https://www.duolingo.com/MarkVortexx

How to convince my wife that learning Esperanto is worth it?

I've been learning Esperanto for a couple of months now. My wife grew up in Brazil, and is a native speaker of Portuguese, and also fluent in English. She is interested in learning Spanish and Italian, but doesn't have any desire to learn Esperanto with me. She thinks it's a waste of time to learn a "made up language", and that it is "no different than learning Klingon or Elvish". I think it's completely different from those fictional languages, as Esperanto is designed for human communication. This is frustrating to me, because I have hopes of one day attending Esperanto groups and events, and her accompanying me, or maybe even one day using the Pasporta Servo while traveling. How can I entice her to give Esperanto a shot?

2 weeks ago

33 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/WitlessBittern
WitlessBittern
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I convinced my wife to give it a try when I suggested that we could use it to annoy our friends and families by communicating in secret in front of them.

With a big commitment like learning a language, a person pretty much has to come to their own conclusions. Demonstrating Esperanto's utility will the best way to get her to consider it. If she sees you having fun at these groups, enjoys tagging along for a Pasporta Servo experience, etc.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkVortexx

Yeah, that's what I'm hoping. Although, the commitment to learn Esperanto is significantly smaller than would be required to learn a language like Japanese or Hebrew, which use different writing systems and are very different in numerous other ways. As I said before, me being fluent in Portuguese has helped a lot with learning Esperanto, as many root words and verbs are similar. For example to sleep: Portuguese-Dormir, Esperanto-Dormi.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Athasta
Athasta
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That is exactly what I used to "lure" mine! :-D And now, at last, we do use it as a "secret" language wherever we go! Kiel spionoj! :-D

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lectroidmarc

Ok, seriously, a saying I read once (I think here on Duolingo) was "Esperanto: come for the language, stay for the community." Maybe if/when you get more involved with the Esperanto community, she'll also want to take part in the fun?

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkVortexx

Great point. That's what I'm hoping!

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dare3966
Dare3966
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Well your wife does make a good point, but all languages were made up, some are just older than others.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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My wife speaks Esperanto. Honestly, I can't imagine "convincing" someone to do anything - let alone learn Esperanto. She too thought it was a nutty idea - but she came around to it on her own. It's fun to do things together... but in the end, if she comes around down the line somewhere, there's nothing wrong with one partner having a head start. For the most part, though, if an Esperantist's partner even plays along, he/she is pretty lucky.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkVortexx

Of course, I can't force her to do anything she doesn't want to do. But you're right, maybe one day, if I make some Esperantist friends, and get involved in the community, she might want to join in on the fun. If one day we were to travel and stay with a host through Pasporta Servo, and I speak Esperanto, but my wife doesn't, would that disqualify us?

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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So... imagine, a year from now, you're feeling pretty confident with your Esperanto. You'll have more to learn, but you will have made some good progress. You decide you want to go on an adventure and use Pasporta Servo. This is what I would recommend.

  1. Tell your host ahead of time that your wife doesn't speak much Esperanto, but that she does speak X, Y, and Z, and ask whether this is OK.
  2. Ask your wife to do a basic course in Esperanto. Something like FEC / Lernu Kun Logano could be done in a month if you do two lessons a week.
  3. Ask your wife to come with a positive attitude.

The third point should be the easiest of the three. After all, why else would she have agreed to go on that adventure?

There really is no minimum level to use Pasporta Servo, beyond the requirement to be able to read the descriptions in Esperanto. What matters more is attitude. Ultimately it's up to the hosts.

Side note: often times hosts have family members who don't speak Esperanto. I remember a fun visit with a couple where the wife spoke only French and German. My wife spoke only English and Esperanto. The husbands had to interpret, but we had a nice visit and kept in touch for years after. (We're now friends on FB.) Mixed languages are just part of the deal. Related to this - maybe look for a host in Germany who speaks Italian, or in France who wants to learn Portuguese.

P.S. What's wrong with Klingon or Elvish? I mean, I speak Intal and Paku.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkVortexx

Thanks for your insights on Pasporta Servo. Initially, I had imagined that most hosts had Esperanto as the primary language spoken in their home, and that a guest had to speak Esperanto pretty much the whole time. I think once she sees the benefit in using Pasporta Servo, she'll be more excited to learn at least the basics, although she already understands a tiny bit, thanks to some of the vocabulary Esperanto shares with Portuguese.

Me personally, I would like to be fluent before staying with a host. Not necessarily native speaker level, but enough to speak only Esperanto for three days and not have to frequently look up words in a dictionary. Nothing is necessarily wrong with fictional languages like Klingon or Elvish, but only a handful of people can speak them fluently, and I'm not so sure I'll ever run into any elves or Klingons in my lifetime. :)

Intal and Paku are human languages, right?

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/carbsrule
carbsrule
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It's hard to convince anyone who doesn't see its intrinsic value IMHO. I think the best thing would be for you to use it. Read books, talk to people, do pasporta servo (as a guest or host, or both), get involved with your local group, etc. Make sure you know how it's useful for you first.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkVortexx

I agree completely.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ISpeakAlien
ISpeakAlien
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If your wife agrees and it is reasonable and possible, try being a host for Pasporta Servo.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkVortexx

I wouldn't even consider being a host until I am very fluent in Esperanto. Even more fluent than I would want myself to be before being a guest.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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That's certainly a reasonable choice. If someone was interested in organizing something, however, I wouldn't let lack of fluency hold them back.


Edit: I didn't scroll up far enough. I now see you're talking about Pasporta Servo.

In that case - you don't have to be fluent to be a host. Simply indicate your level in your profile. Of course, your profile should be in Esperanto - so you should be able to write a few lines.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ISpeakAlien
ISpeakAlien
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Duolingo has an Esperanto course for Portuguese speakers! https://www.duolingo.com/course/eo/pt/Learn-Esperanto-Online

Here are some websites (including some Esperanto-learning ones) that are in Portuguese for you to show your wife:
https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto
http://www.esperanto.com.br/
http://esperanto.net/info/baza_pt.html
http://esperanto.net/pt/
https://learn.esperanto.com/pt/
http://www.kurso.com.br/index.php?pt
https://lernu.net/pt

You can also point out the similarities between Portuguese and Esperanto (because Portuguese is a Romance language, there are a lot).

Of course, you can also share resources in English, but I chose to leave those out because they are well-known.

There was a similar discussion a while ago. I think this is it: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/11730228

I hope this helps!

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkVortexx

Thanks! My wife is also fluent in English, so it might not make much difference whether the course is in Portuguese or English.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ISpeakAlien
ISpeakAlien
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I am aware that she is fluent in English, but I thought that giving resources in Portuguese would increase the amount of information that is available to her.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkVortexx

I gotcha. Good point, it may be good for her to learn in her native language as well.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lectroidmarc

Read to her from Sekretaj Sonetoj? ;)

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MedymLeggy
MedymLeggy
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You can tell her that, thanks to Esperanto, you can have private conversations in public and your secret "love language". Chances of meeting someone who knows it are pretty low XD

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ISpeakAlien
ISpeakAlien
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Chances of meeting someone who knows it are pretty low XD

You'd be surprised...

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stevenvarner
stevenvarner
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Brazil has one of the largest Esperantist populations. I see you are beginning to study Portuguese, but are at level 11 in Esperanto. Perhaps it would make an impression on her if you started corresponding with people in Brazil to show her that you can already communicate at a high level. In addition, explain that if she learns Spanish and Italian, she is restricted to only speaking to people who speak those two languages. Whereas, if she learned Esperanto, she could talk to people in China, Hungary, Vietnam, etc. on a level footing. Lastly, there have been studies carried out that show that learning Esperanto for a few months improved learning in other languages afterwards. I know it did for me. I learned French (with no English spoken) for two years at university, but could not really carry on a conversation afterwards. However, after learning Esperanto, I find I can pick up more difficult languages much more easily. I can even understand much of conversational Spanish that is spoken around me due to Esperanto knowledge.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkVortexx

I'm fluent in Portuguese. I started learning four years ago. Her parents do not speak any English, so it was necessary for me to learn. I learned using other books and sites. I am mostly using the Portuguese on Duolingo to help others, and to report errors, similar to how Salivanto is fluent in Esperanto, but his level on Duolingo doesn't reflect it. My main reason in the beginning for learning Esperanto, was to help me learn other languages, like Italian, French, German, Spanish etc in the future. Interestingly enough, having successfully learned Portuguese has helped me immensely with my Esperanto. It would be fun to communicate with Brazilian Esperantists, knowing that I speak their native language as well, good idea!

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ISpeakAlien
ISpeakAlien
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similar to how Salivanto is fluent in Esperanto, but his level on Duolingo doesn't reflect it.

It's much more extreme for your account because you're only a level 3, even though you're fluent. I'm a level 14 in Portuguese but just below A2, even though I have finished the whole course. My Esperanto is much better.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ed.Guimaraes
Ed.Guimaraes
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I was learning Esperanto at the same time I started Italian, that made me mix them up all the time haha As a Portuguese speaker I can say that if she knows the basics of Esperanto she will be able to understand most of what people are saying.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkVortexx

I'm learning Esperanto at the same time as I'm learning Spanish and Japanese, although at the moment, I'm focusing more on Esperanto. I never find myself getting different languages mixed up, but I guess that's because the part of my brain that deals in languages is stronger, whereas I would be more likely to get mixed up with learning something that involves math (my weakness) like chemistry or physics. I'm a Portuguese speaker myself (not native), and I found that knowing Portuguese really helps in learning Esperanto, to a degree.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ed.Guimaraes
Ed.Guimaraes
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That's true. If I'm not careful I mix Italian and Esperanto or Swedish and Danish (but Danish has some funny phonology that makes it very different from Swedish haha). I just focus on one for a while and then I add the second and it's all good.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FranzEbersburg

That's easy: Write your diary in Esperanto and your wife will learn Esperanto! (Google-transl.)

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkVortexx

Great idea!

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/voltronsupreme

This is difficult situation. Trying to force someone to learn a language may get them to dislike it. I last year decided I wanted to visit Brazil and at that point I decided I wanted to learn the language, I had the desire to learn. My friend wanted to learn, but she did not really have the desire. I study on my own and 8 months later i was a basic conversant level, not fluent but at a survival mode level. When we got to Brazil my friend saw that I was abke to converse in Pt. Now my friend is studying. But with out the desire it is very difficult. I suppose if you continue studying and then pra tice over the internent with other she may change her mind. There is something special about being able to communicate in different languages.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/M.5dd5
M.5dd5
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Perhaps you could offer to learn Spanish or Italian with her if she will learn Esperanto with you?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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But Spanish is a "real language." :-)

1 week ago
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