|We control what|
you think with
|Said and done|
|Jargon, buzzwords, slogans|
|The high school|
yearbook of society
|Most likely to succeed|
Esperanto is a constructed international auxiliary language (auxlang) invented in the late 1800s by a Russian citizen, Ludwig Lazar Zamenhof, as a replacement for other "international" languages such as English, French, and Latin, with the intent of
creatdeveloping a language with no attachments to any existing body. The name comes from the pseudonym that Zamenhof used in his original publication covering the language, meaning "one who hopes" (in Esperanto); the original title given by Zamenhof for the language was simply a descriptive name, "Lingvo Internacia" (international language).
The language has something of the status of a grassroots movement. It rose to prominence in the aftermath of Johann Schleyer's Volapük[note 1] (which survives today mostly in a few old books and as a silly Russian slang word for a form of chatroom Cyrillic transliteration, although there is also still a Volapük movement); Esperanto filled the same need as Volapük as a politically neutral auxiliary language, but eliminated much of the grammatical complexity, bizarre word mutation, and confusing pronunciation that had decimated the international auxiliary language community.[note 2] Esperanto is still thought - certainly by its proponents - to be the most successful auxlang ever invented (the "runner-up" being Volapük), but no real statistics exist on the number of speakers it has.
The language itself uses mostly an Indo-European vocabulary. Its grammar is Indo-European with respect to verbs,[note 3] but its system of agglutination more closely resembles the Finno-Ugric languages, without vowel harmony and with a strong bias towards simplification. There is also a verbal causative suffix, -ig-, that has no exact equivalent in the Indo-European languages and was probably influenced by Hebrew.[note 4] The word list draws (somewhat arbitrarily) from most of the languages prominent in international discourse at the time, notably English, German, French, Latin, Russian, Yiddish, and a bit of Polish. Many previous auxlang proposals had focused primarily on a single language for grammar and vocabulary.[note 5]
Conspiracy theories and hands-on persecution
There's a fair amount of criticism surrounding the language and movement. It tends to evoke very strong and emotional reactions, even in people who have never looked at or heard a word of the language.
While Esperanto is fairly inoffensive in itself, it seems to have raised the ire of a number of different groups. Having arisen in the late 19th century, it was subject to the antisemitic zeitgeist, as Zamenhof was ethnically Jewish. In the wake of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and prior to their exposure as a forgery, antisemitic conspiracy theories ran rampant in Europe on both the left and right.[note 6] Anticipating backlash, the early movement took pains to hide Zamenhof's Jewishness, though this eventually proved unsuccessful. Adolf Hitler classed Esperanto as a Jewish language meant to enslave the minds of non-Jews, a story oddly similar to J.R.R. Tolkien's Black Speech. Stalin initially tolerated the language but later persecuted Esperantists, calling it "the language of spies."[note 7] Far too many Esperantists ended up paying with their lives — for what is essentially a hobby. In another nasty twist of fate, all of Dr Zamenhof's children ended up dying in Nazi concentration camps.
However, on the flipside, Esperanto has been used by some far-left groups. The Yugoslav leader Tito is also known to have been a speaker, and in fact encouraged its use. The Ayatollah Khomeini apparently condoned its use as well, until he found out Esperanto is one of the Bahá'í religion's pet projects.[note 8] Bahais are not very popular with the Shia fundamentalist government of Iran. Fascist Italy also liked Esperanto, because it has lots of phonetic similarities with Italian.
Not surprisingly, as a proposed global language, Esperanto has drawn the fire of conspiracy theorists, who, like Hitler, consider it a weapon of any combination of the Zionist Occupation Government, freemasonry, the Illuminati, cultural Marxist academics, and George Soros (who was raised by his father as a native speaker or "denaskulo"). Some Christian fundamentalists have classified it as a Satanic language, despite the fact that a significant number of Esperantists are devout Christians and the Bible is available in the language.[note 9] There are also at least three translations of the Qur'an into Esperanto, plus translations of the Analects of Confucius, the Tao Te Ching, the Bhagavad-Gita, and the Dhammapada, among many other religious works.[note 10]
Evildea, a well known and one of the earliest Esperanto YouTubers, explains that even if there are trends or movements among Esperantists, Esperanto itself is not a political party. It does not advocate for a particular political regime (no matter how popular it might be among its speakers), even if it stands in its origin against some ideas that might be associated to some regimes such as nationalism or militarism. It does not forbid them and the language does not compel anyone to do or not do something.
There is also a fair amount of controversy over exactly how the language is supposed to be developed; the project forked early on, with a competing language, Ido, created by Esperantists who felt quite strongly that the language's grammar needed to be more precise. Many Esperantists consider Zamenhof's work to be immutable;[note 11] the practical reason given is to preserve intercommunicability and prevent the development of dialects, though it's not uncommon to find a fundamentalist mindset and even a bit of persecution complex among some speakers (not entirely unjustified given the movement's history).
Some, especially authors of constructed languages, hold up Esperanto as an example of how not to design a language. Zamenhof was not a trained linguist and therefore made a number of choices that, even where they exist in natural languages, are often considered unacceptable in a constructed language with pretensions of universalism:
- The primary document of the language, the Fundamento, misleadingly gives the language a 16-rule grammar, then goes on to elaborate upon it with a series of practical examples of the language called the Ekzercaro, which serve by means of example to create a much more complex grammar. Systematic grammars of Esperanto, usually derived from a combination of the 16 rules and the Ekzercaro, are longer than 16 rules and weirdly ambiguous.[note 12] There are also contradictions between the Gramatiko and the Ekzercaro, such as a pronoun that exists only in the Ekzercaro, ci. These contradictions have never been ironed out because the Fundamento itself is considered immutable.
- The two-case noun system can be seen as unnecessary complexity for speakers of languages with no real case marking, or that have lost most of their case marking. It is often explained by analogy to English I/me, he/him, she/her and French je/me, tu/te, etc. Of course, it is less difficult for speakers of languages that still mark direct objects, such as German,[note 13] Turkish, Japanese,[note 14] Hungarian, Finnish, Slavic languages, and Modern Standard Arabic. The rule is meant to avoid forcing speakers to use a particular word order, instead allowing different word orders such as SVO, OVS, or SOV. However 90% of languages (in number of languages not speakers) usually use SVO or SOV (i.e I pin a board vs I a board pin). The later example reflects the word order of languages such as Japanese.
- Many common concepts, such as "bad" and "left," have no dedicated root, and are formed using a prefix attached to their antonym. This prefix, derived from a secondary meaning of a French prefix, is mal-, so in order to say "bad" you actually say malbona (literally "un-good"). Since mal in many Romance languages means "bad", this sounds awkward to Romance language speakers. Incidentally, this was the inspiration for George Orwell's Newspeak.
- The vocabulary and affix systems are gender-asymmetrical, leading to allegations of sexism[note 15] where many female-specific words are simply derived from male-specific words with the addition of the suffix -ino. There are far fewer words that are inherently female than inherently male, even to the point of using patrino, a derivative of the masculine patro, for "mother."[note 16] The standard masculine prefix in Esperanto is vir-, but some people find this insufficient and have created a non-standard, explicit masculine suffix, -iĉo (rendering all roots as gender neutral by default). Singular inclusive language is not possible in strictly standard Esperanto, though it can sometimes be worked around using plural speech, where the prefix "ge" can be used to describe a gender-neutral group (e.g. gepatroj, parents); one could arguably use "ge" with singulars to indicate whether any particular gender might fill the role, but this is not standard. More recently there have been some moves to ameliorate some of the gender differentiation in the language.
- There are three separate third-person pronouns: li (he), ŝi (she), ĝi (it). To a speaker of English this might appear normal and even necessary to avoid ambiguity, but many other languages, such as Hungarian, Turkish, and Chinese, have absolutely no gender distinction in their pronouns.[note 17] According to the World Atlas of Language Structures, most world languages have no such distinction. This system came under criticism from feminists in the 1970s, leading to the creation of an all-encompassing pronoun ri that has never been officially adopted. In recent years, as the world has become more aware of non-binary people, the pronoun ri has been getting more attention, and this may be its best chance for eventual officialization.[note 18]
- The phonology has a handful of difficulties for monolingual native speakers. It is highly influenced by and closest to Belarusian, a rather obscure language for most people. While the vowel system is simple enough (/a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, and /u/), there is a fairly high number of consonants and somewhat difficult consonantal clusters. Highly difficult consonant clusters are possible in the word formation such as dormĉambro (-rmch-), yet they can be avoided written or spoken as dormoĉambro (using the epenthetic o). Still, consonant clusters are common even in basic vocabulary (scienco /stsientso/ for science), which some languages do disallow (like Hawai'ian and other Austronesian languages) or highly restrict (Japanese allows "n + any consonant" only). For this reason, non-European speakers of Esperanto find it more difficult to learn than Europeans do, although they find it much easier to learn than English.
- The Esperanto alphabet has five consonants: ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ, and ŝ; with a circumflex diacritic over them (usually replaced with a "h" or "x" in ASCII text).[note 19] This is highly nonstandard typographically, borrowing from and conforming to no system used in any natural language's orthography standard.
- Oddly, all Esperanto verbs are inherently either intransitive or transitive. For example, the Esperanto verb bruli means "to burn", but only in the sense "to be on fire". To make the verb transitive, a causative suffix must be added: bruligi, "to set (something) on fire". Inherently transitive verbs such as vidi "to see (something)" must take a suffix -- vidiĝi ("to appear, seem") -- before they can be used without a direct object. Whether a verb is inherently transitive or intransitive, as these examples show, cannot be determined from the citation form.
- Nearly all of the vocabulary is drawn from Indo-European languages, specifically from European ones.
Responses to criticisms
Those who still wish for Esperanto to be an international language[note 20] often point out that some of the points apply much more to the current de facto international language, English, than to Esperanto. English has three cases (nominative, oblique, and genitive) that are irregularly applied, gendered third-person pronouns, one of the most complex syllabic structures of any language, anywhere from fourteen to twenty-four separate vowels and diphthongs, and two very uncommon sounds: /θ/ and /ð/. While Esperanto's use of accented letters is daunting, English has a far more chaotic orthography, which takes much longer to memorize than it takes to configure one's keyboard to type Esperanto diacritics. Finally, while Esperanto's grammar takes more than 16 rules to explain, it is much simpler than that of English, which grammarians still haven't quite figured out yet. The 16 rules offer for being understood well and still cover most of the language.
Another common response to such criticism is the theory vs. practice argument: there has never been a single example of a more practically successful constructed universal language. The languages often pointed out as superior to Esperanto are relative lightweights to say the least. There have been an endless series of projects purporting to be better than Esperanto, such as the language Ido, which once had a very large movement. The reforms introduced in Ido include the following:
- A more detailed grammar
- Only marginal use of an accusative case
- Dedicated roots for common concepts
- The more international opposite-forming prefix des-
- Gender symmetry, with masculine words formed using the suffix -ulo and feminine words with the suffix -ino (thus ulino);[note 21]
- A genderless third-person pronoun, lu
- Use the standard Latin alphabet, without any diacritics[note 22]
Although it once had plenty of momentum, Ido very quickly lost steam and died out. Its community is very small nowadays, even though Ido is about as old as the Fundamento de Esperanto, the book that established Esperanto's basic grammar. In 1903 the mathematician Giuseppe Peano started work on an international auxiliary language called Latino Sine Flexione (“Latin without inflexion”) which Peano later renamed Interlingua; Peano’s language was the precursor of the IALA’s “Interlingua”. The IALA’s “interlingua” emerged during the 1950s. Hence, Interlingua's movement can be said to have dated back before Esperanto even started, and it has never picked up the sort of momentum that Esperanto or even Ido has picked up. Interlingua and Latino Sine Flexione, however, are somewhat harder than Esperanto (although Interlingua is considered to be easy enough to be understood without any knowledge by Romance speakers), but it was proposed at a time during which many scholars studied Latin but struggled with its case system.
Culture, or lack thereof
Inside and outside the Esperanto movement, people have referred to the language as a cult, or as having cult-like traits. Though Zamenhof is long dead, he was a very charismatic leader and is still looked up to by many within the movement as a god-like figure. He wrote a lot of utopian poetry, often even centered around the language itself. Since his death, many people have written similarly idyllic poetry about him.
On the other hand, Esperanto, unlike most conlangs, does have a significant body of literature, and that is perhaps one of its strong points. Thousands of books have been published in Esperanto, and while a number of these are about Esperanto, there are also at least 130 novels, current affairs magazines, guidebooks, cookery books and so on, which are not so reflexive.
Esperanto has, unsurprisingly, been adopted by utopian religious movements throughout its history. The earliest such movement was created by Zamenhof himself, who dubbed his personal religious beliefs Homaranismo (usually rendered in English as "Humanitism"). Zamenhof was Jewish, and Homaranismo is accordingly based on Judaism, especially on the teachings of the Talmudic rabbi Hillel the Elder. There is also a significant Esperantist community within the Bahá'í, and `Abdu'l-Bahá, a central figure in the religion’s development, praised Esperanto in a 1913 speech as a potential tool for peace. This included Zamenhof's own daughter, Lidia, who ended up martyred by the Nazis for her Bahaism, Esperantism, and Jewish roots. However, the Bahá'í faith has stopped short of endorsing any specific language as a global lingua franca. In Brazil, the language has been popular in the Spiritualist movement. The Japanese religious movement Oomoto has gone considerably farther by elevating Esperanto to the status of a liturgical language, and even deifying Zamenhof himself:
…[T]he spirit of Zamenhof even now continues to act as a missionary of the angelic kingdom; therefore, his spirit was deified in the Senrei-sha shrine.[note 23]
There is a church in Bialystok that features the Lord's Prayer in Esperanto.
Non-religious movements have also latched onto Esperanto. As stated earlier, Esperanto has had a mixed relationship with the extreme left (it was supressed by Soviet government despite its current popularity among communists and socialists), but it has enjoyed popularity in certain communist and anarchist circles. Vegetarians have been a significant contingent in Esperantodom since the beginning, and vegans and "rawfoodists" have followed in.
Within the Esperanto movement itself, there are different shades of opinion on the language's status as a future "universal language." The vast majority of Esperantists see it as more of a hobby with a very colorful history that would be a good universal language if everyone spoke it, but so far it is far from being adopted. In 1980, youth in Rauma, Finland published a manifesto saying that Esperanto was probably never going to be an international language, but that Esperantists belonged to a "self-chosen language minority diaspora," and that the benefits of Esperanto included serving as a stepping stone to other languages, contact between people of various cultures without discrimination, and a "new type of world culture" shared by Esperantists. Though their goal was to get the movement away from its utopian visions, some people took this to another extreme and started a micronation called the Esperanta Civito, ultimately drawing their own accusations of being a cult.
Regarding the "new type of world culture," a very common critique of Esperanto involves its potential homogenizing effect.[note 24] Were the entire world to adopt Esperanto, the practical result would probably be the death of a large number of minority languages (that is not specific to Esperanto — minoritization of languages happens with English, French, Spanish, Russian, Tagalog, Chinese and even with sign languages[note 25]), even if Esperantists had the best of intentions to keep these languages alive. Some of the more politically radical members of the Esperanto movement have promoted an ideology called "anationalism," encouraging internationalism, although this ideology is somewhat rare even among most radical Esperantists.
Nationalism is also sometimes present in Esperanto circles. Some speakers have refused old Esperanto words for some countries because they are derived from exonyms. Hindio and Madagaskario are mostly refered to as Barato or Malagasio on the Esperanto Wikipedia (articles being often written by locals rather than foreigners) for this reason. Such exonyms are considered as colonial names, or at least their use is associated with it.
However, exonyms are not always colonial (and even if they are, they are still derived usually from local language names), some of them are borrowed from a rare synonym or from another language:
- "China" comes from Persian and arrived as such in English. (Chinese call their country Zhonguo, literally "central country".) This name predates colonialism by millenia.
- "India" comes from the Indus River. It differs from the endonym, Bharaat.
- Sometimes, the name is simply derived from the name of people rather than the original name.
An unrelated and probably contradictory criticism is that Esperanto has no culture of its own. Some people see the cult-like aspects of Esperanto as extreme manifestations of Esperanto culture, demonstrating that such a thing exists.
J.R.R. Tolkien is probably the foremost philologist to have commented on Esperanto’s cultural merits. Tolkien learned Esperanto to some extent as a teenager, but he later stated that apart from occasionally taking notes in it, he never used it much nor gained a strong command of it. Nevertheless, Tolkien publicly praised Esperanto in the 1930s, and for a while supported efforts to advance the language in England. Tolkien himself was a prolific inventor of languages, but for artistic purposes[note 26], and so his standards for judging Esperanto differed from those of politically-minded Esperantists. As an artist, Tolkien admired Zamenhof for having invented Esperanto singlehandedly, and he hoped that Esperanto would eventually develop a rich, internal mythology of its own. Indeed, Tolkien later lamented the lack of Esperanto mythology when he declared the language “dead, far deader than ancient unused languages.”
One of the most common criticisms of Esperanto revolves around its artificiality, and the question of whether an artificial language can be a language at all. Noam Chomsky recently added to this controversy, claiming that Esperanto was not a language but a dictionary and grammar book. Esperantists often counter this by pointing out that humans use lots of artificial things, such as roads, houses, medicine, cooked meals, cellular phones, and computers, to do things that used to be done "naturally." Hating artificial languages for being artificial is, by this argument, exactly as rational as vitalism, fear of GMOs, or anarcho-primitivism.
Esperantists have had to try and counter some of its issues by creating new registers such as Arcaicam Esperantom, which is designed to look like an ancient form of the language, and another to translate regional dialects as well as artificial slang and informal registers. Esperanto poets have also taken a few liberties, such as dropping terminal vowels etc to improve the form. However, since Esperantists do form a kind of community, and there are native speakers of the language (some countries register esperanto in censuses), genuine slang does arise, and there are various idioms such as "krokodili" (to crocodile) meaning "to speak one's native language with someone who knows Esperanto".
Arcaicam Esperantom, while keeping many similarities with esperanto, uses 4 cases. These 4 cases (accusative already (I bit an apple) in Esperanto, dative (ex "I give to"), genitive "'s" as in English, nominative (the unmarked default case "I am an apple") are like the German ones and can have some use for teaching the natural language German. However those 4 cases do not make it any more complicated than the English equivalents which are inconsistent. "He gave a crapton meter to Mary" "He gave Mary a crapton meter" and the unlikely but existing "He gave Mary, a crapton meter" (I do not name my crapton meters maybe someone does). It is the most important complexification of grammar in Arcaicam Esperantom.
Articificality in natural languages
Many words are artificial in natural languages,
- Englicised words Irish Cillian > Killian K is not used in Irish at least in Gaelic words.
- Greek compounds
- Coinages (even personal names might be Malcolm X, Djurny)
- Standard varieties (Standard German "Hochdeutsch" is based on dozen of German regionnal languages (often called dialects (sometimes the line is thin even for speakers themselves who might not be sure) but that are usually separate languages)
- Linguistic purism is also artificial (Icelandic refers to electricity as "amber power" not to borrow from the internationally Electricity-like words)
"I can speak Esperanto like a native." - Spike Milligan
Contrary to popular belief and Spike Milligan's joke, there are around two thousand native speakers of Esperanto. There is even an Esperanto term for them - "denaskuloj". This figure is probably more accurate than the wildly overestimated figures of Esperanto speakers as a whole, because they were born to parents who were active in the movement. Some of these individuals are from families where it is has been passed down three or more generations and it is part of their heritage. The earliest native speaker appears to have been the Spanish woman Emilia Gaston who was born in 1904. Controversial businessman George Soros is often mentioned as a native Esperanto speaker, but he has shown little interest in the language in his later life.
It has been observed that native speakers of Esperanto make their own modifications to the language, especially when they are children. Features of their speech include creating new words from Esperanto rules (the comic malsandvichighis "stopped being a sandwich" (literally un-sandwich-become-ed)), many of them without a direct equivalent in any language, and dropping certain letters. They also seem to use the accusative less than Zamenhof recommended (it might be due to it not being spoken outside of home a lot and influence of the other native language). If left alone (like if they were not aware that Esperanto was meant to be easy and irregular), Esperanto natives may cause the language to evolve in new directions, and introduce a few irregularities of their own.
Some external observers have doubted that the children were genuine native speakers (it is not that hard to achieve full fluency in Esperanto even if it may take some time, and needs to learn a somewhat high amount of vocabulary) or have even said that it is a cruel experiment to do this with children.
For fun, here are a few "false friends", i.e. words that look or sound similar to various English ones, but have a completely different meaning.
As an international/would-be-global language, this problem is multiplied across the hundreds of other living languages.
An additional problem arises in that all languages have idioms, but not all speakers are aware of them as such. This leads to Esperanto speakers using calques, or literally translated phrases, which have little or no meaning to people from other backgrounds.
"Mi penis lerni Esperanto" - I tried to learn Esperanto....
- adulti - to commit adultery
- atendi - to wait
- bildo - picture
- blanka - white
- bravo - eyebrow
- demandi - to ask
- dika - thick (Think of a New York strong typical accent Dis is my do-eg) of course th > d is not only for New Yorkers.
- dikfingro - thumb
- domaĝi (sounds like "domajee") - to soare
- dungo - employment
- embaraso - obstruction
- farti - to fare, as in "Kiel vi fartas?" ("How are you?") (It is sometimes jocularily used jokingly by Esperantists)
- fake - by specialization
- flava - yellow
- for - away
- foresto - absence
- frazo - sentence
- grandmama - buxom, big breasted
- homo - human
- idiotismo - idiom
- jam - already
- marketo - little mark
- marmelado - not just marmalade but could also refer to strawberry jam you'd put on bread.
- mi longe penis - I struggle for a long time (it can be even funnier to french speakers "Mi penis tro longe" (tro longe > too long)
- novelo - short story
- paragrafo - section
- piĉo (sounds like "peacho") - cunt
- pretendi - to claim
- pupo (sounds like "poopo") - puppet
- rento - income from a dividend
- romano - novel
- ŝati (sounds like "shatee") - to like
- UK - abbreviation for "Universala Kongreso", the Esperanto World Congress (United Kingdom is called Unigita Reglando (United King-land) (Reg being alike Royal or Regence)
Estas - It can be translated to over 12 spanish words (for each person) in present, not because Spanish is especially complicated (well using two verbs for be is one of the specifically hard Spanish things) (English has at least the merit of one of the most simple conjugations [Swedish or Norwegian are even easier "er" means "is" "are" and "am") but because esperanto is especially simple. Soy eres es somos sois son, estoy, estas, esta, estais, estamos, estais. (Native Spanish speakers have no problem with this in their own language, but it is a somewhat strange thing for them to get used to.)(Estas > You are)
Dankon (男根) may mean "thanks" in Esperanto, but it also means "penis" in Japanese. This is purely coincidental, since very few people learnt Japanese in Central Europe in the 19th century. Zamenhof's root here is the German verb "danken", also probably influenced by the English "thank you".
In Esperanto, ni and vi mean "we" and "you" (plural) respectively. In Swedish, these definitions are swapped around - ni means "you" and vi means "we". (Another common complaint is that Esperanto pronouns sound too similar - other than confusion between vi and ni, ni and mi (I) are also too close. These quirks are acceptable in languages such as Swedish, which arose organically, but could easily have been avoided in a planned one.)
The Green Star
The first edition of the Fundamento was bound in a cover with bright green stars on it, because that was the only cover the printer had lying around that day. As a result, the green star quickly became the emblem for Esperanto, to the point where you can now buy Esperanto stickpins that display a green star.
Of course, this meant that green became the official color for Esperanto and for the Esperanto movement. This causes no end of confusion with environmentalism, whose advocates also use green as their color. The fact that it uses the same color as another worldwide movement has thus far not caused major headaches.
Then there is the issue of the pentagram. This has led some people to link the Esperanto movement to Communism and Satanism. Although strangely enough, not the USA, another pentagram loving entity. It probably hasn't helped given that Communist countries were among the strongest promoters of the Esperanto movement during the Cold War... and often enough some of its greatest persecutors. This is perhaps because of a) its Eastern European origins and b) during the Cold War it was presented as a global alternative to English which was linked with the USA and British imperialism.
A new symbol, called "melono", was created just to provide a pentagram-free symbol that tried to show that Esperanto does not belongs to the Western hemisphere or to the Eastern one, but to the whole world. The world "melono" means melon/watermelon, so you can see how the Esperantists did not appreciated much the new symbol, and clinged to the Star in order to not be revisionists of Zamenhof.
On the whole, Esperantists are mostly sane and well-meaning people, and there's no harm in learning Esperanto and becoming part of its community. However, the Auxlang community is known to be rather quick to fight and stir up trouble, and the Esperanto community, as the largest single portion of it, is no exception. It is a relatively easy language for just about anyone to learn,[note 27] though speaking it is not always typically as easy as many proponents may claim, especially if the novice speaker is not familiar with European languages. Learners generally master the grammar much more quickly than the vocabulary. The size of the vocabulary is reduced by the avoidance of synonyms, redundancy, and polysemy (several meanings); and by the agglutination (there are no nonce words such as "undie" or "malmortigi" [revive if you prefer] - nonce words are part of the language and permit to avoid having to use words).
Some things may seem hard at first but are not really.
En aliaj lingvoj
- Esperanto.net—Language information in English
- Vikipedio: Wikipedia in Esperanto
- Justin B. Rye's extensive fisking of the Esperanto language and culture
- Rebuttal to Rye's site by Claude Piron
- On a Critic of Esperanto by Claude Piron
- From two words, "vola" (genitive of "vol") and "pük", both taken from English meaning ... "World" and "speech". No, we're serious.
- Yes, it literally killed every tenth new language… it was that horrible. Like listening to Vogon poetry in Ubbi Dubbi.
- In the sense that Esperanto verbs have morphological past, present, and future tenses, imperative/jussive and conditional moods, and more complex tenses formed with participles.
- Hence manĝ-ig-i ("cause someone to eat", or feed); compare Hebrew לִמֵּד ("cause someone to learn", or teach). The closest Indo-European has are certain verbs derived from adjectives, such as Latin "magn-ificare," represented in both Esperanto and Hebrew the same way as the verbal causative: Esperanto "grand-ig-i", Hebrew גִּדֵּל. Even this is not an inherent feature of Indo-European, but derived from the Latin magnum facere.
- Volapük used heavily modified English words with a grammar that most closely resembles conservative Germanic languages (although oddly, verbs inflect for gender as in Arabic or Hebrew), Universalglot used the Spanish/Italian-like Romance languages but not Latin itself, Communicationssprache used French, and Solresol is based on no natural language.
- An example on the left was the collectivist anarchist Mikhail Bakunin.
- Possibly because Esperanto was popular among communists and the ever-paranoid Stalin didn't speak it.
- The Baha'i faith does not endorse Esperanto in any way, although a minority of Baha'i's speak Esperanto and advocate for its adoption.
- Unsurprisingly, given that almost any language has a Bible translation — some languages are even almost entirely lost to the historical record — except for their Bible translation; Gothic for one. However, Esperanto is arguably one of only two constructed languages with a fully translated Bible. The other would be Charles Ogden's Basic English, although this is debatably not a constructed language, so Esperanto might be the only one to date. Some others, such as Interlingua and Volapük, have the full New Testament and parts of the Old Testament. There are currently Klingon, Quenya, and Na'vi translation projects, but nothing presentable yet.
- There seems to be a close connection between religious fanaticism, or other forms of idealism, and fanaticism for Esperanto. Zamenhof even went so far as to invent his own religion, called Homaranismo (literally, member-of-humanity-ism).
- In fact, Zamenhof designed certain aspects of his language to be immutable. The extent to which this applies to certain things is a matter of constant, tiresome debate.
- The most complicated of these is the Plena Analiza Gramatiko de Esperanto (Complete Analytic Grammar of Esperanto) originally published by Kalman Kalocsay and Gaston Waringhien in 1935. The most well-known and widely-used grammar today is the Plena Manlibro de Esperanto Gramatiko (Full Handbook of Esperanto Grammar), by Bertilo Wennergren.
- In the masculine singular: Der Apfel ist gut vs. Ich habe den Apfel gegessen.
- The postposition を (o).
- While this is true of many natural languages as well, the issue is whether such a situation is appropriate in a constructed language with an explicitly political, arguably left-wing mission.
- In this regard, Esperanto takes minimalism to an extreme: as stated above, the "proper" word for "bad" is literally "dis-good" (malbona). As such, patrino suffers the same fate; however, many feel that such a situation is still unacceptable.
- Chinese characters written after European contact have sometimes distinguished male and female, although this lacks any spoken equivalent.
- Obviously, non-binary people have never actually needed to wait for their existence to be declared official, in Esperanto or any other language.
- The letter ŭ has a breve diacritic, not a circumflex diacritic; in ASCII text, it is usually replaced with a plain u, as it is only found in diphthongs. It can also be replaced with a "w" or "ux". Of course, Unicode has existed for a very long time now, so there has been no need to render Esperanto in ASCII for a long time, and you only see it in older websites or, rarely, in chatrooms.
- These people, known as finvenkistoj, are often mocked within the broader community.
- In Esperanto the suffix -ulo forms a word for a person or being: bona good, bonulo good person. Ironically, it is inherently genderless.
- Some esperanto reforms also propose to use only the basic Latin alphabet. The x-system and h-system also allow writing words such as ĉambro as cxambro or chambro.
- The original text reads: ...[L]a spirito de Zamenhof eĉ nun daŭre agadas kiel misiisto de la anĝela regno; do, lia spirito estis.
- Alexander Gode, one of the principal authors of the IALA’s Interlingua, was a noted proponent of this criticism, and hence never saw his language as a universal one, despite many members of the movement feeling differently.
- Kent's regional sign language disappeared in favor of British Sign Language; however, it might have contributed some words to BSL.
- Quenya and Sindarin, the two most complete of Tolkien’s languages, were meant to resemble natural languages, and are thus irregular, and have no similarities to Esperanto that can’t be explained as shared influences from the real-world natural languages that influenced Esperanto too.
- So they say.
- Psychological Reactions to Esperanto
- Árpád Rátkai, Informfalsantoj kontraŭ Lazar Markoviĉ Zamenhof, Beletra Almanako, issue 22 (February 2015).
- Adolf Hitler considered Esperantists to be part of the International Jewish Conspiracy (as he explained in Mein Kampf), and therefore needed to be destroyed. A brief article (in Esperanto) on Nazi-era language politics surrounding Esperanto and a translation.
- An article in Spanish about the Holocaust and its effects on the Esperanto community.
- "Donald J. Harlow, The Esperanto Book, chapter 7". Donh.best.vwh.net. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
- See the Wikipedia article on L. L. Zamenhof.
- Lins, Ulrich (2008). "Esperanto as language and idea in China and Japan" (PDF). Language Problems and Language Planning (John Benjamins) 32 (1): 47–60. ISSN 0272–2690. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
- La utilización del esperanto durante la Guerra Civil Española, Toño del Barrio and Ulrich Lins. Paper for the International Congress on the Spanish Civil War, (Madrid, 27–29 November 2006).
- Esperanto: The World's Most Popular Constructed Language, Part 1
- The billionaire native Esperanto speaker?
- Rye, J. (n.d.) learn to NOT speak Esperanto. jbr.me.uk
- Anonymous (1979). Esperanto and George Orwell. 1984 Reprint by Esperanto Centre, London.
- Siewierska, A. (2013). Gender Distinctions in Independent Personal Pronouns. In: M. S. Dryer & M. Haspelmath (eds.) The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- B. A. Sherwood., Statistical analysis of conversational Esperanto, with discussion of the accusative. Studies in the Linguistic Sciences, 1982.
- Bodmer, Frederick (1944), The Loom of Language, London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, p.468
- "Demandoj kaj Respondoj". Ōmoto. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- Here's a good video about the differences between Finvenkismo and Raǔmismo.
- Pins and Insignia, Esperanto-USA Retbutiko. Retrieved November 13th, 2021.