After Esperanto

For many years, we have been hearing that English is the language of the world and, therefore, of the future. This is no doubt a positive development, one invested in by school systems the world over. Nevertheless the failure of Esperanto to become a global tongue is worth remembering.

My experiences in the International Academy of Retail Banking and in many different countries, have led me to believe that, although English may be the ultimate language for international communication, local languages will remain part and parcel of their indigenous culture and heritage in the meantime. You might say, for instance, that teachers able to speak both French and English, for example, are able to connect with the past, present and future at the same time.

In a professional setting for education (as opposed to the kind of training which an Asian friend of mine says is “for cats and dogs”) being able to create a certain level of empathy is crucial, especially when dealing with students already established in a professional career. Here is where language comes in: as a marker of cultural respect and respect for the individual, key ingredients
of a modern, adult, cooperative learning model. This does not mean a ban on English, of course, but gives fresh purpose to a fluency in several languages, especially when discussing local case studies as well as for individual coaching conversations with managers and individual students.

The difficulty with bypassing all other languages in favour of English is that watering down can easily occur: as cinema lovers will tell you, the dubbed version pales beside the original. Consider the terror inflicted on multilingual audiences watching John Wayne ‘speaking’ Italian or Marcello Mastroianni in German. Not only quality but personality diminishes and, in certain cases, ends up destroyed. (Happily for children in smaller European countries, subtitles are common practice: the result is an exposure to foreign languages that makes them more apt to learn.)

Believe therefore that communicating with individuals in both an international as well as a local language is crucial for long-term success. Having worked in Italy, Greece and (for many years) Spain, I could not only to learn the language (sometimes only the basics), but also better understand the market, the consumer, my staff. All told, I was better at my job. But the main reason is of course that respect for language means respect for culture, which leads naturally to respect for the individual student.

2 Comments

  1. Saluton

    Esperanto is not failed, but it is picking up slowly due to many discrimination from many quarters of the government. However, to share with you, The Indonesia Ministry of Foreign Affairs has listed Esperanto for the young diplomats.

    http://en.voi.co.id/voi-news/3792-ministry-of-foreign-affairs-include-esperanto-assubjectforridiplomats

    The Indonesia government is also stopping teaching English in the primary school and so will China follows later.

    http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/10/11/govt-omit-english-primary-schools.html

    Learning Esperanto has many good effects but many mass media are playing it down intentionally or unintentionally.

    http://www.mondeto.com/1/post/2011/09/immediate-and-lasting-advantages-of-early-esperanto-1-brain-building.html

    It is not only for children but also for others.

    http://mesg2012.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-threefold-benefits-of-esperanto.html

    1921, the New York Times reported about Esperanto is the best business language and you should know that how the government suppressed but today the Esperanto business is picking up, perhaps, you should consider to join them for your future business.

    http://mesg2012.blogspot.com/2012/12/french-business-would-use-esperanto-but.html

    http://www.ikef.org

    The English is going to turn into Panglish and the speakers would reduce to 300 millions or less by 2020.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1582954/English-will-turn-into-Panglish-in-100-years.html

    Many are not aware that Brazil has introduced Esperanto in the schools.

    http://www.pagef30.com/2009/09/15-september-2009-esperanto-approved-by.html

  2. Many ill-informed people think Esperanto “never took off” – other ignorant people say that if human beings were meant to fly, God would have given them wings.

    Esperanto is neither artificial nor a failure however. As the British Government now employs Esperanto translators it has ceased to be a hobby. More recently this international language was used to address the United Nations in Bonn.

    Following a short period of 125 years Esperanto is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide. It is the 22nd most used language in Wikipedia, ahead of Danish and Arabic. It is a language choice of Google, Skype, Firefox, Ubuntu and Facebook.

    Native Esperanto speakers, (people who have used the language from birth), include World Chess Champion Susan Polger, Ulrich Brandenberg the new German Ambassador to Russia and Nobel Laureate Daniel Bovet. Financier George Soros learnt Esperanto as a child.

    Esperanto is a living language – see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CwJ9I8q-L0&feature=player_embedded#!

    Their new online course http://www.lernu.net has 125 000 hits per day and Esperanto Wikipedia enjoys 400 000 hits per day. That can’t be bad 🙂

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