A linguistic description of Esperanto in Functional Discourse Grammar. Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems, 13(2), 275-287. DOI: 10.7906/indecs.13.2.11 [details] [PDF]
  • Jansen, W. (2015). Kelkaj aspektoj de Esperanto laŭ Funkcia Diskurs-Gramatiko. Esperantologio, 7, 17-40. [details] [PDF]


  • Jansen, W. (2013). The learnability of the reflexive in Esperanto. Esperantologio, 6, 71-96. [details]
  • Jansen, W. (2013). Esperanto parts of speech in functional discourse grammar. Linguistics, 51(3), 611-652. DOI: 10.1515/ling-2013-0022 [details]
  • Jansen, W. (2013). Radikoj kaj vortoj en Esperanto. Esperantologio, 6, 9-43. [details]


  • ten Thije, J. D., Gorter, D., Jansen, W., Mamadouh, V., Marácz, L., & Swanenberg, J. (2012). Toolkit for transnational communication in academia in Europe. In N. de Jong, K. Juffermans, M. Keijzer, & L. Rasier (Eds.), Papers of the Anéla 2012 Applied Linguistics Conference. (pp. 367-388). Delft: Eburon. [details]


  • Jansen, W. (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. [details]


  • Jansen, W. (2010). Esperanto: een taal van mij, een taal om van te houden = Esperanto: lingvo malfremda, lingvo amida. Inkoj, 1(1), 12-34. [details] [PDF]


  • Jansen, W. (2015). Bernard Etxepare. Eersteling in de taal der Basken, 1545: het eerste gedrukte boek in het Baskisch. In X. Kintana, & B. Dechepare (Eds.), Bernard Etxepare. Linguae Vasconum Primitiae: 1545-2015. (pp. 165-211). Bilbao: Real Academia de la Lengua Vasca. [details] [PDF]
  • Jansen, W. (2015). Konsideroj pri la Eŭska-Esperanta leksikologio. In A. Arana (Ed.), Eŭska-Esperanta Esperanta eŭska-vortaro: Euskara-esperantoa Esperantoa-euskara hiztegia. (pp. xv-xx). Amorebieta, Spain: Erroteta. [details]
  • Jansen, W. (2015). Was ist und wozu brauchen wir eine Referenzgrammatik des Esperanto? In C. Brosch, & S. Fiedler (Eds.), Die Plansprachenbewegung rund um den Ersten Weltkrieg: Beiträge der 24. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Interlinguistik e.V., 21.-23. November 2014 in Berlin. (pp. 97-107). (Interlinguistische Informationen. Beiheft; Vol. 22). Berlin: Gesellschaft für Interlinguistik. [details] [PDF]


  • Jansen, W. H. (2012). Esperanto: syllabus bij de keuzemodule Esperanto en het leerboek Esperanto via de directe methode (Stano Marček, 2007). - Studiejaar 2012-2013. Amsterdam: Universiteit van Amsterdam. [details] [PDF]
  • Jansen, W. (2012). Inleiding in de interlinguïstiek: syllabus bij de keuze module Interlinguïstiek: studiejaar 2012-2013. Amsterdam: Universiteit van Amsterdam. [details]
  • Jansen, W. (2012). The learnability of the reflexive in Esperanto. Linguistics in Amsterdam, 5(1), 57-80. [2]. [details] [PDF]


  • Jansen, W. (2011). Esperanto: a language made transparent? Linguistics in Amsterdam, 4(2), 57-74. [details] [PDF]
  • Jansen, W. (2011). Separating semantics from syntax in Esperanto: a mental struggle in the hearth of Europe to get to grip with some un-European features of the language. In P. Valore (Ed.), Multilingualism: language, power and knowledge. (pp. 67-86). Pisa: Edistudio. [details] [PDF]
  • Jansen, W. (2011). Wenn grammatische Transparenz ein Ziel des Esperanto war... In S. Fiedler (Ed.), Spracherfindung und ihre Ziele: Beiträge der 20. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Interlinguistik e.V., 26.-28. November 2010, in Berlin. (pp. 67-82). (Interlinguistische Informationen. Beiheft; Vol. 18). Berlin: Gesellschaft für Interlinguistik. [details] [PDF]


  • Jansen, W. (2010). Valzaj spertoj en Alagna (Valsesia). Etnismo: informilo pri etnaj problemoj, 86, 10-12. [details] [PDF]
  • van der Sijs, N., Abramovitsch, M., Bakhuis, W., Balkenende, J., Blanker, G., Dubbeldam, J., ... Sijes, H. (2010). Nederlandse woorden wereldwijd. Den Haag: Sdu Uitgever. [details]


  • Jansen, W. (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. [details] [PDF]


  • Jansen, W. (2016). Fidelo vorta, ne bilda kaj ritma. Beletra Almanako, 10(26), 132-136. [details] [PDF]
  • Arana, A., & Jansen, W. H. (2016). Ni lernu la eŭskan. Amorebieta, Spain: Erroteta. [details]


  • Jansen, W. (2015). Esperanto inter natura evoluado kaj lernfacileco. Beletra Almanako, 9(23), 122-128. [details] [PDF]
  • Jansen, W. (2015). Leksikografia dilemo en Esperanto: ĉu baska, eŭska aŭ vaska? Beletra Almanako, 9(22), 94-99. [details]


  • Jansen, W. (2013). Natuurlijke evolutie en leergemak: aspecten van verandering in het Esperanto. Katwijk: Esperanto Nederland. [details] [PDF]
  • Jansen, W. (2013). Waringhien pri vortoj. "Lingvo kaj vivo" revizitita post pli ol duona jarcento. Beletra Almanako, 7(18), 72-88. [details] [PDF]


  • Jansen, W. (2012). Majstra riĉigo de la esperantologia literaturo [Review of: G. Neves (2011) Historia vortaro de Esperanto 1887-1888]. Beletra Almanako, 6(14), 141-145. [details] [PDF]
  • Jansen, W. (2012). Pri kelkaj malfacilaĵoj en Esperanto. Internacia Pedagogia Revuo, 12(2), 25-30. [details] [PDF]


  • Jansen, W. (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. [details]


  • Jansen, W. (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. (pp. 33-54). (Interlinguistische Informationen. Beiheft; Vol. 16). Berlin: Gesellschaft für Interlinguistik. [details] [PDF]


  • Jansen, W. (2008). Naturaj vortordoj en Esperanto. Rotterdam: Universala Esperanto-Asocio. [details]
  • Jansen, W. (2008). [Review of: M. Mezzadri, D. Astori (2006) 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. [details]


  • Jansen, W. H. (2007). Das Niederländische im Kontext der europäischen Sprachenpolitik. In D. Blanke, & J. Scharnhorst (Eds.), Sprachenpolitik und Sprachkultur. (pp. 121-137). (Sprache, System und Tätigkeit; No. 57). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. [details] [PDF]
  • Jansen, W. H. (2007). Worstellungsmodelle im ursprünglichen und im heutigen Esperanto - Zeugen einer natürlichen Entwicklung der Syntax? In D. Blanke (Ed.), Esperanto heute. Wie aus einem Projekt eine Sprache wurde. (pp. 15-26). Berlin, Germany: Gesellschaft für Interlinguistik. [details] [PDF]


  • Jansen, W. H. (2006). Das Niederländische im Kontext der europäischen Sprachenpolitik. In D. Blanke, & J. Scharnhorst (Eds.), Sprachenpolitik und Sprachkultur. (pp. 93-104). Berlin, Germany: Gesellschaft für Interlinguistik. [details] [PDF]
  • Jansen, W. H. (2006). Marc van Oostendorp. Een wereldtaal. De geschiedenis van het Esperanto [Review of: (2004) Een wereldtaal. De geschiedenis van het Esperanto]. Language Problems and Language Planning, 30(1), 89-92. [details] [PDF]


  • Jansen, W. H. (2007). Woordvolgorde in het Esperanto : normen, taalgebruik en universalia Amsterdam: LOT/ACLC [details] [PDF]
This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications.

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