1997: now that I'm getting traffic from reputable centres of constructed language expertise like Mark Rosenfelder's I'd better admit that I can't claim to be infallible – I haven't even managed to find an up‐to‐date Teach‐Yourself! So mail me – I'll post short specific rebuttals (adding appropriate HTML markup without interpolating smartarse editorial comebacks); or acknowledgements for corrections; or links to other sites for extended counter‐arguments.
1998: meanwhile my fellow Edinburgher Geoff Eddy has his own bones to pick with Esperanto; and thanks to [the late] Don Harlow for pointing out that Polish‐speakers born and raised in Poland aren't necessarily “Polish”.
mi ghojas konstati, ke vi havas ideojn malsamajn ol miaj: la mondo estas bela char ghi buntas!
Sed, mi petas, ne devigu min uzi vian lingvon: mi studis ghin nur dum kvin jarojn kaj mi apenau kapablus per ghi mendi kafon!!
2002: after a succession of unusually dumb contributions I'm beginning to regret my policy of never quoting people without their permission, but it still holds: if you want me to publish your comments, say so explicitly!
Even if there are things in Esperanto that could be improved, this is not a reason to reject Esperanto. Even now Esperanto is good enough. This "good enough" means that the language is already very easy to learn, and its structure is already very good and regular. And its sound is as good as the sound of any other language.
Let's first study it, talk it, write in it. Let's first make it live among many millions of speakers. This is what the Esperanto community has already been doing for more than a century, and a lot of this is done well. Then, when its future is stable, we may discuss changes, but systematically, with much care and in a well organized way. Even Zamenhof said that was possible. But until then, Esperanto is developing.
I have done much in/for/about Esperanto. But if another one language would appear, being as easy to learn and belonging to no particular nation, and if that language would have enough strength, money and speakers, then I would be glad to forget my dear Esperanto, and join that new language. But the chance is almost zero, because any new language probably has a lot of problems to solve from the time of its "childhood" to the time of its "maturity", which Esperanto has already done.
What is essential, is the principle, not the particular language. And what is even more important, is to have even today one living language such as Esperanto, at least to show to the world the possibility of such languages and the value of the idea itself.
2003: feel free to mirror this rant elsewhere, but if you're going to take an obsolete edition (complete with nineties “recently modified” markers), mangle it through Microsoft Front Page, and then display it as if I was endorsing your thoroughly dodgy‐looking IAL scheme, then I'd appreciate it if you would at least refrain from claiming you owned the copyright. (No link, because they don't deserve the googlejuice).
A correspondent writing from multiple addresses under various names, in this case “Dumb Fanatic Cultist”:*
Hello, you rude, obnoxious, arrogant, uncivilized, racist troglodyte! […] How dumb am I? […] I coordinate a project concerning civil society and legislative reform in Central and Eastern Europe. As part of my job, I travel abroad several times a year to attend conferences, make presentations, and meet leaders of the non-governmental sector as well as parliamentarians, supreme court justices, and legal experts. […] In my 8-page reply (which was returned as undeliverable), I noted […] that much of your critique involves stating how things are in this or that language and then pointing out that Esperanto does it differently - as if that proves how bad Esperanto is! […] Yes, Esperanto has its share of oddities, irregularities, and inconsistencies, but they are minor compared to the merits of the language. […] All told, I've travelled to 35 countries on 3 continents. Where have YOU been, you stupid barbarian??? […] Don't bother replying - your email will be deleted without being read.
Judge his intelligence for yourselves from the fact he's let me quote him like this. In all he sent eight of these long‐winded hodgepodges of boilerplate propaganda and irrelevant egomania, most of which were identical apart from variations in source address and message format (at least I got him to stop attaching them as MS‐Word documents). Apparently he imagines this is going to convince me Esperantists aren't “Dumb Fanatic Cultists”… well, I know some of them aren't.
2005: typically, after eight years of bogus “corrections” from zealots who've only read the first Section, it's a non‐Esperantist who has spotted the typo in the first sentence! Białystok has either a C or an Ł, not both… so thankyou David Marjanović. Thanks also to Christopher Culver, who warns not to trust claims that the use of Esperanto would help to protect minority languages. In fact this has been a particularly good year for sane and polite correspondents… so I'd better apologise in advance for this Halloween Special. “Any similarity to actual languages, living or undead, is purely coincidental.”
2007: just to show cluelessness isn't confined to the pro‐Esperanto camp…
Clay Shentrup, with the Subject line “Esperanto sucks”:
I've been learning Spanish over the last two days, and […] I'm going to start piecing together something better, called "parolim" (pahr-O-leem) tentatively. I want it to be a project based on always finding the coolest sounding (but also appropriate) roots, and going from there.
My suggestion that it might help to have some basic knowledge of topics like, say, syntax met with incredulity:
If I think of how I'd describe a concept like "Mary just came into the room and undressed in front of me...awesome!", I can just engineer the manner in which objects, descriptors, and actions work together in my language to express such a concept. I know how I'd say it in English, which is a handy starting point - a way of seeing how such a thing has already been done, so I'm not starting from scratch. I don't even need to know a language to make my own - it just makes it easier.
And then he insisted I should quote him on this.
2008: an Esperantist correspondent has provided a link for FAQ question (i) – thanks!
2014: a pseudonymous “reformedesperantist” (who also persuaded me that the opposite of parochial isn't international, it's universal):
I attended some Esperanto conventions, but stopped because I was meeting people who could communicate with me better in English or French, but it was only allowed to talk Esperanto, and it was forbidden to talk about any alternative, because of the effort that people put into Doctor Zamenhof's invention[…]. Guys, if it takes such a big effort to achieve nothing, try something else!
2015: are Esperantists getting better at finding real mistakes or is my brain just getting better at creating them?