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Old 09-01-2017, 03:29 PM   #1
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Learning Esperanto

It's my understanding that Abdul Baha promoted the use and spread of Esperanto as auxiliary international language, the adoption of which is a Baha'i commandment.

Also, the daughter of Zamenhof, who created Esperanto, converted to the Bahai Faith. So there are cross-relations between the Esperanto movemet and the Bahai movement.

It's easier than ever to learn Esperanto today due to Duolingo, which is an app that helps to learn Esperanto via phone and plays like a game. It's entertaining. Esperanto is the easiest by far language to learn: generally 16 grammar rules, no irregularities, and sounds like a cross between Slavic and Romance languages.

Another app that came out recently is Amikumu, which helps to find people in one's vecinity who are practicing the language.

I learned Esperanto in high school and still use it. Not sure how many Baha'is are out there who speak Esperanto, but considering the teaching about adopting an auxiliary language, I imagine there are already a few out there? Are there active efforts to teach Esperanto in Bahai communities?
 
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Old 09-03-2017, 10:30 PM   #2
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I'm someone who has dabbled in learning Esperanto, though I've never retained enough to speak it well. I don't remember where I first learned of the language, but it was a book about the Baha'i faith.

The UHJ has resisted choosing which language should become the universal auxiliary language, but there are a number of Baha'is who have pushed for Esperanto. Esperanto would be a simple and effective language to use, though the actual choice of an auxiliary language would probably be a long, drawn out and uncomfortably complicated political process. It's just too soon for a choice, IMO, and I don't think the UHJ is in any position to support any one language at this time.

Have you heard of the Baha'i Esperanto League? I don't know their membership procedures but if you are a Baha'i Esperanto speaker it may be worth looking into. They're carrying the torch of the cause of Esperanto, and if you think it would be a good choice for an auxiliary language you'll probably find some like-minded individuals.
 
Old 09-05-2017, 10:26 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hermod View Post
It's my understanding that Abdul Baha promoted the use and spread of Esperanto as auxiliary international language,
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hermod View Post
the adoption of which is a Baha'i commandment.
Ah, no. Baha'is believe that there is a promised universal auxiliary language, but Esperanto does not meet the standards of our prophecy on the language and the properties it will have.

For example Esperanto was created by one man, while the prophesied language will be created by an international council. Esperanto has gendered pronouns, whereas the prophesied language will not have any gendered words.

'Abdu'l-Baha thought the language was a good idea and promoted learning it, but also stated that this was not the language that our Scriptures referred to. Most believe the language has not yet been made that these prophecies refer to, barring the exception of a few weirdos like myself with strange theories on the topic.
 
Old 09-05-2017, 01:04 PM   #4
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Saluton mi amikoj!


Esperanto is fun, but it runs into a problem: If more people spoke Esperanto, more people would speak Esperanto. Until some world governing organization chooses an auxilary language I don't think it that prophesy would be fulfilled. Various languages have had their moment in the sun as the international language of science or business, and these tend to go away.

It might also be something non-verbal, say Emoji or Blyssymbolics.

Some recent work with languages like Toki Pona have shown perhaps just how far language can be pared down and still be intelligible.

On the subject of gender in Esperanto, Ido supposedly fixed that and some other issues. Ido has a gender neutral case. I don't think Esperanto was ever at a point where Dr Zamenhoff felt it was finished and should never be modified but unfortunately that seemed to have happened with his death. I don't know much about Ido, but it has never really gained traction. I dont know how much the Baha'i faith is supposed to be involved in this process but to be honest it seems from scripture it is very important and something the faith has abandoned or shelved.
 
Old 09-06-2017, 05:38 AM   #5
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Could you please remind me why English would not suit the prophecy?
 
Old 09-06-2017, 05:51 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
Could you please remind me why English would not suit the prophecy?
The following are things English has not done, but could potentially be done in the future, and are properties or effects the predicted language will have:
-An international council has not selected English.
-English has not united the world in a universal commonwealth.
-English has not translated every book yet (like, the Bayan-i-Farsi which I would desperately love a full English version of).
-English has not promoted the oneness of mankind.

Granted, those things have not yet happened, but things could change and English could eventually meet the above criteria. However, there are three other predicted properties that English does not, and can never, obtain:
-English contains gendered pronouns, the predicted language will not.
-English contains synonyms, the predicted language will not.
-English has supplanted the mother tongue in various countries (Ireland, North America, etc), the predicted language will not supplant but supplement.

To the OP's topic, the gendered pronouns clause is the reason that Esperanto cannot be that language, although it is potentially better suited to the prophecy than English.

And as I've stated before in other threads just as a thought experiment, the only language that currently fits all of the provided criteria about this promised language is HTML, the language of the internet .

Last edited by Walrus; 09-06-2017 at 05:54 AM.
 
Old 09-06-2017, 06:44 AM   #7
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This is just my opinion. I don't mean to by overly critical: HTML however is just a series of markup tags. It's not even a computer language, really. It's a vehicle for other languages, I suppose one could say. HTML was not invented a representative from all the world's countries. It was invented by Tim Berners-Lee on a NextStep computer. People cannot speak it or in any way use it without access to a pathway that they themselves do not own nor realistically have no supprt over. That pathway can be cut off at any time by any authority, interfered with by disruptive persons or redirected maliciously. And good amount of the world's population still have no access to it. If this is a world language then the poor, the disconnected, the oppressed will be denied access to it or doled it out in whatever form they are permitted.

As far as genderless languages there are a few. But is there an actual authoritative text where the Master requires this? I am asking as I really don't know.

A very simplified English patois could be envisioned without gender pronouns, as well as simplified spelling without silent characters. I think that may well happen anyway, but the problem then is one of English's biggest strengths: it's vast ever growing vocabulary. There simply is no way to eliminate the synonyms. What you would have left would not be English anyway, so why not start over or find a better series of "donor candidates" to work from.

Abdu'l Baha did encourage looking into Esperanto, so perhaps he saw something of value in it. What are Esperanto's strengths? It has regular grammar rules, NO synonyms (at least not originally, and as far as I know, still not really). It has no silent characters.

One thing I think that is important is that Zamenhoff saw first hand the effects of language in a city where three groups of people living together could be mutually intelligent. It is no mistake that he tried to take elements of various language groups together and combine them into a working system. Of course it does not contain elements of all languages. That would be impossible, or at least improbable for anyone to learn. If he had lived now and reattempted Esperanto perhaps he would have included root words from a larger base of major language families. That is where having a world Parliament of Language to invent a true Auxiliary language could succeed.

I know people will suggest Google Translate and other technological wonders as the auxiliary language we look for. And in truth they are useful and can do a lot to bring people together. But they also are owned properties or at best not available to all, and subject to controls that keep them from being used fully. There may come a time due to catastrophe or some reason that internet communications are best avoided, that the very reason someone might need an auxiliary language is impossible.

But here is the good thing. We're born with the best computer in on earth, our brain. Everyone gets one. And it gets better the more we use it. Fortunately it appears to be inherently structured to communicate. So if we have a very simple language, the basis of which could be taught in a few lessons, with a small synonym-free vocabulary, then we'd have something truly useful to bring people together. It would not preempt one's native language. There would probably not be great works of art written in it. It would have no native Shakespeare or Luo Guanzhong. But it would be very useful.

I feel like Esperanto was a good start and pointed the way forward. However, the followup has been limited to sporadic enthusiasm from small groups and individuals. This is an area where the Baha'i Faith could lead the way and help the world. We're not, as a religious community, about to end world hunger or set up major literacy programs, or much else as far as I can see. But this is actually something that could happen. If the right universal language is made and people find it useful, they will use it.
 
Old 09-06-2017, 07:18 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by noogan View Post
HTML was not invented a representative from all the world's countries.
The first instance of the language was as you specified. The current standards of the language are set and created by an international council with multinational representatives, the W3C. The terms in the scriptures were that such a council would "create" or "select" a language. And HTML was both selected, then new aspects of it created, by the W3C.

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Originally Posted by noogan View Post
People cannot speak it or in any way
Exactly!! The promised language is, after all, supposed to enhance but not supplant the existing mother tongues!! What conventional language would, if adopted universally, not supplant mother tongues?? That requirement makes me think it might be something more unconventional. Because if I knew two languages, one that everyone else on the world knew, and one that my own country traditionally used, I'd be more likely to use the former and not the latter, and the latter might than be forgotten in time.

But as I stated the whole proposal was more of a thought experiment than anything else.

I've got the sources on the genderless property of the promised language, as well as every other property of the language, compiled here on my original thought experiment thread if you wish: The Advent of the Universal Auxiliary Language

The precise quote is from `Abdu'l-Bahá: “[it] will be governed by the simplest rules, and there will be no exceptions, neither will there be gender, nor extra and silent letters. Everything indicated will have but one name.”

Last edited by Walrus; 09-06-2017 at 07:28 AM.
 
Old 09-06-2017, 07:34 AM   #9
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From what I have read, I may be wrong, the Guardian did not believe "Divine Philosophy" to be an authentic text. It seems to have the authority of pilgrims' notes.
 
Old 09-06-2017, 08:10 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by noogan View Post
From what I have read, I may be wrong, the Guardian did not believe "Divine Philosophy" to be an authentic text. It seems to have the authority of pilgrims' notes.
The particular quote on the subject of gendered words and other factors of the language's properties was from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá's speech in London.

The only property that is specified only by the source of Divine Philosophy is just the requirement of being instituted by a council. Thus if what you are saying is correct, that property might not be solid requirements. Everything else describing the language that I found had other sources, though. The other things I cited in Divine Philosophy can be found in other sources and speeches he made, like the unification of mankind via this language (speech in Paris), and the fact it will not supplant but will be taught alongside mother languages (speech in London).

Most of the sources on the properties and effects of the predicted language are not "as authoritative" as, say, his direct writings. But those two speeches are generally seen as accurate by members of the Baha'i Community as a whole.

Last edited by Walrus; 09-06-2017 at 08:17 AM.
 
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