Please support equality, or better yet, fairness.
Many Esperanto speakers use words like "patro" and "frato" without any implied gender, and have learned to use the icx (or i^c) suffix to specify the masculine gender. Unfortunately, the old gender bias keeps coming back and insisting that it can't be made to go away.
To anyone who would like to know of a modern version of Esperanto has which has managed to completely escape the gender bias, drastically improve the pronouns and correlatives, and get rid of letters with hats and single letters representing blends of two sounds that can be written as two letters (such as "c" = "ts"), please read and contribute to the following post in the Duolingo forum.... Link removed, due to down-votes and bad treatment that resulted from posting it in the Esperanto forum. Sorry
-- Edited: I thought highly of the Esperanto community, until just now. This has been down-voted so far I don't expect any of the good people out there will ever see it. So sad. I'm now ashamed to call myself an Esperantist. Wow.... this is just sad and so depressing. People attacking one of their own for suggesting that things can get better.
On the topic of "improving" a language, I don't think is the appropriate venue for it. Take it to a conlang newsgroup or site. If you are a new speaker of Esperanto, please don't be discouraged or distracted by these topics. I share Evildea's views, which he covers in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1NhcUPdWTg
Perhaps to chime in on the "can language itself be offensive". Long time ago, well into the middle ages, the word "slave" was synonymous with the word "Slav", the name of the Slavic peoples. The two words in English (and other languages) have the same origin. The origin is "Slav", which became synonymous with "slave" in southern Europe in the first millennium: i.e. "Can I buy your five Slavs for $100". Now as someone Slavic I could be offended perhaps (I am not). But the reason it is no longer insulting is that it no longer has that meaning. They are now simply words that have a certain (completely different) meaning. The language itself is not racist.
An advice to someone wishing to start a discussion. Do not ask a loaded question. If your question implies as fact something other people get offended at, the discussion will not be productive. "Why is Esperanto sexist?" is an example. Think about asking someone "When did you stop beating your wife?" and seeing if you get a reasonable discussion on domestic violence.
Hello everybody :)
I'm part of the moderation, and I don't know anything about esperanto at all, except that it's an inventend language.
The original post here does not sound like an offense at all!!!
I do not intend to defend the content nor tell whether it's right or wrong, but we should try to keep the most respectful acting possible here.
I know a lot of people are attached to some version of it and might feel bad about changing it.
You know what? That happens with the "normal" languages too. You can see people arguing about British vs American English, or European vs Brazilian Portuguese.
Here are the news: each one of them is the best language for those who grew up with them.
I wouldn't get surprised if the same thing happened to Esperanto X and Esperanto Y speakers.
Let's just please keep calm and understand there are a lot of views about languages.
Personally, I don't agree much that weird symbols should be used in a language that attempts to unify speakers of all different cultures. They only make it harder.
This is not an offense! It's just a view of a language. It talks about no one.
Will Duolingo change its Esperanto course??? I seriously doubt it. But if at some point it does change, it will be based on fluent contributors opinion. We don't need to worry so much about it nor keep fighting.
Let's please share good experiences in the forum.
You may need some context here. A few days ago, Donald Kronos posted a message to the Duolingo forums about the possibility of getting his Esperanto version "Esper'" as a course. Esper' and Pont' are constructed languages invented by Mr Kronos. Predictably he got little support. Later we get Ms A. Vernon and Ms L. Vernon posting support for this language. In this thread we have Mr Rosa giving his support. All of these people know each other. A quick search of Facebook connectivity shows that they are all the part of the same group. It seems that we have a small group of people (in Los Angeles?) who have been taught Mr Kronos' version of Esperanto, trying to give it some exposure on Duolingo. These include the Mr Kronos, the Vernon's, Mr Rosa and possibly more. Are we being Punk'D? Maybe. Are any of these people Mr Kronos' sockpuppets? Possibly? I make no comment about Mr Kronos' languages, but let's be clear. This is all about Mr Kronos.
I noticed that actually...but it's still not an offense...
If the topic is not good, just disagree and downvote it. These are not offenses either. They may feel bad with the downvotes....well, that is a risk we all take when we post controversial things.
My positioning was specific regarding personal insults, which very few people actually typed.
I deleted a couple of my comments to try to save you some embarrassment, but it seems that you still do not understand that these forums are under attack from a small group. Are you really missing the offenses given to so many by the Esper' twins? I thought you would be able to review their histories and figure the situation out, but it does not seem like you have been able to.
Several moderators contacted me telling me that I was disrespectful or on a rampage or causing a negative atmosphere or attempting to ostracize other users, etc... I suspect this is because they had received a wave of complaints about me from this small group(possibly a group of one).
It made me uncomfortable to be contacted by moderators and informed that I was the person causing a bad atmosphere. I hope that this situation can be sorted out by persons willing to review the discussion histories in order.
To solve that, if that is really a problem (to me it's not, they have a point of view, even after convinced by both excellent answers from Bducdt and rev_ero), all you have to do is group up and downvote everything without attacking anyone.
Or you can call the moderation if they are personally attaking anyone.
We moderators have just read the comments and seen the personal attacks.
As moderator Eey91 told you in your profile, and I'm telling it here again so it cannot be deleted: Attacking the posters is NOT the right way of dealing with posts you disagree!
Personally, I don't agree much that weird symbols should be used in a language that attempts to unify speakers of all different cultures. They only make it harder.
You're perfectly entitled to hold any opinion you want, but I believe this point of view is very English biased. Most languages I know outside of English have some sorts of accented letters, or a whole different alphabet, only English speakers seem to abhor them. And worst of all, it all seemed perfectly fine before the invention of computers, eliminate the hard work of producing them on a computer keyboard and 90% of the annoyance is gone.
I believe most English-as-a-second-language learners, given the choice, would prefer the use of accented letters in English instead of the endless variations of letter combinations that produce very similar to identical sounds. As George Bernard Shaw so blatantly showed with his weird spelling proposition for the word fish : ghoti
But then again, this is my biased opinion, as someone whose native language does have accents. And furthermore, as a computer scientist, who has had endless frustration about dealing with so many English centered software and websites that didn't support accents well if at all. Anyone is welcome to express their diverging opinion about this, as I'd be glad to hear it.
only English speakers seem to abhor them.
Even then only modern speakers. There are two native-to-English diacritics both used to indicate pronunciation. One is the grave and used to highlight things like that learnèd should be pronounced with two syllables, unlike learned with one. The other is the ellipsis that indicates two vowels should be pronounced separately like in cöordinate.
Also please don't use the ghoti example. It doesn't work. Gh is never f at the beginning on a word and ti is never sh at the end of a word! (Edit: which I see the wikipedia article even points out).
I'm sorry, it's just a big insult to the Esperanto community. Would you liked to be called sexist indirectly or directly? No, do you? This is what does this post. This person doesn't know anything about Esperanto and she said incredible horrible things about this living language. For you maybe is just an invented unused language. It's not that, ok?
My own language, Portuguese, is sexist. That is not an insult to me. Language rules are very different from people's thoughts. If one said Portuguese should be reviewed to eliminate genders, I would not get offended, and I would probably agree it's better without genders.
The only reason to keep it as it is is the fluency that every speaker already has with genders.
I see Esperanto as an attempt of joining the world together with a single language, although I think it's highly utopic. For that purpose, I really beleave in a completely genderless language.
I speak things equivalent to "my woman" (which is the way we say "my wife"), and that doesn't make me sexist, it's the way my language works.
The thing about Esperanto is it's also a living language. Despite how up-played or not the "sexism in Esperanto" is, it is a living language spoken by something like 2,000,000 speakers. It would face the same challenges in trying to remove perceived gender bias as Portuguese.
A more ideal language is possible, but Esperanto already has a 100+ year head start. I'm focusing on Esperanto right now, as it's the closest we have to a neutral international auxiliary language (IAL). I do plan, once reaching fluency in Esperanto, to also join a more ideal (or create a more ideal) neutral IAL community.
Well, I think you have a biased point of view and don't know anything about Esperanto. There is nothing else to add.
But keep this in mind. Esperanto doesn't forbide reforms. Esperanto forbides to reform the language until it will be accepted by a number of goverments as a second language or international language. In other case we only will get a lot of useless Esperantos. And in fact all the versions of Esperanto have been useless and only Esperanto has a big community that make it usable and useful. In fact that's why Esperanto is the first conlang in duolingo today. And nobody can deny that, can they?
If people would work to make goverments accept the language instead to work to kill it before of that, they probably would get what they want (even if changes are something unneeded). Unity makes the difference where dialects kill the language.
It is a little bit insulting to be "moderated" by someone who admits to not understanding the issue. Please delete your comment above suggesting that I am disrespectful. You were mistaken, and either unwilling or unable to understand this debate, even many days later.
When "Mr.Rosa", pretended to speak on behalf of Dr. Zamenhof in saying that he would be ashamed of how this community had behaved towards the Esper' sisters, I laughed. So I was slightly mocking "Mr.Rosa"'s attempt to apologize for this community and speak for Dr. Zamenhof. But that was not the most disrespectful comment in this post, or in preceeding posts made by the Esper' twins. That you would take my comments out of context Danmoller and attempt to admonish me about respect in the forums, was not fair.
I deleted comments that I thought would embarrass you once you realized that these people(or maybe only one person!) are here to attack the Esperanto community on Duolingo. But it seems you still do not understand.
Please consider deleting your comments towards me. Also, I implore you to consider apologizing to me for the added insults of having moderators accusing me of causing the problem. It should be clear to anyone that I am not the source of this atmosphere.
I believe it's great that a dialect which simplifies the orthography and addresses the gender bias of Esperanto exists. I just learned it existed by reading your post and I'm glad I did. People who reject Esperanto for its gender bias, its accented letters or its rigidity have that option.
But I disagree it should be taught on Duolingo, just as I disagree any dialect or accent less prominent than the mainstream versions of languages should be taught on Duolingo. I say that as a French Canadian who opposes the French Canadian accent be added either as a new course or as a bonus skill.
Duolingo isn't well adapted for multiple accents and dialects. It either incorporates them as various valid answers to the same question or rejects them completely. Duolingo is seen by most people, me included, as an introduction for foreign languages. One that is interested in the advanced specifics of a language, including all the various accents and dialects should look for them elsewhere, and usually there are plenty of places to look for them, either online or offline.
Another thing which seems to bother many people about Esperanto is its strictness. But it has its purpose. Since Esperantists come from all around the world and from very different cultures and native languages, Esperanto needs to keep some consistency for everyone to understand each other. And to either evolve in a consistent and global way or not at all. This might sound very irritating for some people which would like Esperanto, as a constructed language, to be perfect, their own selfish version of perfect that is. And this strictness clashes with most natural languages where common usage dictates their accepted grammar (like English). Besides English, for smallish languages limited to one, or a few, geographical region and/or culture, this constant and rapid evolution poses few problems. But for more global languages and especially with fewer speakers, it can't be this way. In this sense, it could be compared to French, which unlike many other languages, is more restricted in its evolution and has more of a prescriptive approach to grammar (it should be this way), managed by a single global authority, than a descriptive one (we observe that it is used this way, so this is the right way). Some French natives disagree with this, but it allows any French speaker to understand another one from anywhere in the world, at least in written form.
I'm not saying this is right or wrong. I personally believe a living language, constructed or natural, should evolve with its speakers. How it should evolve and who should decide is up for debate, and no opinion is inherently bad.
First of all, there is no "dialect" of Esperanto. If you start contraditing the Fundamento, you are no longer speaking Esperanto, just some red-headed stepchild of it. And yes, people that reject Esperanto for its supposed gender-bias (and I have yet to see one of these stalwart souls accusing Spanish or French of such things) do have every right to do so. What they do NOT have a right to do is say they speak Esperanto. How Esperanto evolves and who should decide is NOT up for debate. Who should decide how Esperanto evolves is proficient Esperanto speakers, not people who have only been learning it for a couple weeks. Should I be allowed to decide that French doesn't need all those verb endings since you have to say the pronoun with them anyway, so just take the -r off the infinitive? No I do not, because French is not my language
Well, call it a derivative language that stemmed from Esperanto then. But dialect was simpler, especially considering the length of my comment.
How Esperanto evolves and who should decide is NOT up for debate
I believe it is up for debate. If there's one thing this discussion has shown it's that people disagree (sometimes violently) about how Esperanto should evolve, or even if it should evolve at all. Now, if we want it to evolve, we need to agree on who should have the authority do guide this evolution. And the one way to agree on something is to debate about it, to eventually come to a compromise agreement.
Here, though, I agree perfectly with you that it shouldn't be newcomers. But for its evolution to be consistent, it needs to be only one entity, preferably a group, so we can reach that acceptable compromise. And of course, this groups should be formed of people who master the language to the greatest extent, but it should also be people with different views, to preserve the will of most (experienced) Esperantists in the matter.
I like the iĉ idea and I like the idea of all words being neutral by default. The current one places too much weight on Gender, and it's kind of peeving for someone who doesn't really care about gender. However, I think we should do it amicably, and not forcefully. For example, I'm a writing, and I'm going to use the iĉ thing in some of my stories. But I'm going to have a disclaimer at the beginning telling people about it so no one gets confused.
but people can write
If they want to, and the hats are like almost unique to Esperanto, like the Spanish accents, the French ç, the German ü, etc. And it rather easy type accents (unless you're dvorak user, and have to cross mountains to find an international keyboard, then find out that it doesn't have ĝĉŭĵŝ, so you have to cross the valley of death to find a way to do that).
My two cents on whether you're 'attacking' the language. You're not really, you're just offering your opinion, people can take it or not. It's a suggestion.
An attack would be:
"Esperanto is sexist because it doesn't have 'iĉ', or neutral base words". That would be offensive, and the community would have the right to be slightly irritated at that. However, the backlash towards this has been blown out of proportions.
Can anyone actually give some link to this dialect "Esperant'" that Emma is refering to? I only know Esperant' as a fun jargon of Esperantists who want to play around with Esperanto grammar. This Esperant' is actually in accordance with the Fundamento de Esperanto. It does only apply the rules in an uncommon way.
Can anyone actually give some link to this dialect "Esperant'" that Emma is refering to?
Don't worry!!! You just aren't an Esperantist at all. You and the people like you that don't understand anything about Esperanto. There is a thing that is Esperanto and things that are not. What you want is not. So in Esperanto is not coming back anything, Esperanto just is.
To be an Esperantist in the first place you need to talk Esperanto, and you admit you don't want to do it. You want to speak something similar, but not Esperanto. To be an Esperantist you need to accept the Fudamento, that is the grammar as it is, and its untouchability in order to keep alive the language. You just came here to defend chaos. People who don't understand the need of unity in the language can't call themselves Esperantist. People who want the death of Esperanto and who is choosing what is unacceptable, and incoherently choosing as acceptable other things that would be worse, if the first ones were real problems, can't call themselves Esperantist. You are an Idist or whatever, Esperantist not at all.
So don't worry! You can't be ashamed. What is embarrassing is your point of view of Esperanto. If you don't like it, just don't speak it but don't lie!! Anyway remember your Riido is not Esperanto. Just it's not.
I see you removed the link. I would like it, if you don't mind. The word "bigots" is a bit strong, but I get where you're coming from. You shouldn't be attacked or suppressed just for asking for equality. On behalf of our community, I apologize for those of us (not myself) who have behaved in such a way. Zamenhof himself would have been ashamed, I'm sure.