Esperanto (s)en perspektivo? Croatian Esperantists on the International Language Esperanto

Krunoslav Puskar
2015 Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems  
To our knowledge, there is to date no significant number of sociological studies dealing with the Esperanto movement, and there are even fewer sociolinguistic explorations of the whole Esperanto phenomenon. Concentrating on the Croatian Esperanto movement, we conducted an extensive study of Croatian Esperantists' attitudes towards the structure of Esperanto, and their perception of the Esperanto movement and the overall Esperanto phenomenon -aspects still conspicuously missing in recent
more » ... g in recent Esperantological research. This study offers invaluable insight into these under-researched interlinguistic areas, and also into the specific outlook of the traditional Croatian Esperanto movement. KEY WORDS esperantology, interlinguistics, sociolinguistics, attitudes towards languages CLASSIFICATION JEL: O35, Z19  Who would be an Esperantist according to your definition? AN ESPERANTO SPEAKER 10 (22): As it was defined in Boulogne-sur-Mer [at the first international congress of Esperantists in 1905], everybody who speaks Esperanto. 11 (52, m) AN ESPERANTO SPEAKER + IDEOLOGY (18): A person who speaks Esperanto fluently as their mother tongue and who lives for the idea of a universal world language. (19, m) AN ESPERANTO SPEAKER + THE MOVEMENT (17): Even though, according to Zamenhof's definition, an Esperantist is everybody who uses Esperanto, history has shown that an Esperantist is considered anyone who is in any way connected with the Esperanto movement. (44, m) AN ESPERANTO SPEAKER AND USER (11): Everybody who uses Esperanto. (67, m) A COSMOPOLITAN (7): Every person who is not nationally limited and only thinks about the origin of his nation. Only that person who appreciates all peoples can be a good Esperantist. (70, m) OTHER (6): An enthusiast, slightly strange for the outside world, a cosmopolitan, an idealist, interested in the sense of language. (26, m) Esperanto (s)en perspektivo? Croatian Esperantists on the international auxiliary language ... 333 AN ESPERANTO SPEAKER + (LANGUAGE) EQUALITY (4): A person who hopes that all people in the world will one day be equal when communicating. (55, f) A LANGUAGE FREAK (4): Everybody who wants to learn languages and know something new. (47, m) AN ESPERANTO SPEAKER + MULTICULTURALISM (2): An Esperantist is above all a person who in their communication uses Esperanto, but also a person with a propensity to establish contacts with people from other milieus and at the same time be sensitive to the issue of intercultural dialogue. (46, m) AN ESPERANTO SPEAKER -THE MOVEMENT AND IDEOLOGY: An Esperantist is in my opinion a person who speaks Esperanto. I don't agree that Esperantists should necessarily support the ideas and 'fight' for the movement. (21, f) AN ESPERANTO SPEAKER +/-IDEOLOGY: An Esperantist is an Esperanto speaker regardless of whether he believes in the ideas connected with Esperanto or not. (33, f) The study also tried to find out what attracted people to start learning Esperanto. The language itself and the point of view afforded by a neutral language scored highest in participants' answers.  What attracted you the most to start learning the language? A NEUTRAL LANGUAGE (21): That it is everybody's and nobody's language. (75, f) THE LANGUAGE ITSELF (17): The simplicity, the lack of exceptions, euphony, a regular orthography. (78, m) NO LANGUAGE BARRIERS (10): A wish to directly communicate with those who do not speak Croatian, but are our close neighbours -the Hungarians, Austrians, Italians -, and a wish not to spend the rest of my life learning all foreign languages. (57, f) CONTACT WITH OTHER PEOPLE (8): The possibility of correspondence with members of different peoples, travelling to foreign countries through Esperanto, communication with foreigners in Esperanto. (44, m) ESPERANTISTS (8): I think that it was not the language, but the people who wanted to teach me. I liked their cohesion and devotion. (27, f) A COSMOPOLITAN OUTLOOK (5): Because it is above all nations. (54, f) MULTICULTURALISM (4): The idea and possibility of hanging out with people from other countries and cultures. (44, f) (LINGUISTIC) CURIOSITY (4): I was attracted by curiosity about it; I like it because it is simple and because it is spoken throughout the world. (19, f) TRAVELS (4): The possibility of travelling and getting to know various cultures. (29, f) THE LANGUAGE ITSELF + THE IDEA (3): The simplicity of the language and the idea of Esperanto. (39, m) K. Puškar 334 ARTIFICIALITY (3): It is strange and interesting because it is 'artificial'. (19, m) A NATIVE TONGUE (2): My parents are Esperantists. (22, m) (LANGUAGE) DEMOCRACY (2): Equality and friendship, all speakers on an equal footing. (61, f) THE HISTORY OF THE LANGUAGE: Its history. (22, f) The study also tried to find out which aspects of the Esperanto phenomenon the Esperanto community considered positive and which negative. The fact that the language has a simple and logical structure enabling rapid acquisition, as well as its neutral outlook, rose to prominence as positive sides of Esperanto -see Table 6 . However, there were many other positive sides participants pointed out in the research.  Which positive sides of Esperanto have you perceived that other languages do not have? All in all, the study showed that participants saw more positive than negative traits in the Esperanto phenomenon, corroborating our hypothesis that (H38) Esperanto has more positive than negative sides. Much of the criticism dealt with the structure of the language, as can be seen in the answers in Table 6 .  Have you perceived some negative sides of Esperanto in general? [Esperanto] is not as close. Also, because of its logic and simplicity, a part of language diversity has been 'sacrificed,' because many words are created by the addition of prefixes and suffixes to a word of an opposite meaning. (22, f) Rigidity, a lack of euphony, chauvinism, a belief in its own logic. (26, m) Copying of ethnic languages in a negative sense, that is, it abounds in synonyms and homonyms, which is good for poetry, but not for reality. (72, m) YES -AS A MOVEMENT (8): Occasional aggressiveness while defending their stance. (21, f) Fanatics in the Esperanto movement, love affairs between people living on two different continents, broken hearts. (22, f) A mistake by the ingenious 'creator' of Esperanto that he pushed the internal idea of Esperanto alongside the language. (77, m) People who deal with Esperanto are inadequate to give Esperanto the strength needed to achieve its goal. (39, m) Inertia in the organisation, too many partisan organisations, no major umbrella association. (63, f) Unconscious ghettoisation. (39, m) Rushing to the UN; too many people of the same type (poets). (46, m) The idea of Esperanto is transferred too slowly to others. (24, m) YES -AS A LANGUAGE (EXTERNALLY) (7): The fact that people are not even acquainted with it, and do not know concretely what it is. (43, f) NO (40) YES -AS A LANGUAGE (INTERNALLY) 12 (20): A majority of the vocabulary is based on Indo-European languages, so I suppose that to speakers of other language areas it
doi:10.7906/indecs.13.2.10 fatcat:6vyr3xuqo5g7xot274engp457a