Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Esperanto, the world's saddest and most pointless language.

A recent hit-and-run visitor to No Good Boyo's blog has attempted, like some seedy drug pusher, to tempt us to read about his dull, aspergerish obsession with invented language. I merely warn as a public service that Esperanto is a complete crock of sh*t.

I say this for a number of reasons:

1) It's totally artificial and thus totally lacking in a soul - there is no literature, no folklore, no songs, no opera...

2) It was invented by a European and therefore is laden with useless fripperies like declensions (ack).

3) In wasting time learning Esperanto, one misses out on the joys of learning a real language - how can one impress one's date by ordering fluently in an Esperanto restaurant or flirt with a dark-eyed Esperantina (or suave Esperantino, according to gender and/or inclination)?

4) Most horrifically, one is limited to conversation and social interaction with other Esperantists, a fate that has all the free-spirited appeal of going to train-spotters' meetings or joining the Socialist Workers Party.

Now I must in my pre-emptive defence point out that I am not against learning languages; quite the opposite - I speak several aside from English to a greater or lesser degree of fluency. But they're all real languages. And heck, there are enough of them out there without having to invent any more, especially ones that lack all the appeal of learning languages in the first place.

26 comments:

Mrs Pouncer said...

Well done, Gyppo. As you know, I was laid low, made peevish, by Boyo's visitor. I had to immediately invoke Val Doonican just to cleanse the palate.
I think I got away with it.

scarlet-blue said...

Is it still alright to order an Esperanto in Starbucks?
Sx

Gyppo Byard said...

Mrs P - I share both your disdain for esperantists and your lingering regard for the sweatered Irish crooner whose appearances were frequen on the 'variety TV' of my early years.

Scarlet - *An* esperanto, yes. *In* Esperanto, no.

Brian Barker said...

Just two questions.

1)What is an "Esperantist" ?

2)Where did you get the info that Esperanto is not a "real language" ?

Personally I prefer my sources to be reliable.

No offence, but I would suggest the Youtube video by Professor Piron, a former translator at the United Nations as an unbiased source.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LV9XU

Mrs Pouncer said...

Oh good heavens, Gypps, are you doing this to annoy me? Is it some sort of early Hallowe'en trick or treat type tease? Who is Mr Barker? Is he in cahoots with Mr Chapman? Are you and Boyo secretly laughing up your frilly sleeves at my discomfort? I thought I had made my position perfectly clear.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Curiously similar disdain for Esperanto, penchant for languages, tendency to ramble, flair for posting on each other's blogs as if they were their own... Gyppo Byard, No Good Boyo and Mrs Pouncer wouldn't happen to be one and the same person, would they?

Gyppo: A recent hit-and-run visitor to No Good Boyo's blog has attempted, like some seedy drug pusher, to tempt us to read about his dull, aspergerish obsession with invented language.

Mrs P: As you know, I was laid low, made peevish, by Boyo's visitor.

Actually, Bill Chapman said this on Boyo's blog. Hardly the rantings of a maniac.

Also, a grammatically sophisticated - insulting, but gramatically sophisticated - Esperanto epithet applied to Bill by Boyo hints at a greater acquaintance with Esperanto than such contempt would suggest. Which is why I think Gyppo knows that...

1. Esperanto was artificial in 1887, but has since gained a living soul through daily use in every imaginable circumstance. Not surprisingly, it does have literature, folklore, songs, theater...

2. Esperanto has declension (singular), which serves the very useful purpose of decreasing ambiguity and increasing flexibility without sacrificing comprehension. What makes declension a bear in most languages that have it is its complexity and irregularity, neither of which Esperanto has. Ditto for conjugation.

3. Esperanto is a real language. The waste of time would be to learn a language only to impress a date in a restaurant. Esperanto offers so much more than that.

4. Esperantists are no less diverse nor interesting than any other segment of the population. Heck, they even include Esperanto-bashers like Gyppo, Boyo and Mrs P.

For more about what Esperanto is really like, check out esperanto.net.

Mrs Pouncer said...

Gadjo! You naughty, naughty boy!
No boss in this afternoon to peer over yer shoulder? Or are you hotdesking?
Scoundrel.

scarlet-blue said...

What about me?!!!! Don't I get a mention? I'm a right proper cockernee; up the apples and pears an all that. I've got more culture going on in my little finger than all these esprantees.
Goodness me, you tell 'em Mrs P.
Sx

Gadjo Dilo said...

Eh, what's happening here? That wasn't me, Mrs P; I'm as simultaneously piqued and bored by Esperanto as the next John, but I haven't yet stooped to posting anonymous comments! (And by the way, those of you who consider it a bit past it as a language may like to know that it has a lovely daughter, Ido).

Brian Barker said...

For someone bored with Esperanto, how do you know about Ido?

Nuff said

Mrs Pouncer said...

Mr Barker, please.
Gadjo knows about Ido because he knows about EVERYTHING. Your comment is merely vulgar. However, at least you claim it as your own, which is something. The shrinking cowardice of an anonymous comment leaves us all diminished, and does nothing to further your cause.

No Good Boyo said...

Well said, Byard.

More material for the Gyppo-Boyo-Pouncer conspiracy theorists:

http://alfanalf.blogspot.com/2008/10/i-was-teenage-esperanter.html

Gadjo Dilo said...

I'm piqued (in the sense that my interest and enthusiasm is stimulated) as well as bored, Mr Barker, but I confess that I found my brief experience of Esperanto disappointing. However, I respect and am instinctively drawn to all language, from Makaton to The Language of Shakespeare, but especially Makaton.

Thank you as always, Mrs Pouncer, but I really don't know everything; for a start I know almost nothing about Ido except her (comparatively) youthful loveliness.

scarlet-blue said...

"for a start I know almost nothing about Ido except her (comparatively) youthful loveliness."

I'm going to start calling myself Ido, then someone might take notice of me. You're all obviously obsessed with this Esperanto bird.
Storms off in a huff Mrs Pouncer style . . .
Sx

Mrs Pouncer said...

Oh, calme-toi, Scarlet. We are not obsessed: far from it. It's just that certain inaccuracies are being given a wide forum, and I have absolutely nothing better to do on a Wednesday afternoon.

For a start, Boyo and Gyppo are rightly indignant at the very suggestion that I might be them. Or they. Whatever. I am a raddled ex-junkie turned unrepentant inebriate with the sort of scabby backstory that makes M. Faithfull look like Josephine Quintavalle. And I would quite like to see that sentence translated into Esperanto.

No Good Boyo said...

."Sum quando-narkomano korrugata tornata in jeneregrerteriena imbibulita cum spinastoria winehousita qui facta Domna Faithfull apare quasi Josephine Quintavalle."

It's not Esperanto, Mrs P, but I'll bet it makes more sense to the average reader. Of this blog, at least.

Salve!

Mrs Pouncer said...

You beaut, Boyo. Mwah.

scarlet-blue said...

Oh I love it!!
How about cum spinastoriammy winehousita
Makes perfect sense even to me!
Sx

No Good Boyo said...

Ladies, a new auxiliary language is born; one that has the advantage of being readily understood by all people of quality.

Let's call it Scarletina.

scarlet-blue said...

Oh blimey, I'm blushing! Thank-you you Mr Boyo, I'm touched... I mean 'touched' in a good way... I think I should shut up now...?!
Sx

scarlet-blue said...

See look... I've put an extra 'you' in my previous comment. I'm all flustered.
Sx

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

I had scarlatina as a child. Very nasty. Esperanto was invented by a Mr Zamenhof, of Poland. If you have ever studied Polish you would understand why he invented Esperanto.

Sorry to arrive so late, I was in London, starring in Oliver!

Kevin Musgrove said...

I'd write something witty in Braille but I've trawled my way right through the Unicode character map and not been able to find anything that will pass as a column of three dots.

Probably just as well: some clever dick would only scoff because I can only remember the grade I transliterations.

Gyppo Byard said...

Boyo, Mrs P, Scarlet, Gadjo, Kevin - Thank you for your kind and pertinent comments.

Boyo inscriptoria Scarletina bella in hodmandodia plummetorium Keith Richards ex arborteum coconutabulum.

Mr Barker - 'Esperantist' is a word of my own invention for someone who thinks that an invented language is a solution to the world's communication difficulties. I ask no payment for your using it; mere effusive thanks and eternal gratitude will suffice.

As for where I got the information that Esperanto is not a real language, it came from a pamphlet I was given in about 1978 by a peripatetic violin teacher who was an obsessive Esperantist. This stated that it had been invented in the late 19th century by some Jewish bloke in Poland. Was it incorrect?

Mr Nonymous - or may I call you Ano? - Someone capable of more than a cursory reading would note that Boyo, Mrs P and myself (not to mention Gadjo and MC Ward) are not only all capable linguists, but capable in different languages. Mrs P shows the signs of benefitting from a traditional education in French, German and Spanish; Boyo (who sometimes reminds me of Goldsmith's schoolmaster "And still they gazed, and still their wonder grew/That one small head could carry all he knew") is fluent in several Slavic and Turkic languages as well as his native Welsh, Hebrew, Persian, Arabic and Greek - either that or he's a world-class BS-merchant with a well-leveraged smattering here and there, but I doubt it - while I am fluent in Malay-Indonesian and speak passably fluent French and Javanese as well as smatterings of Italian, German, Czech and Russian (typical for a singer).
The thought of one person having that repertoire is mind-boggling.

The only thing I have left to say to you, Ano, is "bonvolu alsendi la pordisto, lausjene estas rano en mio bideo". And I think we all know what that means!

No Good Boyo said...

"Bideo killed the rabio star".

I think Scarletina's got a lot going for it as an extra language. I see you, Gyppo, tend towards the purist, Latinate style. All well and good. I more demotic myself.

I'm thinking of an association to unite all Scarleteenies. How about "La Glossa Nostra"?

scarlet-blue said...

D'ya know I was rubbish at language at school, but I love reading all you lot.
Sx