Who should learn Esperanto?
I've recently been interested in casually learning Esperanto (just for fun), but I was wondering how many of you out there would recommend it. Is it ever useful? What kind of person, in your opinion, should learn Esperanto and why?
The 'useful' question comes up a lot, in respect to language-learning -especially around Esperanto- and, frankly, it surprises me.
Certainly, if you are planning to move to another country, or take up a job as an interpreter, or work for a company that is based in/deals with a country that uses your chosen language for business, then the matter of which language to learn becomes rather important - learning Mandarin if you're moving to Brazil, for example, is of questionable value - but in that instance, the language is decided for you.
If, however, you're doing it simply to learn another language, then the question of 'useful' has to change somewhat.
Unless I visit Germany or have German friends or relatives, am I ever going to need to speak German in Canada? Maybe a couple of times in my life, tops. But is that 'useful'? Is it a good enough return on my investment?
It's rare that someone will declare other hobbies as 'not useful'...
Playing an instrument?
None of these are inherently useful - unless you're professional at them, or are employed in the field in some way.
And yet each is of tremendous value to the person who enjoys them, and offers them an avenue through which to connect and bond with like-minded people who share the same interest the World over, should they choose.
Esperanto has a thriving, expanding community around it. It has a 130+ year history to absorb and enjoy, with literature, music, and poetry all its own, created by people who come from all four corners of the globe, using this tremendous language to bypass the barriers of haggard nationalities and tired enmities to create something that is both ancient and timeless, but yet also exciting and new.
Why learn Esperanto?
It's one of the easiest additional languages to learn - by a country mile.
It's neutral - Although it's historically rather Eurocentric in its origins, it's been welcomed and adopted by peoples on every inhabited continent - It allows every individual to meet the rest of the World half-way.
It makes learning languages fun - its simplicity lends itself to confidence-building and self-esteem, while its capacity for complexity and depth of expression can satisfy the most discerning palate.
It gives you the fastest access possible to the rest of the World - Even much-lauded English, with its colonial baggage and complexities for non-native speakers, cannot match Esperanto for its speed of learning and its egalitarianism.
Three months of learning Esperanto will reward your efforts more, and see you progress much further, than any other fully functional second language could possibly manage in the same time.
What kind of person should learn Esperanto?
A sensible one...
This is motivating me to learn Esperanto when I am ready for another language. Thank you for your input!
I think Esperanto should be the first "second-language" for everyone. I believe research says you have to learn a second language before about fourth grade or that part of your brain just never gets activated. As a neutral language, Esperanto would be ideal as a second-language in lower elementary school. I think EVERYONE should learn it!
Do you have a source for the research you mentioned? Everything I've read points to the opposite; the idea that people must start learning a language by a certain age or they "lose the ability" (or that they're somehow disadvantaged compared to children) has been debunked.
I think that may be for acquiring a first language - if one isn't learned before 4-ish, then learning one is incredibly difficult, if not impossible to fully achieve.
Second+ languages are fine from any age (depending on the individual) so long as motivation is there...
Ah, that makes a lot more sense. If you could only acquire a second+ language before the age of 10, then that would mean pretty much everyone on this site is wasting their time trying!
Neuroscience major here! It is not that it is impossible after a certain age, just that it becomes a lot more difficult (not that difficult is a negative adjective by any means!!) Brain scans show that first languages only require a small part of your left brain, whereas second languages require activity over both hemispheres with increasing activation/effort the older you were when you started learning. However, using your brain that hard with such focus is only going to help! People who are bilingual experience a 4-5 year delay in the onset of symptoms of dementia because they are so adept at getting the most work out of their brain.
Hello Alexa, and thank you for an interesting question.
The kind of person who should learn Esperanto, is someone who wants to engage with the world, and make friends across borders, because learning Esperanto directly facilitates that by allowing them to directly participate in the community and culture of Esperanto. It also famously, makes it easier to learn other languages, because of the confidence and skills gained from learning it.
Someone who wants to travel, because Pasporta Servo can help Esperanto speakers find free accommodation all around the world, with locals who share the language.
Someone who has been disheartened by the usually disappointing experience of learning languages at school should try learning Esperanto, because it's just about the easiest useful language anyone can learn, which will build up their confidence to try learning other languages.
Someone who wants to add to the world more than they take from it, might like to try it, because, in my admittedly limited experience, Esperanto speakers and learners, are some of the kindest, and most generous people you could meet, and it's uplifting and inspiring to keep their company.
I hope you give it a try.
Esperanto is my most liked foreign language, so I would highly recommend it. There are a lot of reasons, why it's worth learning, here are some:
- It's easy. You'll get a fast sense of achievment.
- Knowing Esperanto makes it i.m.h.o. easier to learn other languages.
- The idea of a neutral language that does not benefit anybody and that is the property of all mankind is worth to be supported!
- Esperantists are cool pacifistic people. It's just a good feeling to be one of those who all are friends to each other and who don't overvalue their citizenship.
- Zamenhof had a cool beard :)
The coolest thing about Esperanto, I have found, are Esperanto speakers. Who learns Esperanto? Generally people who are interested in languages and in intercultural communication. If you learn Esperanto, you can join a global community of very interesting people with whom you may already have a lot in common.
Someone who wants to have friends with open minded people. Someone who wants to speak a foreign language that is much much easier than other languages.
Just for fun. Ha ha ha. That's what I thought. Turn back now while you still can.
20 years later, I'm up to my elbows in Esperanto.
I think there are a few reasons to learn esperanto right now
a) someone has a need to become fluent in another European language and has had real difficulty in past language learning attempts. There is some evidence that learning esperanto first may be helpful even if one has a goal of learning another european language. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaedeutic_value_of_Esperanto https://www.fluentin3months.com/2-weeks-of-esperanto/
b) someone is planning to travel to another country and want visit as something other than a foreigner that speaks the local language poorly or expects others to speak the visitors language.
c) you want to be part of the experiment with esperanto being conducted right here, right now on duolingo with esperanto.