Posts Tagged ‘Esperanto’

Esperanto Comments.

Monday, January 21st, 2008

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Within a very short time of posting my “Ideas That Made Too Much Sense” – Esperanto, I received a Comment from a gentleman named Brian. I innocently had a number of facts wrong. That’s me, “often wrong but never in doubt.”

Brian’s comment, my reply, and his follow-up, may be read in the ‘Comments’ section below the entry. I think you’ll find them interesting.

The power of the Internet is amazing!

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Ideas That Made Too Much Sense. Part 3.

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

esperanto-symbol.jpg

ESPERANTO

The idea, of course, is noble. Construct one ‘universal language’ so that all the peoples of the world could communicate freely to foster peace and international understanding. Esperanto, which means ‘one who hopes’, was created to achieve this goal. It’s symbol (above) was designed to show the five continents being united by a common language (nah, I can’t see it either; I count 3 contact points – what am I missing here?).

Anyway Esperanto, created in the late 1800’s, once actually looked like it would flourish. The number of speakers grew rapidly primarily in the Russian empire and Eastern Europe, then in Western Europe and the Americas.

But then Reality reared it’s ugly head. There were problems – lots of problems. Among them:

• The language is based on European roots and sounds. Too bad for you, Asia; and Africa? Forget about it.

• Language needs a specific culture to flourish. It’s words are symbols which represent tangible objects and ideas. People in Hawaii don’t need many words to describe snowstorms and Eskimos really don’t care about a name for pineapples.

• Dictatorships hated the idea. Stalin called Esperanto ‘the language of spies.’ Nazis even executed some of its practitioners. And here in the United States, Joe McCarthy (who spawned Ann Coulter) said it was “a Communist language.”

Today, over a century after its birth, Esperanto is spoken by (generously estimating) about 1-million Esperantists. Just a verbal speck in a world of 5- or 6-billion people.

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