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My English teacher really hates Esperanto

  Tags: Esperanto | English
 Language Learning Forum : Esperanto Post Reply
194 messages over 25 pages: << Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 20 ... 24 25 Next >>
Chung
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 Message 153 of 194
21 November 2007 at 4:59pm | IP Logged 
Esperanto can sound a bit like Polish, if one is used to Polish. When I hear Esperanto it does sound a little bit like someone trying to speak a Romance language with Polish stress placement. However, I'm familiar with both Polish and Romance languages so this reaction is just me and could be valid for someone who has a similar background. (Then again, I've read that some dialects of Macedonian also have fixed penultimate stress, so it really depends on the listener.)

In addition, Rye's observation may be valid since Polish was one of Zamenhof's mother tongues. Whether Zamenhof's choice of stress placement in Esperanto is definitely linked to Polish is tough for me to prove, but then again it doesn't surprise me that Esperanto reflects the experience and world-view of its creator. After all, how could Zamenhof have created a language without any reference point? He had to use what he knew and what he believed would work. Hypothetically, an Arab who would have tried to create a similar type of language would have been influenced by his own background and world-view. Perhaps there'd be more of a Middle Eastern view with more elements familiar to speakers of Semitic or Indo-Aryan languages.

Given my experience with the debate over Esperanto, I take all sites that boost or attack Esperanto with a grain of salt. Both critics and proponents will interpret the facts as they see fit, if nothing more than to validate to themselves that they are "right". I'm just as wary of relying on Remush's site as I am of Rye's site "Learn not to speak Esperanto" (the one linked by Volte). So far, I have not seen anything that lays out the facts of Esperanto in a dispassionate way. I see lots of "weasel words" or "peacock terms" (as Wikipedia calls them) in nominally "fair" sites that discuss Esperanto. One can always sense that apologist or defensive tinge in anything that supports Esperanto as much as one can always sense something approaching paranoia or personal hostility on some sites that attack Esperanto. There has to be a balance, and so far I have not encountered anything suitable. Ideally I'd be interested in analysis by a linguist who specializes in creoles and artificial/planned languages who may or may not speak Esperanto.

I suppose that it's logical for me to see this polarity about Esperanto since the only people who'd care to create websites or books dealing with Esperanto are either native speakers or eager students and want to propagate mostly the pros (thus postively-biased) and those who proudly renounce their links to Esperanto or those who are against the whole idea from the beginning and want to propagate mostly the cons (thus negatively-biased).
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Sprachprofi
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 Message 154 of 194
21 November 2007 at 5:35pm | IP Logged 
Italian words are typically stressed on the penultimate syllable, too. But I don't care really, if Zamenhof took the idea of penultimate stress from Polish, that's fine by me, in fact I prefer it to the German/English/Greek kind of stress that can be just about anywhere. As long as he didn't introduce Polish unpronounceable words or those consonants that are neither here nor there...

Quote:
Given my experience with the debate over Esperanto, I take all sites that boost or attack Esperanto with a grain of salt.

Please do so.

Quote:
One can always sense that apologist or defensive tinge in anything that supports Esperanto as much as one can always sense something approaching paranoia or personal hostility on some sites that attack Esperanto. There has to be a balance, and so far I have not encountered anything suitable. Ideally I'd be interested in analysis by a linguist who specializes in creoles and artificial/planned languages who may or may not speak Esperanto.

Do not believe that linguists are any more balanced in their opinions. They have more of a repertory from which to take and discard facts (as Rye's site is clearly written by somebody with knowledge of linguistics) and in fact the most fervent promoters and opponents of Esperanto are linguists. This is in part due to linguists not being able to provide a non-controversial definition of 'language' and not knowing what it takes to make a language 'work', they can claim that Esperanto 'won't work' just by citing a definition, without looking at reality at all.

Quote:
I suppose that it's logical for me to see this polarity about Esperanto since the only people who'd care to create websites or books dealing with Esperanto are either native speakers or eager students and want to propagate mostly the pros (thus postively-biased) and those who proudly renounce their links to Esperanto or those who are against the whole idea from the beginning and want to propagate mostly the cons (thus negatively-biased).

I do not know what it is, but opinions are definitely incredibly polarized on Esperanto. You can hardly find anybody who is neutral to it. Claude Piron as a psychologist believes it may be due to Esperanto perceivedly attacking something so corely human as language, so that people's gut reaction (without having seen any further information) is to say that nothing artificial could ever convey emotions and culture as well as a natural language could - even though it does, as 120 years have shown. I have personally observed this gut reaction from people that only just heard about Esperanto, but I'm not sure it's all there is to this polarization. Anyway, I try to be objective, but of course I'm biased in favour of Esperanto, especially since I have a lot to thank Esperanto for.


Edited by Sprachprofi on 21 November 2007 at 5:37pm

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remush
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 Message 155 of 194
21 November 2007 at 5:49pm | IP Logged 
Volte wrote:
It is _not_ true that you need to understand/assimilate the 16 rules: they're poorly written, inconsistent, and vary from translation to translation.

These are 2 statements.
Do you mean : 1) that one does not need to assimilate the 16 rules?
Do you mean : 2) one cannot possibly understand the 16 rules written in English (because the translation is wrong)?

Read again with more attention Memoru: Fundamento

Quote:

Why is it only French and Russian readers who are told about the preposition <el>, used with superlatives? Are the rules different for them?

"out of" seems to be an easy enough translation of "el". In French it is not used like that in the case described, so it seems normal than French need more explanation than English.
You did not read my previous comment about the HUGE grammar and why it is so.

You are welcome to ask questions in case you cannot understand a rule while reading the "Ekzercaro". See the 16 rules as a first help to understand "La Ekzercaro". The site you mentionned will not help you much for that. Read it again after you have completed exercise 42; by then you will be able to evaluate what it's worth.

Anyway thanks for avoiding the ideological arguments.
.
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Chung
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 Message 156 of 194
21 November 2007 at 6:10pm | IP Logged 
The problem is that if we discard linguists' views because of the vagaries in defining what a language is, then the only point of reference is the polarized and polemical views of both supporters and critics who are not trained linguists and definitely allow the language debate to devolve into a shouting match of: "my language is better than yours, so there." A linguist is much less likely to become this partisan and instead much more likely to be skeptical of claims of "superior" or "inferior" languages than a non-linguist.

It's true that an expert (not just a linguist) doesn't necessarily have better judgement. Yet the probability of finding something objective is higher when we're dealing with someone who has a greater store of knowledge to draw on. Often the nonsense comes from misinformed folk (or those who deliberately ignore the whole picture).

The aspect of Esperanto with which I disagree most is the logic that enthusiastic Esperantists are like satisfied customers or people who want to share favourite recipies. It's well-meant but what's good for the goose isn't always good for the gander. (By the way, its artificiality and ability to express human experience doesn't bother me since allmost all languages in a sense are "artificial" and by nature must be useful to its speakers, otherwise its users gradually devise new ways to get their point across given the rules of their language/"system". It's when people try to make more of a language/system than what it is that I start to become wary.)

As much as I love Slovak and have encouraged people here to study it (in some cases as their first Slavonic language), I unhesitatingly list the pros and cons, and in the end leave things open-ended. I'm fully aware that those who are not familiar with Slavonic languages or used to such "well-stocked" languages like Mandarin, German, Spanish or Arabic will find Slovak to be a tough choice (especially compared to the related Russian). I like to think that all that I do is provide my experience when asked and give the listener credit to make his/her own choice. It doesn't matter then if their choice would be opposite to mine or not. Just because I love Slovak doesn't mean that I should feel disappointed that others don't share my enthusiasm or feel obliged to defend it when someone says that it sounds like junk or is almost as unpronouncable as Polish. Meh.

If I were an Esperanto speaker, I would do the same approach as I would for Slovak. If someone were to ask me why study Esperanto, I'd list the biggest pro as its being easy to pick up for someone with a background in Romance or Germanic languages. The biggest con is that it has the baggage of being associated with an ideology and all of the attendant prejudices from both its supporters and critics. For me, when politics/ideology and a language get too closely identified, I tend to pull away. Admittedly I lost some of my desire to continue studying Croatian because issues about the language were tied to politics which were a turn-off. My view towards Esperanto would be no different as the political/ideological angle would only serve to distract me when all that I want is to satisfy my curiosity about a system and its people. My learning is an asset to me, but is not a liability to anyone else.

P.S. Sprachprofi, Polish is perfectly pronounceable :-). Sz, cz and rz are built on the same concept as the typewritten sx, cx and hypothetical rx of Esperanto. :-P

Edited by Chung on 21 November 2007 at 6:23pm

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leosmith
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 Message 157 of 194
22 November 2007 at 6:54am | IP Logged 
If one learns esperanto, would it be wise to put it on a resume?
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Sprachprofi
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 Message 158 of 194
22 November 2007 at 7:35am | IP Logged 
leosmith wrote:
If one learns esperanto, would it be wise to put it on a resume?

It didn't hurt William Shatner, even though the Esperanto movie he starred in was really, absolutely bad... guess it depends on how anti-Esperanto or pro-Esperanto your potential boss is.

I think even most of the anti-Esperanto people won't care too much if you put Esperanto among the languages you speak (as long as your 'past experience' doesn't mostly consist of Esperanto stuff), except those who are really paranoid about anything Esperanto. Those who just think Esperanto won't work don't have any reason to think less of you. And in some cases it is an advantage: if the boss himself learned Esperanto at some point (I've accidentally met Esperanto speakers at the oddest times), if he generally likes multilingual employees or if it's combined with an achievement that anybody could respect (e. g. my boyfriend founded the Esperanto Wikipedia).

If you're offering a service, you might get extra business by listing all your foreign languages (including Esperanto), e. g. we were recently looking for a German lawyer that could explain things to Chuck, and we found one who lists Esperanto as one of his languages in his profile.

Edited by Sprachprofi on 22 November 2007 at 7:40am

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newyorkeric
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 Message 159 of 194
22 November 2007 at 9:08am | IP Logged 
leosmith wrote:
If one learns esperanto, would it be wise to put it on a resume?


Most potential employers, presumably, won't know what Esperanto is. So if they want to know, what will they do? Probably google it and stumble across these sometimes rather nasty "debates" about the pros and cons of the language. Would you want to leave the impression with an employee that you are part of this debate? No offense to anyone...

Sprachprofi wrote:
It didn't hurt William Shatner


This made me laugh out loud. 8^p
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LilleOSC
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 Message 160 of 194
22 November 2007 at 10:06am | IP Logged 
Sprachprofi wrote:
(e. g. my boyfriend founded the Esperanto Wikipedia).


Really? I was glad to see Esperanto on Wikipedia. There are over 10,000 articles in Esperanto there.


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