For those of you who don’t know already, Esperanto is a human-constructed language created in 1887. It was created in order to be a simple language to learn for those people who already knew a European language. It is estimated that there are 100,000 to 2 million speakers in the world.
When I was in high school, I began to learn Esperanto while taking Spanish classes because I had read on the Internet that it was an easy language to pick up. So, I took a free online course and even went to my bookstore and bought a book on Esperanto grammar and an Esperanto dictionary. What I found was, it was true: Esperanto grammar and vocabulary is regular and easy to pick up. There are no irregularities or exceptions like we find in natural languages. This made it a delight to learn.
There was, however, a problem with Esperanto for me and it ultimately led to me stopping my learning of it. The problem is that there just isn’t enough material to keep me interested in it. For example, there isn’t a wide range of literature or TV shows or movies or comic books. Additionally, there aren’t that many people who speak it and if the numbers I quoted above are true, those 100,000 to 2 million people are not concentrated in one area, but are instead spread throughout the world. So, that makes it a bit difficult to get up and visit a country where Esperanto is spoken and enjoy yourself being immersed by the language.
Ultimately, while Esperanto is an easy, regular language to learn, I would recommend spending one’s time on a real, natural language. The reason is because there is a lot more context available for you to enjoy yourself in. Esperanto, to me, seems more like a hobby. If you are looking for a niche to work yourself into, it might serve pretty well. I’m sure there are many message boards and communities on the Internet that promote Esperanto. In my opinion, however, it is much more worth my time to learn a natural language that is bigger and more useful simply because that’s where my interests lay.
I occasionally find people who tell me they want to learn Esperanto because it is an easy language and if they master it, it will make learning other languages easier after that. While I admire this logic, I don’t think it is quite on track. I think it would be more useful just to learn the language that you *want* to learn first. It doesn’t make sense to learn a completely different language solely for the sake of making the language you want to learn easier. I would argue that your interest in the language and your dedication to it is what is going to pull you through to fluency; not the fact that you were able to learn a separate language beforehand.
So, my final advice to those of you who are considering learning Esperanto is: check out the internet community and see if it’s something that interests you. If it does, then great, you should go ahead and learn Esperanto as long as it still gives you pleasure. On the other hand, for those of you who don’t like Esperanto for Esperanto and are instead thinking of using it as a stepping stone, I’d say, just go ahead and learn the language that you want to learn. It just doesn’t make sense to spend time on something that you are not really intending to use for itself anyway.
I hope my comments have been interesting to you. If you’d like more information, as well as, tips, tricks and techniques, I highly recommend checking out the rest of my site.
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