Print

Print


--- Matthew Barnett <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> One thing that we can learn from evolution is that
> once an organism has filled a niche it is difficult
> for another organism to displace it, unless the
> latter is _a_lot_ 'better' in some way. In a similar
> way, although a language that's _a_lot_ 'better'
> could displace Esperanto, Esperanto is already so
> simple and regular that it's difficult to see enough
> possible improvements which together would put the
> language far enough ahead, if you see what I mean.

In an age when more and more communication is done by
way of computers, whose keyboards *never* have those
daft hats on them, the supersigned letters are and
always will be an obstacle.  And we can throw in the
very obvious grammatical issues, such as the
accusative and the adjectival accord, which are pretty
well covered by most critics of the language, no
matter how many times Esperanto partisans come out to
defend them.  To the extent that Esperanto represents
the conIAL movement, these are liabilities of the
movement, and they are big, obvious targets.  If the
Esperanto movement were concerned with the "fina
venko" it would fix these things instead of offering
tired excuses.

But, by and large, I don't think that the large
majority of the Esperanto movement is really part of
the IAL movement.  It is a thing in itself.  And this
was decided in 1907, when Ido was definitively
rejected even though it fixed all of the crucial
points.  From then on, Esperantism -- although in some
ways about the "language problem" -- was primarily
about Esperanto language and culture.  It has become a
subculture focused around an international language
(not *the* international language).  There's nothing
wrong with that in and of itself, but it's not a good
perspective for an IAL, which has quite a different
function.

The reason I think Esperanto isn't worth supporting is
simple.  I would expect any reasonable nominating body
(UN, EU, what have you) for making an "official" IAL
to demand that Esperanto reform away at least the
obvious things (daft hats, accusative, adjective
accord).  And at that point, if the Esperantists stick
to their guns as they have for a hundred years, all
the advantages of Esperanto over Interlingua (or Ido,
or Novial, or what have you) disappear immediately. 
Basically, as far as I'm concerned, the resistance of
the current Esperanto movement to reform of the
language (and this resistance has been the bedrock of
the Esperanto subculture) indicates that it is
fruitless to expect that the Esperanto movement can be
reformed into a functional international language
movement.

 - Wayne