Effects of learning Esperanto?

Hi all,

This is for those who have learnt Esperanto. Have it anyhow impacted your skills in the languages you already speak - both positively and negatively.

Especially if you speak Western European languages - has your level OR even proficiency in Esperanto had any impacts on your skills in other languages. Do you tend to mix up Esperanto words while speaking in other languages like French or Spanish?

And on the positive side, have you seen knowing Esperanto to be beneficial for learning other Western European languages?

November 12, 2018


Something very surprising with learning Esperanto, is that I understand Esperanto quite well ! I'm almost understood !

November 12, 2018

Curiously when I first started learning Esperanto I would recall German words when trying to speak Esperanto. I had taken several years of German in school many years ago and thought I’d forgotten it all. Amazing how the mind works.

I have found that Esperanto has made me more conscious of other language constructs and I think a little more about word use and word order. In fact after a discussion here about English “so” vs Esperanto “do” I’ve been more conscious about how I and others use “so” in English.

Recently at work I had a Russian coworker ask me something and he used a peculiar sentence structure not normally heard in English. I imagine some people would have been confused by it but I recognized it as one used in Esperanto.

As for learning other languages, I’ve read that Esperanto has propaeduetic value (and I learned the word “propaeduetic” which is awesome) but I have no idea. I hope so as I’d like to start learning Latin.

November 12, 2018

I found that listening to Croatian music (which I totally don't understand) causes long-forgotten Croatian phrases to bubble up from ancient memory.

All languages have propaeduetic value. The specific claim for Esperanto is that the propaeduetic value is greater than the effort it takes to acquire. It's an interesting claim, worth considering, but mostly unproven.

November 13, 2018

I think there is a strong argument for Esperanto specifically being more propadeutic than other languages for a first time foreign language learner at least, purely because how simple it is compared to any other language (European or not).

The lack of irregularity makes it easy to learn linguistic concepts like mood, cases, transitivity, etc., which is beneficial in future study more complex languages.

November 18, 2018

Yes, that is the claim - as I said above. Whether it's a "strong case" is yet to be seen. There have been studies, but none of them pass basic scientific rigor (random, double blind). Personally, I'm persuaded that the top contributing factor to success in learning a language is motivation.

November 28, 2018

My sense is that for all intents and purposes, the answer to your question will be no different for Esperanto than for any other combination of languages. Learning Japanese will impact your French. Learning French will impact your knowledge of obscure English words.

As for the benefits, people tend to report better success in learning Esperanto, and there are several plausible reasons for that. (Presumably it's a combination of these reasons.) Follow what you like, work hard at it, and you will see results.

November 13, 2018

I can sometimes read portions of French, even though I've never studied French. I've been learning Spanish and a lot of the vocabulary is recognisable from either English or Esperanto. I've been learning Russian and can see where some grammatical structures of Esperanto came from.

November 12, 2018

No negatives. Learning Esperanto helps all your other languages!

November 12, 2018

Esperanto gave me huge confidence in learning other languages and i still enjoy playing spot the root word origin...or noticing the similarites between one language and the next. i do mix up languages and sometimes start in one language and end up in another if i don't pay attention. That is just a fact of life for any person who speaks more than one language i would have thought. I have not noticed any negatives from learning esperanto except perhaps a little exasperation for all the complexities and exceptions involved in learning other languages.

November 14, 2018

Esperanto introduced me to language learning strategies that have benefited all my subsequent linguistic endeavors. I've found beneficial connections between Esperanto and all of the Romance and Germanic languages I've studied. There have been no negative effects so far.

November 12, 2018

I read in a book that there have been a few studies about the affects of learning Esperanto on other languages.

Researchers got a group of school aged kids and got half of them to learn a language (I think it was German? I read it a few months ago so I can't remember exactly) for 3 years and they got the other half to learn Esperanto for 1 year then German for 2 years. At the end of the 3 year period, the ones that had learned Esperanto as well as German were more advanced in German than the kids who had only learned German, even though the Esperanto group had been learning German for a shorter amount of time.

There were a few other studies similar to this one with the same results. Learning Esperanto before learning another language can help you in that language.

November 13, 2018

I have not noticed any negative effect of learning Esperanto, such as confusing words with other languages I knew before (English and three Latin languages). I mainly enjoy how much easier it has been to learn understand directly, without having to consciously translate. it seem to be an almost free (or very cheap) language to add to a collection, and the simplicity of the grammar seems elegant to me.

November 13, 2018

When my brain is in Esperanto mode and it is the last language I have focused on learning, Spanish does not work for me at all. I haven't seriously studied Spanish since high school, though I did take a Spanish class at university last year and struggled through the whole thing (and it was beginning Spanish). I don't have the same issues while using German; I think it's just the similarities between Spanish and Esperanto that get me mixed up. I have to focus exclusively on either Spanish or Esperanto to make any real progress in learning.

I learnt (and truly understood, for the first time) the accusative in Esperanto while we were learning the dative case in German class. Everything in German clicked for me after that. I watched my classmates struggle and I tried my best to help them, but I feel that cases are something that one has to figure out by themselves. I have a strange love for case systems now (though declension is still hard). Understanding the accusative in Esperanto even helped me to understand the case system in English.

November 13, 2018

Since Esperanto was created to be somewhat of a bridge between most European romance languages, I find myself faintly able to translate text from different languages due to the consistent root words. Usually Spanish and French is what I come across most often.

November 15, 2018

It makes sense (&tested) that EO is the best propaedeutic language for random next language. Exceptions would be learning very similar to your native/fluent language. ▪Eg. EO is easier/faster to learn than native languages which are highly idiomatic. ▪EO is structured & can creatively make new (for you) words by combining roots & regular modifiers. ▪Being aware of language structure (unlike native languages) is similar to learning theory along the practice, which makes easier to remember & reconstruct less used elements. That strategy is good tool for learning anything. ▪Easy of learning improves motivation & reinforces learning. Also helps better comparative understanding of previous languages as most similar to larger group. ▪Very important as 1st foreign language & map for the polyglot world. *see the link below Bonŝancon PS. I'm using own version of International Eonglish, avoiding a/an & other noise/obscure words, & in favour of international/symbols.

November 19, 2018
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