Do you think in our lifetime any country will adopt Esperanto?
Many countries have more than one official language and many have none at all. I wonder will any country adopt Esperanto as their 2nd (or first) official language in our life time.
Do you think this will happen or is it a hopeless dream?
It would be nice to see countries officially recognize it for this purpose, however. ;)
I tend to think of all Esperantists being the citizens of a country that spans the globe. We are united by our language, which inevitably becomes part of our identity for each of us. We have our own media, literature, holidays, an ever growing culture. In a way, we are a nationality. We simply lack a physical homeland.
Unless we invade Poland. But I think they're tired of that.
I think that it is possible for Esperanto to become a recognized minority language in Poland because it is its country of origin. Perhaps it will not be a co-official language, but a respected language with recognized heritage in Poland. It is actually quite impressive, being the first widely spoken artificial language with as many speakers as it has. It might gain special status in a country or region of a country with a significant number of speakers. It is also important to remember that just because a language does not have official status in a country does not mean that it is not important. For example French is widely known in Algeria, Spanish in the U.S., and Russian in the Baltic countries. However none of these languages, despite their amount of speakers in these nations, are co-official with the national language. Esperanto can be of great use and importance, even with the lack of official status.
I doubt it, and as Sensorfire said, it isn't really the point. I'd be happy to see it being offered by schools as an option.
An example. My two children at Primary School were taught Indonesian. Which was fine. But as young adults they have pretty much forgotten all their Indonesian. I think only one person in their classes went on to study Indonesian. And she was part Indonesian. They may as well have been taught Esperanto. They would have been more successful at it. Their experience at learning Indonesian was that they could not learn a language because at the end of year 6, they could not speak it.
It sure would be nice, I think it really depends on how much the base grows over the coming decades. I wouldn't be surprised if an international or governmental organization (ex. the United Nations) advocated for its inclusion in early education as a common secondary language for member nations. That being said, any policy decision regarding Esperanto really comes down to its projected beneficial impact. Fun stuff to think about :)
If I'm not mistaken, the UN (Or was it the League of Nations?) were going to introduce Esperanto until the French spearheaded a campaign to shoot it down.
The PRC in the past has in the past strongly encouraged the use of Esperanto, seeing it as aligned with communism's goals, and continued to provide Esperanto resources, including a news service.
Some countries do make languages official that are spoken by a minority of the population, for symbolic reasons (e.g. former Soviet republics might make the local language official even if a majority spoke Russian by then).
But there probably does have to be at least a certain critical mass of speakers, and ideally language instruction in schools, before you declare a language official. Otherwise what's the point?
Now, this is going to sound like political fiction, but I wonder what others think.
I don't think any country as such will ever adopt Esperanto as an official language. However, I do think that Esperanto would be a perfect candidate to be chosen as one of the official languages of the European Union. In a very optimistic variant this could be a stepping stone to creating, say, an international EU-funded European television channel, something akin to BBC, but broadcasted Europe-wide and in a neutral and easy to learn language. I think properly funded and high quality media that anyone from the 28 countries could have an equal chance to understand with a relatively small effort is a piece of the puzzle that is still missing from the European Union project.
After all, thirty years ago a tv channel in a neutral language would probably sound more realistic than one common currency so considering the Euro has been (kind of) successfully introduced as the European currency, why couldn't Esperanto be the European language?
Well the EU is up to its elbows in its own problems right now; the shakeup of the Eurozone certainly seems to be raising questions in the minds of some about its future. There's been alot of criticism leveled at the Union as essentially being an economic machine dominated by Germany. Many Europeans might view EU sanctioned Esperanto as an imposition rather than a boon, and like it or not, Esperanto will be fighting the wave of English adoption as the language of international business. I'm not sure the progress of English in Europe can be turned aside by Esperanto.
Unlikely. But...China is the country that could propel Esperanto onto the world stage. The Chinese already have a fairly active Esperanto following (I believe that along with Hungary, it's one of the two countries that teach it in some universities). However, English is the foreign language studied in China, and as a result, there are millions of really bad English speakers. People who spend years trying to develop some fluency, with great difficulty.
I honestly think the Chinese government would reap huge rewards by teaching Esperanto in the elementary school for the propaedeutic value, and to give the many non-mandarin speakers (who also struggle with speaking a difficult language at any degree of fluency) a neutral language that they can conduct business in. By teaching Esperanto for 3 years, a Uigher from Xinjiang would be easily understood by a Han businessman from Shanghai. And both would find their studies of English easier, and attain a greater level of fluency.
I do agree that China has a lot of potential for championing Esperanto, and they're the country most likely to do so.
But I'm also kind of nervous about China championing Esperanto. I'm afraid they would co-opt the language for their own nationalistic purposes. It's not hard to imagine them using their body weight to proliferate anti-Taiwan Independence opinions and other issues throughout the Esperanto community.
Most countries, yes. But China would literally have the capability to become the Esperanto community. This is a country where one kung fu school -- the Shaolin Temple Tagou Martial Arts School -- has over 25,000 students.
It'd be nothing for China to launch an Esperanto Education program putting out several thousand Esperanto speakers a year (imagine if they taught every highschooler Esperanto), who would then proliferate the Esperanto community, enforcing through stubbornness China's nationalistic agenda.
Even if they only taught Esperanto in a few of their largest highschools, it would be a significant portion of the total Esperanto community.
And I'm saying this as a person learning Mandarin and an appreciator of Chinese culture. China has a huge population, and their education system has been very successful in creating a population that adheres to Chinese nationalism. China does see this population as an asset to be utilized. It isn't a country to underestimate.
Do you think the world would care if it had ~200 high schools quietly start teaching Esperanto?
Is not a hopeless dream but is a really hard one. Sometimes things are exceptional in countries and they do exceptional things. That could happen. But I don't see near that moment, nowadays nationalism is very strong in the world and that is a problem for Esperanto, even if some nationalist people would adopt it… just to attack other national languages. Also there is a very strong fever for English language. I'm not against people learning English, but in Spain it became an obsession. That's sad.
It probably won't become an official language, but I'm ok with Esperanto being used by people who have an international outlook and want to help develop an international culture around the language. I like feeling like I'm part of a small but global spanning ethnic group. I love learning languages so it's of little interest for me if Esperanto becomes THE world language, or even if it becomes recognized in a country. I like the idea of it becomeing recognized as a historical language or something in Poland or if individual towns or communities recognize it as an official language but I don't see it becomeing an official language of any country anytime in the near future.
I don't think it will, all of the UN Big Five are rivalling for linguistic control of the world. The US and UK are both trying to use English as a way of globalising the world, while China is spreading it's speakers all over the world. Kinda political, I know, but I don't think the UN will ever settle for Esperanto over one of the Big Five's native languages.