2007-10-09 en

I have this fantasy about CommunityWiki, MeatballWiki, CraoWiki, and several other communities online making a society together.

I realized that language would be a problem.

Then it occurred to me: “Well, we could just use Esperanto.”

It’d mean that we’d all have to learn enough Esperanto to speak halfway.

But then I thought, “Well, if we were all learning it together, and genuinely couldn’t interact well without it, all that much more reason to learn.”

I hear it is easy, as well.

The idea would be that we would write in our native language with fellow native speakers, and then use Esperanto when writing elsewhere. (For example, writing on CraoWiki.)

Like I said– this is a fantasy.

But it is a fantasy.

(That is, fantasy holds value to me, and can indicate practical direction.)

Mattis, what do you think? About Esperanto?

Yes, everyone learning one common language is certainly one solution. I think I’d rather learn Deutsch or Español or Français, because far more people already speak those languages than Esperanto. (Even more people speak Mandarin Chinese … but I’m intimidated by the look of it).

I think I first heard about the TransnationalCollegeOfLex from Lion. They are promoting another solution: let everyone learn many other languages. “Anyone can speak 7 languages” “LEX Language Project is a multilingual education program where both children and adults can acquire several languages simultaneously.” – http://lexlrf.org/

A third solution is rather than arguing over which language is “best” for the common language, instead use a variety of languages. Everyone learn at least 1 random language in addition to his native tongue – some English-Deutsch, some Français-Español, some Español-English, etc. Then get as many bilingual people as possible to translate between all the languages in use – I think we’re starting a test of that in the MultilingualExperiment and MultilingualTheuthWiki. This also has the advantage of allowing monolinguals (of any language) to participate in the conversation.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but some people claim it takes less total time to first learn Esperanto (a language designed to be easy to learn) and then learn any national language, than to learn one of these national languages by itself ( Wikipedia:Propaedeutic_value_of_Esperanto ; Wiki:TelescopeRule ). If those people are right, then the best way of implementing any of these three solutions – everyone learn the lingua franca; or everyone learn some random national language; or everyone learn 7 languages – will end up with a bunch of people learning Esperanto anyway.

I hear Toki Pona (Wikipedia:Toki_Pona) takes even less time to learn than Esperanto.

TokiPona? is very similar to the lines of thought on AgglutinativeLanguage?; Compare TokiPonaScript with APL..!

I love how the word for “five” is the same as the word for “hand.”

Given that I am a non-English speaker, what are my options by the time I can learn a first foreign language? I think learning English is the smartest choice if I want to live in our globalized culture. If I want to stick to local culture, I should pick either any of the languages spoken in my own country, or one of the neighbouring countries. Any of these choices will result in ample opportunities to benefit from my efforts. Unlike Esperanto, I don’t have to hedge my bets on other people making the same effort because I know that English is useful.

I think the drive to learn Esperanto or other artificial languages is caused by any or all of the following:

  1. English envy. Picking English gives native speakers an unfair advantage. That is true. Consider the cost of not joining, however. If it makes you feel better, make believe that the English language is a dead language and the anglo-saxon culture has disappeared. Learn English like our ancestors learnt Latin.
  2. Intellectual entertainment. Nothing wrong with that. But why not pick a living language like Arabic or Chinese or Swahili? Same challenge, more payback!
  3. A dream of equality. Everybody has to learn the language, so we can meet on equal terms. That is true. But consider the cost of all of us having to rely on a mediocre medium. Right now there are very few or no masters of the artificial languages, the body of written language is very small. Basically we’re drastically reducing the pool of professionals for no benefit at all.

5. Wiki:TelescopeRule : Some people claim it takes 4 years to learn English, German, Russian, or French as one’s first adult acquired language, but only 2 years per language learned after the first. Others claim it only takes 1 year to learn Esperanto as one’s first adult acquired language. So it makes more sense to learn Esperanto and then English (1+2=3 years) than to learn English by itself (4 years), even if AlexSchroeder is right and learning Esperanto is otherwise useless. “Putting up scaffolding and then putting up the skyscraper and then dismantling the scaffolding” is faster than “putting up the skyscraper without scaffolding”. I wonder if Toki Pona would improve that even further, to 0.5 + 2 = 2.5 years?

Jes! Law mi, esperantigxi estas lawdinda celo!

While all other artificial languages are pretty much dead, or at least have much less of a chance than english, Esperanto still has some hope. I’m fine with english being the world language, but Esperanto gaining ground would be awesome too :)

For one thing, the mix of nationalities in online conversations would be closer to that of the real world, rather than have a big dip towards the english speaking (at least for conversations in english), that may eventually balance out as more people around the world learn english.

I haven’t heard aboud LEX, but it sounds pretty neat - the way things are going, I’m heading that way, I’m always trying to learn a language or two. More multilingual people is good, but if you’re gonna start learning a bunch of languages, starting with esperanto makes sense, it’s the cheapest to learn, and can be quite fun to use :)

(By the way, a week or so ago I started working on some little python programs to help me learn languages, “smart dictionaries” and the like - I’d be glad to share them, though for now I don’t have much to show yet)

Alex – the idea is that Esperanto is an order of magnitude easier to learn than most any other language.

The grammar and vocabulary and written form are amazingly regular. Vikio is wiki. So that means that in plural, wiki are Vikioj– period. End of discussion. Not “mouse” vs. “mice.” Not one word if it’s one mouse, two words if it’s two mice, and yet another word if it’s three mice. (I’m thinking, “Japanese counters.”) So I guess that means Vikiisto is a WikiZen, “a person that wikis.”

I was thinking that I could talk with CraoWiki people, if they used Esperanto, and I used Esperanto. I’ll bet we could be using it regularly within a year, if we wanted to.

Tre bona ideo! Mi pensas ke povus esti tre interesa ke ni lernu Esperanton. Anyway, I started the Esperanto Wikipedia back in 2001, so if anyone has any questions about it, feel free to ask. If anyone wants to start learning, I’d recommend visiting http://www.lernu.net where they have a full free interactive online course. Also, I found it quite amusing to see the link to Solitude, since I went there a few months ago to visit the teachers of that course. Malgranda mondo… :)

ChuckSmith 2007-10-12 19:58 UTC

Hi Chuck. I know nothing about Esperanto. Strange. Except pilko, tero, oranĝo ;) Lion probably is right. I registered (iieks!) at lernu!, looked around, downloaded courses and lots of mp3’s for my mp3-player (17,99 Euro). The integrated chat function on lernu! is interesting. I need to learn a few more words than my current three to participate (read about tests for the measurements of a minimal vocabulary used: The docks in London won, only 200 words).

There is no wiki in or alongside with lernu! I’d be very interested in translating the wiki surface I use to Esperanto.

Maybe we’d learn it best by right away applying it to wiki?

oddwiki-centers for different languages

Else I’m going a middle way by trying to unify and simplify the spelling of different natural languages in oder to make them instantly pronounceable correctly even by people not knowing the language or by text to speech software (tekst tú spítz softvè·r).

oddwiki-hive / language-simple-center

We might use the language filters like in the MultilingualExperiment and on kabo-wiki-hive / multilingual-wiki: multilingual experiment. Applying them on slang / dialect is also interesting.

kabo-wiki-hive / Dialekt-wiki
kabo-wiki-hive / slang-wiki

I support Esperanto but it might not be the path mankind will go. I don’t know. More likely is a grand global creole soaring from earth’s surface boiling with human communication ever since we have this nice little internet. Words from other languages are instantly pronounced right in languages-simple. I mean, German is already half English anyhow (mine included). That’s the way it will go. Esperanto will probably influence this development.

The culture of wrong pronunciations
Corned beef in cans. Likely came to Germany after world war 2 labeled in English. Corned beef = kòrnd bíf. Germans pronounce it kornet bèf, It’s like a brand-name. Or has been when I was young.

My friend Eva is Greek, speaks Japanese but not a single word German. She could read a text in Deutsch einfach (Doitz ainfac) hardly without failing in the pronunciation after about 40 seconds. She herself understood nothing of what she read to me, frankly, But I did.

This is actually pretty funny in Polish:

  • Electrolux = vacuum cleaner
  • Rover = bicycle
  • Junkers = water boiler

You even have it in English, with things like Kleenex.

Rover..! Ha!

Well, mi lernas esperanto nun.

Wrong, there is wiki in use with lernu!


I just don’t find the recent changes ;)

They are right here: LastajSxangxoj. Just say that “Vi ne rajtas legi cxi tiun pagxon.” Another locked up “wiki”.

A similar problem occurs with programming languages: “a programming language Tower of Babel” SoftwareBazaar:SwitchLanguage).

Define external redirect: TokiPona AgglutinativeLanguage

EditNearLinks: ChuckSmith CraoWiki MeatballWiki