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Thread: Against Esperanto, or Kontraŭ Esperanto

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    Senior Member KingOvGermania's Avatar
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    Against Esperanto, or Kontraŭ Esperanto

    http://www.ridingthetiger.org/2012/0...rau-esperanto/

    Many, many years ago, had the unique experience of learning the “international” language of Esperanto. My school district, being located in a progressive pocket of suburban America, had somehow caught wind of this minor fad, and made the efforts to teach it to us. In those fledgling days of the Internet, our teachers said, a universal language was inevitable, because the world was shrinking. We were told that Esperanto was to be the language of the future which, one day, would be spoken by all educated people, and that we would be able to converse with Frenchmen and Zulus alike, over the Internet, in Esperanto. Soon, they told us, visitors from exotic locales might very well turn up on our streets, and inquire of us directions to the post office, banks, or shopping arcades; and they would do so in Esperanto.

    And thus it was, that thrice weekly, we would file into a cramped classroom adorned with green stars and cartoonish images of people from around the world holding hands, and recite things such as “mi parolas, vi parolis, li parolos” (I speak, you spoke, he shall speak). I learned it quickly and easily enough to earn good marks in the class, but otherwise did not care for it. To my ears, contrasted with the melodiousness of French or Spanish, Esperanto sounded ugly, mechanical, and repetitive. Even then, as a child, I knew that Esperanto would never produce a Shakespeare or a Cervantes; nor would it ever bring forth anything like the Popol Vuh or the Tale of Genji.

    However, my loathing of Esperanto was not the dread of foreign languages, nor was it a result of a crass attitude of the supremacy of the English language. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I’ve always been enthusiastic about foreign languages. Growing up, I was jealous of those who had Italian or Polish grandmothers who still knew the language of the Old Country. During my high school years, I learned Spanish well enough to take a trip to Spain the year after I graduated, and walk the streets without a tour guide. In college, I took a year of French and a year of Italian. Of course, my studies in the latter did not permit me to become fluent, but nevertheless were a window into the uniqueness of those spoken languages.

    It should be noted, that in historical context, the idea of a Universal language by no means began with Esperanto. Early Kabbalists believed in the existence of an Adamic language — a language spoken in Paradise before the Fall — separate from the Ancient Hebrew of the Torah. Gottfried Leibniz conceived of a characteristica universalis for the expression of scientific, philosophical, and mathematical thoughts. Later inventors created more practical languages, intended for more general use, such as Volapuk, but none of these became popular.

    The first and foremost problem with using Esperanto as a “world’ language is that it is undeniably and distinctively European. But, if Esperanto is to be a European language, then something like Latin, despite its higher grammatical complexity, would be preferable due to its historical prevalence as the language of learning on that continent, and so would any of the major spoken languages of Europe. However, within every language is a richness, a broad cultural and identitary estate, that must be kept and preserved. At best, it might be possible to create constructed languages that incorporate the narrow families of languages (for instance, the Romance, Germanic or Slavic languages), but any hypothetical language could not proceed further than that because of cultural subtleties.

    Regarding certain ethno-identitarian concerns, Esperanto, then, is probably unique among the constructed languages, for having a distinctive anti-identitarian ideology which is associated with it. Esperanto is inherently linked to what its creator, L. L. Zamenhof, termed Homaranismo, or Humanitism. The ideals are summed up as follows:

    I am a human being, and I believe that there are only human ideals and ideals linked to the country of origin; every ideal which brings hatred among peoples and entails the power of one ethnicity over another I believe it to be human egoism, which sooner or later must disappear and to which disappearance I must contribute according to my possibilities.
    I believe that all peoples are equally part of humankind
    I believe that every country does not belong to a particular group of people, but equally to every people who live in it…(T)he mixing of the country’s interests with those of one or another group of people, language or religion I regard it as reminiscence of barbarian times, when there was only the right of fist and sword.
    I believe that in his/her own family life each person has the natural and indisputable right to speak whatever language or dialect he/she wants and to confess whatever religion he/she wants; nevertheless, when communicating with people from other origins he/she must, when it is possible, aim to use a neutral language and to live according to neutral religious principles.

    As demonstrated by the above, the very ideological framework of Esperanto is the pure embodiment of the modernistic, rootless phase of degeneration. Esperanto, with its secularist and anti-traditional face hiding under a utopian mask, its anti-hierarchical and “anarcho-democratic” nature, is to the world of linguistic what the United States was to politics. With regard to these ideals, Esperanto is merely a means, o*ne of the instruments to realize them, and was never meant as solely a means of facilitating communication. By the 1960′s, in some Euro-socialist circles, the deduction that socialism definitely needed an international language became the logical precursor to the world-wide “worker’s revolution”. Thus, the Esperantist concept of Finvenkismo (final victory) entailed not just a linguistic paradigm shift, but one in which a more extreme Homaranismo could become a dominant world ideology which would ultimately replace both Western and civilizations1.

    Esperanto, thankfully, is now quickly becoming a moribund idea, just as communism was. Few people will have heard of it in the 21st century, save for linguists and historians, and perhaps a few ideologues and confused college students who pick up the odd, dusty book in the stacks of their local libraries. In its place, let ring the echoes of Virgil and of the Mahabarata, and the sweet strains of the Homeric Odyssey and the tales of Beowulf. A for Esperanto, let it therefore be laid to rest in a matter so befitting to itself: in pace requiescat!
    Let truth and falsehood grapple...truth is strong-
    John Milton

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sybren's Avatar
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    I've always been interested in languages, but certainly not Esperanto, because of the reason explained in the above article.

    What exactly is so good about making everything and everybody all over the world more and more alike? Even within the confines of Europe, if i traveled abroad, i wouldn't like to come across people all speaking the same language as me. The world already is looking more alike, building more alike, dressing more alike, eating more alike, etc. Talk about boring.

    Loosing our traditions, our heritage, what defines us, is fatal to us.
    Bûter, brea en griene tsiis
    Wa't dat net sizze kin is gjin oprjochte Fries!

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    Senior Member KingOvGermania's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sybren View Post
    I've always been interested in languages, but certainly not Esperanto, because of the reason explained in the above article.

    What exactly is so good about making everything and everybody all over the world more and more alike? Even within the confines of Europe, if i traveled abroad, i wouldn't like to come across people all speaking the same language as me. The world already is looking more alike, building more alike, dressing more alike, eating more alike, etc. Talk about boring.

    Loosing our traditions, our heritage, what defines us, is fatal to us.
    You've just summed up globalization precisely. And speaking of Esperanto, isn't it odd that it was suppressed in the Soviet Union when the Soviets had the same goal, and that goal is being carried out by the "free" Western countries under control by globalists today?
    Let truth and falsehood grapple...truth is strong-
    John Milton

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    Senior Member Lichtblick's Avatar
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    Of course it doesn't have to be Esperanto, but it can be quite interesting and enhancing to spend some time on constructed language(s), and, well, Esperanto is the most common one (making it easy to get in touch with).

    Plus chances are good you don't have to mess about with those everyday imbecils.

    In the end it's up to you what to make out of it.
    "All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible."

    - T. E. Lawrence

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    Senior Member Liutpold's Avatar
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    Why I refuse Esperanto and constructed languages?

    Esperanto and constructed languages in general aren’t useful because constructed languages haven’t any advantages as opposed to national languages. There will never be a language which is easy to learn for all citizens of the world. How difficult a language is, depends on the native language or the learned languages.

    The vocabulary and grammar of Esperanto based on major European languages, and are not universal. Simultaneously, the vocabulary, diacritic letters, and grammar are too dissimilar from the major European languages, and therefore Esperanto is not as easy as it could be for speakers of those languages to learn. Both the grammar and the vocabulary are difficult for many Asians.

    Another point is that constructed languages should serve for the worldwide or majority-spatial communication, so that local languages are not edged out by mightier ones. There was quite early doubt about whether a constructed language can assert itself against the languages of mighty states. This criticism is directed against the idealistic optimism, a morally reasonable claim is stronger than economic interests, for example. This criticism is covered by the fact that people also learn "difficult" or "not neutral" languages if they promise advantages to themselves of it.

    Another problem is the languages of the world by itself. The languages of the world can be split in families of languages. A family is a monogenetic unit; that is, all its members derive from a common ancestor, and all attested descendants of that ancestor are included in the family. However, unlike the case of biological nomenclature, every level of language relationship is commonly called a family. For example, the Germanic, Slavic, Romance, and Indo-Iranian language families are branches of a larger Indo-European language family.

    The problem here is that the Indo-European language family is neither related to the languages of Africa nor to the languages of Asia. Thus it will never become possibly to develop one common language because one has always to decide for a language family which constitute the basis for constructed languages. No matter which language family forms the base, there will be always people who will have problems with it because languages are based on genetic relationships.

    Another criticism point is the lack of historical culture. Constructed languages have no culture because they are artificial. Native languages are for the people identity-establishing and it is a part of a natural grown culture.

    In my opinion it’s more rational to use a native language which can be used be people of different origin as a constructed language. Nowadays this isn’t mostly difficult because English is widespread. If English wouldn’t exist, you can use another language of the 6 mostly worldwide spoken languages by population (Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, English, Hindi, Russian, and Spanish). But German is also a nice language.

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    Constructing languages is fun though. I would learn someone elses if they would learn one of mine just so that it would have some communication use.

    But esperanto specifically was a political project.

    People say its unfair to use English as the lingua franca since those for whom it is native will have an advantage - I say it's unfair because it denies native English speakers the privacy of a native language that is not spoken by everyone.

    I think we should use a dead language as the lingua franca, but not necessarily latin or anything
    Denn das Schöne ist nichts
 als des Schrecklichen Anfang, den wir noch grade ertragen,
 und wir bewundern es so, weil es gelassen verschmäht, uns zu zerstören.

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    Senior Member Lichtblick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liutpold View Post
    Esperanto and constructed languages in general aren’t useful...
    Completely refusing things just because they don't fit the own needs best is only half of the truth; I wouldn't consider to replace my native tongue with Esperanto either, nonetheless it can be a big step in learning to know the system of languages (not "your" single language(s)) in general. As I told, it's up to you.

    Thus it's (or would be) also enhancing the value of anyone's argument when actually having indulged in the matter for a certain time.
    "All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible."

    - T. E. Lawrence

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    Senior Member lewevanhoop's Avatar
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    I personally think that Esperanto does have some good points most of those having to deal with education. It is a very good language to learn as a first foreign language as it will teach you how to learn another language quickly and effectively. I don't think that it should ever be used as a subsitute for learning the language of the country you are living in...God forbid mexican coming to america trying to get by with esperanto.

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