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Esperanto and English

I must have heard about this language years ago when I was considering constructing a language that cannot confuse people (yay English).  Cubbi and I shared some thoughts and he mentioned it.  Today on a sleepy whim, I looked it up in detail, and realized something I should have long ago; the world doesn't need to have only one language, but people do need to have a secondary language that is used world wide.

As a geek, I feel stupid for thinking about global linguistic domination when Lord of the Rings has already shown me how warm a world can be where each culture retains their uniqueness, but comes together through a common form of communication.

I guess my problem was that as an American, I was thinking that learning an additional language is too hard, but having expanded my mind, I realize that the real problem is that most English speakers are taught to show discrimination to those speaking other languages, therefore having enough opportunity to learn the language through using it is difficult.

I have invested oh~ no less than 7 years "learning" Japanese, but having no real way to speak it, I have only been able to teach my ears to understand it, but not my mouth to speak it.  I imagine this is a common problem for many who try to learn another language from English cultures.

Honestly, I had a prejudice toward Esperanto because it sounds Spanish and the Hispanic version of Spanish is usually spoken by unsavory people in this area.  I can get over that for the value of a world language, and even encourage others to learn this language, but I personally I am not sure if it's possible for me to master another language in this life...

If you know more than one language, would you share your learning experience with me, so that I may get a better idea of how to go about opening my mind to the experience?

EDIT- Since writing this post, I have looked into this language and agree with a common criticism that it's too difficult to pronounce correctly for native oriental language speakers.  However, I still agree with the main idea.  Luckily, there is still time to create a language that is easy for all.
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Added: 7 years, 6 months ago
7 years, 6 months ago
So here's my foreign language story
At the start of middle school when all soviet kids choose a foreign language to study, I chose French because I grew up on Jules Verne, and Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Le Petit Prince is still in the front of my bookshelf, even thought I barely need to open it to remember the important words.. but anyway, a few years later I saw that if I am going to follow science, English seems to be the language of international communication, I spent the summer intensely learning English with a private tutor (my first words were 'make' and 'take'), those three months put me far ahead of the soviet school program and I did nothing in English classes for the last year of middle school.

My high school was attached to a chemistry research institute and had college-grade chemistry and english classes. I qualified for middle-level english class we were reading Agatha Christie (why *didn't* they ask Evans?) while my friends in advanced were reading Salinger (I swiped the book and read it too: raise high the roof beam, carpenters!). So I thought I was good on English and  didn't really care much.

Come 1992, Soviet Union crumbled, I graduated high school, but more importantly, my chemist-wunderkind career took me on a trip of a lifetime to USA for the International Chemistry Olympiad. Faced with an accent from every country not to mention your everyday american accents. I instantly realized that I do *not* speak English. Showered in attention from every major american company with an interest in sponsoring chemistry education, I had my mind set on moving to USA (which, as I saw, required getting sufficient education and training to avoid employment problems, so no fantasies about running off)

Since 1992, every movie and every book I bought were in English, and I spent days after days talking on IRC (since 1994) and MUCKs (since 1995), slowly assimilating the ton of of informal associations and cultural background that is attached to every single English word in the mind of a native speaker.

Soon (1997-ish) I banned myself from the use of Russian-English dictionaries completely, relying on English dictionaries and usage examples only, because as soon as an English word is associated with a Russian word, the entire Russian layer of associations and cultural ties latches on to the English word, where it has no place. Whenever I saw a word I couldn't understand, I just let it be that way, leaving a little hole in the sentence, but each time that word would come up, the meaning would fill in the hole, with no help of any dictionary -- that, I think, is the most awesome way to learn a word, the way a person learns their first words as a child. (I remember reading Frank Herbert's Dune series, where every page was perforated with such semantic holes in my mind, back then)

Finally, in 2000, I came to USA again, and had no problem whatsoever understanding anyone but my own pronunciation, which I had never worked on, was, and still is, unsatisfactory, at least in my opinion.
7 years, 6 months ago
Thank you for sharing ^^
You are lucky to have started learning a language in your grade school.  American schools, at least in my area, start the option for a language class at 9th grade.  I feel cheated over it to be honest.  As I said in our chat, imitation has come easy to me when pronouncing words from other languages.  In high school I shocked both my class and teacher with our assignment to recite the 18 line Middle English opening to the Canterbury Tales by sounding as if I was fluent in Middle English XD
People also think I speak Japanese for this reason...
Seems to me if you want to work on your accent, all you need to do is imitate your favorite accent.  A friend and I used to do this for imitating famous cartoon characters.  I'd say go for the "well educated" British accent :3  
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