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Question about idea forming

When using esperanto, since theres not a home land to the language, do esperantistos normally shapes their thought around their own language? For instance, in america we might say something like "I like it - mi sxatas gxin" but maybe a spanish speaker would say something like "Me gusta - min placxas gxi" Is this common? If so, does it make it more complicated to communicate, or does that just add to the diversity of the language?

June 11, 2015



Interesting question. I don't have the experience to answer the general question, though I understand that is what Zamenhof intended. After all, even a simple sentance like 'I see him' can be translated correctly by main different word orders:

Mi vidas lin

Mi lin vidas

Lin mi vidas

Vidas lin mi


I'm a native English speaker who knows some French and a little bit of Spanish. When typing Esperanto I find my self putting things like kato bela (cat beautiful) in stead of bela kato (beautiful cat) as we would normally in English. Presumably my brain, having learnt from French that adjectives follow nouns has 'decided' that this applies to all other languages! It's not a problem, as it is equally right, so mostly I just let it happen.

My experience makes me think that it's probably not as simple as a speaker of language X will shape Esperanto as if it were X, though that's probably a significant influence.


I would say that there can be a tendency for some speakers to "bend" their Esperanto to the contours of their native language, but in general there is good style that wins out on the international level.


I am very new at this (Esperanto), and I have some limited experience with Spanish. But so far my experience on this as a beginner is that while certain things (prepositions, "direction" of transitivity, etc) seem to naturally hew (sometimes erroneously) towards my native language (English), I also find myself sort of automatically rearranging things, where possible, often unconsciously, according to my own personal logic and aesthetics; many of these are non-English: I tend to place adjectives after the nouns they modify, I tend to place verbs at the beginning of sentences, especially in questions (presumably because when I translate from Esperanto, I find it annoying to search halfway into the sentence to find out which helping words (did, does, will, etc.) I will need). Curiously though, I seem to automatically avoid certain things that I find subjectively ugly in cadence or sonority, or tongue-tying, e.g. while I usually say kato bela, I also typically say bela hundo. I suspect my experience with programming languages and math/predicate logic may have left my mind slightly more open to alternative word orders, but I would like to hear the experience of others, especially those with far more experience. Interesting topic.

One thing I would like to point out for greater examination: much is made of Esperanto's flexibility, especially with regard to word order, and it seems warranted in some respects; but it seems to me that a lot of the intransigence of natural language comes from cultural linguistic opprobrium or mere inertia and conformity. When Yoda from Star Wars speaks, everyone can understand what he is saying despite his non-standard word-order. English word order can be controlled very precisely by commas in writing and stress and pauses when spoken. Experimental novels communicate complex ideas with all kinds of novel devices (no pun intended). Of course most of these are very subtle and for the most part only available to extremely fluent speakers, unlike Esperanto. I think that the culture of linguistic equality/diversity is in some ways more significant than many of the grammatical features of the language itself. But I am just a beginner.

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