Dead Language?  

MissAnnThrope 56F
11679 posts
11/10/2005 11:58 am

Last Read:
6/11/2006 4:46 pm

Dead Language?

This was a brief conversation last night, as my roommate was on her way out the door.

Her: "What are you watching?"
Me: "Incubus. The Shatner movie filmed completely in Esperanto."
Her: "What's Esperanto?"

What's Esperanto? I was shocked. Has the move to make Esperanto the international language died?

For those of you unfamiliar with the language, it is an entirely made up language. It was invented in the late 1800s by Dr. Ludovic Lazarus Zamenhof, who, after years of developing the language, published the first book in Esperanto in 1887.

There are several countries that teach Esperanto as part of the curriculum, as it's been documented that children who learn to speak it have an easier time learning other foreign languages. There are actually native born speakers these days. It's mostly spoken in Eastern Europe and China. I've been told by more than one person, if you learn Esperanto, you can communicate with just about everyone in Poland (where it was invented) without learning a word of Polish.

I remember in the 70s there was a move on to make Esperanto the international language. They even gave us a short course in high school. But none of us took it seriously. Then again, back then, the countries in which it was spoken weren't exactly friendly to western tourists. The old Soviet bloc and China. You know, those old totalitarian regimes that masqueraded as communism, but couldn't have been further away from the concept. In other words, the days before the Solidarity movement, Glasnost, the Berlin Wall falling or anything else of the sort. So we never thought it would have a practical use.

But I thought everyone had at least heard of it. So I was a bit shocked to hear, "What's Esperanto?" Is it officially dead in North America?

Oh, how was the movie, you ask? Low budget, but enjoyable. A bit cheesy. It looks and feels like a Bergman movie and is probably as close to Bergman as any filmmaker trying to imitate him has come. The use of Esperanto was a nice touch. The way they did the subtitles is a bit annoying, they're practically in the middle of the screen. If they had put this out in letterbox, instead of transferring it to full screen ratio, they would have had someplace else to put the subtitles. But for some reason, they didn't keep the original aspect ratio of 1:85:1 for the DVD. Well, it was restored with funding from the Sci-Fi Channel. That might have something to do with it.

_pretty_fly_guy 32M
153 posts
11/10/2005 5:48 pm

Hmmm... count youself lucky in Secondary school I ended up learning a dead languages ancient fecking Irish totally useless language but by law I had to learn it to pass the leaving cert.

hourglasses 47F

11/10/2005 6:30 pm

That was interesting. I had heard of Esperanto, but didn't realize it was actually taught.

Has Shatner ever made a movie that wasn't cheesy? (and yes I am including the Star Trek movies in that question).

rm_PastingAway 55M

11/11/2005 1:04 am

MissAnn gets wet when Shatner sings "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds".



Really sexy about...



MissAnnThrope 56F
11488 posts
11/11/2005 7:50 am

fly, I always wanted to learn to speak Gaelic. It does have a purpose. I thought people still spoke it in some less populated areas.

hourglasses, yes, they do teach Esperanto. Just not here, except in small doses. And as for Shatner, I can't think of a movie he's made that wasn't cheesy. Although, "Shame" was socially relevant at the time it was made.

Pasting, that's it! I'm hiring old men in hats to drive in the fast lane on all the roads you take. To drive in front of you. At all times. You're never going over 40 MPH again. Why don't they have brain chips that will cause people to hear the same music all the time? Nimoy singing "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins seems a fitting punishment for that comment.

rm_CauseISaidSo 48F
182 posts
11/11/2005 10:14 am

I basically had only heard of Esperanto as a punchline in a Mike Myers movie. Thank you for expanding my knowledge of it, very interesting, indeed!

MissAnnThrope 56F
11488 posts
11/14/2005 2:53 pm

Cause, I think we should learn to speak Esperanto. Or at least learn to write in it. We could lobby the site for an Esperanto room! We could freak out people using it. Notice how upset and nervous those who don't even have a smattering of a foreign language get when people speak in French or Spanish in the room?

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