What is the Best Language to Learn?

by Translation Guy on May 7, 2012
78 comments

As if one language isn’t enough…

I like cocktails so much that I’ve learned to tolerate cocktail party conversation, especially after my third tequila sunrise. At least the conversation are similar enough sothat it’s easy to remember what to say. It starts like this: I tell people I’m in the translation business, then they ask how many languages I speak, then they tell me about all the languages they don’t speak, but intend to learn.

At least these confessions of personal failure are good for business, seeing as how these language failures will have to rely on translation until they get their act together.  This is why I am opposed to the study of second languages. But on the other hand, I’ve got a blog to write, and readers like this kind of stuff, so I’m going to write about it anyway. Call it the tyranny of the blinking cursor.

Editor Georgia Grimond, facing the same editorial challenge, asked that question of readers of Intelligent Life, a publication of the Economist, intended for especially smart people, or rather for those who think they are especially smart. The question of course: Which is the best language to learn?

And the answer is… Esperanto, with a 26% share of votes. This proves that you either you don’t have to be intelligent to read Intelligent Life, or that there is a vast conspiracy of Esperanto speakers lurking on the Web determined to shape public opinion to suit their own linguistic interests.

But I encourage people to learn Esperanto, since I have never been able to bill a nickel for translating in that language anyway. If folks spend their time learning Esperanto instead of paying languages, that’s a good thing, for me. But for students of the language, well, not really. As they don’t say in Esperanto, Lernado esperanto estas grandega perdo de tempo. 

At least with other made-up languages like Klingon, you can go to go Sci-Fi Cons and meet cosplay girls and talk Star Trek. That kind of Klingon contact is cute, unlike romantic encounters with real Klingons, which if you think about it, is technically an act of bestiality, which is illegal. Which makes me wonder about Captain Kirk. What was he thinking anyway, always hooking up with random space girls like he was in the Secret Service?

Anyway, Grimond of Intelligent Life quotes one of her poll respondents, on the desirability of mastery of  “inter-cultural” languages, those which “include native and proficient speakers with backgrounds in very diverse cultures.” Grimond writes that “the same aspiration drove the inventors of Esperanto in the late 19th century: they hoped it would transcend political, religious and national borders. Estimates of the number of people who speak it vary wildly, from 10,000 to 2m—but whatever the truth, a fair few of them have mobilised to vote. Esperanto’s supporters say it’s easy to learn and a gateway to other languages.”

A gateway language. I love that. Like a gateway drug, but instead of sitting around playing Xbox and eating pop tarts, you have to study intensively for 2000 hours or more. Talk about a buzz kill!

And now, back to the language races and the languages that also ran (I narrate here in rapid-fire race-track patter.) Brazilian Portuguese places at 16%, French and Portuguese show, neck and neck at 14%, Chinese close behind at 12%, Latin at 5%, Gaelic at 4%, and Arabic at 2%.”

These results strike me as ridiculously useless, but Intelligent Life got over 11,000 responses to this poll, so I’m going to do a poll too, and hopefully all those outraged Esperanto lovers will bring plenty of traffic to this blog, and send me hate mail in Esperanto, or worse, carefully crafted and thoughtful essays on the value and importance of Esperanto, which is much more annoying.

But for the rest of you, please be serious in your response, and let’s see if the results we come up with are a little closer to reality, since the readers of this blog are the very apex of intelligent life, in my book at least especially all of you who read this post to the end.

Here is the poll:

What is the best language  to learn?

Are you in favor of compulsory Chinese study for all students of dead or artificial languages?

78 Comments

  1. Wilber says:

    Is it cosmic or just the happenstance of alphabetic order that the two most important languages to learn, Arabic and Chinese, are at the top of the list? It’s a tough “would you rather” choice, so I flipped a coin and it came up Chinese (square hole in the middle). I’ve dabbled in both, find Chinese vastly the easier and more ingratiating, but Arabic seems more urgent at the moment, you know why.

    Esperanto is fun. In our teens my friend and I got quite fluent in it, learned songs and poems, and loved baffling/annoying people who overheard us in public places, and we corresponded with Esperantists all over the world. We never took it seriously. Decades later in a different town, by chance I attended a gathering held by a tiny local club. It turned out that a visiting Japanese tourist and I were the only ones who could really converse in it.

    And there’s another angle: For a number of years starting in the 1950s, Esperanto served as the “Aggressor Language” for U.S. war games. Or at least it was supposed to (you can google it). Someone in the top military brass must have heard that, unlike Russian, it could be learned virtually overnight. Books and manuals were prepared in it, and most samples I saw were total hash, just Esperanto words replacing English in set phrases.

    So there you have it. Hey Ken, keep up your wonderful work. You’re an inspiration to all us youngsters.

  2. Have you ever seen some of the Klingon babes from the second generation? I will take my chances on the legalities!

    • Ken says:

      Woof!

  3. Dusan Drach says:

    Why isn’t english on the poll? Is this poll just for english speaking people? Okay, I answered my own question…this is an english blog, duh.

  4. I think Chinese may be the smartest move for a future where this country is owned by that one. Plus, if you are going into business, chances are you may need to communicate with them some day.

  5. If this poll is aimed on North America, the only smart choice is Spanish. So much of the country is already speaking Spanish and it’s only going to spread more

    • Ken says:

      That would be my pick too, Harvey. US Spanish-speakers really appreciate it, even if they do tease about bad Spanish speakers unmercifully.

  6. I like the long list of languages on your poll, but I am not sure I could pick just one. I have a good reason to learn several languages, but if I were to pick one just for the fun of it, it would be French. That way I could visit Quebec and listen in on what they are saying about the english speaking folk.

    • Vitoria says:

      Mi ĝojas ke la lingvo ekplaĉis al vi Se vi volas irtnnkomueiki kun rusaj esperantistoj, vi povas trovi ilin en vKontakte (tie ekzistas kelkaj grupoj de esperantistoj) kaj ankaŭ en la ĉefa rusa esperanta paĝaro e-novosti.info ) Bonvenon en nia ankoraŭ malgranda ĉirklo de samideanoj!

      • Ronaldo says:

        Vitoria

        bonvolu ne paroli esperanton en alilingva blogo. Tia agado vere malutilas al ni, cxar gxi sxajnigas ke ni volas trudi esperanton al homoj, aw ke ni ne kapablas uzi la lingvon de la blogo

        • Ken says:

          MT Translation: please do not speak Esperanto in alilingva blog. Such an action actually harms us, because it justify that we want to impose Esperanto to people, or that we can not use the language of the blog

  7. Esparanto? Really? I have never even heard of it. Why would so many people want to learn a language with essentially no use to it? You are right, I would rather learn Klingon in the off chance of meeting a hot chick at a scifi convention.

    • Brian Barker says:

      Pretty useless to compare Klingon with Esperanto. Especially because Esperanto is designed to be an international language, whereas Klingon is not.

      Probably less than 10 percent of all educated people have even heard of Esperanto so do not know that, for example, the Esperanto Wikipedia has about 150,000 articles, (which get about 400,000 views per day). By contrast the total number of articles about Klingon in Wikipedia total only 189, and nothing has been added since 2006.

      The World Esperanto Association enjoys consultative relations with both the United Nations and the Council of Europe. Does Klingon ?

      A pity also that it is not generally known that you may find Esperanto speakers in more than 130 countries. Or that more people in Burundi per head of the population speak Esperanto than in any other country. Thirty schools in Burundi teach Esperanto ; how many teach Klingon?

      For those who think Klingon should be the future international language please see

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8TQGVh025E4

    • Helen says:

      ‘so many languages, so little time’ great argument for starting with Esperanto, as it takes less time to learn than most other tongues due to regularity, straightforward structure and being phonetic. Then those wanting to learn others – and capable of doing so – can dwdicatw less time to learning the 3rd, 4th or nth language. The majority will simply use Esperanto (or whichever international tongue you prefer) to meet so many other nationals and understand each other.
      And what happens when the vogue changes from French, to English, to Chinese (?) – we all start learning those new ones.

    • It seems some people in China heard of Esperanto.
      http://esperanto.china.org.cn/
      http://esperanto.cri.cn/
      http://www.espero.com.cn/

      And some other people as well.
      http://eo.wikipedia.org
      http://www.mozilla.org/eo/firefox/fx/

  8. Curious says:

    I would pick Chinese for economical reasons, but actually I should learn Italian or French to be able to understand the menus in these countries. I am very happy to be able to (at least) understand Russian, as it is a huge benefit in business nowadays.

    • Ken says:

      So many languages, so little time…

  9. Maksim Fanto says:

    I voted and your results are overwhelmingly Portuguese so far!?!? I don’t get why so many people would want to learn it!

    • Ken says:

      Haven’t analyzed yet, but Brazilian pride is sure-fire in social media. I’d blame self-described agent provocateur and connector Renato Beninatto for this.

      • Aldina says:

        It’s because Portuguese is awesome, duh! In addition to Brazil, it’s a first language to people on just about every continent…respect.

  10. I have always wanted to become fluent in German. I guess it stems from a childhood watching tons of Hogan’s Hero’s reruns. Not to mention it sound pretty cool.

  11. Tequila sunrise? Well, at least you get your vitamin C. I would have pegged you as a beer man.

    • Ken says:

      Beer? Why I never! Here in Turtle Bay its strictly white whine, although I have been known to tip a Bud or two when slumming with my poker pals.

  12. Despite the fact that it was English which I learnt best, I will always claim that the most beautiful and the easiest language to learn is Spanish!

  13. Transgirl says:

    Well to answer the question “what languages is easier to learn?”, one will first have to take into consideration what is your native language. For me, a native Spanish speaker, “any” romance language would be easier than for example an african.

    I also think Japanese can’t be too hard to learn since phonetically speaking, what you see written is how you should pronounce the word(at least for me, since the same happens with Spanish.)English could be tricky since an “a” has several pronounciations depending on the surrounding consonants and location within the word.

    But,in general, I think,highly phonetic languages are difficult to learn.

  14. Transgirl says:

    But the BEST language to learn well,for people in the U.S., probably Spanish, and for the world, Chinese.

  15. Brian Barker says:

    Interesting that you tell people not to vote for Esperanto. I suspect that this is because you know little about it. Esperanto is in fact more widespread than people imagine. It is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide. It is the 29th most used language in Wikipedia, ahead of Danish and Arabic. It is a language choice of, Skype, Firefox, Ubuntu and Facebook and Google translate recently added to its prestigious list of 64 languages.

    Native Esperanto speakers, (people who have used the language from birth), include World Chess Champion Susan Polger, Ulrich Brandenberg the new German Ambassador to and Nobel Laureate Daniel Bovet. Financier George Soros learnt Esperanto as a child.

    Esperanto is a living language.

    Their online course http://www.lernu.net has 125 000 hits per day and Esperanto Wikipedia enjoys 400 000 hits per month. That can’t be bad :)

    • Thank you very much !
      Kiam mi elektis mian lingvon por aldoni mian voĉon al la aliaj, mi vidis, ke Esperanto estis forviŝita el la listo per slogano nekomprenebla… en la angla. Tiu konfeso markas sian aŭtoton : la kreanto de tiu blogo. Mi ne nomos lin; ĉiuj, kiuj havas okulojn povos legi ĝin apude. Ne estas bezonata plia reklamo !!! Mi poste serĉis en la komentojn, ian frazon en Esperanto por kontraŭi tiun iniciaton. Mi nur trovis vian tekston, en justa angla, kiu tutsimple reklamis pri Esperanto en la propra lingvo, kio estas normala, kaj ne freneza afero.Ĝis, kara samideano !

  16. Bill Chapman says:

    Which language(s) should we be learning for business or leisure purposes? Learn Spanish and you’re at a loss In Germany, learn French and you’re illiterate in Russia, learn Chinese and you can’t ask for an ice cream in Portugal. So which language should we be learning? I would respectfully suggest that we take another look at Esperanto, a relatively new language which is easy to learn and use.

    This language has some remarkable practical benefits. Personally, I’ve made friends around the world through Esperanto that I would never have been able to communicate with otherwise. And then there’s the Pasporta Servo, which provides free lodging and local information to Esperanto-speaking travellers in over 90 countries. Over recent years I have had guided tours of Berlin, Douala and Milan in this planned language. I have discussed philosophy with a Slovene poet, humour on television with a Bulgarian TV producer. I’ve discussed what life was like in East Berlin before the wall came down, how to cook perfect spaghetti, the advantages and disadvantages of monarchy, and so on. I recommend it, not just as an ideal but as a very practical way to overcome language barriers and get to know people from a very different cultural background.

    You should try it, Ken!

  17. C.Payne says:

    An Esperantist certainly would not say
    “Lernado esperanto estas grandega perdo de tempo.” for two reasons
    (a) it is grammatically incorrect.
    Try ‘Lernado de Esperanto’ or better ‘Lerni Esperanton’.
    (b) it certainly is not a waste of time as it has allowed me to learn a language (having failed with all other languages) and to use it to communicate with people from many different countries throughout the world and on an equal footing- rather than having to struggle with their very broken English (of course much better than my Mongolian, Nepalese, Portuguese, Mandarin, Russian or Polish (I have use Esperanto to talk fluently with people from all of these countries.)

  18. No hate mail and no thoughtful essay? Ok.

    How many hours do Esperanto people learn their language before they begin to use it in practice? 40 out of 58 Esperanto speakers said: Less then 30 hours. http://www.facebook.com/questions/345655878818771/

  19. Some time ago I thought that in a democracy a majority was needed to make a decision. Then I read “Diffusion of Innovations” by Everett Rogers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffusion_of_innovations .

    If there is something new and at first 70 % are against it and 18 % are indifferent and 10 % are in favour of it and 2 % (the ‘pioneers’) adopt it, this will contribute to a change of the situation. Against the initial will of the 70 %.

    Because when the 2 % are happy with their decision then maybe another 10 % (the ‘early adopters’) will follow while maybe there still are only 20 % in favour and 20 % indifferent and 48 % against it.

    Now, maybe these 10 % are happy with their decision then it can be that another 40 % (the ‘early majority’) will adopt the innovation…

    Not everyone was happy with motor cars or cell phones in the beginning…

    The mechanism I described is why it is not very astonishing for something relatively new like Esperanto that many journalists or blog authors write against Esperanto. This is just the usual way innovations are greeted by the majority. In the meantime some people are interested in Esperanto and they are going to try it out. That’s why the number of Esperanto speakers increases, slowly but steadily.

    Oh, maybe that was too thoughtful for this blog. If so, I’m sorry.

  20. Sinjoro ENG says:

    If you want your future generation to suffer less dementia problems and save the country of the medical bill, learn Esperanto

    http://www.mondeto.com/1/post/2011/09/immediate-and-lasting-advantages-of-early-esperanto-1-brain-building.html

    For those who think Chinese is forcing you to learn Chinese because of the economy power, you are wrong. China is not a colononial country in the past and it will never be. If you know Esperanto, you should know the Chinese has formed the Esperanto Commerce Group a decade ago and the BRIC countries were the strong supporters of Esperanto in the past. Read the Chinese Esperanto Commerce group here. If you cannot read Esperanto, you still can see the picture.

  21. Sinjoro ENG says:

    In the internet age, one cannot count the number of speakers of Esperanto. The data that listed online is too old to be discarded away. No one know who is learning Esperanto with so many online sites. Just search Esperanto and plus learning, you can hit many sites, here just to give few in English. The Chinese sites are even more.

    http://www.lernu.net

    With this, I wish the writers in future would not just word the statistic after the old man in the past.

    I learn Esperanto via internet. Now many of friends are doing so as there is not Esperanto classes or course in my country, Malaysia.

  22. Esperanto estas la plej bona lingvo.

  23. Ivor says:

    I can read translated and original literature from around the world, use Esperanto to talk to people in countries I visit naturallly and eqasily, attend huge international conferences where Esperanto is the only common language among over 50 nationalities – and anyone reading this could do the same.

    Esperanto can help language learning by introducing the concepts of grammar without any irregularities.

    It is politically neutral and removes the dominant position of the English speaking nations, primarily the Unitied States.

    A meeting of 7 nationalites would need 42 pairs of translaters if all were to have an equal chamce of accurate transalation. Of course in practise, all languages are not equal, but if each had a native Esperantist, the job could be done with 7.

    The last is the only reason a propfesional translater could obkect to esperanto- but for me it is a simple, completetly comprehensive, neutral language, that sounds good and works.

    • Ken says:

      I’ve been in the business for 20 years, and provide translation services in over 150 languages, translating an average about 90 different languages to and from English in a year. I have yet to see a request for Esperanto.

      • This seems to prove:
        Esperanto is so easy – you don’t even need a translation service for it :-)

        • Ken says:

          LOL. Ok, you win, Louis!

      • Brian Barker says:

        Hello Ken

        For some reason however the British Government employs Esperanto translators so at least there is a demand there.

      • Xujie says:

        Once I translated a few Esperanto documents into Chinese for a Sweden company.

  24. David Curtis says:

    cTo quote Philippe van der Parijis, author of “Linguistic Justice for Europe and the World”
    “Esperanto is a wonderful way of linking up a fantastic bunch of generous and hospitable people around the world.”
    and
    “The case for English gets stronger by the day, and the prospect of ever reaching the degree of consensus required for the indispensable top-down strategy, perhaps not so illusory at the time of the League of Nations, in 1923, can safely be said to have vanished nearly a century later.”
    So English is the best for making money. Esperanto is the best for making friends.

  25. David Curtis says:

    Laŭ Philippe van der Parijs, verkisto de “Linguistic Justice for Europe and the World”, Esperanto bonegas por interligi admirindan grupon da bonkoraj kaj gastigemaj homoj tramonde.
    kaj
    “La kazo por la angla plifortiĝas potage, kaj la ŝanco iam atingi la sufiĉan kunsenton por la necesa ĝenerala instruado de Esperanto, eble ne iluzia en la epoko de Unuiĝintaj Nacioj, en 1923, certe malaperis preskaŭ jarcento poste.
    Tial, la angla plej bonas por profiti. Esperanto plej bonas por amikiĝi.

  26. Terry Watts says:

    I wonder why anyone would imagine that it is easier to meet a hot chick at a Klingon convention that at an Esperanto Congress.

    It isn’t just that there are so many more Esperanto events all over the world, than there are get-togethers of Klingon enthusiasts, it is that (and please forgive my prejudice) I suspect that female Kingon speakers are a rather geeky lot, rather than smouldering venuses.

    On a more serious note, Ken you may be missing a trick with regard to your translation business in not taking Esperanto more seriously.

    National languages tend to be so complicated that only native speakers may be fully sensitive to all the nuances of a text. By using Esperanto as a bridge language you have the advantage of ensuring that the source text is fully understood and the target version sensitively rendered.

    The intermediate version of the text in Esperanto will not be contaminated by untoward cultural associations and can in any case be larded with footnotes to ensure proper rendering, since this intermediate version will not be made public.

    By translating from language A to language B via Esperanto you can use native speakers of A and native speakers of B. It might be difficult, for example, to find someone truly bilingual in say Finnish and Portugese compared to finding a Esperantist native speaker of Finnish and an Esperantist native speaker of Portugese.

    In any case, Esperanto has substantial part of speech, and lexical and syntactical flexibility compared to the ‘natural’ languages, unburdened with idiomatic restriction, so that the original language may be more faithfully reflected in the translation.

    Remember that with Esperanto you are looking at 125 years of evolution in an intercultural interlanguage setting.

  27. Ewald Houba says:

    You won’t get any hate mails from the Esperanto community. And carefully crafted and thoughtful essays are a waste of time, because you evidently already made up your mind about it.
    What you will get is a lot of votes in favor of Esperanto.
    I think you will be surprised how well it will survive, because the internet connectivity is just what the Esperantists needed to overcome the problem of hardly having the possibility to converse in it. There is a lot of activity going on in spreading the language using every means available and we are very inventive and dedicated. Just have a look at lernu.net or the Esperanto Wikipedia section on eo.wikipedia.org (it is bigger than the Arabic section).
    With the help of VOIP and internet radio a lot is done at the moment to promote improvement of speech, so we can expect a lot more fluency in the next couple of years. You’ll see.

    • Ken says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Ewald.

      • Ewald Houba says:

        :-) And so carefully crafted.
        Did it annoy you as much as you expected? I hope not.
        The point is that you’re judging Esperanto by the fact that you cannot make any money out of it. I don’t blame you, because that’s your job. But in essence Esperanto also stands for unity and human values in a world dominated by money, banks, corruption, inequality and war. This may sound soppy to you, but that’s why Esperanto survives all the time (and because it’s just a very beautiful, simple and elegant language).

        • Ken says:

          I’ve always thought of Esperanto as a hobby language, comparable to Klingon, but it is certainly far more aspirational and in the best possible sense. The values inherent in a language built for a better world are reflected in all these wise and carefully considered remarks from all you Esperantoistas (TK).

    • Neil Rigby says:

      I agree with you Ewald. It is unfortunate that many people who think they know about languages (e.g. academics) only seem to look backwards in time and have not get woken up to the power of the internet for international communication (here I mean different language speaking countries rather than different countries speaking the same language.) They seem not to be able to see that an easily learned language is what many young people (in particular) want. They also seem oblivious to the obvious educational fact that when one learns a “foreign” language then learning another one is so much easier, so learning an easy language first makes sense.

    • Ian Fantom says:

      Indeed, you won’t get any hate mails from the Esperanto community, but leading proponents of Esperanto do get hate mail in Esperanto from time to time from imposters. I received one recently (http://landofthefree.co.uk/site/component/content/article/1-latest-news/130-berkshire-911-truth-newsletter-by-ian-fantom)- see the bit on the ‘anonymous letter’

      If it’s worth their while for opponents of Esperanto to go to such trouble, then Esperanto must really be a threat to those language chauvinists who want world hegemony for English.

  28. Na says:

    Esperanto would be the best else it is sexist ! When it resolve this probleme, Esperanto soiuld be the best, maybe !

    Espo estos la plej bona lingvo kiam gxi solvos la problemon de la seksimo kiu enestas pro tio ke gxi ne volas aldoni al la gramatiko iun viran **sufikson** oficiale.

    • Ronaldo says:

      Although esperanto is way less sexist than for instance french, which attributes a gender to every noun, the perceived sexism is one of very few arguments against Esperanto itself that hold any water.
      Some Esperanto-users are aware of this, and use an ending (-icxo) to emphasize maleness (very few wordstems are considered male anymore anyway. Cxevalo means horse, not stallion),and pronouns like ri and sxli to indicate a third person singular without suggesting a sexe.
      Some other esperanto-users deny that these are used, or say they aren’t needed “because other languages function fine without them”

  29. Telle says:

    Mi neniam sukcesis paroli kaj uzi fremdan lingvon, kvankam mi multe studis, sed uzi Esperanton mi sufiĉe facile sukcesas, kaj nun mi pli interesiĝas pri lingvoj!
    I never can speak(and understand) corectly english (though I many learned) or another language, yet use Esperanto I can, and now I more like languages.

    • Telle says:

      Plie mi konstatis ke la ĉina kaj Esperanto funkcias simile. Ambaŭ ili havas izolan strukturon.

  30. Saluton,

    The most easy actual language to learn is of course esperanto. For exemple, the conjugaison can be learn in five minutes. No irregular verbs. A easy accent, a logical grammar, a logical vocabular. A langage also for poesy, theatre, songs, cinema, culture, politic, love, etc.
    And there are no state behind, like french (the french republic, etc.) like english (USA, UK etc.)etc.,etc.
    LB

  31. pierre says:

    Maybe you see this as a conspiration, but esperantists enjoy learning languages, they had fun learning it, have fun using it. Different from other language, there is no payriotism here.
    I learned and practiced many languages, never another one was so rich and enjoyable, and its community also brings a lot.

  32. lambert says:

    Moi, je dis que l’Esperanto est la meilleure langue , meilleure que l’anglais ; on m’a imposé l’anglais à l’école pendant 6 ans et je n’ai jamais pu parlé et la comprendre ; en à peine 1 an j’ai étudié l’Esperanto que je parle couramment et j’ai visité beaucoup de pays où j’ai pu parler facilement avec des gens du pays visité ; votre langue Klingon est inconnue et personne ne le parle ; beaucoup ont entendu parler de l’Esperanto et ceux ci pensent que c’est cela qu’il faut apprendre à l’école et non l’anglais, l’anglais étant trop difficile pour ceux qui ne sont pas nés et d’ailleurs pourquoi l’anglais ne figure pas sur votre sondage ? Parce que vous êtes anglais. L’anglais étant tellement difficile qu’il est une des principales causes d’accidents d’avions, les pilotes ne comprennent pas toujours ce qu’on leur dit, c’est assez fréquent, ils demandent la répétition car ils ne comprennent pas, l’anglais a causé beaucoup d’accidents.

    • Ken says:

      Google MT: I say that Esperanto is the best language better than English, they made me English at school for 6 years and I never could understand the spoken and, in just a year I studied Esperanto that I speak fluently and I have visited many countries where I could talk easily with people of the country visited; your Klingon language is unknown and no one speaks, many have heard of Esperanto and those they think this is why we must learn in school and not English, as English is too difficult for those who were not born and why English does not appear not on your poll? Because you are English. As English is so difficult that it is a major cause of aircraft accidents, drivers do not always understand what they are told, is quite common, they require repetition because they do not understand, English has caused many accidents.

  33. Mi ne kapablas paroli la anglan lingvon. Tio estas pruvo, ke la angla lingvo ne estas taŭga por ludi la rolon de internacia lingvo, same kiel ĉiuj naciaj lingvoj. Eĉ Francoj, kiuj iatempe povis “fanfaroni” pri sia bela (jes) lingvo (mi estas Francano, mi povas diri tion !) ne povas tion reklami aŭ postuli (la vortoj ne estas samaj) pro la pasintecaj kvalitoj de la Franca lingvo, kiel la Latina… Vidu : Ĉinoj ne baraktas por superi ĉiujn lingvojn : estas senutile, homoj jam elektis en la voĉdonado : ESPERANTO estas la plej justa !
    Ĝis
    Petro

    • Ken says:

      Google MT: I can not speak the English language. This is proof that the English language is not appropriate to play the role of an international language, as well as all national languages​​. Even French, who once was able to “boast” about his beautiful (yes) language (I’m Francano, I can not say that!) Can not advertise or claim (the words are not the same) for the past qualities of the French language, as the Latin … See: Chinese do not struggle to overcome all the languages​​, it is useless, people have already chosen in the poll: ESPERANTO is the most fair!
      Up to
      Peter

      • Ken says:

        That’s all the proof I need, except I don’t speak Esperanto.

  34. Morico says:

    In France for exemple, but it is the same thing in other countries, people study at school mainly international languages of UNO: english, spanish, chinese, russian, arabic and european languages,german, italian, portuguese…
    Why not the international language esperanto? It is the easiest (Tolstoi learned it in a few hours), the most international(the roots are european but the regular construction of prefixes and suffixes is proximate of great asian and african languages), the most neutral, the most rapidly progressing from 5 persons in 1887 until 5 million today without the support of any state. It’s also a very good language for translation.It can be a good introduction at the study of other languages. It’s good for the polycentric world of the twentieth first century.
    You can study esperanto with the free site Lernu.net. translated in fourty languages.
    Excuse me for faults but I have studied alone english and esperanto

  35. F Gaeta says:

    Learning Esperanto has been for me the discovering of a logical language. If I forget a word, logically I refind it. I know well the italian and french languages.

  36. Antonio says:

    Plej populara en la mondo interlingvo nomata: ESPERANTO, havas shancon en proksima futuro esti DUA MOND-LINGVO pro la sekvaj valoroj:

    1. Esperanto estas neuhtrala lingvo (likvidas lingvan hegemonismon)
    2. Esperanto estas fonetika lingvo(same estas parolata kaj skribata)
    3. Esperanto estas logika lingvo (facila generado de novaj vorto)
    4. Esperanto estas facila lingvo (5-oble pli rapide lernebla ol naciaj lingvoj, oni lernas Esperanton dum 5-monatoj, ne 5 jaroj !!!)
    5. Esperanto estas propedeuhtika lingvo(helpas en lernado de aliaj lingvoj)
    6. Esperanto superas amplekson de naciaj vortaroj.
    7. Esperanta literaturo ampleksas plej valoran tutmondan literaturon.

    Sciencaj argumentoj konfirmas la supre prezentitajn.

    • Ken says:

      Google MT: Most popular in the world, an intermediate language called: ESPERANTO, have the opportunity in the near future to be a Second World Language due to the following values:

      1. Esperanto is a language neuhtrala (liquid language hegemonismon)
      2. Esperanto is a phonetic language (as it is spoken and written)
      3. Esperanto is a logical language (easy generation of a new word)
      4. Esperanto is an easy language (5 times faster to learn than national languages​​, you learn Esperanto for 5 months, not 5 years!)
      5. Esperanto is a language propedeuhtika (helps in learning other languages​​)
      6. Esperanto exceed scope of national dictionaries.
      7. Esperanto literature encompasses most valuable global literature.

      Scientific arguments confirm the above presented.

  37. The problem with Esperanto and its diffusion is that not enough people know what Esperanto is and even less people know what it really is. (I mean: used today, in over 120 countries; ready to use after 15 to 50 hours of learning; used everyday on Facebook, Wikipedia, Firefox; 120 Esperanto books a year; subtitles on TED films; http://esperanto.china.org.cn/ ; very good to make contacts world wide and while travelling…)

    When people don’t know enough about Esperanto, they don’t have any chance of deciding, if to learn Esperanto or not – a bit obvious, no?

    It is of only minor use to inform people over 30 about Esperanto. That’s too late. The main target groups are school children between 12 and 18 and students (about two thirds of those learning Esperanto).

    (Why are school children between 12 and 16 such a wonderful target group? Well, they already learned that English is difficult, even as a mother tongue, and they quickly understand that Esperanto is easy to learn and to use – so they can acquire fluency in Esperanto and make their first steps into the world in that language. At 14 nearly no youngster is able to communicate with the world in English – non-English pupils not because English is too difficult and English pupils not because the other boys and girls of their age did not yet learn enough English… Esperanto needs only about a fifth of the time needed to learn English, so learning English for 500 hours (several years in school) means 100 hours of Esperanto, two weeks in international meetings (and you don’t need to travel to England or the like)… Quickly the kids are fluent in Esperanto. For a 14 year old boy or girl Esperanto is just unrivalled – no other foreign language can do what Esperanto can, the competition is far behind. I saw it with my own daughter, quite early she had friends of her age in other countries – no one else in her class had. – By the way, this experience makes those children grateful to Esperanto for the rest of their lives. Something difficult to understand for outsiders.)

    Back to information: As long as Esperanto activists discuss about Esperanto in a forum like this (or with politicians) _and_ do not go out to inform pupils in schools and students in universities, nothing will change.

    And it’s necessary to learn lessons about advertising and marketing. The first and fundamental of them being that information begins to work well only when you have informed people about ten times. [Sorry, Ken.] Everything before is just preparation (and part of your own training). So because of limited resources it’s necessary to choose just one school or one university department and inform them, every week, for many months, until there will be enough students interested in learning Esperanto.

    Second lesson: In the advertising it’s crucial to link things people like, their possible benefit, with Esperanto and inform that it’s an international language. So it has to be something like “Friends all over the world. Esperanto – the international language”. If you put only “Esperanto”, you’ll loose your time and money.

    Third lesson: Nothing changes, if you don’t do it. It’s not the big declaration about what the outside world should do (like the Prague Manifesto) that will change the world. It’s about what the Esperanto speakers themselves do to inform people, mainly young people.

    Esperanto organisations often have something like “we want to spread the use of Esperanto” in their statutes. As long as their activists don’t learn about advertising and marketing and as long as they do not put this into practice, they are not very credible. To use only 1 % of the annual revenues for information, advertising and marketing means regression and decline. Almost inevitably.

    So, please, dear Esperanto speakers, stop writing about what others should do and begin thinking about what you could do to inform school children and students about Esperanto. And then: Just do it! Be kind to those innocent school children and inform them. It’s not their fault the politicians didn’t make the right decisions. Thank you.

    Maybe you’ll like a lecture about the need of repeated advertising, http://www.esperantoland.org/dosieroj/Varbado_bezonas_ripetadon_Prelego_KEK2012.pdf

    Sorry for being rather long

    Louis Wunsch-Rolshoven, EsperantoLand

  38. Edward says:

    English ist most popular language
    Esperanto ist most intelligent language

  39. Jerzy says:

    Why Esperanto and not English.
    1. English is native to only 5% of the world population. All the rest 95% must learn it for 6 years to be communicative (just as 7 year old child or so). Esperanto is easy, one year of learning is enough to be fluent. If it is easy, more people can actually learn it and use it more comfortably than they can do it with English.
    2. English is not just.
    3. If I am a specialist but my knowledge of English is pure, my chances of finding a good work are lower. The English do not suffer this.
    4. If I am a writer, my writings will not be know, because I write in my native language – to write in English 6 years of study is not enough – it sounds like 16, 26 or infinity. My chances are very poor to become an English writer. In Esperanto it is possible, because this is the only language that can be acquired as one’s own.
    I could enumerate more points, but again my English is limiting me, so I lose…

  40. Peter Weide says:

    Here’s, what Umberto Eco (Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist [You know: The guy, who wrote “The Name of the Rose”.]) says about Esperanto in his book “La ricerca della lingua perfetta nella cultura europea” (English translation: The Search for the Perfect Language (The Making of Europe), 1995): “From all objections [against Esperanto,my remark] today remains only one valid, stated already by Fontanelle,….that is: the egoism of the governments.” (Quoted from the german version, please excuse my bad english.]
    What’s more to say?

  41. Pietro says:

    Hahahaha, Esperanto of course!
    Esperanto is a living language, practical and very cool!
    Vivu la internacian lingvon EsPeRaNto! :-)

  42. Bira Fehera says:

    Mi ne ŝatas lerni lingvojn, do, mi ege apogas esperanton!
    Ĉar mi lernis ĝin dum 3 monatoj kaj neniam plu, sed preskaũ ĉiutage mi uzas ĝin.

  43. Very funny article, Translation Guy! And yes, the Esperanto-speakers are well organised. The internet is tremendously useful for such a dispersed community.
    Enjoy all the traffic to your blog 😉

  44. I think the best language to learn can be anyone, it depends on the moment and the opportunities that the person has or will have. Forgive me, but after reading your other texts do not think you were happy in this, mainly despise a language so interesting (linguistically) as Esperanto.

    • Ken says:

      Well maybe I did despise it at first, a little. But now I like Esperanto because I am getting so many comments. I will write more on this.

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