What I Learned From Failing To Learn Languages

The internet is full of advice for learning languages. There are numerous blogs, podcasts, discussion forums and YouTube channels where people share advice and experience. However, one thing I’ve noticed is that almost all the advice is given by people who have been extremely successful in learning languages, usually polyglots who can speak multiple languages.

But this isn’t the typical experience. For a great number of people, learning another language is something they wish they could do, but are unable to. Most attempts end in failure with people giving up with little to show for their efforts. Most students spend years studying a language in school yet are unable to speak it by the time they are finished. Failure has as much, if not more, to teach us as success. Why do so many people not succeed? Continue reading “What I Learned From Failing To Learn Languages”

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5 Ways Esperanto Is Easier Than English

When people ask me why I speak Esperanto, my answer is simple; it’s really easy. I’ve always had difficulties learning languages and Esperanto is the only language I’ve ever succeeded in learning. The arbitrary pronunciation, random grammar rules, infuriating irregularities, endless exceptions that had to be memorised, silent letters, obscure tenses and half a dozen other rules in every language, drove me mad. I spent countless frustrating hours trying to decipher these Byzantine codes, usually without success. I would complain to my teacher (and anyone who would listen) about how these rules were unnecessary and added nothing to the language, couldn’t someone just remove the irregularities? Continue reading “5 Ways Esperanto Is Easier Than English”

An Esperantist Reviews “Bridge of Words”

Esperanto isn’t a common discussion topic, certainly not in the English speaking world. There’s rarely articles and hardly any books about it, so naturally I was excited about the new history of the language, “Bridge of Words” by Esther Schor, which is billed as the first book about the whole history of Esperanto. The book narrates the history of the language, the ideas behind as well as the personal experience of the author who spent years in the Esperanto community.

Hopefully this will generate interest in the language and provide a valuable resource to people who want to learn more about the language. So far, there have been some reviews in leading journals which will introduce the language to many people for the first time. However, these reviews are written by outsiders who know little about Esperanto (so there is a lot of the inevitable ‘Esperanto failed’ nonsense) and in fact the author herself was an outsider before she wrote this book. So I decided to write a review from an insider’s perspective, from the view of a committed Esperantist. Continue reading “An Esperantist Reviews “Bridge of Words””

My Life As An Esperanto Volunteer

During Christmas, I returned home and met some friends who asked I’m up to nowadays. “Well,” I said, “I’m working in an Esperanto office.” They didn’t believe it. What is Esperanto? Why would anyone want to speak it? Is it some sort of cult? Why don’t you just speak English, the language that everyone speaks? Is Esperanto even a real language? Have I lost my mind? Continue reading “My Life As An Esperanto Volunteer”

A Guide To The Main International Esperanto Events

So let’s say you’re learning Esperanto and it’s going well. In fact it’s going so well that you want to speak it with lots of people, not just those in your local group (if there even is one). Instead you want to go abroad to an international Esperanto event, but you don’t know which one. There is a complete list of all Esperanto events in the world here, but as you can see there’s a huge number. I had the exact same problem trying to figure out which of the alaphbet soup of Esperanto events were worth going to, so I’ve made a list of the main ones to help make it easier for you.  I’ll focus on the ones I have gone to for obvious reasons. Continue reading “A Guide To The Main International Esperanto Events”

What To Expect At Your First International Esperanto Event

Just over a year ago, I went to my very first international Esperanto event and I can still remember how nervous I was. I was new to the language so I had no idea what to expect. I had been learning it for six months but had never spoken it with anyone else yet. I eventually mustered up the courage to book tickets to an event, but I was flying completely blind. I was afraid that no one else would turn up or it might even be a scam. As it turns out, it was a fantastic event where I made lots of friends and had a brilliant time.

There are probably a lot of Esperanto learners in a similar position. You’ve been practicising Esperanto on Duolingo and want to speak it but don’t know what the events are like. It’s a bit of a commitment to go to an event as they are usually abroad and cost several hundred euro. So I’ll give you a breakdown of what to expect. Continue reading “What To Expect At Your First International Esperanto Event”

Ido Not

As readers of this blog may know, I’m a big fan of Esperanto and how it simplifies language to make it more logical and easier to learn. However, some people thought this could be taken a step further and Esperanto itself could be reformed and improved. This reformed language is called Ido (which means offspring in Esperanto) and aimed to replace Esperanto as the main international language. This became known as “The Schism” and like all splits it was incredibly divisive and bitter, leading to a lot of vitriol being thrown around. Continue reading “Ido Not”