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Why Esperanto won’t diverge into dialects

von rapn21, 6. Mai 2019

Beiträge: 32

Sprache: English

rapn21 (Profil anzeigen) 6. Mai 2019 13:39:30

A question I see every now and again, is what's to stop Esperanto from diverging into dialects? Can one language really be spoken everywhere or would it just split apart like Latin did?

So I wrote an article to answer this query and highlight the key differences between Latin and Esperanto to show the various factors to prevent the language diverging.


novatago (Profil anzeigen) 6. Mai 2019 16:03:44

Well, that's happening right now, so...

Just a few people is worried in protect Esperanto from diverging into dialects, and the learners aren't getting the proper information.

Another thing is to know whether all the dialects will survive or even whether they will leave a remarkable trace.

Ĝis, Novatago (blogo / 7 + 1)

rapn21 (Profil anzeigen) 6. Mai 2019 19:39:30

Can you show me any of these dialects you say are emerging? Can you explain your comment about learners not getting proper information because I don't understand it.

novatago (Profil anzeigen) 7. Mai 2019 00:32:50

Well, the lobby of gender ideology is introducing a (chaotic) reform in the gender system of esperanto. Even the softest way of using -iĉ is an irregularity that change the way one must understand the gender of a word.

Anyway there is a group of people using that in several ways: NoGo-Esperanto (Neutral Gender Esperanto) speakers. And there is another group of people that is not going to accept that at all: Esperanto speakers.

In internet, the newcomers don't get anything about the history of Esperanto they just know, more or less, that it's an artificial language. They don't have proper information about the origin and the target of the language and the first thing they see is the NoGo-Esperanto lobby and a lot of people talking about introducing affixes. It's really a shame to see beginners in duolingo saying things like "I have decided to use this affix but this other one not" instead of focus in learn properly the language. This specific thing you can not see it at all in any language learning class of an ethnic language because it's just crazy. It's a shame to see people lying to beginners about Esperanto to reform it.

But you can still live in Lollypopland where you can choose to see only what you want.

Ĝis, Novatago (blogo / 7 + 1)

Metsis (Profil anzeigen) 7. Mai 2019 08:09:42

I am a native speaker of a language, which lacks grammatical gender and has two singular third person pronouns: one for humans and one for all other things. Despite having learnt a couple of Germanic languages with those peculiarities I still, decades later, keep wondering, how one can say die Sonne but der Mond (yes, I know, that grammatical gender has nothing to do with biological gender, but I'm just human and we easily mix things) or refer to person, whom you haven't never met, by he.

When it comes to reforms, there is a middle way between being a bitter-einder, who hangs to the past, and an ultra-reformist, who wants major reforms preferably by yesterday. One such middle way is the abolition of the -in suffix. There is nowadays very little need for it. Likewise there is no need for -iĉ, so yes, it's a dead-born idea. Instruisto is instruisto, that should be enough. And to refer to any single person we need a propriate, gender neutral singular third person pronoun, ri does the trick. It's conceptually simple, easy to pronounce and distinguishable from others.

I don't agree with your observation of, that newcomers don't get anything about the history of E-o. There are enough sites and books, that repeat ad nauceam the life of Z and the birth of E-o. When I began to learn E-o, i was told, that there are a lot of scientific articles. Well, there are about the language itself, but not so much about other fields of science. For instance go to STEB and count the number of references in any category. Do you consider that to be a lot? And for my field of study, computer science, most of the publications, that are over 20 years old, are less than useful. Where are the touted scientific publications?

Altebrilas (Profil anzeigen) 8. Mai 2019 12:50:39

The aswer is La Fundamento. Most pidgins combine local grammar with foreign vocabulary. But esperantists are bound to use the same grammar and may not change it. Moreover the pronunciation also obeys to the standards of the Fundamento, so it stays the same for all. Some locals may mispronounce esperanto, but other people don't imitate them.

MiMalamasLaAnglan (Profil anzeigen) 9. Mai 2019 17:08:56

English might not have split into different languages, but when it changed from Old English to Middle English, it basically turned into a different language.

nornen (Profil anzeigen) 9. Mai 2019 18:33:19


Kudos on your article. I really enjoyed reading it.

I think that the fact, that most English variants throughout the world are mutually intelligible is due to the fact that most speakers use two registers: their local (dialectal) register when talking to their family and people from the same place, and a "koine" register when speaking to foreigners. The same happens with German, Spanish and other languages.

Last year an Irish family (parents and two adult children) was visiting us and it so happened that a US-American friend of ours was there, too. They could understand each other quite well, the only problems arising from the realisation of vowels by the Irish (e.g. "there's a mois in my hois" instead of "there's a mouse in my house"). However, when the Irish were talking among themselves and the American was only listening, he actually had a hard time understanding them, because they switched registers from koine to dialectal. At certain points intelligibility (??) was lost.

My son speaks Spanish and until recently the only Spanish speakers he spoke to were Guatemalans just like himself. When he started to play online with other kids from different Spanish speaking countries, he realized, that he had to adjust his Spanish to make himself understood in certain cases. So also he had to develop a koine register.

With German the same thing is true. Hochdeutsch is a "virtual' language, that is a language which is used to communicate between different German-speaking regions, trying to eliminate or minimize dialectal variations. Obviously, when two persons who speak Hochdeutsch talk to one another, they will understand their counterpart. However, when a southern Bavarian speaking his dialect, talks to someone from the coast speaking his dialect, they will have a hard time understanding each other. Exempli gratia: Hochdeutsch: "Meine kleine Schwester hat eine Puppe." vs East-franconian: "Mei döra hot a Doggn." Hochdeutsch: "Möchtest du einige von diesen?" vs East-franconian "Mogstera?" (partitive FTW)

In your article you omitted English-based creoles and pidgins where I surmise mutual intelligibility is not given.

As to Esperanto, I think Esperanto might (and probably would) split into different languages, if ever there came to be natively speaking communities. One might expect that the Esperanto spoken in these communities would turn into a new creole language based on Esperanto after one or two generations of L1-speakers. Depending on the substrates, superstrates and adstrates of different regions, the creoles would be quite different.

However the probability that this might actually happen is minimal.

- - - -

Your point about the importance of isolation is very important. Here in Guatemala one can observe a nice example of how fast a new non-intelligible variant can arise inside isolated and closed groups of speakers. In my country we get a lot of chrisitian missionaries, which come in two basic flavours. The aggressive ones who approach you and immediately want to talk to you about Jesus (like Jehova's witnesses) and the more sneaky ones (like Mormons) who mainly target young boys and tell them "hey, come over to our church and let's play basket ball, no strings attached, just great banter, wink, wink." (Actually, if they played football instead of basketball, I guess the whole country would already be mormon.) (The Jehova's Witnesses need to step up their missionary game, because the Mormons are smashing them)
Now the mormon missionaries appear in their natural habitat always in pairs of two. They are young US boys (18-25), dressed smart with shirt and tie, are as red as boiled lobsters and have sunburns of third degree. I don't know whether there are no mormon women or if it is only the males who do the missionary work.
Now these boys speak what I call "mormonic Spanish". Apparently they are taught by their church Spanish before they go abroad to save the heathens. Also among themselves they only speak Spanish and I guess they are told to do so in order to improve their Spanish and create more immersion. When they chat among themselves they seem to understand one another without any problem, because they chat, laugh and show no sign of incomprehension. However when they talk to their marks, the locals can hardly make out what they are talking about. So this new mormonic Spanish is a language based on Spanish, spoken by US missionaries but it lakes mutual intelligibility with standard Spanish. Quite funny.
The central features of mormonic Spanish are:
- Spontaneous diphthongisation of monophthongs: "conoces" is pronounced /kounouseis/ instead of /konoses/
- No differentiation in respect to prosodic accent: "próspero", "prospero" and "prosperó" are all pronounced /pɣouspeiɣou/
- Merging of the phonemes /ɾ/ /r/ and /ɣ/. "caro", "carro" and "cago" are all pronounced /kaɣou/
- Weird and unintelligible morphosyntax and syntax.
- Conjugation is not a thing.
- Many expressions are direct relexifications of English.

So in this isolated and closed group of speakers, after a few decades a pidgin with Spanish superstrate and English substrate popped into existence.

morico (Profil anzeigen) 26. Mai 2019 22:01:24

Laŭ mi, la du reguloj de la fonetiko Esperanto (unu letero = unu sono; akcento ĉiam sur la sama silabo) kaj la Fundamento klarigas kial ne ekzistas dialektoj en Esperanto.

Por la 94% de ne denaskuloj en la angla, tio estas ofte tre malfacila aŭ neebla kompreni la anglan de ĉiu anglo-parolanta landano, aŭ ĉiu regionano, aŭ ĉiu klasano.

MiMalamasLaAnglan (Profil anzeigen) 30. Mai 2019 16:31:00

Latin split into dialects and then new languages because its speakers lived in a large area without much contact with each other. English was originally spoken in a much smaller area, so it makes sense that splitting did not occur. Although Esperanto is spoken all over the world, it has not split because communication between people from different countries is very common.

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