April 26th, 2011 12:05 EST
The Discovery of Esperanto
Thank you for publishing the article by Tony Graff about the non-ethnic inter-language Esperanto. Esperanto, the International Language of Brotherhood
While `brotherhood` and `ease of learning` are cited here as reasons for learning Esperanto,
there are seven other, more pragmatic, reasons which can be found in the Prague Manifesto:
(My own chance discovery of Esperanto as a teenager in 1950 led me into a career in foreign languages
and opened up new worlds for me).
1) Democracy - the use of any ethnic language(s) for international communication is essentially anti-democratic and confers special privileges on that particular group. The hegemony of one ethnic language is having damaging consequences on many smaller languages and cultures.
2) Global education - all ethnic languages are bound to their respective cultures and nations. Non-ethnic Esperanto teaches about a world without borders, without the cultural or geographic limitations of one ethnic language.
3) Effective language education - few students gain a usable working knowledge of any ethnic language, while mastery, or even perfection, of regularized Esperanto is demonstrably possible for many more.
4) Multilingualism - every member of the Esperanto community makes an effort to meet others linguistically halfway and is more aware of the difficulties posed by ethnic languages. The ideal is "universal bilingualism` [YOUR ethnic language + non-ethnic Esperanto for each person].
5) Language rights - the unequal distribution of power between ethnic languages leads to insecurity, or even oppression and strife. With non-ethnic Esperanto everyone is equally disadvantaged and placed on a level playing field.
6) Language diversity - is seen as something positive to be encouraged and fostered, part of our common world heritage, not something to be adandoned.
7) Human emancipation - language is used to include others and let them participate equally in the human community, while at the same time remaining rooted in one`s own linguistic community.
Brian Kaneen / Brian CainÃn