ELNA Newsletter № 1988:2

It’s in the Cards

Esperanto Gets Hyper!

The opening “card” of the Esperanto “stack”

About a year ago, a new program called HyperCard was published by Apple Computer Co. Since that time HyperCard has quickly become one of the most talked-about computer applications of the last few years.

Simply put, HyperCard is software that allows people to create applications quickly and easily, complete with graphics and even animation without any strong computer programming background. The concept or metaphor is that of the card—the index card or Rolodex. A completed program is called a stack. Hypercard stacks are so easy to build and lend themselves so well to educational uses, that it’s not surprising that a stack for learning Esperanto has already appeared. It’s Michael Urban’s Esperanto Course. The program requires, at a minimum, a Macintosh computer (with at least 1 megabyte of RAM) and HyperCard. It’s also nice to have MacinTalk, a speech synthesis driver, because then the program can also “talk,” helping a beginner learn the Esperanto pronunciation. This software is “shareware,” which means that you don’t buy it at a store; instead, you either obtain it for free from CompuServe or USENET, or directly from the author (Michael Urban, P.O. Box 24560, Los Angeles, CA 90024) by sending a self-addressed disk mailer, an initialized 800K floppy disk, and one dollar. It’s also available from ELNA: Urban, Michael. EsperantoWare. Price at ELNA: $3.35, including medium. Order code: ESP001. Please add shipping charges.

Here, the user simply “clicks” on an object to see & hear the Esperanto for it.

Whichever way you obtain the program, if you like it after you’ve used it, you should send Michael a contribution for his extensive work (Shareware fees range from $10 to $40—it’s up to you).

In twenty-three lessons, the software covers everything normally found in a beginner book. Each lesson contains new vocabulary, rules, and a set of exercises; you type in your answers, and then compare them to the correct answers. At any point, you can type a word or phrase, and “hear” the correct pronunciation. If you’d like to have a “hard copy” (that is, printed on paper), you can print any or all screens. Urban covers many points better and uses a lot more humor than most beginner books or the Postal Course.