[This is the fifth in a series of posts called “Don’t Take it Personal.” I will be writing letters to languages that have not been selected in this project, giving reasons for why I decided to “move on.” These will appear between regular posts, adding a more “comedic” spin to the blog.]
Greetings! Or should I say, Saluton? I am writing to you from America, as it is painfully hot in my area of the country. I hope you are staying cool, wherever you are.
I suppose I will spare you the further details about the weather and jump straight into why I am writing you this letter. It is about us, and maybe a misunderstanding, at least on my end.
I think it might be obvious to state that we are not right for each other. Although, I do believe we have the same interests. We both share a love of all things international, as your goal is to promote understanding across all cultures, regardless of language.
First, let me say how brilliant it is that you combine the Romance and Germanic languages, with a dash of Slavic phonology, to form something that truly unites people all over the world. In 120 years, you have achieved a status like your non-constructed cousins, with between 100,000 to 2 million speakers, even being taught in some universities. What also amazes me is the ability of Esperanto speakers to learn other languages much more rapidly, along with how simple it is to learn how to speak you.
However, I did not intend on learning a constructed language. Part of the reason is that I have an affinity to speak a language derived from a specific region, one that reflects the molding and careful crafting that only time can give it. To my knowledge, no country has declared Esperanto an official language, even as a secondary one.
And then there are other peculiarities. For being a constructed language, almost all of your vocabulary comes from European languages, which makes it difficult for someone living in Africa or Asia to learn. And then there is the issue of your “auxiliary-ness” itself, which makes me wonder if this is the reason why most universities and other institutions have generally overlooked you. Unlike ethnic languages, you do not have a culture to identify with, or rather, one that seems to be constructed purely by its followers. Perhaps it is my fault for not being more engaging.
For some reason, I think of you like Latin. While Latin is a classical language, it is dead and is only used for practical purposes, specifically in science or academia. I think learning you would be practical, but there would be something missing, something that the other languages I bonded with have.
Forgive me for this. I still admire you and all that you are achieving. Your followers are truly dedicated and fantastic, as they have helped promote your status to a global level. I think your father, L. L. Zamenhof, would be proud of you, as I remember his words: “I was brought up as an idealist; I was taught that all people were brothers …” No wonder he named you “one who hopes.”