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Greatest Pro and Con

What is the greatest pro and the greatest con of Esperanto. I’m just curious and wish to know the language better.

Please be as unbiased as possible.

December 23, 2017



I think the greatest pro is being a part of the community which is typically language learning enthusiast and it's cool to talk with people on common ground from all over the world.

The greatest con is that business wise you will not find any use for it. With any other language you could use for work. Esperanto is a dead end in that department.

With those two it's really only a hobby language.


You know what they say, “You study English to make money, you study Esperanto to make friends”.


By coincidence, this story was shared with me this morning. I met Marjolaine 15 years ago or so when she was a rebellious (and typical) teenager. She seems to think that Esperanto isn't only for making friends.

L’espéranto m’a également aidée dans le cadre du travail. Par exemple, quand j’ai lancé une ONG au Vietnam, je me suis en premier lieu appuyée sur les réseaux de la langue. Pour me loger, pour recruter des stagiaires, etc… L’espéranto donne accès à une gigantesque communauté d’entraide.



I'm curious whether you asked the same question about Spanish, German, French, Italian, and down the line.


I would think not. Conlangs seem to bring out a negative passion in some that is not usually seen with natural languages. Unless you're talking about hillbillies here in southern Calif demanding Spanish speakers "Talk American" (my hope is to someday speak Spanish well enough that someone says that to me)

For some reason, nobody seems to mind much what others do with their time on this earth.... unless of course you are "wasting time" learning Esperanto.

I have not been watching the boards at all, in quite a long time. It would be interesting to me if High Valyrian annoys people as much as having Esperanto or having Klingon in development has.


p.s. I did not mean to imply the OP was being negative by simply asking the downside of learning Esperanto.


Of course not. It's a natural approach.


> I would think not.

Looks like you were right. :-)


I love the "talk American" thing! Aren't there waaaaaaaaaaay more Spanish speakers in the Americas than English speakers?


I've always understood "talk American" to be an expression used to make fun of people who aren't open to languages other than English.


Pro: Entertainment. Feeling of belonging. Connection with people.

Con: It is harder than people say.


Biggest pro: Everyone learns Esperanto; no one gets it for free. This means that everyone is equal since there are (almost) no native speakers. I have found that the difficulty of achieving "fluency" is a huge roadblock in other languages. Biggest con: Too many people learn a little Esperanto and think they are suddenly expert in how to "improve" it. Just because you ride on an airplane doesn't mean you can suddenly pilot the thing! Attending school doesn't make you an expert at teaching!


Your arguments is ambiguous and irrantional. What do you mean by "equal". Esperanto prioritize euro-centrism over neutrality; europeans can learn esperanto more easily than non-europeans due to the linguistic similarities to eastern european languages.

You also assume that people do not identify with non-native language when many esperanto speakers identify themselves with the esperanto language; The esperanto community demand learners to acquire full fluency in esperanto even when they could communicate with limited fluency.

You claim that many people who know a little esperanto will think that they know how to "improve" esperanto but where is your evidence? If you are talking about those people that think that they know how to make an auxlang without any knowledge of linguistics or experience, then strong many esperanto advocates could also one of those people. If you are talking about people who simply comment on the biases of esperanto toward european languages, then your are too political.


"The esperanto community demand learners to acquire full fluency in esperanto even when they could communicate with limited fluency."

Who have you met from the Esperanto community that demands fluency before communicating? I have found Esperanto speakers to be invariably forgiving of errors in casual conversation and have never seen any of them demand anything close to fluency before communicating.

Some Esperantists can be too quick to offer corrections to mistakes, which is why I always ask the other person if they want a correction before giving it, but this is not coming from a need to "demand learners to acquire full fluency." Most simply think they are helping.

"You claim that many people who know a little esperanto will think that they know how to "improve" esperanto but where is your evidence?"

This pattern has been well documented in Esperanto for over 100 years. In George Cox's 1906 book "The International Auxiliary Language Esperanto" he has this to say at the end of his preface:

"Before concluding this preface let me give a word of advice to learners. Do not think, after a few days' study, as many do, that you can improve the language."

These words were written 111 years ago. This phenomenon is well-known, not some idea being pulled from nowhere.

"If you are talking about people who simply comment on the biases of esperanto toward european languages, then your are too political."

His comment said nothing about politics. Nor anything related to bias toward European languages. You are bringing that up, not jdroege.


I was talking about fluency with a German friend once who, IMO, speaks perfectly fluent English, and he said every so often sometimes a native speaker will say something that other native speakers get automatically but he, as a fluent-but-not-native-speaker, struggles with. He said it also happens with other fluent-but-not-native speakers he knows.

As such I read an article talking about when a group of native Esperanto speakers got together and how they were constructing sentences with an ease and in a way you apparently just don't get from people who speak it as a single language. That article made me wonder if, given Esperanto becomes popular enough, there will eventually also be things that you can grok easily as a native speaker of Esperanto that people who have acquired it secondarily will still have trouble with (removing a little bit of the leveling playing field it allegedly currently enjoys)


Since Esperanto is not designed to be a "native" language, I don't expect the "native" speakers vs "second language" speakers to be a problem. I consider the fact that everyone learns the language as a "second" language one of its best features. My German was very good, but there were always some problems with local expressions and accents. I think there is something on YouTube or somewhere with different accents in Esperanto. I remember it as quite funny! If Esperanto ever becomes a "native" tongue, then it will, like all living languages, grow and change in different ways in different places.


In a hypothetical Fina Venko there would always be more second language speakers than native speakers, so you're right. It wouldn't be a problem. Correct usage would not be defined by the native speakers.


I've seen two kinds of articles about the specific language of native speakers. First, is the kind of article that draws too many conclusions from imperfectly-learned Esperanto and or local language influence and announces that Esperanto has too much ballast. The second is the kind that takes baby talk - which often is a child's attempt to communicate given limited internal means - and tries to argue that Esperanto could or even should be more regular.

Somewhere I have a file folder full of little slips of the funny things my kids said in English, Esperanto, or both at the same time. It's fun, but I wouldn't draw any conclusions about Esperanto from them.


I wasn't trying to dray any conclusions about Esperanto as it is currently, really just musing about the potential impact a significant amount of native speakers would have on statements like

everyone is equal since there are (almost) no native speakers


I said that the article you read was drawing conclusions.

I think I understood your point. I was saying that it won't be a problem and that there will never be a time when Esperanto is defined by how it's spoken by native speakers.


Of possible interest to those following this thread:

As I mention in this thread, I was inspired by this Duolingo thread to make the following video on the question Which Conlang would be the best International Auxiliary Language?

https://youtu.be/Sr0MXihvVjg https://youtu.be/Sr0MXihvVjg


I got so many helpful and interesting comments on the first video that I made a part 2. More to come after that!

https://youtu.be/PoQryJDs_bs https://youtu.be/PoQryJDs_bs

Learn Esperanto in just 5 minutes a day. For free.