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Pop wrote

There's nothing neutral about a Eurocentric language though

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F3nd0 wrote

That's not really true, unless you focus on a few select aspects of the language and ignore all the others. There are Eurocentric aspects to Esperanto, but that doesn't mean there's ‘nothing neutral’ about it as a whole.

Firstly, beyond the technical (vocabulary) aspect, there's the political (couldn't think of a better word) aspect of the language, which I consider more important. English, for example, is not neutral in this aspect. It has historically belonged to a certain nation, which has spread it into many other parts of the world, often by colonising them (which, I presume, was often forceful). Even today, English is not neutral; it is a language native to several nations. If people speak English, they are accustoming themselves to the culture of those nations.

Everything originating from English-speaking countries then also has the unfair advantage of automatically being accessible to all the people being forced to learn English across the world. This may include cultural works (books, music, movies), but also news and politics. The same works of other countries don't get this accessibility. And this is partly the reason why you can find an abundance of US citizens in various places on the web, and why they may feel like the web is centred on their country—after all, it is centred on their language.

Now, with Esperanto, you get none of that. Esperanto belongs to no nation, and serves as a national language to no countries. Therefore, focusing on Esperanto can't imply focusing on certain countries. People from all places in the world get a (principally) equal opportunity creating content in Esperanto. None of them gets a (principal) advantage by default. The language itself was made to connect people of different nations, races, and cultures together. It was built on noble ideals, and has been spreading peacefully, and not forcefully. So politically and philosophically, Esperanto is very much a neutral language, and that alone sets it kilometres ahead of any national language.

Now, you called Esperanto ‘Eurocentric’, which must be a reference to its vocabulary (which I consider to be a part of the language's ‘technical’ aspect). In fact, most of Esperanto's vocabulary stems from romance languages, so you may find it looking very similar to French, for example. For an international language, that's a pretty bad trait to have. Ideally, the international language should be neutral for all people of all nations. Frankly, I don't think it's possible, but one could get at least somewhat close to it, and Esperanto is way off.

That's a flaw, but it's not a great one in my eyes. The consequence is that some students (e.g. French, Italian, Spanish…) will find many words familiar, and will probably have an easier time remembering them. Same goes for speakers of other European languages, to a lesser extent. This gives some people an advantage, but I don't think the advantage is big enough to hamper Esperanto's good points. Those include great regularity and simple grammar, which make the language simple enough to learn for anyone, so the gap in effort is not going to be that dramatic. (It might be fairly easy versus very easy, which, for an international language, is not bad in the greater picture. For English it's native versus considerably difficult.)

Beyond vocabulary, Esperanto is not entirely Eurocentric, even technically. In fact, you may find a number of similarities with languages outside of Europe. I would recommend taking a look at this article by Claude Piron, which examines Esperanto's supposed ‘Westernness’. So, you have a point, and a good one at that, but it's not nearly as bad as your phrasing would have one think, and discussable from there.

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Pop wrote

I read your comment and the article you linked to and it has changed nothing for me

there are also vastly more languages out there that are not considered in that article
making the vague gesture of 'the east', amounting largely to a couple of semetic languages, japanese, but mostly chinese is on its own a reflections of languages beyond europe that europe finds valuable

I would rather cut out my tongue than ask people living in a postcolony to adopt a language that privileges coloniser language speakers as an 'alternative' to some other shit option

real alternatives plz

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F3nd0 wrote (edited )

Thank you for taking the time to read them!

Certainly, there are many languages in the world, beyond what was mentioned; I assure you the author is aware of them, as becomes apparent throughout his work collection. But a couple which had similarities with Esperanto were selected to make a point, at which they should have succeeded.

If you're looking for an international language with a vocabulary not based in European languages, then you might want to look into Kotava—I heard it's nice and has considerable following (at least compared to others). Other languages include Lojban (mentioned here), Solresol, or Pandunia (mentioned here). I think Toki Pona draws from European languages, but the words are so few that it shouldn't matter much.

Myself, I'm going to stick to Esperanto, but hopefully you can find something that you like, too!

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Copenhagen_Bram wrote

Lojban isn't Eurocentric, I believe.

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yaaqov wrote (edited )

Lojban isn't particularly speakable, though. In addition to allowing sequences of sounds that only a very small number of the world's languages already do (thus making pronouncing it difficult for anyone who doesn't speak one of those languages already), its syntax and semantics is utterly unnatural, in many ways unlike any natural human language at all.

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Copenhagen_Bram wrote (edited )

Sounds like you're describing Klingon.

I'll entertain the latter thought, but I've looked at Lojban and it's quite pronounceable. It uses the same sounds as Esperanto AFAIK.

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yaaqov wrote

As far as I know, every structure in Klingon can be found in some language. That's more than could be said of Lojban.

And, well, Esperanto also allows plenty of consonant clusters that are rare crosslinguistically, like /gn/ or /kv/ in word initial positions, for instance. Lojban allows things like /txl/ word internally, where /x/ is the ‹ch› sound in "Bach" or "Chanukah"—also really marked in such a sequence. Of the most widely spoken languages on Earth, only Russian (and Arabic, depending on the variety) approaches the permissiveness of Lojban or Esperanto with respect to these factors.

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ergdj5 wrote

I'm gonna push pandunia.info for that reason, draws a lot from African and Asian languages, and a bit from American ones.

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ziq wrote (edited )

We really just need a universal translator like in star trek. The tech is almost there.

I've got better things to do than learn a 3rd language.

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ergdj5 wrote

Agreed entirely, the issue is the tech is... Google-owned, with a few other shittier offshoots.

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yaaqov wrote

Woah, this is the closest thing to a reasonable international auxiliary language I've seen yet!

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ergdj5 wrote

It has a Github where people contribute as well, and can be discussed on Matrix (#pandunia2:matrix.org)