Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Esperanto as a bridge for language learners

In a previous post about Esperanto, the video below, a talk at TEDx, was referenced. I recently got around to watching it:

Published on Apr 13, 2012

Tim Morely thinks that every student should learn Esperanto. In this unexpected and persuasive talk, he makes the case that this supposedly archaic tongue can set up a kid for a lifetime of learning languages.

Previously a computer programmer, Tim Morley is now a teacher of English and French. He is pioneering an innovative programme for introducing young children to foreign language awareness using the constructed language of Esperanto. [...]
He has a lot of interesting ideas. He uses a musical analogy at one point. He says if you want to teach a child music, you wouldn't give them a Bassoon, because it's a difficult instrument to learn, and not suitable for a child just learning music.

Children learning music are given an easier instrument to learn: the recorder. It's simple, easy to handle, easy to learn, and the child can make progress quickly, which keeps their interest and builds their confidence. If the child enjoys it, THEN you can introduce them to something more complicated, more challenging, because you have already established their interest and built their confidence to the point where they want to and are inspired to keep learning.

Morely claims Esperanto can be used in the same way to teach children languages. I've also read that it can work the same for adults learning a second language for the first time, too.

I can see why. I've been looking at Esperanto at en.lernu.net. It's very logical and easy, in many of the ways that Morely describes in the video. He sites examples of studies that show language learners that start with Esperanto, do better than other students when they tackle other languages later.

Some people claim you can become fluent in Esperanto in a matter of weeks. How many languages can that be said about?

In the video below, Benny Lewis the polyglot teaches his girlfriend Esperanto in six weeks, with just an hour a day:

The whole video series is on Youtube here.

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