Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Homaranismo and conlangs

Dear Esperantists, what's the noun for a believer in homaranismo? I like it a lot. I've always wanted to be able to say I'm a humanist, but that word has been claimed by adamant atheists and others, so it's really not useful. But being able to say I'm a homaranist (?) might be handy.

Googling "homaranismo" brought me to a nice essay about Esperanto, The Inner Idea. Then thinking about invented languages took me to Constructed languages. The goal of conlanguists makes so much sense. Alas, humans don't do sense.

Still, the UN really should adopt a conlang. Which one, I dunno. I like Esperanto because it's the best known and it's explicitly public domain...which explains the strength of its offshoot, Mondlango. Based on the tiny bit I've read about Zamenhof, he would be delighted to have any more useful branch of Esperanto, or any conlang, take its place.


  1. This doesn't get to your larger point, but as for humanist...maybe it's time that others reclaim the term. Among the early humanists were Christians, like Erasmus. (Somehow I can't paste a link in this box or I'd put the wikipedia entry here.) Just as liberal Christians seek to take back "Christian" from the Fundamentalists, I think non-adament, non-atheists do the same with "humanist."

  2. I, too, resent what has been made of the term "humanist". But that's a common phenomenon- many strong enviromentalists avoid using the term because it's come to mean "loony treehugger who firebombs housing developments", and many young women avoid the word "feminist" because in their minds it means "hairy legged communist lesbian". (I'm not guessing; I've been told both those things.) I consider myself a humanist, an environmentalist, and a feminist but would never put those terms in a profile without explanation.

    As to a common world language, one already exists: English. If a Vietnamese pilot lands at a Hungarian airport, he called air traffic control in English. If a German tourist asks a French tour guide a question, the answer will be in English. (Again, I witnessed this myself- there was much confusion until my wife, who speaks both French and German, pitched in) This has been going on for a long time; when the Germans, Italians, Russians, and Japanese plotted to divide the world in WWII, the language spoken at their conferences was English. English is taught in the schools of every nation but the US.

  3. I am an Australian Esperanto speaker, I learnt it way back in 1985 with the hope of tripping around Europe some day. In 1996 at last Ihad the time and money to make the trip. Off I went with a 3-month Eurobus pass and my Esperanto Passport Service booklet through which I contacted 19 Esperanto families in 9 different countries with whom I stayed for 2 or 3 days each. What a wonderful way to meet the people in all those countries. I also attended the annual World Esperanto Congress which occurred in Prague that year and where around 2,000 Esperantists from around the world gathered without interpretters. This showed me how well Esperanto does work as an fair, International language. Each one of us including the native English speakers had put a much smaller amount of time into learning this regular, logical and beautiful sounding language, than we would have had to put into learning any national language. This experience convinced me that Esperanto has the potential to be used as Zamenhof originally hoped it would be but why are there only a few million Esperanto speakers in the world today over 100 years since it was introduced?

    The main reason, I think, is that Esperanto unlike any national language does not have the monetary resources of a country behind it. People often ask me, "why haven't I ever heard about this language?" I think it is because it is only passed from person to person. There is not the money to make TV shows etc about it.

    In 2001 I had resigned myself to the fact that although Esperanto is a wonderful language, the world had missed the chance to take it up. I accepted a position in Japan to teach English. That was the year of 9.11 and I realised how unfair it is that English native speakers who are the most advantaged people in the world should also have the great economical and prestige advantage of having their language used as the international language. While they are not using any of their time and resources learning the international language Japanese people are using 10 years of all their lives studying English and still do not feel equal with native speakers. Japan and the Japanese people are spending incredible sums of money to learn English.

    This is also happening in all other non-English speaking countries. What about the countries in deep poverty? Yes, even in these countries money that could be spent on food and medication is spent on teaching English.

    Don't they need English to educate their people so they can get out of their poverty? No, they need a neutral, easy to learn language which does not belong to any one nationality but belongs to everyone in the world equally such as Esperanto.

    This is what I also found while in Japan, the Japanese people can learn Esperanto 5 times faster than they can learn English. They also feel equal with other Esperanto speakers almost as soon as they start learning. They have both taken a step towards mutual understanding.

    This could be the step the world needs against terrorism.



  4. The answer to your original question Will, about what a believer of Homaranismo would be called, I think, Homarano. Of course both Homaranismo and Homarano are Esperanto words and to Esperantists the meanings of the words are quite clear because of our use of roots and sufixes. Hom+ar+an+o (the "o" on the end shows the word is a noun; the "an" = "member of"; "ar" = "set";
    "hom" = "man") so Homarano = A member of mankind.
    Amike, Diano

  5. Diano, what do you think of Mondlango vs. Esperanto? The accents in Esperanto strike me as a major misstep in an otherwise excellent creation, and I do see the argument for building on English when making a universal second language today.

  6. Remush, actually, accents are a nuisance on typing machines, too: you have to backspace and add an accent. But I can't really blame Zamenhof for including them, and the two-letter solution you mention might be all that's needed now.

  7. Hello Will

    Have a look at

    There are certainly other possibilites including "ek"

  8. I agree that homarano would be reasonable as a believer of homaranismo, but even that is fairly redundant, implying an adherence and throwing up divisions antithetical to its entire tenets. As the first principle states, 'Mi estas homo'; it's as simple as that.

    Also interesting is how Homaranismo and Bahá'í are nearly identical in ideology, and both independently developed around the same time, only find mutual connections much later. James F. Morton was a proponent of both around the 20's, and actually managed to temper H.P. Lovecraft's outrageously raucous racism thereby, afterwards forging a friendship out of bitter political attacks on each other.

    If you're also interested in Homaranismo, I'd highly advise you to examine Taoism, which in addition to having some of the greatest works of literature ever written (let alone religious texts, if you could even call them religious), is perhaps the oldest extant school of thought based on universal oneness and natural harmony. Although I don't think there is an Esperanto translation of the Daodejing....yet.....

  9. Durandal1717, I've done a little study of Taoism, but not in ages. At the very least, I should reread the Daodejing. There's much I admire about Baha'i, too. Sometimes I think that if you find any two thinkers, one will have a philosophy of superiority and the other, equality.

    I hadn't known about Morton. The quick google suggests he was a mighty good guy.