Skip to the content

Duolingo will help with reform!!!!

by 1Guy1, May 31, 2015

Messages: 193

Language: English

erinja (User's profile) June 2, 2015, 4:40:14 PM

I have not had the time to follow this conversation in any detail, it was very fast-moving. I am sad that two long-time and valued users decided to delete their accounts over this thread. If they are reading this, I hope they will consider coming back. And incidentally I didn't think this thread was a quarter as heated as some of our other threads, but people must have felt things much more strongly than they appeared to me, to delete their accounts.

I encourage people to report messages that they find offensive, and even more, I encourage you not to delete your account if a thread upsets you. I suggest instead taking a break to cool off, or talk to an administrator. It's a shame to stop using a whole site over one forum thread that went bad.

Tempodivalse (User's profile) June 2, 2015, 6:30:01 PM

Red_Rat_Writer:I am not insinuating anything of that nature.
Okay, no worries then. It's just that various people lumped my quote with other quotes they found offensive, and I was confused why.

It's a bit hard to tell what exactly people's attitudes are sometimes. One can feel quite calm and unemotional, but fail to express that in a text-only medium.

Vestitor (User's profile) June 3, 2015, 12:55:28 AM

People end up getting heated because Esperanto is sometimes a semi-religion and a bit cultish, or is treated as such. Anything that has a sacred book upon which everything rests, and which people think will fall apart without it or that it needs reforming, is going to have fundamentalists and reformists in constant battle.

If this was an English issue, people would laugh and carry on.

jean-luc (User's profile) June 3, 2015, 1:26:11 AM


jean-luc:La fundamento is pretty clear on the topic, ĝi must be used as a pronoun when the gender isn't known
Person suggesting we refer to queers as 'it'.
You're the one who translate 'ĝi' by 'it'. I guess it's the influence of english ?

In la fundamento, Zamenhof uses ĝi as a neutral pronoum :
" La infano ploras, ĉar ĝi volas manĝi".
he also wrote in "Pri pronomo por «homo»" (La Revuo, 1901, Aŭgusto):
“Kiam ni parolas pri homo, ne montrante la sekson, tiam estus regule uzi la pronomon «ĝi» (kiel ni faras ekzemple kun la vorto «infano»), kaj se vi tiel agos, vi estos gramatike tute prava.”
Although he also advise to use "li" for the neutral

Vestitor (User's profile) June 3, 2015, 2:15:38 AM

Give it a rest now.

Kirilo81 (User's profile) June 3, 2015, 5:46:27 AM

I want to add only one thing, namely I now see, having checked my words which so many people took offense on, that it came out way harder than I intended.
You know English isn't my native tongue and I had totally misunderstood 'utterly'. In fact I wanted to express something like 'rimarkeble egocentrisma', I'm very sorry that it came out so wrong, and I can understand the reactions well now.
Maybe the whole discussion would have been less negative if it had been in Esperanto (a little hint to those disappointed by Esperantujo - this is an English thread!)?

Bemused (User's profile) June 3, 2015, 9:03:02 AM

1Guy1:I see this has escalated. I have not read all the posts. All I was doing in my original post was expressing my deep amusement at seeing a reform posting within 2-3 days of Duolingo Esperanto being on line.
I think it was obvious, that this would happen. And i appreciate it, since it shows the desire and need for a language, that is not only easy to learn, but also carries a mood of equality. IMO that can't be achieved with the ~20 male roots and the asymmetry in sexus-suffixes and personal pronouns. So it's just logical to critize these.

Duolingo and other ressources for learning Esperanto should really have a section where people can inform themselves about the usual reform-proposals, even if it is just to eliminate the impression that these are somehow secret or evil.
You might find this interesting. It explains how icx can be used to increase symmetry without changing the meaning of existing words.

Disclaimer: This is not my work and I have no idea who created it. The link was posted by another lernu member during a previous discussion.

erinja (User's profile) June 3, 2015, 1:40:00 PM

No website teaching English (French, German, Spanish...) would be expected to include a section on reform proposals for that language. It only adds confusion, and reform proposals for Esperanto have roughly the same chance of being accepted as reform proposals for English - that is, minimal. What most Esperanto speakers want isn't really that complicated -- it's to be treated as a normal language, equally as reformable as any other language (English, French, German), that is, reformable only in the most minimal way, and mainly through natural evolution.

The problem with including such a section implies that reform is somehow possible. It's not. Enthusiastic but misguided beginners already come in thinking "I can come up with a great idea and fix the language to make it even better!!!" and we don't really need to encourage this by making a whole section implying that reforms are under serious discussion by anyone reputable.

This site has had intense debates before on the topic of reform and people haven't deleted accounts over it. This one was worse for some reason and I am not totally sure why but I have a feeling that the topic of transgender pronouns was somehow part of it -- it touched on things that people might take offense to, outside of linguistic issues.

Fenris_kcf (User's profile) June 3, 2015, 2:03:01 PM

erinja:The problem with including such a section implies that reform is somehow possible. It's not.
I would agree that it's not possible the hard way (i.e. by enactment or sth. similar), but it can happen softly over time, just like it did in other cases (e.g. "-i-" ).

Tempodivalse (User's profile) June 3, 2015, 2:54:41 PM

erinja:The problem with including such a section implies that reform is somehow possible. It's not.
I would agree that it's not possible the hard way (i.e. by enactment or sth. similar), but it can happen softly over time, just like it did in other cases (e.g. "-i-" ).
Well, -i- was not really a "reform". Both it and -uj- remain in widespread usage (in fact, I think the latter is making a comeback).

The closest Esperanto got to a "soft reform" was the shift from masculine to non-defined in animate terms without -in- (e.g., instruisto used to be "male teacher", now it's just "teacher" ).

Otherwise, I agree with Erinja - I'm tired of people coming in and suggesting that "maybe we can change something". I just want learners to treat Esperanto the same way they'd treat other languages. If something is going to change in French or Russian, it is not going to be by fiat, and certainly not coming from beginners (or even just a small handful of more advanced users). Same with EO.

Back to the top