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How do we "sell" Esperanto to the public? The government? etc.

by kannouteki_neko, May 27, 2005

Messages: 12

Language: English

kannouteki_neko (User's profile) May 27, 2005, 5:49:54 AM

Its true what has been already said in another thread, that an international language doesn't have to look and sound nice.. but you see, human beings are interesting creatures, they like things that look and sound nice. An object can be the most practical object in the world but if its incredibly ugly or annoying, its going to cut the amount of users or supporters by a serious margin. Vegetables, they're good for you, but an awful lot of people refuse to eat them because they don't taste as great as a person would like. At the same time, other people are more willing to eat them anyway because of the nutritional value, but of course we still have a scarey obesity rate on the rise in the Western world.

The fact of the matter is, if Esperanto is going to survive, its going to have to be "sold" to the public. Its going to have to look apetizing to people, because for the average person, communicating with someone in another country is the least of their worries, ah?

Something to think about. Trust me, I'm for Esperanto, but I like to get people thinking so that solutions to issues can come about. How would you sell Esperanto over other conlangs like Ido? For every excuse you give the supporter of a different conlang (constructed language), I'm willing to bet they would have an equal comeback. Or how would you sell Esperanto over a person's native language? What use will it have to the average Joe, because to be honest, if it doesn't gain a huge amount of support it probably won't get as far as we'd like.

There are a lot of conlangs out there, both old ones, and new ones rising up to the surface, and I think even if it is decided that an official international language is a good idea, there is going to be a battle over what that language would be.

In fact, I think there is a serious possibility that international officials would want to build the language from the ground up and throw any previous conlangs out the window because they were not "internationally" developed. How would we convince them that the existing language of Esperanto is best? Over other conlangs? Over English? Over other native languages that could be internationalized? Over a language mutually developed by an international committee?

There is a lot left to figure out before Esperanto could ever take a serious place on the world stage. Its nice that we have small communities of people learning, growing communities, but I think we should expect better. We should expect an international language within our own lifetimes and work towards it like it WILL happen. Will it happen in our lifetimes? Maybe not.. but that doesn't mean we shouldn't work for it like it *is* possible. I think thats part of the problem, that people are taken a very casual approach to it, and thats a big reason why Esperanto has survived for 100 years an yet never made more than a snails pace of progress on the social scale (a snail's pace comparitively to the progress of many other things over a similar 100 year period).

How do we move for it?

~ ~

Machjo (User's profile) May 27, 2005, 5:20:31 PM

Well, first off, you need to realise that even among us esperantists ourselves, there isn't necessarily a concensus.  For instance, we have those who support Esperanto specifically over otehr auxiliary langauges.  And then we have those like myself who aren't necessarily suppporters of Esperanto per se, butr rather of teh internal idea.  For those of us who find ourselves int eh second category, we couldn't care less what language eventually serves the purpose.  We generally just want to see a universal language in place as soon as possible, and merely see Esperanto as a means to that end.

So as for supporting it, I think different things can be done:

1.  Learn the language yourself.

2. Present it naturally to any other group you might be invovled with.  if you're a Christian, for instance, then memorize some Bible passages in Esperanto, such as the Lord's Prayer, some Psalms, etc.  Then whenever you are asked to offer a prayer, or to recite some verse from the Bible, such as the beatitudes, etc., then you can quote in Esperanto by heart.  In that way it would be natural, wouldn't seem pushy or querky, and might then get others to ask what language that was, thus providing a natural conversation starter.

3. Teach your kids Esperanto.

4. Teach Esperanto to whoever else shows interest.

5. Try to establish relationships with any other group which might have an intrinsic reason to have an  interest in Esperanto.  One example would be the Baha'i community.  Their own scriptures strongly encourage them to learn Esperanto, even though many aren't even aware of it.  So then not only can you teach them about Esperanto, but show that you know something about their religion that perhaps they themselves didn't, which should always impress them.


6. Whatever else you can think of.

Kat (User's profile) April 9, 2006, 10:57:55 PM

Hi --                                                                                       

I've been thinking about this, too; specifically, I've been thinking about how we (as Esperantists) could convince world bodies (like the UN or the EU) to adopt Esperanto as a working language -- as a first step towards WORLD DOMINATION! (muh hah hah hah)

But seriously, here's the rub: people are lazy.  If something works -- even if it works very poorly and at great expense -- people will tend to stick with it because it's easier than making all kinds of changes.  So even though the current system of having x+1 "working languages" and having to translate stuff between all of them (which takes a long time and is expensive) is unwieldly and inefficient, it's easier than trying to get already busy people to sit down and learn something new, even if it would only take them two or three weeks to do it.

My thought is this: the only way for Esperantists to get Esperanto to catch on is to SHOW that it works, rather than try to SAY that it works.  In fact, Esperantists have to make Esperanto indispensible.  For example, if a talented and large network of Esperantists (with lots of time on their hands) volunteered to translate daily documents into and out of Esperanto for their respective EU/UN representative(s), it would be a potent demonstration -- especially for those representatives whose native languages are not one of the "working languages" or otherwise fall behind because there's not a huge demand for translation into/out of their languages.  Then suborn one or two of the represenative's helpers or interns.  Have the interns start talking to the other interns.

I honestly don't know if this would catch on, but I know that it absolutely WON'T catch on until it's just so obviously a good idea that people smack themselves on the head and say "why didn't we do this sooner?"

Alternately, a benevolent dictator needs to take over the EU/UN and simply Make It So.  Probably the easier proposition of the two. okulumo.gif

Another thing I wanted to get started (once I get out of the military and/or a) have free time and b) actually become fluent in Esperanto) was a program through the local Parks & Recreation Department to teach a class in Esperanto, but bill it as a "gateway" class for learning other languages (i.e., market it to people who want to learn more about foreign languages but don't want to actually spend 12 years trying to figure it out, or who want to introduce their kids to the idea of other languages).  Both the Parks & Recreation departments of Columbus, Ohio and Norfolk, Virginia have programs of this type (in addition to lots of arts programs too), and there are usually some kind of program for adult education that's always hungry for instructors and ideas.  If you get people writing to pen pals in other countries within the first couple of lessons, I think you will have them hooked.

Just my $.02.

 -- Kat


Saluton --

Mi pensadis pri ĉi tio ankaŭ; specife, mi pensadis pri kiel ni (kiel Esperantistoj) povis konvinki Mondajn Grupojn (kiel la UN aŭ EO) por alpreni Esperanton kiel labor-lingvo -- kiel unua poŝo al MOND-DOMINADO! (mu ha ha ha ha)

Sed serioze, ĉi tiu estas la problemo: homoj estas pigraj.  Se io funkcias -- eĉ se ĝi funkcias tre malbone kaj po granda elzpezo -- homoj alkroĉiĝemas al ĝi ĉar cxi tio estas plu facile ol fari tiajn ŝanĝojn.  Do eĉ tamen la nuna sistemo de x+1 "labor-lingvoj" kaj devi interlingvigi aĵojn (kio bezonas multon da tempo kaj estas multekosta) estas plumpega kaj malefikema, estas pli facila ol provi sidigi jam okupitajn personojn kaj lernigi ilin ion novan, eĉ kiam al ni daŭras ĉi tio du aŭ tri semajojn.

Mia pensoj estas tiaj: la sola metodo por Esperantistoj ekkontaĝigi Esperanton estas ke ili MONTRU ke ĝi funkcias, anstataŭe provu DIRI ke ĝi funkcias.  Efektive, Esperantistoj devas necesigi Esperanton.  Ekzemple, se talentplena kaj granda reto de Esperantistoj (kun multe da tempo en siaj manoj) voluntus el- kaj enesperantigi tagajn dokumentojn por siaj respectivaj delegatoj de la EU/UN, estus potenta pruvado -- aparte por tiuj delegatoj kies propraj lingvoj ne estas unu el la "labor-lingvoj" aŭ alie postiĝas ĉar ne estas granda postulo por translingvigo.  Tiam, prozelitu unu aŭ du el la helpistoj aŭ internistoj de la delegato.  Igi la internistojn paroli al la aliaj internistoj.

Mi honeste ne scias, ke ĉ tio ekkaptus, sed mi scias ke ĉi tute NE ekkaptos ĝis ĝi estas tia evidenta bona ideo ke homoj frapos sin sur la kapo kaj diros "kial ni ne faris ĉi tion pli frue?"

Alterne, bonfara diktatoro ekkontrolu la EU/UN kaj simple Fari Ĝin Tiel.  Varŝajne la pli simpla metodo. okulumo.gif

Alia afero mi volas komenci (kiam mi foriras el la armeo kaj/aŭ a) havas liberan tempon kaj b) vere fluas en Esperanto) estis programon per la loka Departmento de Parkoj & Alformigo por instrui klason pri Esperanto, sed bileti ĝin kiel "pordega" klaso por lerni aliaj lingvoj (t.e., merkati ĝin al homoj kiuj volas lerni plu pri fremdaj lingvoj sed ne volas vere utili 12 jarojn por lerni, aŭ kiuj volas prezenti al siaj infanoj la ideon de aliaj linvoj).  Ambaŭla Departmentoj de Parkoj & Alformigo en Columbus, Ohio kaj Norfolk, Virĝinia havas tiajn programojn (ankaŭ desegnartajn programojn), kaj estas kutime ia programo por Edukado de Plenkreskuloj kio estas ĉiam malŝata por instruistoj kaj ideoj.  Se oni igus homojn skribantaj al skribamikoj al aliaj landoj dum la unua-dua leciono, mi kredas ke oni elkontaĝigus ilin.

Nur miaj $.02.

 -- Katjo

BUNNY CATCH3R (User's profile) April 12, 2006, 9:43:51 PM

I like the idea of "selling" the language.  Let's face it "image" is much more potent than "reality" anymore. Perhaps it has always been that way.  Anyway... the point....Esperanto would be more chic if it were the language of movies.  Esperanto needs a Quentin Tarantino to make it sound cool.  However, until that happens, I would be happy with a dozen or so indy films featuring the language in new ways.


Pollux (User's profile) April 17, 2006, 3:45:49 AM

Why do you absoluttly want to "sell" Esperanto? I don't think it is really necessary. I like Esperanto because it allows me to communicate with people having a certain view of this world without barrier. Let us not try to impose our language as English, French, Spanish or Arabic try or tried in the past. I have no dream to see Esperanto becoming an "everybody" international language. I consider it rather like a "cultural" language. Let's open the door to people who want to learn it but let's not push them in.



trojo (User's profile) April 17, 2006, 3:18:00 PM

I think when some people hear about a language that is designed for efficiency, ease of learning, complete "regularity", or whatever, they have an image in their minds of something cold, impersonal, and soulless. Nothing could be further from the truth of course: Esperanto has a strong literary tradition (starting from the first pamphlet Zamenhof wrote, which included some verse), and the way it is designed (the apostrophe rule, very flexible word-order, etc) makes it very well-suited to poetry and song. Esperanto is a simple but beautiful language -- intentionally so. So what does Esperanto have that other conlangs mostly lack? Soul.

I think that probably would be a better basis on which to sell Esperanto. Learning a new language is hard work, and the mere hope of saving the world from the language problem is sadly not enough to motivate most folks. People also need a fun reason to learn Esperanto and to stay with it once they've learned it. If this is going to happen, the music and literature of Esperanto will need to play a prominent role.

kleinbrahm (User's profile) May 7, 2006, 7:16:17 PM

Well, I think everyone would take it more seriously if it were actually a "recognized" language.  For this reason, I found that there is a petition available to have the UN recognize it.  There is now also one for the European Union:

I think this would be an important step.


oren (User's profile) July 9, 2006, 2:27:14 AM

I agree with people about internet being the gateway to adoption of the language on a serious level with international organizations. Once that happens, and Esperanto eases the flow of business, discussion (and money), it will actually take hold. That time may be a century away, however and the only way to change that is if people interact (not only online) to inspire more hope.

I may be completely off-base, or ahead of myself, but I've been contemplating the type of web development that might make the most difference. As a young adult, I know that social networks (MySpace phenomenon, anyone?) and other forms of sharing (blogs, wikipedia, photo sites) are some of the more popular types of sites for the young and internet-inclined. What is the way to incorporate internationalism into this vein?


Mi interakordas kun tiuj, kiuj kredas, ke la "reto" estas la pordego por esperanto akceptigxi en interlandaj grupoj. Kiam tio okazas, kaj E-o eklaboras, gxi solidigxos.

Mi miradis, kiel aux kun kia retpagxo oni devas procedi. "MySpace," Vikipedio, kaj donpartpagxoj sxajnas populaj... sed kiel oni internaciigas tion?

goodgerster (User's profile) July 9, 2006, 2:40:06 PM

kleinbrahm:Well, I think everyone would take it more seriously if it were actually a "recognized" language.  For this reason, I found that there is a petition available to have the UN recognize it.  There is now also one for the European Union:

I think this would be an important step.

There's already a better one to the UN, with about 5000 signatures. Sign that instead.

einarfa (User's profile) July 10, 2006, 8:05:56 AM

My motivation for starting learning esperanto was solely the desire to know another language (besides norwegian and english). I found esperanto easier to start with than spanish, french, russian or arabic; so I decided in favor of it. I'll probably use it as a stepping stone.

I'm not sure if I support esperanto as an international language, or an international language at all. I'm in the opinion that conflicts are not made of people not being able to cross the language barrier, but the uneven distribution of power and resources.

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