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9. Should we create a language with words from all around the world? (Esperanto)




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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. Should we create a language with words from all around the world? (Esperanto)

Manuel M Campagna:

The International Auxiliary Language Association (IALA) researched
this point scientifically, and came up with the conclusion that
while there are 6 170 languages in the world (not including
dialects) AT THIS TIME, there is no evidence that a language with
one word from each language would be more popular. Indeed it would
be an unworkable hodgepodge.

David Poulson:

This objection has been handled at length by Prof. Pierre Janton. In
brief, there are two major facts to take into account. First of all,
there are thousands of languages in the world and if Esperanto
attempted to create its vocabulary from even 10% of them you would
simply get a language which would be very difficult to learn for
everybody instead of the real Esperanto which is relatively easy for
all.

Secondly, the world-wide spread of Euro-American science, commerce,
technology, geopolitics, entertainment, etc., has meant that many
technical terms from "Western" languages have entered the vocabulary
of many other languages too. So, in fact, the European basis for
Esperanto's vocabulary is a lot more international than appears at
first sight.

However, the whole argument is really irrelevant because the
internationalism of Esperanto -- or of any other planned language --
cannot reside in its vocabulary for the reason just mentioned.

In fact, what makes Esperanto a truly "international" language (as
distinct from a "world" language like English) is its extraordinary
semantic flexibility which allows speakers from different language
families to translate their own thought patterns directly into
Esperanto and produce something which is perfectly intelligible and
grammatically correct.

 

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