Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua,… (2)

I was wondering what could happen if people disagreed with our approaches to Europaio. We have allowed anyone not only to disagree within our frameworks, but also to use our works and names to create their own projects – but for “Dnghu” and “Europaio”, if they completely disagree with our grammar rules. We thought this was the fairest legal position to hold, given that we had to defend our efforts as first-movers in IE revival issues, at the same time guaranteeing everybody the right to create a better project, as nobody should be able to retain rights over the Indo-European language in any possible way.

Leaving legal issues aside, what about a more Latin Europaia? a more Slavic Europaiska? a more Germanic Europaisk? or a more Greek Europaika? What about Europai, Newom? What about IALs like Enterdnghu or Sperantom? I hate giving ideas, believe me, but this way it cannot be said that we were not aware of the risks of releasing our works under free licences.

Unlike artificial languages, Proto-Indo-European was only one language, and especially the one we want to reconstruct and use as a modern language is the dialect spoken some 4.500 thousand years ago by the (mainly) European prehistoric community. For people wanting to be purer – thus older – in the verb reconstruction, or in the phonetics, or more neutral, or anything like that, there is always a place; we’ll still be trying to speak the same language. And for those enthusiasts looking for early PIE, or even Indo-Uralic, Eurasiatic, and so on, wanting to use laryngeals, to use a simpler syntax, an older noun declension system, etc. there is also a place, although those will mostly remain theoretical projects.

The problem with artificial languages is not the risk posed by disagreements with the majority of Esperantists, and proposals of (supposedly) improved languages derived from Zamenhof’s concept, such as Ido, Interlingua or Novial. The real problem comes when there is an overwhelming choice of very good conlangs [Wikipedia], each one better than others in some respects, and worse in others; then, learning one of those languages implies necessarily loosing your time if it is eventually not the one chosen by the majority. Learning Europaio, on the other hand, gives you not only the certainty of not being replaced by a completely different language with the same concept, as there is only one, but also, if it is not adopted officially by the EU, you will have learnt the linguistic features of the ancestor from which the mother tongues of half the world’s population are derived. In this respect, it would be like learning Latin before learning romance languages.

Perfection in Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua,…

When someone has learnt natural languages different from his or her mother tongue, invented languages appear always to be imperfect when compared to them, as contradictory as it may sound, given that perfection is what their creators try to achieve.

I’ve tried to learn Esperanto at least three times, and always left the grammar or learning method in the first lessons. Its aim of being the world’s only IAL, and its great community of supporters appealed to me. But, the aura of perfection – ‘no irregularities’, ‘perfect corresponding alphabet’, ‘culturally neutral’ ‘mixed vocabulary’,… – that many people try (wrongly) to assign to it as introduction in their learning materials just shows how imperfect it actually is, as only a language invented by one man or a small group can be.

I’d rather learn Japanese, Chinese and Korean as the world’s three IALs than the easiest Esperanto, if I had the choice; for me, it’s not only about having one instrument for communication; languages are not computers, they are the living rest of the intrahistory (Unamuno) of people. If I learn Zamenhof’s language, I am learning the words and structures that sounded good to his mind; I haven’t ever heard a good reason why he chose “verda” for “green”, “fari” for “make” or “fermi” for “close”.

I wish I could travel to the past and visit him, and show him the advances made in Indo-European linguistics since the 19th century, and offer him present-day IE studies, so he could publish a “Sperantom”, so that the great Esperanto community of today were a Sperantom community, now that the EU is approaching a new, more important political and social stage. Pro-Europeans shouldn’t be so divided in the linguistic issue.

But I can’t. What I can do today is to publish a summary of others’ studies and research in a free grammar; and I can create a Group to request funds for a European non-profit corporation, whose aim is to provide a single, common, official language for the EU; and I can wait to see if an IE community is born to support the revival of this old, natural language, hoping that people are not yet too tired of looking for the best choice among perfect, constructed languages, to try an imperfect, reconstructed one like European.