Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

Esperanto and Esperantist ideology

 Language Learning Forum : Esperanto Post Reply
26 messages over 4 pages: 1 2 3 4  Next >>
benzionisrael
Triglot
Groupie
Spain
Joined 3204 days ago

79 posts - 142 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese, SpanishB2

 
 Message 1 of 26
05 March 2012 at 8:44pm | IP Logged 
Last summer I became curious about trying out a constructed language. The obvious primary candidate was Esperanto, the most widely spoken and successful conlang. Simultaneaously the relatively new pan-slavic conlang Slovio also caught my attention. I considered nibbling at one of these languages just out of curiosity, but since there are many upon many perfectly good natural languages with a much greater wealth of culture, literature and media available, I decided that it would be better to choose another national language or lingua franca as my next language or even a minority language in the country/countries where I live/will live.

In addition, after reading certain articles and posts regarding the ideologies connected to Esperanto, I was put of the language considerably.

Although the Esperantist community claims that their international conlang has never sought to abolish national pride or no pre-existing national language, from what I have read, it would seem that the Esperantist movement has a more leftist leaning.


For example, looking at some of the previous posts in this forum, I found a post related to this topic authored by a forum member named Sigiloso, a former Esperantist who made the decision to leave the movement after becoming aware of its lack of political neutrality and leftist agenda.

In a certain internet article (not of this site) whose author's name I cannot remenber, I also remember reading a controversial viewpoint which suggested that creating an international auxiliary language (Esperanto) was never Zamanhof's primary objective, but rather simply a means to propagate his own ideology and philosophy.

Anyone care to discuss this topic? I am especially interested in the opinions of former Experantists if possible.

2 persons have voted this message useful





Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 5242 days ago

9078 posts - 16471 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 2 of 26
05 March 2012 at 9:00pm | IP Logged 
To avoid heated debates I have followed an established practice and moved this thread to the Esperantist subforum (where there already are a number of threads in English).

My own contribution: I don't care why Zamenhof invented Esperanto. The lofty ideas have come to nothing and now it is just another language, which I have chosen to learn.

If I had to be worried about ideological ramifications I would have to keep almost every major language at a distance because they have been used by disgusting and evil persons.

Edited by Iversen on 06 March 2012 at 12:22am

16 persons have voted this message useful



Solfrid Cristin
Heptaglot
Winner TAC 2011 & 2012
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 3873 days ago

4143 posts - 8863 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, Spanish, Swedish, French, English, German, Italian
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 3 of 26
05 March 2012 at 9:12pm | IP Logged 
I think Esperantists may be some of the most patient people in the world. I would get really tired of people telling me why they did not care to learn the language. I am not learning the language myself. Yet. But never say never :-)
12 persons have voted this message useful



Arekkusu
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Canada
bit.ly/qc_10_lec
Joined 3920 days ago

3971 posts - 7746 votes 
Speaks: English, French*, GermanC1, Spanish, Japanese, Esperanto
Studies: Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Estonian

 
 Message 4 of 26
05 March 2012 at 9:48pm | IP Logged 
You think learning a language will dictate your actions or poof you into a leftist?
6 persons have voted this message useful



Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 4978 days ago

4474 posts - 6725 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 5 of 26
05 March 2012 at 10:30pm | IP Logged 
Esperanto speakers don't share an ideology - suggesting they do is like claiming that all people in the USA vote for one party. On average, I'd say Esperanto-speakers lean left, but there are certainly exceptions. National pride in the sense of belligerently asserting superiority tends to be absent; national pride, and local pride, in the sense of taking joy in telling people about traditions and sharing history and culture flourishes.

The main Esperanto association, UEA, is explicitly politically neutral. This sometimes frustrates people, and there are other associations which are not, including SAT, which is explicitly leftist.

Esperanto events tend to be quite multicultural. Sometimes this is celebrated with traditional foods from various regions. There are often books from all over the world. And event organizers sometimes arrange for things like seeing a presentation on regional minority language and culture, including music and dance. I've never met an Esperanto speaker who wants to get rid of other languages.

Esperanto culture is quite rich; in terms of literature, it eclipses some languages several times its size (take a look at the Concise Encyclopedia of the Original Literature of Esperanto). It doesn't rival Chinese, English, or Spanish in this regard, though - it is a small language.

There are also an unusually high number of kooks who spout absolute nonsense whenever Esperanto is mentioned. Whether it's claiming it has no literature, no speakers, that it's a tool of (pick group/ideology/conspiracy theory you dislike here), etc, there's someone willing to say it, but it's not true.

I speak Esperanto. I don't see myself as a member of a movement.

Edit: fixed url

Edited by Volte on 05 March 2012 at 10:31pm

9 persons have voted this message useful



Michael K.
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4268 days ago

568 posts - 886 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Esperanto

 
 Message 6 of 26
05 March 2012 at 10:57pm | IP Logged 
I like the language, but I'm not so sure of the movement to make it the world's second language. That is the only real political goal that Esperantists seem to agree on, but even then some don't want the language to be promoted like that. They have petitioned the UN before, and UNESCO said Esperanto goes along with its values. I'm not sure of all the nuances of Esperanto history, but I think some anarchist tried to gain control of the Esperanto movement before.

There is also the idea that Esperanto promotes peace, so some might see it as a peace movement of sorts, but I don't know how many Esperantists see it like that. Esperantists seem like a tolerant group that appreciates multiculturalism, so those may be other leftist ideas, if you consider those virtues leftist. From what I can see, there's nothing really that seems to suggest Esperanto promotes Marxism, so I would be curious to know what you mean by leftist.

When I started out studying Esperanto, I was worried about politics, but of another nature. I thought conlangers were at each others' throat about which language to promote as the world's second language. Volte and Enrique told me this wasn't true in their experiences, and that most Esperantists were tolerant of other conlangs. If I ever meet an Esperantist who doesn't appreciate other conlangs, I'll probably not want to talk to them. It seems that Esperantists that get carried away with Esperanto's virtues are dismissed as "green popes" so too much enthusiasm isn't viewed positively.

I agree with blogger Robert Winter (of "The Joy of Languages," a novelist who wanted to write a book completely in a conlang) in which he says of Esperanto that I don't want to be a disciple or be part of a social movement, I just want to learn a conlang.

Edited by Michael K. on 05 March 2012 at 10:59pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 4978 days ago

4474 posts - 6725 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 7 of 26
06 March 2012 at 2:11am | IP Logged 
Michael K. wrote:
I like the language, but I'm not so sure of the movement to make it the world's second language. That is the only real political goal that Esperantists seem to agree on, but even then some don't want the language to be promoted like that. They have petitioned the UN before, and UNESCO said Esperanto goes along with its values. I'm not sure of all the nuances of Esperanto history, but I think some anarchist tried to gain control of the Esperanto movement before.


"Making Esperanto the world's second language" is not an agreed-upon goal. While it's a goal many Esperanto speakers share, many do not. The Raumist manifesto dates back to 1980, and is generally taken to be in favour of enjoying Esperanto culture (and seeing it as a self-selected diaspora).

I have no idea what you're talking about with regards to someone trying to gain control of the Esperanto movement. The closest I can think of is the creation of the language Ido, which was the brainchild of a professor and another guy who (dubiously) claimed to be a marquess: neither of them were anarchists, to the best of my knowledge.

Michael K. wrote:

There is also the idea that Esperanto promotes peace, so some might see it as a peace movement of sorts, but I don't know how many Esperantists see it like that. Esperantists seem like a tolerant group that appreciates multiculturalism, so those may be other leftist ideas, if you consider those virtues leftist. From what I can see, there's nothing really that seems to suggest Esperanto promotes Marxism, so I would be curious to know what you mean by leftist.


Most Esperanto speakers aren't involved in peace movements, as far as I can tell, but a significant minority has been, from the inception of the language to today. There are some interesting Esperanto books by Japanese people who opposed what Japan did in wwII, some of whom lived in China during it.

Esperanto doesn't promote Marxism. However, Marxism was a significant force in the 20th century. Many Esperanto speakers come from Eastern Europe; some come from China and Cuba. A few come from elsewhere but are committed Marxists (or various sorts of anti-Marxist communist). And a significant organization is SAT, which is explicitly leftist and worker-oriented: it was formed because UEA is apolitical. While it has under a thousand members today, it is the publisher of the most highly-regarded Esperanto dictionary.

Esperanto speakers of all political opinions exist. Some are apolitical; some are American right-wing Libertarians who always vote Republican; some are communists, some are anarchists, and plenty are interested in politics and about as centrist as is typical for wherever they happen to come from. We live in a world with a wide range of political opinions. The vast majority of Esperanto speakers aren't rampantly xenophobic most of the time, but beyond that, it gets hard to generalize.

Michael K. wrote:

I agree with blogger Robert Winter (of "The Joy of Languages," a novelist who wanted to write a book completely in a conlang) in which he says of Esperanto that I don't want to be a disciple or be part of a social movement, I just want to learn a conlang.


So - do that? It's straightforward with Esperanto, Lojban, and plenty of other conlangs.

3 persons have voted this message useful



Michael K.
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4268 days ago

568 posts - 886 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Esperanto

 
 Message 8 of 26
06 March 2012 at 3:43am | IP Logged 
I think the guy I was thinking of was mentioned in "In the Land of Invented Languages." He was John Leslie, who was known as Verdiro (truth teller) among Esperantists. He seems to have been more of a spokesperson than someone who tried to take over the movement.

I should have been clearer, but by the peace movement I meant people who think that by having a common language there would be no more wars. Of course, this is wishful thinking, and the deadliest war in American history was our Civil War, in which just about all combatants had the same language and culture (there were some overseas mercenaries fighting for the Confederacy, but I don't know how many there were).

I didn't mean to imply that Esperanto inherently promotes Marxism. I know that there are Esperantists of various political backgrounds, because, like this one book said, the only 2 certainties about Esperantists is that they can read the Roman script and that they know at least 2 languages (because I seriously doubt there are any monolingual Esperanto native speakers).

Not to be a smart aleck, but because it came up, what exactly is an anti-Marxist communist? Isn't that an oxymoron, like saying a despotic democrat?

Not to nitpick, but "right-wing Libertarians who always vote for Republicans" is also an oxymoron. A Libertarian (capital L) is a member of the Libertarian Party (someone who has vowed never to use government force for political purposes), so they vote for and promote LP candidates. Most members of the LP are as angry at the RNC as they are at the DNC (they openly call both of the mainstream parties statists, among other invectives), and they wouldn't like being called "right-wing" either (believe me, I have LP friends). A libertarian (small l) just accepts the libertarian ideology without being an LP member, and might vote for Republicans (Ron Paul is a favorite among libertarians).

Sorry, Election Day is tomorrow in my homestate of Ohio, so I'm a little on edge about politics (and I hate politics).

I plan on learning Esperanto just for the language, and I'll promote it by encouraging and helping newcomers to Esperanto, to return the favor that other Esperantists have given me. If my Esperanto is ever good enough, I might even be a tutor on lernu, but that's a long-term goal.

Edited by Michael K. on 06 March 2012 at 3:46am



4 persons have voted this message useful



This discussion contains 26 messages over 4 pages: 2 3 4  Next >>


Post ReplyPost New Topic Printable version Printable version

You cannot post new topics in this forum - You cannot reply to topics in this forum - You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum - You cannot create polls in this forum - You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page was generated in 0.4844 seconds.


DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Copyright 2020 FX Micheloud - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.