Lettre parue dans le Taipei Times
(le 20 juillet 2003, p.8 ; voir l'original ici :
Although the title "World reluctant to embrace Esperanto"
does not do justice to the actual situation in today's world, I wish
to congratulate you for David Newnham's article. As a speaker (and lover) of
Esperanto since my teens, I've appreciated its rare accuracy. However, he's
mistaken when he says that "Esperanto is probably the only language to have no
irregular verbs". How could you, in Taipei, print such a sentence? Chinese has
no irregular verb either ! It consists, just as Esperanto, of completely
invariable blocks that combine without restriction.
Esperanto's Eurocentricity is less marked than Mr Newnham suggests. While
the roots on which the vocabulary is based are European, they combine according
to patterns you find in Asian languages. In both Chinese and Esperanto, you
derive "first" from "one" and "my" from "I", something alien to European
tongues. Or consider words like "foreigner" or "autonomous". The Chinese who
learns English has to memorize them as new, separate entities. In Esperanto,
eksterlandano, "foreigner", consists of the same three elements as its
Chinese equivalent waiguoren : ekster, "outside" (Chinese
wai), land, "country" (Ch. guo), and ano, "a
human being (belonging to...)" (Ch. ren). Similarly, memstara,
"autonomous", is an exact transposition of the Chinese zili
(stara "who stands" = li, mem "by its own
devices" = zi). Having had the good fortune to travel all over the
world for professional reasons, I've realized that in many places Esperanto
could put you in touch with ordinary people in a way that English couldn't. I've
noticed also that my experience is shared by many people all over the world.
For many decades, Esperanto used to be derided in the press. The trend
appears to be changing. More and more honest articles are being published. But
David Newnham's stands out for its wealth of accurate information.
Piron, 22 rue de l' Etraz, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland.
(Cette lettre est la réponse
à l'article "World reluctant to embrace Esperanto"
de David Newnham