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Are there still other Esperantists on this web ready to list up their books on this site ?
Ĉu alia Esperantanoj havas ankaŭ librojn por inskribi en ĉi-tiue liston ?
I have a few Esperanto books that I might get around to listing.
That seems true all over England these days, I can't even walk down the street without hearing someone speak Polish between themselves.
Esperantists harbor a strong desire to see their favorite language become the official international language, and even lobby to that end.
Yes, that was the agenda and hope back in the 1950s. Myself I now think the chances of it becoming a reality are remote. I believe the same would be true of other artificial languages. Perhaps a day might come when one of the present national languages becomes "universal" but if so I suspect that it will not be by mutual agreement but by some new superpower annihilating/subjugating everybody else.
Esperanto was a pipe dream back in the 50s. All we need is more confusion. English is not difficult to learn. Mandarin, Chinese and Arabic and Tamil for instances are much more difficult to learn.
What Asians in Singapore learn is "Singlish" which is a mixture of Malay, Chinese (Hokkien, Cantonese), Tamil, and English, not Esperanto! Something similar occurs in Malaysia. The last thing we need is another so-called language that would, in the end, really obfuscate than communicate effectively. Just my opinion.
It's hard for me to argue, because I've never taken the time to get beyond the basics of Esperanto, but I'd have thought the reasons you give are actually a pretty good argument in favour of Esperanto. Large numbers of people are going to keep on learning Mandarin, Arabic, English, etc. as a second language, out of simple everyday necessity: there's no need to encourage it. Esperanto would be fun and interesting to pursue precisely because it has no real practical use.
And I think most of the languages you mention have much better tools for obfuscation than Esperanto does... :-)
Why not take up a real language for fun and real practical use? Those who are pushing Esperanto mean for it to be some sort of universal language and supposedly the path to more complete universal understanding and practical use.
Having taken Greek, Latin, and Arabic, I plan to go on to Farsi, Sanskrit and Tamil and then maybe Mandarin.
Lots of fun for all. There is a lot of enjoyment on figuring out, among other things, the use or perspective of Tense and Aspect in Verbs. When I understood verbal aspect, I began to grasp the Arabic verbal system.
I certainly now agree with your message #10 saying that we are better studying real languages. Esperanto was meant to be easy to learn but not much point if the only other people who speak are a small (relatively) idealistic number. I have to say I was a little surprised at the some of the languages you mentioned as I'd never heard of Melayu and Tamil doesn't sound like a priority to me. Perhaps there is a difference between learning languages because of their intrinsic interest and learning them because of possible practical benefits in communication. Having lived for a short time in the Middle East and learnt a little Arabic I can understand the fascination of a system based on something other than the Latin derivatives we in the west are used to. However judging from your post #12 you have real linguistic skills. The whole point of Esperanto is surely that it was meant to "work" for a much wider range of people. People who wanted to communicate as distinct from being interested in language in the abstract. As I've said in posts above I've rejected Esperanto as a solution but we can't all follow the path you're following. By the way here in the UK some schools are promoting Mandarin. A few realists (including people who have lived and worked) in China have tried to point out that this is a very difficult language to learn and that if our schoolchildren have so many problems learning French/German/Spanish they are unlikely to succeed with Mandarin
Esperanto would put everybody in the same situation, on the same level. The Esperanto meeting I took part in in 2004 had people from all over Europe, from Russia, from Zimbabwe, and the USA (I think). With half of the Europeans, and most of the Russians I wouldn't have been able to converse in English. BTW, at that point I had been learning EO for about 2-3 months and managed pretty good during the week (my dictionary got a good workout, though). I had the grammar down pat and a number of useful phrases at hand, and that was it.
I don't know whether EO would work well outside Europe, it is still essentially a European language (even though it has traces of Hebrew grammar ;-) ). A Chinese or Indian might find it not as easy to learn as a German or Italian. For Europeans, it is still the easiest foreign language to learn, far, far easier than English or (God forbid) German.
Whatever Brits and Americans might say, English is not easy to learn. After nine years in school, I was able to have a conversation, but I wasn't able to read a normal book at the speed I do in German. Fast forward 10 years, and I dared read Shakespeare in a bilingual edition, was able to read novels from the bestseller list and write a paper without embarrassing myself. Another ten years, and I went to watch a Shakespeare play in London (with the play in book form as backup) and read 18th and 19th century writers. It took me almost 30 years to reach my level of proficiency (all self study, I am not into languages professionally).
And no, I am not an EO activist, not even a member of an organisation. I learned the language just for fun, and only went to that one meeting. Haven't had the time for more, since.
I should be surprised that you don't know about Tamil and Melayu or Malay. However, I shoud not assume that just because you are residing in the U.K., that you are British and know your own history (I am not being confrontational).
Malaysian and Singapore were one British colony at one time. The somewhat indigenous people are Malay and Muslim. The British transplanted rubber trees to Malaysia and Singapore and encouraged the Tamils and other Soutern Indians to work in these rubber estates. When Bauxite was discovered in West Malaysia or Malaya, the Southern Chinese (Cantonese and Hokkien - were the major dialect groups) were encouraged by the British government to work in these "Tin Mines". These Chinese dialect groups became a problem and so Lee Kuan Yew the PM of Singapore for many years, understanding that there was no avoiding China (PRC) made Mandarin the main dialect of Chinese and so the old dialects are no longer so widely used. So Tamil is widely used (in Singapore, Malaysia, Southern India, and Sri Lanka) and Malay will help in Malaysia and Singapore and Indonesian which is related to Malay is spoken by the most populous Muslim country in the world. That is why I mention their significance and why Esperanto is a non issue. I hope I have not stepped on anyone's toes. I grew up in Singapore where all the governmental documents were printed in English, Mandarin, Tamil, and Malay!
Also, Singapore high-school students had to pass English when taking their "O" and "A" Level exams. Singapore high-school students took part in televised debates during the seventies. The level of English (one British educator remarked) was superior to that spoken in England!
Any nation or educational system must have the will to learn new linguistic skills to survive in this Global economy. Too many people whine overmuch when it comes to learning languages. There are many people travelling to China to teach them English. My father started learning Mandarin at age 53!
Where there is a will there is a way.
So it makes sense to make any of these languages a lingua franca, because they have been used for a long time in government, trade and education (another example would be India or many of the former British colonies). Every Indian ninth-grader knows more about English than German or French grammar school graduates (after 9 years of English lessons, but with little practical training in daily life).
To introduce English as a lingua franca in Europe would place everyone but the Brits and Irish at a disadvantage. Nowhere but in GB and IRL is English the daily language; as opposed to eg. India, where it is in daily use.
I am not whinging because of myself, I can defend myself well enough in English, but when I look at my parents trying to communicate with their Brit. son-in-law or look at the posters my colleagues drew up for the last fair, I don't see how they would reach a competitive level easily. And that's to be taken literally in the case of the colleagues at the company. We do have a translation service now, because we trade internationally and half-baked "denglish" texts do not make you look competent, only stupid. Only five percent of Germans do actually speak English "fluently". The rest pay others for it.
"Where there is a will there is a way."
How would you feel, if French was called for to become (again) the European lingua franca, and all business between countries would usually be conducted in French? Would you be willing to invest at least a decade to become fluent?
I should be surprised that you don't know about Tamil and Melayu or Malay. However, I shoud not assume that just because you are residing in the U.K., that you are British and know your own history (I am not being confrontational).
Well confrontational or not I think your suggestion I have no knowledge of history is rather unfair based as it is on what I said about these two languages. I plead ignorance in that I didn't know Melayu meant Malay. And looking back at your message #10 where you use the word you don't make the equivalence explicit. As for Tamil my punctuation/explanation in #13 is at fault. I have heard of it but simply meant to say it doesn't seem like a priority for language learners who wish to communicate internationally. I certainly didn't mean to imply it had no importance regionally.
Looks like I did step on some toes;-) While working for Nokia as a Telecom engineer, I came across "West" Germans who were more or less willing to learn English but felt more comfortable working among themselves in teams. I ended up working with an "East" German, who strangely enough preferred my company to theirs and was willing to engage with the U.S. culture and American English. It's all about attitude. I am now a graduate student in History, my language requirements include French which I chose to take -- within 10 weeks I was able to translate French newspapers, a little of Rousseau, and more of Paul Vignaux-a French historian. My other required language for graduate work is German. Much of secodary literature, in research, is in German and has not been translated yet. The German scholars choose to write in German, even though they are fluent in English as well, but instead of being resentful, I have resigned myself to taking another course in intensive language.
No, I don't think you are an ignoramous by any means. As far as Indian dialects are concerned, don't worry after a few more years in England, most of the immigrants there will stop using their dialects and instead use some form of pidgeon English. There seems to be an anti-establishment mindset or maybe an anti-elistist mindset that prevents the English from speaking their mother language correctly -- for example they cannot pronounce drawing without it sounding like drawring! For a positive example, listen to Jeremy Brett in the Sherlock Holmes (Granada TV) series.
My rant is about the sad state of education all around the world. More so in the U.S. where ignorance is bliss. Europe is known for its supposed bi- or tri- lingual skills. Here in the U.S., people find learning Spanish an imposition even though much of the population in the south and south-west will one day be largely hispanic.
Each language has its contribution to make to the rich tapestry that is our global human culture. To read Thucydides and Herodotus in Greek, Ratramnus of Corbie in Ecclesiastical Latin, Ibn Taymiyya in Arabic, and Martin Luther in German is or should be a treat! The power of any language is its uniqueness. Unless of course you believe in the Tower of Babel -- that there was one human language which led to rebellion against God;-)
And which dialect do you presume is "correct"?
We used to have a situation in the organisation where I work where about 40% of the staff had French as their first (and only??) language and most other people spoke it as third or fourth language; now it's more like 95% having English as second language and 5% as first. Of course, that's only possible because language teaching in France is much better than it used to be, and possibly also because a large proportion of European students spend part of their studies in another country.
Strange. When I was a schoolboy in Bury (Lancashire, Northern England) we had, when I was preparing for university, a new geography teacher who insisted upon exactly this pronounciation. "Drawring" a map, glaciers "gnawring" the underlying bedrocks, and so on. We all laughed at this and thought it was because he was from Reading (way down south). When we wanted to "take him off" we would put superfluous "r"s into out speech. But later, when we moved on to universities south of Lancashire there was a slight suspicion that it was our Lancashire accent at fault. How glad I am to have it confirmed, by a devotee of Tamil and Melayu no less, that we were right and he was wrong. To be serious I think this good teacher would have been quite insulted to be told he couldn't speak English correctly.
I'm afraid you have been terribly misled if you believe Esperanto is obfuscating and a noneffective way to communicate. It is a language that has proved itself most functional for discussions about everything from everyday life to highly specialized, technical topics. Thanks to its regular construction of words by the combination of roots and a limited number of affixes, complex ideas can be conveyed more easily than in any other language I know.
I certainly agree with you about the importance of learning several foreign languages, but I do not come to your conclusion that this in any way makes learning Esperanto counter-productive. Quite the contrary, actually. As a planned language, Esperanto in itself makes the linguistic structure very transparent and by learning Esperanto the student is better equipped in his/her future studies of other languages. As a matter of fact this effect – combined with how easy Esperanto is to learn – is so strong that it has been shown in scientific studies that it is easier to start by studying Esperanto as the first foreign language and then proceed to learn a second foreign language, such as English, than it is to learn only that second language. Thus, what you call a waste of time may actually be the opposite!
For those of you who have an interest in learning Esperanto (or perhaps just learning about Esperanto) I recommend Lernu!. (It is absolutely free and I have no affiliation with the site.)
Well, best wishes, I have to translate some Ibn Taymiyya now.
"The German scholars choose to write in German, even though they are fluent in English as well, but instead of being resentful, I have resigned myself to taking another course in intensive language."
You and I are willing and able to do that, and it may be neccessary for our jobs. For 95% of the people I am teaching software to, it is not (and 5% is incidentally the quote of people here able to speak English "fluently"). Most people in Germany are nowhere near a functioning level in their knowledge of English, simply because they don't need to. If you have worked with German engineers, you will know their average level of knowledge.
I see language as a communication tool. It should facilitate communication between people, without putting up too high an obstacle. If Brits/Americans are the leading scientists for a certain area, people learn English, if it's the Germans, people learn German. For other areas it's Hebrew. But for "Hoi Polloi" out there, we shouldn't put up such barriers, we should make it as easy as possible. You are learning foreign languages, you *know* how hard it is. And in Europe, borders are something you reach in minutes to hours, not days (my next border is 45 min away, by car).
You say: "There are so many issues tied up with the issue of language - politics, religion, culture, and etc. "
Just another reason not to go for a national language. If you chose English, the French would be resentful (the Germans would follow orders, as always ;-) ), if you chose French, the Brits might have a fit, etc. Not to speak of Spanish, which would have the Catalans bursting a vessel or two.
So are we in agreement then? When in Rome use Latin;-) Of course I'm being facetious. One language will not work but being sensitive to the variegated languages of people everywhere is a better form of communication and understanding.
When I used to work at Nortel (I was running the Wireless DSL lab), I had to sit between a lady from China who spoke English after a fashion and a gentleman from India who spoke English with a strong southern Indian accent and translated back and forth in English! My having grown up in Singapore made me the ideal go between in a situation where both their renditions of English were understandable only to me;-)
It was hilarious to them as well - I think.
What I am saying is that we should not try to make one language the official language - rather an effort should be made to be multi-lingual.
That's hilarious, having to translate from English to English! (wasn't it you that said, English is easy in #10? *poke,poke*)
#27: My guess would be that the best thing would be to use a bridge language, be it Esperanto or not (not as an *official* language, like English in the USA or German in D, A and CH). Official languages have always been the bane of other languages in a country, because minority languages don't have a lobby.
Multilingualism is nice in theory, but in practical every day life, it is only feasible if you have a *true* multilingual environment (which you simply don't have in European countries, outside the immigrant population). I have learned five languages, but English is the only one I am fluent in. French and Portuguese I can understand OK, but not carry a conversation and in Hebrew and Norwegian I can buy a meal. For all except English I have little daily need.
People only learn languages when they have to, when they have a *real* need. Why not give them an easy-to-learn one, that can be a true bridge? Even between you and me English is not a bridge, it is a one-way street: If we were discussing this in real life, you'd "out-discuss" me in a minute, because I lack the training in discussing and chatting in English (this message has been sitting on my screen for a few hours, and I was getting back to it, adding, deleting, correcting it. ;-) )
I think that you are doing just fine in English, better than my German anyway;-).
I really want to agree with you, however, I just can't abide by the use of an "artificial" language as a bridge. You already know English and it would behove me to learn German anyway, so why not just you improve your English and I start the process of learning German. It would be counter-productive for the both of us to start from scratch learning Esperanto or modern Klingon!
People are just too damned lazy. The process of learning is the adventure -- it is more about not being discouraged and being motivated. A few years ago I came across a couple of books on Fourier analysis and Quantum mechanics written by Japanese students of all age groups who were trying to learn Spanish and English and explain Quatum Theory and Fourier analysis. They were very successful and were able to communicate some very complex matters in physics and mathematics among other things.
There was a time when the finest books (Dictionaries, Lexicons, Grammars) in language acquisition were written by German scholars! Where there is life there is hope. Where there is text there is hope!
They study it (you can get the grammar down in ten easy lessons. I studied it via email.), become proficient, then write each other letters (or emails). And maybe once a year or so attend the Esperanto conferences that take place around the world, where everything is conducted in Esperanto.
I know someone who, through Esperanto, has friends all over the globe and carries on a lively correspondence. No matter where we travel, he has Esperanto friends he would just love for us to connect with.
I think the comment about Esperanto as the first foreign language one studies making it easier for subsequent languages is interesting. Let me think about that.
and to be at least slightly "on topic"... I find the whole notion of a official lingua franca of the world an impossibility in and of itself... maybe in the future, but not now...
People outside the world of Academia have different expectations when it comes to communication and languages. And exotic and difficult to learn are probably not high up on their wish list. As I said way, way up-thread, it took me about 15 years to become truly fluent in English. That is not something your friendly builder next door will put up with. He'll either use the English scraps he remembers from school (and be severely restricted in his communication) or not communicate at all (just look at the tourists going to Spain, flocking to places where German/English is spoken).
It seems that we are debating the issue of languages and are at cross-purposes with each other. I am simply stating that at this period in human history we are far away from a single international language that everyone can use. There are, I am sure you agree with me, many people all around the world who will not give up their language for Esperanto or even use it a universal language. They will insist on the importance of their mother tongue for all sorts of reasons including religious beliefs.
There are many that will feel slighted or threatened. I guess that I am pessimistic about the situation but optimistic that the human race is capable of overcoming adversities like having to learn multiple languages. Believe me every time that I contemplate having to learn another language, I approach it with as much a positive mental attitude as I can muster. Given the energy that it takes, I don't see Esperanto going beyond just a hobby for many people. I'm not saying don't do it but don't think that many will want to learn it and use instead of their own mother tongue or another mother's tongue if that makes sense. The motivation to learn another "useful" language is different from learning Esperanto. Where is the great religion or literature in Esperanto for example that elicits pride from a culture?
Perhaps it will work in the EU but not in other parts of the world where there are a sight more languages than 29. Heck! Do we even know how many languages there are now?
I'm not even sure if we know how many Englishes are out there...
*snerk* Reminds me of the Sunday afternoon I was listening to "Australia All Over" (a call-in show on Australian radio), over the internet. I was clamouring for subtitles, I tell you!
I was watching "Chak'De! India" the other day, and English is obviously being used to such an extent that it has strongly influenced everyday Hindi (?): I could nearly understand the original dialogue for all the english words (and not only sports-related) that were being used.
Sorry, but: Non sequitur.
We will agree to disagree.
Well I can't deny that the present position of the English language in the world is to do with our past colonial history (as with French in parts of North Africa, Spanish in much of South America and Portuguese in Brazil). And as GirlFromIpanema says (#45) English has a special role in today's India. Of course the exchange has not all been one way as Hobson-Jobson, a book I bought not long ago makes clear. It has a huge number of words which came into English via the "Raj". Much happened in the past and I'm not going to apologise any more than I expect the Normans to apologize for their invasion of 1066 or the Dutch (Oranges?) for the invasion/intervention of William of Orange.
In previous posts (#10, #11, #24) you have rightly pointed out the importance of Arabic. I would say that the use of Arabic in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco is the result of similar "colonization" although I realize that historians could find many differences between these episodes and that other languages are still spoken in these areas.
Just as a "by the way" and totally off the topic of this thread, I see you use the expression "non sequitur" in #46. Just in the last week have read that some English councils are forbidding their employees to use such expressions because they are elitist and they claim people will not understand them. The expressions listed include such obvious abbreviations as "eg" and "etc" which I imagine most (apart from politically correct council employees) will understand because they're straightforward English for "for example" and "etcetera/and so forth" and whether you know the Latin is neither here nor there in this context. Others were things such as "ad hoc" and "pro tem" but again it's not a case of learning Latin - you just look them up in a normal English dictionary and it tells what they mean in English.
I did not use it first, the GirlFromIpanema used it first. I also cannot help the fact that the English councils are forbidding the use of such Latin expressions. I do not consider it elitist but if the English people feel that they must dumb things down who am I to interfere with their decay as a civilization? What a pity.
And since the Normans are not around to apologize for invading the British Isles I suppose you have a point. But the British can still apologize for leaving a bloody awful mess in their colonial possessions when they realized that Brittania no longer ruled the waves. And furthermore, that type of fallacious argument you used would not work with the issue of the German people and the Holocaust.
Bravo, vous avez gagné 1 point Godwin.
Vous pouvez aller le découper au burin
sur votre écran...
| .1 POINT GODWIN.
And yes, we will agree to disagree.
If you persevere through the basic Esperanto lessons, let’s correspond. I need an excuse to dust off my Esperanto grammar and dictionary.
Due to its fantastically simple and regular grammar, it's one of the easiest languages to learn. And you get to wear a pin when traveling that advertises your ability.
That would be really nice and now I've got more reasons to learn...
My oblique reference was to German philologists and historians claiming the superiority of the "Aryan" race from their linguistic studies of the Indian Subcontinent and the "civilizing" influence of the invading Aryans and the emergence of a fairer skinned (blue eyed?) Sanskrit speaking group who pushed south an indigenous darker skinned inferior Dravidian people who spoke languages that were somehow inferior. Sounds rather similar to Lebensraum.
At that time it was found that Sanskrit was the "mother" of Greek and Latin. However, later on further research has shown that Sanskrit could be seen more accurately as a more "distinguished" older sister to Greek and Latin.
What is important to understand is that the British scholars used these ideas to enforce their cultural and "civilizational" hegemony over the Indian peoples they had colonized. The Germans used it to justify their own racial superiority through a kind of Social (or Socio-Political) Darwinism.
Edited to add that I had an Esperanto-speaking aunt who needed to travel a fair bit for her work and she always made a point of meeting other Esperantists wherever her work (and, presumably, her holidays) took her. She certainly found the language very useful. (She also spoke a couple of other European languages apart from English.)
>English is not difficult to learn
Say it to me, I am learning English for 12 years and I stil can not to communicate in good English.
Mi ekestigis hodiaŭ grupon en tiu ĉi retloko por Esperantistoj. Ĉu jam ekzistas Esperanta grupo?