Dejo
2010-10-11 16:37
Esperanto: 30 000
On va vous attraper, vous-autres français:)
Ni kaptos vin, vi francoj.
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sysko
2010-10-11 16:46
catch me if you can :p
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FeuDRenais
2010-10-11 20:44
Not that I have anything against Esperanto... but do people realize that Tatoeba is going to become Esperanto World in a few months? At this rate, it's going to pass English and Japanese by quite a lot.

Mixed opinions about the number one language on this site being artificial...
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sysko
2010-10-11 20:54
I think it just means that we don't need a huge number of contributors in a specific language to soon have a large corpus in this language. And maybe in some months we will see an other "language" addicts arrive here and beat esperanto. or maybe not, and esperanto will stay as japanese the number one during a long time. But I don't think it will have negative effects, or maybe I'm missing something ?
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sacredceltic
2010-10-14 00:05
J'ai déjà eu d'autres expériences sur d'autres réseaux sociaux, et elle montre que les anglophones ne supportent pas d'être mis en minorité et quittent le site lorsque ça arrive.
C'est ce qui est arrivé à Orkut, que les anglophones ont quitté au profit de Facebook, lorsque les Brésiliens et les Indiens sont arrivés. Des groupes avaient été constitués contre ce qui était perçu comme une "invasion".
Peut-être assisterons-nous à un de ces "Tea-party movement" sur Tatoeba...
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keklesurvivant
2010-10-14 10:18
Enfin en même temps, comparer un site de réseautage social et une plateforme collaborative pour la mise en place d'un corpus multilingue... Quand bien même on développerait une couche sociale, je pense que les gens inscrits sur Tatoeba doivent avoir assez d'ouverture d'esprit et un goût pour l'interculturalité pour ne pas avoir ce genre de situation.
Concernant la montée de l'espéranto, je trouve ça fantastique et en phase avec la philosophie du projet.
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sacredceltic
2010-10-14 11:16
l'avenir le dira...
sysko
2010-10-11 20:56
at least this way people will not say we're promoting only imperialist languages (it's purely fiction :p)
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FeuDRenais
2010-10-11 21:03
Esperanto is a bit special. What makes me think that it'll just keep going up is the fervor of its contributors and their specific desire to promote the language. Not that there's anything bad in that... it's just that there might be a huge imbalance down the road.
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sacredceltic
2010-10-11 21:14
When, of course, the fact that English used to dominate this wall never questioned you before...
Strange conception of imbalances, indeed!
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xtofu80
2010-10-16 08:44
Der Nachteil, in anderen Sprachen als Englisch zu schreiben, ist der, dass nicht alle Nutzer den Diskussionen folgen können. Da die meisten Menschen heutzutage Englisch als erste Fremdsprache lernen, ist das Schreiben von Beiträgen auf Englisch einfach pragmatisch und hat nichts mit Imperialismus zu tun.
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sacredceltic
2010-10-16 17:04
Répéter que tout le monde apprend l'anglais comme première langue et en conclure que tout le monde doit pouvoir converser en anglais dans le monde et ici est un double mensonge, bien sûr véhiculé par ceux auxquels cela fait faire l'économie de milliards d'heures d'apprentissage d'autres langues et des milliard d'euros que cela représente.

Premièrement, tout le monde n'apprend pas l'anglais en première langue, loin de là !
Quand on est Kazakh, Ouzbek, Ukrainien, Biélorusse, Tchétchène, Ossète, Tadjik... ou même Géorgien, on apprend d'abord le russe et c'est bien normal.
Quand on est Kurde, on apprend le turc, le persan ou l'arabe.
Quand on est Indien Quechua ou Mizquito, on apprend l'Espagnol.
Quand on est de l'Afrique sub-saharienne, on apprend l'arabe.
Quand on habite en Afrique de l'Est, la langue véhiculaire que l'on apprend, c'est d'abord le Swahili.
Quand on habite l'Afrique de l'Ouest, on apprend le français, le wolof, le dinga et plein d'autres langues véhiculaires.
Quand on est de langue malayalam, on apprend d'abord l'hindi.

Bref, la TRÈS GRANDE majorité des polyglottes du monde ne sont pas anglophones. Mieux, la PRESQUE TOTALITÉ des affaires dans le monde, contrairement à la légende véhiculée par les Anglais, ne se traite pas en anglais.
Les Italiens ne font pas leurs affaires avec les Français, les Espagnols ou les Grecs, en anglais. Heureusement d'ailleurs, parce que tous ces peuples, avec leurs accents, ne se comprendraient pas du tout en anglais. Je ne comprends déjà pas, la plupart de mes propres compatriotes français qui me parlent en anglais.
La grande majorité des affaires traitées entre Allemands et Français se font en allemand et français.
La totalité des affaires entre le Brésil et ses voisins sud-Américains se fait en Espagnol ou en Portugais.
...

Deuxièmement, ce n'est pas parce qu'on apprend l'anglais qu'on le sait, et encore moins qu'on le comprend ou que l'on sait écrire avec.
La réalité, c'est que pour les locuteurs de langues hors du groupe des langues germaniques, apprendre l'anglais, qui est une langue dénuée de toutes règles orthographiques ou de prononciation, est une véritable torture et que son apprentissage est le plus grand gâchis d'énergie jamais consenti par l'humanité.
Des chercheurs en didactique linguistique de l'université de Paderborn ont établi qu'il faut environ 2000 heures à un locuteur de langue latine pour parler à peu près correctement l'anglais. C'est à dire, que à raison de 3 heures d'anglais par semaine (ce qui est la norme aujourd'hui), il faut 667 semaines. Étant donné qu'il n'y a qu'environ 32 semaines de cours effectives par an, il faut donc plus de 20 ans pour apprendre l'anglais dans les systèmes scolaires !
Moi-même, francophone, je peux témoigner que je travaille en anglais depuis l'âge de 5 ans, et que je fais partie de la caste de privilégiés auxquels les parents ont payé des voyages aux USA et en Angleterre. J'ai travaillé dans ces pays et je lis la littérature anglo-saxonne depuis 35 ans: Eh bien je commets quand même plein de fautes !
L'apprentissage universel de l'anglais est un mythe, dont les castes supérieures des pays non anglophones se servent comme d'un système de reproduction des élites, seuls les enfants riches pouvant bénéficier de voyage d'immersion et de cours particuliers intensifs.
En Inde, par exemple, où on nous raconte que l'anglais serait la langue "officielle", seule une minorité de la caste supérieure le parle correctement, ce qui permet à cette caste, d'utiliser l'anglais comme moyen de sélection pour maintenir sa mainmise sur le pouvoir et les postes clés, tandis que la plupart des autres indiens parlent quotidiennement les autres langues véhiculaires du pays. L'anglais n'y est aucunement la langue véhiculaire, sauf pour cette élite !
La réalité, c'est qu'après des années d'études de l'anglais, des millions de Chinois, Japonais, Français, Italiens, Espagnols, Portugais, Brésiliens, Hispanophones Sud-Américains, Russes, Hongrois...et même Allemands, ne savent pas s'exprimer correctement dans cette langue et encore moins comprendre quand un anglais la parle.

Toi qui étudies le Japonais, Xtofu, sais-tu combien de Japonais parlent correctement anglais, après 20 ans d'études ? Une minorité !
En revanche, je connais des Japonais qui parlent excellemment bien l'espéranto en y ayant consacré 10 fois moins de temps...
FeuDRenais
2010-10-16 17:59
Exactly.

(Although, the number of users who currently believe that using English is a sign of "imperialism" is probably at... 1. Well, just to be safe... 2 or 3. But I only know of 1, and he's about as loud as 20.)
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jakov
2010-10-16 20:49
Add me to your count.
Du kannst mich zu deiner Liste dazuzählen. Außerdem ist es vielleicht etwas kurzsichtig zu behaupten, dass ja alle mit englisch einverstanden sind, solange niemand etwas dagegen spricht: vielleicht melden sich die, die kein englisch sprechen bloß nicht auf englisch?
Abgesehn davon halte ich englisch abgesehen von der relativ einfachen grammatik für ein sehr schwierig auszusprechende sprache mit einem aufgeblasenen vokabular. Die angebliche einfachkeit von simple englisch basiert zum Beispiel darauf, dass Wörter wie "get" in kombination mit anderen jeweils neue bedeutungen bekommen, die neu erlernt werden müssen. Außerdem sehr viele idiomatische ausdrücke.
Esperanto hat eine noch einfachere Gramatik als Englisch, keine Ausnahmen und ein Wortproduktionssystem welches nicht additiv (jedes neue wort neu lernen) sonder multiplikativ (ein neues wort gelernt -> viele neue Bedeutungen zur verfügung) funktioniert. Außerdem gibt es keine muttersprachler, die ein monopol auf die auslegung der richigkeit eines ausdruckes haben oder über falsche ausdrücke lachen könnten, was wieder zu ängsten und zurückhaltung führen und die selbstbewussten verwendung verhindern.
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FeuDRenais
2010-10-16 21:14
Okay, I won't argue with you (and not in Deutsch, since my Deutsch is terrible). However, three things:

1) If you're going to call me "kurzsichtig", you should at least address the point. You didn't say a word about "imperialism", which is what the "count" was about. Like xtofu said, it is a practical medium in very many communities, including this one. I don't like the fact either, since I don't like English very much despite being a native, and hate speaking it if not with other natives, but that's the way it is.

2) I said nothing about Esperanto in my "count", and you wrote me a full paragraph about why Esperanto is great.

3) There is a benefit to doing things that are hard. Designing a language to be "easy" is like designing a utopia. The world doesn't work that way.

If you want to continue this discussion, send me a PM, as I won't reply to anything else on this thread.
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ludoviko
2010-10-19 09:56
Easy or difficult?

> FeuDRenais: Designing a language to be "easy" is like designing a utopia. The world doesn't work that way.

Are you really sure about this? Is designing a computer program to be 'easy' as well like 'designing a utopia'? I don't have this impression as I constantly see newer programs to make things easier. And people do accept them...

So I think the world goes in the direction of doing things in an easier way. In my opinion that's why Esperanto is the language which most spread during the 20th century, if you see the percentage of progression. Esperanto had the smallest language community in 1887 and today the language is in nearly every list of 50 languages.
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sacredceltic
2010-10-19 10:16
>Esperanto is the language which most spread during the 20th century, if you see the percentage of progression. Esperanto had the smallest language community in 1887 and today the language is in nearly every list of 50 languages.

Which is all the more extraordinary, since the largest Esperanto communities of pre-WWII in Germany, Soviet Union and Japan have all been exterminated by their fascist regimes...
But the fact that Esperanto survived Nazism, Stalinism, Japanese fascism and general nationalism all around proves its resilience.
The fact that the Japanese Esperanto community could re-flourish despite this near-extermination and the subsequent occupation of Japan by US troops and adoption of "US-way of leaving" says something about the inadequacy of English for Japanese people, who experience much difficulty pronouncing it, and the interest that Esperanto arises.
FeuDRenais
2010-10-19 12:43
Hi ludoviko,

I don't see the analogy to programming. You make things easier so as to market them better to the user, but the algorithms that actually go inside the code get progressively more and more difficult as the theory is pushed. People who use computer programs and like them to be easy use them in a black-box fashion.

You could argue that people use language in a black-box fashion, without understanding all of its grammar, but the size of the black box is tiny compared to that in programming.

Regarding easy or difficult, there's a lot of things you could design to be easier and tell people "hey, if we all do this, our lives will be better!" But while some things fit in naturally with tradition, others go countercurrent to it. Esperanto, IMO, is in the latter, because it would require a sort of revolution for people to abandon current methods and take up an engineered language.

Personally, I enjoy the difficulty in learning a foreign language so as to be able to communicate with a new culture. It teaches you respect, and it shows to the people of that culture that outsiders are willing to make the steps to understand them. The difficulty there is what makes it very rewarding.
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ludoviko
2010-10-19 22:44
Hi FeuDRenais,

Your are right: Programming and language are not the same thing. Just an analogy - some aspects same, others different.

> But while some things fit in naturally with tradition, others go countercurrent to it. Esperanto, IMO, is in the latter, because it would require a sort of revolution for people to abandon current methods and take up an engineered language.

Esperanto is more than just one idea about it - and not every speaker of Esperanto thinks in the same way... :-) You speak about the general introduction of Esperanto, something a lot of Esperanto speakers and associations talk about. I am not interested in such a "sort of revolution", as you put it. I speak Esperanto with other people who like to speak Esperanto - no revolution needed. Others may join us or not. Up to them. I think this perfectly fits in naturally with the tradition of learning foreign languages someone likes. Where would be a problem with this?

As you yourself I really enjoyed the difficulty in learning foreign languages. But after learning Latin, Greek, French and English in school, I decided to learn not only Italian, but to try in addition an easier language like Esperanto, just to make a new experience. This did not stay in my way to learn after that Spanish and Dutch - and a bit of Portuguese, Polish and Russian (and also the basics of others).

I just like the cultures linked to these languages. But these languages gave me access to only some cultures - and I am also interested in other cultures, of whom, because of lack of time, I can not learn the languages. That is one of the many reasons I appreciate Esperanto; it just helps me to go beyond my ability to learn foreign languages. And it helps me to appreciate cultures I would not be able to know in a similar way without Esperanto.
ludoviko
2010-10-19 09:14
Esperanto-Muttersprachler

... gibt es, und zwar seit etwa 1904. Mittlerweile sind es wohl ein paar tausend. Natürlich ist Esperanto für sie nur eine der zwei oder drei Muttersprachen und damit erheben sie wohl weniger ein "monopol auf die auslegung der richtigkeit eines ausdruckes" als in anderen Sprachen.
ludoviko
2010-10-24 23:58
"Linguistic imperialism"

The question of 'linguistic imperialism' and 'English' much depends on the exact sentence about the subject. I don't believe every use of English to be imperialistic - but there is strong evidence that some people and some governments want English to have a prominent role in order to have financial and political advantages from that fact. And they do a lot to achieve this...

Just in case someone is interested in the subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li...ic_imperialism or http://www.esperanto-sat.info/article609.html where Philipson explains his book.

In http://www.cilalp.org/?article43&lang=fr#nb2 we find: "The political and economic interest of the US is at stake to make sure, if the world adopts a common language, that it should be the English language (...)" (Daniel Rothkopf, "In Praise of Cultural Imperialism ?" Foreign Policy N° 107 Summer 1997, pp. 38-53).

No, I don't want to fully discuss the subject here. If you would like, then maybe in another forum, send me a PM. I just wanted to make clear that IMO it is neither fully true nor fully false to speak about 'linguistic imperialism' of English.
ludoviko
2010-10-19 10:18
Artificial and natural

> FeuDRenais: Mixed opinions about the number one language on this site being artificial...

I understand these feelings. It is a bit new to humanity that it is possible to have and use an 'artificial' language.

We have 'artificial' means of transportation as are bicycles, cars, trains and airplanes. We use 'artificial' means of communication as are telephone and internet. But it is still a bit new to a lot of people that it is possible to use an 'artificial' language as is Esperanto.

I began to learn Esperanto 33 years ago. I am participating in international Esperanto meetings during several weeks every year since. I spoke in Esperanto to my daughter for many years since she was born. After all that time it does not feel to be more 'artificial' than communicating with you via internet - instead of walking over to you and speaking directly to you... (And even in the beginning it was not really strange for me to learn and speak Esperanto.)
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FeuDRenais
2010-10-19 12:56
The reason why I voiced concern over this:

If, in a year, someone comes onto Tatoeba and sees that Esperanto has 500,000 sentences, English has 200,000, Japanese 160,000, etc, and sees that most of the discussions are in Esperanto, and that Esperanto completely dominates the site and is the majority language, it might turn that user away because he/she will feel like they are entering an Esperanto website, rather than one where all these different languages are active.

Now, I know that you and the Esperanto contributors would probably say "what's wrong with that?", and that Esperanto taking such an eminent position on Tatoeba would be promising towards the development of this language. You have an agenda, and I'm not saying that you shouldn't be happy over such a thing happening. Unfortunately, it would not reflect reality, since it would be one that the active Esperanto contributors here built themselves.

You could also say that right now (well, it's changing, and I hope it keeps changing) English is the dominating language. This, however, is at least in line with reality. That really is what people speak in international groups, by default.

Of course, this all brings in the question of "is Tatoeba meant to reflect reality?", and maybe not. But, again, I do have misgivings about the concept of a language dominating this site just because of strong lobbying.
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sacredceltic
2010-10-19 13:58
>and sees that most of the discussions are in Esperanto, and that Esperanto completely dominates the site

I know how you feel, that's exactly how I felt when I arrived and read English everywhere, including the site's name...
I got immediately crucified for daring to remark it, by the way...

>Unfortunately, it would not reflect reality, since it would be one that the active Esperanto contributors here built themselves.

It IS the reality that Esperanto speakers are NORMAL beings who happen to have reflected on languages more than others, so it is normal that they dominate projects about their favourite topic...
In any project, motivated people are ahead of laggards, hopefully...

>This, however, is at least in line with reality

No, reality is that the majority of polyglots on Earth are NOT anglophones and neither is the majority of people who speak only one language...by far!

So the lobbying is just yours...
You can repeat, ad nauseam, that English is the only language in the world that should dominate internet, and maybe you'll be right in the end (and I strongly doubt that)...but not now!
sacredceltic
2010-10-19 14:30
>If, in a year, someone comes onto Tatoeba and sees that Esperanto has 500,000 sentences, English has 200,000, Japanese 160,000, etc,

That will not happen. Esperanto is not a language designed to say MORE than others, but to say it more EFFICIENTLY and unequivocally.
Its main purpose, from the start, is peace and mutual understanding.
So its role is mainly to be a fair tool for international exchanges.
It is already a very valuable tool for Tatoeba, because, as esperantophones come from all around, it enables to link languages that would otherwise not have been linked, even through English, or link it through another way than English or any other language, and provides as such an interesting perspective in translation.
So it is probable that Esperanto will end up as the number one language on Tatoeba, but not by far, because I can't see a point in having so many untranslated Esperanto sentences into other languages. This "green fear" reminds me of the "red fear" or the "yellow fear" of the 50's and 60's, if you remember Mac Carthysm ...
I think we all aim at having a maximum of translated sentences here, whatever the language!
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Demetrius
2010-10-19 17:17
+100
ludoviko
2010-10-19 23:03
Hi FeuDRenais,

> ... and sees that most of the discussions are in Esperanto

Probably there will be more than one Wall, separated in languages. So maybe they won't see this horror... ;-)

Maybe you are not aware that European Esperanto speakers probably speak something like 3.3 foreign languages, Esperanto and more than two other foreign languages. Which means they have quite a good basis to contribute to such a site as Tatoeba. Being able to link sentences others couldn't.

It's just, the more languages you learn, the more you begin to think about languages in general. That's why some polyglots begin to learn Esperanto.

I don't think that the task of Tatoeba is "to reflect reality". The task is to give translations of sentences in different languages.

I certainly do not want Esperanto to dominate this site. Actually I am quite happy with the current state, position 4, 30,000+ sentences. I think, for the moment it is much more important that the English sentences and the French and Japanese ones have their owner and that they are correct - which, I regret, many of them are not.
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FeuDRenais
2010-10-19 23:20
I can't disagree with anything you said, and hope you'll forgive my suggested portrayal of Esperantists as a sort of cult... ;-)

Good luck, I suppose.
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ludoviko
2010-10-19 23:50
As I know a lot of Esperanto speaking people I fully understand everyone who thinks that all of them are like some of them :-)
sacredceltic
2010-10-11 18:26
Que l'espéranto rattrape et dépasse le français est à la fois désirable et logique, puisque les espérantistes sur Tatoeba viennent de tous les continents avec une grande richesse de phrases de toutes cultures, et que l'on peut dire en espéranto des choses que je ne sais même pas dire en français...
Donc nous vous attendons de pied ferme !
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jakov
2010-10-13 19:57
Je conviens avec vous. I agree. Well maybe my ponit of view is a little bit biased as i also am sort of esperantist in addition to being esperanto speaking. But I disagree about the "artificial": Esperanto is more natural than you might think.
Also there already was a trial of using a modified Esperanto as a bridge language for computer translation, which failed for financial reasons i guess.
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xtofu80
2010-10-17 00:10
Well, it will fail for financial reasons and for others as well. The problem is that to use Esperanto or a variant of it as a pivot language, you need a huge collection of already translated texts with Esperanto on one side, and such a collection is, as far as I know, not existent. Most such databases exist between living languages, where there was a natural need to translate documents. E.g., the first texts to be used were parlamentary debates in Canada, which had to be translated between French and English. However, there is no natural need to translate texts into Esperanto, and hence these texts can not be utilized in a machine translation system.
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sacredceltic
2010-10-17 01:04
ah, the famous argument: It doesn't work because it works not! Yeah...repeating it is supposed to make it true...
1) I think you missed a huge library of translated texts into Esperanto. A few of these translators are Tatoeba's users, by the way...
Millions of pages exist of translations from and to Esperanto. I don't think there is one classic from the world litterature that hasn't got one or several Esperanto translations.
And you will soon see that there will be more translations from and to Esperanto than for any other language on Tatoeba, since Esperanto contributors on Tatoeba originate from almost every corner of the world and are often multilingual, outside Esperanto...So the proof will be in the pudding.

2) There is no natural need until there is one. Already, the Chinese government, which has no obvious competitive reason to continue investing billions in failing to educate dozens of millions of students in an inadequate language of a former colonial power, when it is now more powerful than this former power, is requesting that all public contracts be negotiated in Mandarin now...
So you could argue that there was no need to learn Mandarin because the subjected Chinese used to employ - badly and on subsequently unequal terms - their former master's language. But since recently, it's no longer the case...
(by the way, there are already a few Chinese Esperanto speakers on Tatoeba as well, since China has always kept the Esperanto joker up its sleeve...)
Tomorrow, fast-growing South America will say exactly the same to the US businesses: Learn Spanish or Portugese or forget it.
Growth has switched side. And so will inguistic power, which is but its corollary: http://tatoeba.org/eng/sentences/show/547040
You may be confident that now that the single power system is obsolete, language issues and intercomprehension will be fast back on the negotiation tables, with Esperanto on top of the agenda, as it is not only the most democratic but also the most cost-efficient solution.
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xtofu80
2010-10-18 10:45
How about EU parlamentary speeches and news bulletins, is that available in Esperanto on a large scale?
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sacredceltic
2010-10-18 11:00
EU parliamentary speeches are neither available in Mandarin, Japanese, Hindi, Russian, Catalàn, Breton, Occitan, Siciliano, Plattdeutsch...because Esperanto, along with these languages, is not a working language of the EU...yet...
As a matter of fact, a lot of things in the world were not in use before they were adopted, such as: Fire, electricity, vaccines, tap water, processed food, mobile phones...
I remember a time when experts were saying that the mobile phones could not develop on a large scale because there were too many different standards...
Before that, and still not so long ago, I remember a time when you couldn't plug a german electrical appliance in a french plug. Now you can...
sacredceltic
2010-10-18 11:07
But if EU parliamentary speeches were translated through Esperanto rather than through English, a lot of misunderstandings would be avoided.
Currently, they estimate that when a text, say, is translated from Danish to Slovak through English, 50% of the meaning is lost, on average...
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xtofu80
2010-10-19 00:04
So what makes you believe that Esperanto preserves more of the original meaning if used as an intermediary language? If I translate from Japanese to Czech, why would Esperanto preserve the meaning better than English?
It is true that using pivot languages for translation does lead to a loss in information, and I also agree that the choice of an intermediate language will have an influence on the translation quality, I doubt that Esperanto will be the solution of all problems. Instead, I assume that the "optimal" pivot language will be different for each language pair.
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sacredceltic
2010-10-19 00:15
Because Esperanto has been designed on purpose to be unequivocal, which English is infamous for. English is just the most ambiguous language ever and Esperanto is the least, because that was its intent...
ludoviko
2010-10-18 11:48
@ xtofu80: Just have a look on http://esperanto.china.org.cn/ where the Chinese government publishes five to ten news a day in Esperanto (as well as in about ten other languages).

Are you still sure there are not enough translated texts?
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FeuDRenais
2010-10-18 14:11
The claims that Esperanto is attaining solid ground in China are, to say the least, incredibly surprising for me. Given the absolute English-learning craze in the PRC, I cannot imagine what parent would ever send their child to an Esperanto school, or why anybody would study it as anything but a hobby. I will just say that, in my two years there, I was being asked to give formal/informal English lessons at least 2-3 times a week. The word "Esperanto" I didn't hear even once.

That aside, I propose that this debate be closed. Obviously, there's points for and against, and people could argue forever (as this is the internet).
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sacredceltic
2010-10-18 14:51
>Given the absolute English-learning craze in the PRC

With what results? After how many years of studying?
ludoviko
2010-10-18 18:31
If Esperanto in China is surprizing for someone, maybe he or she should have a look also on http://www.espero.com.cn/ and http://esperanto.cri.cn/ (now with a video interview about Esperanto music).

The relationship between English and Esperanto is now approximately 1000:1. So if 100 million Chinese people are interested in English, maybe 100 000 are interested in Esperanto. It is taught in about 20 Chinese universities. All this, quite sure, may not be visible to someone speaking English and not interested in the subject.
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FeuDRenais
2010-10-18 18:33
Very valid arguments.
ludoviko
2010-10-18 11:57
It seems Gramtrans http://gramtrans.com/ was able to find enough money to build translation machines for Danish-Esperanto, English-Esperanto and others.

Their WikiTrans project http://wikitrans.net/ has by now 2,340,087 articles of the English wikipedia translated into Esperanto.
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xtofu80
2010-10-18 23:49
Thanks for the link, I found the website very interesting. However, gramtrans is, as the name suggests, not a statistical machine translation system but a system based on grammars constructed by hand. While an SMT system can be trained automatically given a huge bilingual corpus (the larger the corpus, the better the quality), grammar systems need hand-tweaking by linguists for decades, as their are many exceptions and special cases (maybe for Esperanto, there are fewer exceptions than for natural languages like English or German). I have yet to see a large scale SMT system trained for Esperanto...
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Demetrius
2010-10-19 00:03
In fact, I’ve heard an opinion that SMT’s are not really well-suited for Esperanto: the language is much less restrictive than natural languages, so the corpus has to be much, much bigger than for natural languages.
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xtofu80
2010-10-19 00:10
I think that the corpus has to be bigger if there are many surface forms, that is, if a lot of inflection is used. The point why English is chosen as a pivot language in machine translation is that there are many translations from and to English, but fewer between the languages themselves. For example, you will find much more material between Thai and English and between English and French than between Thai and French. Consequently, engineers try to use English as a pivot language. Arguing that one wants to use Esperanto, one would need the same size of text corpora (from the same domain) for Thai-Esperanto and Esperanto-French, or as you said, the necessary amount of text might even be larger due to the different number of surface forms.
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Demetrius
2010-10-19 00:30
The number of inflections is not the main problem. In Esperanto there are relatively few of these.

The problem is that anyone can construct a new form according to the general rules that will still be correct in Esperanto, while English speakers are usually restricted to a limited set of established forms.
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sacredceltic
2010-10-19 08:56
It's better than that: In Esperanto, you can understand a word you've never seen before, which is impossible in English...
Esperanto is a coding/decoding system when English is exclusively idiomatic.
So on the contrary, you need very little texts for a machine to produce Esperanto. All you need are the coding rules.

Example:
If you know that "lern-" is the esperanto radical for "learning", you can code/decode:
lernejo => school
lernigi => to teach
memlerninto => autodidact
lernilo => tutorial

You can see that in English, the matching words "learn", "school", "teach", "autodidact" and "tutorial" are absolutely unrelated. It's just a messy collection of words taken "at haphazard" from latin, german, danish, old-french...you name it !
That means that in English, a man or machine has to learn, in this example, 5 unrelated words with their different orthographs and acceptations (which indeed requires tons of examples to understand them in context) when in Esperanto, you need to learn only one and around 70 language elements that you apply to ALL radicals:
-ejo is ALWAYS a location
-igi is ALWAYS an action verb
mem- is ALWAYS self- but is never replaced by auto-
-ilo is ALWAYS a tool/an instrument

That means that you reduce the number of words to be learnt to about 10% of what you need in English, without reducing the meaningfulness at all and while still being 100% unequivocal.
The learning cost-efficiency is obvious.
So the way machines "learn" esperanto is entirely different from the way they learn mostly idiomatic languages...
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kebukebu
2010-10-19 16:55
Now are we still talking about Esperanto as a pivot language, or as the primary mode of communication? For the latter, the points you bring up are good -- the smaller number of roots, the (mostly) logical use of affixes to alter their meanings, and the (theoretically) liberal word order make Esperanto an easy language to use and understand.

But if you're using it as a pivot, you don't necessarily gain a lot, because either of the end languages still has its own idioms and inconsistencies. For every language into which that you translate out of Esperanto, you will have to map these quirky set phrases to the *many* possible (and equally acceptable) ways of saying them in Esperanto.

So, if Esperanto had two (or more) ways of translating an idiomatic phrase -- i.e. taking the literal phrasing and treating it as a metaphor (which could come out different depending on the source language), or rendering it in a form which lays bare its basic meaning -- all of these alternatives would have to be mapped to the appropriate idiom in the target language. If only the "basic meaning" were conveyed to the target language, this would count as something being "lost in translation".

(If the Esperanto form of an idiom or set phrase is always rendered the same way regardless of the source language, that is tantamount to saying that Esperanto has its own idioms and set phrases whose forms cannot be altered.)
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sacredceltic
2010-10-19 18:45
Idioms are cultural, so they are obstacles to multicultural understanding.
What do I care for images of horsing in far-West when I'm Chinese?
Of course, you can always do literal translations of idioms into Esperanto, but it is ludicrous.
So the translation into Esperanto of idioms should always translate the meaning and not the images that evoke it as they probably mean nothing to the target.
A good exemple is here http://tatoeba.org/eng/sentences/show/22322
What if you don't know what a rodeo" is? What if "turning around a pot" doesn't evoke anything in your culture?
Idioms hamper intercultural comprehension. Most of them are the remnants of a bygone history, completely devoid of usefulness in our era (in French, for instance, but I think this is the case in most languages, most of these idioms come from so-called "rural wisdom" when today's children don't even know that chicken meat comes from an animal anymore and only 3% of our society is still rural)
It is OK to use idioms "internally" in your own culture, but trying to convey them outside of it doesn't make sense at all, so what you mention as "lost in translation" was already "lost in culture" anyway...
The language is not the problem. The culture is.

> the (theoretically) liberal word

It is not theoretical at all. I converse constantly with natives of germanic or slavic languages in Esperanto, and they never use my word order. We understand each other very well, though, thanks mainly to accusative. I can tell you that this doesn't work AT ALL in French where order is KEY (and accusative doesn't exist), so when you learn French, not only do you have to learn an entire vocabulary (more consistent than Englsih though...but still at least 5 times the number of radicals needed in Esperanto), and the verbs and all the tenses forms, but you must also pay attention to the word order, otherwise you say things you don't want to...

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xtofu80
2010-10-19 18:59
> It is OK to use idioms "internally" in your own culture, but trying to convey them outside of it doesn't make sense at all.

A huge portion of translation work is not done on texts which were explicitly designed for a foreign audience, but usually on texts or speech that was just uttered in the mother tongue, and was then decided to be translated into other languages. E.g. hardly any German author thinks about whether the sentence he writes is easy or difficult to translate into Korean. Consequently, problems such as idioms can never be avoided, though they are sometimes not translatable (often they are; I have learnt a lot of Japanese idioms which have German counterparts, such as
"焼け石に水"="ein Tropfen auf einen heißen Stein")

Just a question about esperanto:
So do
to teach
to train
to drill
to educate
all have the same root?
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sacredceltic
2010-10-19 19:33
Whenever idioms are widely translatable, that is because the image the evoke is more or less universal. Whatever your culture, you understand the image of a drop of water on a hot stone...

to teach => lernigi
to train => depending on what you "train", if you mean, to "exercise" =>ekzerciĝi
to drill => ekzerci
to educate => eduki

Of course not all words have the same root (and not the same as Chinese since you take this serie from a same Chinese root) and this is not the point. But since you know about Chinese ideograms, Esperanto roots work somewhat the same, except in a more structured way with no writing confusion of meaning/pronunciation.
The point is that, in Esperanto as in Chinese, you can derive a lot from a root, and always in a regular form, which results in a dramatic reduction of the number of roots.
The fact is that even if Chinese roots and Esperanto roots aren't always consistent in their derivations, many are, and Chinese people find the Esperanto system quite familiar.
Claude Piron, who was a famous UN translator of Chinese, Russian, Spanish, French and English and was a native esperanto speaker, wrote this interesting article about the similarities of Esperanto to Chinese and Vietnamese http://www.translationdirectory.com/article665.htm

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jakov
2010-10-22 20:59
I must correct you in one point: Claude Piron was not a native, but learned Esperanto in early schoolyears.
jakov
2010-10-22 21:23
I think we do have to differ between pivot languages for automatic translation and such for manual translation. I am not sure whether Esperanto is better for automatic translation, but im quite certain, that its better for manual translation, due to the reasons already mentioned by sacredceltic.

Even if SMT is best in English, think of the consequences: Some big company like google might create some very good algorithm and make a lot of money out of it, resulting in people depending on it. Even if it were open-source, computer capacities for such complex task will always be kind of expensive, at least for developing countries. Whereas translating to Esperanto is a relatively easy job at least for manual translation.
sacredceltic
2010-10-13 21:09
Le français a passé aujourd'hui la barre des 50.000 et l'espéranto ne l'a toujours pas rattrapé...Je suis très déçu ! Les espérantistes seraient-ils fatigués ?
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sysko
2010-10-13 23:44
non ils sont tous en train de chercher les livres qu'ils ont écrit et bientot on aura une marée de phrases ^^ (ceci est purement fictif et toutes ressemblances avec des faits ayant existé ou existant ne serait que fortuit)
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sacredceltic
2010-10-13 23:50
au secours !
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sysko
2010-10-13 23:59
ne t'inquiète pas, depuis boracasli et notre ami écrivain, j'ai à présent juste un numéro d'utilisateur a ajouter au bon endroit pour l'empêcher d'ajouter/modifier des phrases/traductions,
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sacredceltic
2010-10-14 00:00
et il est de quelle nationalité ce copieur compulsif ?
sysko
2010-10-14 00:01
donc à présent, si tant est qu'on me prévient, on devrait pouvoir facilement limité la casse et remettre la personne dans le droit chemin de la contribution éclairée avant de le ré-autoriser à contribuer (ou simplement le bloquer si c'est un spammeur)
Dejo
2010-10-14 05:21
Il nous faut six semaines pour vous rattraper.
Ni bezonos eble 6 semajnojn por atingi kaj preterpasi la francan.
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sacredceltic
2010-10-14 09:38
des mots, des mots...
vortoj, vortoj...
kroko
2010-10-15 15:08
Oha, das klingt nach einem bösen Wettstreit. Ich hoffe doch nicht! Es geht hier doch nicht darum zu beweisen welche Sprache die beste oder größte ist, es geht darum eine tolle Plattform zu bauen, welche die Sprachbarieren der Welt kleiner macht, letztlich internationale Kommunikation ermöglicht.

Den starken Wachstum von Esperanto sehe ich vor allem darin begründet, dass Tatoeba keine Sprachen oder Sprechergemeinschaften per se ausschließt. Das heißt auch Lëtzebuergesch mit nicht mal 390.000 Sprechern könnte sich hier einbringen.

Nun ist es aber nun mal so, das die Motivation für einen normalen Muttersprachler aus der breiten Masse wohl doch recht gering ist bei einem Sprachprojekt wie Taoteba mitzumachen. Denn die Vorraussetzung Tatoeba irgendwie interessant zu finden ist wohl zum Einen Mehrsprachigkeit, und wenn man wirklich qualitativ mitarbeiten möchte, halt auch das man wenigstens eine Fremdsprache auf einem zumindest annehmbaren Level beherrscht. Zum Anderen das man auch grade Lust hat sich in seinen Fremdsprachenkenntnissen zu erproben und durch stete Übung zu verbessern.

Aus den großen etablierten Sprachen wird sich also nur ein Bruchteil finden, der überhaupt ein Eigeninteresse aus der Nutzung von Tatoeba befriedigt (z.B. 90% der Europäer sind nicht in der Lage einen mittelschweren englischen Text zu verstehen).
Bei Esperanto stellt sich eine völlig andere Situation dar: Von einigen Millionen Sprechern sind nur einige Tausend Mutterspachler. Der Muttersprachleranteil liegt also im Promille-Bereich. Nicht der überwiegende Teil, sondern 100% der Sprecher sind demzufolge schon per Grunddefinition mehrsprachig. Außerdem verfolgt der überwiegende Teil der Sprechergemeinschaft auch den Wunsch diese Sprache zu gebrauchen. (Irgendwie logisch, sonst hätte man sie ja nicht freiwillig gelernt - einen Zwang Esperanto zu lernen gibt es meines Wissens in keinem Schulsystem der Welt).

Man kann also einem Esperantosprecher mit großer Wahrscheinlichkeit die Attribute 'mehrsprachig' und 'generell an internationalen Kontakten interessiert' geben. Weil es aber nun eben für die Meisten eine Fremd- und nicht die Muttersprache ist, befinden sich quasi alle Sprecher im Status eines 'ewig lernenden'. Im Gegensatz zu anderen Sprachen ist dabei das Ziel, an die Sprachfähigkeiten eines Muttersprachlers heranzukommen tatsächlich erreichbar. Ein Ziel das in anderen Sprachen nur durch viele Jahre des Auslandsaufenthalts, jahrelanges Studium oder andere günstige Begleitumstände (z.B. Eltern, linguistische Begabung) erreicht werden kann.

Fazit:
Das rapide Wachstum von Esperanto liegt einfach darin begründet, dass diese Sprechergemeinschaft prozentual ein zig-faches an Tatoeba-Interessenten rekrutieren kann als andere Sprechergemeinschaften, und weil alle diese Sprecher es eben interessant finden ihre Sprachkenntnisse zu erproben, zu verbessern und in den 'internationalen Vergleich' anderer Esperantosprecher zu stellen (Wird mein übersetzter Satz von einem französischen und chinesischen Esperantosprecher gleichermaßen verstanden?).

Werbung oder Wettbewerb zu unterstellen finde ich persönlich fehl am Platz. Es ist einfach so wie es ist, und jede Sprache hier wächst so schnell wie sie wächst. Punkt!

Sprache will gesprochen erprobt und gelebt werden. Tatoeba ist genau dafür eine tolle Plattform. Das macht sie eben auch für viele Esperanto-Sprecher attaktiv. Gewinnen können hierduch aber eigentlich nur Beide!
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Manfredo
2010-10-15 16:11
Mi tute samopinias kun vi.
sacredceltic
2010-10-15 17:29
Nein, nein, ich denke Du hast missverstanden. Es ist kein Wettstreit, aber nur gesunde Wetteifer...
Tatoeba ist doch eine tolle Plattform für Alle!

Du bist unrecht über Esperanto lernen. Es gibt vielen Schulen und Universitäten in der Welt wo Esperanto zu studieren, in UK, USA, Togo, Rwanda, Kamerun, Japan, China, Brazil...Nicht überall aber nicht fern!
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kroko
2010-10-15 18:55
Ich gebe dir Recht:
Tatoeba ist eine tolle Plattform für ALLE!

Gegen gesunden Wetteifer ist natürlich nichts einzuwenden.
Es sollte aber dennoch Dritten gegenüber nicht der (falsche) Eindruck erweckt werden, man könnte sich, eine Idee, oder Sprache deswegen für etwas besseres halten. Ich denke jede Sprache ist toll, gleichwertig, schützenswert und hat ihre Daseinsberechtigung.

Man kann Esperanto auch in Hamburg an der Universität lernen. Aber das war nicht meine Aussage. Es ging mit um ZWANG. In der 5. Schul-Klasse fing bei mir der Englischunterricht an. Ich hatte keine Wahl. Ich musste Englisch lernen. Ich konnte nicht auswählen. Gut, ich hatte damit kein Problem, aber viele Klassenkameraden schon. Sie taten es, weil es Pflicht war, nicht weil sie es wollen. Später haben viele ihre Kenntnisse wieder verlernt bzw. es reicht grade so für eine radebrechende Komunikation auf unterster Ebene. So ist es mit meinen Französischkenntnissen geschehen. 3 Jahre Schulunterricht, dann keine Anwendung mehr, schwupps, weg! - Ich denke so geht es vielen Menschen, die mal irgendwann eine Sprache gelernt haben. Sobald die Notwendigkeit entfällt, verschwindet auch der Wille und damit die teils jahrelange teuer investierte Lehre.

Wenn ich an der Uni studiere, wähle ich freiwillig was ich lernen möchte. Wenn ein Erwachsener freiwillig eine neue Fremdsprache lernt, so ist der Enthusiasmus ein gänzlich anderer als der des jungen Schülers, der den Nutzen der Fremsprache noch gar nicht gänzlich erkennen kann und nur die Pflicht und die Noten sieht.

Werden in UK, USA, Togo, usw. irgendwo Schüler staatlich gezwungen Esperanto zu lernen?
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sacredceltic
2010-10-15 19:10
>Werden in UK, USA, Togo, usw. irgendwo Schüler staatlich gezwungen Esperanto zu lernen?

Klaar nein...
Alle Esperanto-Sprecher in der Welt sind Freiwilliger, und es ist dann erfreulich so viel zu sehen!