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Grupo de Cooperativas de las Indias

Languages and the “Indianos”

A clarification in question-and-answer format to try to be understood before the big meaning-destroying machine eats the message

Yesterday, our Dogo visited us. We talked about how we’ll be turning ten years old in a few days, about next Saturday’s talk at TEDxMadrid, about the upcoming Meeting on Economic Democracy, about our future “Esperanto town,” and, of course, about the birth of Fondaki.

But there was also an especially nice conversation about languages. The idea was to make ourselves understood before the big meaning-destroying machine devours what we want to say without our being understood. That was something we could already see when we started reflecting and aiming at solutions.

So, let’s organize it in the form of a series of questions and answers starting with our objective:

Our objective

  • In every event, meeting, or debate, all participants will be able to speak and express themselves freely in their comfort language, whatever that is and however many speakers it has.

To some friends, this might seem like a good idea. But they’ll point out that, in the end, it’s an expensive idea, and really unnecessary, since, at least in Europe, a large percentage of the people has studied English, and can understand a text, and maybe with a little help, a speech.

Why doesn’t English work for us?

  • Because ideas are not accepted or refuted independently of how they are expressed. To really be part of a debate, to be able to be considered a peer, is not to be limited to showing adhesion or rejection, it’s not to transmit data, it’s to intellectually seduce. And we can only do that with languages in which we can go far beyond what you learn of a language of commerce.


Our solution

  • Our solution is simple: interpret and translate everyone from their comfort language to the others.

And where does Esperanto fit in to this?

  • Esperanto, in this context, is the most accurate, cheap, free, and egalitarian technological basis for organizing an interpretation system.

But you speak Esperanto “at home”… Aren’t you really trying to impose it on us?

  • Esperanto and us
    1. We are not trying to make anyone (who’s not an “Indiano” and doesn’t want to become one) learn anything — far from it.
    2. In our internal organization, as in every democracy, the problem of languages exists, just like in any public event or debate. But there aren’t enough of us to have an interpretation system like might be offered at an event.
    3. So if we use a “natural” language, either we limit entry to perfect speakers of a single language, or we’ll only be able to offer those who speak another language a minor, secondary role, and less personal development.
    4. The only solution is for everyone to adopt a language that can be learned well enough and fast enough to put us all on a level playing field of capability and equality on which we can discuss, share, and seduce, after a few months of reasonable initial effort.
    5. That’s only possible with a perfectly regular synthetic language.
    6. The most widespread and most lively of them, with active transnational communities of speakers, is Esperanto, and that’s why we chose it as our work language.

Obviously, it also seems beautiful to us, and we like it more and more as a tool — among other things, because we see it as the free software of languages, and that’s how we use it — but that’s another story, part of our little treasure of knowledge, and deserves to be talked about on another occasion… and, surely, in Esperanto.

Translated from the original (in Spanish) by Steve Herrick of

«Languages and the “Indianos”» recibió 0 desde que se publicó el viernes 14 de septiembre de 2012 . Si te ha gustado este post quizá te gusten otros posts escritos por David de Ugarte.

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