https://www.duolingo.com/profile/corgi.

Esperanto

Hi, I was quite curious about Esperanto. I read somewhere that it was 89 percent english 87 percent french 80 percent spanish or something like that? It's a combonation of a bunch of languages so there's one language everyone can learn easily?

But I was wondering, why learn Esperanto when you can learn a language spoken by hundreds of millions? I'm intersted in learning, but it's not a language that is very popular.

My question is, is Esperanto a gateway to being able to learn loads of languages really easily? Is learning Esperanto like a magical path to making you a polyglot? Thanks

September 27, 2019

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

I'm sure there are many other good answers in this thread (and will be many more.) Here's my take.

Hi, I was quite curious about Esperanto. I read somewhere that it was 89 percent english 87 percent french 80 percent spanish or something like that?

That may or may not be true. Generally I find this kind of description to be among the least helpful descriptions of what Esperanto is and why it exists. For sure you will find many vocabulary words that are familiar to you from other languages. You will find many words which are unfamiliar. You will also find many words which look like they should be familiar but actually mean something else or work differently.

It's a combonation of a bunch of languages so there's one language everyone can learn easily?

No, not really. Esperanto was designed to be easier to learn and neutral. Neutral means that nobody is an expert based on where they happen to be born. The main reason it's easier to learn is that it has fewer exceptions than national language, it's possible to build vocabulary through flexible compounding and affixes, and ... yes ... the neutrality helps people have more success with Esperanto.

But I was wondering, why learn Esperanto when you can learn a language spoken by hundreds of millions?

We typically only talk to one person at a time. At least I do. Don't you?

I'm intersted in learning, but it's not a language that is very popular.

Esperanto is extremely popular among the people who speak Esperanto. It's popular enough so that, if you know where to look, you can find one or two speakers just about anywhere. It's uncommon enough so that when you do find them, they're really really glad to meet you.

My question is, is Esperanto a gateway to being able to learn loads of languages really easily? Is learning Esperanto like a magical path to making you a polyglot? Thanks

A few people pitch Esperanto that way. (Benny Lewis is a notable example.) The argument is that when you start with Esperanto, you can learn language learning concepts without getting bogged down into grammatical exceptions and difficult vocabulary - and by learning these once, easily, in the beginning, you will gain an enhanced ability to learn other languages. Personally, I think this is a really bad reason to learn Esperanto.

Learn Esperanto because you want to talk with Esperanto speakers.

The key factor in learning a second language is motivation, so I always tell people to go where the motivation is. If you want to learn Spanish, then learn Spanish. It's silly to learn Esperanto in the hopes that it will make Spanish easier. On the other hand I've also seen people have some success with Esperanto (and it's easier to be successful with Esperanto - that's for sure), and this success gives them confidence to jump into learning other languages. The opposite happens too. People try out Esperanto and have so much fun with it that they stick with it their whole lives ... and may even lose patience for other languages with all their arbitrary exceptions.

September 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rubikk_

if you know where to look, you can find one or two speakers just about anywhere. It's uncommon enough so that when you do find them, they're really really glad to meet you.

This is really what Inspires me to learn Esperanto. Well, firstly because I find it a very interesting linguistic phenomena, and I am very curious as to the implications of interacting in a ConLang and so on, but also because I want to be part of a community of people who speak a very rare (universal) language. I feel like its the right kind of scarce that it would be very exciting to meet another Esperanto speaker.

October 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lectroidmarc

My kid recently asked my why I learned (or 'am learning') Esperanto, and I simply asked her why she listens to music, or has pictures on her walls. After all, none of those things are "useful" in any meaningful sense.

Because, she said, "I like them." Well, there ya go.

Esperanto was originally created with bits from a number of European languages in an effort to help people communicate, the thinking being if they could communicate in a way that doesn't favor one group of another, then maybe they'd be less apt to kill each other. Well, it didn't work out that way, but we're still left with a pretty interesting constructed language that's been around for 132 years and hasn't stopped yet.

Now, Esperanto isn't magical. Some say it has propaedeutic value and can aid in learning other languages. I dunno about that, I think it's just fun in it's own right.

Lastly, the Esperanto community is vibrant and a lot of people speak Esperanto just to take part in it. I've read the phrase Esperanto: come for the language, stay for the community. on these pages before.

September 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

Now, Esperanto isn't magical.

Come now! I would say it is magical - but just not in the way that Corgi originally asked about. :-)

September 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/petermoldovia

It's a combonation of a bunch of languages so there's one language everyone can learn easily?

Esperanto vocabulary is about 2/3 Romance (mainly French, from what I've seen) and 1/3 Germanic.

I’ve learned several languages. Esperanto is by far the easiest, though I speak French and German as 2nd languages, and that helps considerably.

But I was wondering, why learn Esperanto when you can learn a language spoken by hundreds of millions?

As a native English speaker, I can go just about anywhere and get by in my native language. More cultural content has been translated into English than I'll ever be able to consume. When I go to a non-English speaking country, people often want to practice their English with me. There's not really a need for me to learn any other language.

But I'm interested in languages and I've never learned a constructed language.

More importantly for me, Esperanto speakers have a reputation for being open. Next week I'll be moving to a town where I hardly know anyone. There's an Esperanto group there and I'm hoping that it'll be a good way to meet some friendly people.

My question is, is Esperanto a gateway to being able to learn loads of languages really easily? Is learning Esperanto like a magical path to making you a polyglot?

I don’t think that Esperanto is magical. Whether it's Esperanto or not, learning your first second language will help you learn another - particularly if it's in the same family.

September 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/malfruemulo

But I was wondering, why learn Esperanto when you can learn a language spoken by hundreds of millions?

Because at least for me, it was the only language that really made any sense. I wanted to learn a language because I wanted to be able to communicate with people that were different from me and see what life was like in different parts of the world. Picking one particular language didn't really make sense - e.g. I feel no strong attachment to Italian culture, so why learn Italian? I totally get that there are some people out there who do have a strong want/need to learn the language of one particular culture, and Esperanto is not for them. But as someone who just wanted to get an exposure to as many different cultures and approaches to life as possible, Esperanto was the only solution. I too wanted to be a polyglot before learning Esperanto, but since learning Esperanto I've realized that becoming a polyglot and speaking Esperanto are redundant.

I also wanted to be able to talk to people on equal footing. The depressing truth is that most speakers of other languages are not going to want to talk to someone learning their language if they have to make an effort to understand them. The only solution to this problem is to speak the language at the same level as a native, and I honestly believe that achieving this is not possible in natural languages unless you (a) have no responsibilities whatsoever and are able to devote your life to learning the language (b) have a life that allows you to move to a country where the language is spoken, undergoing a significant lifestyle change (and further locking you into the one language you have chosen) or (c) are raised bilingually. I argue that the claim shouldn't be that Esperanto is easy, but feasible to learn to a C2 level unlike natural languages.

But in any case, this isn't really necessary for Esperanto, because everyone who speaks this language is so highly motivated to meet other Esperantists that they don't care if they forget the accusative here, if they can't figure out what word to use there, etc. This is a result of Esperanto being a choice, that the people who speak this language are people who want to talk to you as much as you want to talk to them.

Also, being able to travel the world with Pasporta Servo is pretty cool. I'm not in a stage of my life that will let me do that right now, but you bet I'll be using Pasporta Servo in a couple of years!

These are the reasons why I would recommend someone learn Esperanto (in retrospect; my motivation for learning it at the time was nebulous and based on some vague idea of finvenkismo which I no longer believe in).

September 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MelindaD1

I think it is an awesome language to learn. The words come from many European languages. Some of the grammar is a bit tricky, but all languages have tough parts. I was two thirds of the way through the course when it received a major update, most of my tree reset to zero. But in repairing the damage the update did… I realized how much I have learned. I am not comfortable speaking it… as no one I know knows Esperanto. Social phobia holds me back from seeking others online to talk to in Esperanto. While there are not that many folks who speak it, there definately is a huge community of people out there. You have to want to learn it, read its history and seek out all you can on the internet. There is so much out there. It is a beautiful language.

September 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eojeff

It's a combonation of a bunch of languages so there's one language everyone can learn easily?

No. But also, yes. Esperanto isn't haphazard combination of languages. Esperanto systematically barrows elements that are common to entire familie of languages to form the core of its root word vocabulary. Esperanto's flexible affix system means that with only a few hundred root words under his belt, a new speaker can be conversant far faster than with other languages.

While Esperanto's origins are European and there are a substantial number of speakers in Asian countries.

I'm interested in learning, but it's not a language that is very popular.

Part of that is because Esperanto's speaker-base was negatively impacted by both World Wars. LL Zamenhof's own daughter, Lidia, perished at Treblinka during WWII. The Cold War also caused problems for the Esperanto movement. So, you might say the Esperanto movement has had a lot of historical adversity to overcome.

Esperanto started growing again even before the Internet Age hit its current stride but just now Esperanto is experiencing a renaissance of sorts thanks to sites like Duolingo.

Is Esperanto a gateway to being able to learn loads of languages really easily?

Learning Esperanto first will certainly help. But, it's not magic. This article might help you understand: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaedeutic_value_of_Esperanto

September 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nikhil3

Hi, Esperanto is a wonderful language.

I started learning in 2007. I was able to read basic reading material & short novel Gerda Malaperis after few months. Then I didn't actively use it for several years. I restarted in 2018 and completed the Duolingo tree by testing out in 10 days or so. I have an advanced level in French & a certain knowledge of several Romance languages - that helped me

But, learning Esperanto, gave me the drive required to discover other languages. I discovered more than 50 languages after learning the basics of Esperanto.

I also started active participation in our local Esperanto movement. Got elected into the comitee of my country's Esperanto Association.

I also contribute to an online Esperanto website with easy reading articles.

September 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/petermoldovia

You said:

But, learning Esperanto, gave me the drive required to discover other languages. I discovered more than 50 languages after learning the basics of Esperanto.

I'm curious about what OP is asking:

My question is, is Esperanto a gateway to being able to learn loads of languages really easily? Is learning Esperanto like a magical path to making you a polyglot?

  • How well do you know the 50+ languages you discovered after learning Esperanto? What would you estimate your CEFR level is in those languages?
  • For languages where you estimate you have at least a B-level, do you feel that Esperanto sped up your language acquisition in ways that learning a Romance language wouldn't? If yes, in what way?
September 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nikhil3

Hi, I may have passive reading skills in several Romance languages & German at around B level. Knowing Esperanto helped me find more "cognates" in other Romance language.

I can even understand some of the spoken Romance languages to B1 or early B2 level. As for French, I speak it at C1+ level, I am certified & even pursued a Masters in French from France

I know just know few basics i.e. less than A1 in 80% of the 50. languages. I haven't worked hard on those. I just discovered them. Many on Duolimgo.

I provided my experience to answer OP's questions. As experience is the best teacher

September 28, 2019
Learn Esperanto in just 5 minutes a day. For free.