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Esperanto and Esperantist ideology

 Language Learning Forum : Esperanto Post Reply
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Iversen
Super Polyglot
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Denmark
berejst.dk
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 Message 17 of 26
21 June 2012 at 10:59am | IP Logged 
a3 wrote:
I dont like the way some eperantists think:
"This language is made to be an international one, so everybody should learn it as a second language."
Using the same logic, I can write a book and say:
"I have written this book with the goal it to be read all over the world, so everyone should read it."
The difference is that some people want to make the others to learn esperanto.


I have seen texts from Esperantists who thought that it would be nice if Esperanto was offered as a communication vehicle and study object for instance in the EU, which may or may not be realistic (but if so then only at the same level as other minority languages). I don't think even the most ardent esperantist ever believed that everybody should learn Esperanto or that anybody should be forced to learn it. Of course I can't garantee that there isn't some crank who at a certain time in history uttered such ideas, but those people are not representative in any way.

However there ARE concrete claims from especially speakers of the big world languages that everybody ought to learn that particular world language, and it is also a fact that there are some countries (or selfgoverning entities) that in very concrete ways try to suppress minority languages. Just to mention one example from the first category: a member of HTLAL proposed in all earnest in the thread about French in Québec that those québecqois should drop French and adopt English - it would much better for themselves. And from the same corner of the word: as far as I know there are rules (or even laws) governing the use of English in Québec. There may or may not be valid reasons for this, but that's not the point - the point is that there are such rules.

So there is absolut no danger from the Esperantists (who are as peripheral as stamp collectors and tuba players and much less influental in world politics than golf players and soccer fans), and if you can find somebody who has aired some wild ideas about world hegemony you can be assured that they don't represent the movement as a whole. The real danger lurks from those who want to push minor languages out of business in favor of some major language - which either could be a world language or the dominant language or dialect in a particular country.

Edited by Iversen on 20 September 2013 at 6:40pm

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a3
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Bulgaria
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 Message 18 of 26
21 June 2012 at 5:21pm | IP Logged 
We all know about big languages supressing minority ones and promoting themselves - no need to mention that.
I cant cite because I cant remember where I read that.
Isnt this the very purpose esperanto was created anyway - to be an international language?
I might have been a bit ultimate in my saying, but still as far as I know there are organisations (or only people?) who wish or try to promote teaching of esperanto so it can become lingua franca.
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Michael K.
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United States
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 Message 19 of 26
21 June 2012 at 10:29pm | IP Logged 
Yes, Esperanto is designed to be a bridge language so people can communicate if they don't have a language in common.

I think we already discussed that while there are some Esperantists who want to make Esperanto the world's second language, most Esperantists don't agree with that, although I'm sure most Esperantists want more people to learn Esperanto.

To be honest, the idea that Esperanto will become the world's lingua franca instead of English or some other widespread natural language seems a bit flaky, so I doubt it would get much support.To me, it seems most Esperantists try to use how easy the language is to learn and how dynamic the community is to promote Esperanto.

You are right that some Esperanto proponents are a little over the top, like enthusiastic supporters of anything else. That said, I don't think the flakiness of the lunatic fringe is enough to turn people off to Esperanto.
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Colin R.
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Australia
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 Message 20 of 26
05 August 2013 at 11:52am | IP Logged 
a3 wrote:
I dont like the way some eperantists think:
"This language is made to be an international one, so everybody should learn it as a second language."
Using the same logic, I can write a book and say:
"I have written this book with the goal it to be read all over the world, so everyone should read it."
The difference is that some people want to make the others to learn esperanto.


I agree that the fact Esperanto was intended to be international is not a good argument.

After all, Esperanto is not the only language "made to be an international one". The languages Volapuk, Ido, and Interlingua were created with a similar goal in mind, and they are not the only ones, just the best known.

Michael K. wrote:
To me, it seems most Esperantists try to use how easy the language is to learn and how dynamic the community is to promote Esperanto.


Ease of learning is a good argument in favor of Esperanto. An even better argument is the combination of ease of learning and flexibility.

A language with a strictly limited vocabulary might be easier to learn, but this would probably be at the cost of not being be able to say as much in it.

Existence of an active worldwide community of users is an important argument as well.

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Juаn
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 Message 21 of 26
03 October 2013 at 2:11am | IP Logged 
There is an interesting and very entertaining reference to Esperanto in the form of a character in the novel Niebla by Miguel de Unamuno, a great piece of literature originally published in 1914. I think the Esperantists of this forum would find it endearing.

About the language itself, why invent a language for no reason at all?
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luke
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 Message 22 of 26
03 October 2013 at 6:49am | IP Logged 
There is also a segment of the Esperantist intelligentsia that is aware that there is another group of Esperantists who don't get too much past the training wheel stage. For the Esperantist elite, selling Esperanto on the "easy" angle, may be a disservice to potential Esperantists because language learning in itself is inherently difficult, compared to say riding a bicycle. In terms of hours to reach a certain level, Esperanto is much easier than other national languages, but it isn't effortless to get to a C2 level, nor even to conversational fluency.
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dmaddock1
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 Message 23 of 26
03 October 2013 at 3:40pm | IP Logged 
I read to page 3 before realizing this was an old thread, reanimated. :-) A few thoughts:

1. Some of the old posts that mention "anarchist" Esperantists might be thinking of Eugene Lanti, the founder of SAT. He certainly was very political and influential in the Esperanto movement, but by no means spoke for all Esperantists any more than a prominent American intellectual speaks for all Americans. If you learn Esperanto, you can read more about him in Vivo de Lanti. He's a fascinating character.

2. Zamenhof certainly was cosmopolitan (in the literal meaning of the word) and that idea permeates Esperanto. I suppose one need not subscribe to this view to know Esperanto, although that seems to me a rather needlessly theoretical clarification. But, even if someone only cares from a conlang standpoint, Esperanto is certainly one of the largest, most successful conlang projects ever (if not the most), and it would be folly to avoid studying it for fear of ideology, etc.

3. The idea that Esperantists are generally "leftists" has to be tied in with the general acceptance of multiculturalism in the Esperanto movement. As has been implied earlier, "rightists" interested in Esperanto are likely to be of the "libertarian" variety, it seems to me. I think this is because, in general, one's attitude toward Esperanto is likely to be determined by how "socially left" one is, not how "economically left". At least in the US, there are a lot of people who have "leftist" opinions on social issues, but not monetary issues. Some of those folks call themselves libertarians, but a lot do not. I doubt many "socially conservative" people will want to learn Esperanto. I consider myself libertarian and learned Esperanto.

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Doitsujin
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Germany
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 Message 24 of 26
04 October 2013 at 3:58pm | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
[...] if you can find somebody who has aired some wild ideas about world hegemony you can be assured that they don't represent the movement as a whole.


They might not be dangerous, but, IMHO, Finvenkists are actually one of the major reasons why not more people give Esperanto a chance. They're basically ruining it for all other Esperantists with their constant talk about Fina Venko.
The weird part is that many Finvenkists are native English speakers. Maybe they feel somwhat bad about the dominance of English as a world language.

BTW, the Economist recently published an interesting article on Esperanto.



Edited by Doitsujin on 04 October 2013 at 3:59pm



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