Some Additional Thoughts On Esperanto

My recent challenge to become fluent in Esperanto in one week seems to have drawn a lot of attention. What's most interesting to me, though, is that the majority of the feedback I've received has been in regard to my disappointment in the language and its community, rather than my learning style or my results.

I'm receiving a lot of emails, chats, tweets, and blog comments from Esperantists who seem to have taken some sort of offense to my opinion that Esperanto is a very good language for talking about Esperanto, but not much good for anything else. So today I'd like to take a little time to go into more detail about that, and also how I think the Esperanto community could help to change that.

Curiously, the people who disagree with me spend most of their time telling me to join a local Esperanto club, but Esperanto clubs usually meet for only a few hours per month. And I don't know about all of them, but I do know that the one here in Chicago also has membership dues.

What makes Esperanto different from other languages

The main problem I have is that I experience Esperanto in a completely different way than I experience any other language, and I assume this is true for most people. With every other language, I can hear people speaking it in the street or on the bus; I can find movies, and tv shows, and music in that language; I can find endless web site in that language. But with Esperanto, there is only the "esperanto community". I'll explain how that's different.

With Spanish, for instance, I meet Spanish-speaking people every day. The guy standing next to me at the bus stop speaks Spanish. The couple sitting across from me are speaking to each other in Spanish. The guy behind the counter at the food court takes my order in English and someone else's order in Spanish. I go home and turn on the television and there are several channels of programming in Spanish. None of these things happen in Esperanto.

With Russian, my experience is a little different, but still very similar. As I walk down the street, I hear the woman in front of me speaking Russian on the phone. When I'm at home, I enjoy watching Russian movies. A few of my favorite music groups sing in Russian. When I'm in a bar, or at a club, or at a party, or anywhere else that people meet people, I can hear someone's accent and immediately know they speak Russian. I have friends here from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, and the common bond between them all (and now me) is speaking Russian - and I don't mean getting together to use the language, I mean they borrow each other's cookbooks, and watch each other's movies, and listen to each other's music. I'm sorry, this just isn't happening in Esperanto.

I could go on and on, with Polish, or Ukrainian, or Italian, or German, or French. Most of the time, I can just look at someone and know that they speak a particular language. And similarly, I can usually tell where a person is from by their accent. But these things don't happen in Esperanto.

If I want the best prices on meat, I don't go to the supermarket — the best prices are at the Polish deli, and yes, I can fumble through a visit to the Polish deli knowing only English, but knowing thing as simple as przepraszam, proszę, and dziękuję go a long way. But you're not going to buy meat, or a newspaper, or a bottle of water in Esperanto.

When a tourist stops me on the street to ask for directions, they fumble through it in English, but often I can tell where they are from by their accent, appearance, clothing, or just by asking, and if their English isn't good, I can often help them out in their own native language. But I seriously doubt that I'm going to encounter very many lost tourists who have even heard of Esperanto, much less who speak it.

I'm not trying to be negative, or to bash Esperanto. These are simply facts.

How could it be better?

It is necessary to understand those things that Esperanto isn't, in order to make the most of what Esperanto is. The reality of Esperanto is that you must organize your contact with other esperantists. This is not a natural way to experience a language, but it doesn't have to be a bad thing. The bad thing is going to the work of organizing a way to socialize, only to spend that time discussing... you guessed it: Esperanto.

I didn't learn Russian just to sit around discussing the Russian language. I didn't learn Spanish to discuss the Spanish language. It's a great disappointment to me, to think that people learn Esperanto, only to talk to each other about learning Esperanto.

If the Esperanto community ever wants to be taken seriously, there need to be some web sites in Esperanto that talk about real things: news, sports, arts, life. There need to be Esperanto Flash games, and Esperanto crossword puzzles. There needs to be decent music. There needs to be some advantage to having learned the language. There need to be things to buy, and places to buy them, and so on.

Yes, I understand that some people actually are using Esperanto for real conversations. And some are even meeting people around the world thanks to Esperanto. But it would be nice if these were the people you find when you search for Esperanto on Google.

Imagine the possibilities

If there were a place where you could buy things at a great price, but it was only open to Esperanto speakers, there would be a real benefit in learning Esperanto.

If there were a place where new esperantists could meet each other and connect with other esperantists in their area, or find new friends abroad — easily — there would be more interest in Esperanto.

If there were a place where esperantists could easily find a chat partner, that would be a huge benefit to the community, especially to those still learning. And imagine if that chat partner had something to say about world politics, or sports, or cooking... or anything more than just talking about the language!

These might be separate places, or they might all be one place. And there's no reason there couldn't be more than one — after all, there's competition in every other language!

Instead of writing to me with emails, or tweets, or chat dialogs telling me how wrong I am, I challenge all the esperantists out there to put their money where their mouth is. Put up or shut up, as they say.

Don't show me web sites about Esperanto... show me Esperanto web sites about cooking. Or sports. Or automobiles. Write some music. Make some graphics. Design a web site. Make some YouTube videos. Make and sell some Esperanto t-shirts or bumper stickers. Just whatever you do, don't use it to talk about Esperanto. Give the Esperanto community some substance for a change.

Want to see my favorite language resources and courses?
I listed them here.

Author: Yearlyglot
I'll lead you through a 12 month journey from knowing absolutely nothing about a language to having professional fluency.

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  • I agree completely. When a conversation about Esperanto was brought up a few weeks ago as a comment chain to one of your posts, all of the esperantists defended their "culture", but as far as I'm concerned, an Esperanto "culture" doesn't really exist. A club is not a culture, and that's why I have a hard time taking Esperanto seriously.
    With all of that said, it has potential, and I hope it develops into something.

  • "There needs to be decent music."
    I don't know what your experience with Esperanto music has been, but I discovered after learning the language a veritable treasure-trove of new artists, and some of my favorite bands sing in the language. Unfortunately, there are comparatively few albums in Esperanto available for free download on the Internet - for the most part, one must buy the actual discs at congresses. However, there is a decent sampling of different music genres at

  • This post is funny because you say you have gotten lots of e-mails, but this is only going to give you more :P I'll just answer some of your points briefly and then answer your request!
    * Likeliness of bumping into Esperanto speakers randomly? High. Happens to me regularly in my travels without any planning. "Oh, you speak Esperanto?? Kiel vi fartas?"
    * Using Esperanto only to talk about Esperanto would be tedious. I use Esperanto the same way I use every other language. To chat up gorgeous girls, tell jokes, get to know people, party, and... to chat up girls (again, hehe). At the Esperanto meetings there are some people obsessed with the language, but a lot of us use it like we would any other language ;) Using the excuse that the meetings are too hard to find or not frequent enough is the same as using the excuse that China is too far away for me to want to learn Chinese.
    *If you google Esperanto, you'll get pages about Esperanto. Of course, because Esperanto is a language. If you google another pure-language (not culture) word you would get the same, but most language adjectives are also associated with a country, like Russian or Greek for example, so you'll get pages about Greek cooking or Russian dancing. This is also part of Google's algorithm, that certain words are made equivalent, for example, I just typed in "Russian trip" and the first one that came up was actually "trip TO Russia". Google simply can't do this for Esperanto, because by it's very nature it's not supposed to have a country that it belongs to.
    There is no "Esperanto cooking" (that I know of). If you search for words IN Esperanto, you'll get pages about that content, in Esperanto, and not necessarily discussing the language. The problem is they are not in the first page because they are overtaken by people's names or the fact that the word appears in a bigger language.
    I still think this is an issue to how you are using Google, rather than a fault with content available in Esperanto.
    Anyway, as to your request, after "telling you you're wrong ;)", here are a few Esperanto sites not about Esperanto:
    Filmoj - Site for downloading Esperanto subtitles for movies (that you would presumably get from torrent sites)
    There are countless blogs in Esperanto about people's lovelives and day-to-day activities and I find these as boring as I do in English, so I haven't subscribed to them :P

  • Your issues seem to boil down to 2 points:
    1. You note that Esperanto is not spoken in mass quantities in ordinary stores etc. This is true. It's a very diasporic community and not a national language, so not having a "little Esperantujo" like a "little China" in major cities is the price of admission... If you want a language that you'll just walk down the street and randomly hear people talking in mass quantities, then indeed Esperanto may not meet your goals. Still, by that reasoning, there's no point to learn Latin, for example, or Sanskrit, or (in many cities) Hindi or Arabic - I sure never hear them on the street in my current city (living in Poland). Just because you don't see the culture of a language in daily life on the street doesn't mean it doesn't exist, or that it isn't interesting or valuable. Just as I would have to travel intentionally to hook up with Hindi speakers in a "real" context instead of a learning context, it may be that you have to travel to hook up with Esperantists and really experience Esperanto culture.
    2. You think that Esperanto has no "real" culture beyond meta-talking about how to learn and teach Esperanto. This is incredibly false, yet all too commonly believed.
    Most of the cultural stuff you seem to believe doesn't exist for Esperanto DOES in fact exist. There are jokes, crossword puzzles (I enjoy solving them in several magazines I read), Flash games, game websites with Esperanto interfaces, computer programs with Esperanto interfaces, good music, literature, paper magazines and podcasts about news and politics and current events, poetry, comics, plays, history and science and political books, etc. I've had good interesting serious conversations in person with many Esperantists from many countries about everything from boardgames, music, film, jokes to politics, sexism, racism, homophobia, philosophy, whatever. I've been drunk and flirted, I've been depressed and despondent, I've made silly stupid jokes, I've made clever wordplay (within Esperanto and translingual between Esperanto and other languages), I've fallen in love, I've laughed at funny stories, I've sung stupid drinking songs and serious songs, I've read poetry aloud and been moved by it, I've learned some lesser known history about antisemitism in Europe, etc etc etc, all in Esperanto.
    Don't assume that an entire language community is just like your experiences in a disappointing language club setting. (And most clubs I know of don't require membership fees, for what that's worth.)
    Esperanto changed my life immeasurably for the better. I live with my fiancee, who's Polish, whom I met in an Esperanto music/literature/culture festival in Finland, using Esperanto every day as our default home language. We just got back from a great week at a festival in Italy, where people toured the area, heard some great concerts, played boardgames, heard lectures and participated in discussions about everything from comics to jealousy, strengthened old friendships and made new ones, talked about life, the universe, and everything. If you remove your negative stereotypes about the language, you'll find that just like with any human language, you can meet people, talk about whatever you like, even fall in love in Esperanto. It definitely functions as a "real" language with a real culture and community. Sorry you haven't found it yet! Don't give up. :)
    It is very easy to experience real Esperanto in Europe. If you're living in the US, it's admittedly harder. But online it's certainly possible. I can only assume you didn't google very long if all you could find was webpages about learning the language.

  • Ŝajnas al mi ke vi simple ne jam konscias pri la riĉa esperanta kulturo, havebla per la reto.

  • Interesting post. Personally, I've never been interested in learning Esperanto exactly because of the things you say it isn't good for. But I've got an open mind. Maybe I'll be turned.
    Also, this post reminded me of something a friend said when I was talking about Esperanto and explaining what is was: "Oh, I thought they spoke that somewhere in South America." Ha!

  • Well, I do speak Esperanto, and I want to say I agree with most of your points. The only thing I don't agree with is that we all use Esperanto just to talk about Esperanto. I actually almost never use it to talk about Esperanto... The only time I talk about Esperanto is when I'm ranting to my boyfriend about what changes I'll make when I get the chance (and more money!!)
    I was thinking about using Esperanto more in tourism. I wanted to create something like bed-and-breakfasts where the language spoken is Esperanto, and it would be free. Maybe the people who work there could even teach you some basic phrases in the native language. And if everything went well, you could offer tours in Esperanto (maybe a small fee?) You could of these houses in every major city, and then start making commercials for them in different countries. In the commercials you could sell books to learn Esperanto, so that would help fund it (a little). The problem is I don't know where the money would come from. But that was my idea. I completely agree that Esperanto has to be more USEFULL. A small amount of people are interested in going to international conventions (which are REALLY AWESOME ...but not for everyone), but that's not going to interest 95% of the world population.
    I, personally, would love to see MORE music in Esperanto. I feel that a lot of it is appealing to older folk, but there isn't much pop or very modern rock. There's lots of kind of folky music, but that can be boring for those of us who are a little more main stream. And actually a few of my friends and I were talking about opening a website with recipes for cooking, but we weren't sure what measurements to use, since there are different measurements used in different parts of the world.
    Let me let you in on something that's annoyed me a little. When I search for information in Esperanto (but not ABOUT Esperanto) I find it very difficult to find. But then I'll get an email that reffers to some website from China in Esperanto, and all the sudden I'm looking at hords of Chinese news in Esperanto, Chinese culture, and I'm thinking to myself "This is AWESOME... Now why isn't there one big website that helps you find all these things?" I never knew that there was Esperanto Radio you could listen to online from various locations in the world, or news or anything else, because when you search for it you don't find it. You have to be really deep in the Esperanto culture to know about these things. I think there should be one website, with relatively easy language (so that you could understand even if you aren't super fluent - that annoyed me when I was starting to learn), that would have links to all these great websites. You could click on "Radio" and get links to radio stations in Esperanto all over the world. You could click on "Music" and get links to sites with Music in Esperanto. Etcetera, etcetera. Anyway, my current quest is to learn more about designing websites, and open a website that would do just that. Wish me luck!

  • Oh, I wanted to add... The point I'm making is that I think the "culture" you're looking for does exist, I just feel it's really hard to reach, and that there should be a place online where it would be easily reachable. And that I don't agree that we only talk about Esperanto, but I do agree that it needs to be more useful. And more music! I would love to see movies as well, but to tell the truth there are looots of languages that don't have even a 10th of the movies that there are in English, thanks to Hollywood. Here in Mexico where I live, maybe 2 movies a year come out in Spanish, and eeeeverything else is from the U.S., so that's just a sad fact for all languages, not just Esperanto.

  • I'm sure there is more to it than just what I've seen. Of course. The problem isn't that there's no culture... the problem is that it's not anywhere to be found.

  • It actually has a lot of potential. Honestly speaking, I like Esperanto. But what's the point of a language that's so easy to learn if there's nowhere to use it?

  • Well, it may not be be what I had in mind, but you've pointed out a few decent examples of Esperanto music. I'm going to have a go at listening to some of it and see what I think.
    Thanks for the links!

  • Likeliness of bumping into an Esperanto speaker is, without a doubt, a skewed statistic when you happen to be the world-famous traveling polyglot. :-)
    Moreso, I have no doubt that it's a bit different, as a rule, in Europe.
    Chatting up girls is something I can relate to. That's how I practiced my Spanish, and it's a constant new challenge in Russian. Oh, if only there were a singles site for Esperanto... :)
    Sure, there's no Esperanto cooking. But cooking is one of the many worldwide interests that people read about, write about, etc. It's an example of the many things I don't find.
    I consider my Google-fu to be particularly strong, but I'm willing to concede that my accelerated learning schedule for Esperanto was pretty short. I'm sure I didn't do any exhaustive searching... but I guess my real complaint is that I shouldn't have to.
    Thanks for the links though. I'll have a look. And as I've said above, I'm willing to be proven wrong. I actually do like Esperanto... which is largely why I find it disappointing.

  • We should talk. I've got a similar thought in mind, and I build websites professionally. Already purchased a few domain names, too.

  • "Oh, if only there were a singles site for Esperanto... :)"
    Well, since you asked-
    Obviously there are barely any users now, but I could see it turning into a burgeoning staple for lonely Esperantists one day. ;)

  • I'm from the west coast of the United States, learning Cornish to fluency. You will not find a single Cornish speaker anywhere on the streets in any part of the USA, nor are there movies or TV shows, only a bit of music, and even in Cornwall it is not yet very easy to find fluent speakers strolling down the street, so they have to organize meetings so that speakers and learners from around the world can chat in it. So, by your blog post, you would say Cornish is a waste of time and worthless, am I right? This is hardly the truth, as their is an entire culture and history and people behind it, and is still in the process of revival. I'd like to see you tell the fluent and native speakers of Cornish that their language and culture in a hack-job and is worthless. ;)
    Whether you like it or not, there is an Esperanto culture, you just need to learn that just because it is a conlang and not a "natural" one, that doesn't mean that there aren't any native speakers, and people that care about their language and culture.

  • Turn your movie attention toward Spain and Argentina. Lots of good Spanish films coming out.

  • Also, I'd like to note how you have responded to all messages except the one serious one refuting all of your ignorant' arrogant claims.

  • Regarding your first point, I feel like you're either a) misunderstanding my opinion, or else b) intentionally twisting it for the sake of argument. But I'm not interested in a holy war. I honestly do like Esperanto, that's why I'm disappointed. I want it to be useful, but it's just not. Or at least not to me, not where I live.
    And in answer to your second point, I have a harder time believing that this is a misunderstanding of my opinion. It reads like a direct mischaracterization. To be quite honest, it's replies like yours that turn me off the most, because Esperanto is billed as the "language of peace" and a way to unite, blah blah blah, and while I don't really have time for the dreams of rainbows and hippies, I still wouldn't expect to see someone take such an arrogant air of superiority over Esperanto. Maybe diplomacy is a feature they forgot to build into the language.

    Look, I think Kati summed up exactly my experience in her comments below. It's not a culture war. (Though admittedly, Esperanto needs to overcome some stigmas.) And it's certainly not a case of me not wanting it -- if I didn't want it, why would I bother to learn the language?
    The fact is, the Esperanto world lacks a Yahoo, or a Google, or a, or a Facebook, or a Craigslist, or whatever. And there's a reason for that: such sites are not cheap to operate! But that's the next step. That's what's missing.

  • Barely any users? Translation: pointless. Even the tightly-knit Esperanto community refuses to use it? Or is it because there are no singles in the Esperanto community?

  • Sean, calm down. Randy has done a lot more than the typical critic of Esperanto to explore the current state of the language and its culture; above and beyond the obligatory stock phrases, he can claim an actual knowledge of the rudiments of Esperanto. What he asked for in his post was not an avalanche of impassioned responses spewing out anecdotal evidence, but links to resources for Esperanto music, interesting articles, cultural artifacts of quality. Anything else is just counterproductive.

  • Putting words in my mouth is not the same as having a discussion about Esperanto.
    I've said all along that I'm willing to be proven wrong, and that I like Esperanto. But making some plea to justify your own wasted time as an argument against mine, is... well... illogical.

  • There is some amount of truth to this -- there are some local Esperanto groups, and some Esperanto mailing lists and web fora, where Esperanto itself is a primary topic of conversation. That's probably because Esperanto itself is an interest that all Esperanto speakers have in common almost by definition (though most of us would get tired of talking about Esperanto and nothing else, as you do). I think in the meetings of our local group in Atlanta, Esperanto is a fairly common topic, but not more common than languages in general and various other specific languages in particular -- whatever languages some of our members have been studying recently, for instance -- and European politics, Canadian immigration procedures, Dr. Who, game design, and a variety of other topics.
    I don't know about the local group in Chicago, but in Atlanta, though we accept dues, we never ask for them, and we certainly don't insist that people pay dues if they want to come to our meetings (or borrow books from our library for that matter).
    Others have answered most of your points -- there is a lot of Esperanto culture out there, you just have to dig for it more, and perhaps travel more, especially if you're unfortunate in the local Esperanto contacts available to you. Some of them mentioned literature in passing, but I'll add that I find mid-late 20th century poetry in Esperanto to be typically much more readable and enjoyable than most poetry of the same period in English I've encountered. I haven't yet found any prose authors in Esperanto who would rank above my favorite authors in English, but there are many who write solid, enjoyable books.

  • I saved one for last because it was the most offensive and least logical, and I needed to collect my thoughts before responding. But your childish attempts to provoke me to anger don't help the situation, and the fact that you try to associate your line of offensiveness with Russ's, is a discredit to you both.

  • Thank you Benjameno. You are absolutely correct.
    Somehow, I don't think that Sean is here for discussion, though. I think he is fighting his own internal dilemma over whether or not all his work on Cornish was a waste of time, and he's chosen to attack me over Esperanto not because of my own position... but because it's necessary to validate his own.

  • Esperanto has been translated on Facebook, almost fully. ;) You know, being so ignorant with all of your arguments sure isn't making you look that great.

  • Really? My web host would beg to differ.

  • I never called learning Cornish a waste of time, it was just you being arrogant and closed-minded. In fact, I am learning it to be a part of the revitalization, and to move to Cornwall to spend my life working for and with these people; it is definitely not a waste of time. If you believe learning languages to be a waste of time, I don't see why you bother learning any. Learning a language is not _just_ being able to converse with other people, it is also to be a part of their culture, and if you want to learn their language you have got to respect that.
    Here is just a sample of what could be found in Esperanto if you took more than 2 seconds of Google searching:

  • I understand that this particular site is useless- I mentioned it only as humorous point of interest. I have no idea why there are so few; it could be that it is now well marketed. I don't believe many people know of it.

  • "world famous traveling polyglot" hahaha, yeah - girls run screaming towards me when they see me in the street all the time :P
    Random times I've met people and spoken Esperanto have been with those that (somehow??) don't know of me yet :P Also, this has happened just as much in South America, Canada and Thailand as it has in Europe for me. Never in USA though! Rather than it being just down to pure luck, I feel that when you are open to something, it's more likely to happen ;) Or maybe I have an Esperanto face...
    Thanks for the post! I'll be writing about Esperanto at some stage on the blog soon enough (for the purposes of augmenting language abilities in other languages someone is personally more interested in), so it's good to see this discussion, your arguments and the retorts, as I'd hate to just write the same introduction seen a million times before with too many potential holes to punch through it.

  • That is definitely not the case, but again making your own ignorant, arrogant assumptions. They must be your specialty, eh? ;)
    I provided my example with learning Cornish as an analogy to some with learning Esperanto; that even though they aren't surrounded by speakers, there are speakers out there that care about their language and use it in many different ways.

  • I am not trying to anger you or to be offensive, but to just show you the truth to things you believe incorrectly, but it appears to be that you are too close-minded to have this discussion. If you would like to have a real conversation with me, not just insulting me and everything I say that you disagree with, I'd love to talk more about this.

  • Look, Sean. I really hate to block anyone, and I hate censorship. I'm going to ask you to please try to form more constructive opinions if you're going to participate on my web site. As much as I hate censorship, I also recognize that there are times when it is necessary, and I would prefer if this didn't have to be one. Capisce?

  • I provided you with some links to things _in_ Esperanto but not _about_ it, which is just what you asked for right? Yet you ignore everything I say and twist what little you do read to make me look bad.

  • I'll bet it has as much to do with the site's bad design as anything else. It looks like a hobby site, not a serious web site. And that's kinda my problem - it seems like nobody is willing to construct any serious Esperanto stuff. Or maybe the serious people aren't the ones learning Esperanto.

  • No, Sean. What you are doing is being an asshole. You're a steamroller, trying to overtake every aspect of discussion on this post. It's offensive, arrogant, and it stifles conversation. And since you refuse to take my suggestion to play kindly, I'm going to have to explore other options. Sorry, buddy.

  • It seems like that "never in USA" thing is the overarching theme here. Maybe if I weren't a US citizen, I'd have a completely different view of Esperanto. Who knows? Maybe one day I'll move to Europe and then we'll see!
    And, um... I'm not sure, but I think you just called me a guinea-pig! hahaha. That, or else you think there are too many potential holes in my opinion. :)

  • There are things it's not good for, but I really want to believe that there are also things it IS good for.

  • I understand the scepticism - I was easy to convince because I had never even heard or thought of the language before, when it was introduced to me by actual speakers (rather than through websites and such). So I didn't really have a chance to form an opinion of the language that is perhaps presented by the Internet from what you are saying.

  • Mutual misunderstanding, then! :) (And perhaps unconsciously projecting the previous commenter Peter's thoughts, who said he agreed with you that "an Esperanto "culture" doesn't really exist.", onto you. Rereading, I see that you did not say there is no E-culture.) Sorry about that; I was not trying to be arrogant, nor intentionally misunderstanding you, and certainly not start a "holy war", but rather express my enthusiasm over many things about Esperanto that you seemed to be totally unaware of, based on your comments that Esperanto needs crossword puzzles, music, and the like, things which certainly exist and are part of my everyday life. Quite possibly I misunderstood you due to having heard way too many times from people who were very explicitly hostile to Esperanto saying the same sorts of myths that were said here (it has no music, puzzles, programs, and other such stuff; people only use it to talk about Esperanto, or people only use it in Esperanto clubs; that there are no websites etc that talk about news, culture, etc.). So I apologize that my having heard the same false stuff over and over for years makes it become an occasional hot button issue that leads me to infodump, and it probably comes off ranty, although I read you and believe that you are positively interested in Esperanto.
    I guess it might help if you'd imagine your reaction if you kept hearing people say that Italian might be a cool language, but no one really speaks it, and it just doesn't have any culture or movies or books or stuff, and until it gets those sorts of things, they don't see any use in learning it; i.e. for whatever reason, they have a significant misconception about something which you know a lot about. How would you respond, if not to basically say "Hey, Italian DOES have all these things, and learn it has brought a lot of positive value into my life." And might you tend to sometimes react less carefully/diplomatically than you ought to, if you heard this sort of thing over and over? :)
    Your post did end with a confrontational tone (perhaps not meant that way) with the "put up or shut up". To respond to that challenge, I suggest a good place to start is searching yahoogroups for Esperanto, where you can find a variety of groups about e.g. science fiction, go, chess, politics, religion, vegetarianism, whatever. I confess I am still surprised that you say you couldn't find anything Esperanto-related that wasn't about learning Esperanto, and that this led me semi-consciously to believe you didn't try very hard due to not believing you'd find it, or you were unconsciously wanting to confirm your beliefs that no one really uses Esperanto for "real". I don't say that as an attack, but as an explanation of how it seemed to me. For instance, simply google "esperanto sciencfikcio" or "esperanto vegetarismo" or "esperanto sporto" or whatever you're interested in. If you were just googling "esperanto", then it's not so surprising if the first hits you see are about the language itself - the same thing happens if you google "german" or "italian", you know! :)
    Bonŝancon. Mi pardonpetas ke mia unua komento sonis tiom akre al vi - mi vere ne celis tion.

  • With regard to your suggestion that one might react in a less than diplomatic manner to a perception he or she feels is incorrect, and which is heard often... yes, I can absolutely agree. All the same, I am going to suggest that you not allow your frustration to get the best of you. I might even suggest that the way to bring new people into the fold is not by snapping back at them, but rather embracing their misconceptions and helping them see the light. :)
    For instance, rather than defensively snap back that "yes, these things do exist, and if you haven't found them you're not trying" -- to which any human is most likely to respond with further negativity -- I might suggest you simply say, "wow, it's kind of frustrating because I hear that a lot, but my experience is quite different."
    Or better yet, just link to the web sites, so I can see for myself this rich world of Esperanto culture that seems to somehow escape my Google prowess! :)
    And regarding my ending comments, of "put up or shut up", I mean it! No offense directed at you, of course, but using you as an example, in two comments you've written enough text to fill my screen three times, and not a single hyperlink. Perhaps you can see how a newbie like me would get the impression that it's all talk and no substance?
    Had someone said those things about Italian... first, I would not take it as a personal offense. And second, I'd reply with a few dozen links to the things I find interesting in Italian. Naturally, they may not be interesting to everyone, but that's not my decision to make, and it's not my job to convince the world or anyone in it of the merits of the Italian language. :)

  • Randy, you are starting to sound as hot-headed and self-important as Steve Kaufmann. Is there any polyglot who is positive and welcoming to different ideas and opinions?

  • I don't really see your point. And in particular, for you to say that in response to this reply makes no sense to me! I might have been a bit more hot-headed elsewhere, but this was a perfectly reasonable and calm response. So honestly, I'm a bit confused as to what you mean... which really leaves me with the assumption that you didn't really mean anything at all, except to make some sort of negative implication about me.
    If there is a particular point on which you disagree with me, I would love to hear it. But if your goal was merely to try to insult me, I recommend you do it more directly. I'm quite honestly not afraid to hear things that I don't agree with!

  • I appreciate that even in your disagreement, you agree that there is truth in what I am saying. I often get the impression that typical Esperantists are so enamored of Esperanto that they are blind to the reality.
    I'm sure that there are other groups which don't ask for money, but I'm honestly put off even by the idea of "accepting dues" even though they're not mandatory. (Ironic to use the term "dues", though, isn't it?) I can't imagine the local Italian language meetup, or Russian language meetup asking for money, or even having "dues".
    But the heart of my problem is evident in your last paragraph. You said, "you just have to dig for it more". That's really the catch, isn't it? Think how much faster this culture could grow if people could actually find the stuff you all insist is "out there"! After all, I've shown that the language could be learned in a week... but I've also seen how easily interest can be lost in a week.
    And while so many people are so quick to write verbose comments telling me that this culture really does exist, very few have been able to provide even one hyperlink to it.

  • I welcome different ideas and opinions, I just don't like them. :)

  • It sounds like we need an anthropologist or sociologist to weigh in on what constitutes a "culture." By one definition I'm sure Esperanto could qualify, yet by another it wouldn't. (Please don't ask me what those definitions are, I'm just guessing that there are multiple definitions.)
    Does Esperanto "culture" survive beyond the individual members constituting the group? Is it robust enough to remain relatively intact throughout changes in its membership? Is the community well-defined enough to be identifiable, besides just speaking the language?

  • Wikipedia tells us that thee are three basic definitions for culture:
    * Excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities, also known as high culture
    * An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
    * The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group
    The third is the one that applies here. As some commenters have pointed out, under some of the more detailed definitions of this third aspect of culture, Esperanto doesn't have a culture.But under this basic one, Esperanto certainly does. Someone has written a book about exactly that (in Esperanto).
    By the way, I know Russ. I've met him (and his fiancee) at Esperanto functions. I saw nothing arrogant in his comments, but when I read stuff like this from you:
    "Barely any users? Translation: pointless."
    I do see arrogance there. Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and similar social sites had "barely any users" in the beginning. Were they pointless when they started? Are they pointless now?

  • "show me Esperanto web sites about cooking. Or sports. Or automobiles. Write some music. Make some graphics. Design a web site. Make some YouTube videos"
    Very good plan. Tell us when you are ready with your sites.
    Sed diable! Kial vi skribas angle se vi celas la tutan Esperantistaron. La angla E-movado estas kvazaŭ neekzistanta. La plejmulton de anglalingvanoj kontraŭas Esperanton, kaj havas la samajn antaŭjuĝojn.
    Se vi vere deziras alparoli la mondon, bonvolu skribi nialingve. Tiam vi ricevos komentojn de ne-anglalingvanoj kiuj pensas alimaniere. Uzante la anglan, vi restos en la angla kulturo.
    Kompreneble, ni bone konscias ke , post unu semajno de studado, vi ne povis atingi la supran nivelon. Ne hezitu fari erarojn, ni ĉiuj komencis tiamaniere.
    Kiam vi kontentos pri via lingva nivelo; vi povos aliĝi al la multaj renkontiĝoj, vidu ?

  • Hi, Randy,
    I appreciate your taking the time to discuss your thoughts, and to reply to many comments, some of which are argumentative. You are clearly an exceptional person in your interest in languages, and in the amount of time you have put into them. Your level of knowledge in a variety of languages, and your willingness to commit to learning new ones is very rare.
    Perceptions of other peoples posts is a curious thing. Reading your initial post, your self-assurance in your viewpoint is clear, as is your willingness to generalize your experience. That's fine. There are some errors of fact in almost all Internet postings, so discussing them, and differences in viewpoint, to my point of view, shouldn't be a problem. It's hard to imagine a blog that doesn't provoke a response of "You're wrong about facts A and D".
    Therefore, I am surprised by your response to the first posting from Russ. I felt that he made valid points politely, many of them from his own experience. In your response to him, you suggest that he might be "intentionally twisting it [your opinion] for the sake of argument" and "I still wouldn't expect to see someone take such an arrogant air of superiority". I've re-read his posting twice, and I can't see a sound basis for this reaction. He does use the phrase "incredibly false" to talk about an assertion of fact, but that is not an attack on a person, nor a negative characterization of a person or group.
    So you saw something in Russ's comments that I don't see, and I see something in phrases like "arrogant air of superiority" that seems to be an example of the very thing you are complaining about. OK. Viewpoints differ.
    I have a similar reaction to your second exchange with Russ. I'm perceiving that the things you are requesting in the conversation are in contrast to the things that you are providing in your postings.
    I wonder how you feel about these observations, and whether you are open to a somewhat more welcoming mode of expression within your blog discussions.
    Best wishes,

  • For some of the poetry I mentioned, look here (if poetry, especially poetry that rhymes and scans, interests you at all):
    Other posters have given you URLs for downloadable music; you can find more as CDs for sale in the catalogs of UEA or Esperanto USA. One or two other posters have posted links to mailing lists and fora where topics other than Esperanto are discussed in Esperanto. I think, between us, we've answered most though not all of your questions.
    To address another briefly -- there have been a few attempts to start a business catering primarily or solely to Esperanto speakers, as you suggest; to the best of my knowledge most of them have failed or continued as small projects that one or two people run in their spare time, not quitting their day job, and providing unique products that there's no direct competition in supplying -- such as publishing houses and studios that produce books, magazines, and music in Esperanto. That's partly because of the number of fluent Esperanto speakers, and partly because they're so scattered geographically -- even if an online store could offer better prices on some physical good than most of the competition, shipping costs would probably make it non-cost-effective for potential customers in most other countries; and why, unless for ideological reasons that are probably not conducive to making a profit and growing a business, would such a store refuse to deal with customers in any other language than Esperanto?

  • In short: the arrogance was in speaking for me -- attributing words and opinions to me that were not mine, in order to carry out an argument against them.
    To everything else: Honestly, I apologize if I presented myself as argumentative, or unwilling to hear disagreement. That's certainly not my intent. But then again, my intent is not to be dragged into a holy war over a language either.
    All I want here is discussion. And to that extent, while this topic may not have been 100% civil, it has certainly sparked a lot of discussion, so that's a success! And underneath a lot of passionate rhetoric, there were also a lot of good things said here by several people.
    I think that's good for everyone!

  • Thanks for your response, Randy. I agree, that your blog has sparked some good discussion.

  • Kara Amikema,
    I think your points are well taken. However, I've had an opposite experience in my life. What really got me hooked on Esperanto originally was a German publication in Esperanto which had an article about Albert Einstein, who was my idol when I was a teenager. Without even knowing any Esperanto, I was able to understand about 70% of it, and I was very impressed!
    Subsequently, after teaching myself from books, I decided to give Esperanto a try by reading an actual book in Esperanto. The book I chose was one I had always been curious about but never read: Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl. It was available in Esperanto translation (by a Norwegian), and I was able to understand it quite well. That really impressed me, because although I had received A's in French, which I had taken for three years in junior and high school--and even got four years' college credit at USC after taking a French Placement Test--I realized that I could not nearly as well understand a book written in French as I could one written in Esperanto.
    Anyway, I delved more into the history of Esperanto and learned how Dr. Zamenhof included a poem in his very first book about the language, and I became further impressed by the amount of high-quality original Esperanto literature available. Inspired, and being a poet myself (among other things), I set about writing songs in Esperanto--mostly jazz love songs--which I have performed many times over the years at various Esperanto gatherings.
    In short, for me, my experiences with Esperanto and the Esperanto community have been real-life experiences--not meta-experiences dealing only with the language itself (although I must admit I enjoy those too due to a sub-fascination with linguistics).
    Lastly, I should hasten to add that I have met many people around the world through Esperanto, and we all share a special type of bond I have not encountered with "foreign" English speakers. It is almost mystical: whenever I am speaking with an Esperanto speaker from a non-English-speaking background, after several minutes I sometimes forget that I am actually speaking with someone from another linguistic background than my own. I have actually been in an Esperanto conversation and gotten confused over whether the previous sentence spoken by the other person had been in Esperanto or English; in other words, the Esperanto seemed so natural, it was as if I were speaking my own native language. There was a true meeting of the minds midway between us, and two separate linguistic cultures merged into one. Esperanto has most definitely enhanced my underlying feeling that I am truly a citizen of the world. And that is a real-life, real-world epiphenomenon of an emerging culture that transcends national boundaries and mere linguistic game-playing.
    Bottom line: persevere! Esperantujo ekzistas, samkiel aliaj landoj kaj kulturoj--sed pli kuniga, cxar gxi reprezentas kulturon kiu emfazas la similecojn inter popoloj, la radikojn de cxiuj homaranoj, kaj, miaopinie, la estontecon de nia planedo.

  • I guess Esperanto is like most things, what you make of it. I have been able to utilize it in a way that has been useful to me.
    Just wanted to tip you of on the swedish/finnish/russian/Esperanto blog of Kalla Kniivilä who works as a correspondent for the Swedish paper Sydsvenskan.

  • As for dues -- I'm not sure why you're put off by the idea of a non-profit organization accepting donations. We use said donations (which we might ought not to call "dues", but whatever) for publicizing Esperanto locally, donating books about Esperanto to public libraries, paying for meeting space and other expenses of an Esperanto course, and buying books in Esperanto for our club library.
    If a group has no purpose other than to get together and talk about a favorite subject or in a favorite language, like the local meetup groups you mention, and it's able to get suitable free meeting space, then dues or donations are probably inappropriate. But, though that's our primary purpose, it's not our only one, and some of the others need a little money to accomplish.

  • One technique that might be useful, if your Google-fu and Esperanto vocabulary are not strong, is to:
    1. Search for an article in the English Wikipedia on a subject that interests you.
    2. If there's an interwiki link to the Esperanto Wikipedia, click there.
    3. Check out the references and external links in the Esperanto Wikipedia article on the subject. Also, the Talk: page for that article, if it exists.
    4. Follow up other cross-references from the main articles in each Wp to other related articles, continuing to look for relevant references and external links.

  • Randy,
    I find that I split the difference between your viewpoint and that of some of the other Esperantists who have replied to you. You are correct in noting that you have not found Esperanto culture. That is a simple statement of what you were looking for and what you didn't find. Some of the people responding have pointed out where some of it is.
    Yes, a large percentage of the energy expended by Esperantists is about Esperanto and learning or teaching it. There's nothing actually wrong with that. However, as someone has already brought up Steve Kaufmann here, I'll say that I whole-heartedly agree with his position that learning a language is more pleasant and effective when you graduate from textbooks to real content and real conversation.
    My participation in the "Esperanto Community" has led me to consider what culture is. When I was younger, I had a very passive view of it. However, at it's core, culture begins just above the level of transient conversation. It is the combined experiences, ideas and expressions of a community that are interesting enough that they are passed from person to person. Esperanto managed, against very long odds, to cross the threshold that made that possible. There is some minimal level of interaction among the participants in a culture that is necessary to sustain it. I doubt that anyone can completely quantify it, but I think it requires two things. First, that the culture extends farther than the limits of one person to participate in all of it. And second, that when one person is apart from the culture, something happens in his absence.
    The Esperanto Community and Esperanto culture are more vibrant and active than is easily visible from the outside. I think the comments above will bear out that it is not difficult to find Esperantists who can and will tell you that. The flip side of that is that Esperanto is much closer to the threshold below which it would not sustain a culture. I don't mean to say that it is in serious danger of falling below that threshold, because I don't actually believe it is. However, when looking for social interaction online or in real life, it is common to run across various efforts that look either like an individual or small group attempting to bootstrap something into being, or a group of people holding on to something that is only kept alive by their presence. This doesn't mean that the community and culture are failing, but that as a whole, the number of people involved in the culture is not large enough to sustain every effort to create a venue for it.
    As I've said, a smaller, more dispersed community maintains its culture through more active participation by its members. Unlike participating solely in the dominant culture of a country or some other geographically defined area, Esperantists must not only speak another language some of the time, but we must participate in another culture. As such, there are very active Esperantists who are quite fluent in English and quite interested in learning languages. It's unsurprising that several read your articles.
    Esperanto culture does have some interesting aspects all its own. There are inside jokes and puns that just don't translate. But it is also a melting pot. It is a metaphorical place where people who split their time between cultures meet. We have some cultural artifacts that have been around for a very long time. We also have some that have evolved very recently.
    Culture is not the artifacts that it creates. Ancient Rome is dead, both as a political entity and as a culture. That we can observe its literature, art, architecture, etc. does not make it alive. Even the fact that so many other cultures evolved from it does not mean that they are still it. Culture exists as the interaction of people. Because the community of Esperantists, especially active Esperantists, is not particularly large and is widely dispersed, the Esperanto culture exists where groups of Esperantists happen to get together.
    Thank you for taking the time to learn some Esperanto. I, for one, would continue to welcome your input and insights in Esperantujo. If you want to help in the ongoing creation of culture, please stay a while. Don't expect it to be huge. However, it is big enough that it has been sustaining itself longer than any currently living Esperantists have been involved.
    - Dale

  • You are not my customer. I am not your service provider. However, let's imagine the situation like this and treat this like a customer complaint.
    So, while we offer a lot of good stuff in the internet, you did not succeed to find it. In order to improve the service, we need to find out which are the important key words. The most possible reason your search was not successful is that we did not know which key words people use in order to find suitable Esperanto ressources.
    Let us concentrate on one topic - Esperanto music. Please explain:
    Which words did you type using Google?
    Which searches did you do at Youtube?
    Which Wikipedia articles did you scan?
    What other popular internet places were a basis of your research?
    In return, I give some ideas where to start:
    I hope this first link collection may help. Feel free to contact me if you need further ressources or if you are looking for something for special which is not covered by these general links.

    general "news magazine" sort of podcast show, each episode is about 15mins long.

  • Esperantists are a passionate bunch.
    I have a massive collection of Esperanto Links on my BLog to which you can use to learn and/or immerse yourself in Esperanto: music, video, reading, websites... etc...
    I hope that you are able to continue on your Esperanto learning adventure.
    My wife is also Russian, Belarussian, to be specific and we, like you, have friends here and in Europe that are from Russia, Belaruse and other Russian, Republics. =)

    Here's Esperanto foremost record label, choke-full of music in countless genres.
    Stay tuned for the upcoming HipHop Kompilo Vol.2 !!
    Aside from that, there's plenty of magazines, webzines, web papers, ktp ktp ktp, in Esperanto but not ABOUT Esperanto.
    Dig in, 'nuff said :P

  • PS: Thanks for the reflection, though. At least, you took the time to study the language before giving it your "review", unlike most critics who just dismiss it without so much as having heard a word of it. Stimulating discussion.

  • Hi,
    ( Firstly, I haven't read all of the previous comments so please forgive me if I'm restating things.) I just want to say that I've been casually learning and playing around with Esperanto for a year and I've found Esperanto news sites, Esperanto music, Esperanto movies, and I'm chatting with people from Russia, France, Japan, China, Spain, Brazil, who don't speak my native language. I'm learning lots about Japanese food from a couple of them, and about endangered plants from another. Esperanto is out there. But you are right, it needs more. Will you be spending only a week on Esperanto or will you take more time to get to know it, as you have for other languages? You are in a perfect situation to help find and promote the developing Esperanto culture during your exploration.
    As a side note, I have noticed a surprising improvement in my comprehension of French (learned in high school; lost in life) since I started Esperanto. Apparently, Esperanto can be used as a bridge to learning a new language - who knew!?! If learning another language can help open your mind to even more languages, then why not learn the easiest one first? I'll be brushing up my French and going on to Spanish.

  • Mi ŝatas vian poŝton. Mi samopinias ĉar vi. Jen estas retpaĝoj ke ne koncerne la lingvo. Ekzemple:
    Mi penas ke ĉi tiuj helpos vin. Mi ŝatas legi en Esperanto, sed mi malkapablas paroli en Esperanto kun aliaj geviroj. Mi estas sola. Bonan ŝancon.

  • Mi ŝatas vian poŝton. Mi samopinias ĉar vi. Jen estas retpaĝoj ke ne koncerne la lingvo. Ekzemple:
    Mi penas ke ĉi tiuj helpos vin. Mi ŝatas legi en Esperanto, sed mi malkapablas paroli en Esperanto kun aliaj geviroj. Mi estas sola. Bonan ŝancon.

  • I think your post (this and earlier ones) were well done. I think your opinion is very valid because I have discovered the same situations. It saddens me that so many people are gruff on your blog after you did this very interesting and entertaining experiment. Your call to action is a very good suggestion, one that we all can get behind since it would, IMHO, really provide a motivation to learn the language.
    I've used the same tactic with my family. Sometimes I'll only post comments on FB in EO and let them figure it out. It becomes like a game for my kids to guest what the EO word for things are as we drive or wander around. Sadly there aren't enough speakers and periodicals around to make it more "useful" to non-speakers.
    Mi amas Eserpanto, la lingvo por unulingvantoj.

  • Vi poŝto estas bona, krom la fino. I read his post twice and it isn't arrogant. It's his experience after a week. It took me months to find resources on the net that were useful to hearing, learning and reading Esperanto. That's the hard part, that's the point he's making IIRC.
    He's also saying there aren't place where he lives that has Esperanto speakers -- place that give the best sandwiches or special price breaks to samamikoj. He's saying (as I put words into his mouth so this is really how I interpreted his words) that he hasn't found it useful. Then he provided a list of remedies.
    Dude, that's helpful. The culture is there but it's in clumps. He's not near or in that clump.

    This group has great albums in Esperanto. I still play them in my car. I had to buy it off a French site using Euros. Their first album came with the words that I was forced to translate to understand. That was fun. Did I say great music?

  • Randy, you can find another example of how someone can live inside the Esperanto culture by reading The Esperanto Book, by Don Harlow, former president of the UEA (if I'm not mistaken), who passed away a few years ago. You can read the book online, here:
    His book illustrates how some of us come to Esperanto, and why. It's an emotional and agreeable read. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

  • I think it's pretty amazing that so many Esperantists have been so polite about your gonzoid attempt to cram it in a week and then share the benefits of your wisdom. As a komencanto myself (I've been learning for a year and I'm pretty crap, and I speak here for no-one but myself) I would have thought it was obvious that there are going to be some very different aspects to learning an invented, international language instead of a national language. Hey, maybe you should look at that a bit closer - there may well be benefits you have misunderstood!

  • You're dismissing my attempt to learn on the basis that it doesn't match your own expectations... but there's nothing gonzoid about it. I already speak and understand many of the languages upon which Esperanto is based. And all of Esperanto's grammar can be learned and understood in one night. What's most interesting to me is that during the week while I attempted this experiment, I made several requests for a conversation by Skype with any speaker of Esperanto to test how much I had learned, but I never got a single offer. Considering that everybody talks about Esperanto as a language that brings people together, I consider that a huge indictment of the community. Eventually, weeks later, I did get one offer from one person, but he didn't want to help, he just wanted to argue with me that I'm wrong. So I think maybe before you go calling me gonzo and dismissing my attempts to learn a language, perhaps you should consider how much attention I brought to the topic of Esperanto by my "gonzo experiment", and how tragically the Esperanto community mismanaged that opportunity to gain traction.

  • A lot of your opinion (at least from this post) seems to hinge on your poor experience in trying to find someone to speak with via Skype. =(
    I am not exactly sure what your method was in contacting people via Skype (and I am making a lot of assumptions here in the absence of more info). Were you contacting random people via Skype that had mentioned Esperanto in their Skype profile or something similar? I do not use Skype myself so please forgive my if I am way off.
    Probably the best way to get results is going to a social network that specializes in Esperanto like Lernu or other Esperanto sites:
    just a thought...

  • James, take a look at how many comments are on this page, and from how many authors... most of whom are, presumably, Esperantists. If I make a request for someone to talk to me by Skype on this web site, I think it's reasonable to expect that there are enough Esperantists coming here to provide me with ONE. This is not a failure of my use of Skype, this is a failure of the Esperanto community to provide me with a use for the language. If I want to practice my Italian, or Spanish, or Russian, I can hit Google and within mere minutes have a chat partner, and with little additional effort, a Skype conversation.
    Esperantists continue to come to my web site arguing that the reason for their language's failure is somehow my fault! As if I should have known more URLs, or I should have searched harder. Step back for a moment and think about that! You want this to be the international language, but it's MY fault when that doesn't happen?
    Thanks for the link to Chatonic. I've never seen that before and it actually looks useful -- at least on initial impressions. By comparison, MyLanguageExchange is a joke -- a completely garbage web site. And Lernu, while useful for learners, hasn't proven to be a good source for anything but lessons. Incidentally, none of these three fit the definition of social network... and I guess that's what's really missing for Esperanto.

  • I agree totally, this is what's been bugging me about learning that language

  • Ciao!
    Visto che studi Italiano, qualche parolina o frasetta in questa lingua te la posso scrivere! ;)Well, mi ankaŭ parolas Esperante. Mi eklernis ĝin antaŭ jaro. Mi krome konas mia lingvo, la Itala, la Ĉina, la Angla kaj iom Hispana, Franca kaj Latina. Maybe I'm not a very polyglot (I actually know persons, who knows more than 20 languages), but I've some experience in languages.Well, you can try to figure out a language as Esperanto in one week. You can try also learn it by this time. But, you should be more careful about your opinion, 'cause there's a lot of people who loves Esperanto and cares for it.Actually, you can't learn about the Esperanto community in only one week. Esperanto is a constructed language, a sort of abstraction, as a mathematical theory. But the Esperanto community are people, and, guess what, they don't speak only about Esperanto. Certainly, they do speak about their unusual language, 'cause they want to use it as THE European language (side by side of the Europeans languages) or the world language, but it's not the entire story.Ti consiglio di guardare Qui ho trovato veramente la "Terra esperantista" (the "Esperanto Land" aŭ la "Esperanta lando", la "Verda lando"). Si parla di tante cose, anche dell'Esperanto stesso.A mio avviso è normale che quei pochi esperantisti che si riuniscono parlino spesso dell'Esperanto. E' una questione gregaria!P.s.: mi uzis la Esperanton por paroli pri Neŭronaj retoj kaj kreemo fronte al Esperanta publiko antaŭ kelka monato; ĝi estis tre bela sperto, kaj ankaŭ sufiĉe facila. Komence, mi decidis sekvi la prezentadon, kiun mi antaŭe preparis. Kiam mi estis tie, finfine mi sentis min sufiĉe trankvila por paroli libere!
    Krome, mi uzas la Esperanton kaj por skribi pri tagaj okazoj kaj pri scienco (mi estas fizikisto). Mi ankaŭ tradukis en Esperanto diversajn kantojn, filmajn subtitolojn, poeziojn, artikolojn kaj Vikipediaĵojn.
    Ne nur, mi verkis ankaŭ rekte en Esperanto: poeziojn, rakontojn, artikolojn, pensojn, la notojn de mia taglibro, kaj tiel plu.
    La vera Esperanta lando estas interrete kaj eble dum la Esperantaj kongresoj. La etaj aroj, kiujn oni povas trovi en niaj urboj, ne ĉiam reflektas la tutan Esperantistaron.

  • You're kidding me, right?I have so carefully chosen my words, to be a reflection of what I perceive to be problems with a particular constructed language, and you have decided to make it personal and come get offended, and write a two-page reply.... and you say I should be more careful about my opinion?You're a classic example of what's wrong with Esperanto! You have taken my disappointment with a language and chosen to interpret it as a personal attack against you.Let's be frank here: You're not defending Esperanto, you're defending your own fanaticism about Esperanto. You're insecure about your own choices in life, and the only way to feel better about yourself is to come to my web site and tell me that I am wrong.

  • Oh my god! I was expecting all (especially a "no-answer"), but not your answer.
    I decide to reply to you, 'cause I think that there was some misunderstanding.I wasn't try to offend you. But you, man, you're got a bit over.
    I neither was defending myself. I challenge you find any attack in my words. The only thing I said about you was the following phrase:
    "[...] you should be more careful about your opinion, 'cause there's a lot of people who loves Esperanto and cares for it."
    And this is my opinion. Nothing that ever could be or would want to be an attack.Besides, I didn't claim anything about you, neither positive nor negative. I wasn't talk about you, so you don't need to be offended.I didn't defend anything. I wrote my opinion about the Esperanto community and their way to use that language.
    Let me say, being sincere, that you haven't written about a perceived "problems with a particular constructed language"; you wrote about the "use of Esperanto": Esperanto as a mere language used to spoke about Esperanto. I repeat it: this is not a claim about the Esperanto language, but the Esperanto community. Therefore, if you reduce this community, it's natural that some people of it could get angry (personally not even).Well, I answer only for my self, the other are the other, and I know that there is some Esperantist that is too stupidly angry.Instead, note that you wrote about me:1) "You're a classic example of what's wrong with Esperanto!"
    2) "you're defending your own fanaticism about Esperanto."
    3) "You're insecure about your own choices in life, and the only way to feel better about yourself is to come to my web site and tell me that I am wrong."As I just wrote, I didn't assert anything about you.So, who is bit too hot-tempered?A greeting from me, an Italian that is a bad example of what's wrong in Esperanto, being a fanatic and insecure about his choices in life!Per altro, il tuo blog è interessante! ;)

  • Look. You mentioned that you're Italian, so I'm going to assume that this is just a language barrier. In English, when you say to someone, "you should be careful", those are provokative words... indicative of an argument or the beginning of a fight.More generally, however... and in any language, not just in English... telling someone what to do (eg, "you should...") is generally pretty offensive.But what's most interesting to me, though, is the huge number of empassioned, emotional responses I've gotten here from the Esperanto community, basically proving me right on almost all counts.It's utter religious fanaticism, and I find it ridiculous.

  • I'm happy about the new tone of the dialogue. ;)Nothing is worth a fight!Watch out for that "in any language", you should know all the languages to say it! In my opinion it isn't so. For example, considering that you're learning Italian, the translation of "should" is the verb "dovere" conjugated by the conditional: "you should" = "dovresti". Well, this verb isn't bad, and actually you can use it without any sort of problem!
    "You should be more careful to/about..." was an advice, not an instigation.
    Even in Esperanto it wouldn't be bad: "vi devus esti pli atenta...".Well, at last I'm pleased with my self: you didn't notice that I'm not English-native! That should means that I'm good at English-writing! ;DP.s.: I got curious about your name, "Randy". I search it on the Oxford Dictionary on-line and I found:
    (informal) sexually aroused or exited
    (Scottish archaic) having a rude, aggressive manner
    The Oxford dictionary says that it derives perhaps from obsolete rand ‘rant, rave’, from obsolete Dutch "randen", 'to rant'.
    "to rant", instead, it's from the late 16th century (in the sense ‘behave boisterously’): from Dutch ranten 'talk nonsense, rave'.
    Did you actually know about it?Bye!

  • As I like to say... Randy isn't just a name, it's a state of mind!

  • oh, sorry Randy, it's my fault! :-) To encourage discussion within the group, I sent the link to this post to the mailing list of young Esperanto speakers (yes, I admit, I am one of them ...), ... and I reopened the debate here!
    You know, recently I was introduced to a young girl who told me: "I am an American.That's why I seem so arrogant." :-) I came back to mind now, because I think it is your very direct communication style to make your post appear for some people unfairly provocative. However, the Esperanto is better than other people, and react the same way other people react: so often irrationally emotional, sometimes aggressively, sometimes with indifference, and so on ... But sometimes they also try to get something constructive from the comments they receive. You're right: the Esperanto movement has a lot of communication problems and there is much work to be done regarding our "image-building". It took almost two years (since I started studying Esperanto) to understand that I could also use it to discover that it is a living language, with a fascinating history and rich culture. I'm so angry for not having discovered before! I trust that you did not want to criticize people, but present your experience of first contact with Esperanto, saying what went well and what does not. I think you should't not stop this first impression, but I think as well that esperantist should take your advise to heart.

  • oops, a mistake, I wanted to write: "Esperanto speakers are NOT better than other people '... (Of course :-))

  • To say "reopened the debate" seems misleading, since I don't believe there was ever much debate. Debate implies a two-sided discussion of a topic. But I introduce a topic and there has been no debate of it. Everyone just comes to defend Esperanto.
    Esperantists read what I have written and perceive it as a personal attack against them. (That's not me using a provocative writing style, that's insecure Esperantists feeling defensive!) They then write long, angry replies telling me how wrong I am, but in those replies they do all the things they accuse me of doing, and worse, they don't offer any actual proof that I'm wrong. Just more seething opinions.
    I understand psychology. I understand what is happening here. I didn't really say anything particularly arrogant or provocative. It only seems that way to Esperantists, and that's only because on some level they know I'm right. It forces them to resolve an internal conflict... one that I believe most Esperantists probably experience (I know I experienced it for the week or two that I was interested in Esperanto): the conflict of feeling that you're being judged for doing something, and doing it anyway. It's exactly the same thing religious people experience: no matter how much they might question their own beliefs in their private time, they all react strongly (even violently) to anyone else questioning their beliefs. Frankly, I have no room for that in my language studies.

  • Let me know... are there any other of our young Esperanto speakers, besides me, who wrote here?
    If not... I'm not so pleased about that "oh, sorry Randy, it's my fault!", should I?Randy created this public space to shares his thoughts with everyone who find his site. The responsibility of what he write is his. Furthermore being a public site, he should expect every sort of opinion, positive or negative. That is the price for saying something to the world, and I think that he knows that well.

  • My experience tells me that is not so simple to find the "right" informations for the Esperanto culture (that is, all that isn't the mere grammar). I needed a lot of months to find out something about it. Well, yes, if you google "Esperanto" or "Esperanto music" (or even, better, some Esperanto words) something you find. But only after a big "bunch" of research, one can actually find something.
    That is true about any culture and also about the USA. The world could watch all the films and listen all the music that USA produce every year, and still be far from the understanding of the Americans. And isn't necessary that I mention the English-culture as the one, which is the most spread over the Internet.About Esperanto, the things got worse, 'cause the Esperanto community isn't ordinary and so we are not used to face this kind of culture. Esperantists are spread, they haven't a land and they have an incredible mix of cultures.
    Esperanto benefits of the Internet-era, and, in my opinion, is the first culture that have his land in the world wide web. So, it's a very strange thing.It's impossible to know the entire community in the short period.

  • There are over 80 comments here. Your question, however rhetorical, is quite arrogant.In response to the latter bit, yes. I created a public space. And I enabled commenting so others could share this public space. But I do hope that people will use it in a respectful and positive manner. I would hate it if I had to start censoring comments, or blocking people from commenting.

  • The irony of this comment is that after all of your defense of Esperanto, and your strong opinions about me and my post, you have now essentially said exactly what it was that I said in my post.You're making my argument for me! :)

  • I didn't understand this response of yours.
    I was always coherent with my posts.So, the:
    - "you should be careful about your opinion"
    - "you can't learn about the Esperanto community in only one week", considering that:
    -"you wrote about the 'use of Esperanto': Esperanto as a mere language used to spoke about Esperanto"
    in fact:
    - "is not so simple to find the "right" informations for the Esperanto culture"
    - "That is true about any culture"
    - "the Esperanto community isn't ordinary and so we are not used to face this kind of culture"
    - "you should be careful about your opinion"Well, the ring is closed. This is all coherent.Oh, about that "all of your defence of Esperanto" of yours.
    I don't actually tend to defend nothing: I care about the truth, as a physicist that I am, and I know that isn't so easy to find. So I always preach prudence on claims.
    That was my first post.

  • "But I do hope that people will use it in a respectful and positive manner. I would hate it if I had to start censoring comments, or blocking people from commenting."
    Of course, and I hope this nice blog will be always read by that kind of respectful and positive people. :)

  • That was a completely dishonest, mischaracterization of the conversation. I'm sorry, but this is the kind of nonsense I just don't need.The only logical solution is for me to close commenting on this post. I'm tired of playing this stupid game with every Esperanto apologist who comes along.

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