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Thoughts on the appeal of Esperanto

drdixon3, 2020 m. birželis 23 d.

Žinutės: 16

Kalba: English

drdixon3 (Rodyti profilį) 2020 m. birželis 23 d. 02:53:01

Saluton al ĉiuj!

I just started learning Esperanto a few days ago, and so far, I'm having the time of my life. A fun, immersive hobby is just what I needed right now, in a time when everything and everyone appear to be so disconnected. Truly, I can't think of a better, more à propos time to learn "la internacia lingvo." ridulo.gif

As is to be expected when acquiring any new hobby, I can already begin to feel myself losing interest—albeit very slightly. So, to get to the point, I guess I'm just looking for some inspiration, as well as support! What drew y'all to Esperanto? What are its best qualities? What are its worst? To you, is Esperanto truly the most accessible IAL (or language, period)? In short, what made you Esperantists and what keeps you Esperantists?

I'm sure there are many threads that have been posted just like this one, so I apologize for the redundancy. I look forward to becoming a part of the Esperanto community!

- Dylan

sudanglo (Rodyti profilį) 2020 m. birželis 23 d. 10:47:59

This is just an impression - a theory without solid evidence - but I think the motivation of the average Esperantist has changed substantially over time.

I think the early Esperantists were drawn to the idea of Esperanto as a solution to the language problem i.e. they believed in the idea of an constructed language designed to facilitate communication between people with different mother tongues.

But nowadays this concept barely figures in motivation. Rather the modern Esperantist sees Esperanto as a playground for the exercise of artistic creativity. And in truth it's technology which will solve the language problem.

However there is an idea that comes from its origins that still has great force in 'Esperanto culture' - namely that it is an international language.

For example, in using Esperanto:- you are careful to avoid naciismoj (words or phrases that would create difficulties in comprehension for speakers of other languages); you subscribe to a certain discipline in conformance to its grammar (the language has to be stable, Esperanto is not allowed to break up into regional variations); an international accent is valued, and so on.

And these linguistic/comprension considerations spill over into an ethos of a somewhat uncritical view of other cultures. There are, for example,no abusive terms in Esperanto for alilandanoj - unlike the abundance of such terms in English such as frog, kraut, dago, chink, spic, wop etc.

sudanglo (Rodyti profilį) 2020 m. birželis 23 d. 11:14:24

As a young person, I think that the experience that will most provide you with 'a road to Damascus' conversion is attendance at an international youth congress. However you will have to wait until the Covid panic subsides to have that experience.

Zam_franca (Rodyti profilį) 2020 m. birželis 23 d. 12:04:35

As is to be expected when acquiring any new hobby, I can already begin to feel myself losing interest—albeit very slightly. So, to get to the point, I guess I'm just looking for some inspiration, as well as support! What drew y'all to Esperanto? What are its best qualities? What are its worst? To you, is Esperanto truly the most accessible IAL (or language, period)? In short, what made you Esperantists and what keeps you Esperantists?
Saluton! Hi!

You have a lot of interesting questions.
I started to learn Esperanto because I liked the idea of a neutral and easy to learn international language. I had already heard about "Esperanto, the universal language" (though I consider it today to be simply international: didn't Zamenhof called it "la lingvo internacia"?), so once I googled 'Esperanto', because I basically knew nothing about it. I read things on plural websites, and I liked its history and the fact that it was a simple to learn langage. So I decided to learn it.

Esperanto's grammar is what makes it, IMHO, a very valuable international language. An Esperanto speaker can combine roots (like "sun-", from which we can create "suno", sun, or "suna", solar) with affixes (like "-et-", small, little), to create new words without any limitation: for example "suneto", a little sun, or even "suneta", which means the adjective for a little sun. And there are no exceptions! You can use "-et-" with any roots you want, etc... But you will learn this much better with lernu.net course.
So thanks to this grammar Esperanto is both a very rich language, because it has no limits, and a very easy one, because once you know how to combine affixes and roots, you can create plenty of words thanks to only one root. So learning vocabulary in Esperanto is way faster than learning vocabulary in Spanish or French etc.

Esperanto's roots (like "sun-" or "salut-") mainly come from French, English, German, Latin, Yiddish, Polish, Russian and Italian. Words coming from non-European languages are uncommon, though they exist.
This may look very unfair, but happily, thanks to its grammar, Esperanto is still faster to learn for people not speaking an Indo-European language (researches have been made: to reach the C1 level, a French native speaker needs 1500 hours of work. To reach such a level in Esperanto, he needs 150 hours of work. A Japanese native speaker needs 220 hours of work to reach such a level in Esperanto. I think this is quite fair if we compare this to the current communication system: everybody learn English.

I became Esperantist because I believe that communication is a right, a human right, and that Esperanto can help the whole humankind to reach this right. I'm still an esperantist because I think a lot can be done, esperantists are not as effective as they could be.

Good luck in your learning! Bonan lernadon!
If you meet difficulties, just go on, don't be afraid of them. You will have the time to understand them, and you can always post a question in the "forumo".

Ĝis!

drdixon3 (Rodyti profilį) 2020 m. birželis 23 d. 16:57:06

sudanglo:But nowadays this concept barely figures in motivation. Rather the modern Esperantist sees Esperanto as a playground for the exercise of artistic creativity. And in truth it's technology which will solve the language problem.
This is interesting. I agree with you that Esperanto has the ability to be remarkably creative—in this sense, it's much like Latin (which I've studied for the greater part of six years, with middling success), but simplified. Flexible word order, in my opinion, does a great deal for this creativity, especially in the writing of poetry. I've already looked over translations of Greco-Roman epic into Esperanto (viz., the Aeneid) and, as a translator, the thought of being able to produce/translate a work in dactylic hexameter (...sort of) is quite exciting. Of course, this is hard to do in English, if not impossible.

Your point about translation technologies is well-considered. I remember when my friends and I would laugh at the stuff that came out of Google Translate; now, I use it on occasion to help me get through a text/song in French.

I think the true potential of Esperanto is in the field of pedagogy: teaching young kids to read, write, and speak Esperanto, I think, would open up children to a new world of creative expression. Perhaps more selfishly, as a Classicist-in-training, I think it's a gateway to teaching children Greek and Latin, which in turn opens students up to the abundant fruits of those cultures.

drdixon3 (Rodyti profilį) 2020 m. birželis 23 d. 17:08:49

Zam_franca:
I became Esperantist because I believe that communication is a right, a human right, and that Esperanto can help the whole humankind to reach this right. I'm still an esperantist because I think a lot can be done, esperantists are not as effective as they could be.!
I'm inclined to agree with you, although I obviously don't know much about Esperantists as people. Given the ease and accessibility of the language (from my viewpoint, at least, others may disagree), I think Esperanto as a universal second language could be a great idea. It's certainly more of a possibility now than it was in Zamenhof's day, with sites like this and also Duolingo. Lord knows most of us have more free time right now to learn a new language!

sudanglo (Rodyti profilį) 2020 m. birželis 24 d. 15:31:44

I think the true potential of Esperanto is in the field of pedagogy: teaching young kids to read, write, and speak Esperanto, I think, would open up children to a new world of creative expression. Perhaps more selfishly, as a Classicist-in-training, I think it's a gateway to teaching children Greek and Latin, which in turn opens students up to the abundant fruits of those cultures.
The British Esperantists are there before you. See this lecture about the Springboard programme

thebeek (Rodyti profilį) 2020 m. birželis 28 d. 08:41:13

An interesting question. As a beginner myself, I had learning Esperanto on my bucket list for 30 years. Never got around to it until Covid hit and I had time. Now that I'm learning it, and about the Esperanto community, I'm more drawn to the community aspect. As if I'm part of a secret club, and I can meet others who speak it as well. I've also discovered, there is a push for Esperanto in China and I may be able to engage with some Chinese that way. At this point I've visited 58 counties, my next lap around the world I will be more themed with my trip, perhaps visiting just Esperantists.

Altebrilas (Rodyti profilį) 2020 m. birželis 28 d. 13:58:47

sudanglo:This is just an impression - a theory without solid evidence - but I think the motivation of the average Esperantist has changed substantially over time.
Whithout the need of statistics, I can say my own motivation have changed over time: At first linguistics, then meeting original and frienly people, after that debating with other people when forums didn't exist, later taking part to a few congresses, and finally inquisitiveness about the reasons of political obstacles to esperanto and language debate in general.

zaragorti (Rodyti profilį) 2020 m. liepa 7 d. 19:39:11

It was initially 'la interna ideo' that drew me to Esperanto, the feeling of community around the world. It's a language in which I could feel comfortable immediately without the self-consciousness I feel when I speak languages in which I'm not fluent; "En Esperantujo neniu estas fremdulo".

What keeps me coming back to Esperanto is that same feeling of community but also that its regularity serves to rest my language-learning brain after I've been dealing with the declensions, conjugations and irregularities of naciaj lingvoj.

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