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Esperanto is not Perfect as it is. But...

[deactivated user]

    Coming to this Esperanto learning community, all I see are tons of posts about "Esperanto is sexist!" "Esperanto needs reform!" So I'm going to address those thoughts for myself.

    Of course. Esperanto isn't perfect as it is. It's far from an ideal language. Zamenhof failed to include gender sensitivity as a design feature in the language -- it would've been better if there was a gender-neutral word for "parent" that you tagged -in or -icx onto to make it mother or father. It's biased towards Europeans, with difficult sounds for Asians and an English-heavy vocabulary. And for whatever reason so many people downright despise the hats over the letters. There's many other flaws I'm not knowledgable enough to discuss here.

    Esperanto definitely could've been a more ideal language. Any Esperantisto should admit to that. There are ways the language could be more ideal, many reforms it could take. And that's why I'm posting this today.

    We know. But this is Duolingo, we're here to learn Esperanto. We all have our own motivations for learning Esperanto, but I think there's generally one thing in common: We hope. "Esperanto" is Esperanto for "One who hopes," and we hope to learn more of other cultures, we hope to find peace, we hope to communicate and travel the world.

    But there's all this drama. If you want a gender-neutral, improved orthography language, go learn Ido. It's created by people with the same ideas as you. I intend to learn Ido someday. If Ido doesn't do it, then perhaps you can check the many other Esperantidos. None of those do it? Go to some forum dedicated for these kind of discussions or start your own website where you can share your own Esperantido. Esperanto is already its own language, with its own culture. It's happy as it is and it doesn't want your reforms -- not because they're bad, or because it's rude, but because your reforms are as irrelevant to this living language as proposed "one letter one sound" spelling changes are to the majority of English speakers.

    But maybe Duolingo isn't the best place for you to criticize and argue and bicker about Esperanto. We aren't here to here to see the light regarding Esperanto. We're here because we hope that Esperanto can enrich our lives and the world. We're here because we have hope in Esperanto, as it is, despite its flaws. And we know it's a flawed language, we know it's not perfect as it is. But, regardless, we hope.

    August 3, 2015

    16 Comments


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

    That's honestly the most sensible thing I've read on the subject in a very long time. Thank you, Bducdt! I needed this after all the useless and immature drama that happened out of late on Duolingo and since Esperanto was created in the late 19th century!


    [deactivated user]

      I'm glad this helped your morale!


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

      Here here!

      Perfection is a goal, not a destination, and perfection itself is in the eye of the beholder. Esperanto is never going to be 'perfect' because there will always be differences among people about just what 'perfect' is. Some people will never be content. Are there still gender issues that need to be addressed in our society? Yes. Is re-fighting the Ido wars in any way going to help the issue? No.


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

      Just FYI, the phrase is "Hear, hear!" not "Here, here!"


      [deactivated user]

        Since this is text shouldn't it be, "Read, read!"?


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

        You really should "lead by example" instead of forcing your prescriptivist opinions on others. :^P

        I'm just kidding. You like the expression the traditional way instead of the consistently more popular way (see this graph). You're free to voice that opinion all you want to steer the language in the direction you want it to go.


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

        I'm not sure what ratio of Pre/Des I am, but in this case I think one answer is simply more logical than the other. "Here here" doesn't make sense. The phrase has nothing to do with physical location. "Hear hear" is a command to listen to a speaker.


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

        Phrases like that don't get petrified and preserved as unanalyzed chunks because they make sense. More often than not, they make no literal sense to modern speakers, but they get used and passed along just the same.

        I'd argue that this phrase is often interpreted and passed on as "here here" because you so rarely hear "hear" in isolation without an object and "here" makes a little sense, as if the first speaker were implicitly asking the question, "Does anyone agree with me?" and others respond with something akin to "Right here! I do!"


        [deactivated user]

          "Re-fighting the Ido wars" is a great way to put it. But you're right-on with fleeting perfection. Just commenting to let you know your comment was read and appreciation.


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

          I haven't seen too many other discussions about changing Esperanto except the one that I started (Gender and Esperanto), and one of the response threads to it which had a similar point as you. As such, I can't speak to the other discussions you are mentioning. This has been my experience with this topic:

          For me, the purpose of asking about things that I perceive in a certain way isn't to change or reform the language. I recognize that I don't really understand it yet, which is why I was asking the questions I was (which were not just about sexism, but also about how nonbinary identities fit into the language).

          It's not so much "I noticed these things and they need to be changed" but rather "I noticed these things, how do these topics interact with the language?"

          There was a lot of really positive feedback from people in the "Gender and Esperanto" thread. Many people mentioned how our perception of perceived "flaws" can be altered merely by teaching it differently (as opposed to changing the language itself), and pointing out cultural differences that might not be readily apparent to a beginner.

          There is more to learning a language than vocabulary and grammar. These things ARE important to discuss, not necessarily in the spirit of changing the language itself, but in the spirit of understanding it.


          [deactivated user]

            Well, I know right after Duolingo Esperanto course was launched, there was some controversy, and every time I checked back there was some. But the problem exists on other sites as well (which this was also written to address).

            And no, you weren't talking about reform. You did rub me in a few ways, but I'm not going to discuss that here. Overall, you did seem to focus on an other-than-"change-the-language!" context. And as I've said elsewhere, I do appreciate these kind of discussions. They are important to have. I read through your's and your's was more relevant to a learner's forum, asking from a learner's perspective.

            As you mentioned: understanding. There is communicating these ideas in the context of enforcing change, and there is the context of understanding. One of these will be much more well received than the other.


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

            Would it be helpful to have an objective [STICKY] FAQ from the moderators regarding Language Reforms and direct people to resources where such discussions would be "on topic"? Perhaps it would help to reduce the conflict level in these discussion threads?


            [deactivated user]

              I really don't know. It may be that eventually we'll get tired of this at Duolingo and it won't be an issue. Maybe we won't. These topics have been quite controversial, starting flame wars, pretty much since Esperanto was created. The Esperanto community here is rather young, what has it been, about two months? We might reach an equilibrium. On the flip side, Duolingo has a relatively high turnover rate -- it's quite possible newcomers will continuously bring these issues up, forever rekindling the flames.

              I've only been watching Esperanto on Duolingo consistently for a very short time. I do know it blew up something like 3 days after the course release, and at least the 3 other times over the past two months that I've checked the discussions before this past week where I've became more active.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/arthur0703

              Oh, it's the best thing I have read this week, thank you a lot!


              [deactivated user]

                You're welcome!


                https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mirville2

                I agree. But it is also true that contrary to other constructed languages Esperanto does evolve : like the compound verbs like skribintas that were not foreseen by Zamenhof but proved perfectly logical within the strict rules of the Fundamento. Esperanto also did pick up some traits and ideas developed by Ido that proved to be compatible, and another big step of evolution was the importation of a complete Hinayana buddhist terminology from Pali and Sanskrit as I have just checked out in the most recent edition of the HIV dictionary. Esperanto speakers around the world do agree upon progressive changes to the main vocabulary.

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