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<deinx nxtxr> wrote:
> <If you really want to get past any stigma, how about just presenting 
> the language as just a language to potential students.  Leave out the 
> part about who designed it and where, which they will eventually find 
> out anyway.  Instead just present the language as one that's easy to 
> learn and use, and connect the prospect up with existing users so they 
> can see it in action.  This way they'll get to experience a  
> functional and *real* language having any chance to be prejudiced by 
> the artificial aspects.>

To some extent this is happening with people stumbling across Esperanto 
on the internet. There is a downside to this; random learners have 
usually no idea of the existing community, the literature, the history, 
the organisation of the language. OK they don't need the history or the 
organisation, but they do need to know about the community, as Dana said 
("connect the prospect up with existing users").
Organised Esperantists tend to be wary of this, however, and there is 
one good reason. I regularly see disparate novices suggesting "couldn't 
we say it this way...", in other words proposing changes and 
improvements, and presumably unaware of how many times such changes and 
improvements have been discussed in the past. Now at some future time 
with a large body of speakers, changes would doubtless arise by force of 
numbers and no harm would be done. With the present small body of 
speakers, harmful ideas (however you define that) could gain a majority 
pretty easily, especially in a scattered internet community that has 
little cohesion. There would be even more chance of this if there were a 
disconnect between the "just a language" learners and the 
dyed-in-the-wool long term Esperantists. So at least some amount of 
background would seem advisable.

Geoffrey King