Hello! I was curious to see if any of you that speak Esperanto use it often, if at all. I have personally never met any who knows it and am not really seeing the benefit of learning it? I completely understand the concept of it, but I have never seen it in action. It seems to be something that only works in theory? But maybe that's just me? I would hate to spend so much time and effort on a language I'll never use. Perhaps it's just that I'm a high school student and everyone my age only takes Spanish, German, or French :P Thank you in advance!
I'm finding myself disagreeing with most of the comments so far. There is certainly call for more research in the idea of using Esperanto as a tool for teaching grammatical concepts. However, if someone is interested in, say, Portuguese, they should focus where their motivation is.
But that wasn't the question in the OP. The question, as I read it, is whether Esperanto speakers speak Esperanto often. Of course they do. That's how they get to be Esperanto speakers. I speak Esperanto every day. I've spoken it in Hungary, Croatia, France, Germany, Belgium, New York, Arizona, North Carolina, Texas, and Shanghai... to name a few. I've spoken with people of all ages and all levels. Through Esperanto I have had experiences that I couldn't have had any other way - not to mention that I've gotten to experience the beauty of the language, and of really feeling "at home" in a language that is not my native tongue.
My comment to the original poster is that if you don't see any reason to learn Esperanto, then by all means don't learn it. My experience is that no language is actually useful (that is, worth the effort required just for the practical value)- and I say that knowing that I could argue that knowing German may have saved my son's life. All languages take a long time to learn (Esperanto takes less) and you've got to enjoy the journey for the journey, because it's all journey. But you're here asking about it -- so you must see some reason to learn it, right?
A lot of people who've learned Esperanto first say it makes learning subsequent languages easier. The idea is that since Esperanto has no irregular forms or expressions, it helps students understand the building blocks of language in a very pure form. When learning a third language afterwards, it's easier for students of Esperanto to identify the mechanics of what's happening in their new language.
That's what I've heard, anyway. I don't know Esperanto so I can't personally say if that's true or not, but the idea makes a lot of sense to me.
It's less useful to learn a language if you end up speaking with the same people. If you know no one who speak Esperanto, that's fine, it is an occasion to meet new interesting people. In my case, I had few friends before learning Esperanto, and now almost all of my friends are Esperanto-speakers. Most of them don't even live in the same country.
I use Esperanto everyday with them, mainly by text (Telegram, Facebook), but sometimes we make calls. Everyday. At least one hour a day, two on average. I do this since many years I don't plan to stop because, well, they are my friends. I also use Esperanto publicly a lot in Twitter and Youtube (I have a channel in Esperanto), but I'm quite an exception, most people use Esperanto only in private.
I second what Ben says. Learning a second language to fluency has MASSIVE benefits to learning additional languages beyond the second one. This is true even if the two languages are very dissimilar such as Esperanto followed by a Semitic language like Hebrew or Arabic.
In terms of actual practical use: I mostly read magazine articles written in Esperanto. There is a very good one called Monato, it's sort of the Esperanto equivalent of Newsweek. Secondarily, I've used Esperanto as a "reference language" when explaining features other languages have that English lacks. English speakers typically have a hard time with accusative case and English utterly lacks. Conversely, possessive nouns work differently in Esperanto than English speakers tend to expect.
The speaker base of Esperanto isn't as small as you'd think, there are about as many fluent Esperanto speakers as there are fluent Yiddish speakers. But, Esperanto speakers are geographically distributed to a great extent. So, if you want to talk to others in Esperanto and get to know people inside the Esperanto community lernu.net is a good place to go and there is also a very active Esperanto sub on Reddit.
If you want to hear others speaking Esperanto for yourself, there are Esperanto Discord channels. Just last week, I had a conversation with a Russian gentleman about the differences in university schooling between the US and Russia totally in Esperanto on the /r/Esperanto server.
I think that if you want to get fluent in it, by all means do it! Studies have shown that learning Esperanto can help you learn another language faster! Also some random benefits are that you can say that you speak it and can now look at the chinese government official website and understand.
Esperanto is a very easy language, so it is likely to help you with your other languages and is a good starting point. It will help the most with the Romantic Languages, because it is closest to those. If you speak English, though, a good part of Esperanto has Germanic roots, as well. Also, there are NO exceptions to the grammar rules, and there are only 16 grammar rules! Overall, I just find it very relaxing and fun to practice Esperanto. It doesn't feel like a burden or something you have to do, but something that you want to do!
It's one of my everyday languages, that I use for everyday communication in everyday situations.
Saluton! There is an Esperanto Meet Up group in my city and they have social meetings once a month. Some of the people who attend are native to the city, but also people from other countries who have moved to the city or who are visiting (it varies). So there is the opportunity to speak Esperanto with people from different countries. There used to be a local Esperanto club which used to do more broader activities, but that folded after many years. Hopefully that will be revived. There are many Esperanto conventions and interest groups around the world.
Esperanto will greatly help you learn other languages. It will also help you become more fluent in languages you already speak (if you want a research project, there is one!). Also, do you want to be a leader or a follower (like "everyone my age")?
As it seems from these comments, many learn Esperanto to join the community. I, however, want to spread it somehow. It would be great to to have us all speak the same language, and I think Esperanto is a great candidate due to how easy it is to learn.
I don't speak Esperanto very well but I can understand it some in print. I met a native Esperanto speaker few months ago. A good way to meet Esperantists online are Amikumu, Ekparolu, Facebook etc.
I pretty much agree with you. I do see much benefit in learning the full Esperanto since the speakers exist mostly on the internet. The introduction of Duolingo might make Esperanto more accessible and the populist takeover of United States of America might threaten English position as the lingua franca but Esperanto would still not prosper. I was thinking of simply implementing the Esperanto grammar rules, grammatical words, and orthography onto other European languages to make the European languages more easier to learn.
I used an app called Amikumu and found an Esperanto speaker. It was cool. He was very smart and his Esperanto was better than mine. I also use it a lot on the internet with people around the world. Where do you live?