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Je 01.37 atm 2002.11.26 -0800, Bjorn MADSEN skribis
>--- Sebastian Hartwig wrote:
>
> > Some time ago Simono Pejno, based on these figures
> > and the number of
> > organised esperantists, postulated a number of
> > around 30.000 esperantists,
> > that is: speakers of Esperanto.
> >
> > Sebastian
>
>Well, 30.000 seems more likely than 2.000.000 speakers

I suspect that Simono had to reach around very far behind him to get that
figure. (Note that, according to Sebastian, he _postulated_ that figure --
a word that means that he accepted it as a premise, not that he actually
calculated it from available data.)

If we assume that the US is representative (ignoring, for the moment,
Kjell's comment to the effect that there are more Esperanto speakers per
capita in Sweden than there are in the United States -- not unlikely) and
that all Esperanto speakers are members of their national Esperanto
organizations, then by extrapolation to the entire planet we come up with
some 15,000 speakers of Esperanto.

If we make the same assumptions, with the exception that we assume that all
Esperanto speakers are or have been members of their national Esperanto
organizations over the past decade (which is as far back as our database
goes), then by extrapolation to the entire planet we come up with some
66,000 speakers of Esperanto.

If we add in the people in the United States who are _not_ in our database,
but who order from ELNA (over the net) books _in_ Esperanto (not just
"Teach Yourself Esperanto"), and do the same extrapolation, then the figure
comes up to about 100,000.

There are other models one can use. I once used Derk Ederveen's list of
Esperanto speakers on the net, and compared it with the (at that time)
published figures for the number of people with access to the net; the
result suggested about a quarter of a million Esperanto speakers. Unspoken
assumptions were that every Esperanto speaker on-line had given Ederveen
his address to put into his list (though my own personal address book, then
as now, indicated that this was far from the case). Another model I used
was to measure the number of Esperanto-speaking Nobel laureates against the
total number and extrapolate; this gave me a figure of _forty million_
Esperanto speakers. Unspoken assumptions here were that (a) small-number
statistics could be safely extrapolated, and (b) the psychological factors
that lead to winning the Nobel Prize are completely decoupled from those
that lead to learning Esperanto.

Or, try this one. How many Esperanto speakers, do you think, are going to
fly to a distant corner of the world (the Brazilian coast) to spend their
vacation time for this year at an Esperanto conference? One in twenty? Then
we get Simono's figure. One in a hundred? Then we come up with about
150,000 speakers. One in a thousand? How many of the two or three dozen in
this list who can speak Esperanto did so? (I didn't ...)


-- Donald J. HARLOW
    Esperanto-Ligo por Norda Ameriko
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