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I have sometimes heard Esperanto speakers use volapukisto to express a lack of respect of someone that was in no way related to the constructed language Volapük.

Is this a sometimes accepted usage of the word? If the answer is yes, why?

  • Mi neniam aŭdis "Volapukisto" por diri ion alian ol "iu kiu parolas, lernas aŭ interesiĝas pri Volapuko". – Vanege Aug 28 '16 at 10:24
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    Mi estas sperta parolanto kaj ne memoras iam aŭdi volapukisto en tia senco. Mi tamen foje aŭdis volapukaĵo. – Enric Baltasar Aug 28 '16 at 13:28
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An article was recently published (in Interlinguistica Tartuensis IX, 2009) concerning Esperanto insults, which included a list of a few dozen recorded from the late 1980s. A reviewer commented:

Interesa detalo estas, ke la vorto "volapukisto" ankaǔ troviĝas en la listo, dum la vorto ‚idisto’ mankas (praktike ambaǔ esprimoj estas tamen treege malofte uzataj kiel fivortoj, eble malpli en insulta, ol multe pli en ironia senco).

One interesting detail is that the word volapukisto is also found in the list, while the word idisto [proponent of Ido] is not (in practice both expressions are exceedingly rarely used as terms of abuse, and at those times are possibly much more ironic in sense than really insulting).

Volapük was already considered a cautionary tale in 1901, when Zamenhof admitted that he could not be optimistic, since "rapide kiel fulmo Volapuk falis kaj el ĉiuj ĝiaj plej brilantaj esperoj restis nenio! — quick as lightning Volapük fell, and of all its most shining hopes nothing remains" in a letter to Abram Kofman. Ido by contrast was a real threat to Esperanto, as it drew away many leaders in the Esperanto movement, including apparently Kofman. However, of the bitterness occasioned by the schism very little remains today, perhaps because Ido did not progress very far. Even the more worrying competitors like Interlingua (which gained much more acceptance in scientific circles) have left little mark on Esperanto culture, either as rivals or as anything else.

Occasionally, when old jokes are reformulated in Esperanto, the nationalities are transposed into Volapukistoj and Idistoj, in which the former are cast as wide-eyed naifs and the latter as angry pedants. But this is, as mentioned above, an exercise in irony more than anything else.

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  • Yeah, the only times I've heard the term used outside of the literal sense is in jokes, where "volapukistoj" stand in for blondes and whomever else. – kristan Aug 29 '16 at 4:33
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I haven't heared Volapukisto used as an insult, though it is used in jokes instead of mentioning the nationality of a person.

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