The Life of Esperanto

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The Life of Esperanto

Postby Yaziq » Mon 10 Aug 2009 5:34 pm

I admit that I have not researched this topic and that I am speculating. As the leading conlang in the world that has gained some traction and following, I just wonder how far Esperanto has progressed. Does anyone in the world speak Esperanto as a first language? If you do please identify yourself. Does Esperanto have any real utility in commerce? It seems that Esperanto is mainly used by people as a mode of leisurely social networking like Facebook and has not developed much beyond that. That is progress, but I suppose that the founder(s) expected more from this creation, considering all the work that was put into it.
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Re: The Life of Esperanto

Postby linguoboy » Mon 10 Aug 2009 6:04 pm

Yaziq wrote:Does anyone in the world speak Esperanto as a first language?

Do you mean as a mother tongue or as a primary language? I don't know if there are people who live their lives in Esperanto the same way the average American lives their life in English, but denaskuloj or native-speakers of Esperanto have been in existence for decades. George Soros, for instance, was brought up in an Esperanto-speaking household and he was born in 1930.
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Re: The Life of Esperanto

Postby Twix93 » Mon 10 Aug 2009 11:03 pm

Apparently Esperanto has the same number of speakers as Latvian or Lithuanian - and I think there are about 1,000 native speakers.
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Re: The Life of Esperanto

Postby linguoboy » Tue 11 Aug 2009 3:21 am

Twix93 wrote:Apparently Esperanto has the same number of speakers as Latvian or Lithuanian - and I think there are about 1,000 native speakers.

No way does it have the same number of speakers as Lithuanian. That upper-end estimate of two million is hotly disputed whereas the total of more than three million Lithuanian native-speakers is based on solid census data. More apt comparisons are Frisian, Icelandic, or Breton.
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Re: The Life of Esperanto

Postby Yaziq » Tue 11 Aug 2009 6:01 pm

Yes, by "first language" I mean mother tongue. I was wondering if there are couples who might speak only Esperanto around their infants in the first months of the children's lives.
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Re: The Life of Esperanto

Postby formiko » Wed 12 Aug 2009 9:12 am

Actually, there are people who do that. There is a guy I know on a mailing list I belong to who does that. While we don't speka to my daughter exclusively in Esperanto, I speak to her 75% of the time in Esperanto.
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Re: The Life of Esperanto

Postby sokuban » Sat 05 Sep 2009 12:48 am

I really don't get why people'd teach Esperanto as a first language to their children.

I thought Esperanto was supposed to be a universal /second/ language? Doesn't that mean you should teach your children your native language first, and encourage them to learn Esperanto as a second language later on in life?
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Re: The Life of Esperanto

Postby dtp883 » Sat 05 Sep 2009 2:24 am

sokuban wrote:I really don't get why people'd teach Esperanto as a first language to their children.
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Re: The Life of Esperanto

Postby formiko » Sat 05 Sep 2009 5:05 am

English is her mother tongue. Engish is "Mommy's language", Esperanto is "Daddy's language".
My son heard Yoruba before he was 5, so he was fluent in Yoruba, as well as English. (He learned it when we lived in Africa). He no longer knows any of it (He's 13) though. There is nothing wrong w/ being trilingual as a child.
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Re: The Life of Esperanto

Postby sokuban » Sat 05 Sep 2009 5:21 pm

formiko wrote:English is her mother tongue. Engish is "Mommy's language", Esperanto is "Daddy's language".
My son heard Yoruba before he was 5, so he was fluent in Yoruba, as well as English. (He learned it when we lived in Africa). He no longer knows any of it (He's 13) though. There is nothing wrong w/ being trilingual as a child.


Apologies. I just realized I indirectly insulted you. That wasn't supposed to happen.

There is nothing wrong with being trilingual as a child, and in fact I'm sure most of the people here especially would encourage it.

I just think that teaching Esperanto as a sole first language to your children goes against the principles of Esperanto itself.

Esperanto was supposed to be an auxiliary /secondary/ language. It is important it stay that way. Esperanto is supposed to promote international relations, not take over an international identity. Now lots of people teach English to their children instead of their native language because they believe English is more important and believe that children who learn English as a first language instead of a native language have resulting better English and therefore more opportunities in the world.. (I was one of these children T_T)

But with Esperanto you don't have to do that. Esperanto isn't as difficult to learn as English (or so they say). You can still teach your child your native language, encourage them to keep their cultural heritage, as well as teach them Esperanto as a means for communication across cultures /as a second language/.
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