Duolingo is the most popular way to learn languages in the world. Best of all, it's 100% free!

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexandrSantos

Is Esperanto really that useful as an Auxiliary Language?

AlexandrSantos
  • 19
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 8
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 51

Greetings everyone.

I am new to duolingo and I found out that Esperanto is being offered as a course in the website.

First off, I must say that I heard many things about Esperanto during my years as an undergraduate student in Linguistics, particuarly regarding its usefulness as an international language, seeing as it was supposedly developed by a linguist who tried to keep grammar rules to a bare minimum so as to appeal to a broader range of speakers all over the world, who might not be used to the heavily inflected grammar of Indo-European languages.

So I decided to check it out, and in the very first lesson I stumbled upon some unusual letters with diacritcs on them, such as ĝ and ŝ, which may seem unfriendly to some learners. I also found rather off-putting the abundance of consonant clusters, such as 'kn' in 'knabo', which would be quite hard for native speakers of my native language to pronounce (which is Brazilian Portuguese, an Indo-European language, mind you) and I guess they would be a pain for speakers of some Asian languages such as Japanese and Mandarin Chinese who rely heavily on the consonant+vowel syllable system.

I bet that the presence of definite articles may also be a challenge for learners whose first languages may simply just not have them. The impression I get is that all those claims of Esperanto being a pluricentric language are rather hard to back up.

So, my question here is: is there anybody out there who is able to speak Esperanto reasonably well without having learned any Indo-European language beforehand?

2 years ago

103 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
  • 20
  • 13
  • 8
  • 966

I've spoken Esperanto in China with Chinese people. I've spoken it in Berlin with African people. I also speak Interlingua. I've spoken Interlingua face to face exactly once.

You pays yer money and you takes yer choice.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AaronAndary

Have you visited any countries where romance languages are spoken or encountered anyone who speaks only a romance language? If not then that is probably the reason why you've only used interlingua once.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
  • 20
  • 13
  • 8
  • 966

Yes, I have visited countries where romance languages are spoken. (France, Italy, Belgium, Quebec.) Interlingua is not necessary. The Interlinguans I've met all know at least a little Esperanto. The people who haven't studied Interilngua understand my bad French and bad Italian better than Interlingua ... or we use English.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/keaves27

Esperanto wasn't developed by a linguist, at least not in the academic sense. It isn't as perfect an auxiliary language as some people make it out to be - as you pointed out, its phonology is more complex than it needs to be, and personally I find the free word order, whilst making it convenient for speaking and writing, can be a pain when it comes to listening - but when I studied it for a while (this was before they had it on Duolingo) I found it to be useful for understanding basic grammatical concepts outside the context of English (my native language), and it boosted my language-learning confidence when I was close to giving up. So I wouldn't dismiss it, but I also wouldn't rave about it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexandrSantos
AlexandrSantos
  • 19
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 8
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 51

I think you have a good point about Esperanto making it easier for people to pick up some grammar rules that might not be readily apparent in their native languages. Despite never having left my country, I learned English at a reasonably early age and I had to get used to some rules that I would have never thought about if I were to speak solely in Portuguese. However, what struck me the most was that English is actually easier than Esperanto in some respects. For one thing, English doesn't need a separate suffix to indicate the accusative case nor do English adjectives need to agree with the noun in number. So yeah, I think I was just disappointed to find out that all that hype surrounding Esperanto doesn't really hold up, at least not in the way I expected it to.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BasCostBudde
BasCostBudde
  • 14
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2

Is there a hype? I miss many things :P Thanks for sharing your expectation instead of silently walking away.

Funny to hear you mention two structure forms as an advantage that really are just differences between analytical and synthetical designs. One is not necessarily easier or better than the other.

The ability to create words in Esperanto by joining roots far outweighs many disadvantages you may come up with. This is where the language actually helps in communication. English really does not--I have recent experience with Polish and Greek friends. (A tricky part in Esperanto is understanding whether a root is in essence verbal or substantive, and if it is verbal, whether transitive or intransitive by itself.)

Esperanto does a far better job telling you about grammar than English does. See youtube, "Mazi en Gondolando" for a course from within.

I recommend also looking up Claude Pirons short film on youtube, "the language challenge".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kvanto
kvanto
  • 22
  • 16
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 2
  • 2

> English doesn't need a separate suffix to indicate the accusative case nor do English adjectives need to agree with the noun in number

Neither of these features are particularly good for learning to understand english or deducing what an inexperienced speaker meant to say. In the case of auxiliary languages, difficulty in producing the language completely correctly are far less important than providing enough redundancy for new learners.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redundancy_(linguistics)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/v.ivanov
v.ivanov
  • 14
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 7
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 65

I speak Esperanto and my background is Slavic (yes, Indo-European, but still no definite article, no Latin script etc.)

There are many people from Vietnam, China and Japan, whose Esperanto is their best foreign language.

Esperanto is not ideal of course, but one can never create an ideal international language. If you try to add, say, some Chinese words or some Arabic grammar to your project, you will not help the speakers much but you will add difficulties to all the other. E. g. there are some Slavic influences in Esperanto, some Russian words too, and I've never been very enthusiastic about the fact.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jirka92122
jirka92122
  • 23
  • 20
  • 11
  • 9
  • 4

Esperanto is not perfect, but the question is, how much would one gain by improving it. I think history has shown (especially given a relatively large number of speakers all around the world), that is is reasonably easy to learn for people even coming from different language backgrounds. Given that China in fact runs an official news service and a radio station in Esperanto says that it probably works for Chinese speakers quite well.

There have been "improvements" on Esperanto over the years, Ido, Interlingua, etc... Possibly they fix some of the issues that you pointed out and perhaps some others. But in the end, it seems the difference in simplicity is negligible, so you get essentially a "just as simple language". They are details. Majority of time spent learning Esperanto is spent learning the vocabulary. Unless you come up with an radical new way to simplify that, you will not improve it sufficiently enough that it will make sense to enough speakers to move. And that is exactly what happened to all the improvements so far. In fact, if I remember correctly, there have been studies long time ago on Esperanto vs. Ido seeing how easily children learn it and there was no really significant difference.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Athenicuber

Interlingua is not a so-called "improvement" on Esperanto. It has a different goal, achieved through a different method.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
  • 20
  • 13
  • 8
  • 966

It depends on what you mean by improvement. IALA (who created Interlingua) was funded by a wealthy Esperantist and was originally commissioned to select the best language from a short list of candidates (including Esperanto). It also seems clear that there was some difference in opinion on what the goals were for the various people involved. Interlinguans tend to alternate between saying that Esperanto and Interlingua have different goals and saying that Interlingua is better than Esperanto (for the same goal) depending on the moment.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AaronAndary

Put it this way, Esperanto wants to be the official IAL for the world where as Interlingua doesn't want to be a world wide IAL. It would be nice if that were the case but it isn't. Interlingua instead tried to be the bridge between the romance languages and the outside world

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
  • 20
  • 13
  • 8
  • 966

You lost me at your first line. Esperanto doesn't "want" anything. Esperanto speakers may want things but Esperanto does not. The same is true of Interlingua.

Edit: I can see from the reply below that we've entered the "yes it is // no it isn't" part of the discussion where I say that a language can't have goals and Aaron keeps saying that Esperanto has wants and goals.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AaronAndary

Esperanto is its community, I would think that to be fairly obvious. The same can be said about any language. That being said Interlingua does not share the same goal as Esperanto.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jirka92122
jirka92122
  • 23
  • 20
  • 11
  • 9
  • 4

By improvement I do not mean derivative here, just something that is touted to be better in some sense.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Athenicuber

That clarifies it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jirka92122
jirka92122
  • 23
  • 20
  • 11
  • 9
  • 4

Also the goals are not orthogonal, they are a little different, but there is a very large overlap in goals. Interlingua is touted as an improvement over something like Esperanto and natural languages for its stated goal. If it was not, there would have been no point in making it. Esperanto can also fulfill the basic goals of Interlingua, it is just that the creators of Interlingua thought that they can do better.

That is not to say anything bad about interlingua. Just like there is nothing wrong with Ido, or any other language. But in terms of simplicity of learning and usefulness as an auxiliary language, Ido, Interlingua, Esperanto, etc... are very similar. That is all.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zubiz
zubiz
  • 22
  • 14
  • 9
  • 8
  • 4

Not fully answers your final question, but here is what I know and think:

  • Japanese and Chinese people usually have issues with R and L. I have seen this by myself that sometimes they completely ignore them or mistake one for the other. Likewise, a lot of French people can't pronounce R as prescribed and some tend to drop H. I never personally realized Asians having problems with "kn" though. Overall, I think, it's really not quite possible to have a universal language which is completely easy to pronounce for all cultures. This way or other, some people from some language background will have difficulty pronouncing some forms, I don't this can be helped. On the other hand, I do think that eo is doing a particularly good job in that erea, compared to most languages it's pronounceability is fairly easy for most.

  • ĝ, ŝ etc. are no problem. The sole reason it looks unfriendly to some is because of dominance of english and the fact that computer keyboards by default lack them. Those letters neither affect the adoption nor internationality of eo a bit. Not many languages with latin script exist without some diacritics. By the way, they are individual letters, not some variants. Pairs like sh would not really work but this is well explained by others in this thread.

  • I personally experienced that knowing a european language like English or French makes it tremendously easier to learn eo. This is mainly because of overlapping vocabulary.

  • I agree with you that the presence of definite article makes it more difficult to learn a language for people with no background related to it. My native language lacks the notion of articles altogether, and understanding their use in English was a real pain for me. But Turkish has some other ways and subtleties to express definite or indefinite nouns and these don't completely map with, say, English and here on Duolingo, almost everyday I witness English speakers having issues understanding those nuances. What I want to say is that if removing a definite article would require adding some additional grammar rules to retain the richness or ability to express definity / indefinity, then I would probably rather be very happy dealing with 1 definite article :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Fantomius
Fantomius
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 15
  • 14
  • 13
  • 12
  • 12
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 4
  • 1157

Not many languages with latin script exist without some diacritics.

I have read that English is the only living language that uses the letters of Latin alphabet without any diacritics (not counting foreign loan-words). However, not having researched it, I cannot verify the claim.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jirka92122
jirka92122
  • 23
  • 20
  • 11
  • 9
  • 4

http://linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/6173/is-english-the-only-language-except-classical-latin-cyrillic-symbol-languages

That has a negative answer to your question.

Though even English has diacritics, some uniquely English, some hard to drop: "resumé" is not "resume" and is not the same as French "résumé". But English diacritics are (very) rare. See:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_terms_with_diacritical_marks

Notice that some grave and diaeresis seem to be the only ones considered "native english diacritics". Since majority of English words are in fact loanwords from other languages, it is hard to actually come up with purely English words.

Latin also used dicritics:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apex_(diacritic)

Of course the difference is that in English writing, dropping diacritics is the least disruptive as they are exceedingly rare and many places where they do appear they are dropped routinely nowadays anyway as they do not change meaning. Of course dropping them leads to further inconsistencies between spelling and pronunciation, though one could say that at this point with English, it is a drop in the bucket :) Americans seem to be more prone to dropping diacritics than the Brits, it seems.

Most languages will be understandable while dropping diacritics, though I have only heard about Esperanto having a purely-26-letter-but-fully-functional solution such as the x-system that has "full fidelity".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jirka92122
jirka92122
  • 23
  • 20
  • 11
  • 9
  • 4

Actually English is not immune to diacritics mostly due to its strategy of stealing (though it has some of its completely own though rarely used diacritics):

"Naïve Zoë had a tête-à-tête vis-à-vis a resumé for a café serving jalapeños and rosé vine".

The diacritics on resumé are the funniest. Without it, it is "resume", but also it is not the same diacritics as the french word. English dropped one of the é, so "resumé" is a uniquely English word with a diacritic.

Any large enough text in English will at some point hit a place where a diacritic is needed for it to look and read well.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
  • 20
  • 13
  • 8
  • 966

There's a business near me called "Agapé". Without the accent it would be "agape" (wide open, especially with surprise or wonder.) It seems clear that it's meant to be a reference to the biblical Greek word for love, but that seems to be spelled with no diacritics or like "agápe" - so although it's a foreign word, the diacritic in the business name is there for English speakers.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
  • 20
  • 17
  • 16
  • 14
  • 14
  • 14
  • 13
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2

The accent might also be an attempt to show that the last vowel was long in ancient Greek (it was an eta rather than an epsilon); you might also see agapê or agapē.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HappyEvilSlosh
HappyEvilSlosh
  • 25
  • 25
  • 23
  • 22
  • 21
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 7
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

I think, it's really not quite possible to have a universal language which is completely easy to pronounce for all cultures.

I know Lojban has not only an official pronounciations but also officially accepted alternatives for people whose languages make the official ones difficult to say (including ways of breaking up consonant clusters). I don't know how well it works in practice but I personally really like the consideration. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lojban#Phonology_and_orthography

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pripensi
pripensi
  • 11
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6
  • 3
  • 2

Just wanted to answer the comment on diacritics, as you seem to have a lot of discussion on the title and such already - as a native American English speaker who didn't know any other languages that well before learning Esperanto, the special characters in Esperanto didn't give me very much trouble at all. Not sure why people fuss about them. :>

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DanD_8
DanD_8
  • 19
  • 15
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 9
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2

With your background in languages, it will take you little time to finish the course. Just give it a try. Esperanto speakers are the most generous and sharing when it comes to time and resources. For a small investment of time you'll get a large return of insight. It's not perfect, but it gets the job done.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexandrSantos
AlexandrSantos
  • 19
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 8
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 51

Thanks, I intend to keep on learning Esperanto, I'm just kind of disappointed because I don't think it will be nearly as useful as I thought it would be when it comes to communication.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FlipWilson5000

You are disappointed because of false expectations. False expectations do that to people.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PotatoSanta
PotatoSanta
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 24
  • 16
  • 15
  • 14
  • 13
  • 13
  • 12
  • 12
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 7
  • 7
  • 5

Who knows? Speaker numbers are increasing fast, in ten years there could be speakers all over the place.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
  • 20
  • 13
  • 8
  • 966

I think there is reason to be enthusiastic about some of the developments of the last year or two. There is also reason not to blow them out of proportion. Esperanto has seen a lot of ups and downs in the last 125+ years.

P.S. I thought there already were speakers all over the place. :-)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ionasky
ionasky
  • 24
  • 20
  • 15
  • 13
  • 12
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 922

Indeed, give it a go. I only have very basic language skills, english as a mother tongue, french as a school girl 35 years ago and Spanish on Duo but just yesterday I completed the esperanto tree, done it in 20 days of real attention, at approximately 55-65 hours of practice all told. Not a huge investment of time to get a real flavour of esperanto and to see how it builds.

I figure same again to learn another 1500 words or so to round out the vocab and i am good to go in most normal situations

. I think that an excellent return on the effort and very confidence boosting to look at other forms of communication or indeed other non linguistic skills.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zubiz
zubiz
  • 22
  • 14
  • 9
  • 8
  • 4

For the eo part, I have almost the same experience learning and exactly the same feelings about the investment/return value. That includes confidence and skills boosts.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FlipWilson5000

Can I ask if you have ever seen a discussion like this before? Where a person says that Esperanto fails to meet their expectations or some hype, then it is the role of the Esperanto supporters to try to reason with, or even beg, the poster to give Esperanto a try. Have you seen discussions like that before?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/johmue

Well, discussions like that are as old as Esperanto. You can read them in the journal "La Esperantisto" from 1889 on. It happens over and over again, that someone without any experience with Esperanto tries to convince Esperanto speakers with decades of practical experience why Esperanto is bad and "does not work" and whatever.

Usually experienced Esperanto speakers then try to share their real experience to bring some actual expertise into the discussion. It's rare that Esperanto speakers try to convince the "critic" to learn Esperanto or "give it a try".

I sometimes suggest it as an experiment if someone asks if Esperanto is "really useful as an international auxiliary language". Well, the best way to find out is to try, isn't it?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BasCostBudde
BasCostBudde
  • 14
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2

The fun thing is that one really can finish the whole tree well within half a year, and actually use the language. As a contrast, I'm working on Polish currently :) See also https://youtu.be/8gSAkUOElsg , TEDx talk on Esperanto in primary school. Your typical monolingual speakers.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/johmue

Actually to me the fun thing about Esperanto is that you I actually use it in every day's life as colloquial communication language. It is part of my cultural background, of my personal identity.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BasCostBudde
BasCostBudde
  • 14
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2

Of course--but that could go for any language. What I intended to bring forward is that "trying it out" is just so attainable and real. I'd almost say cheap :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/johmue

Not for Interlingua :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AaronAndary

Why not Interlingua? Looking at this from a logical point of view Interlingua is the more immediately useful language. Sure Esperanto has speakers all over the world but even that only amounts to about 5 million people at most. With Interlingua you can communicate with any of the romance languages. if you take into account how many people speak a romance language in the world including Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, French, ect... Then you have more that 1 billion people world wide who you can understand and who can understand you even if only 10,000 or less speak the language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
  • 20
  • 13
  • 8
  • 966

@Aaron -- Interlingua is a difficult language to "try out" because the learning materials are so limited. If you want "easy to try out" and "immediately useful" -- go to the library and get out a Pimsleur course on just about any language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ClaesJohannson

I finished the tree in less than two weeks and I can read the bible in esperanto. What you are saying is exactly right!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pseudocreobotra

It wouldn't be that way if someone said "It just didn't meet my personal expectations"... Somehow, people always tend to think that because they didn't like something, it's objectively bad.

Not liking something is perfectly fine. Saying that something is generally bad because you didn't like it... Not so great. At least I wouldn't discuss with someone who just decided that they didn't like it - but I definitely join the discussions when people treat their subjective feelings as objective facts and sometimes even spread outright incorrect statements!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/johmue

Yes, I know lots of them. Even those who learned an indo-european language beforehand as a foreign language usually speak Esperanto far better.

Actually it's the other way round. People who are want to get easier access to indo-european languages learn Esperanto beforehand.

Esperanto is easy to learn and it works well as an international language. That's simply proven as a fact by decades of practice.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BasCostBudde
BasCostBudde
  • 14
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2

Keaves27 -- "I kind of imagine English may be easier for a native Chinese speaker than Esperanto - Chinese is practically no morphology and all syntax, and English is leaning in that direction, whereas Esperanto is all morphology and little syntax."

This statement is simply invalid.

In Chinese, word parts do not change form. English conjugates verbs, forms plurals, changes vowels inside words on the go. In Esperanto, word order is rather free. In English, word order is significant, and for some orderings you must use auxilary verbs and structures.

Depending on exactly how you interpret syntax, Esperanto allows you to join word parts retaining the root information. Chinese is much more like this (although the meaning of the combinations may surprise you sometimes) and English is not.

I'm open to discussion about verifiybles.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/keaves27

"In English, word order is significant, and for some orderings you must use auxilary verbs and structures."

I get your other points, but I don't understand what you're trying to get at with this one. In terms of how important word order is, the scale goes like this:

Esperanto: almost completely free word order (subject-verb-object is slightly preferred because most learners have an SVO language as their native language) English: some flexibility, but mostly rigid (subject-verb-object is strongly preferred) Mandarin: very rigid, little flexibility (also subject-verb-object)

So in this case, Mandarin bears a closer resemblance to English. And free word order does not necessarily make a language easier to understand, though it may make it easier to use - personally I found Esperanto very use to write in, and not that difficult to speak, after three months of studying, but comprehending others was not so easy (and while I do experience something similar with any language that I learn, in Esperanto I found it was particularly true whenever someone spoke using an unfamiliar word order, precisely because I didn't have to get my head around such an alternative word order in order to use it). Of course, I'm not Chinese, I'm English, but the problem for me did come from speaking a language that doesn't have free word order, and Mandarin is a language that also doesn't have free word order, so I'd assume the same problem applies.

As far as inflections and word derivations go, I still get the impression that English would be easier. Or, at least, it is more similar (maybe 'more similar' does not equal 'more easy'?). If you look at it in terms of bound morphemes versus free morphemes (using affixes versus combining separate words together), then Mandarin appears to bear a stronger resemblance to English than to Esperanto:

Esperanto: strong preference for bound morphemes, as seen in 1) its affix system, which is widely considered to be a major defining feature of Esperanto, and 2) its inflections, which are more extensive than those of English, though still quite simple compared with most inflecting languages. Sometimes creates new words by combining free morphemes. English: makes significant use of bound morphemes, but less productively than Esperanto. Likes to use free morphemes to derive new words and terms. Mandarin: lacks bound morphemes. Derives new words and terms by combining existing words.

Basically, Esperanto's morphology is highly synthetic, whereas Mandarin's is highly (almost entirely) analytic. English is somewhere in the middle - but compared with most other European languages, it leans strongly towards the analytic side.

In any case, I am only speculating. I know my conclusion may be wrong, but I don't see how my argument is 'invalid'. I did do an internet search for data to show the ease of learning of Esperanto for Chinese speakers compared with English, but aside from a bit of anecdotal evidence I didn't find anything. It would be interesting to know.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BasCostBudde
BasCostBudde
  • 14
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2

Obviously I have overreacted, for which I offer an apology now.

What I am trying to say about morphology and syntax is not based on my knowledge of Chinese (be it Mandarin or Kanton) because I have practically none. I have been looking for Chinese speakers for some time. It's less easier than I hoped, to find some. One thread I found is here: http://eo.lernu.net/komunikado/forumo/temo.php?t=14533

You mentioned Esperanto being all morphology and little grammar, thus enlargening the linguistical distance towards English. Here I lost track, because I can form words in Esperanto in a way that is either impossible or limited to special cases in English, by joining radicals. (I never met bound or free morphemes so I don't actually understand how to use these terms). My impression was you telling this difference between Esperanto and English, which I classify as an abstract difference, makes learning English easier to the Chinese speaker. And although I'm completely with you on a structural view, I see the concrete implementations of these differences (how to form words and sentences) as much smaller than the differences in applicability and orthogonality (when to use different appearances of the same root)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ClaesJohannson

I already wrote a lengthy explanation on what I think of Esperanto, so I will not repeat them here. (https://www.duolingo.com/comment/14281490 look at my comment at the very bottom). As a summary, my mother tongue in Indonesian and Indonesian grammar is much simpler than Esperanto. No singular/plural, no concordance/agreement and tenseless.

Is Esperanto perfect, no definitely not. Is Esperanto good enough? Arguably. Esperanto was made when there was no defacto lingua franca. Today, English is acting as the defacto lingua franca. So the question shifts to, can Esperanto (or its derivations) beats English as the defacto lingua franca? Very unlikely at the moment. But if we look far enough into the future, more than few decades and into centuries. May be, may be not. I personally certainly hope so, but I chances don't look too good.

Should Esperanto be improved? Yes, definitely. Actually, it is being improved by both you and me and all the people who are using Esperanto. Just like any other language, it evolves. If there is a "form" that is incorrect but people keep on using (or not using) it, (like diacritics or articles or accusative case), then it gain mainstream acceptance and become official and thus the language improved. I do hope that in few years, the many of the proposed reforms would be adopted like the h-system or the x-system, etc.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rainkumo
Rainkumo
  • 15
  • 9
  • 9
  • 8
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

A full spelling reform by adopting english "sh" (and the voiced equivalent "zh") would be preferable to h or x systems. Ch is just tsh. Gh is dzh, jh is zh, sh is sh. Change uh to w. Hh to k in all instances. (And I would want them to remove c's after s's, and change all other c's to ts.)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
  • 20
  • 17
  • 16
  • 14
  • 14
  • 14
  • 13
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2

Ĥ to K is not simply possible - ĥoro "choir" is not the same as koro "heart".

However, you can probably ignore Ĥ since nearly all words that have Ĥ have an alternative spelling with K already (ĥoro then becomes koruso). It's the least-used of all Esperanto letters.

However, if you want Ido, you know where to find it. It already has gone through this ASCIIfying spelling reform.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rainkumo
Rainkumo
  • 15
  • 9
  • 9
  • 8
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Ido fixes some things but also messes up others, so even if it were equal (I think it is slightly worse), then it would be inferior just because of how relatively useless it is. The Ĥ Problem should never have happened, but it is good that it is being phased out of use at least.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BasCostBudde
BasCostBudde
  • 14
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2

I politely disagree with ĉ equalling tsh or c equalling ts, if only for ambiguity reasons. But to my ears, c really differs from ts. And mind you, I'm Dutch, not Slavic.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rainkumo
Rainkumo
  • 15
  • 9
  • 9
  • 8
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

I've been learning Japanese which has the "tsu" sound, and it really is just a "ts", as is the "c" in Esperanto. It isn't exaggerated like in "tuh", but your tongue is in the same spot at the beginning of "ts" as it is with the "t" in "tea". It looks different to read, but that is because of the orthographies we're used to.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zubiz
zubiz
  • 22
  • 14
  • 9
  • 8
  • 4

Fully disagree. What you suggest would immediately deprive eo from its one of the most important features: one letter maps to one sound.

I'm not supporting h, x or any other system, I actually detest them but they are certainly preferable to radically changing the characteristics of a language. A person who is interested in eo should start using those characters, they are not insanely difficult to produce to warrant a reform. Nobody proposes to get rid of French diacritics, if one wants to use French they eventually learn how to type them. I don't really understand why this topic comes up so frequently when it comes to esperanto.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BasCostBudde
BasCostBudde
  • 14
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2

I know why the topic is frequent, and Claude Piron has written an understandable essay about exactly that: psychological reactions to Esperanto.

http://claudepiron.free.fr/articlesenanglais/reactions.htm

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zubiz
zubiz
  • 22
  • 14
  • 9
  • 8
  • 4

Right. I also read that and I agree that it may be the cause. I'd wholeheartedly understand some criticisms when they are about real problems plaguing the subject matter. But talking about non-problems and showing effort to make them look as if real to the extent that offering reforms to "solve" them at the expense of some of the most fundamental features are probably related to esperanto's planned nature as these kind of discussions are never done over some national languages for trivial things like that; they are always real problems whose solution are demanded by the masses.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rainkumo
Rainkumo
  • 15
  • 9
  • 9
  • 8
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

I like the diacritics too but the problem is that they are a big detriment to the popularization of the language, and also it looks hideous when people are too lazy to type with them properly.

The one sound one character is invalid from the start. Ĉ is "tŝ", two sounds that already occur separately in other letters, thus abrogating the need for ĉ. This is inconsistent with the exclusion of "x" for "ks" for example.

The fact that ĵ is the voiced version of ŝ, and ĝ the voiced version of ĉ, is annoying asymmetrical as well.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BasCostBudde
BasCostBudde
  • 14
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2

tŝ and ĉ differ. If they don't occur in your own language, this takes some getting used to, but to me the difference is quite audible. And both are formed in the front of the mouth.

This is where x goes the other way: the k portion comes from the back of the mouth. If there were a sound in the language that adds a fricative to the explosion of k, I think that is a very good candidate for the x notation.

Oh, and yes indeed on the asymmetry. Well, writing systems are mostly hopeless. At least it is used consistently* in Esperanto. What about ng in "ongoing"...

Edit: * thanks mizinamo

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
  • 20
  • 17
  • 16
  • 14
  • 14
  • 14
  • 13
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2

Tip: I think you mean consistently (= regularly, always) rather than consequently (= as a consequence, as a result). (Germans often make a similar mistake due to the same false friend.)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rainkumo
Rainkumo
  • 15
  • 9
  • 9
  • 8
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

They may sound different if you pronounce ĉ like a "ch" like in English, "chuh", but if you start to say "ch" and keep saying it like "sh", you will see it is only tsh. I guess there is a way to say "ch" with the tip of the tongue a bit further back, but in Esperanto ĉ is tŝ, according to IPA.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
  • 20
  • 13
  • 8
  • 966

I agree with BasCostBudde. It's absolutely true that tŝ and ĉ differ. I'm not sure either one of you will convince the other, though. I had an extensive PM conversation with Tim Morley on the topic and he ultimately concluded that he and I must speak English differently (we're from different english-speaking countries.) One of the members of the Duolingo team called my citation from the Fundamento a previously unheard of "alternate explanation". In the end, it's a very fine point and - the voice of experience here - not worth the amount of text that would be necessary to even scratch the surface in this kind exchange.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zubiz
zubiz
  • 22
  • 14
  • 9
  • 8
  • 4

I don't get it a bit. Who are those people that you mention who could have learned a language (any language) but can't because they are too lazy to put a tiny mark on some letters? And how could have they tackle something as complex as a language if they can't be bothered by those marks? Who would base his decision to learn a language on diacritical marks on its alphabet? How did diacritics were detriment to popularization of French, German and Spanish? How many people are there who are intimidated by diacritics to the extent they decided not to learn a language, where are they? C and ts are similar but not the same, and how on earth ĉ and tŝ are comparable? Even if they are to you, and some other people, why would that warrant a reform? And what evidence do you have that backs those claims that you're trying to present as facts? Compare what happened to the languages who have gone through arbitrary reforms like you suggested, the adoption rate of languages who lacks diacritics like interlingua and ido, the speaker population of them compared to eo. Seriously what you are doing is creating your own problems which have near zero evidence for their existence, relevance or importance to how actual life flows.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rainkumo
Rainkumo
  • 15
  • 9
  • 9
  • 8
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

IPA says tŝ and ĉ are the same, and that ts and c are the same.

National languages don't need to be popularized, because there is a built-in reason for learning them: they have lots of speakers and history.

Getting rid of diacritics wouldn't be that hard of a reform, because the sounds of the words would stay the same, and since the sounds are shown in the spelling, then Esperanto websites and ebooks and such could be automatically transcribed to the new writing system. It would take almost no effort to learn the old spelling to read old things written in Esperanto, and the language would become more accessible.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
  • 20
  • 13
  • 8
  • 966

Rainkumo wrote:

> IPA says tŝ and ĉ are the same, and that ts and c are the same.

I'm not quite an expert in IPA, but my understanding is that the "ch" sound is written with a sort of arch-like thing over it to show that the t and sh sounds are blended. In tŝ the sounds are not blended. In ĉ they are. In ts the sounds are not blended. In c they are. I'm trying not to get drawn into this discussion, but my impression is that (whatever the merits in the broader part of this discussion), it's not true that "IPA says they're the same."

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
  • 20
  • 17
  • 16
  • 14
  • 14
  • 14
  • 13
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2

I don't think the International Phonetic Association has a particular opinion on Esperanto.

If you go by Wikipedia's article Esperanto phonology, then ĉ is [t͡ʃ] in the International Phonetic Alphabet, which makes sense to me. (That's Wikipedia's statement, not the IPA's - written in the International Phonetic Alphabet, but the decision on how to analyse the sound is not the Association's.)

Note the tie-bar; the sound is an affricate, rather than a sequence of stop + fricative, which would be [tʃ].

The two are different. Ask your friendly native Pole, for example, to pronounce trzy "three" and czy "whether" for you, or trzysta "three hundred" and czysta "clean (fem.)". Ask him whether they sound the same to him or whether they are distinct.

Those are tʂ and t͡ʂ rather than tʃ and t͡ʃ, but the principle is the same.

Admittedly, Polish is the only language I know of myself which differentiates between ĉ and . (I don't know whether there are similar minimal pairs for their equivalents of c, ts; ĝ, dĵ; dz. I suppose Esperanto doesn't have a [d͡z] affricate phoneme; it certainly doesn't have a letter for it.)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pseudocreobotra

Sure, Esperanto COULD be simpler, could be more international. But it's already quite simple and definitely easier to learn than a full-fledged Indo-European language as the grammar is very regular and you can express a lot with quite a small number of words.

The diacritics may look a bit intimidating but in the end, they just represent a different sound and help to make the pronunciation phonetic. Many of the sounds indicated by the diacritics exist in a large number of languages and can be accessed easily once the sound is connected to the letter (I tend treat the letters with diacritics as a different letter because they are consistently pronounced differently - I also consider 'shi' and 'ji' to be different sounds in Japanese despite using the same kana plus dakuten in the case of 'ji'). It would be far more difficult to just omit the diacritics and use the same letter for different pronunciations, right?

Also... Japanese speakers probably struggle with the pronunciation of nearly every language because Japanese uses so few different sounds and has an extremely regular pronunciation. Also, while technically every mora except ん ends with a vowel, the Japanese are pretty amazing at just omitting them in normal speech, especially if the vowel in question is an i or an u.

If an auxiliary language would be limited to the sounds and features that exist in every single language (or even just the bigger ones), it would be a rather sad attempt of a language without notable expressive quality. It might get the basic meaning across but it would lack any richness.

A language doesn't need any feature BUT then it needs other features so compensate. Japanese is an insanely rich language but lacks many concepts that are mandatory to the mind primed by Indo-European languages. It works around them by using concepts completely foreign to us but just as potent. However, if you couldn't use either set of concepts because they are foreign and challenging to someone... You would end up with a mere skeleton of a language, probably no language at all because there's always some language that doesn't use a particular concept.

I'm not that much of a fan of Esperanto but the reason definitely isn't that it uses features that might be challenging to some depending on their native language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexandrSantos
AlexandrSantos
  • 19
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 8
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 51

I don't see any problems with using digraphs to represent other sounds, like 'sh' as a stand in for ⟨ʃ⟩. Besides, what's the point of having two different diacritics in a con lang?

Esperanto phonology might be a nuisance to some, but the problems presented by them are nowhere near as bad as those resulted from the free word order.

I know there will always be some language that doesn't use a particular concept, but those rules that Esperanto opted to stick to are somewhat dubious even when one takes into account only Indo-European languages. For instance, why is -j the plural marker when many if not most of the languages in the Indo-European family use -s as the plural marker?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/johmue

Maybe you should collect some practical experience with Esperanto. Your theoretical considerations have closed to zero relevance in practice.

I mean, what do you want to learn by your questions?

  • That Esperanto is not perfect? Nobody claimed that it is.

  • That one could make up a better language? Go ahead and make one up and see if it gets more successful than Esperanto.

  • That Esperanto does not work in practice? It does. Been there done that.

  • That all Esperanto speakers should stop speaking Esperanto and learn something else? Won't happen.

Any further questions?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexandrSantos
AlexandrSantos
  • 19
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 8
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 51

Actually, I was wondering if Esperanto could be used as a means of communication between speakers of non-Indo-European languages.

As far as conlangs go, I've tried Interlingua before and I do in fact prefer it over Esperanto as a means of communication, since it's readily recognizable for speakers of Romance languages without any previous knowledge whatsoever. I thought Esperanto might be better suited for speakers of other language families, but at first glance, this hardly seems to be case.

I'll keep studying it as a hobby, but I just don't expect to be using it to communicate with Africans or Asians anytime soon. And, for most European languages, I just think Interlingua is more useful. So I don't really see the point.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Evildea

Having just returned from the Trilanda Esperanto-Kongreso in Indonesia attended by Indonesians, Australians, New Zealanders, Koreans, and Chinese I can tell you it worked perfectly as a bridge language of about 100 people.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rubatavolo
rubatavolo
  • 14
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Esperanto was taught in schools and colleges in China, has a good number of literary books in the language published in Japan, and an upcoming Universala Kongreso will be hosted in Seoul. In fact, Esperanto was seriously proposed as a unifying language for China in the early 20th century. As you can tell, that failed, but the point is that yes, speakers of non-Indo-Eurpoean languages have spoken and do speak Esperanto.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
  • 20
  • 17
  • 16
  • 14
  • 14
  • 14
  • 13
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2

No, Esperanto is not intrinsically better suited for speakers of non-Indo-European languages than, say, Interlingua -- it's still a European language.

I don't think anyone would seriously claim that Esperanto by its nature is particularly easy for a monolingual speaker of, say, Chinese - though it will be easier than (say) English or French.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BasCostBudde
BasCostBudde
  • 14
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2

What do you mean by "European language" and why is that not-better to foreigners from outside Europa?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/keaves27

I kind of imagine English may be easier for a native Chinese speaker than Esperanto - Chinese is practically no morphology and all syntax, and English is leaning in that direction, whereas Esperanto is all morphology and little syntax.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BasCostBudde
BasCostBudde
  • 14
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2

I'd be interested to hear about that now and then. Honestly. I don't know anything about Interlingua (reported 1500 speakers) and I do about Esperanto (reported 2.000.000 speakers) and I definately have an expectation, but I'm curious enough. How can I get updates, if you're willing to share for one?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
  • 20
  • 13
  • 8
  • 966

AlexandrSantos wrote: >> Yep, Interlingua doesn't enjoy the same number of speakers as Esperanto, but keep in mind that most people who know any Romance language are able to read it almost as flawlessly <<

Yes, this is the standard sales pitch of Interlingua. Anybody interested in the topic can google Interlingua and find this sales pitch -- or read through pages and pages of old forum posts from 2, 5, 10, and 20 years ago where the same arguments were made.

My experience, however, doesn't back it up. Interlingua was for the most part quite opaque to me till I made the effort to learn 50 or 100 common words. (I had the same experience with Esperanto.) There are stories of people using Interlingua to talk to people who have never studied it, but there are also stories of people using Italian ... and even Esperanto ... for the same purpose.

I've also taken part in conversations where an Interlinguan will start out saying that you can speak Interlingua with anybody who speaks any of the linguas fontes and as I talk about my experiences and those of people I know, they will slowly change to "anybody who knows a romance language" then "a lot of people who speak a romance language."

It can also be misunderstood a prime vista. An amusing example is when I read about someone with flippers for arms robbed a bank. Turns out he had a gun, not flippers for arms.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexandrSantos
AlexandrSantos
  • 19
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 8
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 51

Yep, Interlingua doesn't enjoy the same number of speakers as Esperanto, but keep in mind that most people who know any Romance language are able to read it almost as flawlessly as if it were an imediate second language (well, except perhaps for speakers of Romanian/Moldovan), which brings the total number of people who can understand Interlingua without any previous study up to a whooping 800 million.

Now, on the topic of resources and updates on Interlingua, in Brazil we have União Brasileira pró Interlíngua, which might not be that useful to you if you don't speak Portuguese. There is also Union Mundial Pro Interlingua, which has a very thorough course for beginners. http://www.interlingua.com/an/curso

By the way, you might want to know that I have not given up on Esperanto. In fact, I'm actally enjoying it quite a bit. It does have its share of quirks and twists but it's quite a fun language to learn on its own and it does have its merits.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BasCostBudde
BasCostBudde
  • 14
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2

While reading may be useful, being able to create expressions is even more useful and central to communication. I can make out quite a bit of Interlingua--just checked. I wouldn't immediately want to do an exam on literature in it, now. But that doesn't give me the ability to react to questions on a forum, which I'm willing to try by the way, if you can point me to an active one.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexandrSantos
AlexandrSantos
  • 19
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 8
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 51

Well, perhaps I'm being biased by my personal experience. My native language is Portuguese, a language that drifted away from Latin way further than, let's say, Spanish or Italian. Nonetheless, when I first stumbled across interlingua, I could read it without any effort whatsoever, and so could all my family of monolingual speakers of Portuguese. So I guess the same holds true for speakers of Spanish, Italian and probably Catalan and Occitan as well. I know some native speakers of French who claim to understand about 90% of written Interlingua without prior knowledge. But Romanian might be a different story altogether, though.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/johmue

Yes, I know natives of non-Indo-European languages that communicate with each other in Esperanto. So yes it can be used as a means of communication between speakers of non-Indo-European languages.

If you prefer Interlingua as a means of communication, fine. Go ahead with Interlingua. While we Esperanto speakers are doing our world wide culture, music, podcasts in Esperanto, using it as our everyday language and even love each other in Esperanto, you can stick to your Interlingua books and maybe once a year meet a classroom full of people that speak interlingua. If it's that what you prefer, Interlingua or Ido is your choice.

Those, who look for language that actually can be used to get to know interesting people, make international contacts and friendship, probably should stick to Esperanto, regardless of it's theoretical flaws.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Platypus01

In Sydney I met a Korean woman who spoke Esperanto much better than she spoke English. For an East Asian, learning any European language has such a massive learning hump to get over, that the issues you point out in Esperanto are quite minor, and pale in comparison with Romance irregular verbs or English spelling (thought and through?)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pseudocreobotra

Because each letter is pronounced on it's own in Esperanto and h is a valid letter on it's own. Pronouncing 'sh' as one different sound instead of the two existing sounds 's-h' would be inconsistent to that principle.

Free word oder is actually one factor that's supposed to make it easier for people from languages that don't use SVO. From my experience with non-SVO word order not in Esperanto but in other languages... It's not that difficult. Also, most people prefer SVO unless they want to stress a certain aspect. Free word order is actually one of those things that make a language richer because it allows to express subtle nuances of meaning... And it also exists in a number of Indo-European languages!

The rules Esperanto sticks to are dubious to YOU. That doesn't make them obscure to everyone, it just shows that you apparently only know a small scope of Indo-European languages... The -s ending really isn't THAT common if you look beyond the Romance languages and English (which was heavily influenced by French anyway). Most Germanic and Slavic languages use other endings to indicate the plural... e.g. -ы and -и (among others) in Russian... Which are both way closer to Esperanto's -j than to the -s.

That being said... If you personally don't like Esperanto because it's either not international enough or not similar enough to Romance languages... Fine. But realise that that's your preference and not an inherent flaw.

Also, no-one said that it's super easy for everyone but that it's easier to learn than e.g. English for most people... Because it's regular, phonetic and only needs a rather small base vocabulary. Everything else is easily disputable... But largely personal preference.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ungewitig_Wiht

I don't see any problems with using digraphs to represent other sounds, like 'sh' as a stand in for ⟨ʃ⟩.

That's not what Zamenhof was trying to do with the language though, he wanted you to look at a word, and say "that letter is that sound" nothing changes what sound each letter makes. Also sh can be ambiguous. If a beginner saw "bokshimno" (which is bokso = boxing + himno = anthem "anthem of boxing" a bit contrived I know but what can you do about that) he couldn't possibly know if it were "bokŝimno" or "boks-himno" unless the writer wrote it as "boks-himno" which no one really does.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
  • 20
  • 17
  • 16
  • 14
  • 14
  • 14
  • 13
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2

A classic example is flughaveno (airport) which could be misread as fluĝaveno (some kind of oats aveno that fluĝi, whatever that is?) when using the h-method for replacing diacritics if they are not available.

Early material suggested separating all morphemes by apostrophes in correspondence to beginners, sed praktik'e neni'u far'as ti'o'n ĉar tio aspekt'as mal'bel'e - and as I understand it, that was only intended for beginners anyway rather than part of general spelling.

It would clear up a few cases (kol'eg'o is not a koleg'o, and people wouldn't so easily confuse poŝ'telefon'o and poŝt'elefant'o).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ungewitig_Wiht

Sed se la bel'ec'o est'as ti'a koncern'o, ki'al hom'o'j uz'as la X'a'n sistem'o'n? Mi pens'as ke gxi ki'el mal'bel'as ti'el la apostrof'o'j

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BasCostBudde
BasCostBudde
  • 14
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2

I wonder where you took this from. Inserting apostrophoi is a last resort temporary didactical measure, not something meant for daily use.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
  • 20
  • 17
  • 16
  • 14
  • 14
  • 14
  • 13
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2

Perhaps there are other reasons why the apostrophe convention dropped out of use :)

FWIW, I tend to prefer the H convention myself, though the X convention has the advantage of being unambiguous.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BasCostBudde
BasCostBudde
  • 14
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2

Mizinamo, I used to write in x-style, being raised in the 1980s, but that's gone since I discovered the ease of keyboard layout switching. I'm surprised by the speed at which my brain puts the characters under the keys. I'm still figuring out how to efficiently switch languages, which is helpful on fora like these, and during the duolingo lessons.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
  • 20
  • 17
  • 16
  • 14
  • 14
  • 14
  • 13
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2

I believe -j as the plural marker is from Ancient Greek, where first and second declension nouns in -a, -as and -os formed their plurals as -ai and -oi. (As in "hoi polloi".)

(Latin does something similar with -a turning into -ae which is not too far from -ai.)

Perhaps you might like Ido more than Esperanto? No diacritics (but three digraphs: ch qu sh), and plurals go the Italian way (libro, libri rather than libro, libroj).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
  • 20
  • 17
  • 16
  • 14
  • 14
  • 14
  • 13
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2

The impression I get is that all those claims of Esperanto being a pluricentric language are rather hard to back up.

I don't think Esperanto was conceived as a pluricentric language. Its core is pretty firmly European, especially in vocabulary and phonology, but also in basic syntax such as having an accusative case, mandatory concord of adjectives with nouns in number and case, and so on.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Evildea

I just attended the Trilanda Esperanto-Kongreso in Indonesia and we discussed their issue. The Koreans there had no issue with the Accusative case or plural agreement (apparently the concept of one agreeing with another wasn't difficult). Their difficulties were with transitivity and the abundance of foreign words.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rainkumo
Rainkumo
  • 15
  • 9
  • 9
  • 8
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

The accusative is just like in Japanese (and Korean). Plural agreement is an entirely European unnecessity though.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ConnorMaichle
ConnorMaichle
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

First off let me say this: I'm not a big fan of the Duolingo Esperanto course (sorry). It just didn't click. However, my TeachYourself book from the 1960s is perfect, it works amazingly, and I've learned so much Esperanto. Once you get the affixes down, you got it. So, now with learning French in school and Spanish on my own, let me say that Esperanto has been a huge help.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
  • 20
  • 13
  • 8
  • 966

Curious whether it's the Duolingo format that you don't like or something specific to the Esperanto course.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ConnorMaichle
ConnorMaichle
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Hmm, I dunno. I guess it's the course structure. The book I have started out with basics of grammar and affixes pretty quickly, so the language just made sense a lot more. I just "got it," it clicked in my brain. Must just be how I learn I guess.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
  • 20
  • 13
  • 8
  • 966

I was very excited to try Duolingo, but I checked some reviews just before I did. It's a lot more rote translating than I expected. I still enjoy it and find it useful though. However, like sugary cereal, it's part of a complete breakfast.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ConnorMaichle
ConnorMaichle
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

I feel the same way, I use TeachYourself and other resources along with Duolingo. Duo is best for vocabulary and stuff like that.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/v.ivanov
v.ivanov
  • 14
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 7
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 65

Siatempe mi lernis la francan kaj Esperanton pli-malpli samtempe, kaj min multe amuzis, kiel ili du helpadis unu la alian :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/iOfg2
iOfg2
  • 23
  • 14
  • 13
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3

i was able to develop a tongue for esperanto withing a month of learning, but i heard that Japan has a high population of esperanto speakers, so i do not think that it is hard for Japanese people to pronounce words like "knabo"

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BasCostBudde
BasCostBudde
  • 14
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2

Logically, your conclusion is not justified by its antecedent :p but it holds. Japanese speakers can handle two consonants. They think a tiny 'u' after the first, and then skip that in pronunciation.

It's things like "forlasis" and "li rigardas" they don't like, over "ĝustkromeco" (I made that one up, find an actual example)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rainkumo
Rainkumo
  • 15
  • 9
  • 9
  • 8
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

You're right about l's. I think a Japanese could pronounce the r's and l's interchangeably and still be understandable though.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/eman68

As a beginner in Esperanto as well, I am hopeful, that it will gain new momentum due to Internet! I think E was close becoming a dead language, but Internet (and duolingo) will make it a new big hit!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/v.ivanov
v.ivanov
  • 14
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 7
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 65

» was close becoming a dead language

Not that close as it may feel — https://eo.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistiko_de_Esperantujo But the thing needs a new momentum, pri tio vi pravas.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rainkumo
Rainkumo
  • 15
  • 9
  • 9
  • 8
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Esperanto is popular in China, Japan and Korea, but those who learn it may have slight help from English education. Regardless, Esperanto is undoubtably easier than English even for non indoeuropean natives (the relative lack of new phonemes helps).

The 'kn' sound actually sounds nice when you get used to it. But other Esperanto words are hard to pronounce(and ugly sounding), like scias, euxropo, scienco and others. I refuse to pronounce the gutteral circumflex h as anything other than a k. Awkwardly placed "c"s in thick consonant clusters are another problem.

My Esperanto is better than my Japanese and I've studied it for a 12th of the time.

2 years ago