Speed learn a language through Esperanto

When I speak to other people about Esperanto, they often ask whether there are any practical uses to knowing the language beyond the language itself.

I used to talk about Pasporta Servo, ability to listen to other countries’ radio and global community. Now I just go straight for the big guns.

I ask them whether they ever tried learning another language. Usually the answer is yes and usually the language was never learned well. Then I tell them about the studies showing that learning Esperanto as a first foreign language gave enough ‘language learning’ meta-knowledge that it allowed to learn the next language faster and more thoroughly. This usually gets their attention!

I don’t think I have convinced anyone to learn Esperanto yet, but my arguments are getting better every time. Maybe I should make a badge Learn two languages for the price of one. Ask me how. That might get some attention.

More information about these benefits is also available at Springboard to Languages website.

28 thoughts on “Speed learn a language through Esperanto”

  1. Here’s another good argument for learning Esperanto:
    http://health.yahoo.com/news/170849
    Canadians scientists have just concluded that people who regularly speak two languages throughout their lives can stave off the onset of dementia for an average of 4 years longer than unilinguals. The report doesn’t note whether the same benefit accrues from mere passive listening, e.g. to regular Esperanto programs from Radio Polonia, Radio China International, RAI/Italy or Radio Vaticana.
    The British “Springboard” project seems like an excellent idea – a pity more language teachers are not willing to try it.
    http://esperanto.memlink.ca

  2. Wouldn’t learning _any_ foreign language give you enough language learning meta-knowledge to learn a second foreign language more effectively?

    I hate to disappoint you but I’ve got little inclination for learning Esperanto. But I am curious about this language learning idea. Do you think the fact that I learnt German at school (and I learnt it reasonably well since I was an exchange student in Germany) means that it would now be easier for me to learn Italian or Japanese or whatever? And there are countless people across the world who have learnt English as a second language – does that help them learn other languages?

    Does the same apply to learning programming languages, in your opinion? Or what about learning an instrument?

  3. Brian: Thanks for the link. I saw the article today. I do wonder whether Esperanto – being an easy language – would only give 2 years advantage. I am being a devil’s advocate here, I guess.

    Caitlin: You are correct, learning any language will help you with other languages.

    The point here is that when you learn something complex like German or Japanese, you are trying to solve/learn two problems at once: generic language meta-knowledge and language specific patterns. As with any case when people try to learn several things at once, they learn both badly.

    With Esperanto, the language specific parts are so easy (nouns end in -0, adjectives end in -a) that you can concentrate on learning meta-knowledge and get that down pat. Later, when you hit something like Spanish, you just go “Ah, there are 3(5) ways to identify adjectives, but everything else is the same”.

    And this does apply to music instruments, in fact that is why schools taught everybody to play recorders.

    And it is the same again with programming languages, though one has to be exposed to different types of programming languages (Object-Oriented, Functional, Assembly, etc) to get full benefits. This is due to the fact that programming languages are in-effect domain specific, while human languages have to be able to express full range of emotions.

    I am having an interesting discussions about this in another blog’s comments in an article on Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

  4. Saluton!

    I’m one of those language lerners (French, German) who was not successful. Since learning Esperanto I’m having more fun with English and have begun, although modestly, with Mandarin. I remember thinking when I was younger that, for me, Asian languages would certainly be an impossibility if I couldn’t even learn a romance language properly but Esperanto has given me a much clearer understanding of language in general. It’s also incredibly useful in its own right.

    I recently heard of a long-running program in Quebec that uses chess in the way you describe to facilitate learning of mathematics.

    Ĝis la
    Lunjo

  5. Saluton Lunjo,

    Glad to hear that this theory worked well for you.

    And thanks for the information about chess and math. I did not know about the link, but doing a quick search brings up interesting resources.

    I actually played chess a lot as a kid. I don’t think my math skills are all that good (unfortunately), but I can see how chess playing may have positively impacted my skills as a software developer.

  6. My arguments against Esperanto:

    * The primary function of a language is to communicate (whether that’s via the spoken word, the written word, or to a machine). Since virtually no one speaks Esperanto (and if they do you probably have another language in common anyway), it fails on this score and is fundamentally useless.

    * The benefits you would get from learning meta-language learning skills via Esperanto are modest compared to the benefits of learning a real language, which teaches meta-language learning skills AND is useful in its own right.

    * The fact that it’s so useless would be a big turn-off for most people. Most people will be unable to keep themselves motivated without the gratification of knowing they will be able to communicate at the end and have taught themselves something that is useful in its own right rather than just preparatory work for learning another language.

    * Many people only aspire to learn one foreign language. I don’t think Esperanto should be it. If they want to learn a dozen languages, maybe it can be one of them.

    * One thing that Esperanto has in its favour is its simplicity. Certainly it is easier to learn than say French or German or Russian. However, there are other languages that are also relatively easy to learn, such as Spanish or Indonesian. And they’re useful in their own right since they are real languages that allow you to communicate and will provide greater gratification for people.

    * Esperanto is a language modelled along European lines. It would be of limited use for learning Mandarin or Japanese or other non-European languages.

    * There are very few learning materials in Esperanto. There are no children’s books to read, no podcasts to download, you can’t go spend a week in an Esperanto-speaking country to immerse yourself in the language.

  7. Caitlin:
    I am slightly confused why you provided arguments which can be immediately proved wrong by the article you are commenting to?
    Specifically, Pasporta Servo should make learning language useful for backpackers.
    RadioArkivo has radio broadcasts in Esperanto from many countries (there are also Esperanto podcasts)
    Meta-language aspects I believe has been answered by my original articles and the links speak for themselves.
    As to the easy to learn languages, I am learning Spanish now and – even with the teacher – I am advancing much slower than I did in a Lernu course. Just having to worry about 3 regular verb classes (AR/ER/IR) and their present tense conjugation takes me longer than it took me to learn past, present and future tense of all esperanto verbs.
    Esperanto is not modelled along European lines. Yes, it does not have much Chinese or Japanese influence, but it certainly has a lot of Russian, some German and bits of other languages. Also, if you try looking at it from non English-centric point of view, it is easier to learn for Chinese, Japanese and Swedish than English is.
    Learning material I have written about before. There is lernu.org, which has more material with more source language instructions than any other free and many paid language sites I have seen. They also provide free tutors, who speak your language beside Esperanto. There are also free multimedia courses. Famous children books (e.g. Alice in Wonderland) are available in translation at Project Gutenberg. There are also books written in Esperanto available commercially through many esperanto bookshops.
    Finally, the World Congress of Esperanto is organised in a different country every year and there are many people not sharing a common language. Esperanto is big in Russia, country well known for not caring about other languages. Esperanto gives them an easy gateway to the world.
    Finally, there are immersion schools for Esperanto in many places. See for example the schools in France or Australia .
    So Caitlin, given that the arguments are that easy to prove wrong immediately, what are the real reasons you don’t want to learn Esperanto? Being a non-conformist?
    I know that is the real reason for many people. In reality, there are many Esperanto speakers in the world; you just don’t know who they are. They speak in Esperanto with friends via emails, IM or on mailing lists, they may have Esperanto-only blogs, they travel to Esperanto events. They just don’t bother you with that knowledge the same way that you don’t bother them with your political beliefs, your religion or the books you read this summer.
    I talk about Esperanto, because I am not afraid of being laughed at by ignorant. In Russian, there is an expression from the time of WWII, “Вызывать огонь на себя” – to draw the (enemy’s) fire (upon oneself). Not everybody can be bothered to do that.
    A community of Esperanto is the one that waits for you to join them. Stay out if you like, but don’t give arguments that are plainly false and – moreover – easy to prove false with 30 minutes of googling.
    If you really are serious about your objections, read the links and come back with stronger arguments. I will find you an answer or admit not having one.

  8. >>Specifically, Pasporta Servo should make learning language useful for backpackers.

    It’s an interesting concept but it remains to be seen how significant this will become. 1350 hosts in 85 countries isn’t really that many and the merits of learning the local language apply to all interactions within a country, not just for those with your hosts. If you are staying in a hotel or hostel there is usually a common language anyway.

    >>RadioArkivo has radio broadcasts in Esperanto from many countries (there are also Esperanto podcasts).

    >> Learning material I have written about before. There is lernu.org, which has more material with more source language instructions than any other free and many paid language sites I have seen. They also provide free tutors, who speak your language beside Esperanto. There are also free multimedia courses. Famous children books (e.g. Alice in Wonderland) are available in translation at Project Gutenberg. There are also books written in Esperanto available commercially through many esperanto bookshops.

    I never said resources didn’t exist, I just said there were very few. Learning languages like English, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin etc, you can tap into an incredibly rich culture, by reading children’s books or comics (and more complicated books as you progress), watching film (with or without the subtitles). This is incredibly rewarding and a huge motivating factor for a lot of people – it means they it isn’t all verbs and they can enjoy the process. There might be a few books in translation but it isn’t like going to Paris and picking up a complete collection of Asterix, or watching Japanese anime movies, or going to cookery school in Tuscany – things that also hook you into the culture.

    >>Meta-language aspects I believe has been answered by my original articles and the links speak for themselves.

    If you are talking about my comments on the psychology of staying motivated to learn a language then no, I don’t think you have answered my points. Not all of my points are equally important and I think this is the single biggest drawback.

    >>As to the easy to learn languages, I am learning Spanish now and – even with the teacher – I am advancing much slower than I did in a Lernu course. Just having to worry about 3 regular verb classes (AR/ER/IR) and their present tense conjugation takes me longer than it took me to learn past, present and future tense of all esperanto verbs.

    Of course, Esperanto is simpler than Spanish – it’s an invented language. But Spanish is much more simple than German or Russian or Mandarin and it’s spoken by over 364 million people in the world (based on 2000 figures http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_language) so surely the extra effort is worth it for the extra benefits?

    However, if you want a truly easy language, try Indonesian. It’s also an invented language. You mentioned that Esperanto has only three tenses? Well, Indonesian only has one! The way to express that you have eaten rice in the past is to say “I eat rice in the past.” http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Indonesian/Lesson_4

    >>Esperanto is not modelled along European lines. Yes, it does not have much Chinese or Japanese influence, but it certainly has a lot of Russian, some German and bits of other languages. Also, if you try looking at it from non English-centric point of view, it is easier to learn for Chinese, Japanese and Swedish than English is.

    Since when is German not a European language? Russian is a grey area although some linguists class it as a European language. But German? German and Germanic languages (including English) are just as European as the Romance languages (ie. French, Spanish, Italian etc).

    >>Finally, the World Congress of Esperanto is organised in a different country every year and there are many people not sharing a common language. Esperanto is big in Russia, country well known for not caring about other languages. Esperanto gives them an easy gateway to the world.

    >>In reality, there are many Esperanto speakers in the world; you just don’t know who they are. They speak in Esperanto with friends via emails, IM or on mailing lists, they may have Esperanto-only blogs, they travel to Esperanto events. They just don’t bother you with that knowledge the same way that you don’t bother them with your political beliefs, your religion or the books you read this summer.

    >>A community of Esperanto is the one that waits for you to join them. Stay out if you like, but don’t give arguments that are plainly false and – moreover – easy to prove false with 30 minutes of googling.

    If you are enthusiastic enough to want to tap into an entire global Esperanto-speaking culture, then go for it! Esperanto is probably for you! But this feels a little like extolling the benefits of learning ham radio because you can have fun talking to other people on your ham radio. It’s fine if that’s what you want to do but it’s probably not a motivating factor for most people. That’s not to say I’m dissing it – there are plenty of things I’m into that are niche and fun but I wouldn’t argue that everyone should get into them.

    >>Finally, there are immersion schools for Esperanto in many places. See for example the schools in France or Australia .

    I didn’t know that and stand corrected. However, I think immersion is more than the school – it’s about going to the shop and buying your milk in the local language, ordering a meal, asking for directions on the street and so on.

    >>So Caitlin, given that the arguments are that easy to prove wrong immediately, what are the real reasons you don’t want to learn Esperanto? Being a non-conformist?

    >>I know that is the real reason for many people.

    >>I talk about Esperanto, because I am not afraid of being laughed at by ignorant. In Russian, there is an expression from the time of WWII, “Вызывать огонь на себя” – to draw the (enemy’s) fire (upon oneself). Not everybody can be bothered to do that.

    This is not about me not wanting to learn Esperanto. I could even be tempted, simply out of curiosity to see how easy it really is.

    However, I already speak a second language (German) and though it’s slightly rusty from disuse, I learnt it quite well, since I was an exchange student in Germany for four months and did 3-unit German for Year 12. We had to study a text and write essays and give 3-minute impromptu monologues on unknown topics in exam conditions. So in my case, I’ve probably already learn the meta-language learning skills.

    The point I am debating is not about me but whether I believe it to be useful for the ordinary person who is learning a language. It’s an option but I think that most people will find there are better options for them. Pretty much all the factors can be overcome (eg. there are resources but you have to hunt for them) but the overriding factor is that I think most people would not get enough out of it to stay motivated. It’s not that it’s hard or completely (just mostly) but you don’t get that much out of it in the end: it’s a short run for a short slide (as opposed to a long run for a short slide). I think most people would prefer a long slide whether they needed a short, medium or long run (depending on the language they are learning and their ability to stay motivated) to get there.

    >>If you really are serious about your objections, read the links and come back with stronger arguments. I will find you an answer or admit not having one.

    Have done – what do you think?

    By the way, I hope you know that I’m not making fun or trying to be nasty in anyway. I just find it an interesting topic and enjoy a good debate. I hope I’m not being rude.

  9. Caitlin,

    The comments are getting a bit long, so let me try to summarise them in here. Hopefully, I got the gist of your argument. If not, we can have another go. And no, you are not being rude. 🙂

    1) Esperanto is not for everyone (ham radio, ordinary person arguments)
    I agree. I know some Esperantists push for Esperanto to be a second language for everybody. I don’t insist on this being the real goal. I see many useful sides to Esperanto, global domination aside. In fact I wrote about it once or twice.

    2) Learning esperanto is not a high enough payoff on investment (Pasporta Servo, learning German should be enough, Indonesian is a good easy language)
    I would agree that if you are planning to do a 3 year tour of spanish speaking countries, Spanish is a language to learn.
    But if you want to visit Russia, Germany, Brazil, China and France, what single language could you learn for maximum benefit? Esperanto is the only one that will give you access to all those countries with a help of a friendly local with whom you can converse fluently. And it is apparently easier to find a helpful Esperanto speaker than English speaker in the countries outside of England/USA, especially with a bit of planning. This might be hard to believe, but I have seen a number of such statements to ignore the facts.

    In general, the cost of learning Esperanto (time and money wise) is so low that the benefits do not have to be very high for the whole thing to be worthwhile.

    3) Now, to the main point of Meta-language aspects that I thought I answered already. I was actually refering to the Wikipedia link in the original article with a list of real studies showing the benefits.

    For myself, I have studied English, then French, then Esperanto and only then (now) Spanish. I do feel that meta-knowledge I acquired through learning Esperanto was easier to internalize and is helping me with learning Spanish.

    You say if people will get bored, they will stop studying Esperanto. But isn’t it true for all languages? I know with French, even after a year of adult study (and 4 in high school) I could not read anything even close to real language. With Esperanto, I started to get excited about reading one month into the study cycle of 15-30 minutes a day.

    Caitlin, just give it a try. Register at Lernu and spend one week at it. See how far you get. Then report back here or at your blog (I will link to the article, if you do).

    An unbiased yet experience-based personal opinion would certainly be interesting. And possibly more interesting in a long run than the theoretical link slinging we are doing now.

  10. I’ll think about … I agree ‘twould be interesting … but I’m a busy girl (not that you would know from all my comments on your blog).

    Of course, with any language, if you get bored then you’ll give up. My point was that people were more likely to stay motivated if it was a “real language” with tangible benefits. Okay, Esperanto offers some benefits but it’s not on par with learning a major world language.

    I do wonder (slightly playing devil’s advocate here) if the meta language learning skills are not in fact acquired when learning your native tonge rather than your first second language?

    After all, it’s believed that wild children who are not taught to speak in their early years will, in fact, never learn to speak. http://www.feralchildren.com/en/language.php.

    In this case it’s perhaps a little redundant to argue about which second language is better to acquire meta language learning skills, since – unless you’re a wild person – you’ve already got them.

    ‘Aha!’, you might say, ‘but learning a foreign language is different – you have to actually study it, learn the rules, consciously acquire it’. But weren’t you the one who said that children have to be rigorously taught the theory of their own language in order to learn it? So it’s not that different after all? (Unless, you now agree with me that children do learn their own language through immersion and the study is secondary).

  11. On motivation:
    If you don’t compare Esperanto to other ‘real languages’, would it be easier to see the payoffs? If it were just a hobby skill like setting up your own website, kniting or learning to dance, how do you evaluate its worth? I think the ‘language’ comparison brings out prejudices that get in a way.

    On learning as children:
    Children learn from patterns they hear and read. They spend early years of their life to acquire common patterns and extrapolate the language knowledge from them. If they were not exposed to the patterns, they would lose the ability to acquire them easily (e.g. Japanese R/L distinction and african click languages).

    However, just pattern acquisition will not get you all the rules of language. That’s why (IMHO) only commonly used verbs (have/get/go/eat, etc) survive with irregular forms. Other, less common verbs, get extrapolated from common patterns. Historical linguistics has examples of that for verbs no longer popular (e.g. hang).

    Therefore, even children have to study grammar and special case usage to have full fluency of the language.

    Adults have at least two problems: they do not have as much time and energy as children do to spend on learning and they already have built in patterns (of the 1st language) they have to explicitly rewrite and generalise to be able to learn several languages. As an example, many people learning 2nd language start by translating to and from 1st language constructs, something children do not do.

    There were actually studies showing the the brain works differently for monolingual and bilingual speakers.

    So adults have to develop special rules for all of the 2nd language, not just the corner bits. Grammar and other meta-language is just a way to present information in explicit adult-style patterns with – if done correctly – reduction in the learning time.

    There are obviously exceptions to any rule. An adult moving to a new country can probably spend years to acquire language knowledge by absorption (still slower than children though). In other cases, some people just can’t handle grammar-patterns, so they have to do it the other way.

  12. There would be huge pay-off in me learning to set up my website (my business needs one), good pay-off in learning to dance (it’s something I enjoy, it keeps me fit and it helps in certain social situations) and moderate pay-off for learning to knit (it’s meant to relieve stress and I could make useful things that would be appreciated by others who can’t make them).

    Learning Esperanto is more on par with learning how to make paper. It might be fun and interesting in its own right but I don’t think it’s useful.

    In any case you have acknowledged my argument when you said above that Esperanto is not very everybody.

  13. Or maybe a better analogy is that it’s like learning to drive a horse and buggy because it will teach me meta driving skills when what I actually want to do is learn how to drive. It would be kind of cool to know how drive a horse and buggy but I’m not sure the pay off is enough.

    So (playing devil’s advocate again), what’s the *real* reason you think learning Esperanto is a good idea? Is it because you’ve learnt it?

  14. Caitlin,

    Dancing: something people enjoy, something that keeps them fit, something that helps in certain social situations.
    Esperanto: something people enjoy, something that keeps them mentally fit, something that helps them in certain social situations.

    I fail to see a difference! It may not do it for you, but when speaking for the ‘common man’ as you did, I do not see how you can justify dancing/knitting to be a good skill while still rejecting Esperanto as one.

    On the universality of the language, is hard to say that I acknowledged your not-for-everyone arguments, when I had written a whole blog article about it 9 months before you posed the question (see the Raumists link for details).

    And to generalise, can you actually name something outside of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs that is for everyone?

    I will write about why I learned Esperanto in a new blog article, as it is not a quick response. But for now I will just say that it is not because I have learnt it.

  15. I’m not saying that dancing and knitting are for everyone. They are certainly more appealing to me. Judging by the number of people who dance or knit compared to the number of people who speak Esperanto, there are others who feel the same way. But you are right; there’s not an inherent difference.

    I followed your link to the earlier blog post and failed to see where you had previously acknowledged that it was ‘not for everyone’. But even if you did, I never claimed that you had changed your mind as a result of my arguments; I simply meant that at least we now seemed to be in agreement on that point. Earlier (in the above post) it seemed that you were saying that Esperanto was for everyone who wanted to learn a foreign language. Maybe I misinterpreted you there, maybe I didn’t, but I certainly disagree with that view.

    I had a look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I guess it depends on how you interpret it. I believe that everyone who is capable (profound disabilities would obviously hamper acquisition of these skills) should learn how to cook and learn a sport/exercise. I don’t believe that these skills fit into the Hierarchy of Needs, any more than dancing does (which is but one method among many to enhance social belonging). But I do believe cookery and sport are essential for health and well being and make one a more complete and happy human being.

  16. I see where the confusion lies. It was whether Esperanto is worth it by itself versus whether it is worth it as step towards other languages. The original article was about the later aspect, while the discussion in the comments was more and more about the earlier one.

    To summarise my point of view: Esperanto as an end-goal is probably not for everyone, just like any other skill or hobby. However, Esperanto as a step towards learning another language is very useful as the research showed.

    Whether or not people believe either of these statements, is a personal thing and not something I am going to cry over. I talk about it in the same way I talk about my Scottish Country Dancing; if the topic does not appeal, I move on to other things.

    And I think this concludes the discussion for this particular article. I hope some of the articles I wrote/will write on Esperanto, dancing or computational linguistics will be just as interesting. Thank you to all participants and I hope to meet with you again later.

  17. I have been reading over some of the comments herein. I was pleased to see they seemed to be kept very civil, intelligent and mature, despite some differences of opinion. I thought I would make a few comments which may or may not relate to the various discussions to day.

    I have been an Esperantist “officially” since 1980. I have continued to support and promulgate the language for all these years primarily because I feel that this is the best contribution I can make to the promotion of peace and good will in the world.

    I have found that learning Esperanto has given me a vast insight into my own language of English. Despite all the English classes during high school, I never really grasped “grammar” very well. It was to tangled and confusing. UNTIL I started learning Esperanto. Now I finally comprehend such terms as “subject” and “object” nouns, and realize it was never complicated (except in the context of English).

    I would also point out that Esperanto is not, and was never intended to be, a “universal” language; rather, it is an auxilliary language. If everyone could learn this one simple language as a second tongue, then everyone could communicate with each other (on an equal basis) thruought the world. This is simply impossible with any national/ethnic language. Someone always has the upper hand. Learning a national/ethnic language takes 2-4 years and usually, the moment you speak, everyone knows its not your native tongue. But if must both speak a language that is not your first language, you are placed on equal footing.

    I saw mention of “real languages.” Esperanto IS areal language. It is not an artificial language (since it has a true etymology). It is a young language, and it is a structured and devised language, but it is quite real. In fact, there are today an estimated 200 people for whom Esperanto is their FIRST language (being born of parents who only speak Esperanto mutually). Most of these people are actually tri-lingual.

    I want to say more, but I suspect the amount of text I can enter is limited and that will have exceeded it.

  18. You don’t generally convince anyone to learn Esperanto, but the more a person hears about it, the more likely he or she is to meet Esperanto with less skepticism the next time; so just mentioning Esperanto to someone is really positive, even if you never get to be the last person in the chain.

  19. I realize this is an old post, so I hope you don’t mind a comment now. I credit Esperanto, at least in part, with being able to pick up Portuguese as fast as I did when I went there on a two month college internship in 1997. There were many times I felt that vocab and grammar seemed familiar, or at least more intelligible, because of something I knew from Esperanto. Over the years my Portuguese has developed into fluency and I left Esperanto to the side. Now I’m trying to come back to it.

  20. Interesting post and great debate.

    I have of course heard of Esperanto but never gave much thought to learning it. I had the impression that it was a great idea that just never quite took off, but I see perhaps that’s not quite the case. And I can see why learning it would give you help getting to grips with other languages.

    I’m an Irish ex-pat living in Portugal for the past 2 years. Although I can read it quite well I’m still not fluent in Portuguese, do you think learning Esperanto could quicken my progress in Portuguese and also other Latin languages, Spanish in particular (I know some French already)

  21. Actually, if you have already learned another language, the secondary benefits from Esperanto are probably going to be minimal. But it never hurts to learn another language.

  22. What do people think of Interlingua? It seems to be more tailor-made for Romance Languages than Esperanto.

  23. Hello all.
    I want to put one little brick in this big an interesting discussion.
    Two or three times in my live I took a look over Esperanto’s grammars written in English for English speakers. I didn’t pay attention, but that enforced my knowledge not only in Esperanto. This week, after discover this blog, and spent some time enjoying this debate, I retook my German studies simply with: http://www.esperanto.de/sprache/kurse/kek/

    We know that study one foreign language reading standard grammars could be so boring. You have one funny option, try to read Esperanto’s grammar in the language that you would to learn/optimize. It runs, believe me, you understand chapter over chapter, and your interest increases day by day.
    Then, your goal is reached, you will improve your desired language skills, and more, could be you have a good vision over Esperanto.
    Bye and thanks for all.

    Carlos López Encinas
    Antigüedad, España

  24. It was exciting to come across such an arduous and sicere discussion, although years old.
    Let me poke in.
    Caitline: Esperanto is a language modelled along European lines. It would be of limited use for learning Mandarin or Japanese or other non-European languages.
    It is an illusion. Esperanto is a cosmopolitan genome of language, non-european grammatical structure clad in European lexis and described to mimic conventional grammar of the time. It was the description which was artificial and inadequate. Please note that Esperanto is the only conlang conceived and constructed by a child in unique sociolinguistic situation and thus quite naturally. Hence its propedeutical value. It has nothing to do with thousand and more projects coined by grown-ups no matter how erudite they are and how much of their erudition they cram into their projects. Unless they create some models for special tasks to replicate their theories (e.g. Kenneth Lee Pike). And there is another fallacy: Esperanto may be but learned, never taught (Caleb Gattegno). It is DIY language – empowered by its its distinct separation of nude grammar and uiniformed lexis.

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