Analytical Esperanto

To: glosalist
Subject: Glosa and Esperanto - Secret Siblings?
From: William Patterson
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 11:53:14 -0400
On Tue, 30 Sep 2003 09:10:43 +1000, Robin wrote:
> I still think Glosa is suitable as the IAL, but know that
> Esperanto has the organisation.
I agree completely. And I have also found that Esperanto and Glosa have a lot in common. In an interesting but little-known text, L. L. Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto, wrote...
# I have arranged the language to allow for the analysis of
# ideas into independent words, so that the entire language,
# instead of consisting of words in various grammatical forms,
# is made up exclusively of unchanging [invariant] words.
Sounds like Glosa, no? Then he said...
# But because a linguistic structure of this kind is entirely
# foreign to European peoples and it would be difficult for them
# to grow used to it, I have presented this analytical aspect
# of the language in a completely different way, in conformity
# with the spirit of the European languages, so that anyone
# learning my language with a textbook, without having read
# the introduction first (which is quite unnecessary to the
# learner), would not even imagine that the construction of this
# language differed from his or her mother tongue.
So that explains why Esperanto looks synthetic. Then he went on to explain a structure that sounds very much like Glosa, yet appears to be conventionally European...
# The word fratino, for example, in reality consists of three
# words: frat 'brother', in 'woman', o ('something that is, or
# exists') (= that which is a brother-woman = 'sister'). But the
# textbook explains fratino as follows: 'brother' is frat, and
# it ends in -o because all nouns end in -o in the nominative,
# hence frat'o; to indicate the female form of this same idea,
# we add the small word in, hence frat'in'o; and the apostrophes
# are added to show the constituent grammatical parts of the
# word.
# In this way the analytical nature of the language in no way
# embarrasses the student; he does not even suspect that what
# he calls an ending or a prefix or a suffix is, in fact, an
# entirely free-standing word, which carries the same meaning
# whether it comes at the beginning or end of another word or
# stands on its own; that every word can be used equally as a
# root-word or as a grammatical particle.

(In hindsight, in the "modern" world, he perhaps chose an unfortunate example. It's that sort of word which prompts accusations of sexism in Esperanto. (An anti-female sexism, which argument I've always found strange because, as in many languages, and in life, the female is accorded special consideration, while the male is treated like an inanimate object, neutral, neuter.))

But the root meaning of "frat" is really more like "sibling"; unadorned, "frat o" means brother; decorated with the feminine particle, "frat in o" means sister. Nowadays some Esperantists use the suffix "ich" to indicate maleness, yielding "frat ich o" to parallel "frat in o". The important point is that although Esperanto looks synthetic, it can easily be treated analytically, like Glosa. I've experimented a bit with an analytical Esperanto, that is, an Esperanto vocabulary with a Glosa grammar:

Esperanto             Analytical Esperanto       Glosa
---------             --------------------       -----
La frato alvenis.     La ich-frat-o is al-ven.   U an-sibi pa ariva.
La fratino alvenis.   La in-frat-o is al-ven.    U fe-sibi pa ariva.

Like Glosa, past, present, future:

Analytical Esperanto       Glosa
--------------------       -----
La ich-frat-o is al-ven.   U an-sibi pa ariva.
La ich-frat-o as al-ven.   U an-sibi nu ariva.
La ich-frat-o os al-ven.   U an-sibi fu ariva.

Substitution of Esperanto roots for Glosa roots generally yields a pretty good Analytical Esperanto (if the Glosa writer avoids words like "adelfa" and "sorori"!), and the reverse is also true (if the Esperanto writer avoids neologistic synonyms).


William W. Patterson
Kiom da homoj, tiom da gustoj.