Daily Prompt: Take That, Rosetta!

English: The Rosetta Stone in the British Muse...

Rosetta Stone by Hans Hillewaert, CC-BY-SA-3.0

If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any language you don’t currently speak, which would it be, and why? What’s the first thing you do with your new linguistic skills?

Language is a touchstone of culture, place, and connectivity. We revert to our native tongue when we are emotional, have the desire to confide secrets and innermost feelings, often to a family member who speaks the same variant, or build rapport with a stranger who might happen to be a fellow speaker.

Speaking one’s mother tongue takes us home, wherever in the world we may physically be. Language recalls elements of our culture: food, relationships, heroes and legends, families, social cues and taboos, customs, and even social station.

Esperanto Estas Internacia Lingvo

Esperanto Scrabble by Martin Schmitt, CC-BY-2.0

Every language is unique, and there are certain phrases that cannot be literally translated word for word into another language without losing importance, context, and sometimes, quite colourful nuances. For example, “Taking credit for someone else’s achievements”, translated into Chinese, is “Wearing someone’s posterior on your face.” My experiences with Google Translator and a couple of the Romance languages has been an equally hilarious one.

Why do we learn languages that can often be a complete 360 of, and have no emotional connection to, our mother tongue? For some, there is certainly a challenge to doing it, but there can also be a desire to embrace the culture that underlies it.

English: Tower of Babel

Tower of Babel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those reasons (and more, below), I think I’d like to learn Esperanto. There is something unique and appealing about learning a language that has no specific ethnic homebase or geographic concentrations of speakers, and yet embraces the morphological, semantic, phonemic, and lexicological elements of many languages–including Indo-European, Romance (French, Spanish, Italian), Slavic, Germanic, Greek, Russian, Polish, and Germanic1.

Esperanto is a constructed (the most widely spoken in the world2), intuitive and politically neutral language.3 There are as many as 2 million-10 million Esperanto speakers and students around the globe, hailing from a diversity of countries–including many northern and central European countries, China, Korea, Japan, Iran, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Togo in Africa.3 Studies have also shown Esperanto to be a springboard from which to learn other languages.5

The first thing I’d do with my new linguistic skills? Write a WordPress blog post in Esperanto. 🙂

1,2,3,4,5Statistics have been sourced from the Esperanto Wikipedia profile.

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9 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Take That, Rosetta!

    • as a matter of fact, Esperanto was added to Google translator a couple of years ago.

      but that would be shortcutting the learning process for me! where would be the sense of accomplishment without the struggle and sweat and tears? 🙂 🙂 🙂

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      • Oh no, no, no! I was NOT suggesting you take any shortcuts. THAT’S not learning a language (forget sense of accomplishment). I was ALLLLL about the ‘um, how to decipher it all?’ Oh, yah. Google translate’s for ME.

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      • aha … Google translator wouldn’t do at all for me, then. 🙂

        we need a contextual translator, not a language translator. which employs the use of heuristics and expert systems! 🙂

        sorry. devolving into techspeak! 🙂

        Like

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Your comments are like chocolate for my soul ... I can never get enough of them! Bonus brownie points for witty comments! I love a good turn of phrase. :)

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