Esperanto vs. Europaio?

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Dec 6 14:29:05 UTC 2006

Carlos Quiles Webhlog

Prijoi Projektoi Woidosio en Europaiai Oinioni

 Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua, (2)Esperanto vs. Europaio?

Ive recently read in some forums about Indo-European revival being a new
IAL with no chances against Esperanto. The objective of Europaio is - and
was - never to substitute Esperanto or to undermine the Esperanto, Ido,
Interlingua, etc. communities. We are very respectful of the long
tradition of IALs in building worldwide communities around international,
neutral languages, for our society to become more democratic, more jointly
liable, or whatever those groups may seek. However, things should always
be clear to everyone when comparing Indo-European with such languages:

Esperanto is an artifcial language invented by one man, as there are
hundreds of them. Europaio (as a modern Indo-European) is a unique,
natural, reconstructed language.

Esperanto hasnt been ever spoken but for some erudite meetings.

Indo-European was spoken by a prehistoric community, and its dialects are
now spoken by half the worlds population; also, many classical language
students in European Universities have attended (Proto-)Indo-European
courses as obligatory subjects to obtain their degrees.

Esperantos aim a century ago was to be spoken as the only IAL; some are
still waiting. Europaios not-so-ambitious aim is to become the EUs common
language, to help further integration into a single country; we havent
even begun to promote it, and our idea is quickly dismissed by some.
Esperantos clones - or, better, Volapk clones - are infinite, and the
newer are supposedly better than the older ones. Indo-European (or better
late PIE) was and is only one, although different approaches can be made
to its writing and syntax system - as with any other natural language.
Esperanto was made by a conlang fan, as all other constructed languages.
We dont see Indo-European revival as a cultural experiment, or as a
personal hobby - we rely, in fact, on more than two centuries of IE
studies; we think Europaio will match the European linguistic needs for
real cohesion, and will mean an overwhelming social, economic, educational
and political integration movement if it succeeds. We are far from
considering all this a game or a hobby.

The first motto we thought about to promote Europaio some months ago was
Europaio's not another Esperanto! (like GNUs not Unix!), but I personally
disliked it because it seemed to undermine the efforts of whole
communities of well-minded conlang-supporters; it was eventually discarded
because (surprisingly) many people hadnt ever heard about Esperanto, so
misunderstandings based on linking artificial languages with Europaio
werent so likely as we firstly thought.

Now I cannot make a Google search for Europaio without finding it related
to other five-or-ten-minute-grammars conlangs, and without reading some
comments criticizing our lack of support for our not-so-powerful conlang,
and I just cannot believe that such comments come mainly from conlangers
and others who havent even read our project.

We are not politically involved, as we wanted to represent an apolitical
(indeed Pro-European) linguistic movement, but this kind of initial
reactions are making us seriously reflect on becoming politically active
at a European level, whether as a provisional platform, as an association
or even as a EU-only political party.

I hope those communities realize that what we are doing is trying to unite
locally to act globally, and not vice-versa, and thus we are not
confronted, but just acting in two very different levels. We have
certainly proposed an IAL project (Sindhueuropaiom), just as some of them
have proposed Esperanto as EUs language, but both proposals are mainly
theoretical and probably out of each others scope.

Our Europaio proposal is as real as the EU, and theirs as utopic as a
worldwide (private) agreement over adopting a one-mans language. No matter
how big and strong their historic communities are, these facts will not
change; they can accept it and maybe collaborate with us or others in IE
revival - or just stay aside -, or they can foolishly try to undermine our
efforts, thus unnecessarily confronting two very different worlds.

[By the way, we usually compare - and criticize - Esperanto and other
conlangs, as we do with English, English-French, English-French-German,
Multilingualism and Latin, because they all have been proposed for EUs
future language policy. Europaio is not really opposed to any of those
languages, though, unless they compete for the role of EUs main language]


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