Thanks for the clarification.
But why insist to have four common languages, when we can have only one? I am not acquainted with your site's method of teaching languages, but I know that learning a language is a very difficult affair. So unless learning languages is your hobby, I see no reason to learn a language, which you don't really have to, just for having another common language with someone.
As for forgetting you are a Canadian and imagining you are a Japanese, it seems to me a nice attitude for learning a national language. But not for learning an international one.
So many people have lived abroad and been speaking a foreign language for 40 years and they still have their accent. I think I would be the same...LOL :) I think it's very hard to lose your accent and talk like a native speaker unless you moved to a foreign country very young.
Ori, your argumentation and experience makes totally sense to me - whatever method one applies, learning a language will always be more or less difficult and time consuming. As such I can understand that probably most of us don't want to spend all of our life just to learn new languages:
Languages are just a vehicle to communicate - we want/need to exchange ideas, express our needs or simply want to know from each other by talking to each other.
For these reasons it would be so much easier in life to just learn and concentrate on one language apart from his/her native language to communicate worldwide instead of learning countless ones. And in my view it would be one of the greatest achievments of human being if there could be an agreement on such a language, eg. an International Auxiliary Language (IAL*) and that is being accepted worldwide. Esperanto is one possibility, not the only one, eg. Ido, Interlingua, Glosa, to name but a few, are other options.
I am aware that there have been discussions about Esperanto including various negative comments such as being imperfect or with no culture - personally this wouldn't really bother me because: What is really perfect in life? Also, even if Esperanto or Ido or ... doesn't have any culture (yet). Does it really matter when you look at a language being just a communication vehicle?
Apart from that I wouldn't mind at all to agree on any other communication vehicle as long as long as a common platform is being agreed upon.
* just to agree on a definition: International Auxiliary Languages (IALs) are languages constructed with the aim of facilitating communication between people who would otherwise have no other language in common. They are usually designed to be significantly simpler, and thus more easily learnt, than national or "natural" languages.
And I also totally agree with you, DaVinci...
I began to learn Espranto 2 months ago (by www.lernu.net , an excellent site BTW), and now I can speak it quite fluently. Now I completely understand the argument that Esperanto is eight times as easy to learn as English. It's probably due to the English sounds which are rather harder to pronounce than Esperanto's, and due to the illogical and inconsistent writing system of English, the unpredictable pharsal-verbs, the quite problematic linking words, the problem with infinitive vs gerunds, the arbitrary word-order, the complicated grammer rules, the exceptions of those rules and so forth... If Esperanto is imperfect, I don't know what English is.
Do la ideala lingvo por internacia komunikaĵo estas definitive Esperanto.
(So the ideal language for inter-national communication is definitely Esperanto).
Unfortunately, I don't know much about other languages such as Ido and Interlingua. Could you make me wiser?
Oh well, I knew I didn't have to use supersignals... That damnable HTML code.
>>I am aware that there have been discussions about Esperanto including various negative comments such as being imperfect or with no culture - personally this wouldn't really bother me because: What is really perfect in life?<<
It's not just that it's void of culture, vestige, time or place, but it's useless because nobody -- in effect -- uses Esperanto to communicate.
<<Ideally any language should be pronounced identically by everyone using that language, as this reduces ambiguity to zero and makes for the most efficient and clear communication between users of the language. All differences in pronunciation engender misunderstanding.>>
To say that is to say that we should all be mindless, indistinguishable robots.
A few millions of speakers are not too many, indeed. But because they are found all over the world, you can find Esperanto useful nevertheless. Not for the same purposes of using English, though.
I seriously doubt there a few million "speakers" of Esperato, even so, one would suspect this figure or other reported figures to be fudged. In any case, its "speakers" (if this is at all sensible to assume) wouldn't have a level of proficiency near that of their own native languages, that are spoken daily. Aside intellectual pursuits, it has virtually no societal or practical value.
It is somewhere between 10,000 to 20,000,000... tough it is common to speak about 2 millions.
I know myself a few people who speak Esperanto at the same level of their own language. It's not too difficult indeed, because... well, because Esperanto is Esperanto!
By speakers, I mean literally: spoken by mouth.
>>10,000 to 20,000,000<<
or would it be more accurate to estimate, perhaps, between 2 people and 2 billion people? ;)
My point was that, as an artificial language, it will never be spoken like a true native language, ie. from birth. And so it will never get the attention, resourcefulness or consolidation like that of a natively spoken language.
Maybe it will never be, and maybe it will.
Esperanto = one who hopes.
Yeah it may linger around... like Latin.
>>My point was that, as an artificial language, it will never be spoken like a true native language, ie. from birth. And so it will never get the attention, resourcefulness or consolidation like that of a natively spoken language.<<
The crucial reason for that has to do with power and politics:
Imagine one of the next American Presidents who really wants to contribute towards a common international community - a cosmopolitan who finally agrees with other country leaders on a common, "neutral", maybe artificial language that has been developed eg. by a team of international linguists. Let's just give it a hypothetical name, say "unite".
As a result of this political agreement "unite" would be introduced and tought in schools and/or any other educational places. We would find unite not just in school books but also being used eg. via the internet, practised in chat rooms, forums like this where people from around the world can get to know each other.
With a politically endorsed language such as unite the process of communication would be able to start and spread throughout the world - slowly but gradually and on a much wider scale than eg. Esperanto or any other artificial language.
It just needs the right time and spirit of the people who are in power to do the first and crucial step, like with the introduction of a common currency, eg. the Euro, or, to take a current example, with the introduction of a common, European constitution...