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https://www.duolingo.com/ChristianofPeace

Do you think there's truth to Esperanto being too European?

I've seen many a people say that Esperanto is far too European to be an international language, but I wonder is this really something that would concern say an Indian or Japanese speaker?

2 years ago

15 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Vanege
Vanege
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The words looks very European but I don't see it as a problem. I think Esperanto is easy mainly because of its transparent and very regular grammar.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sarah_SC
Sarah_SCPlus
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Esperanto vocabulary has an obvious slant towards romance and germanic roots, but that gets far too much attention. Hardly anyone claims that Esperanto's ease comes from having lots of cognates in its vocabulary. The ease comes from the simple and highly regular grammar, as well as the morphology, which drastically reduces the number of roots you need to be familiar with. It's a numbers game; even if no Esperanto roots are recognizable to you, you have a lot fewer to learn before you can use the language. The morphology simply doesn't get enough attention when this topic comes up.

We should also note how common European loanwords are in non-European languages. Japanese for example has a surprising number of borrowings from English and other European languages. Just because an Esperanto root is taken from one language, does not mean speakers of other languages won't still recognize that root.

You could split hairs over whether or not Esperanto's vocabulary makes it easier or harder for speakers of various languages, and whether or not that is intrinsically unjust. Alternately one can take it for what it is, a language that regardless of your native language, is probably easier to learn than a second natural language (Unless of course that natural language is extremely close to your own :P).

Could Esperanto be fairer and/or easier? Probably. Does it work as is? Yes.

Perfect is the enemy of good.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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Too European for what?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/csi
csi
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Too European to be an "international language", meaning that it would/should be easier for European speakers to learn than say, speakers of Asian languages, so in effect, not truly being as "easy" to learn by "everyone" as it was originally meant to be.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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Well, Esperanto already is an International language -- so, the simplest answer to the simplest form of the question is "no", it's not too European.

I've got a feeling, though, that in your clarification you're trying to ask whether it's "too European" to be globally accepted as the universal second language for everybody. I have two thoughts on that.

1 - There's plenty of room for debate as to whether any language would be accepted by everybody. Ultimately, I don't think the form of the language is as important as many other factors.

2 - With 6000 languages in the world, we could imagine taking one word at random from each of these languages and creating a language which would be equally difficult for all. In that case we may as well be speaking Volapuk -- and we see how that went. :-)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/H.Yang
H.Yang
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Uh yeah true, almost all the words are derived from romance languages

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ChristianofPeace

While that is true you have to ask is that a problem? Adding 10 words from Swahili 10 from Dutch 10 from Mongolian etc isn't going to make it easier for speakers of these languages. I more wondering about the rest of the language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kvanto
kvanto
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I prefer languages that take as much as possible from other languages as long as they prioratize regularizing it over ease for speakers of the languages they were stolen from.

As an example, Turkish has recent french, older persian and arabic and very old korean (gramatik) connections. But as a language it has been reformed and had its alphabet simplified when it was latinized. The advantages I had during class were very different and probably not equal to those of the Lebanese, Iranian and Korean students in my class. But because Turkish has been reformed, their advantages cost me nothing and prepared me a little for languages in each of those directions.

As a counter example, Lojban pulled word roots randomly from the most popular 5(?) languages using a little discrimination to avoid some harmony violations. I would rather they pulled all the words from fewer languages or attempt to match separate conceptual areas to different languages. Selecting randomly creates a "fairness" that ultimately penalizes everyone by making sure no one can guess anything about another language after learning Lojban.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Falsafaa
Falsafaa
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No, but even if it was "too European" (could you clarify what you mean by that?) it still wouldn't matter much to a lot (but not all) of people who don't speak a European language. Some people have native languages that aren't similar at all to any other languages in the world. From their perspectives they would have to learn a completely new grammar and vocabulary anyway because of that, so if they were hypothetically learning Esperanto instead of English for example, they wouldn't really care if Esperanto was "too European" .

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/yvesnev
yvesnev
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2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pekerappo
pekerappo
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Esperanto is as hard to learn as English for me, a native Japanese speaker, because Japanese language lacks basic concepts like grammatical number, articles and relatives. Also, difference of word order, where Esperanto is head-initial while Japanese head-final, affects thought process, which is hard to get accustomed to. (I am still messing up.) For me, Chinese or Ainu is much easier. Maybe I can say Esperanto is too European?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amuzulo
amuzulo
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https://www.duolingo.com/themuffpiston

I don't see Asian Esperantists complaining, tbh. Also, it would make it so much harder for all the current esperantists to adapt, along with new europeans to learn. Simple as this, European languages are more simple, why try to asianize it just to make it that tiny bit easier for asians? From what I've seen, it isnt much harder for an asian to learn EO than a european or american.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pseudocreobotra

Ehm, European languages aren't inherently simpler. They are just simpler if you already speak a related language because of the familiarity with many structures.

Esperanto isn't very European structure-wise though but it's simplicity and and regularity make it easy to learn anyway... And speakers of European languages will discover many cognates they can understand without having them learnt at all. Asians usually don't have this vocabulary advantage but still profit from the simple structure and the regularity.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/themuffpiston

That's very true, but as we have both seemed to agree, attempting to change esperanto is a bad idea, and that keeping it's vocabulary based on European languages while keeping it's simple grammar is the best thing to do. Along with how I said that Asian people don't seem to be complaining too much about it. But thanks for the input!

2 years ago