Esperanto

Discussion in 'Evolution of Language' started by Julie Stewart, May 31, 2016.

  1. Julie Stewart

    Julie Stewart Well-Known Member
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    Has anyone ever started learning Esperanto?

    If you don't know about this language - it is a constructed language. The aim was to create a universal language.

    My grandmother was so enthused by the idea of a language that everyone could speak that she learned it. This was back in the 1950s and 60s. The problem was that only she and one friend learned it. They did use it to good effect, however, when they didn't want people to know what they were saying!
     
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  2. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    That is very interesting, Julie...and here i thought Pig Latin was the universal language.;) Some Esperanto poetry.
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Harry Kemp

    Harry Kemp Member
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    I think an artificial international language would be a wonderful idea. I find Esperanto is a very good language for anyone speaking a European language, but I imagine anyone speaking a non-European one would find it hard. Because I (with an imperfect knowledge of it) find Latin beautiful I would love to see it revived to become a pan-European language
     
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  4. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I remember hearing the predictions that Esperanto would one day be the standard world language while I was in high school in the early to mid-1960s, and I think I had a teacher who at least pretended to have become fluent in it. Then again, I had a Spanish teacher who couldn't speak Spanish so who knows.

    I am guessing that these predications have fallen flat. I can see that Wikipedia claims that it was created in the 1880s, which surprised me, as I had always thought that it was a 1960s thing. Had I learned Esperanto, by my best predications, I think that I might have zero people with whom I could converse in Esperanto.
     
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  5. Julie Stewart

    Julie Stewart Well-Known Member
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    Thank you for the link to the poems Joe. I wonder if there is a lot of literature in Esperanto? I somehow get the feeling that it's not "caught on" even though there are a lot of members of the society. If my grandma was speaking it 60 years ago one would have though that it would be more well known now.
     
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  6. Julie Stewart

    Julie Stewart Well-Known Member
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    I agree about the European bias in Esperanto - well, in the bits I've seen including the poems that Joe referenced. It reminds of Spanish and Portuguese (not that I speak either). I like to hear some, I'm going to check if there any recordings. But that's for tomorrow. I'm about to go to bed.

    I love Latin too .... I studied it for 5 years at school and I'm sure it has helped me to become fluent in French and is making Italian learning easier.
     
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  7. Julie Stewart

    Julie Stewart Well-Known Member
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    Ha ha - maybe all those books that you never read but which greatly influenced your life were written in Esperanto!
     
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  8. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    The Wikipedia page on Esperanto includes an audio passage.
     
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  9. Harry Kemp

    Harry Kemp Member
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    I think there is a fair amount of literature in Esperanto, especially classics. It does date to the 1880s, a man called Zamentof or something similar devised it. It probably has never taken off because there has never been a good reason to speak it. If esperantists had an empire and invaded various countries or traded with people or started a new religion, many people would know it. There have been many attempts to make artificial languages, which have usually failed. The only partially successful ones I can think of are sign languages; here there is a reason to learn them, it helps deaf people or people with learning disabilities (Makaton).
     
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  10. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    "This is a guy from Cuba named Juliano HernĂ¡ndez Angulo singing a song in Esperanto, "Tiel la Mondo Iras," which means, 'that's the way the world goes.' I guarantee that if you listen to the whole song, it will become irrevocably, perhaps even maddeningly, stuck in your head. It is profoundly catchy...I have a fantasy of this song/video becoming a huge viral smash hit."
    —Sam Green


    "The Universal Language is a new documentary from Academy Award-nominated director Sam Green (The Weather Underground). This 30-minute film traces the history of Esperanto, an artificial language that was created in the late 1800s by a Polish eye doctor who believed that if everyone in the world spoke a common tongue, humanity could overcome racism and war. Fittingly, the word "Esperanto" means "one who hopes."
     
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  11. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    I've heard of Esperanto but I didn't care. My husband delved in it when he was in college sometime in the 1970s as it was predicted to be the lingua franca or language of the world. I remember him telling me that a certain Dr. Zamenhoff (not sure of the spelling) had good reasons for inventing the language. The first basic lesson was the Lord's Prayer in Esperanto similar to the Spanish version of Hail Mary as Dios te salve, Maria, llena eres... (we sang that in our Catholic school).

    But Esperanto did not take off properly. Maybe due to lack of logistical support required to launch with a media campaign. Take note that a press conference is very expensive. For my opinion, language is natural and it cannot be dictated no matter how much you promote because it is the so called de facto or usage that would define the language. Right now, Chinese is the most spoken language but English is the international language. We cannot dictate on the Chinese to speak English (although they are learning now with the help of the internet). If Esperanto has a community of native speakers, perhaps it has a chance to grow. That's what happened with Latin, it is still spoken inside the Vatican CIty but I don't seen any chance for it to grow.
     
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  12. Julie Stewart

    Julie Stewart Well-Known Member
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    Thanks @Ken Anderson - I listened to a few of those examples. I've learned to say "yes" and "no"

    @Harry Kemp - yes, I didn't think of sign-language as a constructed language, but of course it is.

    @Joe Riley - you're great at finding stuff, first poetry and then this song (which IS stuck in my head!

    @Corie Henson - yes, having a community is important for a language. I think the point that Harry made above is a good one - if Esperanto speakers colonized some land, became a country and then traded or invaded or started a new religion, it would be a useful language. But as it is - it serves no purpose and the ideal which gave rise to it was evidently not powerful enough to inspire people to learn a language for it's own sake.
     
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  13. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    "From the 1950s through the 1970s, Esperanto was used by the US Army for war games, as the language of the "Maneuver Enemy", also known as the "Aggressor". The goal was an added touch of realism, with the enemy speaking a "foreign" language. Spanish was the original candidate for Aggressor's national language, but it was soon superseded by Esperanto".
     
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  14. Julie Stewart

    Julie Stewart Well-Known Member
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    That's interesting - it makes sense also as Spanish is a major language whereas Esperanto would be completely alien.
     
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  15. Texas Beth

    Texas Beth Well-Known Member
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    I never knew that there had been a movement to create w world wide universal language. I wonder why? You sad it was the 50's. Did it have anything to do with the cold war?
     
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