Esper/Esperanto

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Introduction[edit]

Okay, now I'm writing this for WikiBooks, and the policy is to write from a "neutral perspective" so somebody let me know if I get out of line here, but I do think it is appropriate in this section to explain for the sake of the Esperanto speaker considering taking the time to read this book just WHY it would be worth their time to do so. Educational materials are not much use after all, if they fail to encourage learning. That said, this section is to help the Esperanto speaker decide if learning Esper is worth the time, and to provide them with everything they need to get started if they do decide to take the time.

Why Learn Esper'[edit]

If you already know the Esperanto language, you may wonder what the use would be in learning the Esper' language as well. Wouldn't that be one of the main things stopping people who already know a language with many more speakers than Esperanto and Esper' combined? Yet for some reason you chose to learn Esperanto and chances are it wasn't because you were born into an Esperanto speaking family living in an Esperanto speaking town in some Esperanto speaking country. Maybe you're one of those who learned Esperanto just to be able to travel to many places without learning many languages just to have SOMEONE you could communicate with. If that's the case then learning the Esper' language might understandably not interest you until the language has more speakers in more places than Esperanto does, if such time ever comes. That is of course, unless hanging around Esperanto speakers has rubbed off on you. On the other hand, I think it's safe to say that MOST of the people who speak the Esperanto language would really like to see the whole world able to share a common language within their lifetime. Probably Esperanto if possible since they know that one already, but even if they had to learn some completely different and perhaps even difficult language to help that dream become a reality, I think most Esperanto speakers would jump at the chance if they really believed it could work. Fortunately, the Esper' language DOES have the potential to make that dream come true, for reasons I will explain in this section, and it is very much like Esperanto, has already been helping to encourage more people to learn Esperanto, and is even easier to learn than Esperanto.

Oh, that last point would be one of those reasons why Esper' has the potential to help the world reach the goal of sharing a common language. A bigger reason though is in the Esper' dialects, which allow friends and family to practice the Esper' language with a bare minimum or starter vocabulary. A smaller factor, which many Esperanto speakers pass off as nothing, is the fact that Esperanto's growth has missed out on a HUGE opportunity thanks to the advent of the ASCII code and it's eventual adaptation as the primary Unicode page. While most fluent speakers of Esperanto consider it no probable to install a special keyboard layout on everything they own that supports one with Esperanto characters or to simply work around the inability to type or to easily type ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ, ŝ, or ŭ, and no trouble at all to read other people's Esperanto written which ever ways such people write or type it, and it's not AS BAD for people living in areas where one or more major language of the area requires a special keyboard driver or something anyway, it is certainly a concern for many people who are NOT already fluent in Esperanto, and if that was never the case for you, perhaps that is part of why you were not one of those who backed down and chose to go without learning the language.

True, using "x" after any letter which would otherwise have gotten a special diacritic mark is a reasonable workaround, especially since the letter is otherwise not used in Esperanto, but are we hoping to get everybody on the same page, or just those who see a "reasonable workaround" as sufficient reason to ingnore one of the many factors against taking the time to learn a new language? If nothing else, the Esper' orthography can be used with Esperanto if you so choose, creating a "workaround" which only requires a single keystroke per phonetic sound and works on any standard keyboard that has the letters of the English alphabet on it, with no need to install anything special at all.

Most Esperanto speakers find that they can adjust almost instantly to reading Esper' orthography, probably partially due to already being accustomed to various orthography workarounds in Esperanto, and you can learn to write in Esper' orthography in a matter of minutes.

Transliteration[edit]

It is very easy to transliterate Esperanto orthography into Esper' orthography, and since the Esper' language is intended to support 100% of spoken Esperanto, once it's transliterated there is no real need to "translate" it as well, although there is the option of taking advantage of Esper' to make some things a little clearer or to correct for the gender bias in Esperanto which Esper lacks.

If you want to transliterate something that's stored on a computer, it's very easy. Just a series of search and replace in the right order is all that's necessary. It's easier if you ignore case of course but here's how easy it is to transliterate Esperanto into Esper' orthography, preserving case and everything. Just do the following series of 16 character replacements, replacing all occurrences each of each letter on the left with the letter or letter pair on the right. Notice that the "pair of letters" to replace a single letter are actually representing the same consonant blend as the single Esperanto letter they are replacing. This may be pronounced differently by different people, but for example, any Esperanto speaker, whether or not they personally pronounce the letter "c" identically to the way they pronounce the consonant blend "ts", will not have any trouble understanding someone who pronounces them identically, and in fact they are described as being the same sound in many books on the Esperanto language, including writings by L. L. Zamenhof. So here's the series to search and replace. I'll separate then with a -> just to make it clearer.

J -> Y

j -> y

Ĥ -> Q

ĥ -> q

Ŭ -> W

ŭ -> w

Ĵ -> J

ĵ -> j

Ĝ -> Dj

ĝ -> dj

C -> Ts

c -> ts

Ŝ -> C

ŝ -> c

Ĉ -> Tc

ĉ -> tc

And that's it. Not something that would take all day... unless perhaps you're using a slow computer on a very large document, but even then it's the computer doing the work. And even hand transliteration is not that bad, as transliterations go.

Finer points of translation[edit]

When translating Esper' into Esperanto, the task may be a bit more involved than the other way around, depending upon how much of what's unique to Esper' the speaker or writer has taken advantage of. One thing to keep in mind is that the Esper' language lacks the male identity bias. In other words, the masculine gender in Esper' is no more or less "neutral" than the feminine gender. Neither is assumed and neither is implied, but either may be expressed when the speaker or writer chooses to do so. For example, the word patr'o means "parent" rather than "father" so the prefix ge- has its meaning slightly adjusted to be of different kinds rather than specifically of both genders allowing it to be used by Esperanto speakers in the usual way without causing any confusion, but making the term gepatroy simply mean "parents of different kinds" rather than specifically "fathers of both genders" as it were.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the correlatives are not limited to such a finite set in the Esper' language, but rather are treated as a proform with a suffix attached and no role ending, or as a proform with a correlative role ending attached. These two options are basically identical in meaning, although the different spoken stress may give them slightly different connotations and their meanings are free to evolve somewhat independently of each other over time, although they are not likely to do so, especially with Esper' speakers being encouraged to keep the Esper' language supporting the Esperanto language and even to study the Esperanto language to become more proficient in Esper' and increase their vocabulary in both languages simultaneously.

Esper supports a few prefixes and suffixes which the Esperanto language does not, so if you come across an Esper word that you don't understand, that may be why. However, it is not an extensive list and they tend to come in related groups which reduces the amount to be learned. these extra word elements are not necessary for the use of the Esper' language but rather allow many things to be said in simpler sentences with fewer words. As a result, translating from Esper' which has taken extensive advantage of them into the Esperanto language may require some rewording, but in many cases you could simply treat them as Dr. Zamenhof suggested for "foreign words", allowing them to remain as is except for the changes necessary to conform to Esperanto orthography. If you use the Esper' orthography as your "standard workaround" for the "letters with hats" problem, then most such words could simply be left as-is, if you didn't wish to take the time to reword them, simply affording the recipient an opportunity for a bit of vocabulary expanding.

Another thing to keep in mind when translating between Esper' and Esperanto, is that unlike Esperanto, marking the accusative with a final n is OPTIONAL in the Esper' language, as is marking the nominative with a final z. The speaker or writer has the option of explicitly delaring either or neither or both with such markings. Not expliicitly expressing the grammatical case does not rule it out but rather leaves interpretation of case up to the recipient.

The same is true of the grammatical plural, which may optionally be marked by the letter y, and the grammatical singular, which may be marked by the letter w. These grammatical number indications, when used, should come at the end of the word but before any grammatical case indication. Again, if not explicitly expressed, the interpretation is up to the recipient. Grammatical number is often obvious from context, including such obvious things as numbers and numerical prefixes, but when it is not obvious, or when the intended grammatical number contradicts the obvious, or when the sender of the information wishes simply to express their thoughts more thoroughly, grammatical number may be expressed in these ways. Whether they are attached to the noun, the adjective, both, or neither, is again up to the person writing or speaking in the Esper' language. How such a choice is understood, is of course up to the person attempting to understand.

The usual way of marking the plural of a pronoun in the Esper' language, or of any other word to which the attachment of a final "y" may not seem like the best choice for marking the plural, is by preceding it with the prefix i, roughly meaning "some", and likewise the singular may be optionally marked by the prefix on if the writer or speaker so chooses. Of course, the option of using the grammatical number endings on such words also exists. Such number prefixes may be used with or without grammatical number endings on the same word, and may agree or disagree depending not on some arbitrary rule about what is allowed but rather on what the writer or speaker feels is the best way to convey the concepts which they are attempting to express. Generally simplicity is best within the limitations of not making things "too simple" to express what one is trying to express. When translating from Esperanto to Esper it is fine to simply leave the plural markers as you find them and add in explicit singulr markers only where it seems important to do so in order to communicate something clearly. In most cases such clarification will have already been done in the Esperanto in some way, which may simply be retained as such when translating to Esper'. For example, the Esperanto phrase "unu persono" already specifies that the number of people is one. Notice that in English, I said the number of "people" which is an irregular plural, even though we had already established that the number was "one" and therefore singulr. Similarly in the Esperanto language one may as well have said "la nombro de homoj" using the plural of "homo" even though the number was known from context to be singular, and many people would probably have considered it wrong to say "la nombro de homo". Alternatively, one could say in Esperanto "la nombro de popolo", which translates literally into English as "the number of people", but that would have a different meaning as it is equivilent to the use of the English word "people" as the regular singular of "peoples" rather than as the irregular plural of "person" so I do not expect anyone would choose to use such a construct for the purpose. The point is that such things are not "universal" across languages and dialects, so the Esper' language accomodates variations by allowing the writer or speaker to make "personal choices" rather than follow arbitrary rules based on one particular set of linguistic customs.

While all Esperanto numbers should be safe to use "as is" in the Esper' language without causing any confusion, the number names "nulo" and "unu" as well as the names for larger numeric units such as "cent" and "miliono", are treated in Esper' as "foreign words", which do not need to be marked as such if they conform to or are transliterated to Esper' orthography, but are among the few bits of Esperanto which are not treated as integral parts of the Esper' language. The Esper' translation of the Esperanto word "unu" is on', and the Esper' translation of the Esperanto number "nulo" is nul', which of course when written in nominal form would be nul'o, causing the Esperanto word "nulo" to look and sound in the Esper' language like a noun form of the "zero" concept. In Esperanto, such distinction tends to be ambiguous. In any event, the difference is subtle and generally insignificant. Larger numbers have names in the Esper' language derived from the international system of measures known by many people as the "metric system" such as "dek" for ten, which happens to match the Esperanto name for the same number, and "hek" for hundred, from the number unit prefix heka, which is substantially different from the Esper' transliteration "tsent" of the Esperanto word "cent", although either can beused at the discretion of the writer or speaker. Just keep in mind that using the Esperanto words will safe Esperantists the trouble of learning new number names which are based on a system with which mose Esperantists are probably familliar anyway, whereas using the Esper' number names will mean saving speakers of many languages around the world the trouble of learning entirely new words for something that they likely already know from the international system of units. You can learn more about Esper' numbers in the Numbers section of this book.

In the case of gender, again it is entirely optional and there are no rules saying when one must or can't indicate the gender of a particular person, animal, or item. The Esper language has prefixes for the optional expression of sexual gender and suffixes for the optional expression of grammatical gender. As with number endings and prefixes, one may chooce to endow a particular word with either or neither or both, and there is no requirement that the agree, although agreement either between words or between markers at both ends of a word is an option that the speaker or writer may choose at any time. Obviously marking the feminine female or the masculine male is "a bit redundant" but it is not entirely meaningless. Such constructions may be used to communicate more clearly that the male or female under discussion is particularly masculine or feminine respectively, although whether or not to "understand it that way" is of course up to the person doing the understanding.