1. What is Esperanto?

"Esperanto" was the pseudonym with which the creator of the Lingvo Internacia or International Language (that is how he called it) signed its first grammar in 1887. With time, the language itself was known like Dr. Esperanto's language, or simply Esperanto. In this language the word means he who is hoping, and it is not an adjective -like English, French or Spanish-, but a proper noun, like Sanskrit or Swahili.

Esperanto came up as a neutral and international language to overcome linguistic barriers, and it has only 16 grammar rules with no exception whatsoever. Its writing is fully phonetic, though there are six letters which computers can't still reproduce due to the lack of skill or will from the programmers who design operating systems, though some of them -like Windows- are able to figure them out.


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2. If Esperanto is so marvelous, why hasn't it been adopted all over the world?

Because of economical, cultural, political and ethical reasons, but fundamentally because of the deliberate misinformation it is the victim of since it was born.

That's why no country invest even a dollar in supporting an easy, trustworthy and democratic language, which respects the people's right to talk as they want. That it has lasted a century and it is spoken all over the world is the proof that it is, indeed, marvelous.


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3. Esperanto is null!

"Null" means "zero". Zero is probably the best finding in mathematics and maybe of humankind: it has put negative and positive numbers in their place, and thanks to it the Arab numbers -which contain zero- are used all over the world instead of the Roman ones -which have no zero-. Before they were used, calculations could be done only by mathematicians (XC+XIV=CIV), but now they can be done by taxi drivers, housewives and even small children (that is to say: the people: 90+14=104). If we think that it took the Arab numbers three hundred years to be adopted in all the world, and that we now can't understand how in other times there was such an argument between using them or the Roman numbers, we are happy to know we have still two hundred years to go -at least- before "all the world" adopt Esperanto... :-)

Also, zero is NEUTRAL, not positive or negative, and Esperanto is NEUTRAL: it is not a Latin, nor Slav, nor Western, nor Eastern, nor Amerindian, nor African language. Nobody would have advantages on the others when it is used in international forums. In no other way Esperanto is null. But if such a dogmatic anti-assertion were nuanced, this answer could be explained better.


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4. Esperanto is a West Europe language, as well as English. Is it not so difficult as English for a person from the East?

If the creator of Esperanto was born in Poland (Europe) it does not mean that his work is European too, above all because his mother tongue was Hebrew, which is not European or Western. However, Zamenhoff -who could speak several languages both from the East and West- designed it so that its structure and words were familiar for everybody. The copulative conjunction "and" is "kaj" (pronounced k + I), as in Greek. The adversative conjunction "or" is "aù" (pronounced as the vowels in "found"), as in Arab. But the most characteristic feature in Esperanto, its total absence of exceptions, makes it similar to Chinese, as in this language there are no exceptions either.


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5. Esperanto is an artificial language.

Of course it is! Nobody found it at the bottom of a mine, in the river bed, nor it is the fruit of a tree. It is artificial, as well as every other single language. As well as television, rockets or cars.

On the other hand, since children start attending school they are continuously corrected against their natural tendency to what psychologists call "generalizing assimilation" -a tendency natural in everybody and which agrees with human thought-, and because of an absurd tradition -our elders' language- they are forced into saying "wasn't" instead of "didn't be", "made" instead of "maked", and a horrible lot of other arbitrary irregularities which cannot be justified by communication nor -probably- by linguistics itself, but just history. This happens in all Western languages, except in Esperanto, which -because it follows this natural tendency for generalizing assimilation- is not only easier to learn, but also when you have spoken it for years, it has permeated into the deepest zones in your mind, and the problem you could have is how to say in your native language that idea you are thinking in Esperanto... }:-)
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6. A language has to be natural to be able to work well. That is to say, it has to have come about in a given country with a given culture..

Rather than a question, this is a dogmatic assertion which has nothing to do with reality. Esperanto came out in a country where there was a very strong racial, national and linguistic intolerance, in a Polish region which then belonged to Russia. The language appeared with a clear democratic, popular and tolerant vocation. It came out of a man's mind -as well as every one of the words every single language consists of-, and it is also neutral, which are not the so called "natural languages": however, it works perfectly, as it is proven by the international congresses which are celebrated every year all over the world in this language (congresses which are the only one, by the way, which are held without headsets, since the translation -in case it is ever used- occurs only in the brain of the listener). Any way, this answer makes clear which is the culture of Esperanto; or does it not?


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7. Esperanto is a funny little code with no ambition, which is OK as a children's game, but which is unable to support a true and vast literature, such as the English or Spanish ones, for example.

Esperanto was born with the vocation for being a vehicle for information and communication between heterogeneous communities. It is an ambition which a "funny little code" could not have. If it is simple, it does not imply it is not efficient. The computer inner code has just two elements (0 and 1) and you could make wonderful things with it.

"Ĉu esti aŭ ne esti, -tiel staras
Nun la demando: ĉu pli noble estas
Elporti ĉiujn
De la kolera sorto, aŭ sin armi
Kontraŭ la tuta maro da mizeroj
Kaj per la kontraŭstaro ilin fini?
Formorti -dormi kaj neniu plu!
This is the famous fragment from Hamlet, by William Shakespeare To Be or not to Be translated into Esperanto. Certainly you would not find this Esperanto translation less "warm" than the English original -which neither of them is, by the way-. You can also find all the other works by William Shakespeare and all the other great writers of universal literature translated into Esperanto. Many books which are available in Esperanto are not so in Spanish or English, and there is also a vast original literature in Esperanto. This language CAN SUPPORT a vast literature. The difference is that this literature is independent from the whims of the great publishing companies which decide arbitrarily which kind of literature is to be translated and which is not. And another important difference is that the translator is always a native in the original language, which is the other way round to translations into other languages.

Regarding "vast culture", Esperanto culture is the international culture, which is the vastest of them all.



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8. Esperanto is a language which does not evolve.

If we understand change for evolve, this is partly right. If a language changes for the sake of changing, it forces its users to study continuously just to be able to go on saying the same things... But Esperanto evolves constantly to incorporate new concepts, ideas and words which are inserted into the language, just as it happens in the rest of languages. The thing is that in Esperanto this happens in an ordered and regulated way, avoiding servile copying and lack of logics. Unlike what happens in English and like in French and Spanish, Esperanto has an Académie of the language.



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9. If Esperanto evolves, different dialects will be formed, and so after a few years there will be several different languages and the linguistic barrier will stand up again

Esperanto speakers do not live together in the same country, but we are all scattered all over the world. Every one of us uses his vernacular language in his daily life, and comes to Esperanto only in his linguistic intercourses with people with a different native tongue. Can Spaniards reform English? Can the English change Russian? And the Hawaiian can change the French?

Esperanto has NEVER pretended - nor ever will- take the place of any natural -or ethnic- language, and if some day this was tried, esperantists all over the world would abandon it.



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10. Esperanto is a language without a culture.

The culture of a national language is national. The culture of an international language is international. We esperantists cultivate tolerance, altruism, international relationships among equals, literature and art. With such cultures Mankind Culture is generated.

Thus, Esperanto is a language with a culture.
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Ferrando Sor Opus 3.