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https://www.duolingo.com/Signor_Nessuno

A less than complimentary opinion of Esperanto

I've just bumped into this article about Esperanto.

Any opinions?

Please feel free to share your thoughts in a respectful way.

2 years ago

13 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a
annika_a
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Well, I can see where the author is coming from, but as he himself writes at the beginning "By all means, pursue what you love.". I'm not learning Esperanto, but I don't see the point of getting worked up about other people really enjoying learning it...

Some people play computer games, others watch soccer, do pottery, or like to go out and party. The author of the article tries to answer the question whether it's "worth learning Esperanto". Well, that kind of depends on the person in question, doesn't it? To me, it's "not worth my time" to do pottery, but learning Estonian is worth my time -- I rather suspect it'd be the opposite for many others.

He's also rather misunderstood (or doesn't want to understand) the concept of an auxiliary language, which I guess is why he doesn't use the term in the first place.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pseudocreobotra

To me, it felt as if he never really gave it a chance but rather looked for arguments to support his point.

Also... I guess I should have never learnt English (at least not the American variation) because I heavily disagree with the ideologies of many US Americans ? There are so many things that irritate me to no end, that make me want to scream in frustration sometimes... but it doesn't matter? I don't have to subscribe to any ideology just because I learn a language. I can (usually) choose with whom I discuss which topics. I don't have to talk with people with whom I disagree on such a fundamental level, I can focus on the things that interest me.

If someone decides that they don't want to learn Esperanto, that's fine. Just like it's fine to decide against learning Russian or Maltese. The reasons may differ but it's important to stay respectful, stick to the facts and acknowledge that it's a personal decision and that others may decide differently. And that's where he fails in my opinion. It's just as bad as someone saying "Oh no, I won't learn German! It's the language of the nazis. And so harsh and unpolished! And most German speakers speak English anyway!" to me.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Me_Tarzan

I can see why he would feel the way he does in some of his points, sometimes speaking with people who learn Esperanto the same reactionary thoughts will cross my mind. Some Esperanto speakers could make you hate Esperanto. But I remind myself that most everyone that supports Esperanto are normal people, it's just like everything else the most extreme voices are the ones you tend to associate with it. Allowing the extreme voices to color the rest of a group is one of the biggest hangups we have in this world, causing a great deal of the strife. People will cluster instead of coming together as one, not that I think clustering is bad, it's good but not when you think everyone who is not one of you shouldn't exist.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jirka92122
jirka92122
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The problem with these articles is that they are not simply opinions. They include pretty nasty insults, yet I don't think the author sees it that way. It's probably not worth it to respond to it or worry about it. Fortunately the author is not really eloquent (quite the opposite) enough to worry about it changing enough people's opinion.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jirka92122
jirka92122
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Plus I forgot to mention. I bet this insult-ridden article is "bait" to attract some nasty pro-esperanto comments which can be used to justify the author's opinion. So another reason to just not worry about it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PeelOfShame
PeelOfShame
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On the other hand, though, we're giving him attention for his opinion, which is exactly what a flame-bait article is generally for. :-/

All other issues aside... it's an opinion, dressed up as 'fact', and not worth the time debating. I find his writing occasionally interesting to follow, but I take it much like a friend's unhelpful opinion - you just kind of shake your head at them and let them scream at the clouds now and again.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vanege
Vanege
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It is the worst article I have ever read about Esperanto. Ignorant, heinous and xenophobic.

That's my honest opinion.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zerozeroone
zerozeroone
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He offers six "points".

  1. Esperanto was developed for a political goal.
    Um, yes. It was developed to try to lessen the threat of war. He offers no sources for the rest of the rant of this point nor offers why anything he says about it matters.

  2. "ESPERANTISTAN IS AN IDEOLOGICALLY HOMOGENOUS LANDSCAPE"
    Quoting that one because apparently he is the kind of person who thinks using -stan in a country name is an insult.
    His justification for this seems to be one person's experience in one country...yeah, I can really respect that.

  3. Esperanto has no distinct culture.
    Personally, I can't disagree with this. However, I also can't see why that matters.

  4. Esperanto fanatics are fanatics.
    Um, yeah. That is what the word means. Assuming that every one who speaks Esperanto is a fanatic is like saying that every person of religious faith is a fanatic because there's a guy down the block that's waving a bible in the air and shouting at people. Yes, there are people like that; there are also people with a deep and quiet faith. Likewise, some Esperanto speakers are fanatics (and actually bad for the spread of the language), but he shows nothing—remember, no sources—to make me take him seriously on this.

  5. Does it help you learn other languages.
    I find this funny because he uses as an example learning to play the guitar so it will be easier to learn to play the violin. Well, guess what...in many elementary schools in the US, they teach pupils to play the recorder—not to make everyone into recorder players, but because it makes it easier to move on to other instruments. (And remember that lack of sources? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaedeutic_value_of_Esperanto has a list of actual studies that you examine.)

  6. Esperanto has failed and anyway, we have English.
    By failed, he mean not everybody speaks it yes. Well, by that standard, every language has failed so we shouldn't speak at all, right?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PierreRousselFan
PierreRousselFanPlus
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Well, he is right when he says that culture is more than music, art and literature and still wrong, when he denies that esperanto has a culture. Actually he gives excellent explanations of the term itself, and yet he limits it to a country. Culture is more than the behaviour of citizens of a nation, there is corporate culture, web culture, political culture and so on. Every group of people develops it own cultural behaviours and rituals. Even the way of welcoming komencantoj in the Esperanto community is part of its culture. So someone really should broaden his own idea of culture before calling others shallow.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DragonPolyglot
DragonPolyglot
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I disagree with what the author is trying to do. Esperanto, although it is constructed, was meant to be useful and easy. This guy doesn't seem to get it and is using arguments that are opposite or somewhat off topic of what Esperanto really is. In my opinion, don't listen to this guy and if you want to learn Esperanto, learn it despite harassment you may receive. His argument is poorly constructed and points only at facts.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/themuffpiston

Wow. Just wow. 1. I'm not politically extreme, I just genuinely think the world is better off with EO than EN as a second language. Just enough to communicate, that's all. We sure as HELL don't NEED EO, but it would benefit us more than English. Cheaper, less time to learn, easier to express yourself. I can think in EO after 6 months of learning, after 2 years of learning german I could think, but only a little. I had no emotional connection to german after the 2 (well technically 3) years spent on it due to the fact that I only knew vocab and grammar, rather than how to communicate more than slow, broken german with confusing words.

  1. Not really an ideological clone. People who go out of their way to attend EO events aren't clones at all, just passionate about the language.

  2. No culture? I don't want there to be one. I enjoy EO as a tool to communicate and challenge my brain. It's good for you to learn a language. In fact I hope to experience other cultures with my time using esperanto by meeting lots of people from everywhere, both online and someday when I might backpack Europe, go to an event, etc. If I met another EOist I think I would feel like I know something about them just knowing they're EOists.

Also: No specific language has a culture. Are you talking like the specific way that they talk, like aesthetically? How I in english is "yo" or "mi" or "eu"? Who cares? If everyone spoke english and no other languages existed, then everyone can still have the exact same culture. Nothing about the audio aesthetics of a language means any more than for you to interpret them to communicate. If I can speak esperanto with a group of Muslims somewhere in Arabia, then I can experience their culture, regardless of what the specific sounds of any language are. Same goes for every culture in the world. If we all spoke the same second language, we could all experience eachothers cultures by COMMUNICATING with one another. That's all you need. I know how german, spanish, french sound. I don't need to put thousands upon thousands of hours so I can comfortably communicate when I can spend hundreds and get the same result, given there's people from over 100 countries that speak the damn language. And if the EO dream comes true? Best case scenario, I can now experience everyones culture, all the time, because I can communicate them and learn about them. F*ck "culture", I don't like EO because of it's "culture".

  1. I'm not fanatical, nobody in my entire family knows I'm an esperantist, but id say that day is coming close where I tell them. They won't really care and we'll all go on with our day. I would absolutely love to grow EO until there are hundreds of thousands of active members, by maybe creating EO rosetta stone, promoting it more through media, etc. And when there are those hundreds of thousands of active fluent speakers, decades down the line, at least 1, then maybe some legislation may begin to form. That's the only way a mass millions/billions of people will ever learn EO. But until that day comes, Ima just casually use it with friends and maybe use the PS, attend a youth event, etc.

  2. What? Waste of time? Sorry, but to really gain the benefits of learning EO before learning another language, you dont have to "learn" the language. Just the concepts, some basic vocab, etc. So maybe 100 hours or less. Spend 100 hours on EO, listening, reading, and learning all the concepts and vocab. You'll save hundreds of hours in your french or german journey, honestly. But even if you did put 300 hours into esperanto, which would be near true fluency, with thousands of words amassed and the ability to comfortably speak about a WIDE variety of topics, you'd know what it's like to fluently converse in a language other than your main and you can then use that to go learn your next language at... 2/3 the time maybe? If that language takes 1k hours of reading, listening, and learning vocab just to become semi fluent, then you've saved yourself 300 hours or more. So your initial investment is now paid off, you've just learned an entire new language and probably have made the "french or spanish" language learning process so much easier. Learning "sango" which means blood helps when it's "sangue" in portuguese. Why I used that comparison, don't ask lol. But anyways, if you don't find at least some passion in learning such an easy language like eo, chances are, you won't have EXTREME passion to learn any others, which is required to learn something so complex as a non-created language. So don't act like it is a waste of time.

  3. WHAT?! It has somewhat failed, in fact it mostly has. But the movement among young people with duolingo is very reassuring about EO's future, given I remember hearing that lernu hit 100k members in 2011. "How many years before was lernu created, 5 or more?" So in Im assuming 5 or more years, lernu hit 100k members, and there were several languages you could learn from, not just english. And now in just 9 months, Duolingo has amassed what like 350k? What will it be when it is offered to spanish, portuguese, french, and chinese people, maybe 3 years down the line? 1.5m? 50,000 of those remaining active speakers, compared to the couple thousand now? "Online forum using, etc." Also for the record, who cares that EO has failed? Saying it has not in the slightest is a bit too hopeful, but who cares that it hasn't gone far? It's not a bad idea, just not enough people took it serious, and let's be honest, it has to do with the billions of pounds and dollars spent on teaching english to the whole world "which go to germany and the teens can barely understand you". TEENS. Don't even get me started on adults, they haven't used english at all and basically can't use it other than maybe a couple hundred words.

Also, did we need it? We don't need EO like we need food, water, shelter, or anything. But it would be incredibly useful and not dystopian in the slightest to adopt it. Utopian? Perhaps! Not gonna fix everything by any means, and there's nothing in specific I can name that will be fixed (politically). But we would be able to speak to everyone on the planet, fluently. We would feel together, yet separated, by our cultures, and we could experience one anothers cultures like that. It could be the backbone of many issues and conflicts getting solved. So it's needed more than any other language, let's be real. Well, unless you tried to make the whole world speak Danish. Which would defeat the entire "easy to learn" point.

I made this way too long, and just spent like 25 minutes writing this or something, but this was a ridiculous article. There are infinite reasons to not learn esperanto in it's current state, but the fake ones stated were ignorant, rude, and unnecessary.

EDIT: I love how I kept writing 1. 2. and 3. the way I did lol. Just ignore those.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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Although his emphasis is different from mine, he's right, when all is said and done, judging by what I've seen of Esperanto. FWIW, for me Esperanto could be fun to learn, but there are so many much more interesting languages to learn that it will probably never be #1 in the queue.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mutusen
Mutusen
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I've read many opinion pieces against Esperanto. Some make some good points, but this one must be the worst one I've ever read. It's basically filled with made-up facts (nobody who has the slightest experience with Esperanto as it is used in real life could claim it is "100% ideologically motivated" or that its speakers are "ideological clones") and sprinkled with insults (his remark about native speakers is offensive).

Basically, close the window and don't waste your time.

2 years ago