Quote: Originally Posted by YukonJack
So, Machjo, do YOU speak this great language of ESPERANTO?
And how many people do you know who do?
I speak 3 languages fluently, and that includes Esperanto. I'm also functional in spoken Mandarin Chinese, and can read some Arabic and Persian. From my experience, Esperanto is far easier to learn than either English or French.
As for my acquaintances with Esperanto speakers, I don't have many Esperanto speaking Friends in Canada, though I have a few, mostly in Quebec; but I do keep in touch with my friends abroad via the internet.
In China, however, I'd actually found Esperanto to be more useful than French or English, with only Chinese surpassing it in usefulness. As for French, most Chinese are busy learning English. And as for English, few learn it well. In most cases, they learn English in a specialized manner according to their trade or profession. As a result, beyond professional conversations, making friends in English was usually very tedious, and usually ended up more like a teacher-student relationship rather than a friendship. In fact in some cases, I ended up feeling like they were trying to use me for free English lessons.
With Esperanto I never had that problem. Sure more people spoke English than Esperanto in China, but those who knew Esperanto could actually hold an interesting non-work-related conversation. In fact, the vast majority of Esperanto speakers I'd met in China spoke it with native-like fluency, so much so that I felt like we were actually chatting in a common mother tongue. We could easily discuss literature, religion, politics, culture, etc. etc. etc. without hindrance. With English, I always felt mentally exhausted after a few hours of a 'friendly conversation', which usually degenerated into a grammar lesson.
In the end, it was much more pleasant to leave English in the office where it belonged, except when out with native English speakers or the rare case of an actually fluent English speaking Chinese who possessed the necessary vocabulary do discuss topics outside of work.
Of course as my Chinese developed, I came to find Chinese to be far more useful than Esperanto, leaving even Esperanto in the dust as far as usefulness went. But still, English was useful only for the most professionally-related of tasks, with Esperanto, though a distant second to Chinese, leaving English in the dust as far as its usefulness went in terms of actually holding a human conversation and not talking like a working robot.