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Esperanto — Ciao! May 12, 2015

Posted by anagasto in language.
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mike-lester-2222

How does it work?

It doesn’t work because English is too great a competitor.

English — even if you know only very little — secures  instant access to everything , web, wiki, writers, video, books, film, even pictures, and of course people past and present and technology.
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>>> Versión en español >>>   http://cantueso.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/esperanto-la-trampa/

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Quixote and Sancho at Aranjuez

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That is the rock bottom reason, but there was hope  that Esperanto would turn some of the other European languages into one common language.

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However, a short text sample Wiki http://tinyurl.com/cxtp4 shows that its vocabulary is not  easy:

esperanto-english-sample-text

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There are some 25 countries where English is Number One or Two. Notice that Europe is not included, though absolutely everybody here has had at least some courses.

English
478 367 213 according to www.nationmaster.com/
300 000 000 in countries where English is a semi-official language
100 000 000 successful learners

Esperanto
001 600 000 speakers ?

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Since Esperanto is of little use in industry and is barely active online, how do they justify their intense advertising efforts?

Of course, they depend hevily on subsidies, but how do they get them ?
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According to Wiki http://tinyurl.com/cxtp4 Esperanto speakers exist  in Europe and East Asia, but I have never met any….

pasporta-servo

…. and stats are hard to find.
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Why would anyone  study Esperanto ?

Many Esperanto speakers are English teachers looking for students.  They say

  1. Esperanto eliminates “the unfair advantage” that native speakers of English enjoy in this world.
  2. Esperanto is easier to learn than English.

Based on envy ! :-D ….. on the failures and frustrations of those who have to learn English !

It is a very big market and still growing.

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Is Esperanto easier than English?

sales-point

Hello…………………. Saluton
What is your name? …………………. Kiel vi nomiĝas?

Do you speak Esperanto?…………………. Ĉu vi parolas Esperanton?
I do not understand you…………………. Mi ne komprenas vin
Thank you…………………. Dankon
You’re welcome…………………. Ne dankinde
Please…………………. Bonvolu

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let's talk

Congratulations! …………………. Gratulon!
Okay…………………. Bone
Yes…………………. Jes
No…………………. Ne

I love you…………………. Mi amas vin
Goodbye…………………. Ĝis la revido
One beer, please…………………. Unu bieron, mi petas
What is that? …………………. Kio estas tio?

Good morning! …………………. Bonan matenon!
Good evening! …………………. Bonan vesperon!
Good night! …………………. Bonan nokton!

>>> >>Wikipedia Esperanto phrasebook → http://www.etriptips.com/wiki/Esperanto_phrasebook

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The basic objection is of a cultural kind:

Esperanto is a catalog of words recently created. There is no resonance to them.

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In a natural language almost all words are like comets with long sparkling tails of secondary meanings.  Almost none are neutral, but some are more classy, others a bit old, others slangy or technical or only used by kids or typical of old men…….

Some are..reminiscent of your little cow town, your grandma or TV jingles, songs and poetry : others of your engineering mentality or your teaching habits, défauts professionnels, political leanings, tastes, your upbringing and education ……….

This is the beauty of a language, but it  is of course a disadvantage if you are looking for a shortcut to get  …  where ? ?

Esperanto is only the skeleton of a language plus some of its functional innards.

Sources :

The Oxford Companion to the English Language 1992 edition: outdated but great! 1000 pages, covers dialects, local variations, contact English, creole, phonetics, etymology, history, everything . ……….. for 1,- bought secondhand at ABE
Wikipedia on Esperanto : tagged as insufficiently documented
Wikipedia on English : recently tagged as too short

Drawings: most are by Raphael Wünsch and one is by Mike Lester;  and the gold kite on a dark blue background is by Chris Madden.

The photos are by ghD used with permission..

Comments»

1. Remush - May 3, 2010

Could you give the transcription of those sentences in IPA.
Is there an Esperanto book comparable to:
“Everyman’s ENGLISH PRONOUNCING DICTIONARY”.
containing over 59,000 words in international phonetic transcription?
Remuŝ

2. cantueso - May 4, 2010

I am sorry I can’t.

I have never done any IPA, and my primary language was German, though by now I feel more at home in English, but my pronunciation is only just barely correct.

3. Remush - May 4, 2010

IPA can be found on the page you mentioned at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto#Writing_system
Esperanto is almost written in IPA, one letter one sound.
Remuŝ

4. cantueso - May 4, 2010

So is Spanish. And Latin, too! And even German. It’s unimportant. These people will never learn English, but most pronounce fairly well.

The problem with Esperanto is that it is a hobby language, made for hobby language people to do their hobby language thing and pack in one more.

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7. server42 - August 4, 2011

There is an Esperanto group at
bgi-soap@googlegroups.com
Language: Esperanto

There are 566 members, but there are only 3 messages a month. Just in case you want to look it up.

8. hilarychapman - June 28, 2012

There are so many errors here, it is difficult to know where to start. Firstly, you assert that “English secures instant access to everything”. Sadly, it doesn’t. It’s a fairly widespread language, but far from universal.

You write that “there was hope that Esperanto would turn some of the other European languages into one common language.” No one ever hoped or thought that. It’s a fantasy that I’ve read here for the first time. Indeed Esperanto was created precisely because there was no common language.

You point us towards a short text sample which demonstrates the opposite to what you claim. The English word “drought” is not transparent, whereas the Esperanto word “trosekeco” is. It means “too-dry-ness”. And how do you pronounce “drought”? Draft, droot? Esperanto has an exact correspondence between letters and sounds. Unlike English, if you say something in Esperanto you can write it, and voice-versa. “was” and “became” are both past tenses in English, whereas the Esperanto words have the clear past tense marker “-is”. I good go on.

You write of Europe that “absolutely everybody here has had at least some courses”. That may be true of the younger population, but the success rate is really miserable. Scandinavia and Netherlands haver fairly good levels of English, but if you’re lost in rural France or rural Bulgaria, don’t expect to find an English speaker. I’ve lost count of the number of people who say “I learn English since eight years” but cannot tell you where they live and cannot access the resources you mention. Incidentally, I have absolutely no objection to anyone learning English or any other language. Good luck to them!

You are right about one thing. Statistics about numbers of Esperanto speakers are hard to find. That situation is unlikely to change, because there will never be a census. Caution about the numbers is advisable, but Esperanto does have a widespread self-perpetuating speech community, which makes the language well worth learning.

You ask “Is Esperanto easier than English?” The answer has to be an emphatic yes. Esperanto is NOT a catalog of words recently created. “Nomo” for name, “seka” for dry, “dankon” for thank you have ancient origins. They did not spring from thin air. You write that “In a natural language almost all words carry a kind of ballast because they have been tied to each other from way back. Almost none are neutral, but some are more classy, others a bit old, others slangy or technical or only used by kids or typical of old men.” If you were to delete the word “natural”, I would agree with that. In Copenhagen last summer an Esperanto speaker with me just managed to catch a bus as it drew away. He said “Ho mia kor’!” as he sat down, a reference to an Esperanto poem of 125 years ago.

I wish you well, but do check your facts.

9. Brian Barker - June 28, 2012

In reply to Hilary Chapman – So not everyone speaks English then!

I live in London and if anyone says to me “everyone speaks English” my answer is “Listen and look around you”. If people in London do not speak English then the whole question of a global language is completely open. As a native English speaker, my vote is for Esperanto.

Interesting also that Google translate recently added Esperanto as its 64th language.

The Esperanto online course http://www.lernu.net has 125 000 hits per day and Esperanto Wikipedia enjoys 400 000 hits per day. That can’t be bad :)

10. Detlef Karthaus - July 20, 2014

You admit that learning English often results in failure and frustration. I rest my case. Vivu Esperanto!
BTW. 80% of Esperanto vocabulary is Latin based. Esperanto estas facila lingvo; inteligenta persono lernas Esperanton rapide.

11. Christian Lavarenne, docteur ès lettres et sciences humaines - July 21, 2014

You wrote : “The basic objection is of a cultural kind: (…) Esperanto is only the skeleton of a language”.
Please kindly have a look at :
– Geoffrey H. SUTTON, “Concise Encyclopedia of the Original Literature of Esperanto”, New York : Mondial, 2008, 728 p.
– William AULD, “Esperanta antologio : Poemoj 1887-1981”, Rotterdam : UEA, 1984 (2d ed.), 887 p.
– or : http://esperanto.net/literaturo/poem/index.html
Amike (= “friendly”, in Esperanto)
Dr Christian Lavarenne
who wrote his doctoral thesis in history on
“Esperanto : Its inner idea in its origins and some of its expressions and manifestations (help or obstacle in the diffusion of this international language ?)” (Université Paris 13 – Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2012, 1668 p., but, sorry, it is in French !)

12. Nicole - July 21, 2014

Esperanto was not born yesterday. There is literature, poetry, etc. As a third generation Esperanto speaker I feel at ease when I speak Esperanto. Even though I speak English pretty well I still find Esperanto very useful. You don’t do the same things with both languages. Both have their uses. Even though many people speak some English, many are not fluent, they struggle and can’t really enjoy conversations in English because it is too stressful.

13. Nicole - July 21, 2014

We don’t need IPA with Esperanto as Esperanto is written phonetically. All you need is to learn the sound of all the letters and then you can read any word. Of course no problems for spelling. Isn’t it a waste of time to make everyone learn how to spell in English? It is so hard that even native speakers who are exposed to the language all the time can’t manage it.

14. cantueso - July 22, 2014

To Nicole:

Your objections are not to the point.

Esperanto is a hobby language. It should never be recommended to people instead of English.

And: the spelling is more difficult for native speakers. You can see highly intelligent people with first class degrees doubting about “there” and “their” and even about “it’s” and “its”. And they don’t care.
I think poor spelling has become a fashion.

As to the phonetics, good teachers know how to deal with that, and bad teachers teach phonetics instead of English. Yes, I know.

15. Alex Escomu - July 31, 2014

Haha! cantueso has no arguments anymore “Your objections are not to the point”

Well, indeed English won’t be recommended to be learned after 10 to 50 years as nowadays… then Chinese will be the recommended one (certainly in Asia) if by then many people have your mentality. A better title for this article would be “Me, telling nonsenses about something I really don’t know about”.

Such an article would put me to shame, but it seems you’re really proud of it, congrats. And if you wrote this it’s because… deep in your heart… you know Esperanto is much better for the world

«It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.»

16. Alex Escomu - July 31, 2014

indeed Unesco recommends to people Esperanto rather than English, but of course you don’t know anything at all, you are a native English speaker and I see you can’t put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Give a try to the poem THE CHAOS… “Dearest creature in creation”, you won’t be able to pronounce it well and, maybe, that will be a good step to understand why you’re saying nonsenses

17. cantueso - July 31, 2014

I am not a native speaker, but learned English the hard way, mainly via The New York Times, because I wanted to use all that reading time to learn about the world.

Yes, it was very hard. I had to neglect and for a time even give up my native German plus my childhood language French, and I am still mediocre at Spanish, though I live in Spain … and though I was able to publish this very nice post also in Spanish.
:-)

Here is the link:
http://cantueso.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/esperanto-la-trampa/


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