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There are more people waiting for Esperanto on Duolingo (4100+) than...

there are native speakers of this language (1000-2000)!



Note: this post is a bit of a parody on Luis's Irish thread: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5660334 Go Irish! :)

November 27, 2014



The fact that there are native speakers of Esperanto at all is amazing. Not many other constructed languages could say the same!

I'm not signed up for the launch myself - I'm focusing entirely on Italian until I reach some level of competency - but I definitely have been thinking about looking into the Esperanto course later.


You could probably do both, since Esperanto is supposed to be incredibly easy


Normally I would be all for anyone to learn Esperanto, but in htimsmr's case, I'd say it's better to wait for a more solid foundation in Italian first. Esperanto is similar enough to Italian, Spanish and Portuguese that it can actually cause you to completely lose that language if you're not at a good level first. Obviously you can later pick it up again quicker (as I did with my Spanish), but I don't ever recommend learning two of the following languages at the same time if your level is low in any of them: Esperanto, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

My Spanish (and Esperanto obviously) is already solid enough for me to learn another one, but at one point I was trying to learn Italian and Portuguese at the same time as you can see from my levels next to my avatar. However, I quickly gave up on this idea, as it was driving me insane and decided to stick with Italian until I went to Italy. :)

Having said all that, if you do want to learn multiple romance languages, starting with Esperanto should speed up the process quite a bit due to how it helps so much in learning how to learn a language! More details in this TEDx Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gSAkUOElsg


A weird thing that I noticed when I started dedicating a lot of time to Esperanto was that I wasn't able to think of most words in Spanish for a while after that. My brain was like, "But this language is easier, just use that one!" And I had been studying Spanish for a long time already.


If I'm at a B2/C1 level of Portuguese and I am learning German, would learning Esperanto be a good idea?


First of all, it won't affect your German at all. Secondly, I think if your Portuguese is at C1, you won't have any problems from Esperanto, although I would still revisit Portuguese every so often to make sure it stays fresh.

Also, if you're learning Brazilian Portuguese, you can meet a ton of Brazilian Esperanto speakers online and then if you follow them on Facebook, you can read their Portuguese posts and have a nice network of friends if you ever want to visit Brazil. :-D

Don't get me wrong, there are Esperanto speakers in Portugal too, it's just a lot more popular in Brazil.


That's true. Here in Brazil I see a lot of people learning Esperanto. I think that Spiritism (which has many believers in Brazil) contributes pretty much for the expansion of the language here. Even my university offers Esperanto classes.


I am always revisiting Porutugese. I have family in Brazil and I have been there already. I wouldn't say learning, just reviewing what I already know. Thanks for the info, I think I'll do Esperanto when it comes out.


My skill level in French is A2-B1 and I'm going to start learning Esperanto seriously in about 2 months. Do you think that it is too early and the same effect could happen as with the languages mentioned by you in your post? I plan to reach a B2 level in both French and Esperanto by the end of 2015.


To me, French sounds so different from Esperanto that I've never had any conflicts between those languages. Plus, they should complement each other nicely, since they have so much common vocabulary. Go for it and bonne chance ! :)


Great, thanks for your encouragement =)


Thanks for telling me that: I was worried that I would lose French while learning Esperanto.


I think a lot of people like the idea of Esperanto as a concept, but they never had the opportunity in a major platform to learn it. Duo will provide this.


I think it's interesting, because I've heard of language companies who researched the market for Esperanto and they usually conclude that the market is too small, but what they usually miss is that there's more demand, because there's fewer alternatives to learn it. For example, even though the Esperanto promo page was launched at the same time as Ukrainian, Esperanto has over double the people waiting for it. I don't think this relates to the demand for Ukrainian, except for the fact that there are few really good alternatives to learn Esperanto, so Duolingo gets more attention because of that.

I'm also curious to see if Duolingo won't corner the market for Esperanto translations too... I want to see how much demand is out there! :)


So, do you think Duolingo would allow a unique situation for the Esperanto immersion section? Other immersions require you to translate into your native language, but since Esperanto is designed for international usage, do you think they would eventually let people taking the Esperanto course translate from English into Esperanto?


I hope so. I asked Duolingo a while back and am still waiting on a reply. It's also possible they'll add the other direction to Immersion later. I can imagine this could be a challenging issue for their developers.


Of course there is demand for Esperanto translation! For example on Wikipedia ;)


When you compare demand for Esperanto with Ukrainian keep in mind that demand for Ukrainian is nonexistent. As a native Ukrainian speaker I can't even think of one reason to learn Ukrainian. It is always better to opt it out for Russian instead. You won't find any Ukrainian speaker that is not fluent in Russian. There was a couple that had learned Ukrainian and then traveled to Ukraine, Kyiv. They were served in a restaurant in Russian by default. It was frustrating for them that people there didn't use Ukrainian much. I can tell you that one day you will see more learners of Klingon on duolingo than those of Ukrainian. I am really looking forward for the upcoming Esperanto for English speakers course because Duolingo is such a great tool for easy and comfortable language learning!


That's the same feeling I have. Right now learning Esperanto takes a lot of personal motivation, but Duolingo will make an easy language even easier to dive into.


That's the feeling I've been having with Swedish actually. While not as easy as Esperanto, it still feels like it could be the easiest European language. The pronunciation is a pain though...


I'm so excited! The main reason I wanted Esperanto on Duolingo was because it would significantly increase the amount of speakers. I really hope that this gives Esperanto the boost that it needs!


We should not wait for miracles. Duolingo will help a lot, but it is rather one more step of a long journey. A really essential step, a big step, but a step. The essential task for Esperanto is to inform the public, mainly youngsters of ten years and older. (Esperanto on Duolingo will help both, information and learning.)


That was deep. It was so deep I gave you a Lingot


Oh, thanks, that's nice :)


You're welcome! (Note the proper use of "You're")


I can't wait for Esperanto to be out! :D Proud to be one of those waiters. :)


Go go go Esperanto! Actually I would like to take the opportunity to ask a question. How will the Christmas and New Year's holidays influence the course completion date? Will you all contribute like crazy so the course jumps ahead? Or will you all be very busy so the course will take longer? Of course I'm fine with either as long you guys and gals enjoy yourselves, just curious :)


I think this will greatly vary based on contributor. I'm considering skipping my annual trip to the Junulara Esperanto-Semajno, so I can make more progress on the course. I haven't made up my mind yet though... in a couple weeks, I'd like to have an Ask Us Anything for the Esperanto team, so that'll be the best time to ask such questions. :)

[deactivated user]

    You are awesome!


    I already have some basics of Esperanto since I was lucky enough to attend a course at the university. I am really looking forward to the language being launched here as I can properly exercise. Till then I still have 2 languages to practice :)


    Where do you live? I'd like an Esperanto course in my city but it is rather impossible :(


    I live in Czech and the course was offered only for one year. At least he gave us the books so we can go on on our own.


    Do you live in Brno? I have attended a university Esperanto course there. There is a branch of Czech Esperanto Youth in Brno, if you are interested in meetings.


    Yes, I used to study there but now I am living in Prague.


    bueno, tienes a hablantes en Entre ríos con los que practicar. He encontrado a estos en Facebook, los dos primeros seguro que lo hablan https://www.facebook.com/gabrielenrique.wagner https://www.facebook.com/LucasCerante https://www.facebook.com/turismofeliciano y aquí tienes cursos e info útil http://es.ligilaro.wikia.com/wiki/Ligilaro ;) ¡a disfrutar!


    Yo soy Lucas Cerante jajaj, pero gracias


    Eso es muy divertido. ¡Puedes quedarte! jajaja


    jaja, a veces pasa! muy bien que estés localizable :)


    My sister, who generally thinks Esperanto is a joke or a hobby relegated to nerds and sci-fi aficianados, already knows that her kids will be native speakers even if she never learns a word of it. But I have given her fair warning that she'd better get on board soon, or one day she'll be oblivious as they concoct mischievous schemes, laugh, and call her a "hundino" behind her back. XD


    I need to save this post for a friend who has been pushing me to learn Esperanto. This fun fact is incredible.


    Here's a wiki with very useful links (you'll need google translator to understand the titles) Courses, dictionaries, groups, radios, tv, videos, music, (text, sentence, proverb) corpora, Pasporta Servo, etc http://eo.ligilaro.wikia.com/wiki/Ligilaro_Vikio


    Can't wait to start learning Esperanto! :)


    I thought there are some 5,000 native speakers of Esperanto. Where do you have your figures from?


    There is an interesting Wikipedia article about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_Esperanto_speakers


    Ethnologue used to report 1000-2000 native speakers here: http://www.ethnologue.com/language/epo (but they have since removed that datum)

    I don't suppose there was that much growth since then, but perhaps another study calculated another figure. What is your source for 5,000?


    I once talked to a native Esperanto speaker on lang-8 and she told me this number. Now searching for any proof, your figures seem to be much more appropriate, though.


    This may a stupid question, but would being a native speaker of only Esperanto make it harder to later learn other languages? It sounds like Esperanto is very easy and other languages may have complexities that Esperanto-only speakers would have a hard time grasping, I know there are complexities of all languages which a learner may not have been previously exposed to but in this case, wouldn't there be many many more of them?


    Not a stupid question at all. Fortunately those raised as native Esperanto speakers are almost always also raised as a native speaker of the region in which they live. Thus, a native speaker of Esperanto in England would be raised with two native languages. But, even if someone is raised with only Esperanto as their native language, they pick up the local language quickly when they go to school. You can learn more from an interview with such a native speaker here: http://blogs.transparent.com/esperanto/2nd-generation-native-esperanto-speaker/


    I'm waiting for Esperanto as well and I gotta say: Team-Esperanto, Kudos for working lightning fast on the course!


    Haha, wonderful.


    And I'm one of them! (I'm waiting for the esperanto course to finish!)


    Ĉu vere ekzistas tiom da denaskaj Eo-parolantoj? Ĉu enhavas la jam-mortintojn?


    Laŭ mia kompreno tio estas nombro de aktuale vivantaj denaskuloj. En mia ĉirkaŭejo (centra Eŭropo) estas sufiĉe multaj denaskuloj pri kiuj mi scias, do la divenon mi taksas realisma.


    Mi supozas, ke estas pli malpli same multaj kiuj mortas kaj naskiĝas... do la numero restas aktuala. Sed mi nur divinas tion, do ne prenu mian opinion kiel fakton. :)


    Sur https://eo.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denaskaj_Esperanto-parolantoj#Nombro_kaj_denaskuloj_de_dua_kaj_tria_generacio legeblas, ke la UEA-jarlibro en la mezo de la sesdekaj jaroj listigis inter 50 kaj 100 denaskulojn. Laŭ mi relative realisma nombro (eble oni ne trovis same multajn, sed facile mi kredas, ke tiam estis sub 200).

    Mi parolas Esperanton ekde 1977. Tiam denaskulo estis io tre malofta. Ne ekzistis aparta renkontiĝo por denaskuloj. Intertempe estas eble tri kunvenoj kun multaj denaskuloj (almenaŭ 20 denaskuloj, plejparte infanoj): REF, IIK, NR. Hodiaŭ laŭ mia impreso gepatroj demandas sin, kial ili ne eduku sian idon kun Esperanto...

    Konklude mi supozas, ke ankoraŭ la nombro de denaskuloj signife kreskas. Mi taksas, ke la mediana aĝo de la denaskuloj estas sub 30 (eble eĉ sub 20). Formortoj de denaskuloj laŭ mia supozo apenaŭ ludas rolon por la entuta nombro.


    I am only studying it so I can understand the people in SAGA.

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