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9. Isn't Esperanto "too European"?




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This article is from the Esperanto FAQ, by Mike Urban urban@netcom.com and Yves Bellefeuille yan@storm.ca with numerous contributions by others.

9. Isn't Esperanto "too European"?

Joseph Voros:

The argument seems to always come down to the difference between
agglutination and separate roots. Or "Eastern" and "Western" style
languages, broadly speaking (I know it's an over-simplification).
Some people think every concept needs its own root, others are happy
to begin with some basic set and modify. Two incompatible systems of
thinking.

I consider Esperanto to be a good compromise between "Western"
root-based thinking and "Eastern" agglutinative thinking (again,
very roughly speaking). Having a Hungarian background, I delight in
the simple elegance of Esperanto word-building. [Unlike just about
every other language in Europe, Hungarian is *not* Indo-European; it
comes from a completely different language family. Thus, it is as
unrelated to Esperanto as English is to Arabic, for example. -- Ed.]

I think there is something for everyone in Esperanto, no matter what
your linguistic background, and that this is one major reason why it
is the most successful of the auxiliary languages.

Sylvan Zaft:

The other night I was having dinner here in the Detroit area with
Koralo Chen, an Esperanto speaker from China whose home is very
close to Hong Kong. I presented this objection to him. Koralo Chen
replied that he had often heard this objection but that it made
little sense to him. In his part of the world the major languages
are completely unlike each other. Knowing Chinese doesn't help with
learning how to speak Korean or Japanese, for instance.

I can see why this objection makes good theoretical sense to some
Westerners, but it makes no sense at all to those Chinese who, like
Koralo Chen, need not a theoretically perfect but very practical
language to learn for international communication.

 

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