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[P]
Esperanto in 10 Minutes or Your Money Back

By Yekrats in Culture
Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:09:25 PM EST
Tags: Round Table (all tags)
Round Table

There's an old joke that goes something like this: "Q: What do you call someone that speaks two languages? A: Bilingual. Q: What do you call someone that speaks one language? A: American."

Learning a new language is a massive undertaking. I know, because I'd spent about 6 years studying Spanish and French with very little to show for it. Then I discovered Esperanto, a planned language, designed to be easier to learn than other languages, while allowing for linguistic richness. In Esperanto, once you learn a rule of grammar, you can apply it without the burden of many exceptions. Verbs in Esperanto are all conjugated regularly and simply. While I recognize that Esperanto is not perfect, it has changed my life, and allowed me to appreciate foreign language again. It allows my international friends and myself to communicate on fairly equal ground.

Esperanto can be learned many times faster than most natural languages. To prove this point, in the scope of this article, I will teach you a whole new language. No longer will you be the butt of an old joke. Give me a few minutes of your time, and I'll teach you a new language.


History of Esperanto
No Esperanto lesson is complete without going into some of the history of the language. Esperanto was invented by Dr. Ludovic L. Zamenhof, a Russian-born Jewish eye doctor living in Warsaw, Poland during the late 1800s. As a boy in high school, Zamenhof knew several languages: Polish, Russian, Latin, Hebrew, Greek, French, and English. He saw first-hand the strife that language barriers caused people.

Then one day the idea struck him: what if there was an easy-to-learn language that people could learn to bridge between two languages? It wasn't a unique idea; there were attempts to do the same before and since. In 1887, after 10 years and a couple of revisions, he published the first book of his international language under the pseudonym Dr. Esperanto, which means "One who hopes." Today, Esperanto is used by about 2 million people.

Pronunciation
Esperanto uses a slightly different alphabet than than you may be used to, but much of it is the same as English. Pronunciation of letters in Esperanto is phonetic, that is, each letter can only be pronounced one way, and most Esperanto letters sound like the standard English pronunciation. In fact, these letters [b, d, f, h, k, l, m, n, p, s, t, v, and z] are all pronounced as they are in English.

The five vowels are pronounced regularly too, and much like they are in English and other Romance languages:


  • a as in "father"
  • e as in "bed"
  • i as in "pizza"
  • o as in "no"
  • u as in "tune"

That leaves a four letters which may be slightly different to us English speakers.

  • c /ts/ as in "prince"
  • g /g/ as in "girl," (Always a "hard g," never a "soft g.")
  • j /y/ as in "yellow" (Important!)
  • r "European /r/ sound". Can you roll it just a bit? If not, your regular /r/ will work.

Esperanto also adds six additional letters, which don't have an ASCII code, and may not show up properly in your browser without the proper Esperanto fonts. Most of them look like a standard Latin character with a circumflex ("hat") accent above them. There are a few conventions for displaying these characters using the standard ASCII character-set. My preferred method is called the "X-system," and seems to be widely accepted in the Internet community.

Since X is not in the Esperanto alphabet, I place an "x" after an accented letter, denoting a different character. This method is quick to type, although I think a rare few Esperantists see it as ugly. Some new Esperantists also get confused thinking that "cx" is two letters. Just be sure that when you see me type "cx," it means one accented letter "c".


  • cx /ch/ as in "chocolate"
  • gx /dj/ as in "fudge"
  • hx hard "ch" as in "loch"
  • jx /zh/ sound as in "vision"
  • sx /sh/ as in "shoe"
  • ux /w/ as in "water"

Each vowel in Esperanto represents a separate syllable. So, a word like ideo is a 3-syllable word. When pronouncing Esperanto words, always place the emphasis (stress) on the next-to-the-last syllable. Ideo is pronounced "ee-DEH-oh."

Using this simple pronunciation guide, you should be able to pronounce any word in Esperanto, and with its regular spelling rules, you might be able to spell any word pronounced to you. "Spelling bees" would be pretty boring in Esperanto.

Parts of speech
In Esperanto, it's easy to tell what part of speech a word is, by looking at the last letter. I've bolded the letter I use for my memory mnemonic.

  • Nouns (Objects) end in "-o".
  • Adjectives end in "-a".
  • Adverbs end in "-e".
  • Infinitive verbs end in "-i".

Try practicing the pronunciations of some of these words.
tree = arbo to write = skribi healthy = sana
idea = ideo to love = ami clean = pura
bird = birdo to speak = paroli comfortable = komforta
man = viro to eat = mangxi green = verda
city = urbo to be = esti large = granda
book = libro to see = vidi same = sama
house = domo to read = legi full = plena
friend = amiko good = bona

Plurals end with a -j suffix. (Remember the /y/ sound of the "j"?) Keep in mind, adjectives keep the same ending as their noun. For example, a green tree is verda arbo. ("VERD-ah ARB-oh") Green trees are verdaj arboj. ("VERD-eye ARB-oy") Get it? Since languages could have different adjective-noun word order, Esperanto allows for nouns and adjectives to come in any order. So, you could say verda arbo or arbo verda. They both mean the same. Thanks to the endings, you know which one is the noun, so order is not important, except to maybe emphasize one more than another, or perhaps for poetic reasons.

(As a side note, there is no article "a" or "an" in Esperanto. There is one article: "the" which is "la".)

If you've studied foreign languages before, you might be excited to find out that there are no irregular verbs in Esperanto. Verbs are simple, and without exceptions. Just strip off the -i ending and add -as for present tense verbs. Thanks to the word endings, you can mix up the word order a little bit and still be understood.

I eat. = Mi mangxas.
The man writes. = La viro skribas.
The green birds spoke. = Parolas la birdoj verdaj. (Verb-Subject order is OK!)
The tree is green. = La arbo estas verda.

Again, because other languages might have a different Subject-Verb-Direct Object order, Zamenhof found it necessary to make a distinction between the Subject and the Direct Object. This is a little tricky to get used to, but is quite valuable. Direct Objects in Esperanto are marked with an -n on the end, so:

The man reads big books. = La viro (S) + legas (V) + grandajn librojn. (DO)
or... = Librojn grandajn (DO) + legas (V) + la viro (S).
or... = Legas (V) + la viro (S) + grandajn librojn (DO).

Okay, now you're looking at me funny about this Direct Object thing, right? Actually, it's a borrowed gimmick from Latin. We even have vestiges of the rule in English. The word "who" becomes a direct object "whom." I could never remember the rule about who/whom myself until I learned Esperanto.

Funny Esperanto Tricks
If you've stayed with me this far, let me share a couple of cool aspects about Esperanto. For one, words in Esperanto are modular, and can be mixed and matched. If I know the word for dog (hundo) and suppose I want the adjective form to make a "dog house." Here, "dog" describes the kind of house, so it's clearly an adjective. All I need to do is to remove the noun -o ending from hundo, and apply the -a ending. Now I have hunda domo. Remove the -o, and add a -e to make an instant adverb. Hunde, would mean, "in a dog-like manner."

This can, in some instances, be taken to silly extremes. The verb, hundi, can mean, "to act like a dog" or "to be doglike". So, a valid sentence Esperanto could be, "Hundo hundas hunde." which means, "A dog acts like a dog, in a dog-like manner."

Exercise: Since I've told you the word for same (sama), can you tell me the words for the noun form of "same," "similarly," and "is the same as." Hint: You can just change the ending letter!

Here's where the fun starts, and the language really starts to boom. Because Esperanto is an "agglutinative" language, you can glue words together to create new words. English is agglutinative as well, but not to the extent that Esperanto is. We talk about disintegration and one-upmanship, and people know what we're talking about. Take, for example, the English word "unfriendliness." It can be broken down into following morphemes:

un- not
friend base of the word.
-li- makes a noun into an adjective
-ness abstract quality, turns an adjective into a noun.

So, "unfriendliness" is the quality of the nature of not being a friend. You might notice I read that word backwards to come up with its definition. Esperanto can work almost exactly the same way. Creating compound words is a cinch, so in our above example, we could shorten hunda domo to simply hunddomo, dropping the -o of hundo, and treating it as a prefix.

Just like English, there are several suffixes and prefixes to help you along. Here's a few of the biggies:


mal- Word means the opposite, like our "un-". Plena means full. Malplena means empty.
-ul- Person who is X. Grandulo means a big person.
-il- Tool for X. Skribilo means writing instrument.
-ej- Place for X. Legejo means place for reading.
-ec- Abstract quality of X, like our -ness or -ship. Amikeco means friendliness or friendship.

There's several of these little morphemes, but they are quite handy. Let's say you don't know the word for hospital (incidentally, it's very similar to English, hospitalo) you could formulate the word from simple roots. A hospital is thing (-o ending) that is basically a Place (-ej-) for People (-ul-) who are not well (mal + sana). Putting it together, we have malsanulejo, a place for unwell people. It's somewhat of a mouthful, and perhaps not a perfect translation, but enough to get your point across. Knowing even a few of these morphemes will really multiply your ability in Esperanto.

Exercise: Now that you've seen this, can you create the word for "unfriendliness"?

These little morphemes can even be used on their own, affixing a -o to make a noun, -a for adjective, and so on. In other words, the word mala means opposite, and ilo is a tool. You can even stick these little guys together; for example, ilejo is a place for tools. Feel free to play around with the roots I've given you to create new words. One of the joys of Esperanto is mixing and matching these words allows your vocabulary to increase dramatically. After learning just a few words, you can use them to create complex new words at your whim.

Conclusion
If you've completed the article, you can now consider yourself a samideano, a member of the same idea. You know a little bit of the language now, and a little can go a long way. Esperanto does get a bit more complicated than this, but not by too much. From here, you scan step up to one of the free Internet courses. I recommend:


  • Free Esperanto Course This is an old tried and true course, which I believe was developed from a snail-mail paper correspondence course.
  • Esperanto Viva! A more modern course, focusing more on Esperanto culture. I found it a bit less cut and dried than the previous course.
  • Gerda Malaperis! Course ("Gerda Kurso") ( For "advanced" students.) After taking the above courses, you'll probably be ready to read a small novel in Esperanto by prolific writer Claude Piron. The course is taught entirely in Esperanto, but the chapters are short, and it's not too difficult.

All three courses provide a free tutor to guide you, answer questions, and grade your work. Or if you prefer to work by yourself, the lessons are all on-line.

Other Esperanto Entertainment:
Esperanto Koresponda Servo The Esperanto Correspondence Service is a pen-pal service for Esperanto speakers. I've corresponded with a number of nice folks from this list. The best way for a learner to learn is to use the language regularly, and this service gives you a good excuse. Corresponding and writing about your everyday activities teaches you to use the language quickly.

Pasporta Servo Would you like an international vacation with free housing? The Esperanto Passport Service is an international hospitality service for Esperanto speakers. The service boasts over 1,000 hosts, who will allow you to stay in their home for free or practically nothing. The catch? The service is for Esperanto speakers, only.

Celebrate Zamenhof Day! Zamenhof's birthday was December 15th, and has become a holiday among Esperantists. It is customary to buy a book, either as a gift for someone else, or even for yourself. Bonus points for buying a book in or about Esperanto.

Prague Manifesto A heartfelt document about Esperanto's role in the language movement. Not too long, and a very good read.

Vikipedio An on-line encyclopedia, in Esperanto.

[Author's note: Esperanto speakers, remember this is an English forum. As a common courtesy, please write all comments in English, or provide a translation.]

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Poll
So, after reading this article, do you want to learn more about Esperanto?
o I already know Esperanto. 12%
o I might check it out. 34%
o I'm definately learning Esperanto now. 14%
o I think I'll pass, thanks. 18%
o Ten minutes or less? I want my money back! 1%
o How you say, "You've gotta be some kind of freak." in Esperanto? 18%

Votes: 104
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Esperanto fonts
o Free Esperanto Course
o Esperanto Viva!
o Gerda Malaperis! Course ("Gerda Kurso")
o Esperanto Koresponda Servo
o Pasporta Servo
o a book in or about Esperanto
o Prague Manifesto
o Vikipedio
o Also by Yekrats


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Esperanto in 10 Minutes or Your Money Back | 508 comments (471 topical, 37 editorial, 0 hidden)
+1FP. Nicely done. (nt) (1.66 / 3) (#2)
by graal on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:07:08 PM EST


--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)

Esperanto works. A few facts about Esperanto (5.00 / 1) (#475)
by EnriqueE on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 07:05:33 PM EST

Esperanto works. A few facts about Esperanto

It seems incredible that so many people that claim not
to be interested in Esperanto, that there is no reason to
learn Esperanto, are so much interested in reading about
Esperanto, and ready to expend a lot of time writing
about something they don't know.
Since they don't know the facts...
they need to invent something to write about.

Facts:

1. There are many people able to communicate in
Esperanto in most countries of the world. They are not
in every country, they are not in every town. They are in
most of the places people around us would like to visit.

I don't know and I don't care if the number of Esperanto
speakers doesn't rich two million. I am sure I can find
some of them any time I need them, in any of the
countries that I would like to visit, or have already
visited.

If you doubt that there are a considerable number of
Esperanto speakers, please go to the page:
      http://www.google.com/
enter the word "Esperanto" and press Enter.
Doing this, I just got  795,000  hits. (almost eight
hundred thousand)
(Searched the web for Esperanto.   Results 1 - 10 of
about 795,000)

2. And many of these Esperanto speakers are ready to
invite me for dinner and let me stay overnight at their
houses. I have been doing the same for Esperanto
speakers coming from other countries, or even coming
from other parts of USA.

3. Esperanto is much easier to learn than most other
languages. That depends on which languages do you
know and which one is the next you would like to learn.

Speakers of English, German, romance languages, and
some other European languages could learn Esperanto
in six months to two years depending on studying
patterns and dedication. It takes many more years for
the average English speaker to learn any other
language.

More than half of the Esperanto speakers learned the
language just by reading a book. I did too. And most
of us, after having studied at home for some time, were
very surprised when we went to our first Esperanto
meeting and realized that we could understand some
of the spoken language, and we could even say a few
phrases. After a three day full-time meeting, most
beginners get some kind of fluency. Reading a couple
of books after that, increases the vocabulary. Fiction
books look good for this task. To get full fluency, it is
necessary to use the language, both in the spoken and
written forms.

All this requires dedication. Esperanto is "easy" but
doesn't come from heaven. It needs to be studied...
much less than any other language.

Yes, Esperanto is a little more difficult for a Chinese,
or a Japanese, or a Korean... but for them, learning
Esperanto is much easier than learning English,
German, or Russian.

I just read (September 19, 2002) a message from Dianne,
an Australian lady teaching English in Japan:

  "Mi vidis 15 jaran junulon lerni gin en kvin monatoj
  kaj 70 jaran emeritulon, kiu donis multan tempon al la
  tasko, povis uzi gin lerte post nur ses semajnoj."

    -- I saw a 15 year old learn Esperanto in five months
    and a 70 year old retiree, that gave a lot of time to the
    task, was able to use it well after only six weeks --

(These are Japanese people, who were frustrated after
many years of learning English)

4. It is known that after you learn a language, the next
one becomes a little easier. Somebody said "After
learning six or seven of the languages I like to learn,
just for curiosity, I am going to give a try to Esperanto".

Do it the other way around: learn first the easy
language. Much before the first year goes by, you will
be able to use your Esperanto, and the study of other
languages would become easier. You can also find
Esperanto speakers that also speak your next target
language, willing to help you with this new language.
Meanwhile, you will be using your Esperanto with
friends from other countries.

5. Comparison between languages.

I do not like to compare languages. Each language has
its own purpose, its own use. They are all different.
Most of them keep developing by adding words from
other cultures, from other languages.

Most languages can communicate all kind of feelings,
all kind of situations. Esperanto is also a language. if
you doubt that Esperanto is capable of all shades of
meaning, just take a look at the list of translated books
and the books originally written in Esperanto. Much
better, read a book translated to English from the
original Esperanto. You will be surprised to know that
many of them exist. You may try the last one
(that I know of)

"Maskerado: Dancing Around Death in Nazi Hungary"
by Tivador Soros. Translated from the Esperanto
original to English by Dr. Humphrey Tonkin. Dr.
Humphrey Tonkin was the president of Hartford
University, Hartford, Connecticut, during many years.

Tivadar Soros, the book's author, was the father of
George Soros. George Soros is a financial genius that
made a big fortune.

Synopsis
This account of survival is told by a Budapest lawyer
who secured fake Christian identities for himself, his
wife and his two children following the invasion of the
Germans in March 1944. Soros views his experiences
with a beguiling humor and a deep humanity.

I heard many Esperanto speakers saying something
like this:
"Visiting many countries, I found English useful (most of
the time) for business transactions, or general tourism.
Esperanto was much useful to make friends, to talk to
natives, and even being invited to their houses."

To find English speakers you have to ask a lot of people
on the street, because most of them will not understand
what are you talking about. When you find a person that
can understand your needs, this person not always will
be able to answer your questions in English. Many of
them will understand you if you are trying to buy
something from them. Most likely they will write the
price in a piece of paper to make sure that you
understand. They will never understand you if you try
to claim something, or if you like to return some
merchandise.

To find Esperanto speakers, you will have to arrange
everything before getting to your destination. Once
there you may find somebody if you already have
addresses of telephone numbers, but is better to make
arrangements before hand.

When you speak English, it is only business. When you
speak Esperanto, is friendship.

One more comparison:
To learn English people need a lot of time and money.
Esperanto maybe learned free online, or for the cost of
a textbook and maybe a dictionary. I believe 100 hours
of study and practice, are enough for some fluency in
Esperanto.

Many people complain that Esperanto is too
"Europe-ish"...
... so is English.

6. Grammar:

The Esperanto Grammar is very simple. It is the only
language whose grammar was written before the
language existed. The language was tailored to the
grammar, so there are not exceptions to any of its rules.

As simple as it is, don't try to learn it all at once. Learn
one rule at the time, when that rule is presented. You
don't need to study grammar... just follow the rules.
You will have to know the grammar endings. They are
few and always the same. You don't have to know what
is a verb, a noun, or an adjective. But you should know
that there are "o" words that always represent things;
there are "a" words that always say how the thing is.
If the plural is needed, just add "j", that is, an English
"y" sound.
You don't need to learn the plural of each word.

Prefixes, suffixes, prepositions, correlatives.
These exist in handy tables, that you don't need to
learn by heart.  Learn them one by one, same way you
learn any other word.

Some people get scared when they see a table with 45
correlatives. No need to learn all of them at once. Learn
one at the time. You will need to know about 15 of them.
After you get used to the language, you will be able to
speak freely using only these few; but if anybody uses
one that you don't know, you will be deducting its
meaning automatically, without even thinking about
that.

Correlatives (in Esperanto) are words forming a table
like:
what, why, when, where, how, whose, which
that, then, there, thus
never, nowhere, nobody, nothing, none
some, something, somewhere, somehow, somebody

7. The main fact:

Esperanto is useful. Many people all around the world
use and enjoy it.

Esperanto can be learned in less than a year at a normal
pace. Much faster if you dedicate a little more time.

Studying any other language is very frustrating because
after a couple of years, you still cannot communicate.
When you learn Esperanto and you discover that you
can communicate (at a basic level) in only a few weeks
you will be more willing to keep learning.

There are untold millions of people that have spent lots
of time and money studying languages, and never got
to being able to use those languages. Some of them
learned enough to be able to read in the new language.

8. References:

My page:   http://eeo.8k.com

To learn Esperanto from several languages:

http://www.cursodeesperanto.com.br/en/

http://www.institutoesperanto.com.ar/_esperantoingles/inicio.htm

About Esperanto in 55 languages:
   http://esperanto.net/

Everything about Esperanto, half in English, the rest in
Esperanto  (many books and poetry in Esperanto)
   http://www.webcom.com/~donh/esperanto.html

9. Note: English is my third language, after Spanish
and Esperanto. If I made some grammatical or spelling
errors it is only natural, because English is a very
difficult language. Natives also make mistakes: I believe
my spelling is better than the average native...

The grammar... my mistakes are more evident, because
they are different to the native's mistakes. (I also make
mistakes when I talk or write in Spanish or in Esperanto)

10. Thank you for your patience on reading all this,
Enrique, Albany, NY, USA


[ Parent ]

Esperanto (5.00 / 2) (#3)
by DesiredUsername on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:09:27 PM EST

I've thought many times about learning Esperanto (which I first learned about, I shame-facedly admit, because of reading The Stainless Steel Rat series) and even started the free online course once.

The trouble is, what am I going to use it for? Communicating with people whose sole intersection with me is language would get old fast. After you talk about how easy verb conjugation is (10 seconds) what else is there? Now, if I had a friend that was learning it and we could have a "secret language" that would be cool. But I don't, soo...

Play 囲碁

Well.. (2.00 / 2) (#7)
by carbon on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:40:58 PM EST

Communicating with people whose sole intersection with me is language would get old fast.

Well, the idea is, communication causes intersection. With communication, you have more opportunities for commerce, for culture, etc. Not to mention that you already get an intersection for free: both people speaking Esperanto will be human.


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
Be not ashamed, good sir (3.00 / 2) (#93)
by ehintz on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:36:41 PM EST

Slippery Jim DiGriz rocks... ;-)

Regards,
Ed Hintz
[ Parent ]
The problem with Esperanto (3.00 / 2) (#6)
by lb008d on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:36:50 PM EST

Is that it sounds made up. Go ahead and say some sentences out loud if you don't believe me. I doubt that lojiban is much better.

Invented languages, whether they are spoken or musical (think total serialism ala Stockhausen) tend to sound "invented".

That's your opinion. (none / 0) (#9)
by Georg on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:57:51 PM EST

Personally I think Esperanto sounds pretty natural. (I also think Esperanto sounds a lot better than my own language (dutch).)

[ Parent ]
Sounds... (none / 0) (#262)
by unDees on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:23:15 PM EST

The only thing I've heard spoken aloud in Esperanto is the equivalent of "There appears to be a frog in my bidet," so I don't have much of a frame of reference. But I have to say that Dutch sounds pretty cool to these ears--in particular, the numbers sound sort of like German with a Scottish accent (and I don't wanna hear anybody taking offense at having their native language compared with one they don't happen to like!). And when a little kid points at the water and shouts, "En vis!" it sounds a lot like English.

Your account balance is $0.02; to continue receiving our quality opinions, please remit payment as soon as possible.
[ Parent ]
sounds invented (4.66 / 3) (#35)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:18:25 PM EST

Tolkien's elvish is an invented language, and every time I hear Liv Tyler speak elvish shivers run up and down my spine. Literally.

Now, it might be because it is Liv Tyler saying those words, but it still doesn't sound invented to me, at all. Actually elvish sounds extremely organic to me. That might be in part because Tolkien used the Finnish language (my native) as a starting point for elvish, so ymmv.

--
"In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies."
-- Winston Churchill


[ Parent ]
Sounds invented? (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by QuickFox on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:21:45 PM EST

In what way does Esperanto "sound invented"? What do you mean?

Of course it can sound strange when a beginner is paying lots of attention to analysing the various parts of each words. Then it doesn't flow naturally. But no language flows naturally when a beginner is analysing it.

When you listen to fluent conversation by fluent speakers, Esperanto sounds somewhat similar to Spanish. Spanish doesn't sound invented.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Español comes right before Esperanto (none / 0) (#116)
by pin0cchio on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:14:24 AM EST

When you listen to fluent conversation by fluent speakers, Esperanto sounds somewhat similar to Spanish. Spanish doesn't sound invented.

Does it help that "Esperanto" (Eo) comes immediately after "Español" (Es) in the list of native names for languages?

I'll believe in Esperanto when Mandrakesoft, Apple, Microsoft, Sun, Theo, or some other major OS vendor localizes an operating system's user interface into Esperanto.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Theory versus practice (none / 0) (#149)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:56:46 AM EST

I'll believe in Esperanto when

I don't "believe in" Esperanto, I just have fun with it and enjoy it.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Solaris (none / 0) (#180)
by squigly on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:31:12 AM EST

I'll believe in Esperanto when Mandrakesoft, Apple, Microsoft, Sun, Theo, or some other major OS vendor localizes an operating system's user interface into Esperanto.

Doesn't KDE suport Esperanto?  I'm not quite sure whether Solaris ships with KDE or not, but I heard they were considering it.

[ Parent ]

Yes. (none / 0) (#218)
by FlipFlop on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:02:15 AM EST

76.87% of the 3.0.x branch of KDE has been translated to Esperanto. The HEAD branch is 62.86% translated. Also, Solaris 9 apparently ships with KDE.

AdTI - The think tank that didn't
[ Parent ]

KDE (none / 0) (#248)
by jakobk on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:35:44 PM EST

KDE is localized into eo.

[ Parent ]
That's because it IS made up! (none / 0) (#124)
by Shimmer on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:54:44 AM EST



Wizard needs food badly.
[ Parent ]
Afrikaans sounds hilarious to me... (1.00 / 1) (#312)
by rodgerd on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:51:08 PM EST

...but that ain't gonna stop people using it. Doubtless plenty of other languages sound absurd to Afrikaans speakers.



[ Parent ]
A problem with Esperanto? (4.00 / 1) (#313)
by donh1942 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:59:26 PM EST

The problem with Esperanto, it says here, "is that it sounds made up." This is truly a problem, but one usually with the listener rather than the language.

The Polish poet Grabowski, an early speaker of Esperanto who translated poetry into Esperanto out of some thirty different languages, once told about being at a party where people were twitting him about wasting time on this made-up language. Someone asked him to read something in Esperanto to them, so he pulled a notebook out of his pocket and started reading a long poem out of it. After a while they interrupted to tell him how made-up the language sounded, about its dissonances, its over-regularity, its ...

"Oh, I'm sorry," said Grabowski. "Actually, that wasn't Esperanto. I was reading you a poem in Provencal (Occitan) by the great Provencal poet Mistral, just to get you in the mood."

At this point, somewhat shamefacedly, his listeners asked him to continue, and he started reading again. After awhile they interrupted to tell him, well, that's what a real language sounds like, flowing, clear, elegant, beautiful ...

"Oh, I'm sorry again," said Grabowski. "Actually, that was Esperanto; I was reading you my translation of the poem by Mistral that I read you before."

The moral being that most people hear what they expect to hear.
-- Don Harlow http://www.webcom.com/~donh/don/don.html
[ Parent ]

The advantage of agglutination in Esperanto (4.00 / 1) (#8)
by IHCOYC on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:47:52 PM EST

is that all of the possible words you can form in Esperanto are well-formed, grammatical, and useful to the extent they are understood. The grammar is specifically created to encourage that.

English allows some agglutinative forms, but not all of them. Unfriendliness is good English. *Unfriendship is not; neither is *friendhood. In Esperanto the suffixes are mix and match as you please.

Esperanto has also been planned to prevent false friends from arising through the prefixes and suffixes. Some exist, but there are few. English, by contrast, contains words that seem to be subject to analysis, like understand, that are in fact not subject to explanation that way.

GraySkull is home to the anima, the all-knowing woman who gives power to the otherwise ineffectual man. -- Jeff Coleman

What's Esperanto for Doubleplusungood? (n/t) (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by majubma on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:02:06 PM EST




--Thaddeus Q. Thaddelonium, the most crookedest octopus lawyer in the West.
[ Parent ]
Can you translate that? (none / 0) (#86)
by QuickFox on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:39:59 PM EST

I can't even translate it to Swedish and that's my mother tongue. Can you translate it to some language?

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
"Extremely bad" (n/t) (none / 0) (#91)
by Dephex Twin on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:34:09 PM EST




Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
Malbonega (none / 0) (#99)
by QuickFox on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:18:46 PM EST

"Extremely bad" can be translated with one of these words, with somewhat different nuances:
  • malbonega
  • ege malbona
  • ekstreme malbona
  • acxega
  • terura
  • terurega
  • horora


Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
I think it was a joke... (none / 0) (#109)
by baniak on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:56:15 PM EST

"doubleplusungood" refers (to those of you who don't know) to the book "1984" by George Orwell. In the book, a totalitarian regime has taken over the world, and one of their methods of controlling the populace is by simplifying/ abstracting language to such a degree that nuanced/ sophisticated thoughts can't be communicated... therefore quashing dissenting though... etc.

The simplified language, called Newspeak, is constructed solely from agglutinatives - there is a root word, such as "good" but there is no word such as "bad" there is only "ungood." "Doubleplus" means "very."

It almost accords perfectly with Esperanto -

root: bona = good

mal = un-

-eg- = "doubleplus"

malbonega = doubleplusungood

Does anybody know if Orwell was taking a jab at Esperanto in the book when he created Newspeak?

Are Esperantists concerned about the similarities between Newspeak and Esperanto?

Just wondering.

[ Parent ]

The analogy doesn't quite fit (none / 0) (#123)
by Logan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:52:39 AM EST

The analogy does not quite fit, because esperanto is neither designed nor intended to be used as a replacement for any natural language. It is, as the author put it, a bridge between languages. I doubt there are very many people thinking their thoughts in esperanto (and if they are, I wonder how much use they get out of it).

That is not to say that someday some sort of Orwellian totalitarian regime couldn't get a lot of mileage out of forcing esperanto as a natural language (if it were possible). But I'd worry more about the regime itself than the possibility that esperanto could be used as such a tool. There's also the matter that similarity to newspeak might lead to a negative association regarding esperanto in people's minds, but I don't know if that's actually the case.

Logan

[ Parent ]

Rich in expression (4.00 / 3) (#144)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:25:37 AM EST

I doubt there are very many people thinking their thoughts in esperanto (and if they are, I wonder how much use they get out of it).

You can't speak a language fluently if you can't think spontaneously in that language. Most young esperantists that I've met are very fluent indeed. So, like myself, these people think spontaneously in Esperanto when using the language.

How much use we get out of thinking in Esperanto? Just like with any other language.

That is not to say that someday some sort of Orwellian totalitarian regime couldn't get a lot of mileage out of forcing esperanto as a natural language (if it were possible).

What kind of mileage?

I get the impression that you assume that the vocabulary of Esperanto is limited. That's a misconception. It's the grammar that's simple (and just the elementary grammar, the stuff that you need to get started). The vocabulary of Esperanto is just like the vocabulary of any language, it's just as complete in terms of nuances and things you can express.

This happens with any language that is used by a lot of people. Only extinct languages will lack words for things like mobile phones and the Internet. All live languages where these things are used will have words for them, since the words are needed. Such words appear in Esperanto just like they appear in other languages, by the same evolutionary processes. First some slang spreads, and if it's needed and suitable it catches on. (For technical terms often there's more discussion about suitable terms than in other languages. Often but not always.)

Similarly, if some nuance of feeling that is necessary should be missing, some word or expression will appear and spread and become popular.

This happens with any human language. The Newspeak mechanism for limiting thought is just a fictionary device, it can't work in reality. Words that are lacking will unavoidably appear and spread, nothing can stop this process.

The fact that "malbonega" is composed of little pieces with specific meanings doesn't limit thought, any more than similar words in English do. When you say in English that someone is unfriendly, you think something similar to nasty. You don't think about the parts "un" and "friend" and "ly". To a beginner the little pieces are useful, as they help you learn faster, but once you get used to the words you don't think about the pieces any more. You just use the entire word and associate it with the meaning of the entire word.

So, while you're still learning the word "malvarma" you may think that it contains the notion of warmth, but when you have been cold several times and talked about it as "malvarma", or complained about cold coffee as "malvarma", you no longer perceive any warmth at all in that word. You associate the entire word directly with what you felt. Just think of English "unhealthy", "distrust", "impatient", you don't normally think of the pieces.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Read 'The Language Instinct' (none / 0) (#169)
by Slothrop on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:40:22 AM EST

The Orwellian concept of Newspeak was doomed to failure.  People are wired for lanugage.  If children were brought up speaking Newspeak, they would fill the gaps, making it a full language capable of expressing most any thought thinkable.  The idea that language can constrain thought is dated and faintly rediculous.  People can think any thought in Esperanto that they can think in any other language.
__________________________
Provide, provide!
[ Parent ]
yep (none / 0) (#344)
by majubma on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:15:34 PM EST

It's my recollection that Newspeak in 1984 was inspired in no small part by Esperanto (google for "esperanto newspeak.") Hence the joke.


--Thaddeus Q. Thaddelonium, the most crookedest octopus lawyer in the West.
[ Parent ]
Orwell and Esperanto (4.00 / 1) (#366)
by donh1942 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:26:39 PM EST

It's my recollection that Newspeak in 1984 was inspired in no small part by Esperanto (google for "esperanto newspeak.") Hence the joke.

Though this inspiration seems to be common knowledge, I've also heard that Orwell originally derived Newspeak, during the war, as a spoof on then-popular (at least in part of the English-speaking world) Basic English.

However, Orwell certainly felt that he had good reason to dislike Esperanto. Not, however, because all nouns end in -O or because antonyms are formed by the prefix MAL-.

During his down-and-out period, in Paris, Orwell saved money by lodging with a cousin from, I believe, Yorkshire. The apartment in question was shared by the cousin with her lover, a Frenchman named Eugene Adam, better known to Esperanto speakers as "Lanti" (L'anti), the founder of the left-wing Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda (World Anational Association). The two of them, for some inexplicable reason, insisted on conversing in Esperanto rather than in English; which, of course, put the Anglophile Orwell at something of a disadvantage. Rumor has it that he never got over this.


-- Don Harlow http://www.webcom.com/~donh/don/don.html
[ Parent ]

Why not see a film in Esperanto? (4.20 / 5) (#11)
by graal on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:01:44 PM EST

Perhaps Incubus, starring none other than William Shatner.

--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)

RE: Incubus (5.00 / 2) (#24)
by memfree on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:47:22 PM EST

Um, before you get to worked up, check out viewer reviews of the film. I rented Incubus with a die-hard Esperanto speaker, and found the best part of the experience to be listening to my friends correction to the movie's dialog, ("He used the wrong form!", "He mispronounced that!", etc.).

Wait, I take that back. Equally entertainnig was seeing Shatner act the way he always does. In some respects, it played something like an early self-mockery of a style that was yet to be ridiculed.

[ Parent ]

Yeah, I know. (none / 0) (#33)
by graal on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:05:39 PM EST

I've heard about the shortcomings. I just couldn't resist mentioning Esperanto and Shatner in the same post.

--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)
[ Parent ]

I own the DVD ;) (5.00 / 2) (#121)
by TheEldestOyster on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:38:37 AM EST

And yes, their pronunciation and grammar are horrible. The best part for me was Shatner's commentary.

"They said there were 7 million Esperantists across the world, and our film would reach *all* of them. What we failed to realize is that there's 7 in Detroit, and 10 in Austin, and..."
--
TheEldestOyster (rizen/bancus) * PGP Signed/Encrypted mail preferred
[ Parent ]

Incubus (5.00 / 1) (#200)
by IHCOYC on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:12:24 AM EST

That film contains the finest scene of women's goat wrestling ever filmed in Esperanto. For that reason alone, I can recommend it to all viewers.

GraySkull is home to the anima, the all-knowing woman who gives power to the otherwise ineffectual man. -- Jeff Coleman
[ Parent ]

Why bother? (3.61 / 13) (#13)
by bc on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:09:09 PM EST

But why should I bother learning Esperanto, or indeed any other language, when I already speak one of the most popular languages on Earth and have no intention whatsoever of living in a country that speaks some other language, ever (though visiting is another matter)?

To make it clearer, why should I waste time learning it, when it seems to me I could spend my time learning something else that's likely to be far more useful to me and interesting and rewarding of my time, like, I don't know, quantum physics?

There's a reason why people in America and the UK and so on don't speak other languages, and that reason is that they just don't need to, it provides very minimal benefits for extended amounts of effort, and an adult learning a language will never become so proficient in it such that he'll be able to use it naturally and easily, at least 99% of the time. Why bother.

The expected returns would have to be a hell of a lot higher before I spend my time learning an artificial language with a community of about 5 people, especially, never mind "major" languages like french or whatever.

♥, bc.

most popular... (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by flinkflonk on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:22:37 PM EST

when I already speak one of the most popular languages on Earth
Chinese?

And it could have been worse: German came in a very close second when they made English the "language of the world". The only reason (of course) being that they didn't have as many colonies as those english-speaking people. And don't forget that before that, french was lingua mundi (and before that, latin ;).

--
Verb is a noun, which simply isn't fair. Fair is a noun or an adjective. Adjective is a noun, but can also be an adjective, as can most English nouns. Go figure, which is both a noun and a verb and good advice.
[ Parent ]
most popular... (none / 0) (#168)
by gredondo on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:37:31 AM EST

(...)french was lingua mundi

and before that, spanish was lingua mundi (17th century), and before that, portuguese was lingua mundi (16th century).

And please don't forget the importance of Dutch during the 17th century.

[ Parent ]

Why should I have to bother with English? (4.66 / 3) (#77)
by QuickFox on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:28:26 PM EST

I could spend my time learning something else that's likely to be far more useful to me and interesting and rewarding of my time, like, I don't know, quantum physics?

Why should I have to spend years and years learning a foreign language as difficult as English? An easier language like Esperanto would be much better for me -- and for a few others around the world.

Still, to a rich country like Sweden, teaching every citizen foreign languages is possible. It's very expensive but it's possible. For developing countries it's a huge cost.

In most of the world teaching materials are not available in the local languages, so people must learn a foreign language before they can study engineering, medicine, or anything beyond basic school. Especially to developing countries the language problems are quite a barrier.

If Esperanto should ever become popular enough to have that kind of literature, this would be superb for developing nations, as Esperanto is so much easier to learn.

Yeah, wishful thinking, but it would be a good thing.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

That's fair enough (5.00 / 1) (#95)
by bc on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:51:49 PM EST

Happily, I already speak English, so the first argument doesn't really apply to me :) Unless you think I am obliged to learn esperanto to help others out, but that hardly seems fair.

I don't think Esperanto is easier to learn, except for people who happen to speak a slavic language already, or a romance one to a lesser degree. The easiness of a language depends on what language you already speak, and most developing countries would find Esperanto just as hard as learning English, with the additional problem that so few people speak it.

In the end, the point is that learning Esperanto provides no real benefit, unless you happen to enjoy learning languages and playing around in them for its own sake.

I'd sooner learn French or German or Russian, or even Latin, at least there there s some great literature to read, but most of all I'd rather spend my time doing other things. I have to *need8 to learn a language beyond curiosity or for the hell of it, and I'm more curious about other things, frankly.

If we really do need an international, fake auxilliary language, it's probably a better idea to use something that's truly easier for everyone, not just some Westerners.

But frankly, English is going to be around for a while, and is the current de facto standard. Learning to speak English very badly will be more useful to a third worlder than learning to speak Esperanto excellently, and that's just the way it is, even with the dubious assumption he'd find Esperanto the easier of the two.

Later, Chinese or Spanish or something may become equally important internationally, or even overtake, which is fine.

The Esperanto people seem to think that language is intimitely tied with culture and identity, and although this is true in particular cases, I don't see how it is true more generally. English has dialects and English as a whole isn't tied to any particular nation state or culture, it has a very varied bunch of speakers with all sorts of wildly different cultures.

Ho hum.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

Esperanto as hard as english? (3.00 / 1) (#105)
by HoserHead on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:50:18 PM EST

If you've ever learned a second language in school, you will know how difficult it is to learn the constructs, the conjugations, and (of course) the words. Learning a new language is an exercise in memorisation for the most part, and languages like English make things very difficult on the new speaker.

For example: Mice are overrunning my houses.

In Esperanto it would be -j for the plurals, and -as for the verb (to overrun). Then, when you want to talk about your Moose problem, it's the same thing: just s/mouse/moose/. You don't have to worry about special cases, which as a student of French I can tell you are the bane of a child's existence.

Simply put, Esperanto cannot possibly be as difficult to master as english, because it isn't as damned convoluted as English.

[ Parent ]

Heh. Get your Esperanto right, please. (3.50 / 2) (#205)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:39:19 AM EST

For example: "Mice are overrunning my houses." In Esperanto it would be -j for the plurals, and -as for the verb (to overrun).

Wrong form of the verb. Gee, so much for the enormous simplicity of Esperanto. (There's 12 forms for each verb in Esperanto; compare that with 4 in Capeverdean, 1 in Haitian.)

--em
[ Parent ]

What would you use instead? (none / 0) (#318)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:18:27 PM EST

Estanislao, you're guessing. Your claim that -as is the wrong form of the verb is surprising, considering that -as clearly is the right form in this case.

There is one other form that could be used here, but it is not the most suitable, since it emphasizes something that is not emphasized in the original sentence.

Please tell us which form you would use instead of -as, and explain why.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

No (3.00 / 2) (#214)
by bc on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:53:26 AM EST

Even the irregular verbs in English have less forms than the regular ones in Esperanto.

English verbs have just four major forms - present, past, present participle, past participle. For *some* verbs, within the present and past forms, there is person and number conjugation.

Compared to the complexity of having 12 forms in Esperanto, we can see that English is actually rather a lot easier.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

BTW (3.00 / 2) (#215)
by bc on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:56:12 AM EST

You point is additionally silly, because the vast majority of verbs in English are regular. Even when you come across the occasional irregular verb and fuck it up by regularising it, people will still know exactly what you are talking about perfectly.

In fact, English speakers have been regularising irregular verbs for centuries. It happens all the time, and is perfectly understandable.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

Grammar is not that simple (none / 0) (#320)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:28:37 PM EST

Anyone who remembers learning English as a second language in school knows that the irregularities and peculiarities of the grammar consume very large proportions of the study time. Learning the words is just a matter of memorisation. Getting the sentences right is a major hassle.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
How are they more complicated? (none / 0) (#319)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:18:41 PM EST

You're guessing. Please explain how the 12 forms are more complicated. Show us.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
Different forms are okay... (none / 0) (#371)
by HoserHead on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:44:26 PM EST

...because everything adheres to them. English is a huge bitch for this.
For *some* verbs, within the present and past forms, there is person and number conjugation.
Which verbs? What, there aren't hard-and-fast rules that apply in every case?

Having "the vast majority" of verbs being regular isn't good enough to make English easier than Esperanto. Once you get a sense of how to conjugate and use verbs in English you have to worry about the exceptions to the rules. Once you get a sense of the same in Esperanto, you use them. It's that simple - and that's why esperanto is easier.

[ Parent ]

Which English are you talking about? (5.00 / 1) (#403)
by upsilon on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 10:11:51 AM EST

In the English language I'm familiar with, all verbs have person/number conjugation in the present tense. Consider:
  • "I eat" but "he eats" (person agreement)
  • "The dog eats" but "The dogs eat" (number)
Not that I'm really arguing for Esperanto (I'd be more in favor of Ido if anything), mind you, but blatant inaccuracies like this are annoying.
--
Once, I was the King of Spain.
[ Parent ]
Probably not for you (4.40 / 5) (#129)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:17:45 AM EST

In my opinion you should not learn Esperanto. People should learn Esperanto only if they think it's fun and clearly you don't. Nobody should learn a language just to support some cause, that wouldn't make sense, it's far too much work. And if you're not interested you can't learn it well anyway.

I'm sure it's quite enough if people like me learn it, people who think Esperanto is fun. Myself, I know several languages, and apart from my mother tongue, the one language that's been by far the most useful for work and studies is English, and the one that's been by far the most fun -- and therefore the most valuable to me personally -- is Esperanto.

For me it's the international encounters. There are lots of international encounters that use Esperanto. You spend a week or so together, maybe fifty people or a hundred or a few hundred. I suppose I've chosen encounters that fit my particular taste, but very often I've found that there's a fabulously relaxed atmosphere where everybody is accepted as he is, allowed to be himself or herself. I would guess that this is because in such an extreme mixpot of different cultural backgrounds it just wouldn't make sense to frown on people for being different. I don't know if that's the reason, but I do know that I feel at home and relaxed in that atmosphere. I feel that that's the way things should be, we should accept each other the way we are, with our individual differences.

Of course maybe it's just me. In other large crowds I can feel a little tense and feel that everything gets a little too superficial. No that that's any problem, but in the accepting multicultural multipersonality atmosphere of my favorite Esperanto encounters I feel at home and welcome. It also seems to me that more girls notice me with interest there than anywhere else, maybe because I feel so well and feel confident and this shows.

But that's just me. If you don't fall for this kind of thing of course you shouldn't learn the language, it wouldn't make any sense. We're all different.

(Of course there are other people who learn Esperanto for very different reasons and don't find precisely the advantages that I find.)

The easiness of a language depends on what language you already speak

This is true, it makes a lot of difference. However:

most developing countries would find Esperanto just as hard as learning English

You're just guessing. There's plenty of evidence to the contrary.

And it stands to reason. To learn English you need to struggle with a huge database of exceptions. Even in an extremely simple beginner's exercise in the form of just a few very short sentences you have to deal with lots of exceptions. You lose track, you stumble and get lost among all the exceptions. When you learn Esperanto, the beginner's grammar is much simpler, so you can concentrate on expanding your vocabulary. You can make correct sentences easily, and this allows you move forward quickly.

Later on there's lots of grammatical nuance and fine detail, but you don't have to stumble on that just to get started.

While the student of English is still struggling with the fine details of some irregularity in the fifth sentence of his exercise, the Esperanto student is already on his thirtieth sentence. The student of English studies grammar theory and memorizes grammatical lists, the student of Esperanto learns to use the language. You really move forward and this is quite fascinating.

But of course it's fun only if you want to learn it. If you don't find this sort of thing attractive it would be a waste of time in your case. We're all different.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Poetry (none / 0) (#272)
by unDees on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:57:20 PM EST

I'd sooner learn French or German or Russian, or even Latin, at least there there s some great literature to read
For me, that would be the biggest hurdle to expending the energy to learn Esperanto. A side benefit of all the arbitrariness of a language like English is lots of "wiggle room" for poetic constructs, making for a rich palette of language with which to create beautiful works of literature. Is there poetry in Esperanto? Well, I mean, Google tells me there is, but can it compare with Gerontion?

Actually, it would probably be well worth my time to find out. And Esperanto certainly seems to have flexible word order in many cases--always a benefit to would-be rhymers who would otherwise have to end every line with the same part of speech.

In any case, thank you for the article: not only was it interesting, it also dispels a few misconceptions I'd had about the language.

Your account balance is $0.02; to continue receiving our quality opinions, please remit payment as soon as possible.
[ Parent ]

i find russian more flexible for poetry.. (none / 0) (#378)
by infinitera on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 12:44:53 AM EST

And I'm a native speaker of both languages. Dunno, Russian poetry just seems more diverse (and sometimes expressive).

[ Parent ]
this is kind of the point (3.00 / 2) (#431)
by adequate nathan on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 03:16:58 PM EST

Real languages have culture in them. Most of what Esperanto has to offer is Esperanto clubs.

I mentioned to a co-worker that I was reading an article on Esperanto. His immediate response? That a friend of his was an Esperantist, spent all his time going to Esperanto conferences, and was an annoying, proselytizing zealot.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Because... (4.00 / 1) (#96)
by Dephex Twin on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:53:13 PM EST

Learning a foreign language doesn't just give you the benefit of being able to communicate in a different language.  It gives you a better understanding of the rules of your own language, and helps you understand language itself better.

Additionally, you never just learn words when you learn a language.  In studying a language you learn about history and culture as well.  You might think you could do this in English, but it just is not the same.  You can't truly understand a culture until you study the language.

Now Esperanto is a bit of an exception, since it is a minority, fabricated language, there isn't so much history and culture intertwined within it.


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

Simple (4.00 / 2) (#106)
by kholmes on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:51:02 PM EST

Because you can.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]
Try it and see (4.50 / 2) (#126)
by Logan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:04:38 AM EST

With just a few hours of effort and the help of a decent dictionary to supply your vocabulary, you can learn the language well enough to get by in a simple online conversation. If you do this and then go to, say, #esperanto on Undernet/Dalnet/Efnet, you'll find that you've been missing most of the world.

You'll realize that up until now, everyone you've ever spoken to has either been a native English speaker or someone that has had to make the effort to learn the language in order to speak to you. This necessarily limits the ideas and the people you are exposed to, to some extent, and you might realize that you've never really communicated with anyone from a vast majority of world cultures. Your stubbornness regarding the learning of language has isolated you.

But with some familiarity with esperanto, you can carry on a conversation with people that haven't the slightest clue how to read or speak English, which in itself is a fun novelty. At the same time, you get some exposure to some non-anglocentric culture as well. Esperanto speakers may constitute a very tiny minority of the world (but vastly more than just "5" people), but they are very well distributed (though I seemed to run into more Brazilians and Portuguese than anything else). How else can you have a conversation with a Brazilian, Colombian, Korean, Spaniard, German, and a Chinese man all in one night?

It may not be for everybody, but I find it to be something fun to do on the side. And there's always a time zone somewhere with an esperantist that is awake. :P

Logan

[ Parent ]

then don't learn it (5.00 / 2) (#311)
by quark17 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:48:48 PM EST

I speak Esperanto.  I have fun using it.  I write emails in it every day.

If you don't think you have a use for it.  Fine.  Don't learn it.  No one's forcing you.
I totally recognize that Esperanto isn't for everyone.

But it could be that there are uses that would useful for you, you just don't know about them.  I mean, comments like "only 5 people speak it" aren't making it seem like you know what you're talking about.  So maybe you should look into it before you pass judgment.

If you don't plan to travel or have no interest in what's going on in other countries, then maybe Esperanto's not for you.  Though I do know people who simply have fun writing or translating in Esperanto because they enjoy the language, but have no intention of ever travelling or using it with other people.  It's simply something fun for them to exercise their brain.  And it's easy enough to learn as a hobby and just do on the side, unlike many "major" languages which could be a waste of time if you only learn a little and never get far enough to use it.

Esperanto is not a language you learn because you plan to bump into someone on the street who speaks it (though I have done that).  It is a language you use so you can connect with a network of people around the world.  If you want to travel somewhere, you contact Esperanto speakers there before you travel.  If you want some information about some other country that you might have heard in the news, you contact them.  Or you read books or listen to news broadcasts or read magazines or follow internet mailing lists, etc.

I have used Esperanto to travel very inexpensively in Japan.  And not only did I save money, but I had an amazing time, speaking with real people, that I'm sure I wouldn't have had as a typical tourist speaking English.  I do speak other languages, but French would also not have helped so much in Japan.  I listen to international news programs in Esperanto.  I read books from other countries and cultures.  I meet lots of people who have become close friends.  I know people who fell in love with people in other countries that they met with Esperanto, and got married and started a family.  The language was certainly useful for those people.

There are plenty of clubs around the world.  There are international organizations for many religions.  If you're a Catholic and you want to learn about Catholicism in other countries, you could join an Esperanto association for Catholics.  There are organizations for people who like to play Chess or Go.  There are organizations for people who like to read sci-fi.  There are organizations for gays and lesbians.  There are organizations for just about any interest.  If you want to get an international perspective, you can speak with these people through Esperanto.

I just enjoy hanging out with people.  Most of the young Esperanto speakers that I have met are cool people.  I went to an annual convention last year of 400 Esperanto-speaking kids from 40 countries (from all inhabited continents).  We had fun.  And language wasn't an issue.

If none of these appeal to you, maybe Esperanto isn't for you.  I could list even more ways to use it, though.  And I understand that lots of people don't have the time, even if they wanted to, because they have more daily things to worry about.

But just because you don't have an interest in it, doesn't mean it's not useful to other people.


[ Parent ]

Nope. (3.31 / 22) (#14)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:10:01 PM EST

Don't learn Esperanto.

I've said it before: don't waste your time learning nonsense like Esperanto, and learn a real language instead. As in "one with a real community of speakers" (note to Esperanto zealots: your "community" is not a real one).

--em

It's certainly not nonsense. (4.00 / 5) (#28)
by Yekrats on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:56:47 PM EST

In opening my article, I stated up front that Esperanto is not perfect. Can any human language be perfect? Far from it. I've looked at several different languages, including Ido and Swahili, but I always come back to Esperanto for ease-of-use and wide user-base.

I've seen the website you linked to before. That guy seems to be expending quite a bit of time and energy to discount Esperanto. If I were to do a similar study of the irregularities of the English language, it would take volumes, many times more than what he has there. So, let me get this straight: You're advocating learning a second language with many more irregularities than Esperanto? How does that work for you? I'm curious as to how many languages you've learned, and at what level.

(Amusing side note: Can you think of a word in the English language, that when you capitalize the first letter, changes it's pronunciation and meaning*?)

I'm thankful that I learned English natively, because I don't think I could have learned it as a second language. Learning national languages is difficult, even under the best of circumstances. After taking two years of French in high school, I went to school and lived in Quebec, yet I still did not have a firm grasp on the language.

There is a language problem, though most people in the United States are sheltered from it.  Here is a quote from Sylvan Zaft's Esperanto: A Language for the Global Village.  It's a good balanced book, showing the pluses and minuses of Esperanto, but mostly the pluses.

The economic burdens of translation, whether oral or written, are enormous. Claude Piron, who has worked as a translator at the United Nations and the World Health Organization, gives a number of examples that illustrate this. Perhaps the most cogent of these examples is that of the 28th World Health Assembly, the legislative organ of the World Health Organization, which met in 1975. The Assembly voted to adopt Arabic and Chinese as two additional working languages. By this vote the delegates showed great and appropriate respect for the hundreds of millions of people who are native speakers of these two languages. By this vote they added $5,000,000 a year to the costs of translating.

Later, during that same session, the Assembly considered a group of carefully worked out proposals that would have ameliorated the terrible health conditions in sub-Saharan Africa. After learning that the cost of these proposed programs was $4,200,000 the delegates rejected them due to insufficient funds.

Because of Esperanto, I've made friends in Germany, Brazil, and Korea. What sort of a time investment would I have had to make to learn German, Portuguese, and Korean? Should I expect them to speak English to me? Surely, Esperanto is justified here.

I'm not saying, "You must learn Esperanto." I am saying, for me, it has been fun and worthwhile.

-- Yekrats
*The word is polish.

[ Parent ]

Audience (3.33 / 3) (#38)
by I am Jack's username on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:38:02 PM EST

> I've looked at several different languages, including Ido and Swahili, but I always come back to Esperanto for ease-of-use and wide user-base

While learning Esperanto I kept thinking how strange it was to have so many easily fixable problems, considering it's a conlang. During this time I discovered Ido, which fixed almost every bug I'd found in Esperanto. I'd say Ido is for European language speakers who want the best possible conlang, and Esperanto is for people who think a larger community is more important. I've quit learning both, and will focus on lojban.
--
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

Grow up, face the truth. (3.78 / 14) (#44)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:47:10 PM EST

In opening my article, I stated up front that Esperanto is not perfect. Can any human language be perfect? Far from it. I've looked at several different languages, including Ido and Swahili, but I always come back to Esperanto for ease-of-use and wide user-base.

Esperanto is only "easy" because of your eurocentric biases. Hell, we can be more specific: your English bias. Let's put it this way. A large proportion of the people of the world will find very hard things you take completely for granted, like definite articles or obligatory number inflection. Not to mention case marking, and all the mechanism of verbal tense endings, participles, subjunctives, passives and finiteness. Throw in 3rd person pronouns, configurational phrase structure, the whole concept of "adjectives" and "adverbs", and the "simplicity" of this grammar turns out to be completely illusory, with the illusion dependent on your prior knowledge of an European language. (And don't get me started on serial verb structures...)

I've seen the website you linked to before. That guy seems to be expending quite a bit of time and energy to discount Esperanto. If I were to do a similar study of the irregularities of the English language, it would take volumes, many times more than what he has there.

Don't bother. There's many volumes on English already. And anyway, English can't be judged by the same standard as Esperanto; English wasn't designed, and nobody goes around claiming English is simple.

So, let me get this straight: You're advocating learning a second language with many more irregularities than Esperanto?

Yes. More specifically, I'm advocating learning a language whose speakers are normal people rather than a cult.

I'm curious as to how many languages you've learned, and at what level.

I can speak most of the major Romance languages at a high degree of fluency. I speak English at the first language level. I can read most Romance languages, and know quite a lot about their grammars. I have read books in Capeverdean, Haitian, Louisiana Creole, Guinea-Bissau Creole and Papiamento, and I can descipher Mauritian. I've studied German. I'm about to start a course in American Sign Language. And, I am a year away from a Ph.D. in Linguistics, for which I've had to familiarise myself with the major grammatical phenomena of the languages in the world.

(Amusing side note: Can you think of a word in the English language, that when you capitalize the first letter, changes it's pronunciation and meaning*?)

Define "word", and then maybe we can talk. (Hint: for your "amusing" fact to work, you must define "word" as "delimited alphabetic string"; I'll leave it as an exercise to try finding a morphology textbook that defines it like that.)

After taking two years of French in high school, I went to school and lived in Quebec, yet I still did not have a firm grasp on the language.

Wow. Enormous effort-- 2 years in high school.

Get a clue. It took me 10 years to learn to speak English fluently, 6 for French. After that I was doing linguistics full time, so the rest comes easier (e.g. it only took me 4 months to learn Portuguese, and the rest of the stuff ).

Because of Esperanto, I've made friends in Germany, Brazil, and Korea.

Heh. I've *gone* to those three places. Germany was manageable-- especially since my hotel was full of French people. Brazil, no problem. Korea-- the government makes this really useful phrasebook, they give it away for free. The first things I learned were gamsa hamnida, gogi and bibimbap.

--em
[ Parent ]

Grow up, face the truth. (2.75 / 4) (#52)
by Yekrats on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:04:13 PM EST


It took me 10 years to learn to speak English fluently, 6 for French. After that I was doing linguistics full time, so the rest comes easier (e.g. it only took me 4 months to learn Portuguese, and the rest of the stuff ).

With all due respect, it sounds like you have much more time than I do to learn language.

A couple of years of a foreign language is about all we get in the states. Me, I took four years of foreign language (2 in Spanish, 2 in French).  I also studied French for four semesters in college, did miserably, but passed.

I found Esperanto much more satisfying than French, because I got to the "aha" point much sooner in Esperanto than in French. Of course, I found Spanish easier than French, too. Too many verb tenses for me, I guess. :-)

"... whose speakers are a cult"? Surely we shouldn't descend to name-calling, should we? When you do so, it seems like you're the one that needs to grow up. Let's keep this a friendly forum.

-- Yekrats

[ Parent ]

Only if you put language at low-priority (5.00 / 2) (#97)
by Dephex Twin on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:58:53 PM EST

I bet most of the US people here on K5 went to high schools where 4 years of a language were available, and it's a matter of whether we put them at high enough priority to keep studying the 4 years.  And for those who went to college, I'm sure all the major languages were represented, if not many more.


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
3 years of spanish (none / 0) (#264)
by Kintanon on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:26:20 PM EST

And I can speak it well enough to make myself understood, I understand the language decently, but my vocabulary isn't as extensive as it need be to make me fluent. However when faced with a native speaker of the language all I can do is nod and smile as they speak 100x faster than I can process. So about all I'm good for is written spanish... And the occasional fun phrase like 'Mis Pantelones estan enfuego! Ayudame! Ayudame!' and 'El diablo esta bailar con los tiberones!'
Or 'Quiero fumar los tarjetas!'

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

You jackass (3.88 / 9) (#88)
by illerd on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:09:48 PM EST

(Amusing side note: Can you think of a word in the English language, that when you capitalize the first letter, changes it's pronunciation and meaning*?)

Define "word", and then maybe we can talk. (Hint: for your "amusing" fact to work, you must define "word" as "delimited alphabetic string"; I'll leave it as an exercise to try finding a morphology textbook that defines it like that.)


You're such a jackass. He was trying to interject some humor into your bitchfest, not make an argument. It's just a simple, amusing riddle (At least I found it amusing.) It wasn't supposed to be a bonus question on your fucking liguistics final. But no, you had to take every opportunity to cite your intellectual supperiority.

Since he was speaking english, and he said "can you think of a word IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE" it's safe to assume that he was using the English definition of "word" which is quite unambigous. Especially in print. Especially in this context. Here's an excerpt from m-w.com: "(2) : any segment of written or printed discourse ordinarily appearing between spaces or between a space and a punctuation mark." But you'll probably come up with some high-minded gripe about Merriam-Webster now, won't you. And no, your textbook definitions don't apply cause we're speaking English, not studying it. It's not the subject it's the medium. So good ol' em-dubya will work just fine.

I wouldn't have said anything, except that you had to refute his fun little riddle as if it were part of the argument. We can all plainly see that you have a vendetta against Esperanto cause it stole your girlfriend or someshit. You can just post it once. You don't have to argue everything he says in every thread.

[ Parent ]
it's almost funny (2.33 / 3) (#89)
by scatbubba on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:21:01 PM EST

He spent so much of his life learning to speak in many different languages, yet, he can barely communicate.

[ Parent ]
Ha (none / 0) (#114)
by kholmes on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:04:20 AM EST

<p>That one girl on <i>Enterprise</i> is better than you. She can learn alien languages just by listening to the speaker a little while.

<p>Seriously though, are people really able to do that?

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

learn languages very quickly... (4.00 / 1) (#405)
by werner on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 10:18:38 AM EST

Yeah, they can. Most languages are very similar to others spoken nearby, or sometimes to languages spoken very far away.

If you know enough languages, learning a new one is far easier, because it all seems so familiar, much as a Spaniard will learn Italian more quickly than a German, because it is very similar to Spanish and very different to German.

It's the same as programming. Someone who understands OO and can program Java will find C++ easier to learn than someone who only knows BASIC.

[ Parent ]

I see (2.00 / 2) (#137)
by Tau on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:49:16 AM EST

Here's an little nugget of information you might find useful: Most of us don't spend our entire life studying languages and linguistics.

Yes I'm quite sure that being a superpolyglot is preferable to just knowing Esperanto. Unfortunately that isn't a practical option for most people. It's true that there are some things native speaking can't be substituted for. For the rest of us, there's Esperanto (to paraphrase an infamous ad campaingn)

---
WHEN THE REVOLUTION COMES WE WILL MAKE SAUSAGES OUT OF YOUR FUCKING ENTRAILS - TRASG0
[ Parent ]

Bzzt! (3.75 / 4) (#160)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:26:47 AM EST

Yes I'm quite sure that being a superpolyglot is preferable to just knowing Esperanto. Unfortunately that isn't a practical option for most people.

This is true. But it would only support your point if Esperanto were practical at all.

--em
[ Parent ]

Oh, come on... (3.33 / 3) (#198)
by upsilon on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:02:46 AM EST

I think you have to concede that Esperanto is "at all practical". It may not be the end-all be-all of languages that ardent Esperanto supporters proclaim it to be, but it is at least as practical as any natural language out there, and more practical than many of those.
--
Once, I was the King of Spain.
[ Parent ]
Well. (4.25 / 4) (#224)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:32:05 AM EST

If your end in life is going to Esperanto congresses, then you will find Esperanto very practical. Are you happy now?

--em
[ Parent ]

end in life? (4.00 / 2) (#308)
by Happy Monkey on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:30:38 PM EST

How about "minor goal"? How about "interest"? How about "whim"? While everything you do brings you closer to your end of life, it doesn't have to be relevant to your end in life.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Nonsense. (4.00 / 2) (#310)
by rodgerd on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:44:11 PM EST

Look, I have friends from a family with first-language Esperanto speakers, so I'm well aware I could communicate with people about the place in Esperanto if I learned it; I'm aware there are groups of first-language Esperantists in Brazil. But "at least as practical"?. Bullshit. For a non-English speaker, Esperanto is worthless next to English, because, like it or not, English is to the modern world what Latin was to pre-Rennaisance Europe.

As an English speaker in the South Pacific (New Zealand specifically), there are a huge number of languages vastly more practical for me to learn. If I plan on going abroad, the closest non-English speaking nations in the region speak Spanish (South America), Portugese (South America), Chinese (most of SE Asia, in one form or another), Malaysian (Indonesia), Japanese, various Pacific languages (Maori, Fijian, Tongan, Samoan, etc). Domestically, I'd get a much bigger win from Maori (as an official language) than from Esperanto.

None of that discounts Esperanto from a fun perspective, but pracitical? Rubbish.



[ Parent ]
Different "practical"s (none / 0) (#404)
by upsilon on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 10:18:33 AM EST

Everything EM has been saying has been arguing against Esperanto as a practical language from a theoretical linguistic standpoint. "It's got 12 forms!" "Word derivations don't make sense!" yadda yadda yadda. When I said Esperanto was practical, I meant that it is, from a linguistic standpoint, at least as practical as most natural languages.

Since I was addressing EM, I thought it would be clear that I meant "practical" linguistically. I fully recognise that with such a small population actually speaking Esperanto that there are many other languages that it would be more practical for a person to learn.

But please don't confuse your practicality with linguistic practicality.
--
Once, I was the King of Spain.
[ Parent ]

Theory vs practice (none / 0) (#357)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:33:11 PM EST

if Esperanto were practical at all.

Estanislao, your problem is that almost everything you say is purely theoretical and has no bearing on practical reality.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Another answer to the riddle (none / 0) (#185)
by squigly on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:45:15 AM EST

Amusing side note: Can you think of a word in the English language, that when you capitalize the first letter, changes it's pronunciation and meaning

I bet there's a lot if you allow proper nouns and place names.  First one that came to mind was Reading (Town in England, pronounced Redding for thos who don't know).  

[ Parent ]

Clever! (none / 0) (#245)
by Yekrats on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:21:08 PM EST

I hadn't considered alternatives to the riddle.

[ Parent ]
Another answer. (none / 0) (#276)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:32:45 PM EST

Many personal names are also common nouns. Smith vs. smith, Charity vs. charity, etc.

--em
[ Parent ]

But they are usually pronounced the same. (n/t) (none / 0) (#277)
by Yekrats on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:38:26 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Allow? (none / 0) (#306)
by Happy Monkey on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:25:06 PM EST

Amusing side note: Can you think of a word in the English language, that when you capitalize the first letter, changes it's pronunciation and meaning

I bet there's a lot if you allow proper nouns and place names.


Well, you'd have to, wouldn't you? :) But there probably are several more besides [Pp]olish and [Rr]eading.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
If you'd learned Portugese... (none / 0) (#309)
by rodgerd on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:33:54 PM EST

You might have fewer friends in Germany, but you'd have a lot more in Brazil.

And I have German and Brazillian friends who speak English. Like many Germans and Brazillians.



[ Parent ]
Seriousness (3.28 / 7) (#39)
by ucblockhead on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:39:44 PM EST

Bleah. I fucking hate that attitude. Don't "waste your time" because it isn't "useful". Feh. It's the damn puritan attitide wherein simply doing something for fun, or for the fuck of it, is wrong.

Very western. Very central to what's fucked up about our culture.

Why the hell not learn Esperanto? I mean, if people can learn fucking Klingon, for dog's sake, why not Esperanto?
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Yes, they say the same about Scientology (3.58 / 12) (#51)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:04:09 PM EST

Bleah. I fucking hate that attitude. Don't "waste your time" because it isn't "useful". Feh. It's the damn puritan attitide wherein simply doing something for fun, or for the fuck of it, is wrong.

If you want to learn in the privacy of your home a completely useless language spoken by no real community (i.e. a community not defined by anything other than being an Esperanto snob), be your own guest. The place I draw the line is when you start spreading misinformation ("Esperanto is an easy, well designed, culturally neutral language that will advance world peace!") in order to recruit for your cult.

--em
[ Parent ]

get over yourself (2.00 / 5) (#57)
by ucblockhead on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:12:36 PM EST

Since Esperanto is hardly a "cult", I suspect that the problem is that you are one of those intellectual elitists who can't stand the thought of the peasants playing in your own intellectual playground.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
WHAT? (3.33 / 9) (#61)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:27:28 PM EST

Since Esperanto is hardly a "cult",

I can understand that you yourself may have never personally lost anybody to the Esperanto cult, but that does not give you the right to downplay others' suffering. I've seen what Esperanto can do to a loved person, and it's not pretty at all. The way Esperanto made minds that I once loved wither away broke my heart, and I shall *stop* its wave of destruction at all costs.

--em
[ Parent ]

Psychological Reactions to Esperanto (3.20 / 5) (#68)
by QuickFox on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:42:55 PM EST

Before this post your rants seemed relevant, even if they were misinformed and rather aggressive. But this post comes across as just an extremely clumsy troll, since it has absolutely nothing to support its preposterous claim. Could you give us some facts or something? Of course I don't mean private personal facts about the alleged victims, I mean some indications that Esperanto has cult victims. Cults tend to have opponents on the web, there should be something.

Assuming that you are trying to debate the issues and not just trolling, here's some reading for you that can perhaps explain your aggressive attitude and your somewhat wild assertions: Psychological Reactions to Esperanto.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Diff. between troll and joke? (none / 0) (#125)
by Josh A on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:57:39 AM EST

I took it as a joke.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Often, (4.33 / 3) (#452)
by jvance on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 04:08:18 AM EST

a troll is a joke you don't like, or don't understand.

---

This is taking too much of my time. I've gone away. You can reach me at john_a_vance atsign hotmail dot com if you wish.
[ Parent ]

ahh, excellent (none / 0) (#506)
by Josh A on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 07:59:14 AM EST

That should be added to the k5 user's manual I should have received upon registering.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Cathoics in ancient Rome? (none / 0) (#505)
by BlankSlate on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:36:35 PM EST

Damn you sound as though you're a Roman Emperor determined to kill Catholecism. Dude, calm down. If Esperanto is stupid and useless, it will fail on its own. You are way too emotional about this.

[ Parent ]
oh give it a rest (3.50 / 4) (#133)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:48:29 AM EST

Why not learn Navajo?

Bonus question: why are there few Navajo Esperantists?

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Sure (none / 0) (#227)
by ucblockhead on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:51:51 AM EST

Who said anything against learning Navajo?

I've no particular interest in learning Esperanto myself. I just hate the elitist attitude being displayed here.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

who's elitist? (3.71 / 7) (#235)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:35:14 PM EST

Epserantists make extravagant claims for their toy* language. They're not so special that their claims should not be refuted.

Look, no one would care about Esperanto outside of its club-members, except for its being sold as a useful, scientifically designed, rationalised language. If all you want is a language with clear spelling and straightforwardly simple Indo-European grammar, why not learn Spanish? If you're a real language hobbyist, why not actually read a book on linguistics?

Esperantistos are under the obligation to defend their claims. I'd like to see even you keep a straight face when the Lojban people come calling, Mr Tolerance-Head. The claims have been presented and vigorous mockery has ensued. What exactly is your problem with that?

Is it that the Esperantistotistos are being mocked by the evil adequacy trolls?!?!?!?! As streetlawyer used to say, "aww fucking diddums."

* this is an objective statement, supported by links included in the comments to this story

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

heh heh (1.00 / 1) (#241)
by ucblockhead on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:00:40 PM EST

Someone's got a chip on their shoulder.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
yes I have a chip on my shoulder (4.00 / 5) (#280)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:45:28 PM EST

If you have so much time that you just want to learn a language out of the blue, you should pull your head out of your ass as look around the world. If you like arcane challenges and your first language is English, you could tackle Maltese or Basque. If you like cultures more than half an inch past your nose, you could learn a Native American language, like Quechua or Cherokee (which has its own funky alphabet,) or maybe Tibetan. I don't know, the world is a huge place, and there are enough things to learn that Esperanto should be low on your list.

I'm kind of offended that Esperantostas think so little of the wider world that they prefer their artificial, insular culture to coming into risky, infectious contact with a profoundly developed one totally foreign to themselves. I'd rather learn about real Hmong or Arabs or Tamils or Mayans than hang around with a bunch of Lojbanoids.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

yes (2.00 / 1) (#314)
by ucblockhead on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:03:40 PM EST

In other words, you are one of those pricks determined to tell everyone else that their hobbies are wrong.

Here's a clue: a "hobby" is something done for fun. Get over the goddamn puritan "everything must have a noble purpose" ethic and learn that not everything has to have a purpose.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

here we go round the mulberry fucking bush (3.00 / 5) (#324)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:47:22 PM EST

No, I don't care that Esperantists have a toy language for a hobby. I think it's lame, but I'd never go out of my way to say so, or think about it for more than about three seconds...

Except that Esperantists claim to have a great language that everyone should learn, and when confronted with the utter uselessness of their toy language to most of the people on earth, they just shrug and say "ah well." They insist that it's useful linguistics, when it's ass-backward linguistics their language is founded upon.

In other words, Espanerato is out of the private realm and into the public realm. Where it must be savagely mocked and dissed. Because the claims put forth for it don't hold a drop of water. In fact, if anything, Esperanto hobbyists are indifferent to the guidance of the people who actually study languages, which makes them wilfully wrongheaded.

Again, I wouldn't care if the Faith didn't rely on proselytes. But it does, and it denigrates real languages with real speakers and cultures by ignoring them and sweeping them under the rug. The Esperanto way is an awkward and exclusionary way today.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Heh (4.00 / 2) (#325)
by ucblockhead on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:54:53 PM EST

Yup, the cretins just refuse to let the experts control how they have their fun.

And, of course, we all know that the biggest threat to other languages and cultures is the widespread adoption of Esperanto.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

IHBT (1.50 / 2) (#327)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:58:12 PM EST

Go back to adequacy, you amateur.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

He finally catches on! (1.00 / 5) (#330)
by ucblockhead on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:04:39 PM EST

Jesus Christ, you'd think you'd adequacy types would be quicker on the uptake.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
nuts to you (2.50 / 2) (#332)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:09:00 PM EST

You never did get the difference between "trolling" and "trying to be stupid, and succeeding."

Anyway, I hung out at adequacy for the great discussions, not the trolling. To tell you the truth, I hadn't really enjoyed the articles for a few months.

But good for you - you win. That and a buck fifty will get you a cup of coffee.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

heh (1.66 / 3) (#333)
by ucblockhead on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:16:00 PM EST

What, you didn't know that the whole point of that site was to troll?

Anyway, the very definition of a troll is a three sentence quip that provokes a long, angry reply.

But anyway, thanks for the amusement.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

two simple words... (2.00 / 2) (#334)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:18:16 PM EST

What, you didn't know that the whole point of that site was to troll?

Nice try.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

good for you! (1.00 / 3) (#335)
by ucblockhead on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:22:21 PM EST

You are learning from your mistakes. I'll give you that...
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
You know... (3.33 / 3) (#365)
by RobotSlave on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:13:35 PM EST

...your whole "I was trolling you all along" bit would be a lot more convincing if you didn't have the worst case of Last Word Syndrome this site has ever seen.

Go on. Prove me wrong.

[ Parent ]

You guys crack me up (2.66 / 3) (#370)
by ucblockhead on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:42:39 PM EST

Over and over, the same ol' game, and you still can't resist playing.

I'll tell it to you explicitly: The game is to push buttons to get you guys to continue posting.

If it helps, it isn't about "winning" and "losing". It's like a videogame. I keep poking until you guys stop replying. You see, the very act of it is what amuses me, especially if I can get one of you guys all worked up. It doubly amuses me if I can get more than one of you guys into the mix, or if I can goad one of you guys into downrating me.

And nothing amuses me more then getting someone to post two-hundred word rebuttals in a thread in a story that is so old that not a damn person other than me and him will even notice.

Which brings us to your little "point", which is that I obviously can only "prove" you wrong by not replying. Now that would be a great and stirring rebuttal if it weren't for the fact that I don't give a fuck about proving anything. I'm just trying to get you all riled up.

"Last Word Syndrome". Heh.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Poke. (2.00 / 2) (#374)
by RobotSlave on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 12:09:31 AM EST

Go on, prove me wrong.

[ Parent ]
better yet (1.50 / 2) (#438)
by adequate nathan on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 03:56:34 PM EST

I took matters into my own hands...

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Point-by-point rebuttal. (2.00 / 2) (#411)
by tkatchev on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 10:35:36 AM EST

I love you.

Will you marry me?

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

yes! (2.50 / 2) (#424)
by adequate nathan on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 02:28:36 PM EST

having kids might be a little touch-and-go, but our love can overcome that.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

funny thing (2.00 / 3) (#430)
by adequate nathan on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 03:14:43 PM EST

I thought we made you furious. As evidence I cite your comment history.

I find it fascinating how g**ks alwys scream with laughter in print. "BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!", they howl.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

You thought you made me furious? (2.00 / 4) (#432)
by ucblockhead on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 03:17:47 PM EST

LOL
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
no, not this time (2.00 / 3) (#433)
by adequate nathan on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 03:22:25 PM EST

Just every other time.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

heh (2.66 / 3) (#434)
by ucblockhead on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 03:30:50 PM EST

Thanks for confirming what I've believed all along: that you don't know when you are being laughed at.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
this (1.66 / 3) (#436)
by adequate nathan on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 03:40:17 PM EST

Is precisely what RobotSlave was talking about. "The Athenians retreated and put up a trophy."

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

compulsive replying (2.33 / 3) (#437)
by ucblockhead on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 03:52:17 PM EST

You, sir, are not properly paying attention.

A hint: the story is old, and the audience is gone. Only an idiot plays to an empty crowd.

I suggest you read other branches in this thread. You seem a might confused about the whole idea of "victory".
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Last Word Syndrome (3.33 / 3) (#441)
by RobotSlave on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 05:00:23 PM EST

We've won, of course. Every time you reply in this "long forgotten thread," claiming success in forcing replies in long forgotten threads, you lose.

Sorry, Scooter. Falling back to an "I'm trolling, ha ha" stance and clinging at all costs to the last word long after you've been shown up, though I'm sure it all seems very clever to you, amounts to little more than the alternate shrieking and breath-holding of a two-year-old who can't bear to be wrong.

Now go post another whiny diary entry about how awful it is to have to deal with problems when you're at work.

[ Parent ]

God you people are easy (2.50 / 2) (#442)
by ucblockhead on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 05:11:50 PM EST


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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Loser. (1.66 / 3) (#446)
by RobotSlave on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 07:09:57 PM EST



[ Parent ]
And they call me a compulsive replier... (2.50 / 2) (#447)
by ucblockhead on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 07:23:05 PM EST


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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Loser. (1.25 / 4) (#449)
by RobotSlave on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 09:09:08 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Loser. (1.40 / 5) (#483)
by RobotSlave on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 03:18:51 AM EST



[ Parent ]
New kind of fallacy? (none / 0) (#504)
by BlankSlate on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:27:15 PM EST

Hmmm... Quite fascinating. Perhaps this is not the place for such a question/duscussion. But I'm sure I've discovered a new kind of Logical Fallacy.

Let me pose a scenario, then I'll relate it to the topic.

Little Tommy takes little Miky's toy car. Little Tommy wants it back, but Mikey refuses arguing, what do you want it back for it's just a <insert diminutive> car.

The arguer is clearly trying to divert attention away from the word 'car' to the diminutive.

What if these two kids were adults and Mikey took Tommy's diamond studded watch. He could still argue, What do you want it for anyway, it's just a "stupid 'ol" watch.

In the case of Nathan's argument, I see him attempting to divert attention with his use of the word 'toy' in front of the word 'language' (collectively intended to refer to Esperanto).

Now I understand quite clearly that 'toy languages' are in fact used by linguists to test hypotheses or better understand linguistic concepts. So in that since, perhaps Nathan means that Zammanhof was a linguist who invented it to test some hypothesis and for whatever reason, over 100 years later the language still draws curiosity seekers. Hmmm. Sounds almost like a complement.

Anyway, this message started as a curiosity about the use of fallacies for purposes of deception or presentation of invalid arguments and now I'm just babbeling - Perhaps much as Socrates might have done.

[ Parent ]

Fake communities (3.00 / 2) (#127)
by Josh A on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:05:18 AM EST

no real community (i.e. a community not defined by anything other than being an Esperanto snob)

Although I could see no snobbery in the article, I find quite a lot in someone who would use the phrase "no real community", especially when followed by such a judgmental gross generalization.

From your other comments I'm presuming you have a greater knowledge of the linguistic issues at hand then most readers here, but your prejudice really undermines the usefulness of your posts.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Ah, I forget. This is kuro5hin. (2.66 / 6) (#159)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:24:22 AM EST

Although I could see no snobbery in the article, I find quite a lot in someone who would use the phrase "no real community", especially when followed by such a judgmental gross generalization.

Real languages are spoken in real communities-- communities which don't exist merely for the purpose of speaking the language, as the Esperanto "community" does, and whose members for the most part don't have the freedom of freely joining or departing. A real community binds together people in a complex, shared way of life which they enact for the most part irreflexively. Esperanto, again, binds its speakers in nothing more than in the sterile intellectual exercise speaking it.

I however suspect that you're the sort that believes that kuro5hin is a "community".

--em
[ Parent ]

Ahhh, now I see... (2.50 / 6) (#259)
by Kintanon on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:16:15 PM EST

Now I see what kind of jackass you are. The kind that belives in some form of greater evolution of the word 'community' beyond the actual definition. Kuro5hin is a community. My apartment complex is a community. I interact more with K5 than with my apartment complex. Slashdot is a community. Quake3 players are a community. I've already replied to you once explaining that a community is a group of people with one or more common factors. Now, please take your elitest posturing about how much you know about language and pissoff. There is nothing wrong with people who speak esperanto wanting to get more people to speak esperanto. And epseranto *IS* easier to learn than english, french, chinese, japanese, or korean. I would say it's of equal or slightly less difficulty than Spanish.

Now, since you seem to have nothing constructive to add to the conversation, and are amusing yourself by hurling insults about please refrain from cluttering the place up with your ranting.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Thank you. (4.25 / 4) (#220)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:22:08 AM EST

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Language without the historical, cultural, religious and ethnic heritage == idiocy.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Communication (4.00 / 1) (#269)
by Kintanon on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:44:47 PM EST

The purpose of language is communcation. The cultural baggage of a language is not necessary for most communcation (barring linguistic idisyncracies and slang) so it is perfectly reasonable to learn a language with no baggage.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

No it isn't. (5.00 / 2) (#406)
by tkatchev on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 10:20:26 AM EST

To communicate effectively all you need is the ability to make grunting noises and a couple of gestures. Everything else is out of the realm of "communication" and into the realm of "culture".

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Depends... (4.00 / 1) (#420)
by Kintanon on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 01:33:00 PM EST

On what you want to communicate.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Community and idiots (3.33 / 3) (#257)
by Kintanon on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:10:51 PM EST

Sigh, by definition any group of people with a single common factor forms a Community. A valid and real community. The community of Esperanto speakers is equally as real as the community of K5 readers, or the community of English speakers. They are a group of people tied together by one or more common factors. So take your elitest bullshit and shove it up your ass.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Community (none / 0) (#503)
by BlankSlate on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:00:22 PM EST

Actually, sociologists define community as a group of people who internally (within the group) form associations. That is, a community exists by virtue of the fact that it's members believe it to exist and see themselves as part of it. Communities need not be tightly knit, and they may come into and fall out of being with the wind. For example, the group of people on a plane will suddenly become a community if the plane is sitting on the runway for four hours and everyone is crammed in the plane like sardines. A loose internal cohesion will form, which bonds the members of the group as they start to 'bitch' to the flight crew as a single voice.

Thus, by the definition of the sociologist. The speekers of esperanto are a community simply because they believe themselves to be one. You may not like or respect the reasons for the extistance of that community, but it does in fact exist.

My only curiosity is how a philosopher/scientist like EM can have such a strong biased stance on such a subject when science is supposed to be the objective, passive observer. EM is clearly emotionally driven.

I'm hardly a scientist and I'm quite biased since I love Esperanto -- purely because it IS SO MUCH FUN. In my own life, I study hard, I work hard, I make a lot of money and in my spare time I do things I enjoy, reading, working out, lounging, playing with my cats, fiddling with esperanto, etc. God only knows why EM and others are so offended by that. Next he's going to tell me that having cats is irrational. (Yes, EM the group of cat owners does form a community.)

[ Parent ]

Answers to the exercises. (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by Yekrats on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:15:09 PM EST

I don't think these exercises are too difficult, but I'd hate to leave them as "an exercise to the reader."  :-)

Exercise #1:  Sama (same) could become a noun (samo) or an adverb (same.  Remember, that would be two syllables!) or a verb (sami).

Exercise #2:  Unfriendliness would be malamikeco.  (mal + amika + eco)



Comparisons? (3.00 / 2) (#19)
by lb008d on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:32:02 PM EST

Anyone have experience with lojban and would like to comment?

Yes, It's just you (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by Bob Dog on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:42:36 PM EST

IKEA names are in swedish.  A language extremly different from Esperanto.  Esperanto is mostly drawn from languages in another language group.

[ Parent ]
motherfucker (none / 0) (#69)
by Bob Dog on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:49:01 PM EST

The previous comment was indented as a reply to this

[ Parent ]
You might put a copy there [nt] (none / 0) (#74)
by QuickFox on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:17:52 PM EST



Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
looked at it briefly (5.00 / 1) (#117)
by Shpongle Spore on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:14:56 AM EST

After looking at lojban for a while it's pretty obvious why nobody speaks it. The rules are all bizarre and mathematical, it's wordy because all "punctuation" is explicit, and some of the constructs, while useful in principle, introduce so much ambiguity that it's hard to tell just what you're saying. Plus it's vocabulary is specifically designed to be familiar to nobody.

It might be good for use by human-computer interaction if anyone was willing to learn a language just for that purpose, but it generalizes things past the point that I think human beings are able to handle. For instance, instead of verbs just having a subjects and possibly direct and indirect arguments, they can have any number of arguments. I think "go" has something like five--the subject, origin, destination, route, and mode of transportation. These parameters are all positional, just like programming languages I try to avoid using.
__
I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor bar,
drinking 'Mad Dog' margaritas and not caring where you are
[ Parent ]

Lojban rocks. ;) (3.00 / 2) (#118)
by TheEldestOyster on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:26:04 AM EST

It's more regular than Esperanto and is more truly representative of the languages of the whole world.

However, that said, it can also be a bit harder to learn, since it introduces new concepts and new ways of thinking about language which many (most?) people do have a hard time getting.

Yet still, I've been learning Lojban somewhat actively (as in, I occaisionally read some lesson or another, and I write/read it usually once a day) for about 7-8 months, and am far more advanced in lojban than I ever was in German after a year and a half of  daily study.
--
TheEldestOyster (rizen/bancus) * PGP Signed/Encrypted mail preferred
[ Parent ]

la lojban. ui (Yay Lojban!) (3.00 / 2) (#148)
by PurpleBob on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:47:44 AM EST

I've used Lojban for about two years now. I quite enjoy it.

Though any promotion of Lojban is of course cool, it worries me that it was brought up here. I see hostility between Esperanto and Lojban all over the place. People seem to think that someone who learns one will never learn the other, whereas it seems more likely that someone who is into conlangs (as the vast majority of posters here obviously aren't) would learn both.

I was going to go to an Esperanto Club meeting at MIT, for example, but mentioning to one member that I knew Lojban was enough for her to give me a cold reaction. Now the prophecy is self-fulfilling - I won't go to Esperanto Club because I don't want to get caught up in the perceived rivalry by being a "subversive Lojbanist".

The sad thing is that both languages have useful things to learn from each other, and at this rate they probably won't. Sigh.

[ Parent ]

Just tell them (1.00 / 1) (#163)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:01:48 AM EST

Have you tried simply asking them "Would you prefer that I do not learn Esperanto?"

From time to time I've met people who knew other conlangs at international Esperanto encounters, and I can't recall any hostility. However there will be a strong tendency to argue about why anyone should prefer some other language over Esperanto. But if you want to avoid that, I suppose it's fairly easy, perhaps by saying that you're only interested in the languages as such, not in comparing their merits.

I would guess that this kind of hostility occurs much more in an older generation and much less among young people.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

doi ma (none / 0) (#362)
by TheEldestOyster on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:08:02 PM EST

zirpubolc?
--
TheEldestOyster (rizen/bancus) * PGP Signed/Encrypted mail preferred
[ Parent ]
Ugh. (5.00 / 1) (#158)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:18:39 AM EST

If Esperanto is stupid, ignorant and pointless, Lojban is, well, beyond description. Its creators know even less about linguistics than the Esperantists. And they sure as hell don't understand logic and semantics beyond the technical level (and don't dispute their point by citing their qualifications; most professional logicians do logic on the technical level without understanding the philosophy behind it very much).

--em
[ Parent ]

-1, Too Indo-Eurocentric (4.20 / 5) (#25)
by the on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:53:20 PM EST

Esperanto looks like hell for speakers of languages like Chinese or Tagalog.

;-)

--
The Definite Article

However, (1.50 / 2) (#48)
by Happy Monkey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:53:49 PM EST

It's probably easier than any of the languages it is an amalgam of.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
It would be interesting to get representatives... (none / 0) (#56)
by the on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:12:01 PM EST

...from all over the world into a big room and see what kind of common language they'd thrash out.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]
The Universal Language (4.83 / 6) (#90)
by zakalwe on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:23:12 PM EST

what kind of common language they'd thrash out.
I think you've included the answer in your question.

Violence: Providing clear universally understood communication since 40000BC.

[ Parent ]

Didn't we do this already? (none / 0) (#100)
by innate on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:33:35 PM EST

And they chose English and French.

[ Parent ]
Well... (4.00 / 3) (#157)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:12:16 AM EST

It's probably easier than any of the languages it is an amalgam of.

Why do you think Esperanto is much easier than English? All I can see going for Esperanto is that there is no irregular inflection, while English has a fair amount. Esperanto OTOH has like, what, 10 forms for each verb, and case marking. I really believe learning usable English should be easier than Esperanto. Millions of immigrants to English-speaking countries do it every year.

Sure, learning to speak correct English will be a much harder task. But this is simply because there is no such thing as "correct Esperanto"; there simply isn't an Esperanto-speaking community whose standards you have to adapt to.

--em
[ Parent ]

Corect (1.00 / 1) (#175)
by Happy Monkey on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:00:54 AM EST

Sure, learning to speak correct English will be a much harder task. But this is simply because there is no such thing as "correct Esperanto"; there simply isn't an Esperanto-speaking community whose standards you have to adapt to.

Actually, as a constructed language, Esperanto has a "correct" form. English is the one that doesn't. There are hundreds of different correct dialects of English, and English rules change with the times. However, I was mainly thinking of ease of learning from a book. Those millions of immigrants have the best teacher available - a community speaking the language. Esperanto doesn't have that.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
No. (3.50 / 2) (#202)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:26:24 AM EST

Actually, as a constructed language, Esperanto has a "correct" form.

No it doesn't. Its speakers think it does, and they think it is specified in their grammars, but it just can't, simply because it lacks a real community. Otherwise please expound on the precise set of distinctive features distinguishing phonemes in Esperanto (e.g. are p/b distinguished by voicing like in Romance, or by aspiration as in English?) and on the phonotactics of Esperanto (e.g. what phonological processes target syllable codas?).\

Not to mention the issue of idiomatic expressions.

--em
[ Parent ]

Yeah, do it in english then... (3.00 / 2) (#267)
by Kintanon on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:42:25 PM EST

While I have no doubt that you personally as a linguist are capable of performing the task you set for him on the English language, I challenge you to find any random native English speaker who can do so.
There aren't any that aren't linguists. So why do you expect a random Esperanto speaker to be able to perform the task on Esperanto?

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Ambiguity (4.00 / 1) (#292)
by unDees on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:43:37 PM EST

In the long Esperanto rant linked in an earlier post, the author harps on and on about phonemes that aren't specified to his preferred degree of precision. For example, is the letter "t" aspirated, or a glottal stop, or neither?

My question is: does it matter? Be honest: is it really likely that if one Esperanto speaker exhales a little puff of air after his "t" and another doesn't, that they're really going to misunderstand each other?

Many of his other points were well-taken; e.g., how helpful is it that word endings determine parts of speech if it's difficult to hear word boundaries in spoken language? And how many speakers have concepts for all the parts of speech used in Esperanto?

Still, though, I've never met an Esperanto speaker who was rabid enough about the language to inspire the kind of vitriol I've seen here. Did some of you guys not get enough sleep last night or something?

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[ Parent ]

Yes it matters. (none / 0) (#305)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:24:15 PM EST

My question is: does it matter? Be honest: is it really likely that if one Esperanto speaker exhales a little puff of air after his "t" and another doesn't, that they're really going to misunderstand each other?

Yes it is, because that first speaker is going to pronounce his t's and d's in such a way that they both sound like t's to the second one, and the second one in turn will pronounce his them in such a way that the first one will hear them both as d's. (Hint: English "voiced" stops, in most contexts, aren't.)

--em
[ Parent ]

Ds and Ts (none / 0) (#329)
by unDees on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:01:26 PM EST

Hmmmmmmm... maybe.

It's certainly a valid point that Esperanto is "underspecified" in many respects. (And greater specification would no doubt hurt the "easy to learn" argument.) And I agree with your contention that it's dangerous to assume that the pronunciation of every letter is "just obvious" (which may often only be obvious to some European speakers).

But I'd like to see an analysis of specific cases (Esperanto words and national origins of speakers) that are likely to be the source of errors. For example, if the only potential way to confuse D and T is at the end of a word (I know this isn't the case--my example is purely hypothetical), or if context will save the day in most cases, then the issue is moot. I mean we're not talking about Danish mor vs. mord here, or English dawn vs. don, are we?

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[ Parent ]

Esperanto is permissive (none / 0) (#343)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:09:47 PM EST

Curiously, those of us who use Esperanto frequently do not have a problem with this. It is purely theoretical and has no significant bearing on reality.

If we look at practical reality, there are some problems but they are not the ones you theorize about. Esperanto is quite permissive, you can have a strong accent. This means you'll sometimes meet people with a strong accent. And of course there are limits. A thick accent can only go so far before it becomes unintelligible. It's the same problem if you speak English with a strong accent, but I think Esperanto is more permissive, you can have a stronger accent.

For example, people with a very strong Copenhaguen accent will have a problem making themselves understood almost anywhere. If I remember correctly a thick English accent is hard to understand for Esperantists in large parts of Asia. However, it seems to me that people with a very strong German or French generally do not have problems.

Chinese and Japanese tend to confuse r and l. However, although I've met quite a few Japanese speaking Esperanto, I can remember only a single moment where this created some slight confusion which was quickly cleared by one question and one answer.

The situation is not quite as undefined as you assume. There is a model for pronounciation, namely Polish. Listen to Poles speaking Esperanto and you hear how it theoretically should sound. Or listen to Polish in radio or TV and try to imitate. If you don't know Polish you may know some other language that sounds somewhat similar, for example Spanish and Italian are close.

Please note that people learn Esperanto to have fun together, not to attain theoretical ideals. When you are easily and clearly understood, that's enough. But go farther if you want beauty.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Phonetic Variation (none / 0) (#502)
by BlankSlate on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 11:24:32 AM EST

Hmmm... Interresting topic.

Although it is true that for the most part, those who use Esperanto do not speek of particular phonetic values. There are several linguists who have attempted to assign such values, and for the most part they agree (with minor variation). Eg. the book, Espaeranto: Language, Literature and Community. And the the (perhaps dated) Plena Analiza Gramatiko. But that's all academic. And although linguistics does make some attempt to study language on a theoretical level, the fact is that linguistics is interrested in how language is used -- and thus mainly in spoken situations.

It's easy to argue that because the phonetic values of the letters of Esperanto are not crisply defined that a listener would have trouble understanding other speekers, and indeed this might be the case were our brains to function as computers. But they don't. So the linguist is forced to examine language in the field. ie. In actual use.

I can remember back in the days when I was still in school (hehe, only 6 years ago) many of our classes were instructed by graduate students who did not speek English natively. For example, an indian instructor would pronounce just about every english consonant as +voiced. A computer may have problems understanding such an accent, but the human brain is very plastic. Though it may have taken some time, we were all eventually able to understand the instructor by adjusting ourselves to understand his accent. Thus, while it's easy to say that lack of precise phonetic values for the pronounciation of a language is necessary for the speekers to communicate, it's also quite simplistic.

Well defined phonetic values or not, esperanto speekers from all backgrounds manage to communicate vocally. Heck, I've had phone conversations with Esperanto speekers from all over the world, so you can't argue that the communication is augmented by gesturing or facial expression (though inflection may help). So I just don't see how your argument has any value.

[ Parent ]

Blinded by vocabulary (none / 0) (#296)
by Happy Monkey on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:59:20 PM EST

Which dialect/accent combination is used in your "correct English"? I guess you're worried about the difficulty of making a descriptive grammar for an uncommon language. However, as a created language, Esperanto has that ever-so-rare linguistic artifact - a valid prescriptive grammar.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Easy question (none / 0) (#307)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:29:46 PM EST

Which dialect/accent combination is used in your "correct English"?

Whichever is judged as so in the English speech community you have intercourse with. There's several of those, yes.

I guess you're worried about the difficulty of making a descriptive grammar for an uncommon language. However, as a created language, Esperanto has that ever-so-rare linguistic artifact - a valid prescriptive grammar.

Whatever you mean by valid, no prescriptive grammar ever captures a fraction of the knowledge needed to express yourself in a properly "correct" manner; such knowledge only exists tacitly in a community. Esperanto only can only be made to appear simple by downplaying such uncodified standards.

--em
[ Parent ]

The easy part is just the beginning (4.00 / 1) (#353)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:04:07 PM EST

Esperanto only can only be made to appear simple by downplaying such uncodified standards.

The easy part is the part that you need to get started, the part that beginners need just to get going.

After some time you reach a point where you communicate fast and your vocabulary is fairly large, but your ability to express yourself is still somewhat primitive. You're not a beginner, in fact you're fluent, but you lack nuances and you make errors.

A similar point of course exists in any language. But with Esperanto the grammar needed up to this point is comparatively simple, and you reach this point amazingly fast. This speed is the reason so many Esperantists get so enthusiastic.

At this point you may keep studying, in which case it gets more complicated, and/or you just let nuances and richer expression seep in as you use the language, just like your mother tongue seeps in as you use it.

no prescriptive grammar ever captures a fraction of the knowledge needed to express yourself in a properly "correct" manner; such knowledge only exists tacitly in a community.

Some things are prescriptive, some things develop as Esperanto is used, the way they develop in any language as it is used.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Lacks a real community? (5.00 / 1) (#298)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:06:13 PM EST

because it lacks a real community

Estanislao, your claim that there's no community as base for language shows that you either don't know your language or don't know what you're talking about.

There are tens of international and national encounters every year, several with more than a hundred participants, uncounted local clubs meeting regularly round the year, tens of magazines, hundreds of books, quite a few websites, a number of radio stations, etc.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

duh. (none / 0) (#302)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:20:37 PM EST

There are tens of international and national encounters every year, several with more than a hundred participants, uncounted local clubs meeting regularly round the year, tens of magazines, hundreds of books, quite a few websites, a number of radio stations, etc.

Compare that to any regular old language, where people live their whole lives with it in functionally complete societies.

--em
[ Parent ]

duh-uh (none / 0) (#322)
by donh1942 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:41:42 PM EST

Compare that to any regular old language, where people live their whole lives with it in functionally complete societies.

Hmmm? It was my understanding that there are thousands of "regular old languages" currently extant (well, more or less ...) for which it is impossible to do this (and experts are tearing their hair out over what's going to happen to these declining tongues in the next half century).

Meanwhile, I use Esperanto every day, both at home and at work.


-- Don Harlow http://www.webcom.com/~donh/don/don.html
[ Parent ]

Linguistic basis (4.00 / 1) (#347)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:30:08 PM EST

/Actually, as a constructed language, Esperanto has a "correct" form./

No it doesn't. Its speakers think it does, and they think it is specified in their grammars, but it just can't, simply because it lacks a real community.


There are tens of international and national encounters every year, several with more than a hundred participants, uncounted local clubs meeting regularly round the year, tens of magazines, hundreds of books, quite a few websites, a number of radio stations, etc.

Compare that to any regular old language, where people live their whole lives with it in functionally complete societies.


You are claiming that the community limitations imply that Esperanto does not have correct forms. Please explain the linguistic basis for this claim.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
Easy. (3.00 / 2) (#348)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:48:37 PM EST

You are claiming that the community limitations imply that Esperanto does not have correct forms. Please explain the linguistic basis for this claim.

The whole notion of "speech community" in sociolinguistic theory.

--em
[ Parent ]

How funny (none / 0) (#373)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:54:36 PM EST

Either your imaginative theories are wrong or reality is wrong.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
Is it just me... (4.00 / 12) (#30)
by frankwork on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:57:33 PM EST

...or do all words in Esperanto look like the name of a piece of furniture from IKEA?



All IKEA furniture.. (4.00 / 1) (#141)
by alfadir on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:54:17 AM EST

.. are named in Swedish.

Some furniture are named after places in Sweden, some after what it actually is, using the swedish word and at last you have normal names like Billy which is a famous bookshelf. (If there exists such a thing as a famous bookshelf).

As a swede I've had lots of fun listening to people trying to pronounce the words correctly, in the US, in France and in Germany.



[ Parent ]
*yawn* (2.67 / 34) (#31)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:01:24 PM EST

Esperanto is the typical product of the dilettantish language hobbyist. Its proponents are typically sorely undereducated in linguistics, but know enough impressive sounding words to fool the layperson. The "grammars" are typically full of holes.

Esperanto can be learned many times faster than most natural languages. To prove this point, in the scope of this article, I will teach you a whole new language.

Yeah, right. A hint: there is more to languages than a vocabulary and rules for word-formation. A whole lot more.

No Esperanto lesson is complete without going into some of the history of the language.

"No Esperanto lesson can start in any way other than the personality cult of this mediocre language hobbyist."

Then one day the idea struck him: what if there was an easy-to-learn language that people could learn to bridge between two languages? It wasn't a unique idea; there were attempts to do the same before and since.

And people do it spontaneously all the time, obviating the need for an oculist cum-language kibitzer to propose to save the world.

Today, Esperanto is used by about 2 million people.

That's a really optimistic estimate. And still one less than three times as small as the number of speakers of, say, Haitian (which has simpler grammar than Esperanto).

Here's where the fun starts, and the language really starts to boom. Because Esperanto is an "agglutinative" language, you can glue words together to create new words. English is agglutinative as well, but not to the extent that Esperanto is.

Congratulations. You've taken the term "agglutinative", a technical term from linguistics, and completely misapplied it.

You mean to say that Esperanto has more derivational morphology than English, and that it is, somehow, regular. Which just shows that you don't understand morphology. Then again, you claim that you can teach a language in 10 mins, so what else did we expect from you.

--em

Hobbyists. (4.00 / 9) (#43)
by ucblockhead on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:45:26 PM EST

Yeah, and the guys playing chess in the park can't beat Kasparov and toy rockets can't launch interplanetary probes.

You must be lots of fun at parties, telling the hostess that her kid's drawings don't match Manet.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

*yawn* (2.85 / 14) (#49)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:53:53 PM EST

Yeah, and the guys playing chess in the park can't beat Kasparov and toy rockets can't launch interplanetary probes.

Yeah, but chess is just a game, toy rockets are toys, none is intended to bring world peace or whatever.

You must be lots of fun at parties, telling the hostess that her kid's drawings don't match Manet.

I don't think I've ever been told at a party that the hostess' kid's drawing is a revolutionary accomplishment.

I think it is *you* who needs a sense of perspective here, rather than me. Please point that finger at yourself (which is, BTW, the first person pronoun in most sign languages).

--em
[ Parent ]

Methinks... (3.66 / 3) (#60)
by kphrak on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:26:18 PM EST

...the overly intellectual doth criticize too much.

Really, what's the harm in this article? Granted, I think Esperanto is kind of a silly language, and certainly not the answer for world peace, but there is no need to ream him so. Perhaps I'm a bit off on this, but you really need to lighten up. This is just an introduction and all the "Learn in 10 minutes!" talk is kind of tongue-in-cheek.

He's a hobbyist; so what? He's enthusiastic. He may not know much, but he doesn't have to. I see no attack on his lesson; just on his background....plus a lot of throw-away criticism of Esperanto in general. Your comment comes across as sour grapes.

I'm sorry to have to say this, but you now officially suck. Your "intellectual" blustering gets a 2. His article gets a +1FP.


Describe yourself in your sig!
American computer programmer, living in Portland, OR.


[ Parent ]
I think E M's point might be (3.50 / 4) (#132)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:36:04 AM EST

Something along the lines of "your claims for the language are ignorant and cocky; learn a real language, chump, like Navajo or Haitian or Finnish or Twi or Tagalog, and put some colour in your cheeks."

Since that was my gut reaction, too, I fell a certain amount of sympathy for EM. Look, Esperantists claim to have an international language, not a pointless hobby, and any claim made ought to be refuted if it doesn't hold water.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

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[ Parent ]

Fun is not pointless (2.33 / 3) (#165)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:18:43 AM EST

It may be a hobby but it's certainly not pointless, we have loads of fun. Having fun is not pointless.

your claims for the language are ignorant and cocky

Some claims are obviously tongue-in-cheek, like claiming that you'll learn a whole language in a few minutes. Can you point to a serious claim in this article that is ignorant and cocky?

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

here you go (4.00 / 6) (#172)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:01:36 AM EST

Esperanto can be learned many times faster than most natural languages.

Esperanto is an "agglutinative" language.

These two sum it up. Esperanto is not intrinsically easy to learn. Most of its ease-of-learning features are incredibly parochial; they are of use, if at all, only to people who speak certain of the Indo-European languages. I am satisfied with the evidence provided by linguists here and elsewhere demnstrating that people without an I-E language as a first language derive no special benefits from the 'regularity' of Esperanto.

As for the purported agglutinativity of Esperanto, this claim is symptomatic of the willful ignorance of many Esperantistos with regard to the developed science of linguistics. In fact, there are important factors in laguage design that Zamenhof did not take into account; from the evidence, I would say that he missed stuff left and right. So, Esperantists don't want to learn what linguistics has to teach; the movement today is therefore fundamentally cocky. Esperantists aren't aware of many salient principles of language; they are ignorant. QED, and while Esperanto is certainly as valid a hobby as nose-picking or video games, it is not clear that it is much more noble.

Like I said - learn a real language. In a matter such as choosing a language to learn, one hopes you'd take a higher road than the one of least resistance.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Agglutination (3.00 / 3) (#243)
by Yekrats on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:08:04 PM EST

Mind you, IANAL (I am not a linguist) but I thought my stating that Eo was agglutinative was accurate. Maybe I misunderstand agglutination linguisticly speaking. Please, help me understand.

Just to be sure, I just looked up agglutination on m-w.com, and here's its definition (#3):


3 : the formation of derivational or inflectional words by putting together constituents of which each expresses a single definite meaning

If the Merriam-Webster definition is accurate, how is Esperanto not agglutinative? This is a hobby to me, so if you could enlighten me, I'd appreciate it. You sound like you know quite a bit more about the nature of agglutination than I do.

-- Yekrats

[ Parent ]

Look (5.00 / 1) (#246)
by bc on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:23:51 PM EST

Here, esperanto is only half heartedly agglunitive, in as much as it is at all.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the link... (3.00 / 2) (#254)
by Yekrats on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:01:41 PM EST

...but the linked article doesn't say that Esperanto is not agglutinative. It just says that it's not as agglutinative than some other languages, such as Turkish. The example it gives (for "tea-pot-cosy collectors' club-house") is simply ludicrous. The author, while trying to diss Eo, even argues that being less agglutinative is easier for people to learn, thus contradicting himself.

Maybe his point (and perhaps yours) is, either a language should be completely agglutinative or completely isolating. I shouldn't claim Esperanto is agglutinative, unless it's at least as much so as highly-agglutinative language.

Isn't there any middle ground? I wanted to demonstrate in the article that Eo allows users to piece together words to create new words. I think that aspect of the language is fun, and when I learned that, my vocabulary really started to boom.

I've yet to be convinced that it isn't at least somewhat agglutinative, and I think the language is the better for it. Do you have anything else to convince me otherwise? That "Learn Not to Speak Esperanto" gets linked to often, and I've read it, and it doesn't really impress me. In my opinion, it's ranty, single-minded, and contradictory.
-- Yekrats


[ Parent ]

Agglutination (4.40 / 5) (#275)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:29:27 PM EST

..but the linked article doesn't say that Esperanto is not agglutinative. It just says that it's not as agglutinative than some other languages, such as Turkish.

Because terms like "agglutinative", "fusional" and "isolating" are not yes/no categories, but rather typological archetypes that languages approach to different degrees-- they are groundplans that languages can use to organize their grammars. And they are not just about your rules of word formation-- these archetypes also have to do with syntax.

A prototypical agglutinative language like Turkish or Swahili will have TONS more inflectional morphology than Esperanto, and the morphemes will be fairly easily segmentable (i.e. you can "cut them up" into little pieces with just one function straightforwardly). The key to being a good example of an agglutinative language isn't just the way you join your morphemes, it's also the fact that you use them for most of the grammatical constructions.

The prototypical fusional language is like Latin or German, it doesn't have a lot of inflectional morphemes, and most won't be segmentable at all. And a not as many grammatical constructions are done with morphology, but rather with syntax.

Isolating languages ideally have no inflectional morphology at all, and lots of function words. E.g. Chinese, almost anything South East Asia, creoles.

Languages fall in all sorts of in-between points relative to these categories. Tibeto-Burman languages in the Himalayas or native American languages like Cree, have a lot of morphemes, which are segmentable but not straightforwardly: they involve a lot of contextual alternations (e.g. the way a morpheme looks will depend very much on which morphemes surround it, a kind of mild fusion). The syntax is very much of the agglutinative kind, though-- these languages have enormously complex verbs. Capeverdean Creole, while still looking much like your typical isolating creole language, has morphological number, gender, tense and passive; there are 2 inflectional classes for verbs, depending on whether they have a different stem for inflected forms.

Esperanto, like a typical fusional language, has very few inflectional morphemes per word, but they are easily segmentable like in an agglutinative language. The amount of grammatical categories expressed by morphology is small, like in fusional languages. Overall it resembles fusional languages more than anything, because the important thing is how the grammar works overall, and Esperanto's grammar was copied from typical fusional languages.

(Note: the correlation between on the one hand agglutination and having tons of morphemes per word, and on the other fusion and having few is far from accidental. Having a lot of morphemes means that inflectional paradigms get very large, and thus they could only be learned if they are easily segmentable. The languages with the larges paradigm, e.g. some Daghestani languages which have over a million forms for some verbs, can hardly be anything but agglutinative; you can't memorize a list of a million items for just one verb.)

--em
[ Parent ]

Thank you. (4.00 / 1) (#279)
by Yekrats on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:41:48 PM EST

That was insightful.
-- Yekrats

[ Parent ]
it's posts like em's above (2.00 / 1) (#283)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:50:47 PM EST

That make me realise that I am not a linguist manqué. I never even had the potential to be a manqué.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Confusing definitions of "agglutinative" (4.00 / 2) (#328)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:59:00 PM EST

Wow, insightful explanation instead of flamebait. That was a positive change. Thanks. Keep it up.

It is hardly surprising that people who are not linguists conclude that Esperanto is agglutinative if you look at these definitions:

LinguaLinks: What is an agglutinative language?
LinguaLinks: What is a fusional language?

Wikipedia: Agglutinative language
Wikipedia: Analytic language
Wikipedia: Inflected language

Looking at those explanations you can hardly conclude anything else.

Looking at this analysis I get the impression that the correct term instead of "agglutinative" would be "compositional" or "synthesizing". However I'm just guessing how to translate the Esperanto terms "kompozicia" and "sinteza" to English.

So maybe if we can just substitute all the instances of "agglutinative" with "compositional" (or whatever) we can then get back on track and discuss the intended subject.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

There's a simple issue at stake. (none / 0) (#352)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:16:29 PM EST

Calling a language "agglutinative", "isolating" or "fusional" is simply a poor substitute for describing the interplay of syntax and morphology in the grammar of a language. The terms are suggestive because they are attached to well known languages, but don't really tell you all that much. They are like signposts in a map of how languages in general can look like, attached to textbook examples. The texbook examples are typically what I listed.

Short explanations of the difference don't ever get this point across. They tend to make it look like this is a theoretically important distinction, when in fact it's just a descriptive device that linguists have found convenient.

So maybe if we can just substitute all the instances of "agglutinative" with "compositional" (or whatever) we can then get back on track and discuss the intended subject.

"Compositional" in semantics means that the meaning of the whole is a function of the meaning of the parts and their mode of combination. The one way the term is typically used when talking about morphology is in the consensus that morphology, as opposed to syntax, is typically (though not exclusively) noncompositional.

--em
[ Parent ]

Man of Straw to the rescue! (2.00 / 3) (#247)
by synaesthesia on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:30:03 PM EST

Esperanto can be learned many times faster than most natural languages.
Esperanto is not intrinsically easy to learn.

And other languages are not instrinsically easy to learn either. Nor, indeed, did Yekrats even claim that it could be learned many times faster than any natural language! So, given that the Indo-European family of languages is the most widely-spoken in the world, and also given your own argument... what is your objection to the claim again?



Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
Open mouth, insert foot. (3.00 / 3) (#270)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:49:27 PM EST

Nor, indeed, did Yekrats even claim that it could be learned many times faster than any natural language!

So I guess all languages can be learned in 10 minutes.

--em
[ Parent ]

Serves me right for using an ambiguous language... (none / 0) (#315)
by synaesthesia on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:05:12 PM EST

...I was pointing out that Yekrats didn't claim for any language (i.e., all languages); just for most languages.

So, again... what is your objection to the claim?

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

Esperanto is not fundamentally easy (none / 0) (#346)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:25:01 PM EST

Despite the intentions of its inventor and the claims of its zealous advocates.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

The question is not whether or not it is easy... (none / 0) (#394)
by synaesthesia on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 05:55:12 AM EST

...it is whether or not it is easier.

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
blah (none / 0) (#416)
by adequate nathan on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 01:05:26 PM EST

Ok, it's not fundamentally easier either.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Proof by assertion! (none / 0) (#417)
by synaesthesia on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 01:07:54 PM EST

Ten out of ten, and a gold star to boot.

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
how about (none / 0) (#419)
by adequate nathan on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 01:11:48 PM EST

proof by proof?

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#423)
by synaesthesia on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 02:26:55 PM EST

It's worth a try, but I think it'll amount to the same.

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
Yet another troll bite for the benefit of truth (none / 0) (#391)
by QuickFox on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 05:20:49 AM EST

Esperanto can be learned many times faster than most natural languages.

This may be cocky but it's certainly not ignorant, it's based on the experience of thousands of people and is confirmed again each time someone learns Esperanto.

Generally, if you learn a language that is similar to a language that you already know, then you will learn the language faster than you'd learn Esperanto. If you learn a language that is not similar to any language that you already know, then learning Esperanto is considerably faster. Since this depends on how similar the languages are, and many other factors, the statement is necessarily a simplification. It's intended to be read with common sense and without making wildly exaggerated assumptions about what we mean.

Esperanto is not intrinsically easy to learn.

What do you base this claim on? As I said, the claim that Esperanto is considerably easier than most other languages is based on the experience of thousands of people. To me your claim looks like a wild guess.

Of course any language is difficult and a lot of work, including Esperanto, but we're talking about what it's like compared to other languages. Or are you talking about something else?

I am satisfied with the evidence provided by linguists here and elsewhere demnstrating that people without an I-E language as a first language derive no special benefits from the 'regularity' of Esperanto.

This is contrary to the experience of thousands of Asians learning Esperanto. Asians have to work harder than Europeans to learn Esperanto. But when Asians compare learning either Esperanto or English, they find that, for them, learning Esperanto is far easier than learning English.

Esperanto is an "agglutinative" language.

This is ignorant but hardly cocky. The word is wrong, replace it with "compositional", that's all.

This is not the author Yekrats's fault. Several sources claim that Esperanto is agglutinative, and it conforms with definitions found here. Many Esperantists are not theoreticians, we just use the language. We can only go so far in checking that a word seems right according to available sources. Just change the word, get back on track, and move on.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Since true words don't work, let's try numbers. (4.00 / 3) (#448)
by la princesa on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 09:05:42 PM EST

You claim thousands find Esperanto easier to learn as a language.  Ok, fine.  Millions upon millions do not.  There is a reason that very few people speak Esperanto relative to other languages (even Polish, which it is mainly derived from.  You gunna tell me Polish is easier for Asians than English or Spanish?  Not bleeding likely, bub.), and the reason is that it is a silly made-up language that is less linguistically sound than the pidgins and creoles that people cobble together to negotiate trade or communicate with parents (many deaf children in foreign countries do the latter.)  

Now if people just randomly throwing shit together are following the textbook ling structures better than this lovingly handcrafted masterwork you like to call Esperanto, the problem with this 'language' lies not with the billions who wisely don't speak it.  It lies with the ignorant people who insist that their madness is the only proper method.  Linguists, honey, wander out among ACTUAL PEOPLE when they document these 'structures' and 'theories' and 'rules' that you claim are made-up nonsense.  They are simply notations of the speech of millions of people over decades and centuries.  You gunna tell me one crackpot knows better than a billion how to communicate when his language's charms cannot even reveal themselves to a decent-sized audience?  

If Esperanto were really universally simple, it would have no problem picking up speakers to use it as an inbetween tongue.  But it's not.  Accept that it's just a European toy, a mockery of genuine language, and stop denying reality and the evidence of billions of other voices speaking real languages that are more beautiful and will be around long after the fetish of Esperanto and its ilk has faded happily into nothingness.    

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]

Ah, sweet Princess, at last we meet... (4.00 / 1) (#457)
by QuickFox on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 07:50:23 AM EST

...and this is it?

I've noticed your work occasionally, so I thought that someday our roads might cross at this site, and then surely an interesting exchange would ensue.

But this? Esperanto derived mainly from Polish? People who insist that their madness is the only proper method?

This isn't the usual fine quality of your work!

Forgive me, sweet lady, but if this is what we have for discussion today, then I suggest that we let this encounter fall into merciful oblivion, in hopes of a happier encounter on a future occasion.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

A pity truth is so dull for you. (nt) (none / 0) (#497)
by la princesa on Sat Sep 21, 2002 at 02:17:24 PM EST



___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]
1 < 1/3 (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by chbm on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:29:35 PM EST

one less than three times as small
You sound like someone bad at Maths or just trying to be a prick.

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
[ Parent ]
The funny thing is that... (4.33 / 3) (#63)
by the on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:33:01 PM EST

...Esperanto itself undergoes creolization and that the few tortured kids in the world who speak it natively do all sorts of irregular things with the language. There is a strange myth that a language is easier because it's more regular. And yet every natural language is full of irregularities because people, ordinary speakers ranging from hunter-gatherers to software engineers, found it convenient to put them there.

Still, I think you're a little harsh on what is essentially a bunch of harmless hobbyists.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]

You're trying too hard (1.00 / 1) (#122)
by Josh A on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:39:54 AM EST

You post is very convincing: it has convinced me that you are sure your interpretation is correct.

Unfortunately, your post isn't very convincing: You've said more about yourself than you've said about the article.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
diverse (3.00 / 1) (#130)
by parasite on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:30:32 AM EST

>>Today, Esperanto is used by about 2 million people.

> That's a really optimistic estimate. And still one less than three times as small as the number of speakers
> of, say, Haitian (which has simpler grammar than Esperanto).

I must say that is a really dumb-assed thing to say. I'm learning Mandarin right now, does that mean
I'll be able to communicate with a 6th of the world's population ? (Don't get smart with me -- I refer
to whatever percentage of China's population can function reasonably with Mandarin). Well, technically,
yes. But is that at all relevant ? No! Because most of them didn't LEARN whatever Mandarin they know
for the sole purpose of communicating with a diverse group of foreigners. They learned it because they
were born into it, or needed it for school. On the other hand -- people who learned Esperanto did so
volitionally and (presumably) for the express purpose of communicating with a diverse crowd. That means
2 million adventurour souls...

Really, how many Haitians do you reckon I've run across in my life ? I'll bet any money that I could
make a LOT more friends in diverse places knowing Esperanto than any other language with a small
population of speakers.

[ Parent ]

Aw, diddums! (1.00 / 2) (#156)
by synaesthesia on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:11:58 AM EST

Poor Mr. Martínez has spent so much of his life learning languages, he feels cheated that other people can come along and communicate with one another so easily.

I suspect that Zamenhof knew a little bit more about linguistics than you...


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

Bah. (2.33 / 3) (#223)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:29:22 AM EST

Poor Mr. Martínez has spent so much of his life learning languages, he feels cheated that other people can come along and communicate with one another so easily.

Learning Esperanto is a comparatively difficult way for people to communicate when they don't share a language. As a matter of fact people who don't share a language communicate all the time, by a variety of means-- gestures is a common one, and people do eventually invent pidgins when faced with a constant need for such communication. In fact, the ease with which people communicate is one of my main research interests, far from being something that annoys me, and you're an idiot.

--em
[ Parent ]

Fair enough... (1.00 / 3) (#244)
by synaesthesia on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:10:28 PM EST

Your entire reply was a fabrication, though, apart from the ad hominem attack.


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
really communicating? (none / 0) (#412)
by amuzulo on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 10:51:56 AM EST

Ok, so I'm on an airplane surrounded by two people who speak just Portuguese. My Portuguese sucks. I can maybe communicate that I'm from the states and work with computers. I can find out what city he's from and what he does for a living. If I'm resourceful enough, I might could even find out what religion he believes.

But this kind of communication is so artificial. It reminds me of people who communicate wearing headphones through translators. Now, that's natural...

[ Parent ]

6 years? (3.60 / 5) (#71)
by mindstrm on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:10:44 PM EST

If you spent 6 years studying both Spanish & French, then obviously you are really, really thick-headed if you didn't get anything out of it.

Yes, esperenato is well structured.
So is Spanish. Not quite as much, but certainly more regular than english.

Face it. Espereanto is NOT the universal language. English, at the moment, economically speaking,is the CLOSEST thing we have to a universal language, but that will change over time.

The reason many americans/canadians don't speak 2 languages is because they don't NEED to. They don't come into contact with others with whom they require such language.

go live in a spanish speaking country for a few months, while studying spanish.. you will learn a LOT, FAST, because you have to.

Learning esperanto might be a fun intellectual exercise, but it's no more than that. You will do far better learning Spanish, or German, or Cantonese.

I'd rather learn Latin (4.00 / 1) (#101)
by blisspix on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:36:34 PM EST

at least one could gain some insights which would be useful in one's use of English.

I spent a few years studying Italian, and at university too. Taught me more about English language structure than grammar classes in high school ever did.

[ Parent ]

Unfair comments (5.00 / 1) (#112)
by hugues on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:42:32 PM EST

He didn't say that he spent 6 years full time learning French and Spanish. I learned German for 11 years at school and I still can't speak it fluently. It all depends on how you learned it. If you go to a country where the language is required then you are guaranteed to learn it well and fast.If you learn it in a school setting as an adult then it requires dedication to get results and still nothing is guaranteed. A lot of Canadian speak both French and English quite well. Learning a new language is fun, esperanto is probably the easiest new language to learn and as the article shows, even this easy step has some benefits, such as a better understanding of grammatical structures, access to new literature and facilities, access to a new way of reasoning. I think it's too bad when people say `thank God I don't have to learn another language because I speak English'. They don't know what they are missing out on. If you can read Spanish you can read Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the text, and that's a treat. If you can read German then you can read Kant and really understand what he meant by `das Ding an sich'. Being able to read Chinese is guaranteed to boost your confidence. Generally learning and using another language will open your mind. Esperanto is just a step to see if that's something you'll enjoy.

[ Parent ]
to be fair (3.50 / 2) (#131)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:31:41 AM EST

At least the poor sap isn't learning Klingon.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

The scary thing is... (3.75 / 4) (#143)
by SvnLyrBrto on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:21:14 AM EST

... that Klingon is probably more useful a language than esperanto.

I haven't found exact statistics yet, but I'd be willing to bet good money that there are more Star Trek nuts out there who have taken it upon themselves to learn Klingon, than there are esperanto nuts who have taken it upon themselves to... well... learn esperanto.

cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

while I see your point (4.00 / 3) (#150)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:32:16 AM EST

The entire question is like comparing garbage to trash.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Trash is much better, actually. (3.50 / 2) (#228)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:56:15 AM EST

"Trash" is a lifestyle and an artistic movement, wheras "garbage" is simply disposed waste.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

under what value scheme (3.00 / 2) (#236)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:37:13 PM EST

Are you imposing your coercive value judgments of "good" and "bad?"

On a related topic, which of Klingon or Esperanto are you comparing to garbage?

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Re: (3.00 / 2) (#260)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:16:44 PM EST

It's not a "value scheme", simply an aesthetic statement. "Trash" is better because it's more "artistic", that is all.

P.S. This wasn't meant to tie into the Klingon vs. Esperanto debate, I simply wanted to mention that "trash" is much more than the stuff they put in the dumpster.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

circular reasoning? (3.00 / 2) (#282)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:46:48 PM EST

"Trash" is more artistic because it is better, and better because it is more artistic?

I actually agree with you, as far as that goes.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Yeah. (none / 0) (#408)
by tkatchev on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 10:24:17 AM EST

That's a good way to put it.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

one last thing (5.00 / 2) (#429)
by adequate nathan on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 03:09:50 PM EST

I don't know about you, but I hear the trolls whispering as I fall asleep.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Yeah right (4.00 / 2) (#153)
by borderline on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:58:43 AM EST

In all the languages I've learned, I've always felt there was a severe lack of synonyms for "phaser".

[ Parent ]
Esperanto to the rescue! (3.66 / 3) (#183)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:43:24 AM EST

Its agglutinative grammar permits you to write "shiny shooty thing," "shooty shiny thing," "thing of shiny shootiness," and "anal nerd-toy" in such a way that they're all equivalent in meaning (albeit, somehow still different words.)

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

But... (n/t) (3.50 / 4) (#72)
by Skywise on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:13:17 PM EST

If I learn Esperanto, I'll no longer be allowed to be an American...

So where's the problem? (nt) (2.50 / 2) (#82)
by Anoymous 22666 on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:19:58 PM EST


I just farted... And I blame the fiction section. - Psycho Les


[ Parent ]
I *KNEW* Somebody was going to say that! (n/t) (none / 0) (#104)
by Skywise on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:47:55 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Esperanto is to Language (4.37 / 8) (#75)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:18:48 PM EST

What Modula II is to computer science.

Theory without the benefit of reality.


--
Greetings, new user. Please replace this text with a witty or insightful saying before using this software.


oh that is (5.00 / 5) (#78)
by johnny on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:37:32 PM EST

too cruel! For an article written with such innocent goodwill!

You're so correct that I nearly laughed my cofee out my nose when I read your post, but still cruel nevertheless. . .

yr frn,
jrs
Get your free download of prizewinning novels Acts of the Apostles and Cheap Complex Devices.
[ Parent ]

Your own arguments (2.33 / 9) (#76)
by Phillip Asheo on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:19:42 PM EST

Are NULLIFIED by the fact that you posted this in ENGLISH.

Oh, the irony, it's worthy of the gone, but not forgotten adequacy.org

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long

Great Point (5.00 / 3) (#79)
by kiltedtaco on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:58:16 PM EST

I feel ashamed for even haveing to write this, but,
"How the fuck do you want to teach someone another language(in 10 minutes), without speaking a language they speak?"

[ Parent ]
adequacy.org (none / 0) (#83)
by twi on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:31:38 PM EST

Argh! What happened to it ?!?

[ Parent ]
adequacy (5.00 / 1) (#266)
by ucblockhead on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:41:12 PM EST

No one would pay to keep it running.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
(OT) Adequacy gone? (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by QuickFox on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:37:15 PM EST

the gone, but not forgotten adequacy.org

Oh my God, it's gone! Gone! Why, oh why?

Adequacy was necessary. It performed a huge service to humanity. It was a honeypot, it attracted obsessive trollers. Now they'll all infest regular sites instead.

To make it worse, if you wait a while at Adequacy, now it sends you to Kuro5hin. To us! Why couldn't they send to slashdot instead? At slashdot a few thousand additional trollers wouldn't matter at all, in fact many of them would be greatly appreciated, as many Adequacy trollers were miles above the average slashdot trollers in cleverness and originality.

Please tell me Adequacy will be back soon! Please!

No. Don't tell me anything. It wouldn't make any difference. No matter what you say I won't believe you. No person in his right mind believes an Adequacy troller.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

The word is "troll" (2.50 / 2) (#119)
by Joe Groff on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:27:22 AM EST

Not "troller". Thank you.
--
How long must I travel on
to be just where you are?

[ Parent ]
Oh really? (4.50 / 2) (#147)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:46:42 AM EST

Do you expect me to believe you? I'm sure you're just another Adequacy troller. I'm not in my left mind today.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
Sir, (none / 0) (#229)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:58:15 AM EST

You are a pleasure to communicate to. Keep up the good work, and you're sure to be a hit with the little ladies.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

What a great pleasure (none / 0) (#393)
by QuickFox on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 05:53:38 AM EST

Thank you so much and the same to you, good sir. Receiving such compliments is a pleasure indeed.

Of course I don't believe a single word of what you say since you're undoubtedly yet another Adequacy troller. What you say means nothing at all to me. It cannot influence me in any way whatsoever. I am completely indifferent. But it's a great joy and pleasure anyway.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Better get some ear plugs. (5.00 / 2) (#410)
by tkatchev on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 10:34:33 AM EST

There are trolls all around you. Do you hear them whispering when you fall asleep?

P.S. Does it hurt to live with a robotic mind?

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Trolls? What trolls? (2.00 / 2) (#455)
by QuickFox on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 07:45:36 AM EST

Haven't you noticed? There are at least five posters here who are not trolling. At least five. Maybe even less!

So, good sir, thank you for your kind concern for me, but do not worry, I am okay so far.

If I should put all these facts about Esperanto in an article it would become unbearably dull. The troll wrestling adds some entertainment value. Remember, for each poster there are hundreds of people who only read. Of course it's them I write for. The trolls are useful for undullification purposes.

And it turns out that troll wrestling is fun in its own right, so much fun I get carried away. Trolls act and react in curious ways.

That said, of course I'd prefer real discussion. This page is now reminiscent of Adequacy. If Kuro5hin should go the way of Adequacy, then unavoidably it will go the whole way, and for the same reason. Fundraising may work for a fine site such as was Kuro5hin until very recently, but who would pay for this crap?

So do not be concerned for me, good sir. Instead shed a tear for Kuro5hin, soon to be gone, soon to be sorely missed.

Choose your steps wisely.

Have more fun.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Use the force, d00d. (3.66 / 3) (#471)
by tkatchev on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 04:19:54 PM EST

Have you explored your inner child? There is a little "troll" inside all of us; perhaps you may not realize it, but with a bit of luck and patience, you, too, might be able to weild amazing powers of deception magic.

We believe in you. It is now time to take that step and make your first flight!

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Loftier goals (2.00 / 1) (#496)
by QuickFox on Sat Sep 21, 2002 at 03:06:46 AM EST

Thank you for your faith, sir, but I have loftier goals than that. One day I shall found a High Academy of Wizards and Elves, for instruction and training in the Noble Arts and Techniques of Untrolling and Undeception.

Exploration will be needed and training must be endured before this can come to pass. Just to mention one example of the obstacles involved, this must not victimize mortals, but trolls will seek conflict and gladly victimize mortals. Anything where the Academy contributes to victimizing mortals must be deemed a sad failure.

At our portal of entrance shall be written a promise: Protectors and Friends of Samwise Gamgee. Maybe you know that Sam, good friend of Frodo, is not very wise in the ways of the world, nor is he quick of thought. Sam is easily bewildered. But he's a good man, he's a very good man indeed. Samwise Gamgee should not be accosted by trolls.

Our task shall be to protect the Sams of the world. We shall try to ensure, as far as is possible, that mortals can live their lives undisturbed, and that truth shall reign in their world.

Only mere trolls can take pride in bewildering the easily bewildered Samwise Gamgee. The Academy can take an entirely different pride in its work. One day you yourself, sir, might find that this is a worthy challenge for someone of your caliber.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
another language you can learn quickly: toki pona (4.00 / 2) (#81)
by pin0cchio on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:13:26 PM EST

If you're intrigued by the idea of a language with a simple grammar that can be learned rather quickly, you might also want to check out toki pona, which has 120 words and few inflections. It seems to be a pidgin based largely on English and Esperanto. Warning: the toki pona web site has some mild Daoist propaganda on it.


lj65
There are better options out there... (2.50 / 6) (#84)
by faustus on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:35:23 PM EST

The best of course for english practioners and learners would be to spell everything phonetically.

"Spelling" as a rigid set of "rules", is just reflective of past, blind aligiances, to an imposed social hierarchy, like that of a monarchy for example. We follow the rules of society because we are "supposed to", not because they are useful. Have you ever tried to spell a word like "commission", and been incredibily annoyed by not knowing how many "s's" or "m's" it takes. What's wrong with "comishion"?
Ultimately, in this day and age, of boundless freedom and personal individuality, I really don't see the reasons to adhere to the free-will-sapping construct of "spelling".

Since this phonetic spelling dream of mine will probably never materialize, I urge everyone to press genius linguists like Noam Chomsky, and Larry Wall to drop their poltical axe griding agendas, and develop something useful for once.

You're right, it is an impossible dream. (4.75 / 4) (#92)
by bc on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:34:39 PM EST

Not everybody speaks with the same accent, or pronounces words identically, you see. In fact, it varies a shitload, so any dreams of enforcing one arbitrary system of phonetic spelling, like, say, standard USian english as spoken in upper NY state, or standard english as spoken in the west end of London, is doomed to failure because nobody else talks that way. It is impossible for you to get a universal phonetic spelling that's phonetic for everyone, or even for just a small proportion of people.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]
Speak to be understood, write to be read (4.60 / 5) (#94)
by zakalwe on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:45:24 PM EST

Written language favours ease of reading and understanding over ease of writing, and there is a very good reason for this.  You only need to learn how to say or write something once, but everyone reading or listening to you must individually understand what you say every time you say it, and consistent and unambiguous pronunciations and spellings are one of the most important ways of assisting your readers.

I can instantly recognise words spelt in the way I'm used to, but would have to read more carefully, or even sound out the words if everyone wrote them in their own individual way.  In many cases, I'd need to know the writers accent just to interpret their words.  Homonyms would present even more problems.  Thanks to "Free-will-sapping" spelling, a reader coming across an unfamiliar word can instantly find its meaning in a dictionary, but would be at a loss if the writer had decided to use "komishin" for their spelling.  Similarly, tools like Google would be much less effective if you had to consider all possible spellings of the term you wanted.

Spelling is important in communicating with people, because it dramatically assists readers for only a minor effort on the part of the writer.  Its one of the great strengths of the written word that its so accessible to people who might not even be able to make out each others accent.  Phonetic spelling would be a huge step backwards in providing easy communication.

[ Parent ]

Please kill this myth now. (none / 0) (#154)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:59:13 AM EST

genius linguists like Noam Chomsky and Larry Wall

I have yet to see any evidence that Larry Wall has been involved with anything remotely to do with linguistics since the late 70's.

--em
[ Parent ]

Um (none / 0) (#387)
by carbon on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 02:49:17 AM EST

Larry Wall founded Perl, and still has the final say on design choices in the current design of Perl 6. Part of the idea of Perl is that it was designed to be sort of like a spoken langauge; many people use this as a reason to explain why they dislike Perl, but they're missing the point in that this is done extremely lightly, mostly in the form of mnenomic assocation (i.e. when I say [] I mean 'array', when I say {} I mean 'function body' or 'hash'. These apply to bunches of situations), expression ordering preferences (although 'if (!$x) y();' is legal, you can differentiate the normal case of execution from abnormal of not executing by using 'y() unless $x') and so on.

These things are far more programming related then linguistics related, but they do show a linguistic background. That's pretty much "remotely" related by definition.

On the other hand, I dunno about Wall being a genius, much as I admire the guy...


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
F@netik Inglish wud bi unintelijibl (5.00 / 6) (#197)
by IHCOYC on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:02:16 AM EST

Eni @temt tu rait Inglish f@netikli wud ræpidli bik@m unintelijibl tu most for@n@rz.

Thi @dvæntij @v th@ kur@nt meth@d @v Inglish speling iz þæt it riflekz w@rd or@j@nz. W@rdz laik "monarchy" (manarki) @r "commission" (k@mish@n) ar rid@bl æz ritn bik@z þei ar speld laik þ@ Grik @n Lætn rutz þei k@ntein.

Þ@ prabl@m wiþ þ@ kur@nt Inglish speling iz þæt it hæs tu boro fr@m al kaindz of rutz: J@rmænik, French, Lætn, Grik, Itæli@n, @n so forþ. Rait 'm f@netikli ænd þei bik@m @nrek@naiz@bl kwait kwikli.

GraySkull is home to the anima, the all-knowing woman who gives power to the otherwise ineffectual man. -- Jeff Coleman
[ Parent ]

No problems here... (5.00 / 1) (#253)
by Kintanon on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:57:04 PM EST

that was perfectly understandable to me once I determined what sounds your symbols corresponded to. I vote we switch to that, just as soon as I get the extra symbols mapped to my keyboard.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Phonetic English? (none / 0) (#364)
by donh1942 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:13:31 PM EST

The best of course for english practioners and learners would be to spell everything phonetically.

Phonetically by whose standards?

People who speak my brand of English would write (using Esperanto orthography for simplicity) gud(d)ej for "good day".

People who speak Strine (Australian English) would write gdaj.

Which one would be "right"? Both are phonetic, in their various contexts.


-- Don Harlow http://www.webcom.com/~donh/don/don.html
[ Parent ]

Where's the advantage? (4.33 / 3) (#87)
by Delirium on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:45:37 PM EST

By virtue of the fact that we are all reading this English article, I can assume that we all speak English. Thus if I wished to communicate with anyone here, I could so so in English. If we all learned Esperanto, I'd now be able to communicate with the same people I could already communicate with before, plus the (extremely small) contingent of "other people who speak Esperanto." Frankly I think spending my time learning German would have more of an advantage.

Resistance is futile (3.00 / 1) (#102)
by Otto Surly on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:42:28 PM EST

I have this crackpot worldview: there is no such thing as this language or that language; it just happens that people, by way of various personal and cultural habits, often restrict themselves to a small area of the available syntax and vocabulary. If they happen upon a word or syntax that expresses what they mean better, they add it to their working set. Of course, there's feedback in the form of other people adopting or not adopting the word or syntax: if no one else learns to understand you, you're out of luck.

From that viewpoint, Esperanto is simply another source to be borrowed from. While learning it doesn't gain you much (since not too many people speak it), it doesn't cost you much either (since it's way easy to learn, as demonstrated), so you might as well go ahead. Well, if you're me.



--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
My english is a shit (4.00 / 1) (#187)
by Buenaventura Durruti on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:53:13 AM EST

I can read it well enough, but writing is another song... I've desist to wrote articles for kuro5hin because my english is bad. If we've learned EO from school, it'll be a lot of easier for every one to mantain a communication.

I think spending my time learning German would have more of an advantage.

Precisely German? That's sure but you will spent a hundred (or more) times more learning German than learning EO, as German is one of the most dificult languages to learn. Someone (Woody Allen?) says: "Life is too short to learn German".

Why do not learn both? After you've learned EO, you'll learn every other language easier.

Its a matter of choice. If you think its a good idea to have a very easy language to provide intercommunication between people with different native languages, you better doesn't take care about how much people use it: to change the world you must start changing yourself.

[ Parent ]

German is the most difficult? (none / 0) (#203)
by Dephex Twin on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:37:18 AM EST

Try learning Chinese, Japanese, or even Russian.


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
Bah. Those languages are for wimps. (none / 0) (#226)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:45:36 AM EST

Try Finnish. And that's comparatively simple; if you're a Real Man, try Archi.

--em
[ Parent ]

German's difficulty... (none / 0) (#301)
by rodgerd on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:19:21 PM EST

...like any other language, is based on how close your language groups are. Afrikaans is likely a challenge for a Cambodian (where's the tonality!?), but trivial for the Dutch.



[ Parent ]
unless they bitch you down... (none / 0) (#222)
by kipple on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:26:55 AM EST

...for your spelling/grammar/etc as it is common habit over here ;)
--- There are two kind of sysadmins: Paranoids and Losers (adapted from D. Bach)
[ Parent ]
Mistranslation? (4.25 / 4) (#98)
by zakj on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:11:22 PM EST

The green birds spoke. = Parolas la birdoj verdaj.
You said the -as suffix denotes present tense. Was "spoke" just a typo, or am I already confused?

Where were you?.. (none / 0) (#103)
by Yekrats on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:44:40 PM EST

... a few hours ago, when this baby was being edited? :-) (Hanging my head in shame. Hindsight is so 20/20.)

Yes, you're right, it should be "speaks" instead of "spoke." When I was originally writing this, I wrote about past and present tense verbs. Then, I took out the past tense stuff to keep things simple. Dang.

Next story I write, I'll let you check it out first, okay? :-)

-- Yekrats

[ Parent ]

Past-tense (none / 0) (#107)
by zakj on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:55:44 PM EST

I was probably wasting my time watching the damn LIVE! Egypt show, of which about ten minutes were worthwhile.

Are you going to leave me hanging without the past-tense suffix, now? :)



[ Parent ]
-is (none / 0) (#110)
by baniak on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:59:33 PM EST

the suffix for past tense is -is

Parolis la birdoj verdaj.

[ Parent ]

It's <I>-is</I> for past tense... (none / 0) (#111)
by Yekrats on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:00:35 PM EST

And -os for future tense.

Pretty easy.  I probably should have included them in the article.

[ Parent ]

Maybe I am being too strict (4.00 / 1) (#108)
by kholmes on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:55:52 PM EST

But when you say "arbo" how can you pronounce the 'a' as in father? Is "ar" pronounced the same as in "car"?

Its always these little things that trip me up.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.

Use a rolling "r" (none / 0) (#113)
by Dephex Twin on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:51:06 PM EST

And not an American "r".

Seems to work the way I'm pronouncing it.


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

What if you can't roll your "r"s? (5.00 / 1) (#120)
by Verteiron on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:27:50 AM EST

I've never been much good at it. Almost failed Spanish because of it, and I grew up on the border.
--
Prisoners! Seize each other!
[ Parent ]
Try the German r (5.00 / 1) (#135)
by anno1602 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:33:08 AM EST

I'm German and have always found it impossible to roll the r with the tip of the tongue (the Spanish way). Most Germans "gurgle" the r in the back of the throat. That's why you can always tell a (non-Bavarian) German speaking Spanish: His r's wil betray him.

In order to gurgle the r, first try gurgling with some water in the mouth, like with mouthwash. Activate your vocal chords while doing so. Once you got that down, leave out the water and open your mouth only slightly (you can also quit laying back your head). You should be close, then. Note that your Spanish teacher will probably kill you, though.


--
"Where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit." - Murphy
[ Parent ]
See what I mean? (3.33 / 3) (#152)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:56:49 AM EST

But when you say "arbo" how can you pronounce the 'a' as in father? Is "ar" pronounced the same as in "car"? Its always these little things that trip me up.

The followers of the Esperanto cult either just don't have an answer to this sort of questions (more often than not, they hardly understand the question), or even worse, they dismiss them out of hand, with hand-waving claims like "it's an international language, there shouldn't be one correct way of pronouncing it".

The truth is that this sort of thing is indeed important, and interacts with all other sorts of phonological considerations that Esperantists by and large don't even know exist.

And Esperanto anyway has way more phonemes than it needs. Why should a language supposedly designed to be easy need more than 20?

--em
[ Parent ]

a-r-bo :-) (4.00 / 1) (#167)
by kadmos on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:36:07 AM EST

That really depends on how you think the "a" in "father" should be pronounced.

In US English, about the only time that you hear the long Esperanto "a" is in words spelled with "ah" or "ar", such as car as you suggest.  That sound is just the Esperanto "a" (which is actually the same as the long "a" in most Western European languages).

You still need to say the "r" afterwards, but note (as said below) that the "r" is a strong, rolled "r", a bit like a growl!

To say "bo", it's pretty much as you would say such as word in English, but try not to add a "w" to the end like "bow", since "o" and "ow" are not quite the same.


[ Parent ]

pronunciation links (none / 0) (#170)
by kadmos on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:43:24 AM EST

In case I didn't explain myself perfectly well, try reading some of the below links that describe Esperanto pronunciation (some have audio samples to help).  Just remember that each letter has a separate sound, so say each letter separately (a-r-b-o) at first to hear how it sounds, then put them together.

http://www.cursodeesperanto.com.br/en/
http://mindprod.com/esounds.html
http://www.webcom.com/~donh/ecourse/esounds/esounds.html
http://home.wanadoo.nl/~mvgompel/pronunciation_eo_en.html
http://alumni.aitec.edu.au/~bwechner/Documents/Esperanto/FEC_html/Leciono03.html

PS: I haven't tried posting URIs to Kuro5hin before.  Hopefully it works.

[ Parent ]

Auto Format (reposting links; otherwise OT) (none / 0) (#211)
by upsilon on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:48:19 AM EST

Only in auto-format does merely mentioning a URL turn it into a link. If you are using HTML format mode, you have to provide your own <a> tags, and in text format, you can't make links, as far as I know.

http://www.cursodeesperanto.com.br/en/
http://mindprod.com/esounds.html
http://www.webcom.com/~donh/ecourse/esounds/esounds.html
http://home.wanadoo.nl/~mvgompel/pronunciation_eo_en.html
http://alumni.aitec.edu.au/~bwechner/Documents/Esperanto/FEC_html/Leciono03.html

Try Auto Format (as I have done here); you'll probably find it preferable to hand-coding your HTML links every time (and you can always throw in your own HTML if the Auto Format codes aren't sufficient).
--
Once, I was the King of Spain.
[ Parent ]

Links to Esperanto sounds (none / 0) (#360)
by donh1942 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:44:05 PM EST

You can find about a dozen short stories and poems at http://www.esperanto.org/literaturo/RealAudio/ with associated RealAudio files. Enjoy.


-- Don Harlow http://www.webcom.com/~donh/don/don.html
[ Parent ]

Clickable link (none / 0) (#376)
by QuickFox on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 12:22:03 AM EST

You can find about a dozen short stories and poems at http://www.esperanto.org/literaturo/RealAudio/ with associated RealAudio files. Enjoy.

Thanks for the URL. Any URLs that you type in a comment will be automagically converted into clickable links if you just select "Auto Format" between the buttons "Preview" and "Post".

You can also go to your comment settings and select Auto Format as the default, so you don't have to select it for every comment.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Esperanto pronunciation (none / 0) (#363)
by donh1942 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:09:15 PM EST

But when you say "arbo" how can you pronounce the 'a' as in father? Is "ar" pronounced the same as in "car"?

Two problems:

(1) When Esperanto speakers say "one sound, one letter", what they in fact mean is that no sound is associated with more than one letter; but a letter may be associated with a group or range of sounds whose differences, usually the result of interaction with the sounds preceding and following them, are not particularly apparent to the Esperanto-trained ear and which have no semantic or grammatical significance in the language (allophony). So you have a certain latitude for pronunciation, particularly with vowels, five of which are fit into the same spectrum that contains a dozen or more in English. If you pronounce your a before r in Esperanto differently than elsewhere, unless you deviate considerably from the norm nobody will likely notice.

(2) Different variants of English associated somewhat different vowel / diphthong sounds with written vowels, so it's difficult to give a specific rule; better to listen to samples.

In my particular variant of English, the sound of a in father does not significantly differ from that in car.

I pronounce the ar in arbo like the ar in car (with a slight flap added to the r). This seems to work both for me and for those around me.


-- Don Harlow http://www.webcom.com/~donh/don/don.html
[ Parent ]

Ido (4.80 / 5) (#128)
by Shpongle Spore on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:11:54 AM EST

Some people mentioned Ido but without much explanation, and the only link I saw was broken (kurroded?), so here's a link that's working (at the moment at least): <http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/5037/yindex.html>

Ido is a reformed version of Esperanto that makes Epseranto look worse then I think any abstract criticism could. I was going to learn Esperanto but I think now I'll learn Ido instead; it shouldn't be that big of a deal anyway since it looks like it's probably mutually intelligible with Esperanto to the same degree than Spanish and Catalan or Portuguese are, so I can still communicate with those crazy Esperantists if I want to.
__
I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor bar,
drinking 'Mad Dog' margaritas and not caring where you are

It's too bad... (2.25 / 8) (#134)
by aziegler on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:19:02 AM EST

That this made it to the front page, as Esperanto has no value in the real world. (Yes, there are a few folks who are taught E as a native language. But a constructed language like E won't help you in any business situation; frankly, Klinzhai probably has more speakers than E.)

-austin

Disagree (3.25 / 4) (#181)
by Buenaventura Durruti on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:33:38 AM EST

That this made it to the front page, as Esperanto has no value in the real world.

Its in the frontpage because people has found it interesting.

But a constructed language like E won't help you in any business situation

Sex won't help you in any business situation, so the better if you dont learn sex... Fortunatly, life is more than business...

[ Parent ]

It's still disappointing. (3.00 / 2) (#193)
by aziegler on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:32:45 AM EST

I'll go a step further than my statement last time -- you can learn E, but not only will it not help you with business, but it won't help you in social situations (except to perhaps make you stick out as someone who picked up a strange disease) or in -- most importantly -- learning other languages, because real human language is a dirty, messy thing unlike this artifically clean construct.

-austin

[ Parent ]

Well... (5.00 / 1) (#196)
by Rocky on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:46:23 AM EST

> Sex won't help you in any business situation, so the better if you dont learn sex...

It sure will if you're a whore, or if you're in the civil service...

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
[ Parent ]

Esperanto helping in a business situation (none / 0) (#409)
by amuzulo on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 10:25:56 AM EST

But a constructed language like E won't help you in any business situation

Whoa! Watch out throwing around those generalities like that! One exception makes them false. About a week ago, I was offered a job in Germany teaching English because I spoke Esperanto. He figured that if an American were intelligent enough to learn Esperanto, then he would be intelligent enough to teach English...

I would consider that a business situation, would you?

[ Parent ]

Two Esperanto "gotchas" (4.25 / 4) (#136)
by Pseudonym on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:42:08 AM EST

One thing in Esperanto which got me to begin with is that all declined words are naturally a verb, adjective or a noun. Using a different ending does not change this, and it can affect the meaning of the resulting word.

For example, sxoveli, which is naturally a verb, means "to shovel". Sxovelo is not "a shovel". It is "the act of shovelling". (That is, it is the noun of a verb, so the noun refers to the act.) If you want "a shovel", you use the "tool" affix (i.e. shovelilo).

One other gotcha is that place names are inconsistent. Auxstralio is "Australia", but Anglo is "an Englishman". To form "England", you use an affix or a compound word. (In this case, Anglolando, literally "Englishman-land", or Anglujo, literally "container for Englishmen".)



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
country names (none / 0) (#166)
by kadmos on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:23:33 AM EST

The principle behind the country names relates to whether the country is named after the inhabitants or the inhabitants are named after the country.

In most "old world" countries, the country is named after a tribe or race that lives/lived there, for instance England is named after the Angles, so the root is "Angl(o)".

In most "new world" countries, the country was given a name with no connection to the original inhabitants by the new nation or empire that conquered/settled/invaded it, so the current inhabitants are named after the country, for instance Australians are named after Australia, so the root is "Auxstral(io)".

It's also interesting that Esperanto has developed an adjective for persons from the USA, "usono", since "American" can be said to apply to all those from the Americas, including Canadians, Mexicans, and indeed Southern Americans.


[ Parent ]

estadounidense (none / 0) (#177)
by Rasman on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:19:23 AM EST

Spanish has a word for a "person from the United States": estadounidense, although they often just use americano.

It's frustrating that English doesn't have a word like that. This crap they've started on K5: USian annoys the hell out of me.

Even further off topic: Does anyone know why Spanish abbreviates Estados Unidos (United States) as E.E.U.U. ?? Did it start before the European Union (which they abbreviate U.E., of course)??

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
EEUU explanation (none / 0) (#178)
by Rasman on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:24:04 AM EST

I guess I hadn't looked hard enough, 'cause I found it. The reason the letters are doubled is because it's plural! Who knew! I can't really think of a situation when such clarification would be needed, but...

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
You're right (none / 0) (#184)
by Buenaventura Durruti on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:43:49 AM EST

In Spanish we also use words like "gringo" (I think its a term imported from Mexico or Nicaragua) or "yankee" (imported directly from USA, I think they were the North army during USA's independence war). I think in english "Northamerican" can be used to desing "USIans", isn't it? Its not perfect although (Canadians could be offended), but better than American that's even more generic.

[ Parent ]
Not to mention Mexicans. (n/t) (none / 0) (#207)
by Dephex Twin on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:43:00 AM EST




Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
Derogatory (none / 0) (#239)
by Rasman on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:40:12 PM EST

Both "gringo" and "yankee" are kind of derogatory, though, no?

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
Clarification needed (none / 0) (#189)
by Buenaventura Durruti on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:05:50 AM EST

I can't really think of a situation when such clarification would be needed, but...

SSMM = Sus Majestades (The Queen and The King)
SM = Su Majestad (Just The King)

[ Parent ]

Muchas gracias! [nt] (none / 0) (#238)
by Rasman on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:38:45 PM EST



---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
US and EU (none / 0) (#186)
by kadmos on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:47:53 AM EST

I'm not a regular here, so I haven't seen USian before. It sounds like a good idea, but I guess that it will be dismissed as politically correct, and common usage is certainly against it.

As to the acronyms/initialisms of European Union and United States: I expect the acronym of European Union is based on the initials of each word in the Spanish translation, likely to be something like "union europea" (presumably adjectives follow the noun as in French), hence UE; perhaps EEUU denotes the plural form (United States), but I know little Spanish, and certainly couldn't offer advice on how acronyms are formed in that language.



[ Parent ]
Language evolves (none / 0) (#192)
by sab39 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:23:23 AM EST

It's frustrating that English doesn't have a word like that. This crap they've started on K5: USian annoys the hell out of me.

In other words, it's frustrating that English doesn't have a word like that, but anyone actually trying to evolve the language so it does have a word like that should be derided. Unless you believe that language is static (and therefore a "computer" is the word for a person whose job is to perform calculations, and a "mouse" is just a little furry animal) you should be in favor of the coining of words to fill holes in the language, particularly holes that you find "frustrating" yourself.

IMHO, USian is as good a word as any for this particular concept. According to the parent post, the Esperanto word for "USian" is "usono" which sounds like it's almost a direct Esperantization (heh) of "USian".

Stuart.
--
"Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
"Quinze" -- Amélie

[ Parent ]

I think he dislikes it (none / 0) (#212)
by Dephex Twin on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:53:06 AM EST

Because it is ugly and poorly formed.  It's one step away from 1337 5p34k.

What other word is an acronym with an ending added to it?  What is so darn terrible about being called an American?  It's in our name, just like Australia is a continent and a country name.

If you mean someone from Canada or Mexico, say North American... and if you mean someone from Brazil or Chile, say South American.

If you want to refer to both, say North and South American.  After all, the entire land mass isn't called "America".  It's called North America and South America.


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

Pronunciation (none / 0) (#237)
by Rasman on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:37:40 PM EST

How do you say it? Is it pronounced the way you'd say "you esian"? Or is it closer to rhyming with "fusion"?

And as Delphex Twin said, I dislike it "because it is ugly and poorly formed". It's a terrible word. It's not that I'm against change and the evolution of the language; it's that I'm against words that are so unclear how to pronounce and have abnormal capitalization. I used to work at a company called "eMIS". That was a stupid word too, for all the same reasons.

Something like "usono", although seems strange at first only because of its novelty, is actually not so bad. It's pretty easy to pronounce, with the possible "yew-so-no"/"ew-so-no" confusion. It's a much better word. It's the kind of word that we need to catch on if this hole in the language is ever going to be repaired. Personally, the hole doesn't bother me that much, but if other people need a more PC solution, then let's create something better than this "USian" rubbish.

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
Usonian (none / 0) (#289)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:27:52 PM EST

Usono means USA. The word for "USian" (gaahh!) is Usonano (-ano means member, in a vast sense).

But borrowing the Esperanto derivation "Usonano" into English would be strange. Normally you'd borrow the basic form, Usono, and then derive that word as an English word. Thus "USian" (gaahh!) would become Usonian.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Borrowing "Usonia"? (none / 0) (#358)
by donh1942 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:35:49 PM EST

Probably not, since Esperanto apparently originally borrowed the word from English (it was in sometime use in the United States toward the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, and was borrowed into Esperanto around 1904-1906).


-- Don Harlow http://www.webcom.com/~donh/don/don.html
[ Parent ]

Too bad (none / 0) (#372)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:48:52 PM EST

It would have been fun if in the end the hugely widespread language English had borrowed a word from little Esperanto.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
USian (none / 0) (#294)
by Frank Grimes on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:54:58 PM EST

I pronounce USian as "oos-e-an". I don't know if that is normal or not.

[ Parent ]
Pronunciation of "Usono" (none / 0) (#339)
by Pseudonym on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:38:22 PM EST

The "u" is pronounced as in the US "tune", and the "o" as in "no". Stress in Esperanto is always on the penultimate syllable.

So in this case, it's "oo-SON-o", where the "son" syllable is pronounced like the French word for "sound".

Hope this helps.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Missed my point (none / 0) (#390)
by Rasman on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 04:06:15 AM EST

I know how to pronounce the word in Esperanto. I was talking about how the general US population would attempt to say the word in English. There are a lot of children out there in the US public schools that aren't even taught how to "sound out" a novel word phonetically. Incidentally, this is probably why Hooked on Phonics is so popular, because it teaches things the schools aren't but should be.

Unfortunately, English lacks the hard and fast pronunciation rules of German, Spanish, or Esperanto. (Commentator: Watch as Rasman cleverly ties back into the original article...) Unlike in Esperanto, "spelling bees" in English are challenging, though still boring. When designing a new English word, it's important to minimize the possible ways people might attempt to pronounce it. "USian", "Usono", and "Usonian" all leave it pretty wide open.

How about something like "United Statesman"? I see only three problems:
  1. It is too long, but I could imagine most people just saying "statesman". I know this is stealing from another word, but we're all using "computers" aren't we?
  2. Yes, there are other "united states" around the world, but c'mon! Until these other unions of states have the biggest economy or military, I think they are the ones that should have to put "of whatever" after their names.
  3. No doubt those feminist "womyn" will get upset about it, but screw them. I think we can live in an sexually egalitarian society and still speak a language with a patriarchal history. We're not gonna redo the whole language just for that.
So, whaddya think?

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
USian (none / 0) (#219)
by upsilon on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:02:55 AM EST

Especially since USian isn't politically correct enough. Consider that the official name of Mexico is "Estados Unidos Mexicanos", which means "United Mexican States" or "United States of Mexico".

So many people are against calling residents of the USA "Americans" (because they're not the only folks in the Americas) that they overlook the fact that the USA isn't the only "United States" in the world...
--
Once, I was the King of Spain.
[ Parent ]

Its an interesting post ... (4.50 / 2) (#138)
by jope on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:49:52 AM EST

even if Esperanto is of curious interest at best. I can just recommend to anyone to learn one or better more true foreign languages - it really pays! It opens up whole new worlds to be able to read foreign web pages, travel to countries and speak to people and make friends there. Learn about different ways to use language, different ways to talk about love, different ways to curse. And it is like with programming languages - after you have learned two or three it starts to get easy. So I wouldnt be against learning Esperanto as your 6th or 7th language, just for the heck of it and to see how dead it probably feels in comparison to a living language with all its rules and exceptions.

It's probably better to start with Esperanto (4.50 / 2) (#161)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:34:27 AM EST

So I wouldnt be against learning Esperanto as your 6th or 7th language,

If you want to learn several languages it's usually a good idea to start with Esperanto. Once you've learned Esperanto you learn other languages much faster.

There's some evidence that even if you want to learn only a single foreign language you're better off starting with Esperanto and then learning the other language. It seems in the end you will know the second foreign language better than if you spent all the time studying that second language.

This makes sense. Learning any foreign language helps you understand a lot about languages in general. With this understanding you learn the second foreign language much faster. And if you choose Esperanto as your first foreign language, you reach the point of general understanding much faster than with most other languages.

This of course depends very much on what languages are involved. A Spaniard learning Italian would have no use for Esperanto in between. I think this effect was measured with a group of Finnish students who learned Esperanto before English, and in the end knew English better than those who spent all the time learning English.

Unfortunately I'm not sure about this study, so don't rely too much on this. But as I said it does make sense, and there seems to be anecdotal evidence confirming this. My own experience certainly seems to confirm it. And it certainly pays off if you plan to learn many languages (unless they are all very similar).

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Latin (3.00 / 3) (#164)
by ukryule on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:09:41 AM EST

I learnt Latin at school - and one of the reasons for teaching it is that it is a very well structured language which helps you to understand the basic grammatical constructs of English.

So, if you want a logical language as a 2nd language why not use Latin? It has the advantage of having a huge body of literature, is the basis for most European languages and there are probably more people who know it than Esperanto!

Latin is a language as dead as dead can be.
First it killed the Romans, and now it's killing me.


[ Parent ]

Latin as a basis for English grammar (5.00 / 3) (#206)
by Shpongle Spore on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:41:29 AM EST

I learnt Latin at school - and one of the reasons for teaching it is that it is a very well structured language which helps you to understand the basic grammatical constructs of English.

Too bad some people got carried away with that; trying to apply Latin grammar to English is the reason is the reason split infinitives and prepositions and the ends of sentences are frowned upon even though they're perfectly natural constructs in English.
__
I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor bar,
drinking 'Mad Dog' margaritas and not caring where you are
[ Parent ]

Latin Lessons online... (none / 0) (#208)
by graal on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:43:35 AM EST

There was a set of 20 lessons in Latin at the online Daily Telegraph. It was so popular, the author, Dr. Peter Jones, followed up with a series on ancient Greek. I couldn't find the original articles, but someone's archived both the Latin and Greek lessons at this url.

--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)
[ Parent ]

Oops! Greek lessons are still incomplete. (none / 0) (#210)
by graal on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:47:32 AM EST

All the Latin stuff is there, though.

--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)
[ Parent ]

The untimely death of Latin (5.00 / 2) (#231)
by IHCOYC on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:21:13 PM EST

Latin was used regularly as a learned but living language by thousands of educated people long after there were no more Romans left. English Acts of Parliament were regularly written in Latin, or less often a French jargon, until the middle of the fourteenth century. The reported decisions of courts were also either in Latin or Anglo-French. Deeds and other public records were kept in Latin. If what you were writing would be of interest to more than a local community, you wrote it in Latin.

What killed Latin was the notion of some early Renaissance humanists that the way the Romans wrote Latin was pure and uncorrupted, and that everybody who wanted to write Latin should go back to writing that way. Since the doctors and lawyers and church officials who conducted their business in Latin weren't going to abandon their technical vocabulary, but the teachers of Latin made fun of the way they were writing, they quit using Latin and used local vernaculars.

If Latin were allowed to continue as a living language, perhaps we'd be typing at each other in Latin.

GraySkull is home to the anima, the all-knowing woman who gives power to the otherwise ineffectual man. -- Jeff Coleman
[ Parent ]

Esperanto has poetry (and rock music) too (none / 0) (#288)
by quark17 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:18:44 PM EST

"how dead it probably feels"?  "Probably"?  Are you admitting that you have no basis for your opinions?  Why don't you at least look into the subject a little before you start making assumptions?

I speak several languages, among them Esperanto.  Some of the most moving things that I have read (or heard, in the case of music) was in Esperanto.  So if you do learn Esperanto you will not find it to be "dead", sorry.

In any case, it is my contact with people around the world that is what is really moving.  Regardless of what language they speak.  Esperanto has given me the ability to meet people from other cultures and that initial contact has made me fall in love in with other languages and cultures.  After meeting people from Hungary, I want to learn Hungarian.  After travelling in Japan with Esperanto, I now want to learn Japanese.  And so on for a long long list of languages that I will never have time to learn.

I agree that people should taste lots of languages (I love them!) for just the reasons that you state.  But Esperanto has its own culture of love and cursing and having fun that is worth tasting.  But even if it didn't, it has been a great language for opening me up to other cultures and people, with very little effort.

Want me to lend you a CD?  I have rock, pop, punk, underground, folk, hip-hop, techno....  Quite a lot of styles (all professionally produced) for a language that "feels dead".  I mean, why would you try to express yourself in a language that's not expressive?  I guess these love songs that I sent to my Esperanto-speaking girlfriend didn't actually touch her.  I must have been mistaken....


[ Parent ]

expressitivity (none / 0) (#297)
by quark17 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:05:49 PM EST

I just want to add to my previous post that part of what makes Esperanto expressive is its grammar (not, like you imply, that its simplified grammar makes its "dead").  The fact that you can have words that are constructed entirely from affixes (with no root word) is cool.  A favorite line from a song that I like is "problemoj ade adas".  "ad" is a suffix meaning repeated or continued, so this line means "problems repeatedly repeated" -- or that problems didn't go away.

My non-Esperano-speaking friends and I like to have fun with the English language.  We add "-age" and "-ize" and "-ify" and "-ification" to make fun words.  We say things like "asstastic" and "encarification" (the act of getting into a car) or "cleanage" or "verbify" or simply "verbize".  This is fun.  And in Esperanto its even easier to do (and still fun).  In fact, I often find myself stumbling in English because I want to use the adverb or adjective form of a noun, but I don't know if such a word exists.  But in Esperanto you can easily come up with such words.  "Encarify" is a perfectly cromulent word in Esperanto.  So often times you can express things so much more elegantly in Esperanto than in English.  Of course, this works in the other direction, too.  Often phrases expressed nicely in English can't be expressed nicely in Esperanto.  It's just a fact that languages are different and there isn't a one-to-one mapping.  Some languages are good at some things and others are good at others.  Saying one langauge is better -- or worse -- than another is just silly.

You might be interested to know that there is a "dialect" of Esperanto called "Esperant'".  It's a really clever way of speaking Esperanto that some smart kids came up with to have fun.  It's kind of like PigLatin to English (or more like Verlan to French), but its still totally grammatically correct Esperanto!  It follows all the rules of Esperanto, it just tries to say things in the most clever and unexpected and perhaps convoluted way.  So for example, you find the word in the sentence that is most unlikely to be used in a verb form and you verbify it!  Then you build the rest of the sentence around that.  Even marker words like "cxu" (which simply indicates a question) or articles or things which don't take affixes in "normal" speech are verbified and used in constructed ways.  It's very clever.  And it demonstrates exactly how expressive and beautiful and fun Esperanto grammar can be.


[ Parent ]

Programming languages (4.50 / 2) (#323)
by unDees on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:46:42 PM EST

It's interesting that you mention programming languages. A lot of the debates about Esperanto sound like arguments about what we should use to write our software. Not surprising, since both spoken/written languages and programming languages are used to communicate ideas.

Though my analogy is far from original, it's still fun to hear rants about how you should just learn C--oops, I mean English--because "everyone" knows it anyway. Then you have people attacking Esperanto (compared to Modula-2 in the "ranto" linked in another post) for not living up to their ideals of what a language should be. The professional snobs rattle off their resumes and insist that we ignorant laymen all learn and use what real linguists and computer scientists speak, Haitian and Lisp.

Your account balance is $0.02; to continue receiving our quality opinions, please remit payment as soon as possible.
[ Parent ]

heh. (1.40 / 5) (#139)
by rakslice on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:50:14 AM EST

"'Cause alienation's for the rich/
and I'm gettin' poorer/
everyday"

Equal opportunities (3.66 / 3) (#140)
by mlapanadras on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:52:30 AM EST

Very nice article, thanks. I used to learn Esperanto many years ago but because of lack of practice I've almost forgotten it.

The main point of Esperanto is not "the better language". Each natural language is a whole new mentality and it is closely tied to the history and to the nation that speaks it. Esperanto lacks its own personal look at this world because it lacks the nation that carries it. People aren't dying with Esperanto words on their lips. The language is still spiritually weak despite the fact that it has its own martyrs.

However, this is also not the point. Esperanto was born of social ideas not of linguistic. I think Masonic ideals via socialism played a great role in the birth of Esperanto. This language provides equal language opportunities to the people of different nations, the climax of Fraternite & Egalite. It is very nice that almost everyone (except may be 5 or 6 billions people in Africa, Latin America and Asia) speaks English these days but anyway the native speaker has some advantages because his comprehension of the language is built into his unconsciousness.

EU makes some steps to make Esperanto official language of EU, at least for conferences and press. I hope one day you'll be able to see street signs in esperanto.

The weak point of Esperanto, however, is that it has nothing in common with African and Asian languages. Still European or rather Indo-European has some advantages in learning and even speaking it. Does it mean that the future Esperanto got to be fully abstract from any lingustic legacy?

Alright (3.75 / 4) (#142)
by carbon on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:11:37 AM EST

I'll just reply to huge groups of comments here, since most are very similar.

Don't learn Esperanto, as hardly anyone speaks it.

Forming an international second language is really a fairly good idea at the core, but an incredibly large one. If you have problems with the construction of the language itself (and many people do) then that's fine, and if you have problems with the idea of an international second-language, that's fine too. However, the above argument by itself is rather similar to "Democracy doesn't work because nobody votes, so I won't vote either."

Esperanto has no emotional or cultural content, as it's overly structural.

The point is to create a language of basic communication and commerce. Esperanto isn't for serenading that girl in the balcony; it's for asking that foreign guy at the guitar shop how much the one in the corner costs. Also, it's a young language pretty much by definition; who's to say that culture can't become part of it merely as a by-product of large numbers of people using it?


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
Esperanto is only `international' if... (4.75 / 4) (#151)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:48:25 AM EST

...your idea of `international' is `European'.

Forming an international second language is really a fairly good idea at the core, but an incredibly large one.

Good or bad idea, Esperantists don't give any signals of understanding how one would go about doing it. Witness how deeply polluted Esperanto is with European grammatical structures. If I were, say Thai, and learning Esperanto means I have to learn the usage of definite articles (which the Esperantists don't bother to explain 99% of the time), or hell, the concept of inflecting a verb for tense, I might as well learn English or French instead. It's not going to be all that much tougher in the larger scheme of things.

Esperanto isn't for serenading that girl in the balcony; it's for asking that foreign guy at the guitar shop how much the one in the corner costs.

Arabic numbers are almost universal, and pointing is universal (though full of fascinating cultural variations). Go to any shop in e.g. Seoul, and you'll find that you can transact with the shopkeeper quite easily; just smile, point at the item, then point at his calculator; you then take turns at keying in offers and counteroffers.

--em
[ Parent ]

How many explanations have you read? (none / 0) (#216)
by Shpongle Spore on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:56:15 AM EST

If I were, say Thai, and learning Esperanto means I have to learn the usage of definite articles (which the Esperantists don't bother to explain 99% of the time), or hell, the concept of inflecting a verb for tense, I might as well learn English or French instead.

I'm curious how many explanations of Esperanto you've read/head that weren't in a language with articles and tense, or at least the concepts definite vs. indefinite reference and past, present and future. It would be awfully silly to explain these concepts when the person you're talking to must already know them to understand the language you're speaking!

And comparing Esperanto's dozen or so verb inflections to French (a language with whole books devoted to teaching verb conjugations), is about the most ridiculous hyperbole I've ever seen.
__
I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor bar,
drinking 'Mad Dog' margaritas and not caring where you are
[ Parent ]

Nope. (none / 0) (#221)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:24:25 AM EST

I'm curious how many explanations of Esperanto you've read/head that weren't in a language with articles and tense, or at least the concepts definite vs. indefinite reference and past, present and future.

Well, are there any Esperanto grammars you can refer me to, written in e.g. Haitian or Capeverdean? Didn't think so.

And if you think understanding "the concept of definite vs. indefinite reference" is enough to understand use of articles, I know dozens of very smart Asian people who can't use articles in English properly after years of practice.

And comparing Esperanto's dozen or so verb inflections to French (a language with whole books devoted to teaching verb conjugations), is about the most ridiculous hyperbole I've ever seen.

Funny. In colloquial French, regular verbs have just 4 forms. Of course, those books don't describe the colloquial language. About the only verbs for which you really need to memorize many forms are the auxiliaries être, avoir and aller.

--em
[ Parent ]

Really?? (none / 0) (#249)
by upsilon on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:36:55 PM EST

In colloquial French, regular verbs have just 4 forms.

Je mange, tu manges, il mange, nous mangeons, vous mangez, ils mangent.

If you count the "je" and "il" as the same form, there's five forms of "mangez" for present tense only. Granted, this is formal French -- which of these forms goes away in colloquial French? And then there's the past participle which probably doesn't go away either.

I'm perfectly willing to grant that other tenses/moods might not arise in colloquial French, for example, notably, the subjunctives, the passé simple, and the future (probably appears as "je vais manger" instead of "je mangerai") among others.
--
Once, I was the King of Spain.
[ Parent ]

mange, manger, mangeant, mangiez (5.00 / 2) (#268)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:43:41 PM EST

Je mange, tu manges, il mange, nous mangeons, vous mangez, ils mangent. If you count the "je" and "il" as the same form, there's five forms of "mangez" for present tense only.

Colloquial French replaces "nous mangeons" with "on mange". Given that apart from "mangez", all those forms are pronounced the same, that "mangez" (2nd person plural), "manger" (infinitive), "mangé" and "mangée" (past participle) and "mangeais" (imperfect) are all pronounced the same, that's two forms. Add the 2nd person plural of the imperfect, "mangiez" (second person plurals are always different in French, except in some Acadian dialects, but that's another story), and the present participle "mangeant", andthat's all of the 4 forms of "manger" commonly used.

Yes, French orthography is among the most stupid ever, given that it writes the same thing ("mange" or "mangé") in 3 or 5 different ways ("mange, manges, mangent" or "manger, mangez, mangeais, mangé, mangée"). And the crazy Québécois pronounce "manger" and "mangeais" differently, so they have 5 forms. The spoken language itself is way simpler.

I'm perfectly willing to grant that other tenses/moods might not arise in colloquial French, for example, notably, the subjunctives, the passé simple, and the future (probably appears as "je vais manger" instead of "je mangerai") among others.

Subjunctives do arise for a very few verbs-- e.g. in Québécois it has been shown that 65% of all subjunctive forms observed in a corpus of extensive samples of spoken speech are from 4 verbs: être, aller, avoir, and faire. Three quarters of future clauses are done with aller.

--em
[ Parent ]

Oh please. (none / 0) (#281)
by Shpongle Spore on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:46:43 PM EST

So by learning a few forms you can be a sub-literate speaker of pidgin French? No, thanks.

I'll switch to Spanish since it's what I'm more familiar with, but I think it applies pretty well to French. You have -ar, -er, and -ir verbs, each with either 5 or 6 forms per tense, depending on dialect. In the indicative there's one present tense, two past, one future and a conditional or two (IIRC), plus past and present subjunctives, plus a few participles, etc. Almost all of these forms are pronounced differently, and most are necessary at least some of the time to speak coherently. By my most conservative estimate that's 118 forms, not event counting the many irregular verbs.

Esperanto (actually Ido, but I think Esperanto is the same) has infinitive, past, present, future and conditional, and a few suffixes that can be mixed in the make participles, passive voice, perfect and progressive tenses. Yeah, it's more than a whole lot of languages, but it's a lot less than I learned in my first few months of Spanish. I don't recall anybody in any of my classes having difficulty with verb forms up to that point.

It's getting pretty tiring reading all your arguments which basically amount to "Esperanto is not perfect, so you're better off learning a natural language that's 100 times harder." It sure would be nice if there were a language that everyone in the world could become fluent in after 10 minutes, but I think being somewhat recognizable to virtually everyone in Europe and the Americas and being vastly simpler than virtually every other language is better than nothing. I don't even know Esperanto but you're really making me want to learn it.
__
I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor bar,
drinking 'Mad Dog' margaritas and not caring where you are
[ Parent ]

see, that's your problem (4.00 / 1) (#287)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:11:36 PM EST

You think that learning the textbook grammar of a language is the same as learning to speak it.

The language I'm learning right now - Romanian - is full of irregular forms. I don't have the slightest difficulty remembering them. The hard part for me is pronouncing my damn vowels right; that, and word order. If you think that irregularities are what make languages hard, all I can say is that the academic evidence totally contradicts you.

You may be able to learn rudimentary Espo grammar in ten minutes, if you're European; and, so long as Espranato is hermetically protected from the exigencies of popularity, like dialect formation, creolisation, pronunciation drift, and elision or slurring in commonly-used words, you might even be able to hack along in a language forever damned to be a pidgin with clipped wings. As for me, though, Esplonero is more for people who are afraid of getting their hands dirty with real languages, those incorporating folk traditions, religion, literature (both oral and written;) local prejudice, patriotism, dialects, suspicion, and loan-word pollution.

I do not hate the idea of Esperanto. I do severely impugn the character of people who are afraid to put in the sweat to learn a language as it lives in the real world, among ordinary people who have better things to do than to jack off over how easy it is to learn to conjugate verbs.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

This troll is at least a little funny (none / 0) (#355)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:27:55 PM EST

I said a little.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
bugger off (none / 0) (#428)
by adequate nathan on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 03:07:16 PM EST

Go ahead and keep Exasperanto in a gilded cage. That's the only way you'll protect its virginity from those grubby masses.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Oh God. (4.00 / 1) (#295)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:55:58 PM EST

So by learning a few forms you can be a sub-literate speaker of pidgin French? No, thanks.

Nope, you won't be subliterate, and it won't be pidgin French-- it'll be the largest, most used part of the real thing. You learn that, the verbs in -ir (which have maybe 6 forms, I can't bother to count them right now) and auxiliaries, and you can speak most anything that people speak most of the time. Learning to write good French is one thing. Learning to speak and read it is another, much simpler one.

Se pa konsa pou pale yon kreyol ou yon pidjinn franse. Lè ou vlè aprann sa, ou bezwen aprann yon sèl fòm pou chak mo. "Aprann" ak tout lot vèb yo gen yon sèl fòm. ("It's not like that to speak a creole or a pidgin French. If you want to learn that, you just need to learn one form for each word. `Aprann' and all other verbs have just one form.")

I'll switch to Spanish since it's what I'm more familiar with, but I think it applies pretty well to French.

From this point on, you don't have a point. No, whatever you say about Spanish morphology doesn't apply to French, since colloquial French morphology is vastly simpler than even literary Spanish. And anyway, you overstate the complexity of colloquial Spanish-- the inflected future has a similar situation to French, and is not the primary future form (which is formed ir a + infinitive).

--em
[ Parent ]

happy trolling (none / 0) (#326)
by Shpongle Spore on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:55:05 PM EST

Ok, I know I'm being trolled, but I'm bored and at least it's high-quality trolling...

How is "the largest, most used part of the real thing" different from a pidgin version of the real thing?

You not abel rite at awl with level uv to lern you propoze. It wood be dificult to read anythin uv enee compleksitee, and yood constintlee look like a totel moron when you speek awlwayz not to conjegait evry uthur vurb rite way.

See?

I'd rather be eloquent in an obscure language than be laughed at by people who really know the language I pretend to speak.
__
I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor bar,
drinking 'Mad Dog' margaritas and not caring where you are
[ Parent ]

Simple. (5.00 / 1) (#350)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:53:31 PM EST

How is "the largest, most used part of the real thing" different from a pidgin version of the real thing?

Because pidgins don't have any significant part of the grammar of the source language.

--em
[ Parent ]

How convenient (none / 0) (#354)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:25:33 PM EST

So you only learn the six forms. You don't learn when and where to use them. How convenient. Just skip the hard part and you're all done.

Our great linguist Estanislao has spoken.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

You entered a thread about inflectional morphology (none / 0) (#377)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 12:29:12 AM EST

All I claimed in this thread is that most verbs have fewer forms in colloquial French than Esperanto verbs.

--em
[ Parent ]

Decide: Are you looking for truth or provoking? (none / 0) (#389)
by QuickFox on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 04:05:09 AM EST

All I claimed in this thread is that most verbs have fewer forms in colloquial French than Esperanto verbs.

What you claimed in this thread was that learning English or French would not be all that much tougher than Esperanto in the larger scheme of things:


If I were, say Thai, and learning Esperanto means I have to learn the usage of definite articles (which the Esperantists don't bother to explain 99% of the time), or hell, the concept of inflecting a verb for tense, I might as well learn English or French instead. It's not going to be all that much tougher in the larger scheme of things.

In this context you claimed that whole books devoted to teaching verb conjugations could be replaced by learning four forms:

And comparing Esperanto's dozen or so verb inflections to French (a language with whole books devoted to teaching verb conjugations), is about the most ridiculous hyperbole I've ever seen.

Funny. In colloquial French, regular verbs have just 4 forms. Of course, those books don't describe the colloquial language. About the only verbs for which you really need to memorize many forms are the auxiliaries être, avoir and aller.


If the conjugations can be replaced by four forms, then the student needs to learn when and where to use those four forms. This is the hard part. Ignore the hard part and voilà, suddenly French is as easy as Esperanto.

Estanislao, try to decide what you are doing (or what you are pretending to do). Are you a linguist looking for truth vs hype relating to Esperanto, or are you just making provokative claims to see how people will respond?

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Perfect for serenading (none / 0) (#155)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:06:37 AM EST

Esperanto isn't for serenading that girl in the balcony;

But it's perfect for serenading! You should hear people at the encounters!

Why do some people think that Esperanto is limited in vocabulary and expression? It's the grammar that is simple (the elementary grammar that you need to get started). Not the vocabulary.

One reason English is such a rich language is that it borrows words and expressions from many other languages. Esperanto also borrows from lots of languages. The vocabulary consists entirely of words borrowed from other languages. It has influences from everywhere, it's extremely rich.

Each year there are lots of international meetings where young people have fun together for a week or so. With so many young people together, quite a few will fall in love. So serenading and other romantic expression ensues. In such a setting, a language that borrows from all over the place unavoidably becomes rich in romantic expressions and nuances.

Esperanto tends to be very conservative when importing words. A construct made of existing parts is usually preferred if one can be found. But imported or constructed, expressions will be found.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Criticisms and responses both off-base (none / 0) (#199)
by aziegler on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:09:23 AM EST

I'll just reply to huge groups of comments here, since most are very similar.

Don't learn Esperanto, as hardly anyone speaks it.

Forming an international second language is really a fairly good idea at the core, but an incredibly large one. If you have problems with the construction of the language itself (and many people do) then that's fine, and if you have problems with the idea of an international second-language, that's fine too. However, the above argument by itself is rather similar to "Democracy doesn't work because nobody votes, so I won't vote either."

Erm. Esperanto is a useless second language because it is a constructed language and not a natural language; it's little more than a novelty at this point. It was created in 1878 or so and foisted upon the world in 1887. We have learned much more about language since then (and how much E didn't get right), yet we still have people trying to tell us that E is "the way of the future." Interestingly, there are two camps in the E world: the fundamento camp which appears to behave much the same as L'Academy in France (to the point of preserving apprent mistakes that the creator made), and the progressivo camp which appears to want to make E more like English (what's the point?).

I'm pessimistic on E's estimated numbers (between 1 and 10 million speakers; I personally think 1 million or less, and most of those probably learned E as a cultural oddity), and perhaps 1,000 native speakers. IMO, while E is easier to learn than these other languages, I think more effort should be made to save a number of the dying languages around the world (Gaelic among them) rather than attempting to learn a constructed language which doesn't quite follow.

Esperanto has no emotional or cultural content, as it's overly structural.

The point is to create a language of basic communication and commerce. Esperanto isn't for serenading that girl in the balcony; it's for asking that foreign guy at the guitar shop how much the one in the corner costs. Also, it's a young language pretty much by definition; who's to say that culture can't become part of it merely as a by-product of large numbers of people using it?

Bollocks to the idea that there's no emotional or cultural content. Cultural and emotional content comes exclusively from the speakers. (Try to speak Quebecois French in France using Quebecois slang and you won't be understood -- at best. There's a twang to Quebecois French that actually sounds a bit like an Alabaman speaking English.)

However, in response to your counter, bollocks again. First, both the girl in the balcony and the guy in the guitar shop are likely to look at you like you're messed up in the head because you're speaking gibberish. Second, while language itself can define what we can talk about (which is why it's impossible to speak about physics, or even large numbers with preciseness, in certain languages), language itself doesn't define how it gets used. A far more popular constructed language, Klinzhai, has recently had Hamlet published in it. Yes, in the "Original Klingon."

Constructed languages are interesting, but ultimately doomed unless they take on an organic life of their own -- and then they begin to lose the simplicity that they started with.

E, by the way, appears to share a common problem with German. Because all complext words are constructed from other words (such as hunddomo from the article, admitted in a later post to not be the best choice for the term), there are times when the word constructions will be unnecessarily long, necessitating the creation of a new word.

-austin


[ Parent ]

Responses (none / 0) (#388)
by carbon on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 03:15:13 AM EST

It was created in 1878 or so and foisted upon the world in 1887. We have learned much more about language since then (and how much E didn't get right), yet we still have people trying to tell us that E is "the way of the future." Interestingly, there are two camps in the E world: the fundamento camp which appears to behave much the same as L'Academy in France (to the point of preserving apprent mistakes that the creator made), and the progressivo camp which appears to want to make E more like English (what's the point?).

Now, most of these arguments are also "bollocks". First of all, how can it be both foisted upon the world and hardly used by anybody?

Secondly, people arguing that E should not change fundamentally, seem to usually do so on the argument that if it were constantly changing nobody could learn it. This isn't a matter of preventing the horrible invasion of Le Big Mac and Le Bleu Jeans, but a facet of something you point out yourself: it's a young artifical language, so changes are going to be artifical too.

As for people arguing that it should become more like English, this also fits in sync with your own arguments: after all, the closer it becomes to a well known language, the more people are going to learn it since it becomes easier. And English is the currently favored international language, particularly on the net.

I think more effort should be made to save a number of the dying languages around the world (Gaelic among them) rather than attempting to learn a constructed language which doesn't quite follow.

What good is saving a dead language that hardly anyone speaks? Just a moment ago you said that languages with few speakers are pointless and should be ignored...now you bring in Gaelic? That doesn't seem consistent.

It's likely you have an entirely different reason for wanting to preserve Gaelic than merely to make it spoken among many people. Maybe historical significance? Or maybe your goal actually is to encourage people to speak Gaelic.

Either way, that coincides with Esperanto (motivationally, I mean, not technically in terms of the language itself.) Esperanto's stated goal is to make an international second language; a lot of the other stuff about world peace and such is pretty much just harmless romaticizing. Obviously, having a general language that most people speak at least a little of has quite a few benefits, so it's a fairly noble goal, even if difficult.

But if it turns out that 'difficult' becomes 'impossible', it still has value as a hobby language. As one of the most spoken artificial languages internationally (how many people speak Klingon in Japan and Turkey?), it just represents a fun way to communicate with people who have similar interests but live in foreign lands. In that sense, it resembles Ham Radio.

Constructed languages are interesting, but ultimately doomed unless they take on an organic life of their own -- and then they begin to lose the simplicity that they started with.

Yes, that's effectively what I meant by emotional or cultural content; that is, literally the content of the language (whether or not the language is a good mechanism for such things). On the other hand, I've been told by a few people that it actually does work well in an emotional context.

On the other hand, it isn't neccessarily bad if it loses a good degree of simplicity, as long as a good portion of the population speaks it by then. At least, if these things occur linearly, it'll be ahead of the game compared to popular languages in use with roots thousands of years old...

E, by the way, appears to share a common problem with German. Because all complext words are constructed from other words (such as hunddomo from the article, admitted in a later post to not be the best choice for the term), there are times when the word constructions will be unnecessarily long, necessitating the creation of a new word.

IANALinguist, but from just observing comments on this thread showing X or Y translated to Esperanto, the phrase in E always seemed to use much shorter words than the original. Maybe it's just a coincidence resulting from the low sample size, so I invite you to demonstrate with a few example of your own...

Erm. Esperanto is a useless second language because it is a constructed language and not a natural language; it's little more than a novelty at this point.

Well, a lot of people have pointed out it isn't useless in the sense that most of the people who know it are going to be people like you: people interested in talking to other people from foreign countries. Convienent how that works out...

Also, since the number of people speaking it has supposedly been growing, what's to keep it from simply slowly becoming larger?



Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
Poor logic from E activists (none / 0) (#402)
by aziegler on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 10:01:42 AM EST

It was created in 1878 or so and foisted upon the world in 1887. We have learned much more about language since then (and how much E didn't get right), yet we still have people trying to tell us that E is "the way of the future." Interestingly, there are two camps in the E world: the fundamento camp which appears to behave much the same as L'Academy in France (to the point of preserving apprent mistakes that the creator made), and the progressivo camp which appears to want to make E more like English (what's the point?).

Now, most of these arguments are also "bollocks". First of all, how can it be both foisted upon the world and hardly used by anybody?

Erm ... I think you're confused here as these two statements ("foisted upon the world" and "hardly used") aren't contradictory at all. The inventor foisted it upon the world, and it's continually re-foisted by people who still believe that E is the "way of the future" or the "way to peace". Despite all that foolish and misplaced advocacy, uptake of E is still miniscule. The community of E speakers is only those folks who choose to learn it. They have nothing in common otherwise (although they may find commonalities later). In this, EM is correct when he says that there's no natural E community.
Secondly, people arguing that E should not change fundamentally, seem to usually do so on the argument that if it were constantly changing nobody could learn it. This isn't a matter of preventing the horrible invasion of Le Big Mac and Le Bleu Jeans, but a facet of something you point out yourself: it's a young artifical language, so changes are going to be artifical too.

As for people arguing that it should become more like English, this also fits in sync with your own arguments: after all, the closer it becomes to a well known language, the more people are going to learn it since it becomes easier. And English is the currently favored international language, particularly on the net.

I'm not arguing either way on this. I'm noting that there are people who wish to keep E artificially simple (the only way to ensure that it never becomes a useful language) and those who wish to let it change or force it to change (and forcing it to change will be as silly as its invention in the first place).

Again, the biggest problem with E as a "second international" language is that it's still ultimately based around Indo-European roots and thinking. There was an interesting blurb (with graphics) in a Scientific American that I read recently which pointed out that one's first, native language changes the structure of the brain. (This is why the Japanese have problems with the distinction between the sounds of 'l' and 'r'.) In other words, as an international language, it will only really work with those who have an European background. Asians and Africans are completely left out, linguistically.

I think more effort should be made to save a number of the dying languages around the world (Gaelic among them) rather than attempting to learn a constructed language which doesn't quite follow.

What good is saving a dead language that hardly anyone speaks? Just a moment ago you said that languages with few speakers are pointless and should be ignored...now you bring in Gaelic? That doesn't seem consistent.

It's likely you have an entirely different reason for wanting to preserve Gaelic than merely to make it spoken among many people. Maybe historical significance? Or maybe your goal actually is to encourage people to speak Gaelic.

You're reaching. The good of saving a dying language is that there are real works in that language which may be lost if access to the language is lost. There's also culture and history associated with real dying languages that simply don't exist with toys like lojban and E. (Note also that almost all of the speakers of dying languages are native speakers, at that.) If you prefer that I don't pick the poster-child, Gaelic, try Breton or any of a number of other languages around the world (Acadian French is a good example, too; Louisiana is actively wooing Canadian Acadian French teachers to restore that part of its language.) (BTW, what I said was that artifical languages with few speakers are pointless.)
Either way, that coincides with Esperanto (motivationally, I mean, not technically in terms of the language itself.) Esperanto's stated goal is to make an international second language; a lot of the other stuff about world peace and such is pretty much just harmless romaticizing. Obviously, having a general language that most people speak at least a little of has quite a few benefits, so it's a fairly noble goal, even if difficult.
My statement of saving a dying language actually shares nothing with E. Saving a dying language is a good in and of itself, and has nothing to do with making an internationally shared language -- it's trying to save the language and culture associated with a region and/or a language. The E community's stated goal is silly and, as has been noted, won't work for those who don't have an Indo-European language as their first language. That "general language that most people speak at least a little of", by the way, already exists -- it's called English. The rest can be managed with pidgins and gestures (signs).
But if it turns out that 'difficult' becomes 'impossible', it still has value as a hobby language. As one of the most spoken artificial languages internationally (how many people speak Klingon in Japan and Turkey?), it just represents a fun way to communicate with people who have similar interests but live in foreign lands. In that sense, it resembles Ham Radio.
This value, although minimal, is present. IIRC, the linguistic construction of Klingon (while intentionally not "easy") is far better and more complete than E ever was.
Constructed languages are interesting, but ultimately doomed unless they take on an organic life of their own -- and then they begin to lose the simplicity that they started with.

Yes, that's effectively what I meant by emotional or cultural content; that is, literally the content of the language (whether or not the language is a good mechanism for such things). On the other hand, I've been told by a few people that it actually does work well in an emotional context.

On the other hand, it isn't neccessarily bad if it loses a good degree of simplicity, as long as a good portion of the population speaks it by then. At least, if these things occur linearly, it'll be ahead of the game compared to popular languages in use with roots thousands of years old...

The biggest flaw in your thinking here is that language change occurs linearly, or that it can be managed. Ask L'Academy about that and see what sort of response you get.
E, by the way, appears to share a common problem with German. Because all [complex] words are constructed from other words (such as hunddomo from the article, admitted in a later post to not be the best choice for the term), there are times when the word constructions will be unnecessarily long, necessitating the creation of a new word.

IANALinguist, but from just observing comments on this thread showing X or Y translated to Esperanto, the phrase in E always seemed to use much shorter words than the original. Maybe it's just a coincidence resulting from the low sample size, so I invite you to demonstrate with a few example of your own...

It's certainly a matter of the low sample size. I also don't speak or write E; I have more interest in stopping people from wasting their time with E than trying to learn it myself. (I've been trying to find a good example in German, but I can't off the top of my head or of Babelfish's; there have been some doozies that I've seen, though.) Without inventing new terms or adopting terms from other languages (which introduces its own problems), then the language must construct words strangely. When inventing new terms and adopting terms, you implicitly break the constructed rules of the language and people have to accept that. English, on the other hand, had no problem bringing in terms like "schadenfreude" when mere "glee" didn't fit the bill.
Erm. Esperanto is a useless second language because it is a constructed language and not a natural language; it's little more than a novelty at this point.

Well, a lot of people have pointed out it isn't useless in the sense that most of the people who know it are going to be people like you: people interested in talking to other people from foreign countries. Convienent how that works out...

Bad logic here. Most of the people who know it are going to be people who buy into its evangelism ("universal second language", "brings world peace") and learn it for that reason. You won't be able to go to France and be able to use E indiscriminately (this belies the universality). You'll have to know that the person to whom you're talking uses E in the first place, or you'll be looked like you're speaking gibberish. I encourage all the fools who have learned E to take trips to Europe (if you're in the Americas) or to America (if you're in Europe) and try to use nothing but E during that trip. See how far it gets you at that point...

As has been pointed out: the only commonality between E speakers is that they speak E, and only a thousand or so do so natively -- if that many.

Also, since the number of people speaking it has supposedly been growing, what's to keep it from simply slowly becoming larger?
The key word in that sentence is supposedly. E supporters/activists estimate the worldwide E-speaker population at between 1 and 10 million (and most of those from Europe and the Americas). The problem, of course, is that no one really knows how many people speak E.

I've seen no indication that E uptake is actually increasing.

-austin

[ Parent ]

Re: Poor Logic from E activists (none / 0) (#427)
by Yekrats on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 03:01:46 PM EST


I've seen no indication that E uptake is actually increasing.

I have. I mean, look at this poll: http://www.kuro5hin.org/poll/1032198025_hrSHRdau

At least eleven probable new Esperanto speakers in just a day! From such a small sample size! :-)

-- Yekrats

[ Parent ]

Point.... (none / 0) (#450)
by aziegler on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 11:10:14 PM EST

But at the same time, you have to look at the 38 people who think you're some sort of freak, will pass, or want their money back. (:

-austin

[ Parent ]

Good point! :-) (n/t) (none / 0) (#459)
by Yekrats on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 09:18:06 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgaben... (none / 0) (#443)
by Dephex Twin on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 05:21:48 PM EST

I've been trying to find a good example in German
How about "Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz" for a German doozy?

This means "law on the task assignment of monitoring beef-labeling" as far as I can tell.


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

A matter of psychology, most likely (2.50 / 2) (#458)
by QuickFox on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 07:57:21 AM EST

Methinks we have here a psychological reaction to Esperanto.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
That article... (none / 0) (#460)
by aziegler on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 09:37:59 AM EST

...responds to none of the legitimate and valid criticisms that I've made about Esperanto and bears no relation to what I've said either.

You would do well to start basing your responses on reality instead of your hyper-defensive fantasies about your toy language.

I could spend quite a while deconstructing every idiocy and illogic in that page, but the reality is that I don't have the interest. There are always going to be fools who buy into the idea that Esperanto per se provides them value, and not the idea that it's the "club" of Esperantists that provides them value. (Contrast this with vegetarianism, in which one may look up vegetarian restaurants around the world. Vegetarianism has benefits even without this network effect. Esperanto has no value without this network effect.)

The author of that page is little better than many of the uninformed critics of E (of which I am [b]not[/b] one, nor is EM), as he provides little more than straw-man ad hominem attacks.

-austin

[ Parent ]

Uninformed comments (none / 0) (#286)
by quark17 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:06:21 PM EST

Wow, the number of uninformed comments on this topic is amazing.

I speak Esperanto and I find it to be incredibly useful.  It's amuzing to hear people say "Esperanto can't do this or that" or that "Esperanto is pointless", because my experiences prove otherwise.  And they're not extraordinary cases, they're quite typical experiences that many Esperanto-speakers have.

I have been intimate with women in Esperanto.  So anyone who says that Esperanto can't be used for serenading is just wrong.  I could add that I own CDs of lots of love songs, protest songs, and other expressive topics all in Esperanto.  William Auld was considered for a Nobel prize in literature for his Esperanto poetry.  And I have read plenty of original Esperanto books which have moved me (whether it's a diary of a woman in Croatia during the war or a simple short story about a man on a train).

Plenty of people meet thanks to Esperanto.  I have been at international events (with 400 kids from 40 countries) where people from around the world can hang out and make out.  I know plenty of international couples who met when their only common language was Esperanto, and married, and had kids (often native speakers!).  These people found the loves of their lives thanks to Esperanto.  And someone wants to tell them that it's not useful?

Who cares how many people speak Esperanto?!  No one expects to bump into an Esperanto-speaker randomly on the street (even though it has happened to me and my friends).  The point is that the Esperanto community is connected.  If I want to travel somewhere, I can contact Esperanto-speakers there ahead of time.  There are networks of Esperanto speaking hosts who will host guests in their homes for free, often feeding them and showing them around.  I have used this network to travel in Japan where I had amazing experiences that I wouldn't have had as a typical tourist.  There are hosts in almost 90 countries, including places like the Middle East (Iran has a huge number of hosts), Asia, and Africa.  People who says that Esperanto is too European are missing the point.  The non-Europeans are doing just fine, having some of the largest Esperanto communities in the world.

The point is that there are enough Esperanto speakers that people are doing practical and rewarding things with the language right now.  Yeah, Esperanto isn't perfect and it isn't the language for all situations, but for certain purposes, it works very well.  If you don't want to join in on the fun, don't learn the language.  But please don't insult other people by saying they don't exist or that it's impossible to do what they obviously are doing.


[ Parent ]

What? (none / 0) (#382)
by carbon on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 02:18:54 AM EST

I think you may have missed my formatting. The lines in italics were statements made in many other commetns, and the paragraphs below those were my responses to those statements. Sorry if that was confusing; in retrospect, that wasn't entirely clear just from looking at my comment unless you paid more attention then usual to the comment title.

I do admit that I'm not very knowledgable about Esperanto itself (for instance, I've heard opinions either way in both camps regarding Esperanto in an emotional context.) but the statements I was responding to certainly seemed to be reacting to the idea on a generalistic scale, so I felt a generalistic response was apropriate.


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
What good is a logical language? (5.00 / 5) (#162)
by ukryule on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:39:03 AM EST

I'm currently trying to learn a new language, and would dearly like it to be much easier than it is. However, I don't see that removing all the special rules/exceptions/phrases would help that much.
As I see it, there are three steps (OK, gross simplification) to learning a language:
1) Learn the basic sounds and word constructs.
2) Learn the underlying grammatical rules and a basic vocabulary.
3) Learn the special rules & oddities, and expand your vocabulary.

Once you are reasonably competent in the first 2, you should be able to communicate decently, although having a sensible conversation will be a struggle. Once you have mastered all 3, you could claim to be fluent.

The point is, that Esperanto just seems to remove step 3 - once you can communicate in it, you are fluent. For the effort taken to become fluent in Esperanto, you could get to a useful level in, say, Spanish.

I, personally, would think it is much more interesting and rewarding to learn a language in day-to-day use with a history to a basic level, than to master a constructed language which is noones native tongue. Also, if you are really interested in languages then learning the subtleties and details of one can be enjoyable and rewarding.

Incidentally, I am currently learning Chinese, which is (compared to English) a remarkably simple and logical language - however it's still bloody difficult to learn! Similarly, I have no doubt that any native Chinese speaker would have huge problems learning Esperanto.

Esperanto is useful anyway (3.00 / 1) (#174)
by Buenaventura Durruti on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:39:00 AM EST

<i>I have no doubt that any native Chinese speaker would have huge problems learning Esperanto.</i>

I have no doubt that any native Chinese speaker will have huger problems learning english, spanish, french, german (¡ufff!), etc...

BTW, although you will never use Esperanto in real conversations, its demonstrated that when you learn it you're able to learn other languages easily.

(Excuse my poor english... ;->)


[ Parent ]

The Harry Potter effect (none / 0) (#179)
by ukryule on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:26:18 AM EST

I have no doubt that any native Chinese speaker will have huger problems learning english, spanish, french, german (¡ufff!), etc...

Ah, yes! But with English they can learn by watching subtitled Friends/Sex & the City/Harry Potter movies :-)

[ Parent ]

The Startrek efect (2.00 / 1) (#182)
by Buenaventura Durruti on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:35:44 AM EST

Many years ago, I've seen a film from Startreck series in EO. Unfortunatly I cannot remember where and the exact title... Is there some "treckie" here?

[ Parent ]
Not Star Trek... (2.50 / 2) (#194)
by aziegler on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:46:10 AM EST

Shatner starred in the one-and-only E movie, Inkubo (/Incubus/). I haven't seen it, but everyone who has seen it says that other than the oddity that it was done (entirely or partly) in E, it sucked very badly. (Additionally, one of the reviewers on IMDB says that Shatner didn't pronounce the E words properly anyway.)

[ Parent ]
The only movie in Esperanto? (none / 0) (#217)
by graal on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:58:54 AM EST

The imdb lists 7. I guess that could include movies subtitled in Esperanto, though.

--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)
[ Parent ]

Kinoj en Esperanto (none / 0) (#252)
by bandy on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:48:06 PM EST

"Gattaca" has PA announcements in Esperanto which are difficult to hear.

In "The Great Dictator", all of the signs are in Esperanto.

Based on this, it seems as if IMDB should add "Red Dwarf" to the E-o titles list, as not only is Esperanto mentioned, it is spoken and is used for some of the signage in the Red Dwarf itself.

Marlboro: War ich Rindveh bin.
[ Parent ]

Odd... (none / 0) (#263)
by aziegler on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:23:17 PM EST

When I looked in IMDB, I didn't find even Incubus -- I found only an instructional video.

-austin

[ Parent ]

Why are you so sure? (5.00 / 1) (#213)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:53:12 AM EST

I have no doubt that any native Chinese speaker will have huger problems learning english, spanish, french, german (¡ufff!), etc...

I don't see why this is so. Once you make a good listing of the European grammatical contructions that esperanto presupposes which are absent in Chinese, and present in those languages, you'll see that the biggest hurdles for a Chinese speaker to learn Esperanto or any of those languages are the same. And, if a Chinese person is going to go to all that trouble, they might as well learn a real language.

The big problem with Esperanto is that the majority of its speakers are European and think it's perfectly logical-- in fact, they can't see how it could be any other way? Meanwhile, they do completely retarded and backwards things, like having a definite but no indefinite article. (Hint: if you're going to have just one article, it should be the indefinite. Trust me. Most languages in the the world have indefinite articles; most don't have definite articles.)

--em
[ Parent ]

Isn't the indefinite article implied? (none / 0) (#284)
by Arevos on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:55:51 PM EST

Mi havas hundon = I have a dog.
Mi havas la hundon = I have the dog.

So isn't the indefinite article implied by a lack of a 'la'?

[ Parent ]

Yes, which is backwards. (none / 0) (#290)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:31:48 PM EST

Take Capeverdean:

M-odja karu. "I saw the car."
M-odja un karu. "I saw a car."

This pattern can be repeated in countless languages-- definite is unmarked, indefinite is marked with the numeral "one", or a word historically derived from it. The Esperanto pattern is at the very least extremely rare in natural languages if it exists at all. It is terribly misfunctional-- definiteness has much to do with referents that already have been introduced, and languages devote less marking to old information than new. If a language is going to have just one article, then it's hugely more likely to be an indefinite article.

--em
[ Parent ]

Theory vs practice (none / 0) (#336)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:25:33 PM EST

Strangely, those of us who use Esperanto are not bothered by this. From this I must conclude that it is a purely theoretical problem that has no bearing on practical reality. It is something linguists like you can worry and complain about while we Esperantists can happily ignore it and use the language.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
except for that niggling point (none / 0) (#345)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:19:54 PM EST

That it kind of makes your "Esperanto is superior and logical" argument vanish in a puff of crap.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Only in theory [nt] (none / 0) (#368)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:35:46 PM EST



Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
Language is a practical social reality. (none / 0) (#351)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:00:27 PM EST

Strangely, those of us who use Esperanto are not bothered by this.

If you want to claim your language is simple, well designed, and particularly easy to learn, it should bother you. Zamenhof unwittingly made the completely wrong choice here; the category of indefinite article is widespread in the world's languages, the definite article isn't. There's a simple partial fix, too-- just use the numeral "one" as indefinite article. It won't make the language any simpler or more complicated, but at least it will make it look more natural.

From this I must conclude that it is a purely theoretical problem that has no bearing on practical reality.

A language is an eminently practical reality to its speakers, who don't stop and contemplate such issues. As it happens, most such versions practical realities are such that there is no morpheme within them that corresponds to "the", but there is some that corresponds to "a".

--em
[ Parent ]

Ah, the Perfect Language (TM) (none / 0) (#367)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:34:47 PM EST

If you want to claim your language is simple, well designed, and particularly easy to learn, it should bother you.

Not at all. Who said Esperanto is perfect? It certainly isn't perfect. So?

There are some people who want to develop the perfect language. They keep haggling forever and ever with this and that little adjustment to this or that soon-to-be-perfect language project. Others use Esperanto.

Maybe you should join one of those perfectionist groups, you could spew your pseudolinguistic theories all day.

There's a simple partial fix, too-- just use the numeral "one" as indefinite article.

Of course you couldn't. That word is already used as the half-definite article. How can you make such a lot of claims when you don't even know about Esperanto's half-definite article? Granted, it's among the finer nuances, not for beginners, but before you spew such a barrage of claims you should find out about such things.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Congratulations. (none / 0) (#375)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 12:21:51 AM EST

Maybe you should join one of those perfectionist groups, you could spew your pseudolinguistic theories all day.

Congratulations. By dismissing my comments about the unnaturalness of the article system in Esperanto as "pseudolinguistic", you've just dismissed the ideas of language universals, typology and markedness, all due to Roman Jakobson, arguably the greatest linguist of the 20th century and definitely one of its most influential intellectual figures.

And I have no interest at all in designing languages, only in understanding them. And no, your attempt to bullshit me with this story about a "half-definite article" won't work.

--em
[ Parent ]

Would I help you spread bullshit? (none / 0) (#381)
by QuickFox on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 01:16:56 AM EST

your attempt to bullshit me with this story about a "half-definite article" won't work.

No way I'd spread bullshit about Esperanto. All the time I'm trying to correct your bullshit. Would I suddenly start helping you spread bullshit and confusion? You can be quite sure I will not help you in that department.

Check it out at the arguably most authoritative source available anywhere, online or offline: The half-definite article. (One difference between you and me is that I have sources to back me up.)

Note to readers: This belongs to the finer nuances that beginners don't need to worry about. For beginners I do not recommend the grammar handbook that I'm linking to above (PMEG), since beginners need to learn the basics first. PMEG is probably most suitable for fluent or nearly fluent speakers who want to learn to express fine nuances and to use the most appropriate form on every occasion.

By dismissing my comments about the unnaturalness of the article system in Esperanto as "pseudolinguistic",

That's not what I'm dismissing. I'm dismissing the whole body of your work on this page, all your theorising that completely ignores the reality that I and so many others have experienced first-hand. It's quite obvious that I was not dismissing just what you said about the article system since I replied to that with "Who said Esperanto is perfect?"

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Wow. An Esperanto troll. (none / 0) (#395)
by RobotSlave on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 06:38:06 AM EST

Now I've seen it all.

I'm afraid the source you cite is "arguably" the "most authoritative" only within the Esperanto Cult itself.

How many "authoritative sources" in other academic disciplines can you list that have not been translated from their original languages?

With that said, your "authoritative source" appears to be woefully lacking in its research methodology. Essentially, it looks at a number of examples of usage for unu, the esperanto word for the numeral "one." Since there is no cultural or historical basis for deciding whether or not a given usage of the word is "correct," one can find a multitude of citations where the word is used in different ways-- in some cases as the indefinite article, as Mr. Martinez suggested, and in some cases as the definite article, as one might use it in English. See?

No, of course you don't see. You're too dense. Deliberately too dense, of course, but still, too dense.

Citing a bunch of examples in which a given word is sometimes used as a definite article, and sometimes used as an indefinite article, does not make that word a "half-definite article." Such arguments demonstrate nothing more than a fair bit of linguistic ignorance and a great deal of grandiosity on the part of the claimant.

E.M.'s arguments, though highly technical, are all put forward in an effort to debunk the claim that Esperanto is "simpler" than other languages, or more "natural," or of greater value when learning other languages, or an embodiment of some political ideal or another.

The last element deserves especial scrutiny at this juncture, because many Esperanto advocates hail the language as remarkably egalitarian in its lack of distinction between "high" and "low" language, ie, between educated upper-class speakers and coarse, unread, common speakers. The "easy" conjugation, the unimportance of word order, and the lack of a socially understood "correct" or "high class" pronunciation have all been cited in defense of this position.

You, QuickTroll, have broken ranks. You now claim that there are elements of Esperanto that distinguish the elite from the commoners, the well-read from the mere utilitarian practitioners.

In effect, you have burdened the language with exactly the sort of social heirarchy that its most utopian adherents wish to escape, or eliminate entirely.

Your citation of PMEG, though worthless in the context of rigorous linguistics, is not without value. The citation carries a great social value-- it serves as a distinguishing marker between the Esperanto elite, and the mere Esperanto practitioner.

As a troll (and a fairly accomplished one), I'm sure you're fully aware of this irony in your arguments.

Well done, sir.

[ Parent ]

Welcomed, not scorned (2.00 / 1) (#456)
by QuickFox on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 07:47:06 AM EST

You now claim that there are elements of Esperanto that distinguish the elite from the commoners, the well-read from the mere utilitarian practitioners.
It's just a matter of people being beginners for some time. When you learn a language you will be a beginner for some time, this can't be avoided. But beginners are welcomed rather than scorned so there's no hierarchy. And the time as beginner is short.
your "authoritative source" appears to be woefully lacking in its research methodology.
Grammar handbooks explain grammar, they don't research it. Just like the grammar books in school.

The classical example of the half-definite article is from Fundamento de Esperanto: "Unu vidvino havis du filinojn", which means "a certain widow had two daughters". It is called half-definite because it indicates that the talker knows who the widow is but the listener doesn't.

E.M.'s arguments, though highly technical, are all put forward in an effort to debunk the claim that Esperanto is "simpler" than other languages, or more "natural," or of greater value when learning other languages, or an embodiment of some political ideal or another.
This guy who believes himself such an expert linguist says "your attempt to bullshit me with this story about a 'half-definite article' won't work." He should know that several languages have this article. Seeing my claim, he should do some quick research, not just spout blindly aggressive retort.

His reaction is not objective. He passes judgement without gathering relevant facts. He is not seeking knowledge. Estanislao does not respect his own field of expertise enough to check the facts, even superficially, before passing judgement.

No, of course you don't see. You're too dense. Deliberately too dense, of course, but still, too dense.
Now what can I say, in the face of such brilliant logic?

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
Could someone explain... (4.00 / 1) (#464)
by Arevos on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 12:01:39 PM EST

Why there should be a fuss over this? The only reason that I can think of is that the word 'the' is a more common word in English than 'a', maybe indicating that the definite is used more. But should it really matter much at all?

[ Parent ]
Um, no. (3.50 / 2) (#478)
by RobotSlave on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 08:02:21 PM EST

Given your explanation, the article "a" in spoken English is sometimes "half-definite" (with the meaning arising from emphasis on the word "a").

One might even more persuasively argue that there is one class of usage in which the word "one" is a half-definite article, according to your half-baked notion.

In fact, in your example, the word "unu" is not an article at all. It is merely the numeral "one," used precisely in the manner which I have used it above.

If there are "half-definite" articles in other languages, please cite them. I think you'll find that in every case, the claim for "half-definite" status is simply the result of ambiguity in particular cases.

Given the context, I'd be very suprised if you can cite anything other than more texts in Esperanto, seeking to explain away the bad design decision with invented terminology and half-baked examples, offered exclusively to a largely sympathetic audience via the synthetic conduit of Esperanto itself.

If we coined a new term every time we encountered ambiguity, linguistics would become a baroque and largely useless exercise in taxonomy.

It still looks to me as if you are taking taking an inadequacy in a synthetic language and attempting to spin it into a new grammatical entity. You are also getting hostile when people who know a lot about language contest your claim.

And yes, you are definitely drawing class distinctions between Esperanto users, and not "mere proficiency distinctions." Is illiteracy merely a matter of proficiency?

[ Parent ]

But... (none / 0) (#445)
by Arevos on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 06:17:50 PM EST

What if you wanted to say something like "I like books?" ("Mi shatas librojn").

But how would you say that in a language with the definite implied? You'd have to make up an extra word for the indefinite, as you couldn't say "I like one books".

Or is there an easier way round this? I'm curious :)

[ Parent ]

quick question (none / 0) (#285)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:59:16 PM EST

Romanian, as I'm sure you're aware, uses both definite and indefinite articles, but the definite article is sometimes attached to the end of a noun as a suffix or a modification of the final vowel (eg, un teatru -> teatrul, or in the feminine a final schwa turns into an open "a.")

But sometimes it doesn't. If I say "Cel mai bun teatru," (the very best theatre,) the "cel" takes care of the definite article, so you don't add it to the end of "teatru." What exactly is up? Or perhaps you could just link me to something informative?

Thx in advance,
Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

definite article != demonstrative (none / 0) (#299)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:16:14 PM EST

The definite article is sometimes attached to the end of a noun ... But sometimes it doesn't. [cel as an example]

cel is a strange little word. In fact, sometimes both occur: if my reference book here is right, you have to use both in teatrul cel mai bun. The thing is that cel is restricted to some contexts relative to the general article.

--em
[ Parent ]

thanks. nt (none / 0) (#300)
by adequate nathan on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:18:11 PM EST


"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

interesting and rewarding (5.00 / 3) (#278)
by quark17 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:40:37 PM EST

Your concern for the Chinese is very touching, but I don't think they need you to defend them :)

The Esperanto communities in China, Korea, and Japan are huge.  I travelled in Japan using Esperanto and it was incredibly useful for me.  There is a network of Esperanto-speakers around the world who host visitors in their homes for free.  So I stayed with Esperanto-speakers in Japan, which not only saved me a ton of money (hotels in Japan are expensive!), but I also got to view the lives of real people in the country and not just visit tourist sites.  I had conversations of all levels, from politics (it was shortly after 9/11 that I visited) to making homemade licqueurs.  And in Hiroshima I sat in a coffeeshop with a survivor of the atomic bomb who speaks Esperanto.  That was incredible, and I'm sure I never could have done it as a typical American tourist using English.  (Most people who said they spoke English really didn't; but I spoke at such ease with Esperanto speakers.)  And if I had learned Japanese, it wouldn't have done me any good when I also travelled in Mexico City, or when I was in France, or Germany.  And maybe I want to go to Iran, too, where there are tons of Esperanto hosts.

I speak lots of languages, though, don't get me wrong.  I watch a lot of French TV.  And through my Esperanto contacts I have become interested in learning tons of new languages, as a way to learn about those cultures.  (I fell in love with Japanese after visiting there.)  But I think Esperanto does have its practical uses.  And an incredible amount of return on the small amount of time I spent.

Finally, I would just add that Esperanto has been very interesting and rewarding to me.  Just because it is constructed, doesn't mean it can't be culturally rewarding.  I have read touching original Esperanto works written during the Croatian war.  I have read a translation of famous Basque work.  Through Esperanto I have had contact with many cultures and peoples around the world (whether it be through books, email, travelling, or having visitors stay in my own home).  I don't find it lacking in cultural rewards at all :)


[ Parent ]

helpful properties of Esperanto (5.00 / 2) (#304)
by quark17 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:24:11 PM EST

You asked if there are other ways that Esperanto helps.  Let me describe a few interesting properties:

One property of Esperanto is that when you encounter a new word, you automatically know its role in the sentence even if you have no clue what it means.  That can be helpful when speaking.

Another interesting property is that you can understand words that you have never seen before.  In fact you can speak new words that you have never learned.  This comes from the ability to put roots and affixes together to form constructed words (a property of agglutative languages).

It is this ability to put roots and affixes together to form more words that helps the learning process.  So not only is the grammar easier, but the number of basic words you have to learn is also reduced.  From a small number of basic roots you can construct words for other meanings.

Also, the correlative table is kind of interesting.  We almost have it in English.  We have words like "where" and "when".  And you can make the response to those questions by replacing "wh" with "th" to form "there" and "then".  But you can't say "thy" in response to "why".  And how to do you respond to "how"?  There are words like "thing" which can become "nothing" and "something" and "everything".  You can also form "nowhere" and "somewhere" and "everywhere".  And "sometime" and "notime", not "nothen" or even "everytime".  And "everywhy" or "everyhow"?  It's kind of cool that in Esperanto you can actually say all of these constructions (with a single word) that English is missing.

These properties aren't unique, and Esperanto isn't perfect.  But its easy enough that, with it's the network of speakers and the large body of literature and websites and everything, that it can be useful.  (For example, you could spend your free time this year to learn it and go travelling this summer.  I had a friend who did that after school.  She though she'd just spend 1 month in France, but she had so much fun that she travelled for 16 months through 16 countries in Europe staying at the homes of over 100 Esperanto-speakers.)


[ Parent ]

A tough language for Chinese? (5.00 / 2) (#361)
by donh1942 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:59:09 PM EST

Similarly, I have no doubt that any native Chinese speaker would have huge problems learning Esperanto.

Reading some of the comments posted here, I'm reminded of the old story of the four Greek philosophers traveling across the desert of Araby with a native guide. One night, as the four philosophers sat by the fire discussing various matters, the question came up of how many teeth a horse has. Long theoretical discussions about analogies with other animals, evolutionary descent, information contained in the works of Aristotle, etc. led the four philosophers to four different answers, about which they were totally incapable of agreeing.

Then, from out of the shadows, their Arab guide spoke up: "A horse has 32 (or however many is the correct number) teeth."

Naturally, the philosophers could not accept that this unlettered peasant could possibly have a correct answer, and asked him from what source he had obtained his estimate?

"Easy," he replied. "While you were arguing, I walked back to the picket line and counted them."

Has anybody here actually asked the Chinese how tough Esperanto is for them? All I can say is that when I went to China in 1986 I had no trouble finding people who spoke Esperanto, usually better than their European counterparts. One of my close friends, who taught Esperanto at Huadong (East China Normal) University in Shanghai for number of years before she came to the States (with the help of Esperanto) on a three-month visa and managed to stay, was very distressed about the tiny turnout for the Esperanto course at UC Berkeley in the early nineties; at her university she had to turn students away from her class for lack of space. A national TV Esperanto course in China had about half as many officially registered students as the equivalent English course -- and twice as many as the equivalent French course.

Chinese Esperanto speakers will tell you that Esperanto is harder for them to learn than it is for Europeans because the root vocabulary that they have to memorize is so different. The problem is ameliorated by the fact that the root vocabulary is so small compared to that of any other language, and by the fact that the word-formation system is so similar to that of Chinese. Structurally, the language is quite easy for them.

Please count the teeth before you report their number.


-- Don Harlow http://www.webcom.com/~donh/don/don.html
[ Parent ]

dog house = hundejo (5.00 / 2) (#171)
by kadmos on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:00:16 AM EST

If I know the word for dog (hundo) and suppose I want the adjective form to make a "dog house." Here, "dog" describes the kind of house, so it's clearly an adjective. All I need to do is to remove the noun -o ending from hundo, and apply the -a ending. Now I have hunda domo.

It is my understanding that hundejo (meaning place of the dog) is the preferred translation of the English word kennel. Naturally this idea can be applied to other animals:

  • hundejo = kennel
  • cxevalejo = stable
  • porkejo = sty
  • kokejo = chicken coup



"Hunddomo" (none / 0) (#173)
by Yekrats on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:34:53 AM EST

Hunddomo was probably not a very good example. Yes, hundejo would be a better word choice.

Ah, well...
-- Yekrats

[ Parent ]

Does it matter? (none / 0) (#341)
by Mantikor on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:42:54 PM EST

The cool thing is, regardless of whether you say hundejo, hunda domo, or la domo de hundo, other Esperanto speakers will know what you mean.

Also, there may be languages that have no single term for 'kennel', and they would probably attempt to translate their own term literally.  Using the logical structure of the language, you can generally understand exactly what someone means to say.


[ Parent ]

Esperanto an the cultural context (4.20 / 5) (#176)
by Shubin on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:17:53 AM EST

One simple thought : Study Russian for 20 years, come to Russia, try to speak and people will laugh at you. May be they will not show it, but they'll find your language funny. Study French for 20 years, come to France, try to speak and people will laugh at you. The same with Chinese, Finnish, etc.

Study Esperanto for 6 months, come to Esperanto club in any country and they'll tell you that your language is perfect. Or they'll correct your mistakes.

Isn't it enough ?

I learned English for 30 years already. I can speak it in a way others can understand. But it is always easier for me to talk to people, whose native language is not English. Then we are speaking using some common sense subset of a language and both feel comfortable. Talks about cultural and historical heritage are empty. YOU will never understand Russian history as we understand it. I will never understand English or American history as YOU understand it. Basically there are always TWO languages - one for native speakers and one for foreigners. And there are no means to change this.
Except for Esperanto.

The point of language... (3.80 / 5) (#230)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:08:33 PM EST

...is the cultural context that the native speakers have been accumulating for millenia, not so you can order pizza over the telephone.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Re: The point of language... (none / 0) (#392)
by cip on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 05:31:47 AM EST

That is one point of language. Another one is the simple and pragmatical mean two or more folks have to communicate. I'd rather know how to order pizza over the phone in a foreign country than starve to death.

[ Parent ]
Esperanto *as language* works (2.50 / 2) (#233)
by svampa on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:25:35 PM EST

One simple thought : Study Russian for 20 years, come to Russia, try to speak and people will laugh at you.

As non-native English speaker I understand better non-native English speakers than USA or Uk people, that gives you a clue

Facts: In the first meet of esperantists they could understand one each other, it was a surprise even for Zamenhof. He though the language as a written mean of communication, spoken esperanto was a "side effect"

Esperanto has flaws, and there are a lot of artificial languages better than esperanto, but it has poved to be "good enough"... as language. Anyhow, no artificial language will success because of social and political reasons, it has nothing to do with the features of the language.



[ Parent ]
If Esperanto ever caught on. . . (5.00 / 2) (#234)
by IHCOYC on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:27:16 PM EST

. . . the situation would be the same in Esperanto. Advertisers, newspapers, and the makers of Survivor shows, soap operas, and action movies would switch to Esperanto as soon as the Esperanto target audience was larger than the people they could reach in an older language.

Eventually, you would have a community of Esperanto sophisticates, and another community of Esperanto stragglers. You'd end up with the same situation you have now in the national languages.

GraySkull is home to the anima, the all-knowing woman who gives power to the otherwise ineffectual man. -- Jeff Coleman
[ Parent ]

Damn right... (5.00 / 1) (#401)
by werner on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 09:57:31 AM EST

...they'll laugh at you.

And I reserve the right to laugh at foreigners' English.



[ Parent ]
I recommend Malay/Indonesian (4.71 / 7) (#188)
by levsen on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:00:00 AM EST

If you really want to learn something useful quick, learn Malay, the official language of Malaysia and Indonesia (where it's called Indonesiean, but it's the same, trust me). The gives you access to 230 million people in Indonesia alone. Malay/Indonesian is, unlike other Asian languages, written using the latin alphabet, no hieroglyphs required. All words are pronounced as written and written as pronounced, very straightforward with VERY few exceptions. The is absolutely NO grammar, no tenses, cases, gender, whathaveyounat. Putting a sentence into the "past tense" involves as much as slapping a "yesterday" in front. The vocabulary is much smaller, many expressions are descriptive, i.e. a "pharmacy" would be called "medicine store" (toko obat), "breakfast" is simply "morning meal" (makan pagi) and the "sun" is the "eye of the day" (mata hari). Modern words (car, bus, beer, computer, telephone) are copied right from the English or Dutch language ("mobil", "bis", "bir", "komputer", "telpon", respectively). I went to Indonesia for 5 weeks and didn't bother to learn the language in advance, since I thought it would be too complicated, after all it took me on the order of 5 years to learn that damned French, right? But once there I picked it up really fast. Ok, that said, Indonesia is a wonderful country, great nature, great people, not touristically exploited if you skip an unimportant speck called Bali. Have fun.
This comment is printed on 100% recycled electrons.
Addendum (3.75 / 4) (#190)
by levsen on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:14:22 AM EST

The reason I recommended Malay is that I supposed that people who consider learning Esperanto a) already speak the one world language, English and b) are looking for an easy language to learn. Malay will give you access to ~250 million people as opposed to about 250 which speak Esperanto (sorry just had to point that out again!!). Of course if you are a neglected housewive who is looking for useless distraction inbetween your Tupperware parties and the next Bill Cosby show, not only Esperanto is perfect for you, there is no chance on Earth that you will ever get to see Indonesia or someplace like that.

BTW, it would be interesting to know how many people speak Esperanto that do NOT already speak English. English is not yet that established in Indonesia so that's where the real value lies. That's why there's no point in learning languages like Scandinavian languages, everybody there speaks English, you will not meet more people if you learn their language. (Unless you want to live there maybe but that's another story.)
This comment is printed on 100% recycled electrons.
[ Parent ]

Scandinavian (5.00 / 1) (#342)
by frawaradaR on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:46:13 PM EST

We learn langauges for different reasons, not only as a tool to communicate. Learning a Scandinavian langauge like Swedish or Norwegian will make you understand so much more about English, your own langauge. This is because they have the same roots (Anglia and Sachsen were bordering Scandinavia) and share many features and words, and a thousand years ago, people in England and Scandinavia could understand each other pretty well (not because half of England was under Scandinavian rule, but because of shared culture). A Swede is actually better equipped to understand the writer Beowulf than any English speaking dude of today...

You don't have to have a practical reason to learn another language, however small or unimportant. It is a joy in itself. That is why people study Esperanto, Old Norse, and whatever.

frawaradaR anahaha islaginaR!
[ Parent ]

number of speakers (none / 0) (#399)
by amuzulo on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 09:21:41 AM EST

Indonesian is a cool language, but how useful is it outside of Indonesia? I've also met a lot of Esperanto speaking people who can't speak English (especially in Brazil, but also many in Europe). The Almanac World Book of Facts (the ones that list total speakers, not just native speakers) lists Esperanto speakers as 2 million, not 250. There's even between 200-2000 native Esperanto speakers according to the Ethnologue. I know you just want to create some heat, but could you check your facts before posting next time?

[ Parent ]
Any language course recommendations? (none / 0) (#204)
by partingshot on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:38:53 AM EST



[ Parent ]
I just bought myself a book ... (none / 0) (#209)
by levsen on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:45:25 AM EST

I never said I really ever completely mastered the language, so this is not a definitive answer. But note that since pronounciation, word usage etc. which are normally devote a great amount of time to in the usual laguage classes are not an issue, you can do a lot just by buying a book that teaches you it. Then just go to the country and practice. That's the way I would do it.

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[ Parent ]
Italian (4.50 / 2) (#225)
by p3d0 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:32:34 AM EST

I found Italian easy to learn. It's far more regular than English or French. I picked up enough to read Italian signs, menus, etc. in about two weeks.

One thing that really helped was the in-flight magazine on Alitalia, which has articles written in both Italian and English. I tried to read as much as I could on the Italian side, and when I came to something I didn't understand, I had an instant English translation at hand.

Of course, now that I don't need it anymore, I have forgotten most of it...
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]

sounds vaguely familiar (5.00 / 1) (#232)
by shrubbery on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:22:08 PM EST

I speak Chinese fluently.. but not mandarin chinese but a very local dialect. The rest of my family is from that region before they emigrated over to the US so I was raised speaking it. There are no such things as tenses and when I actually sat back and thought about it... why exactly do you need a verb tense? In my dialect, I would say "I go to store yesterday." Simple, no need for verb tenses; just a temporial modifier at the end. There really aren't any verb conjagations either and frankly it does alright without them. What I do find annoying about the language is that a word in a different pitch is a completely different word. I find that to be a fairly uniform rule for most types of Chinese.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, (none / 0) (#261)
by levsen on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:17:29 PM EST

if it weren't for the pronounciation thingy I'd be into Chinese right away. Also such a huge country and barely anybody speaks English!! I wish it was more accessible to me.

This comment is printed on 100% recycled electrons.
[ Parent ]
Re: Yeah (none / 0) (#337)
by frawaradaR on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:28:30 PM EST

Pronounciation isn't an issue. There are only four-five vowels and a few hard consonants (x, maybe s). Just because there are so few sounds in Mandarin , anyone can learn it perfectly, regardless of age. This is not true for other languages, where you will always have an accent if you start learning it in or after your teens.

Of course you have to put in years of effort nevertheless. The grammar may lack the rich structure of the Germanic and Romance languages (Chinese is an aspect language, not a syntactic language), but this also means that words have to be placed in a certain order in the sentence, whereas a  language like Latin can have words in completely arbitrary order.

The tones are only confusing in the beginning, and eventually makes you realize the big characteristic of the language. (There are languages with twelve tones, if you really want to try something hard.)

The really hard part is all labor involved in learning each and every character. The writing system is the very reason Chinese kids take much longer to learn their language than kids in other nations. But at the same time, knowing this ancient system gives you immediate access to writers from the early centuries A.D. This isn't so with English or other Western langauges (try reading Beowulf), where the written system is modelled on the spoken language and therefore subject to constant change.

The Chinese system is extremely conservative and survives changes in the spoken langauge. That is why it is common to people speaking Mandarin, Cantonese and other Chinese dialects (and Japanese). And that is why Pinyin, the latinized complement, can never replace signs, as it has in Vietnam and other places in Asia.

frawaradaR anahaha islaginaR!
[ Parent ]

Be careful telling joke when learning a new langua (5.00 / 2) (#461)
by BuddasEvilTwin on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 11:03:04 AM EST

  You reminded me of a when first moved to Jakarta when I was 16.  Wayne's World was pretty big at the time, and having about 4 days of emersion in the language, I figured I would do the old, "A homo says what?" joke by capitalising on the locals expectation of me not being formulate a coherant sentence.

I had the following information about the language.

Homo = Guy
Language = Bahasa
Speak a Language = Berbahasa
What? = Apa?

I deduced the following:

Speak - Ber (It's really bicara)

So, I asked my driver, "Guy ber apa? (Homo speak what?)"
He smiles and says, "You want?"
Confused, I say it again, "No, Guy ber apa?"
Again he smiles and says, "You want?"
My brother looks at me, "what are you trying to say?"
I replied, "The homo says what joke."
He shakes his head, "Why do you keep saying berapa?  That means how much."
I'm confused at this point, "Huh?"
He explains, "Your asking him how much for a queer!"

That day, I learned the word for speak is bicara.

[ Parent ]

Actually I wish there was a law ... (1.00 / 6) (#191)
by levsen on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:18:55 AM EST

... that prevented people from wasting their time on irrelevant crap. Please do something that contributes to society. We really need your help.
This comment is printed on 100% recycled electrons.
Indeed. (none / 0) (#462)
by StephenGilbert on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 11:17:02 AM EST

Of course, posting on Kuro5hin contributes great things to society.

--------------------------------
Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia
[ Parent ]

Actually I wish there was a law ... (1.16 / 12) (#195)
by levsen on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:46:12 AM EST

... that prevents intelligent people from wasting their time with stuff like Esperanto. Could you please do something that contributes to society? Because we really need you.
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I wish there was a law... (none / 0) (#250)
by commonchaos on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:40:29 PM EST

... that prevents intelligent people from double posting masked insults ;-)

[ Parent ]
He, k5 was stuck!! (none / 0) (#258)
by levsen on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:15:57 PM EST

I swear my first comment wasn't there after I posted it, but it magically reappeared 15 min after I posted the second. Hm. Hm. Besides, I really really wish I could win over intelligent, intellectual people that I see around me in my everyday life for some real-world projects, but no, they are stuck with some stuff (not Esperanto, but Ancient Greek for example). Too bad, just too bad.

This comment is printed on 100% recycled electrons.
[ Parent ]
To me, Esperanto is a hobby. (none / 0) (#256)
by Yekrats on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:06:57 PM EST

Do you have any hobbies? Shame on you! :-)
-- Yekrats

[ Parent ]
Esperanto not a waste of my time (3.83 / 6) (#271)
by quark17 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:52:07 PM EST

I wish there was a law that required posters to give some kind of rational argument in their posts.  An uninformed insult with no substance just goes to further show your ignorance.

I speak Esperanto and I have used it to do incredible things.  Esperanto has been amazingly useful to me and I like to tell other kids about Esperanto so that they too can do cool things -- no need for me to be greedy and hog all the fun for myself.  That, to me, is contributing to society.

Esperanto is spoken by enough people (in over 110 countries and on all inhabited continents) that it can be used to do amazing things.  I have travelled in Europe, Mexico, and Japan using Esperanto and it has not only saved me tons of money (by staying people's homes instead of hotels), but it has allowed me to have real, meaningful conversations and to truly get to know people who have become good friends.  I have partied in Esperanto (with 400 kids from 40 countries); I have even been intimate with women in Esperanto.  I listen to international news.  I read original and translated books of cultural significance from around the world.  I have started to learn other languages and learn about other cultures because of the personal contact with people of these cultures from around the world.  I exchange emails daily with people in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and throughout the Americas.

So regardless of whether anyone else learns the language, it has been invaluable to me.  And I know plenty of people who have had even more amazing experiences than I've had.  In fact, my friends who have married people they met through Esperanto would say that Esperanto allowed them to meet the woman or man of their life and start a family.  To them, certainly Esperanto has plenty of value.

If you don't want to learn it, that's fine with me.  It's not for everyone.  But if you want to say it's not worthwhile to tell people about it, you probably ought to give some reasons for saying that.  (And be able to back up those reasons by knowing what you're talking about.)


[ Parent ]

What are the problems with Esperanto? (2.00 / 2) (#338)
by Mantikor on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:30:47 PM EST

I have seen very few genuinely honest objections to Esperanto, so I was wondering if there are any?  The only possible problem I've seen mentioned has been that it's not so easy for some asian(?) speakers to learn to pronounce (and I can't verify this myself, obviously).

As far as I can see, the biggest objections to Esperanto are just laziness, or a superiority complex of some sort.  "I learnt English, therefore English must be easy to learn, so everyone else should do it (especially them damn for'ners!)".

Personally, I think everyone should learn Esperanto as a second language, given how easy it is.  Keep your ethnic heritage and whatever other things are generally considered good [I couldn't give a rats arse for my 'english culture and heritage', but that's just me], and learn a common language for secondary communications.  Once you've learnt the pronounciation and the simple grammatical rules, you only need a dictionary.  Not so with English.

Many scifi books have a concept like 'basic', a common easy-to-speak language to facilitate communications between species.  Did these same detractors read similar books and think "fuck, what a dumb idea... aliens should learn English like the rest of us!"?

[Please note: I am not suggesting aliens should learn Esperanto... Esperanto is more difficult with facial tentacles, I understand]


[ Parent ]

Asians learning Esperanto (none / 0) (#398)
by amuzulo on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 09:09:34 AM EST

I can't speak for Asians in general, but my Chinese friend I know through Esperanto said that he could speak Esperanto better after five months of study than seven years of studying English. For more information, you can read what my Chinese friend wrote about Esperanto: A Beginning Chinese Esperantist.

[ Parent ]
He studied English though (5.00 / 1) (#421)
by Dephex Twin on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 02:01:29 PM EST

I'm sure the fact that he studied English for 7 years would significantly contribute to his ability with Esperanto.

The whole Chinese-speaker problem is that Esperanto conforms to Western language rules, including the Romance and Germanic languages.


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

the Chinese-speaker problem? (none / 0) (#463)
by amuzulo on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 11:23:40 AM EST

Yes, but to my knowledge, pretty much every Chinese person today studies English this much and almost all of them get nowhere with it. Maybe the best benefit of studying English with no success for Chinese people is that it helps them learn Esperanto easier.

The whole Chinese-speaker problem is that Esperanto conforms to Western language rules, including the Romance and Germanic languages.

If this is a problem, then why can so many Chinese speak Esperanto?

[ Parent ]

Yes. (none / 0) (#466)
by Dephex Twin on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 03:00:47 PM EST

Yes, but to my knowledge, pretty much every Chinese person today studies English this much and almost all of them get nowhere with it.
This is a totally unsubstantiated claim.
If this is a problem, then why can so many Chinese speak Esperanto?
My point was that Esperanto isn't significantly easier than English (if at all) for them to learn. You said earlier that "pretty much every Chinese person" studies English. Then you ask "why can so many Chinese speak Esperanto?" (I question your claim of "many" people from anywhere speaking Esperanto, but I digress...) You answer your own question here. There are Chinese people who speak Esperanto because they already have studied English extensively. The Euro-centric approaches to *grammar*, *spelling*, and *Roman characters* (among other things) have already been taught to them. These are the major obstacles to overcome-- the ones to which I was referring.

If you taught Esperanto to Chinese kids instead of English, they would have no easier of a time. The only difference would be that they would not know English, which would mean that a lot of doors would be closed to them socially, professionally, and educationally.

Besides that, would you say it is more likely that a random Chinese person I run into while walking through China will know English, or Esperanto? I think it would be unlikely to run into someone who knows what Esperanto *is*, let alone how to speak it.


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

Dude, if you need Esperanto to get laid.... (3.16 / 6) (#380)
by Tux on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 01:00:50 AM EST

Dude, if you need Esperanto to get laid, you are in a sorry state.

I think trolls and goatse are a fresh outlet for news and lively debate, too.
-An AC in response to the idea that slashdot is a fresh outlet for pertinent news and lively debate
[ Parent ]

I see... (1.00 / 1) (#331)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:08:05 PM EST

So you want us to have fun your way, not our way.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
Esperanto (1.77 / 9) (#201)
by gr00vey on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:21:41 AM EST

Esperanto, why don't you come to your senses? You been out ridin' fences for so long now. Oh, you're a hard one, but I know that you've got your reasons. These things that are pleasin' you can hurt you somehow. Don't you draw the queen of diamonds, boy! She'll beat you, if she's able. You know the queen of hearts is always your best bet. Now it seems to me some fine things have been laid upon your table, but you only want the ones that you can't get. Esperanto, ah, you ain't gettin' no younger. Your pain and your hunger, they're drivin' you home. Freedom, oh, freedom. That's just some people talkin' You're a prisioner walking through this world all alone. Don't your feet get cold in the wintertime? The sky won't snow and the sun won't shine. It's hard to tell the nighttime from the day. You're losin' all your highs and lows. Ain't it funny how the feeling goes away? Esperanto, why don't you come to your senses? Come down from your fences, open the gate. It may be rainin' , but there's a rainbow above you. You better let somebody love you (2x) before it's too late.

Languages and their complexity (4.33 / 3) (#240)
by X-Nc on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:46:12 PM EST

I have been dealing with multiple languages for the majority of my life. Born in Germany to American parents of Italian decent makes things fun. English is my "mother tongue" (though you wouldn't know it by my spelling). When I was quite young I was fairly fluent in Italian and some German. Then I hit my pre- and early teens and out went everything but slang English. From the time I graduated high school till I was in my late 20's I relearned German from friends and co-workers (I lived there from '76 to '88). Now that I have been here in the US I have re-forgotten everything again. Now I am trying to learn Thai ($DEITY help me). Until this, I thought English was the most screwed up language around. Now I'm in a language that makes perfect sense if you spent your whole life learning it (a Thai teacher told me that many Thai's have problems with the language! How am I supposed to learn?)

All that is background... My comments on this article are that Esperanto has some good ideas and is probably the best unified language I've encountered (that's why it's still the best into it's second century). This will not really have any impact on the fact that English is the language of the Business and Technical worlds. Not because it's best suited but because us dumb USeans fit the joke this article started out with.

As a language, English is a real pain. It's one of the easiest languages to learn for being basically comprehensible in but damn near impossible to become expert with. The Latin and even the Germanic languages are much more sane. The "Asian" languages are just beyond my ability to ken.

Ok, so this comment really doesn't say much of anything. It did get me out of doing anything productive for 20 minutes.

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.

Italian and German are good languages to learn... (5.00 / 1) (#274)
by Mzilikazi on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:22:31 PM EST

I took German in high school and Italian in college. I'm not fluent in either, but can easily get by in both. I studied these two because it opened up most of Europe for me--one Germanic language, one Romance language. I really can't speak Spanish or French very well, but can understand a good bit of it written or spoken. When I was in the Netherlands, everyone spoke English, but the Dutch was close enough that I could easily understand signs, menus, etc.

Two oddballs that I encountered: I had to type up a wedding program for someone, and the entire thing was in some Dutch-like language, but the spelling was way off. I could understand most of it, but had to ask the woman what language it was. Afrikaans. Similar thing happened the other day when I was Googling around for something and came across a page that appeared to be in Italian (at least from the sentence fragments in the Google description). Again, I could understand most of what was being written, but had no idea what it was--it looked like a cross between French, Spanish, and Italian. Turned out to be Catalan, and it looked absolutely beautiful. I don't think I would ever get the chance to use it, so I don't think I'll study it in depth, but it looked like a great interesection of those three languages.

Cheers,
Mzilikazi

[ Parent ]

ditto (none / 0) (#386)
by kubalaa on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 02:45:25 AM EST

That's just like me. German in high school and early college, now Italian. If I was going for practicality, I'd say Chinese, Spanish, German, and English, and you've got yourself most of the world's population.

[ Parent ]
No Man's Land (4.50 / 2) (#242)
by lithmonkey on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:04:48 PM EST

I just watched the film No Man's Land. I think Esperanto is silly, I used to think it was cool back when i was reading the Stainless Steel Rat series like some other people here. But boy, after watching that film last night I really wish that Esperanto worked, as a common language.

It does work... (3.50 / 4) (#265)
by quark17 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:27:30 PM EST

I speak Esperanto and in the last two years after really getting into it, I have travelled to Europe, Mexico, and Japan, and had unbelievable experiences that I'm sure I never would have had as a typical American tourist.  And I'm not alone.  I know tons of other US students who have done similar, if not more incredible things with the language.

The people posting comments in this group (besides being ignorant of the facts) are missing the point:  regardless of what happens to Esperanto in the future, it is unbelievably useful now.

My trip in Japan was amazing.  I stayed in the homes of Esperanto speakers -- something that, because of Japan's culture, amazes even other Japanese people.  So I saved a fortune on hotel costs, and I got to really learn about the lives of people in Japan.  We had conversations about politics, about making homemade liqueurs, about everything.  I even got to meet a survivor of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima who speaks Esperanto.  And that's typical of what one can expect with Esperanto.

So what makes you think that Esperanto "doesn't work"?  (And this isn't even to mention all the other cool things I've done -- hung out in discotheques with other Esperanto-speaking kids, read culturally powerful works from around the world, etc).


[ Parent ]

When it's needed for life and death situations... (5.00 / 1) (#293)
by lithmonkey on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:46:02 PM EST

...not just for fun and profit. I wasn't trying to say that it can't work for you (or me, or anyone.) But i don't see it seriously working to save lives or stop wars. Maybe if UN Peace-Keeping forces all spoke esperanto than you'd REALLY have a reason to learn it, were you in a war. BTW, you should check out the movie to see what i'm talking about.

[ Parent ]
Deutsch? (5.00 / 1) (#251)
by forkbomb on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:43:29 PM EST

I took two years of German in high-school and was really impressed with the logic of that language. It was very structured and orderly (sort of what one would expect from the Germans.) The fact that English seems to be based on it made it a bit easier for me to learn.

If one is looking for an orderly language to learn, German seems much more practical to me than Esperanto. This isn't to say that German doesn't have its own peculiarities and inconsistancies. Just that one a whole it seems very well laid out.

The ocean, she is strange and wonderous, filled with animals that disturb even a Frenchman.

practical? (1.00 / 1) (#273)
by quark17 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:11:01 PM EST

What is your definition of practical?

No one expects to bump into an Esperanto-speaker randomly on the street (though it has happened to me and my friends in New Jersey, Boston, Rio, Warsaw, etc).

Esperanto is useful because many Esperanto speakers are well connected.  If you plan to visit a country, you will look up Esperanto-speakers there before you travel.  You can often find an Esperanto-speaker in that country (whether it's Germany, Costa Rica, Russia, Korea, or Iran) who will let you stay in his or her home for free!  And often will feed you and show you around the town and have conversations with you about anything, from simple to really deep topics.  Maybe one can do that with German, but I certainly found it easy to do with Esperanto.  I have also read diaries of a woman in the Croation war, a book by a famous Basque author, and a guidebook to tourist sites in Hiroshima, all in Esperanto.

There are lots of things that people use languages for.  English has its uses, German has its uses, and Esperanto too has its uses.  For me, Esperanto has been very practical for many things that I have wanted to do.  I also happen to know French and use that to watch French and Canadian TV, or to visit those countries occasionally.  And I speak a little bit of other languages too.  But that hasn't stopped Esperanto from being helpful to me.  Or to the guests (from Russia, Netherlands, France, and the US) that I have hosted in my own home.


[ Parent ]

That's not because of Esperanto (5.00 / 3) (#291)
by Dephex Twin on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:31:56 PM EST

It's because of the Esperanto club.  If I were in a small and spread out but very hardcore community surrounding a hobby (like say an online RPG or a mime society, whatever), I would be able to do the same thing.  Only everyone would speak English to each other, as that is langua franca for most of the world nowadays.  In *any* country, there are more English speakers than Esperanto speakers (if not hundreds of times more-- depends on the country).

If Esperanto became in any way common, I don't think you'd find that people would let you stay at their place just because you speak it.  It's a club.

Clubs are fun and hobbies are good for you, don't get me wrong.


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

it is a club, but Esperanto makes it easy to join (2.00 / 1) (#316)
by quark17 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:05:54 PM EST

Sure.  A club, a hobby.  Did anyone say otherwise?  Esperanto is just a tool that one can pick up and use to do interesting things.  And if the whole world learned it, then it would lose some of the usefulness of being a close community.  But I'm not asking the whole world to learn it.  And do you think it will grow too big to be useful in your lifetime?  If not, why worry about that distant future and not stick to what it's good for now.  All I'm saying is you can do some interesting things.  If you want to do them -- sure, as a hobby -- go for it.  What were you assuming?

But Esperanto does help.  It makes the barrier to entry smaller.  What if a non-English speaker wants to join your club?  He has to spend years trying to learn the language, lots of money.  And all of this just for a hobby?  Esperanto is easy enough to be picked up and used in your spare time.

And I do think you misestimate how many people speak English.  With Esperanto I definitely feel that I can speak with a more diverse crowd of people.  (And even in Japan, I was surprised at how few people spoke English.)

Also, you probably slightly underestimate the size of the Esperanto community.  It is large enough that it has clubs inside itself.  There are clubs for tons of things:  associations for Esperanto speakers of all kinds of religions, associations of gays and lesbians, associations of Chess and Go players, associations of artists and writers, of railway workers, labor unions, political parties, dog lovers, and on an on.

But yeah, Esperanto could even be like Mensa.  A place to meet cool people and learn stuff from them.  It can certainly be just a nice hobby.

[ Parent ]

and also not just a hobby (1.00 / 1) (#321)
by quark17 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:29:09 PM EST

I'd also add that, for kids, it can be more than just a hobby.  It can be an introduction to the rest of the world.  That's something that I think is valuable in the education of any young person.  And obviously others think so, given how many exchange student programs exist and the abundance of posters on university campuses that say "travel!" and are advertising cheap trips around the world.

Esperanto is something that any kid can pick up in their spare time or during the summer and then use it to go travelling around the world.  I know many people who picked it up and then, after college or during the summer, went travelling to Europe using Esperanto and thoroughly enjoyed their experience.  So much so that most of them come back telling everyone else how cool it was and that they should learn Esperanto so they can go travelling like that too.

As I said in my other comment "Esperanto: a global language for youth", there are tons of large Esperanto events and seminars that are very rewarding and educational and fun.  I think these are great experiences for kids, to open them up to the world.  So it can be more than just a hobby.

Yes, certain aspects aren't unique to Esperanto.  There's a hospitality network called Servas which has hosts of many different languages, not just Esperanto.  But Esperanto is easy to get into, and at these large Esperanto youth events around the world, kids get to hang out with kids from other countries and cultures without language problems.


[ Parent ]

How old are you? (4.00 / 1) (#303)
by svampa on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:23:32 PM EST

Long time ago I joint to an esperanto association, just to learn what is all about. I learnt a little Esperanto, and I learnt too that esperantist are usually old man, forty or more, and (well, now I'm close to that age ;-)but it was long time ago).

I think that it means that in a generation esperantim will vanish. There will be always esperantists, as any other hobby (as Ido, lobjan, Klingon etc), but esperantism as organization will vanish.

Perhaps I'm wrong.
Is there any figure about age of esperantists?
Do you your esperantists fellows have sons? do they speak esperanto also?



[ Parent ]
Esperanto: A global language for youth (3.00 / 2) (#317)
by quark17 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:15:45 PM EST

Check out TEJO, the world Esperanto Youth Organization.  Or in the US, check out USEJ, the US Esperanto Youth Group.

I'm 27, so I'm starting to get into the "old" category.  But here in the northeast US we have a large group of young speakers, most college aged (18+), but also some in high school (16-17) and I get a lot of email from 11-13 yearolds.

The average age of a group certainly varies from region to region.  In Europe there are tons of young speakers.  Every year there occur half a dozen large Esperanto events -- meaning hundreds of young people, schoolkids to college age, from dozens of countries.  Each year TEJO has its annual gathering in a different country -- this year it was in Brazil where the Esperanto youth community is like 5000.  But there are regular events in Germany, Italy and Hungary, and lots of smaller youth events happening every year.  A friend of mine is now travelling in Europe and attending a lot of them.  That's got to be an amazing experience for a college kid.

TEJO also organizes a couple seminars a year, which focus on some international topic (human rights, globalization, etc) and brings together a group of kids from around the world to discuss it and there are also training sessions so they can learn useful skills while they're there.

There is also BEMI, an Esperanto bicycling organization which is very cool.  It organizes rides around the world.  People of all ages join these rides, but mostly they're young people.

[ Parent ]

Percentage (4.00 / 1) (#396)
by svampa on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 07:07:31 AM EST

Perhaps there are a lot of organizations. I can tell you that Catholic Church in Spain has a lot of youth organizations, and they are a lot more active than organizations 50 years ago, but it is a well known fact (even by Catholic Church) that catholic believers (well, any religion) in Spain are less day by day.

Without a percentage that's meaningless

There should be a reliable and scientific statistic with charts etc, but as an overview, you should count how many esperantists you met in Japan and how old was each one.



[ Parent ]
rules (none / 0) (#385)
by kubalaa on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 02:42:32 AM EST

German has rules, but that doesn't mean they're logical or easy to remember. There is not really any interconnection that makes them cohesive, and most of them serve no useful purpose. I guess I'm really thinking genders and cases. English speakers complain about genders in something like Italian, but to me that's a breath of fresh air.

[ Parent ]
German vs. Esperanto (4.00 / 1) (#397)
by amuzulo on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 09:01:39 AM EST

I've been travelling for the last two months through Brazil, England, France and now I'm in Germany and I'd have to say I've spoken Esperanto much more than English. Right now I'm learning German in Germany and I still find it incredibly difficult. I didn't use Esperanto in England, but because I spoke it, it did find me a free place to stay.

German is great for Germany, Austria and some parts of South America, but outside of that, it's not all that useful. I found Spanish more useful than English in Brazil... Also, if you're interested in learning German, you don't lose much time by learning Esperanto first because it helps you immensely to learn German.

Also, have you tackled the word order in German? It's driving me crazy! I'd take the flexible word order of Esperanto over the rigid one of German any day...

[ Parent ]

German Importance (5.00 / 1) (#440)
by hershmire on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 04:58:18 PM EST

Don't get discouraged by German word order. It's actually really simple: Dative before Accusative. Time/Manner/Reason/Place between Dative and Accusative (correct me if I'm wrong here native German speakers).

And don't believe German isn't important, as most Americans would believe. Most of the younger generation of former Eastern Bloc countries are learning German as it is a gateway to the rest of Europe. The emerging markets in these Eastern European countries will be very important in the years to come.

Germany is also a major economic power in Europe, and there exists many US-German corporate partnerships (ex. Voicestream - T-Mobile). Not to mention being able to speak the language of the country with some of the best ski resorts - Austria (though their German is difficult at first to understand).

For German courses, nothing beats going to the source, Deutschland. And I found one of the best German language schools I've attended to be the Goethe Institute. If your interested in learning German, I suggest that you look into them. There's probably one near you, but it's always better to be immersed in the culture.

FIXME: Insert quote about procrastination
[ Parent ]
Classic philosophy is German (none / 0) (#453)
by mlapanadras on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 06:26:25 AM EST

Check out famous Marx's "Das Sein bestimmt das Bewusstsein".

No other language could express it so briefly and convincingly. The language itself provokes the philosophy or poetry as no other.

[ Parent ]

German logical? Hah! (1.00 / 1) (#400)
by werner on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 09:41:03 AM EST

German is not a logical language. It just has lots of rules - like most aspects of German life - which make it appear orderly and logical.

You want illogical:

  • Der Fahrschein
  • Die Fahrkarte
  • Das Ticket
I rest my case.

[ Parent ]
Weak example (none / 0) (#422)
by Dephex Twin on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 02:13:36 PM EST

How does that make German illogical?  Because 3 different words for the same thing have different genders, or because there are 3 words for something?

In the first case you are calling it a riding certificate, in the second, a riding card, and in the third you are using a borrowed English word.

This happens in every single language, and considering the trouble with hunddomo (among other things), I'd say Esperanto has lots of ways of saying the same thing as well.

I can think of examples where German is illogical, but this certainly isn't one!


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

I'm pointing out the fact that... (none / 0) (#491)
by werner on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 02:53:59 PM EST

...German uses three different genders for the same thing - a bus / train ticket.

In actual fact, I'm calling it a ticket in all three cases. Yes, I know that the last part of a compound word determines the gender, and that Fremdwörter are usually neuter. Like "die Safari." Oops.

Das Mädchen is another prime example - a girl is neuter? Hmmm...

Let's take a look at "ja" und "nein". Germans can't even agree what they mean. I have asked 20 people: "Du rauchst nicht, ne?" ("you don't smoke, do you?"). Does "ja" mean you smoke or you don't smoke? And they argued amongst themselves for 20 minutes.

Come on, now, if Germans can't linguistically tell the difference between yes and no, 1 and 0, on and off, it's hardly a logical language is it?

[ Parent ]

Kelkaj Pensoj (5.00 / 3) (#255)
by stormysky on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:05:46 PM EST

Great article. I've been playing with Esperanto for a bit, just out of curiousity, and a desire to learn *some* other language. (Quenya just kicks my butt, even though it's much simpler than French. Or svenska.) It'd be nice to see a followup article that goes into correlatives and preposition usage, which are altogether unclear in most of the Esperanto things I've seen online.

Seems a lot of people here think Esperanto to be a waste of time... okay, so don't learn it. In fact, if you've already assured yourself that Esperanto is a meaningless, worthless language, why even look at this article? Oh, that's right, malcxastulinoj. Well, perhaps that's not the best definition, but it'll do in more than one sense, I'm sure.

Some people enjoy learning languages just for the pleasure of it, much like doing a crossword puzzle, or creating an AI sim, or writing poetry. Sure, you can argue whether there's any value in doing so, but who are you(pl, U.S. southern "ya'll") to deem what is worthwhile for others to do with their time? Pretty arrogant

Any attempt to communicate better with others should be seen as a noble effort, whatever the vehicle. Esperanto also has the plus of allowing what Windows users have proven to be valuable to the world for a couple decades now: Security through obscurity!!! With every email we send being sniffed happily by The Powers That Be(tm), why not make it a bit more interesting for their filters? Esperanto is a great stepping stone for learning other languages... once you learn about direct objects, and past perfect tenses, and every form of 'to fuck' there is, picking up additional languages is a piece of cake. Learn 10, mix them together, and make it that much harder for those who don't have the time to learn them (what with their world domination plans) to figure out just what you're trying to say! Or, just make a movie where Liv Tyler and Natalie Portman, in the throes of a lesbian love scene, say sweet nothings to each other in Esperanto. That, my friends, would justify it all.

Here are a couple links that I ran across a bit ago (to save others the googling up of them):
Key to Esperanto
Alternative Dictionary
Talking Dirty In Esperanto
(The last link also is off a page with a decent course)

While I'm at it here, anyone decently fluent want to look at a part of a song I'm working on, and correct it for me? This is the chorus (song to sweet Dream Theaterish echo delay (Lifting Shadows of a Dream) and chord progressions with In Flames style vocals):
Hxoro:
Ni cxiuj bezonas rozaj elefantaj
respondi al nia pregxoj
Fluganta(?) kun mandarinaj flugiloj
Norde de adoras lemingaj tajdoj
Kantas al gxin gloron, gxi fekos sur cxiun
Kantas al gxin gloron, gxi intelekte-fikos sur cxiun

We can face anything, except for bunnies.

Lernanta klopodo (none / 0) (#454)
by Mantikor on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 07:15:28 AM EST

I don't think you need the Ni at the start.
Cxiu already means 'everyone', so it doesn't need a plural j.
Shouldn't they be rozajn elefantojn?
I don't think sur belongs in the last line...
I think Norde should be Nordo, since Norde would be an adverb, sort of like "northly of adoring lemming tides". Unless you mean flying northward, in which case you're probably right.

I've gotta have an attempt at translating it:

Everyone needs pink elephants
to answer our prayers
flying on tangerine wings
north of adoring lemming tides
sing to it's glory, it will shit upon everyone
sing to it's glory, it will mind-fuck everyone


To add to your links:
Win32 Esperanto Dictionary in English, and Esperanto
The language refers to the interface, and the program is actually more than a dictionary. It tries to translate between any two languages by translating to Esperanto first. It's fairly limited in that respect, but it makes a decent vocab builder/reference for learning Esperanto (it even has a 'flashcard' sort of mode). The interface is a bit buggy, but once you learn to avoid what crashes it, it works pretty well (Hint: always use the 'new word' button).

Ni kapable ion fronti, escepte kuniklinoj =D

[ Parent ]
The Invisible Pink Elephant. (none / 0) (#470)
by stormysky on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 03:54:43 PM EST

First, thanks for replying!  As I said, I'm quite an amateur, and your reply has helped me greatly.  One thing I have a *very* hard time with is knowing where to put the '-n' for the direct objects... really should have paid attention in English class. Anyway, here's the 'original' in English, and a revised translation...  and I'm not sure about cxiu... what I want to say is 'us all'... I know it's a nitpicking distinction, but 'everyone' is pretty generic, while I find 'us all' to be more intimate, as though I'm talking to like-minded people. (Ie, "Everyone thinks Bill Gates should be anally explored by a platypus" versus "We all think Bill Gates should be deeply anally penetrated by a platypus".)
Anyway, here's the original in English:
Chorus:
We all need pink elephants
to answer our prayers
Flying with tangerine wings
Above adoring lemming tides
Sing to it praise, it'll shit on us all
Sing to it praise, it'll mind fuck us all
(Looking over this, I realize it should be 'we all need *A* pink elephant'... and if you're not sure what this is about, it's the old skeptic argument about an invisible pink elephant as an analogy for God(Dog))
My stab at fixing my Esperanto:
Ni cxiu bezonas rozan elefantan
respondi nian pregxojn
Fluganta(?) kun mandarinajn flugilojn
Norde de adoras lemingajn tajdojn
Kantas al gxin gloron, gxi fekos sur cxiun
Kantas al gxin gloron, gxi intelekte-fikos sur cxiun

Ni cxiu *should* be 'we all'--- cxio would also be 'all' for objects, or 'everything', cxiu should be 'all' (people) or 'everyone' (and I'm really not sure here).  Without an indefinite article, 'rozan elefantan' is 'a pink elephant', and, it's what 'we all need', hence the direct object, right?
kun = with, not on. :)  And I dropped the 'al' after respondi... the way
I had it meant To answer to all our prayers (though I see where I originally was going... 'to respond to'... 'to answer' sounds better).  'Norde de' means 'above' as far as I can figure out... erm, it's the only way to say above, unless it's 'supre de'.  Otherwise, I'm amazed that it conveyed what I was trying to say. Did I mention I really enjoy Esperanto? :)
Thanks again for taking the time to go through that.  Oh, and yeah, that's
a decent program, but just got on my nerves. I found a couple of plaintext english/esperanto dictionaries, and found it quicker to just search in them for what I wanted, instead of using the program. (I managed to hang out a little bit in #esperanto on the dal, and the program was far too slow compared to a search in a text program).
Thanks again,

-S.
We can face anything, except for bunnies.
[ Parent ]

la nevidebla roza elefanto (none / 0) (#473)
by Mantikor on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 06:39:30 PM EST

As I said, I'm quite an amateur, and your reply has helped me greatly.

Heh, me too, so don't think everything I said must be accurate ;) In particular, I rely too much on root words (like with Nordo vs norde de). I would go with 'super' for above, since that seems to translate most directly... 'super adoras lemingajn tajdojn'. I'd say the 'de' is optional in a song as well... stick it in if you need the syllable ;)

One thing I have a *very* hard time with is knowing where to put the '-n' for the direct objects... really should have paid attention in English class.

I had a lot of trouble with some things, and it's due to subjects (no pun intended!) that I could swear were never even brought up in any of my English classes. Esperanto taught me more about English than high school ever did... I think the most valuable lesson I got out of high school was in my first year - "a lot is two words". In any case, that's the only value I see in four years worth of English classes =(

Without an indefinite article, 'rozan elefantan' is 'a pink elephant', and, it's what 'we all need', hence the direct object, right?
Yep, that sounds right to me (BTW you've spelt elefanto with an a... rozan elefanton). My tutor said the object can always be thought to answer the 'what' of the subject. Since 'we all' are the subject, the 'what' is 'what do we all need?'

Maybe Ni cxio would make for a better 'we all'? I don't think it matters that much, since the intent comes through either way. I see your point regarding the inclusive nature of 'we all'... that was how I originally translated it =) 'We all need pink elephants'... I revised my translation a few times before posting.
"intelekte-fikos sur cxiun" is technically saying 'mind-fuck upon us all', isn't it? That's why I think you don't need sur the second time (unless it's there for some musical aspect).

[ Parent ]
Nun plia uno. (none / 0) (#476)
by stormysky on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 07:05:54 PM EST

Esperanto taught me more about English than high school ever did... I think the most valuable lesson I got out of high school was in my first year - "a lot is two words". In any case, that's the only value I see in four years worth of English classes =(

::laughs:: I remember my eigth grade English teacher *hating* 'alot/a lot'. "A lot is a large empty place between buildings, with weeds. Or a piece of property. It is not a sum of parts" or something like that. I actually did pay attention, and did very well, but, bleh, public school is still public school. Trying to learn Esperanto has *really* caused me to think more about English, though I can't for the life of me get tenses down. (Swedish had a superpluperfect, or something, and I never figured out what the hell it was. ;p)

And I agree on your points: Should be 'super' or 'supre'. Wonder where I got the norde de from... 'super' implies 'over-head', 'supre' I believe is 'on top of' (physically). Supera, btw, implies authority over, I think. And you're right, should not have the 'sur' in the mind fuck line (gosh, I love it! What other language can you create 'mindfuck' and have it translated perfectly?! :P)... I wonder, should I state 'us all' instead of just 'all' in those two lines?
::ponders::
One of these days, I'll actually have to get around to recording this... and see if I can actually sing it right! :)
We can face anything, except for bunnies.
[ Parent ]

Ankoraux unu (5.00 / 1) (#490)
by QuickFox on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 02:48:49 PM EST

Here's some input from an experienced Esperantist. I hope you'll find this although it comes rather late.

Did you write the original yourself? If it's your own I suppose you have more creative freedom in the translation, especially if you also write the music and can adapt it if you want to.

    Ni cxiuj bezonas rozan elefanton
    kiu respondu al niaj pregxoj
    sxvebante per mandarinaj flugiloj
    super adoremaj lemingaj tajdoj.
    Prikantu gxian gloron, gxi fekos sur nin cxiujn.
    Prikantu gxian gloron, gxi cerbosxtopos cxiujn.

Comments:

Rozan elefanton: I didn't understand your poem until you explained that the pink elephant was a skeptic's reference to an imaginary God. I assumed it had something to do with children's tales, so the poem made no sense. If this meaning of "pink elephant" is generally understood in your country, it may be a local thing, so when you turn to an international audience you may need to explain. (Or maybe I just live in a cave too much. :-)  )

Al niaj pregxoj: "Niajn pregxojn" is fine, I just find "al niaj preghoj" a little clearer. Probably choose whatever fits the rhythm best.

Sxvebante (hovering) avoids repeating flug-. Adverb -e flows best here.

Adoremaj: I suggest two nuances that you can choose between. Adoremaj means that the lemmings tend to adore, or possibly that they have a desire to adore. Adorantaj says that they are adoring.

I would guess that adoremaj fits beautifully in this context as it suggests people desiring a pink elephant that they may adore, but adorantaj is probably a little stronger as it suggests they don't just have an inclination but actually do adore.

You say it's a chorus, so I suppose it's repeated. Maybe you could let this word be adoremaj each time except the last, where it changes to adorantaj. If your music gives the word emphasis this change might create a beautiful strengthening effect.

As far as I know, in English you can't express these two nuances in a similar way, so your English version can't have this strengthening effect. So, this is an example where Esperanto expresses more poetic nuance than English. I bet this will throw the anti-Esperanto fanatics on this page into a screaming rage, if they come back and read this.

A different word order would be slightly clearer: "super tajdoj de adoremaj lemingoj". But in spite of this your word order may be better.

If you use this strengthening effect in the last chorus, you might consider also strengthening the second line, in the last chorus only, writing "Ke gxi niajn pregxojn respondu!"

Prikantu gxian gloron: I can propose several alternatives that you may consider depending on what you want to emphasize:

    Prikantu gxian gloron
    Lauxdu gxian gloron
    Kantu al gxi lauxdojn
    Kantu al gxia gloro

Cerbosxtopos: I'm afraid I have to disappoint you here. Your translation of mindfuck will not work internationally. You have translated each part of the English word separately, and then joined the parts, but the parts do not describe the meaning of the whole English word. When I read your "intelekte-fikos" I interpreted it as "will have sexual intercourse intellectually". I assumed that you meant either imaginary sex or some intellectual approach to sex. You'll need a completely different word.

The problem here is that I have no clear idea of the meaning of the English word mindfuck. I checked here, and contemplated the context of your song, and then put in, as a guess, cerbosxtopos, literally will brainstuff, which means approximately will sway with propaganda, I think it has connotations of will brainwash.

I practically never read poetry so this was unusual for me. It was fun trying something new.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Kaj ankoraux plia. (4.00 / 1) (#494)
by stormysky on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 11:45:36 PM EST

Thanks for the input... :)

Did you write the original yourself?
Nods nods... actually, I wrote the original in English, in about five minutes. It's not a gleaming gem of artistical expression... I was noodling with a couple of chords, had something decent sounding, and wanted an exercise to put something into Esperanto. Actually, there's slightly more to it: I'm terribly self-conscious when trying to sing, simply because I'm not really able to. :) So, I thought that, having it in Esperanto, I'd stop worrying so much how I was stressing the words, and be able to work more on the singing itself. It almost worked. :)

Rozan elefanton: I didn't understand your poem until you explained that the pink elephant was a skeptic's reference to an imaginary God. I assumed it had something to do with children's tales, so the poem made no sense.
Well, it does have to do with children's tales. ::grin:: Here's an excerpt from a page that mentions it (gotten to by '"Pink Elephant" skeptic' in google)(Link):

No matter how many arguments I present, however, the theist can always change the definition of the Christian god. It is for this reason that I was careful to specify that this proof only shows that one definition of the Christian god does not exist. This argument does not purport to show that no god exists at all. It is impossible to prove that no god exists at all in the same way that it is impossible to prove that there is not an invisible, intangible, undetectable pink elephant standing behind you right now.

Al niaj pregxoj: "Niajn pregxojn" is fine, I just find "al niaj preghoj" a little clearer. Probably choose whatever fits the rhythm best.
I'm not sure I understand this: kiu respondu al niaj pregxoj --- "That should respond to our prayers"... Isn't 'prayers' what's being responded to, and thus the direct object? And why 'kiu respondu' instead of just 'respondi'?

Sxvebante (hovering) avoids repeating flug-. Adverb -e flows best here.
I like hovering, but, this is something I don't understand very well. Sxvebi = 'to hover'. Doesn't -e make it 'hoverly'? And what's the -ant mean?

Adoremaj: I suggest two nuances that you can choose between. Adoremaj means that the lemmings tend to adore, or possibly that they have a desire to adore. Adorantaj says that they are adoring.
Ah... I thought the latter is what I had, but, in hindsight, I see it's "adore/adores', not the 'adoring' I thought I had. And you're right, 'adoremaj' fits quite beautifully... how do you get to 'adorantaj', as I also love your idea of changing it the last time. (The song progresses and not only do the people want to adore it, they *do*... perhaps for the last two lines this same thing would work, the pink elephant 'wants' to shit on them, and the last go, it 'does').

As far as I know, in English you can't express these two nuances in a similar way, so your English version can't have this strengthening effect. So, this is an example where Esperanto expresses more poetic nuance than English. I bet this will throw the anti-Esperanto fanatics on this page into a screaming rage, if they come back and read this.
Which is such a shame, because the same sort of people that scream at others for learning another means of communicating, and expressing themselves, are the same sort of people that would be good recruits for invisible pink elephants. And, from what little I've seen, English is a very ambiguous language most the time. (Above, 'expressing themselves' refers to 'the sort of people that scream' or 'others'... nasty little pronouns, indeed).

A different word order would be slightly clearer: "super tajdoj de adoremaj lemingoj". But in spite of this your word order may be better.
Yes, I like that... "above tides of adoring lemmings"... very nice. If I ever happen to release anything (and win the lottery, which has an equal chance of happening) I'll need to give you a co-writing credit. :)

Prikantu gxian gloron:
What does the 'pri' mean? ::scratches head:: 'Kantu al gxia gloro' should work. As I said in a previous post, though, I don't know when to give an -n to a word. Here, for example, it's "Sing to it glory". The implied "You" is the subject, sing the verb, and 'glory' the direct object (and 'it' the indirect, if I'm doing this correctly), so shouldn't glory get an -n?

When I read your "intelekte-fikos" I interpreted it as "will have sexual intercourse intellectually". I assumed that you meant either imaginary sex or some intellectual approach to sex. You'll need a completely different word. The problem here is that I have no clear idea of the meaning of the English word mindfuck. I checked here, and contemplated the context of your song, and then put in, as a guess, cerbosxtopos, literally will brainstuff, which means approximately will sway with propaganda, I think it has connotations of will brainwash.
::laughs:: Wow, it's amazing how much trying to use another language makes you really think about what you're trying to say! Mindfuck means "fuck/mess/screw/play with your head"... there's a great document somewhere on the ambiguity of 'fuck' (most languages, including Esperanto, have the literal meaning of 'sex'... without connotations of romance) while English has about 20 different meanings, and in all parts of speech. Brainwash sort of works, but it's not so much swaying with propoganda as... hrm, well, I guess an example would be good: In the movie "Something About Mary", the anti-hero of the movie goes to pick up his date for the prom. Her father answers the door, and says that she's already left with "Woogie", her ex-boyfriend. The anti-hero is quite dejected, until the father says, "Nah, man, I'm just fucking with you". That's probably a good example of a mindfuck. Here, though, I'm trying to use one word to express that the pink elephant will "convince you that it can give you all that you desire, and leave your mind in such a state that you feel you've been given all that you desire, when you've been giving nothing at all". The same with 'shit'... I don't mean that it will literally defecate on 'us all' (though, a large elephant doing just that is quite a pleasant mental image, I'm sure), but that it will 'screw over'/'cheat' us all. :) How did you make cerbosxtopos? Cerbo = brain, but I can't find a reference to sxtopos...

I appreciate your feedback... I think it's awesome that, as only '10 people speak Esperanto', two of them are here on Kuro5hin! ::smirks:: Some other questions that I can't seem to figure out:
"On lonely roads I walk" I translate as Je solecaj irejoj mi promendas.
Is that correct? What should one use when one doesn't necessarily mean 'on top of', but... well, here'd be a better one, "On flights of fancy"... you're not actually physically ON a flight... see what I mean? That, and what is the use of 'for'? "For you, I'd give it all"... I don't know if you're quite bored enough to answer all this... if you are, and even a bit more bored, I could send you the complete song (in both English and my stab at Esperanto) and see how badly I screwed it up...

I practically never read poetry so this was unusual for me. It was fun trying something new.
::extends sympathy to you:: Starting with mine probably isn't the best course, then. ;P I usually use 'poem' interchangeably with 'song'... some of my poems actually have real rhythm and meter, but I don't consciously do it that way. I listen to far too much Dream Theater (great band...) and Marillion, and much of my writing tends to strive to mimic those styles.
redanko!
We can face anything, except for bunnies.
[ Parent ]

Jen multaj respondoj (none / 0) (#500)
by QuickFox on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:28:12 AM EST

Seeing your questions I'm impressed that you could write your piece in Esperanto. From your questions I understand that you're at an early beginner's stage. Good job.

I'd be glad to help with your song, but I can't explain all the grammar. I like teaching Esperanto, but unfortunately it takes a lot of time, and I'm always pressed for time. Even so, I'll answer this batch of questions. If we still have readers on this page, maybe some would like to see a few such explanations, as Esperanto curiosities.

After that, I think you'll get answers to most questions similar to these if you'll just follow some quick Esperanto course. After that you'll probably know most of these things. Then perhaps I can help you filling out the gaps.

It's not a gleaming gem of artistical expression... [...] I'm terribly self-conscious when trying to sing

In my opinion we should try to actively avoid striving all the time for gems of excellence. Goals like that block us, and ordinariness has great value. Consider five or ten friends talking, and one of them picks up a guitar. If he makes an outstanding performance everyone listens and conversation is silenced. If he makes it quiet and very ordinary, people go on talking, and his music can create a warm feeling of togetherness that is impossible with performer and audience.

Gems of excellence are wonderful and a cause for joy, but they should come sparingly. So, apart from the ambitions of excellence, you might also enjoy being not a star, just a friend with a guitar, sharing a piece of your soul.

Heh, that sounds like a song.

Isn't 'prayers' what's being responded to, and thus the direct object?

I understand your reasoning, but (at least in the Esperanto sentence structure) just like when you give someone a book the direct object is the book, when you give someone an answer the direct object is the answer. In "Say something to me", the direct object is something. "Kion li diris, kion li respondis?", direct object kion. "Li diris nenion, li respondis nenion; li respondis nenion al mia pregxo, li respondis nenion al mi."

And why 'kiu respondu' instead of just 'respondi'?

Here "elefanto kiu respondu" means "an elephant who should answer". The volitive -u says we want somebody to do something. The infinitive -i has a different role, it is often somewhat similar to a noun.

Doesn't -e make it 'hoverly'? And what's the -ant mean? [...] how do you get to 'adorantaj'

The suffix -ant- is the English -ing in flying and hovering. You add -a or -e just like you do with other words, adjective -a when you say what something is like, and adverb -e when you describe how something is done or how someone behaves: Fluganta birdo, flying bird, adoranta lemingo; li parolas ridante, he talks laughing, li respondu al niaj pregxoj sxvebante.

perhaps for the last two lines this same thing would work, the pink elephant 'wants' to shit on them, and the last go, it 'does'.

Yes, perhaps for example normal chorus fekos, cerbosxtopos, last chorus fekas, cerbosxtopas.

I don't know when to give an -n to a word

It's one of those things that come with practice. Analyzing can be difficult, it may be easier to have "model" or "pattern" sentences where you just replace words. When you do analyse, if you can identify the subject, then everything except the subject must be marked with something, either with -n or with a preposition or both.

Prikantu gxian gloron: What does the 'pri' mean? ::scratches head::

Ah, the nuances of Esperanto. Often you can move a preposition from its ordinary place and stick it to the beginning of the verb. "Prikantu gxian gloron" means the same as "kantu pri gxia gloro", "sing about its glory". In this case there's just a difference in nuance. Sometimes moving the preposition can change the meaning.

'Kantu al gxia gloro' should work. As I said in a previous post, though, I don't know when to give an -n to a word. Here, for example, it's "Sing to it glory". The implied "You" is the subject, sing the verb, and 'glory' the direct object (and 'it' the indirect, if I'm doing this correctly), so shouldn't glory get an -n?

If you can sing glory, then you're right and it translates as "Kantu gloron al ghi" or "Kantu al gxi gloron". But I'm doubtful, "sing to it glory" sounds strange to me, to parse it I rearrange it as "sing glory to it" but it still looks strange. If you sing praise to the elephant you are wording praise and bringing that praise to the elephant. But isn't the glory already at the elephant? Are you really creating glory and bringing it to the elephant?

I'm trying to use one word to express that the pink elephant will "convince you that it can give you all that you desire, and leave your mind in such a state that you feel you've been given all that you desire, when you've been giving nothing at all"

Er... Ahem... If we join various parts to express all that in a single word we'll get a mighty long word :-).

It seems what we need here are connotations of playing around, illusion and treacherous deception. Hmmm...

How did you make cerbosxtopos? Cerbo = brain, but I can't find a reference to sxtopos...

Sxtopi is to fill something completely with something: Sxtopi kusenon per plumoj, to stuff a pillow with feathers. You push and press the ideas into the brain. It would seem more logical to use mensosxtopi, stuff the mind, but for some reason it's cerbosxtopi. I guess some author has used this construct and it's stuck. (If the anti fanatics who assume that Esperanto is coldly logical only knew...)

"On lonely roads I walk" I translate as Je solecaj irejoj mi promendas. Is that correct?

Yes, it's correct, but I'd say "laux solecaj vojoj". In this context "laux" means you walk along the road.

What should one use when one doesn't necessarily mean 'on top of', but... well, here'd be a better one, "On flights of fancy"... you're not actually physically ON a flight... see what I mean?

Prepositions are difficult in any language. The way to learn prepositions is to have a dictionary with good examples of usage. You don't look up the preposition, you look up "walk" or "road" or "flight" or "aircraft" and look at the examples of usage, of sentences with prepositions and all. You memorize not just a lone word, but the expression with the preposition. After some time you get a feeling for preposition usage and then it becomes easy.

If you don't have a good dictionary you can google for examples instead. Of course then the examples you find are much less trustable.

That, and what is the use of 'for'? "For you, I'd give it all"...

"Por vi, mi donus cxion". The English word "for" has so many meanings that the explanations cover about 90 lines of text in my dictionary. But don't despair, with some practice you'll get the hang of it. First you memorize examples as I said above, and a little later, when you understand Esperanto better, you read books or magazines in Esperanto and listen to radio. It soaks in.

I don't know if you're quite bored enough to answer all this... if you are, and even a bit more bored, I could send you the complete song (in both English and my stab at Esperanto) and see how badly I screwed it up...

I'm definitely not bored, unfortunately I'm always badly pressed for time. But translating your chorus gave me nice relaxation from tiring duties. I'd like to help with your song because I enjoyed translating that.

That extremely strange e-mail address of yours, is it as useless as it claims to be, or is it a real e-mail address?

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Danko. (none / 0) (#501)
by stormysky on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:37:17 PM EST

Thanks again for taking the time to reply... very good reading... and it's skyrocketed my comprehension... you're right, I'm *very* beginning Esperanto. Don't think I'd even thought about two months ago, so I'm sure you must find my translation highly amusing. :)  I think I will look through the courses (again) and see if more sticks now, because, going back over mine, I can see how *really* bad it is.  I really do all your feedback...  I'll need to finish translating my song (only one more verse) and then do my best to make sure the words I chose convey what I really mean to say (your example of mind-fuck is excellent... I need to be aware that if I'm going to use slang, I have to take extra steps to make sure that it'll mean the same thing to the non-English speaking guy in Estonia as it does to me. :) ).  The email address is useless... when I first registered at Kuro5hin, didn't know if I'd be staying about (good friend referred me, so I came to check it out) and just haven't gotten around to changing it. Please, feel free to email me at greyproc <at> winfinity . com
We can face anything, except for bunnies.
[ Parent ]
Hey check it out, I have my own language too (5.00 / 3) (#340)
by Hana Yori Dango on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:38:49 PM EST

I spent the formative years of my life (1973-78) on Okinawa with my American father. Began to create the language Spegstoh when I was 11; it was "finished" around 5 years later. Anyway, see if you can pick out the other languages (French, Spanish, Korean, Japanese) in my language. (Note: each sound is given full weight. Phonetics pretty similar to Japanese, no suprise there, except "y" is a double ii sound almost)
Res spegsdo skrite. Fyb kogmhleh. Skra's temo lokmh. Okakuwa? Dekite tostaii sahno lokmh. Vasmhkubo? Yoyo vas k kogmh, taii lokumkuwa. Dakh, sposh'dos k skrimh faya lys'yn k'y 'madmhto!
Translation : I'm writing in Spegs now. But you probably dont know it. Even has a written language (alphabet). Why that? The reason is, no reason! You want to know why this exists? Of course, my wife loves when I write her notes only she can read!
So. My lil 3000 word language has survived the last quarter-century pretty intact. Of course, there have been some small changes, such as the death of tenses. They aren't GONE, just never used. The continuitive and "lokat" verbs kinda grew out of their original intentions. And vocab expanded. That's about it. I just wanted to say to the ambitious K5'rs out there who have their own language too, Keep at it! One of my most enjoyable hobbies.

Oh great. (5.00 / 1) (#349)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:50:42 PM EST

First mention of "Spegstoh" on the worldwide intarweb. Happy to hear you are breaking out of the world of solipsism.

--em
[ Parent ]

not quite solopism... (5.00 / 3) (#356)
by Hana Yori Dango on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:30:50 PM EST

the wifey knows it too. Here, I'll let her have the keyboard a second. Pasmsuleh! 'Madl dekte. See? ;)

[ Parent ]
Which one should I learn then? (3.00 / 1) (#359)
by netman on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:38:39 PM EST

I really liked the idea of learning a language like Esperanto.

I did some research and I see a lot of criticism towards Esperanto. And I see a lot of criticism here, too.

My motivations are:

  • I like idea of an International language
  • It'd be fun to speak a language few people know (and I can convince a friend or two to learn it too
  • They are contradictory, I know... And a _lot_ of languages would fit my second motivation. French, German, etc.. Hell, even english would do the trick around here.

    Could you critics recommend another constructed language? Ido, maybe? Or is it just a waste of time?

    TIA



    Order is for idiots. Geniuses can handle chaos.

    Learning Esperanto? (3.00 / 3) (#369)
    by donh1942 on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:41:05 PM EST

    Before accepting too much (often uninformed) criticism of Esperanto, you might want to take a look for yourself. If you have a Windows machine, download the Esperanto course from http://www.cursodeesperanto.com.br/en/ and try it out. Then find yourself a dictionary (there are several on-line) and try reading some of the material in Esperanto available on-line (http://donh.best.vwh.net/Esperanto/Literaturo/ for a good starting point). Sign up for an Esperanto-language mailing list or two or visit the newsgroup soc.culture.esperanto. Given how quickly Esperanto (at least basic Esperanto) may be learned, and how far ahead it puts you, this should not waste too much of your time.

    There are a batch of other constructed languages. At least four have been mentioned here -- Ido, Klingon (which someone called Klinzhai, which is, I believe, the name of a planet), Lojban and Loglan. Others, like Volapuk, Occidental and Interlingua, not to mention Europanto and various also-rans such as Solresol, Calipso, Apolema, Unitario, Eurolengo ... it is a long, though interesting, list. None of these is significantly easier to learn than Esperanto (IMHO, they are all in fact harder), and none provide their aficionados with the same services and opportunities available to Esperanto speakers.


    -- Don Harlow http://www.webcom.com/~donh/don/don.html
    [ Parent ]

    Well, I'm going to give it a shot :-) [n/t] (none / 0) (#379)
    by netman on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 12:48:16 AM EST



    Order is for idiots. Geniuses can handle chaos.

    [ Parent ]
    Welcome (none / 0) (#384)
    by QuickFox on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 02:30:42 AM EST

    I hope you'll have fun. Good luck.

    Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
    [ Parent ]
    Perfection or faults (2.50 / 2) (#383)
    by QuickFox on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 02:29:24 AM EST

    When people criticize Esperanto for having various faults they miss one very important point. If you try to develop the perfect solution, you'll be endlessly making small improvements. Then very few people will want to keep up with your perpetual small changes. As a result you'll get very few speakers.

    To guard against this, Esperanto is extremely conservative in certain very clearly defined parts of the language. These parts are specified in a document called "Fundamento de Esperanto". Apart from this clearly delimited conservatism, the language evolves like any language. This evolution is necessary, for example words like mobile phone and Internet must appear in the language when these things appear.

    I don't think there are many Esperantists who would claim that Esperanto is perfect and has no flaws. I think most would say that it's extremely good and good enough.

    Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
    [ Parent ]

    One point... (3.50 / 2) (#407)
    by werner on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 10:20:58 AM EST

    Great article. I may just learn Esperanto, for a laugh.

    One mistake: English is not a Romance Language. It's a Germanic Language. It just seems like a Romance Language sometimes, because the Normans introduced so many French words.

    Hm. I guess you're right. (5.00 / 1) (#413)
    by Yekrats on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 11:08:00 AM EST

    That makes sense to me. Those wacky Angles, Saxons and Jutes sailed over from Germany, didn't they? I remember that vaguely from a few English classes long ago.

    I'll be more careful about that in the future.

    [ Parent ]

    binary linguistics (4.00 / 1) (#414)
    by Fen on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 11:15:10 AM EST

    Let's see if I don't get ignored again here. The future lies in binary encoded languages. Chaining our linguistics to the human vocal box is just limiting us. Lojban is an interesting step to this.
    --Self.
    confidential to Fen (none / 0) (#426)
    by adequate nathan on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 02:41:19 PM EST

    People ignore you because you're of no more relevance than is Lojban, the ugliest, most poorly designed language on earth.

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

    Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
    [ Parent ]

    actually agree (none / 0) (#435)
    by Fen on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 03:39:59 PM EST

    lojban has a lot of irregularities that are not fitting a "logical language". It's interesting for the grammar, not the form.
    --Self.
    [ Parent ]
    Nice article... (5.00 / 1) (#415)
    by WWWWolf on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 01:01:41 PM EST

    Nice article.

    Personally, I didn't (and probably won't) bother to learn Esperanto - when I needed to learn a "world language", I took the de facto (ahem) language, English. =) And, while the fans of the language say it's a "beautiful" language, it always reminded me of Slavic languages (excuse me, but of them only Russian sounds remotely beautiful to my ears, maybe because I've grown used to it over years), and the ASCIIzation is particularly ugly with those x's sprinkled everywhere =/

    -- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...


    Thanks for the kind words. (5.00 / 1) (#425)
    by Yekrats on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 02:39:42 PM EST

    I agree with you, to a certain extent, that the X-system is a bit ugly. There are several other methods of showing the accent:

    Fundamento suggests putting an "h" after the accented characters, but I think that can foul up newbies even worse than the x.  Take, for example, the word flughaveno (airport) appears to have an accented g. I think those instances are fairly rare, but they do exist.

    Instead of X, one might try a different character to represent an accent, like a carat (^) or a single-quote ('). However, I find Shift-6 hard to type all the time, perhaps simply because I'm not used to it.

    I think eventually technology will catch up, and soon we won't have to worry about silly things like that. Many popular applications have plug-ins that will convert all the ugly ASCII-ized Esperanto into real Eo characters. I found a plug-in for MSWord that makes nice Esperanto characters. I've also found a hack for the Palm pilot which will do the same very nicely.

    -- Yekrats

    [ Parent ]

    Esperanto will be vital... (5.00 / 1) (#418)
    by GriffX on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 01:11:17 PM EST

    When someone is trying to sell you into grail-slavery on the banks of the River.

    Philip Jose Farmer ? (none / 0) (#439)
    by salsaman on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 03:58:18 PM EST

    n/t

    [ Parent ]
    Esperanto, fiction, and real life (none / 0) (#495)
    by Joe Tie on Sat Sep 21, 2002 at 12:33:42 AM EST

    I have to admit both to having a bit of desire to learn esperanto, and almost all of that coming directly from riverworld and red dwarf.

    [ Parent ]
    Heh, Red Dwarf (none / 0) (#499)
    by Yekrats on Sat Sep 21, 2002 at 11:00:47 PM EST

    Although I had heard about it before then, I think I got interested in learning Esperanto after watching Red Dwarf. A few years later I randomly tried "www.esperanto.org" in my browser, and was hooked...

    -- Yekrats

    [ Parent ]

    EU rejects Esperanto (4.50 / 2) (#444)
    by svampa on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 05:30:25 PM EST

    EU has rejected the option of Esperanto as common language. Here is link to the document (PDF) Although EU commission has rejected it only for interpreters.

    Recently, France and Germany proposed that, in order to save money in translations, the EU documents could be translated only into three languages: French, German and English.

    Spain didn't complaint, just proposed that they should be translated only into English, Germany and France rejected the proposal. :-DDD. What a smart movement from Spain. isn't it?

    Something must be done. Today we have 11 languages, tomorrow perhaps 20. The speach about the wonderful diversity means nothing, we can't learn 11 languages.

    Sooner or latter they will have accept Esperanto or any other artificial language, it is the only way to optimize comunication inside the EU without hurting national feelings



    Multiple languages = A good thing (3.33 / 3) (#467)
    by rmn on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 03:10:18 PM EST

    I'm portuguese. As a direct result of speaking Portuguese, I can understand and, to a degree, speak Spanish (Castellano & Galego) and Italian. That's 3 and a half languages for the price of one. Portuguese (as spoken in Europe and Africa; brazilian portuguese is different) is one of the hardest languages to pronounce correctly, and has a gammar very similar to Latin, so if you know Portuguese, any other language (especially if it's also based on Latin) becomes quite easy to learn and speak.

    Eventually I learned French, which was fairly easy for the reasons described above, and English (which is so basic anyone can learn). I can't say those two were particularly helpful in terms of learning other languages, but some English and French nouns are also used in German, which I'm planning to learn in the next couple of years (it seems to have a solid grammar, much like Portuguese).

    I've also tried to learn Japanese but I gave up. I learned the characters (Kana), I learned the basic grammar, but it just relies too much on "magic formulas" for my taste. Unlike Latin, which was very much a "constructed" language like Esperanto, Japanese evolved naturally, basically a mix of Korean and Chinese, and there are a lot of dialects and expressions that are specific to some areas of Japan. And they use a lot of Kanji (chinese characters) in writing, which I don't have the patience to learn.

    I'd also like to learn Russian because I've heard it does for eastern languages what Portuguese does for latin laguages. Learn Russian and you'll be able to speak and understand a bit of Polish, Czech, Serbian, etc. I don't know if it's true, but I've been told that by some people who speak it, so I'm assuming it is.

    One of the reasons why people in Portugal can usually speak 3 or 4 leanguages reasonably well is our TV and movies aren't dubbed. Everything that's foreign (and about 50% of TV here is foreign) is subtitled. So we grow up listening to all sorts of languages, and we pick some of it up naturally.

    In Spain, for example, nearly everything is dubbed in Castellano, so the spanish idea of "speaking English" is (as I'm sure many english and american tourists have found) quite unique. One of these days I was watching a programme about superbikes on spanish TV and the narrator kept talking about "Eskorasell". Turned out to be Scott Russel.

    Also, being able to speak a language well enough to be understood is one thing, but being able to understand that language when it's spoken by a native is something completely different. If you go to Paris and ask for directions, the people will probably understand you even if you have a terrible accent. But unless you're reasonably fluent in French, you probably won't understand their reply.

    Someone wrote that "language gives shape to our thoughs and determines what we can think about". I think that's very much true. And I think one of Europe's mains strengths is precisely the fact that there are all these different languages, and that most people can speak (and, more importantly, think in) at least two languages.

    Personally, I think English is a terrible language to write laws in (just look at any american legal document and you'll see what I mean), but I wouldn't feel offended if European laws were written only in English; it's important to make them as unambiguous as possible, and even such an ambiguous language as English is better than trying to coordinate 11 versions of the same law. But I do hope no-one ever tries to create an "european" (or "world") language. They'd be wasting their time.

    RMN
    ~~~

    [ Parent ]

    Good points, but... (none / 0) (#468)
    by Dephex Twin on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 03:24:31 PM EST

    Your comment is very insightful, there is just one tiny thing I wanted to point out about it.

    When you say that Japanese is a mix of Korean and Chinese, I have to disagree with you there.  Korean is a fairly modern language, and it actually was created by scholars several hundred years ago.  So I doubt very much that Japanese was very much influenced by Korean, besides the fact that Korean is very different from Japanese.


    Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
    [ Parent ]

    Or so I've been told (3.00 / 2) (#472)
    by rmn on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 06:12:51 PM EST

    I mentioned that because that's what my Japanese teacher told us; I don't actually speak enough Korean or Chinese to be able to make a judgement. In fact, I don't speak Korean at all, and only know a couple of Chinese words (because Macau used to be a Portuguese colony, and I have a few friends who lived there).

    Perhaps he meant old korean dialects, just like Portuguese (and many other languages) was influenced by ancient Greek, which is different from modern Greek. Or perhaps he just meant the characters, are they similar?

    RMN
    ~~~

    [ Parent ]

    Korean (none / 0) (#481)
    by Dephex Twin on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 02:17:20 AM EST

    Well, I'd say it's probably something from way way back.

    I'm sure the the Koreans spoke something before the "new" language (and Japanese could have forked from there)... I'm not sure of all the exact details about how modern Korean was created (like if it was just an invented way of writing, or what), but it works quite differently from Chinese and Japanese as far as I can tell.

    They have only an alphabet, and it actually has fewer letters than the roman alphabet (24).  Letters are not written one-by-one left to right.  Instead, they are grouped into syllables, which make them look like "characters".  Depending on the vowel, the letters in a symbol are arranged left-to-right or up-to-down, with strict and intuitive rules on how this works.  (It's really easy to explain by drawing them, hopefully that made sense just with a word explanation.)  It's really quite clever.

    In South Korea, they mix a lot of Chinese characters into it, but technically that is not part of the language, and never HAVE to be used.  In North Korea I believe they only use the alphabet.

    I don't know, does Japanese do anything similar to this at all?


    Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
    [ Parent ]

    Japanese (none / 0) (#484)
    by ewig on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 05:05:54 AM EST

    The japanese don't do things quite that way. When writing Japanese, three alphabets are used - the phonetic hiragana and katakana along with the ideographic chinese kanji. The two phonetic alphabets consist of one-syllable characters and single vowels, eg. ka, na, i, u etc., which are mixed with the chinese kanji.

    The kanji do not have definite pronounciations or even definite meanings, but are context sensitive. For example, most kanji have (at least) one unique japanese pronounciation as well as (at least) one chinese pronounciation. The japanese pronounciation is generally used when the character stands as the first one in a japanese word otherwise consisting of hiragana, and the chinese pronounciation is used in kanji-only words. And, katakana is generally used for writing loan-words, like computer (konpyuutaa) or internet (intanetto).

    It seems to me that it is only the korean alphabet that has been artificially "constructed", as the language still has large resemblances to both chinese and japanese, at least as far as the individual words aere concerned. Don't know about the grammar, though.

    [ Parent ]

    Agreed (none / 0) (#488)
    by Dephex Twin on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 11:47:09 AM EST

    I think that's probably right... that the way Korean was written was overhauled when they brought in Hangul, but the origin was probably the same as Japanese.  IMO what they did with Korean was a good idea, as far as making the language easier goes.

    In literally a few days, you can learn how to pronounce every Korean word (knowing what it means takes a bit more time, naturally!).

    As for grammar similarities between Japanese and Korean, I wouldn't be good enough at Korean grammar to give very much insight there.


    Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
    [ Parent ]

    Korean (none / 0) (#486)
    by upsilon on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 10:05:01 AM EST

    Actually, the Korean written language was invented by scholars about few hundred years ago. The spoken version has been around for quite a while (over fifteen hundred years), and there's nothing "created" about the language itself, just the written form.

    Prior to the 15th century, Korean was written with Chinese ideograms. King Sejon commissioned the creation of the written language in the 1440s A.D. for two reasons: First, Chinese and Korean are very different languages, and the ideograms just didn't work. Secondly, the ideogram system is very difficult to read, so literacy in Korea was limited to aristocracy.
    --
    Once, I was the King of Spain.
    [ Parent ]

    multiple languages = utopia or incomunication (none / 0) (#474)
    by svampa on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 06:57:13 PM EST

    Congratulations for your talent for languages. I Speak Spanish, Catalan (From Valencia) and English, well I just can read and write English, I never speak it. That is, my two mother languages and a middle or low level in English.

    I really don't think staff from EU nethier presidents of EU are as skilled as you for languages.

    Think in a commission formed by a Danish, a French, a Greek and perhaps in a few years a hungarian. They will understand one each other in English, forget anything about multiple languages, the common language is English.

    I wouldn't feel offended if European laws were written only in English

    I do feel offended, and I think it is not an odd feeling.



    [ Parent ]
    I don't think you understood what I meant (3.33 / 3) (#477)
    by rmn on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 07:48:12 PM EST

    First: it's one thing to use English (or Esperanto, or whatever) as a "commonspeak" language for official documents. It's a very different thing to declare English (or Esperanto, or whatever) as the "official european language". I agree with the former but disagree with the latter. I think we would lose a lot more than we'd gain.

    Second: why would you mind if european ("federal") laws were written in English? Naturally, each country's laws will still be written in that country's native language, but these are laws that must apply to all countries, at a "federal" level.

    When cases need to be tried in a ("federal") european court, the judges need to make sure they apply the law correctly. If there are different versions of the same law, even if the differences are very subtle, this could give rise to problems interpreting and applying that law. So it seems pretty clear to me that one version has to be declared as the "official" version.

    Naturally, countries are free to circulate a translation internally (especially if the law applies to citizens, who should definitely not be required to learn english), but it doesn't make much sense to me that all "federal" european documents  must include the same text in 3 or 7 or 11 languages. I doubt there's any delegation where no-one speaks English. And I doubt there's any delegation where more than one person speaks Esperanto.

    So if delegations from different countries use English to negotiate with each other and draft law proposals, why shouldn't the English version of the law be the "official" one?

    Back to Esperanto: I can't say I like the way it sounds, and I don't even like its structure much (it's too simplistic, it's hard to transmit more subtle meanings).

    And if it ever was adopted, it would get fragmented. Take Latin, for example, which was also a "designed" language, with lots of neat rules. There was the "official" Latin (that's still used in certain religious cerimonies, etc.) and then there was the Latin that people actually spoke. And that Latin turned into Portuguese and Spanish and Italian, and so on. The same thing would happen to Esperanto.

    So I think it's a bit of a waste of time. It's like an operating system with no software; people have no incentive to use it. Why teach everyone a new language when you can simply pick an existing language that a lot of people already know? And English is a good choice. Not because it's a well-structured language (it's not), but because it's painful to hear brits and yanks trying to speak in any other tongue. ;-)

    RMN
    ~~~


    [ Parent ]

    Latin (none / 0) (#487)
    by upsilon on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 10:19:36 AM EST

    From what I understand, Latin was pretty universal and homogeneous during the days of the Roman Empire. The "official" Latin was the Latin that the people spoke (though, of course, there might be minor variations along the lines of comparing a New Yorker to an Australian, or a rich man to a poor man). It stayed universal (though changed over time) because there was much trade and communication throughout the Empire.

    The fragmentation, later, occurred because there was little communication between the regions. Minor regional variations became larger ones, and picked up words and grammars from local indigenous tribes, and turned into languages. (Church Latin, such as the Roman Catholic church uses, is actually a bastardization of Roman Latin. The words are all spelled much the same, but the pronunciation is very different.)

    In this day of global communication, though, I don't think such a thing would happen to Esperanto. Yes, Esperanto would change; it would probably become less regular and more riddled with slang. But I think the changes would be global rather than local.

    Saying Esperanto would fragment into other languages is similar to saying that Californian English is going to become a different language from Boston English.

    Then again, perhaps Esperanto has already fragmented...
    --
    Once, I was the King of Spain.
    [ Parent ]

    actually... (none / 0) (#507)
    by Y on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 02:11:58 PM EST

    If by "Official Latin" you mean the Latin of Cicero and Virgil, etc., you're a little off the mark. The Latin most students would read in a class has very little to do with what the common people spoke; it's rather formal and geared towards a sort of literary loftiness. The common people did speak dialects - that's where the Romance languages came from. It was a long process, but inevitable as regional differences and the influences of tribes living in those regions had their effect on the language as it was spoken.

    If Esperanto were to be adopted worldwide, it too would fragment. No amount of grammatical proscription is going to stem that tide. Languages change - it is inherent in their nature, as one can observe from the study of historical linguistics. People will adjust their speech patterns toward linguistic economy, and no matter how much planning you put into the "rules," if something is easier to express by breaking the grammar, the grammar will be broken.

    Secondly, foisting a grammatical cage on a language ignores how grammars really arise. Through a process called grammaticalization, content words (i.e., nouns, verbs, things that have concrete semantics) become grammatical components. By extending their use through metaphor, these content words slowly become bleached of their meaning and eventually become functional words. Take for example the English word "have." Originally, it had a strong semantic connection to the idea of possession. Through the years, that idea was applied metaphorically with the subsequent bleaching of the word.

    • "I have an arm." The most basic form of possession - part/whole.
    • "I have an apple." I exercise control over this apple - possession of extraneous material.
    • "I have an idea." Possession extended to the mental sphere.
    • "I have it coming." Something is coming. Where to? To me. Possession extended to cover the idea of an event's location. Compare to "The city has a party going on."
    • "I have to go." On my list of things to do is going somewhere. This action is on my plate, so to speak.
    • "I have carried it." The act of carrying something belongs to me. Agentivity can be expressed as a possessive metaphor.
    • "I have changed." Analogy to the above. Originally "I am changed." Compare to Biblical and archaic "I am come." All past tense auxiliaries are now the domain of "have."

    How more bleached can you get than a verbal auxiliary?

    The point of all this is to show exactly how artificial Esperanto is when compared to other natural languages. English has had its share of attempts to proscribe grammar, and it is already failing. Look at dialects like Ebonics and the English spoken in the southern U.S. The same goes for French, which is a little more successful in preserving the "purity" of their language, but even there, you can see chinks in the armor. This isn't to say that Esperanto cannot be used as a natural, spoken language, but if you want it to be accepted widely, you had better be prepared to reap the linguistic changes that history will eventually bear out.

    [ Parent ]

    Not Esperanto necessarily. (none / 0) (#492)
    by svampa on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 03:00:02 PM EST

    First question is I don't like the idea of English as auxiliar language, I do feel offended, I'd prefer to have a neutral language.

    Back to Esperanto: I can't say I like the way it sounds, and I don't even like its structure much (it's too simplistic, it's hard to transmit more subtle meanings).

    I've said Esperanto but there are other IAL, interlengua, ido, and a lot more even they could even select one from a public contest or build a new one.

    Esperanto from my point of view have several flaws, a set of sounds very complex, it could be simplified, extrange clusters of consonants "KV", some problems on grammar accusative and some more. Someone has said "Zamenhoff was a poliglotal with goodwill, but not linguist"

    Although esperanto has an advange: It has been tested for a century. perhaps it could be improved

    Anyhow, which or how should be the auxiliar language is a posterior problem, I don't mind if Esperanto or Klingon, the idea I support is we need an IAL.

    Latin turned into Portuguese and Spanish and Italian, and so on. The same thing would happen to Esperanto.

    For centuries Latin has been the Esperanto of science, religion and philosophy , the IAL would not evolve free. Latin, as IAL for centuries, didn't. The IAL wouldn't be used in common conversation, it would be used in EU, international relations... and Internet ;-)

    I doubt there's any delegation where no-one speaks English. And I doubt there's any delegation where more than one person speaks Esperanto.

    Obviously that's a long term plan like change to Euro currency. A language should be evaluated, teachers should be trained, and it should be teached in schools as second language. Probably in 10 years you could have a common language

    When I was young, long time ago ;-) , second half 70, People who studied english, like me, where odd, most people used to study French, in 30 years things have changed. Do you mean that with an official support 10 years are not enough?



    [ Parent ]
    Simplistic for beginners, then rich and complex (none / 0) (#493)
    by QuickFox on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 04:02:53 PM EST

    (it's too simplistic, it's hard to transmit more subtle meanings).

    Only the material for beginners is simplistic. It's simplistic because it's for beginners.

    Beginner's courses do not include the entire language. There's more.

    The simplistic material is sufficient to let you become fluent. By "fluent" I mean that you can communicate rapidly, you seldom stumble on words.

    At this point it gets more complicated. This is no problem since you're fluent. You can practice efficiently, you can let it soak in, you understand explanations given in Esperanto. At this point there's a lot to learn, as it becomes rich in nuances, but since you're already fluent you learn efficiently.

    And if it ever was adopted, it would get fragmented

    It would be used for international communication, not for local communication. (Would you stop using you own language? I certainly wouldn't. I'm sure most people wouldn't.) If you use Esperanto for international communication you'll want to be understood internationally, and therefore you'll avoid local slang.

    That is, if local slang exists, which is unlikely when the language is only used internationally.

    And English is a good choice. Not because it's a well-structured language (it's not), but because it's painful to hear brits and yanks trying to speak in any other tongue. ;-)

    Wow, I'm impressed! This is the first time ever that I've heard a convincing argument against Esperanto! :-)

    Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
    [ Parent ]
    I was unaware of the large hostility to esperanto. (4.50 / 2) (#451)
    by ultimai on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 02:12:03 AM EST

    To me, esperanto was an interesting idea, one that I heard about, but wasn't intersted in learning it since I had at the time more interesting things to do.

    I supported it personally, but god, I did not know so many people had such a great hostility to it.  Whenever I heard of it in the area I live (albiet more internationally minded) it was given the neutrality of most languages, like: oh, russian, or oh, hindustani.  Now I know.

    So please , enlighten me why you have a emotional hositilty or elitist attitude around this language, if you are the person who does.

    OT:
    More and more I look at culture shock, the more and more I think of racism as culture shock gone bad.

    It will never be adopted (none / 0) (#465)
    by svampa on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 12:05:17 PM EST

    Besides the flaws of Esperanto, it has a lot. It's considered a toy for naive idealists, is an international auxiliar language (IAL) that is unuseful as IAL because fails in its main objetive:
       Almost mone speaks it.

    But I agree.. you may moke people who spend time in it, trusting int that someday it will be adopted as IAL, But there is no reason for the "hositilty" I've seen here.



    [ Parent ]
    It's like the two party system (none / 0) (#498)
    by Joe Tie on Sat Sep 21, 2002 at 07:03:44 PM EST

    I think it might be somewhat like the situation with people of above average intelligence and third parties. They'd work and be viable if all of us were willing to put work into it, but I think deep down most of us (including me) are lazy bastards. It's a lot easier to mock something on message boards than put time and effort into something that might never pan out in the end.

    [ Parent ]
    Hostility to unknown... (4.00 / 2) (#469)
    by Fen on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 03:47:56 PM EST

    If you are hostile to Esperanto just for the reason that it is new or small, you're practically advertising your closed mind (or more likely, stupidity). There's no point arguing with people like that--there's far too many people that aren't like that to waste your time trying to talk sense into someone. Maybe you can ask them what it feels like to be a dinosaur.
    --Self.
    Here's my 2c (4.00 / 1) (#479)
    by morceguinho on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 09:30:35 PM EST

    Hi there, here's my first post at K5 :-) First of all congratulations to the writer, despite one or two mistakes I enjoyed reading it (the article, not the writer!). I read the forum relating the article and what made me sad is that most of it is brainless rants. Everyone has his opinion, that's fine, but please, most posts are everything but constructive criticism. For starters, who the hell are you to decide what one should or should not do with one's spare time? If people want to learn esperanto as a hobbie, why not? I find it pretty arrogant when people write "Oh, learning Esperanto is a waste of time, I have better things to do" - fine, but please don't waste time posting that, I thank you! If you're curious about esperanto, just google it - you'll get lost in the tons of information you'll get! Here's a FAQ: http://www.esperanto.net/veb/faq.html As for the pros and cons everyone's been posting, here's my answer: no one speaks it - nonsense, lot's of people do. I don't know if 2 million is a good figure because such number is virtually impossible to determin. You can count how many members there are in all the esperanto associations, federations and clubs throughout thr world, but there are also people learning it by themselves of whom oficial representatives don't know of. It's pretty much like asking how many chess players are there in the world. it's not natural - it's not supposed to be, it's a planned language. It's based on many other languages, mainly romance and slavic ones, thus you'll certainly go "hey, 'jes' resembles the english 'yes'". Esperanto is a neutral language and it couldn't be such if it wasn't a planned, constructed, artificial or whatever-you-wanna-call-it language. it has no cultural background - geez, really?? Maybe because it belongs to no culture! it sounds funny - get lost, will ya? Try hearing (and reading) some lyrics of some rap/hip hop artists first... but hey, it's your opinion. I just think (the "I" means it's my opinion) it's riddiculous not to learn a language 'because it sounds funny'. It strikes me as intellectual lazyness (yes, I just quoted Jubal Harshaw! :-) but asians and africans have a hard time learning it - I'd question myself if you who post this are asians (i.e., who speak an asian native tongue) or africans. Yes, it seems that it is harder for them to learn it, but it's not impossible and some people don't quit on things just because they're hard. In fact, I speak with a corean almost everyday. but i have english - how cute and imperialistic So, why did I learn it? Well, one thing I hate is how english is everywwhere. I don't think it's fair that a non-planned and thus not-neutral language is spoken as an 'internacional language'. It's all bull. It's getting everywhere. Now it's "cool" to speak the damn language. Adds are beggining to use it, you see publicity everywhere on the streets using words like "new" and such, companies are using english names, it all makes me sick. Would this happen with esperanto? Absolutely not, because it doesn't want to crush other languages. The goal of esperanto is to be everyone's SECOND language. I like it's simplicity, I like being able to travel around the world using a language by which I comunicate on equal footing. And yes, I like how it sounds. I'm lousy trying to write clear! Here's the 'official goals' of Esperanto: http://www.esperanto.se/dok/praguemanifesto.html Just a quick not on the esperanto comunity: it's vast and diverse. People from all nations, religious beliefs, political ideas, etc learn it. Some are construction workers, some are cientists, some are evel Nobel Prize winners. Some learn as their mother tongue because both parents met through esperanto and each speak a diferent language. The diversity is enormous. Either because you have an interest in languages, like travelling or do it as a hobbie, Esperanto is a good option.

    oooops (none / 0) (#480)
    by morceguinho on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 09:35:26 PM EST

    Sorry, didn't know I had to use the break tag...

    [ Parent ]
    There's also a dropdown option for "Plain Tex (none / 0) (#482)
    by Dephex Twin on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 02:20:25 AM EST




    Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
    [ Parent ]
    Tin Tin published in Esperanto (4.00 / 2) (#485)
    by Fantastic Lad on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 05:26:42 AM EST

    Ain't that cool?

    The globe trotting comic book adventurer is published by a company which has in its charter, "Will be published in every language!" --Even ones which don't have a mother nation.

    This way, the larger markets of say, English and French speaking nations support those markets which couldn't on their own make the Tin Tin comic books published in their own languages profitable enough for a normal greed-motivated publisher. Kids growing up in small nations can read good comics which extol the virtues and strengths in the differences of all cultures.

    A visionary and idealistic mandate which actually works. I really enjoy running across this kind of thinking. Makes me breathe deep and feel solid. Good guys, scratch up another point. It would be nice to see more minds in this day and age think this way.

    -Fantastic Lad

    Not only Tin Tin (4.00 / 1) (#489)
    by morceguinho on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 01:13:24 PM EST

    There are lots of good books translated to Esperanto. Alice in Wonderland, The Wizzard of Oz... kid's books (well... I wouldn't call Alice a kid's book...) but there are tons out there. There are also books written directly in Esperanto. Try googling 'Esperanto literature' or, if you speak it, 'literaturo', 'libroj', 'tekstoj'...

    Here's a Google page:
    http://directory.google.com/Top/World/Esperanto/Literaturo/

    [ Parent ]

    Future is with automatic translation (none / 0) (#508)
    by selfish gene on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 10:04:15 AM EST

    I am 100% sure that pocket gadgets for automatic two-way oral translation is what the future holds for us. Even if it takes 20 years for technology to get there. Now if you accept the coming of fully automatic translation, then idea of Esperanto loses attractivity, really. Not even mentioning competing "unified languages" like interlingua (www.interlingua.com) ... and I'm sure there are others.

    Esperanto in 10 Minutes or Your Money Back | 508 comments (471 topical, 37 editorial, 0 hidden)
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