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a new name maybe?

by boy-o, November 14, 2004

Messages: 5

Language: English

boy-o (User's profile) November 14, 2004, 10:22:16 PM

I was recently reading Esperanto: A Language for the Global Village by Sylvan Zaft and...on chapter 23, he talks about our "mother tounge" and notes why it is called our mother tounge:  because it is the language we learned literally from our mothers while we were toddlers. 

well, it got me thinking.  Esperanto was developed by Zamenhoff, who certainly wasn't a woman.  He's the father of the language, father of the international community and in a sense, father of all of us here communicating with each other in other languages (please excuse me putting this in english.  i'm still not confident enough in esperanto to converse in the forum).  So i figured...we all technically learned the language from him, so why not call esperanto, as opposed to the 'mother tounge', the father tounge: "la patra lango."

Kio vi pensas?

Francis (User's profile) January 25, 2005, 3:01:36 AM

I, personally, never thought your native language was called your "mother tongue" because it was taught to you by your mother. Rather, I think "mother" here is simply a metaphoric synonym for "native". What's native is what comes from one's mother, so to speak. That's because mothers give birth and fathers don't.

mymunkee (User's profile) January 25, 2005, 7:26:29 AM

it was intended as an homage to the creator of the language, francis.  i'm sure that he is quite aware that men don't bear children.  also, the fact that the mother tongue is named as such is probably due to more than that simple physiological distinction.  it is not from birth that you acquire a language, but from being taught that language.

SEYMOUR (User's profile) January 25, 2005, 9:33:47 PM

I wonder if zamenhof if the father of the language.kion diable estas la patrino?

mateno (User's profile) January 26, 2005, 7:21:43 PM

this question has been brilliantly answered by Claude Piron in an essay: Zamenhof was the father of Esperanto, it would not appear without him; but, Esperanto could not exist without the community of its speakers as well: it's the community of speakers, who puts the language do the real use, who gives it the life, who is its true mother;

and this holds true for any language

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