Sunday, 30 November 2008

Time to go native

So far in this blog I've written mostly in English. Today is the day that I try to make the transition to Esperanto. I'm going to make a lot of mistakes and my posts will initially take longer to write, however, I believe that this step will help me to learn faster so here goes. If you are an Esperantist and you spot mistakes in my posts, I would be grateful if you could point them out to me.

Hieraǔ mi vojaĝis trajne al Londono por renkontiĝi du amikoj. Post pluraj bieroj, la temo de lingvo envenis la interparolado. Mi diris al ili pri Esperanto kaj ili signis iom da intereso. Eble ili lernos Esperanton.

Mi esperas ke mia Esperanto ne estis tro malbone. Bonan nokton al ĉiuj.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

It's all about the exchange of ideas

I have only been learning Esperanto for a few days, but as I search the Internet for information there seems to be a perpetual debate about the usefulness of artificial/constructed languages as opposed to natural languages. The attitudes of people toward Esperanto range from fanatical devotion to outright antipathy.

There are two main criteria that I think are crucial to any language, natural or otherwise, that is intended to be used for general communication between human beings.

1. Does the language allow a person to freely express their ideas?

2. Is it easy for people to become proficient enough in the language to facilitate the exchange of those ideas?

Being new to Esperanto, I am not qualified to give an answer from personal experience to either of the questions above. However, as a native English speaker, I am finding that the construction of the language is allowing me to learn at a much faster rate than I have experienced with natural languages. Whether I will achieve fluency in speech and writing remains to be seen, but at least the complexity of grammar has not proved to be a barrier to me thus far.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Vocabulary - In the kitchen

Every so often I will publish a list of useful words for a particular subject area. I welcome suggestions for additional items.

In the kitchen (En la kuirejo)
patofrying pan
kaserolocasserole, saucepan
kranotap, faucet

Starting to learn Esperanto

I had heard about Esperanto in the past but did not take the time to investigate it. A couple of days ago I stumbled across it again and this time I decided to see what it had to offer. As I have started this blog, you would be right to assume that Esperanto (or Eo for short) has impressed me.

Like a lot of people, I have studied various languages at one time or another, both at school and in my spare time. English is my mother tongue and I have found this to be a handicap when trying to learn other languages. This is because my ability to speak an alternative to English tends to be significantly worse than the ability of others to speak English. I spent several months working in Belgium and despite my initial determination to improve my spoken French and perhaps acquire some Flemish, I ended up speaking English almost all of the time.

There were generally two types of conversational situation that would take place. The first would be when I was trying to speak in French and it became obvious to all parties that my mastery of the spoken word had not reached a functional level. At such times either people decided to speak English or my contribution to the conversation rapidly diminished before disappearing entirely.

The second type of situation was when I spoke to people who were keen to practise their English. As soon as they became aware that I am a native English speaker they would seize upon the opportunity and I really wasn't in a position to insist upon any viable alternative.

I hope that my study of Eo will allow me to communicate with many more people on a more equitable footing and in this blog I hope to document my experiences.

A valuable Eo resource that I am using for learning is lernu! It's a fabulous site, full of invaluable information for the Eo komencanto (beginner). I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Please feel free to share your Eo experiences and thoughts. Write in English or Eo as you wish. You can try to communicate with me in other languages, however, my ability to understand you may be minimal.

Ĝis poste!