Esperanto – why it’s useful

UPDATE: 2015.08.27

This post has moved on over to my website. One year after writing it for the first time, I completely re-wrote it and added examples from Japanese and Indonesian (languages that I knew nothing of a year ago). Something like two of the examples of Faroese and Swedish are intact, but I wanted to do what I could to focus a little more on languages that weren’t European. I could make it better but I’m tired of working on it for now, especially after all of the needlessly rude comments I got on it when I shared it on a language-related community.

blah blah general disclaimer because SOME people can’t read a hobbypage by a nonlinguist without thinking i need to write it as perfectly as if i were publishing a research paper in an international magazine. i’m just a normal guy writing off what little i have in my brain, some of you may think the entire page is wrong, but at least i actually wrote something.

4 Thoughts.

  1. Thank you for this article. I’ve learned more about Faroese than I knew before. I want to echo how useful Esperanto can be to anyone interested in the wider world. I’ve made friends around the world through Esperanto that I would never have been able to communicate with otherwise. Over recent years I have had guided tours of Berlin, Douala, Yerevan and Milan in this planned language.

    I have discussed philosophy with a Slovene poet, humour on television with a Bulgarian TV producer. I’ve discussed what life was like in East Berlin before the wall came down and in Armenia when it was a Soviet republic, how to cook perfect spaghetti, the advantages and disadvantages of monarchy, and so on. I recommend Esperanto, not as a hobby but as a very practical way to overcome language barriers.

    Personally, I’m in favour of all language learning, but life is too short to learn them all. I’m sure that Esperanto gave me a head-start when I began learning Welsh.

    You might want to take a look at a recent scholarly article about Esperanto as an introduction to language learning:
    http://www.esperantoresearch.org.uk/sites/default/files/site/files/esperanto_as_a_starter_language.pdf

  2. >Mr. Chapman
    Wow, you are the first non-spambot comment I’ve gotten on this blog ;_;

    I’m an American who’s been living abroad for a few years. They generally say, when you’re reading online, that “Nordic people (and to a lesser extent, Germans) are all fluent in English”, this definitely isn’t the case. They might have good pronunciation, but the grammar is fairly often slightly wrong, their vocabularies are really lacking (espeically when you get into detailed or strange subjects – stuff that’s not “things I see on tv or read about online every day”), and so on. So as a native you feel like you have to “lower” your own speech and make it simpler even for countries who are supposedly so good at English, who force their kids to learn it starting in grade one in school, that kind of thing. It feels awkward.

    Not to mention all the people who only know a handful of words of English and Swedish even though they live here (it’s like this with Romani beggars in Sweden, and Poles in Iceland…)

    I will definitely read the report, thanks! I really like psychology among other things.

    As for Faroese, it’s fantastic haha. It’s like Icelandic diluted with Scandinavian and English, thereby making it a lot easier, so I really enjoy it (I can read it and Swedish relatively effortlessly – Icelandic still requires effort). The problem is that there’s almost no material in it and almost no speakers, comparatively speaking… You can’t buy Sherlock Holmes, Nabokov or Kafka in it, that’s for sure. Even in Icelandic only one Nabokov book has been translated, and they don’t modernly sell translations of classics as everyone just reads them in English or Danish… Quite frankly, there’s more stuff out there (that’s available to someone living outside the country) in Esperanto than there is in Faroese or Icelandic.

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