Time to ramble, because someone out there might find this interesting.
(And, uh, because I’m currently slacking off…)
My first post on my Esperanto tumblr was on August 1st, 2012. Here’s the first Esperanto that I wrote:
Mi estas malsana.
Reĉardo estas ludas videoludon.
Mi amas Reĉardon.
Yep, there are errors. I had just begun my EO tumblr for practicing Esperanto while learning. I made lots of mistakes, I didn’t understand the grammar, and I felt embarrassed any time I tried to use it.
It’s been two years, on-and-off, and I still make mistakes. I’ve left and come back due to people ticking me off, but I’ve learned to avoid those communities (just like with programming communities).
I’ve travelled to Seattle and met with some of the Esperantists there. Arlyn made us lunch, I talked about morse code and programming with Les. Daniel and Daniella were kind enough to drive my cousin and me around Seattle to show us a view from Queen Anne, the Freemont Troll, and to drop us off at the Space Needle.
I’ve made online friends, some of whom liked Esperanto, but felt alienated by some online communities, much like I did. We’ve practiced with Google Hangout, we’ve played OpenArena and Ragnarok Online.
But why spend the effort to learn Esperanto?
Well, I guess because it’s fun.
I have no assumptions that Esperanto will become a second language for everybody in the world, or that it will bring about world peace, or anything like that. Some people do, I guess, and I agree that English is a horrible global language and difficult to learn, but too many people scoff at the idea of Esperanto to really bother to give it a chance.
I feel like anglo-Americans, in particular, the monolingual types who use English at home, school, and work, seem to be the least likely to join in on learning Esperanto. Especially not for fun. Language acquisition is too daunting to be something you do for a fun challenge, like a crossworld puzzle, Sudoku, or Bejeweled.
But that’s just how my mind works. I’ve always been in love with computers, I’ve always loved the idea of inventing a game language and learning about ciphers. The only natural languages I’ve bothered trying to learn are the ones with different writing systems, because it’s interesting and fun. And, with language learning, it’s a hobby I can do away from a computer, unlike programming, animating, and most of the video creation I do.
It’s also built to be much more regular than normal languages, so it pleases the logicy-puzzle side of me. Learn something once, make inferences from the patterns.
For the day I tried to learn Spanish, I found the concept of having to memorize genders for each noun incredibly aggravating. I quit.
Esperanto is just another fun thing to do, and you get a little niche community that goes along with it. Similar with HAM Radio. And people in niche communities tend to look out for each other.
If I’m lost in a big city, I could probably find somebody on a repeater with my radio to help me out.
If I ever travel to Taiwan, or Spain, or France, or Brazil, I know who to hit up to give me advice about the location, perhaps show me some neat places, or even stay with.
I want to go to an Esperanto congress one day, either the global one or one in the Americas, and meet some more people in person. In a place where, we aren’t necessarily all computer nerds (like most of the communities I’m apart of), so there’s more diversity of interests and vocations.
Another thing that keeps me stuck to Esperanto is the drive to want to create. There are many books, poems, and vlogs in Esperanto, but not many comics or animations or video games.
Back when I begun making C++ game programming tutorials in my spare time for the YouTube community, I was driven to create because the resource had not been available to me when I had first been learning to program. I had to create that which I was not fortunate enough to receive.
And I feel the exact same way about entertainment in Esperanto. I gotta teach people how to make games and animations and films. I gotta teach people how to use kdenlive and Love2d and Synfig. I gotta make games to help others – and myself – learn. I gotta start a revolucio de amuzaĵoj.
Right now, I’ve been working on Fantazio de Esperanto (Android language practicing game), Verdlando (an online-RPG, fork from PyORPG), Language Village (think language immersion in a Harvest Moon-style game), a video guide to why you should use Linux, how to install, and how to use it, and my future video tutorials, traditionally for the English-speaking community, I now consider how to translate into Esperanto as well.
And what sucks is that I don’t have flawless Esperanto skills. But it also drives me to create educational programs where you can hear and read Esperanto dialogue, and participate and experiment, in order to get a better, more full understanding.
And with collaboration from others, we can create more content. And creating content is cheap – it costs time, but the software is free, the tools are free. So I feel a need to share information on how to make games and films with the World, and with the Esperanto community.
(Edit) Aliaj Lingvoj
I’m adding this in, since it’s something I’ve discovered since picking up Spanish again to learn — it is much easier for me to go from Esperanto -> Spanish than English -> Spanish.
There are so many homonyms in English, that when I want to find the word in Spanish, I first have to define the word I’m trying to figure out.
“I turned the computer on” — which on do I need? Translations for on:
In Esperanto, I know that I would say, “Mi ŝaltis la komputilon”, so I can use the Lernu dictionary to go from ŝalti in Esperanto to encender in Español.
English is also so idiomatic, once you’re working with multiple languages you realize that things like “turn on” may not actually make any sense.
So what? SO WHAT?!
I don’t know. I mean, I’m not here to convert you, I’m just sharing why I bother. I mean, peeps don’t like it when you write off their hobbies as uselessness, ya’know?!
So I still love C++, so I learn Esperanto, so I secretly watch K-Dramas?! Don’t laugh at me. ;o; It’s one of those weird hobbies where even your best friends won’t partake, so you only talk about it online. But you become obsessed, and you can’t stop thinking about it (great, now I think about programming AND Esperanto all the time!) and you only have Esperanto-language music CDs in your car, but you’re embarrased when you’re driving someone around (“Here, let’s change this to NPR…”).
Anyway, if you want to happen to see what I’ve done in the Esperanto community, because maybe you like my work in general, here are some of my projects:
- MoosaderEO – A mish-mash of Esperanto-language videos. Animations, RPG Maker games (and other games), attempting to review Psychonauts in Esperanto, y’know.
- Esperanimeo – An entertainment blog where I desperately try to recruit new authors. We have fansubs, comics, romhacks, a Minecraft server (Minecraft is available in Esperanto).
- Esperanto Arcade – My favorite things in the world: Programming, Open Source, and obscure language. My mission is to teach people how to make games, then have them contribute Open Source games.
- Praktiku Esperanton – My G+ community based around video chatting and practicing our Esperantoness.