Wednesday, August 30, 2006


This is an interest of mine that I've had sporadically over the years, another language that I've considered learning, but haven't had time to. Got a newsletter once, for a couple of years, but didn't learn much. Sorry to keep apologizing for stuff I didn't do, but I actually have a few things to say about this one. I don't know how well Esperanto is doing- they have a hard time getting anyone to speak it outside of its conferences, but I"d like to keep abreast of its general popularity worldwide and see if the computer can change it (increase it) in any way. I'd also like to know if any of the following has happened: first, has there been a movement to truly make it more inclusive, namely including many of the non-Romance languages that make up the vast majority of languages in the world? It should truly be more worldly, by taking on every single language with a commitment to borrow at least something...and that would be a worthwhile challenge! Just wondering...second, what does it actually do to increase its own ranks? anything? One could live here in a small town in the heart of the media circus and never even hear of it.

Here's a good story. I was living in Korea in the late '80s and shared a ride with a Swiss friend who taught English also. We got to talking about Esperanto and he swore up and down that it was a living language in a certain area, a certain valley, of Switzerland. Had its own radio broadcast, or television broadcast too. As a living language it had native speakers, etc. I argued furiously, feeling that it was not actually a living language of any geographical area anyplace. But he was from Switzerland; finally he said, are you trying to tell me about my own country? So I gave up. What did I know about Switzerland?

Upon return to a linguistic environment I found out that Esperanto had indeed started television broadcasts in Switzerland, but was not a living language in any valley that anyone knew of. They did tell me about Romansch, though, a language of rather fossilized Latin, spread in one valley when some Roman soldiers were trapped there many hundreds of years ago. This language is like Esperanto in that it sounds very Latin, apparently; both Esperanto and Romansch are so much like Latin in some ways that they can be easily mistaken for each other. And that's the best explanation I could find for what my friend was telling me.

It's a crazy world. Don't know why I was even thinking of this. In general, I find it fruitful to get all these strains of thought, things that have resurfaced in my mind if nowhere else, down in my blog. Someday it may all amount to something!



Post a Comment

<< Home