Esperanto and Euro-Marxism

Chris Johnson cj at s1.ganet.net
Mon Mar 13 21:12:32 MST 1995


On Tue, 14 Mar 1995 n.gant at genie.geis.com wrote:

> There should be Marxist-Esperanto or Marxist-Ido groups in Europe.
>  I think it is common more in the eastern European countries.  Also,
>  I believe Noam Chomsky is an expert on linguistics, but he is an
>  anarchist and not a Marxist proper.  Nonetheless, it would be
>  interesting to know his view of Esperanto in the context of its
>  political use-value in international information-sharing; I
>  think it would be quite important from a Marxist point of view.

I obviously can't say for sure what Chomsky's view would be, but as
someone who sits in on his classes and reads a lot about linguistics, he
very well may be indifferent to Esperanto.  On one hand, it appears to
overcome the major problems that lots of artificial languages have.  It
appears that it might be a possible human language, unlike, for example,
lojban (Never base a language on predicate calculus.  No one who speaks
lojban can do it in its "pure" form.); it was based heavily on other
Indo-European languages.  It was just modified to simplify syntax and
allomorphy.  There might be some syntactic problems.  I wonder about how
many children have been brought up on Esperanto.  It would be interesting
if they developed any major structural invovations.  This is something
that is seen with pidgins: a simple form of communication (I'm not sure
if I can call it a language, as it isn't natural in several senses)
becomes a full creole language when taught to a child (presumably through
the Universal Grammer).

While it is very possible he might support some sort of universal second
language, he does support linguistic diversity.  A big project of
linguists has been to try to save endangered languages.  As Ken Hale said
in a very recent issue of Science News, when a language diappears, you
lose oodles of information about how a culture looks at the world.
(Obviously paraphrased.)

The last thing: Chomsky has never tried to tie a strong bond between his
politics and linguistics.  It exists, but it is not the central point
either way.

Chris Johnson                                    	     cj at ganet.net
	[cjohnson at bronze.coil.com will still work for awhile.]
"There was much in this that I did not understand, in some ways I did not
even like it, but I recognized it immediately as a state of affairs worth
fighting for." - George Orwell



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