Author: smuffy

Being a foreigner in China   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2015-5-29 21:12:24 |Display all floors
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Post time 2015-5-29 22:26:18 |Display all floors
seneca Post time: 2015-5-29 21:12
It was a big trouble reading through your miscarried post! I don't know if you tried to highligh ...

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Post time 2015-5-30 10:32:35 |Display all floors
I'm not accusing you of anything. My apologies if it came across that way.

Of course I have no easy way of proving the veracity of my claims, though I can say that if you knew Esperanto, you'd see that Esperanto culture in China is very different from that of English culture in China. With few exceptions (e.g. the Esperanto China Radio International recruiting university students to learn Esperanto in university to then work for CRI), all those that I'd met who earned a living through Esperanto had not foreseen the possibility of earning a living through it before having learnt it. And yes, I have met Chinese Esperanto speakers earning a living through Esperanto. For example, one in Hefei cooperates with a Polish tourism agency to take Esperanto tourists around China among other things.

First to clarify, I'm under no illusion that English culture is far more developed than Esperanto culture in some respects. Ignorant prejudices about Esperanto being "not a real language" or "having no culture" aside, there are objective albeit imprecise ways of comparing the development of a language. Quantitatively, one effective measurement is book publishing; qualitatively, Nobel Prizes for literature.

Though it is difficult to track the number of books published in Esperanto, it is estimated to be well over ten thousand on a wide variety of subjects, fiction, non fiction,  science, etc. English is probably in the millions if not hundreds of millions I would guess.

Authors have also won Nobel Prizes for literature for books published in English. The closest Esperanto has gotten to that was William Auld being nominated for a Nobel Prize for literature for his long poem la Infana Raso. Gibson the prejudices surrounding Esperanto, even winning a nomination is significant in this context.

That said, this still places the development of Esperanto culture well ahead of many languages both quantitatively and qualitatively. The Polish government has also officially recognized Esperanto as part of its intangible cultural heritage.

Another assessment of a language's cultural development is observing the spirit of the language. This could probably best be analysed by asking people for the motive behind their choice to learn a language. From my observations, those who choose to learn Esperanto are far more likely than those who choose to learn English to choose to learn it with the intent of promoting justice, brotherhood, or other such ideals. Most who choose to learn English do so for the potential for money and little more, or maybe to show off their English skills, which is equally egocentric.

Also, I don't see how letting schools choose their second language equates with promoting a particular language.  If letting a student choose Esperanto for example is equivalent to aggressively promoting Esperanto, then is making English compulsory not a far more aggressive means of promoting English?

Also, given that many have failed to learn English (and I'm sure there are many dyslexics among them due to English orthography being so irrational), are you saying that it is more in China's economic interest to have them fail to learn English than to successfully learn an easier language? Why such a one size fits all approach when clearly the dyslexic learner for example might have very different needs?

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Post time 2015-5-30 12:10:08 |Display all floors
I should also say that I am by no means a rabid capitalist.  I'm a strong believer in open borders, free trade, free movement of labour across borders, school vouchers (like in Sweden), etc., but I also support generous public funding for universal compulsory education, compulsory second-language learning in public schools, and trades and professional education for the unemployed and underpaid. My support for granting each public school the freedom to teach the second-language of its choice and of students to be tested in the second language of their choice within reasonable constraints (as in Hungary) is not motivated by any rabid capitalism but rather by a belief that their are some policies that work better within a free market context than within a statist one without denying that their are other policies that work better within a statist one. I just happen to believe that second-language choice falls in the former category.

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