https://www.duolingo.com/Kyoumimasu

The 'x' method vs. The 'h' method

I'm curious as to why the 'x' method for writing letters with 'hats' is used more than Zamenhof's preferred 'h' method?

The 'h' method seems to make more sense and looks easier to read.

ĉu - chu; ŝi - shi; ĉiuj - chiuj; ĝi - ghi; ŝatas - shatas; ĉokolado - chokolado;

They look like how it's said.

When I see an x I want to pronounce the x, which doesn't work and I have to consciously replace all x's with h's anyway. Why did the less logical choice become popular?

(This isn't necessarily to try and change anything... just an observation from practicing and reading about Zamenhof.)

11 months ago

23 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Vanege
  • 16
  • 13
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

When I see an h, I want to pronounce the h. But with the h-system, you can't trust the h, because it is already in the alphabet. You have the check the letter before it, to know how to pronounce, and sometimes you have to already know the word to be sure.

Also, according to the h-system, ŭ is written u (instead of uh). Which feels really dirty for the principle "one letter one sound".

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 19
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1126

The X-system was always only ever intended to represent the Esperanto alphabet in computer files. It was never meant to be printed out or written by hand. It has several advantages when used for this purpose. Since X is not an Esperanto letter, the text can be converted by find-and-replace (or an automated version of that today) and it preserves alphabetical order in sorted lists.

I "grew up" when the X system was THE way to represent Esperanto . This was before Unicode - and "latin 3" fonts were a pain in the tail fin. I don't think anything of it.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DaveRutan
  • 25
  • 11
  • 2
  • 1051

And in the ancient days of Compuserve you could sometimes see the 'less than' sign used. Ne tre <carme.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
  • 23
  • 15
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 9
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2

I love the idea of "Mi satas gin". It's like the letters are really laid back ;)

And Lingots for making me remember Compuserve!

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DaveRutan
  • 25
  • 11
  • 2
  • 1051

Yeah, I didn't invent it, but you could think of it as the 'hat' having fallen off. <Cu vi <satus la <san<gon?

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 19
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1126

FLEFO

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DaveRutan
  • 25
  • 11
  • 2
  • 1051

AND before that, the Good Earth forum. These were the days of Jim Deer and text conferences on Saturday nights!

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/akilleyca.48
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2

I've seen printed materials with it (f ex materials for upcoming events).

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/akilleyca.48
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2

I tend to use the h because Zhof himslef approved it (IINM) and it's easy enough to disambiguate. The few times s, c, g, or j come before h it's almost always across boundaries of roots and so - can be used to separate them flug-haveno sukces-hava, chas-hundo and a lot of people use aw and ew with h.

I don't mind the x method except that I detest aux and eux (ugly IMHO) I wish the academy would endorse a single ASCII option since the need for ASCII will not go away anytime soon.

my preferences would be h - w ( chirkaw) or x -w (cxirkaw).

I suspect many esperantists prefer the current situation with ASCII chaos because if there were a broadly accpeted single alternative it might made the diacritics obsolete in many to most contexts.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jdroege

When I write by hand, I write with the hats (which is actually fun!). When I type, I use the x-method since it is the fastest and easiest for me. The few times I have wanted to alphabetize by computer, the x-method has worked well. You might say my preference is based on habit ...

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alkanadi

I agree with you, but I think people choose x to avoid confusion in pronunciation. Is CH one sound or two?

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LucasSanto309765

or three /ts-h/

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Fludrocortisone

Honestly, the diacritics in Esperanto are pointless. There's no internal logic to what they mean and the fact that /x/ and /w/ aren't written with x and w isn't excusable. That's just my opinion, but it does make it harder to type on a keyboard..

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
  • 23
  • 15
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 9
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2

Honestly, the diacritics in French are pointless. There's no internal logic to what they mean....

You would never see that in a serious discussion of French or any other natural language. Because Esperanto is a constructed language people seem to think it's some sort of rough draft that's open to corrections.

Try reading about the language and you'll see that the diacriticals are logical. No, they aren't the only way to represent those sounds. Zamenhof made a choice and it turns out it works.

People sometimes fail to notice that Pinocchio became a real boy a long time ago. Esperanto is no longer a constructed language. At some point, it became "real" when no one was paying attention. It functions like a natural languages and also suffers the same problems natural languages do.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Fludrocortisone

Ok, so the circumflex means "post-alveolar" on c-circumflex and s-circumflex, but what is it supposed to mean on g-circumflex? Oh, wait, it turns it into the voiced postalveolar affricate, but instead of this change coming from the alveolar articulation, it comes from the velar one. And then j-circumflex represents the voiced postalveolar fricative, which suddenly came from the palatal approximant. And then when it came time to write the velar fricative (h-circumflex) and the labio-velar approximant (u-breve), it wasn't x and w, which are very common letters to represent those sounds, it wasn't those, but instead h-circumflex and then the circumflex trend was broken with a breve. Do you see what I mean?

What would be better is

j-circumflex = dg, jj, (or just drop this sound because the distinction between z, ʒ, and dʒ is uncommon anyway, and speaking of uncommon, the twenty most common languages are not compatible with Esperanto's phonology) While we're speaking of uncommon, drop /ts/ and /x/ and remove the distinction in voicing of f/v, p/b, etc if you wish. Then you get a sound inventory of common sounds. It also has dipthongs which aren't very common, like eu̯ and maybe ui̯.

And with /x/ (h-circumflex), just write it with X. For the W sound, just write W. Sure, we can easily implement these changes as /Esperanto still is a conlang/, but if we critique it the way Zamenhof made it, it's not very international. With that being said, it is a nice and fine language on its own, but it is just not a good auxiliary language. I find it somewhat disappointing that my reply was matched with only dislikes and not with comments. Note that I don't want to argue, but rather discuss.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
  • 23
  • 15
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 9
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2

You're still missing the whole point. Zamenhof was trying to make the alphabet accessible to Europeans in the late 1800s. Like all parts of the language, he could have made it more neutral or more logical or more efficient.

It's an improvement on what came before it. It works. Over 100 years of road testing shows it holds up. And there's no point in criticizing, since Zamenhof can't hear you.

There was a point where the good doctor took suggestions. They discussed the merits of each suggestion and decided which changes would make it into the language. And then people started using it.

You're free to make your own language and see if people start using it. But, let's be honest, it's a fools errand. The fact that Zamenhof's project moved past an interesting hobby is a small miracle. By and large, constructed languages have been a failure and a waste of time. I can't say what he did exactly right to create the only successful constructed language, but the important thing is that it is the only constructed language that is remotely useful.

Just some food for thought.

EDIT

" I find it somewhat disappointing that my reply was matched with only dislikes and not with comments. Note that I don't want to argue, but rather discuss."

I think the downvotes were for the fact that your comment was off topic. The OP was about X-system vs H-system, not the merits of the Esperanto alphabet.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CarlosLM.
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 18
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 5
  • 4
  • 639

I think Ido is a significant improvement over Esperanto, as it doesn't have this circumflex issue, and resolves other kind of problems like gender, affixes, the correlative table, but it came too late and most Esperantists didn't adopt it (a similar problem that happened with the QWERTY keyboards, once that a system that takes a great effort to learn, it's worldwide established, it's incredibly difficult to change it, even if the alternatives are much better).

However, I think that Esperanto is good enough to be an IAL, and nowadays is the only alternative you have (among available IALs) for real international communication. So I wouldn't dismiss it as a bad IAL (or not good), just because it's not the best IAL, or it's very improvable. In my mind Esperanto shows the way of what an IAL should look like, and if someday some IAL definitely takes off, I'm convinced that it will be very similar to Esperanto, some kind of Ido-2 (Well, maybe I'm totally wrong and some world-lang will be the extended IAL, in that case I guess the new language would be something similar to Lidepla)

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
  • 23
  • 15
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 9
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2

To me, Ido is a step backwards (overall). It might make some marginal improvements in form, but it fails at its main function, communication. I've never met anyone an Idisto who isn't also an Esperantist, and that's still only one person....

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 19
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1126

Ido could only be seen as a step backwards if we could even agree on how to measure such a thing - which we can't, so I don't try. Certainly it's not unquestionably better than Esperanto.

The trouble with Ido is that there's no way for them to promote their language without promoting Esperanto at the same time. So they've got to decide whether to promote Esperanto or whether to try to poach Esperanto speakers for their own cause. Ido is a historical curiosity.


The real problem with the other alternatives of Esperanto is the lack of popularity, culture and political support, whereas the problems of Esperanto is the lack of political support and reduced popularity.

This is a fantasy. I spent years debating online about how to make the best AuxIAL and the whole exercise came down to which direction you'd prefer to split your hair - front to back, back to front, from the left, from the right, or from the top. Even if i would grant that Ido is better than Esperanto (which I won't for the reasons stated above - that no objective measure exists) it could only ever be argued that it's marginally better. Any problems Esperanto has with "success" has nothing to do with the actual structure of the language. I tend to ignore people who argue otherwise because it shows they don't understand what language is for.


JohnD62 replied and mentioned me by name saying that Ido could be promoted without also promoting Esperanto, but the Idists "just don't wanna." I am going to insist that they really cannot do it. It can not be done.

Imagine someone primed to be interested in an international language. They have the personality and background interests to become a real enthusiast for Ido. They find an article about Ido, get caught up in the idea, then reach out to find Ido speakers. They manage to find one (somehow.)

Then the questions begin. Where does the name Ido come from? (Well, it comes from Esperanto.) How did this language come to be? (Well, it came from Esperanto.) How can I find other speakers? (Try "Amikumu" and app for finding Esperanto speakers.)

This cannot be avoided. Even if all Idists changed their tack, word is still out there and anybody with the personality and background interests to become involved with Ido would find out that there's another language WITH SPEAKERS which is very similar to Ido.

Ido will always only have the scraps from Esperanto's table.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
  • 23
  • 15
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 9
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2

Just to clarify, I feel like Ido is a step backwards in terms of the goal of an international language. As Salivanto said, Ido can't be promoted without mentioning Esperanto.

Esperanto is many times easier to study than any of the top ten spoken languages. Sure it could be easier, but time that could be spent refining it is time that could be spent using Esperanto to actually communicate.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CarlosLM.
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 18
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 5
  • 4
  • 639

The trouble with Ido is that there's no way for them to promote their language without promoting Esperanto at the same time.

The real problem with the other alternatives of Esperanto is the lack of popularity, culture and political support, whereas the problems of Esperanto is the lack of political support and reduced popularity. So nowadays, if you want actual international communication through an IAL Esperanto is the only alternative, that's why I focus mostly in Esperanto whereas I dabble in the rest of IALs. Finally, I wish that Esperantists took the best ideas from other IALs to improve the language, or at least, reduce the perceived nags by the majority. I think that with Internet, the risk of fragmentation is low, as Esperanto updates could spread fast among speakers.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JohnD62
  • 14
  • 13
  • 11
  • 9
  • 8

This is in response to Salivanto's comment that

The trouble with Ido is that there's no way for them to promote their language without promoting Esperanto at the same time.

They could do that. They just don't wanna. It seems that in 110 years, the Ido movement has never released its grip on their founders' idea that Ido is "reformed Esperanto." As a result, they only seem to appeal to disaffected Esperantists and so the cycle perpetuates.

When I tell people of the benefits of Esperanto, Ido is just one of the hundreds of other constructed languages of which I make no mention whatsoever.

[My advice to Ido speakers: when you try to promote your language, pretend that Esperanto doesn't exist. Talk only about what you see as the benefits of Ido inherent to itself.]

Added 17 April 2018 A counter-rebuttal.

As Salivanto has noted, we’re at the end of nesting, so our further comments are best appended. (Yeah, I’m mentioning you by name because I’m responding again.)

Salivanto points out that even at the name “Ido,” Ido speakers are stuck referencing Esperanto. But it didn’t have to be that way and wasn’t always that way. Just as Zamenhof called his language “la internacia lingvo” and used the pseudonym “Doktoro Esperanto,” the creator(s) of Ido used “linguo internaciona” and the pseudonym “Ido.”

Early articles about the “changes to Esperanto” said that the langue was now called “Ilo.” At first I wondered what bad information lead to journalists misspelling the name, then I found it was a initialism for Internaciona Linguo. If they stuck with that, they could have said, "it means 'tool,' because it's a great tool for international communication."

But, since the goal of the Ilo movement was to co-opt the much larger Esperanto movement (initially about 3 Ilo supporters against the whole Esperanto movement), they went for the pseudonym and started promoting it as the new version of Esperanto, talking about how it was “reformed Esperanto,” and so much better than “primitive Esperanto.“

It is, as Salivanto points out, too late now. They made the plunge 110 years ago and they can’t turn back now. They cannot undo a century of attempting to promote the language in reference to Esperanto. Their mistake was made in 1908. They’ve been persistent in sticking to their guns though.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CarlosLM.
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 18
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 5
  • 4
  • 639

I don't think so, I think Ido was a well thought language, and a better language than Esperanto. Think of this, in the domain of programming languages, there have been hundreds or thousands of new ones, because in the 70s there was a standardization in the way of creating new languages. If programmers hadn't adopted new languages, we would still be stuck with FORTRAN, a language created in the 50s, and maybe we wouldn't have all the things that we have today, because they would have been too complex to build using only old tools. Even the current programming languages evolve themselves, trying to be better and better. OTOH Esperanto is set in stone, people are endlessly suggesting improvements, but nothing is done, except for introducing even more words from English.

IALs are similar to programming languages, they could also benefit from continuous improvement and the competition between them , but the problem is that it's much harder for people to adopt new ones, as you need to learn thousands of words, instead of only around 50 reserved words of a regular programming language. IMHO, if there isn't a global political push for the best IAL for international communication, we'll be always stuck with Esperanto, an outdated language, unless Esperantists decide to evolve, and little by little improve the language to a better standard.

11 months ago
Learn Esperanto in just 5 minutes a day. For free.