13 SEPTEMBER 1975, Page 5

Second language

Sir: Surely Patrick Crabtree is being misleading when he asserts (August 16) that "Esperanto is used as a second language in most countries of the world."

A second language, in the accepted sense of the word, is found in multi-lingual states where no one local language is sufficiently dominant to become immediately a national language. The second language is usually one that has historical connections with the country, e.g. English and French in countries Which were formerly colonies of Britain and France. In such countries the second language is used, partly or Wholly, in administration, politics, law. Medicine, internal trade, newspapers and general publishing. Consequently, it is usually the medium of education in the schools of that country. As far as I know, there is no country in the world in which Esperanto fulfils the function of a second language as defined above.

Marc A ttwoodWood 44 Munster (Westfalen), Liihnstiege 8/9, West Germany.