I started learning Esperanto because it sounded so international, with words from many different languages. It was mostly first just out of a linguistic interest, but then I got to know so many interesting people and now a third of my life – or even more! – is Esperanto. (Watch the interview with me here: How I became an Esperanto speaker.) So do we know what the most common reasons are for people to learn Esperanto?
From anecdotal experience, I find there are two main reasons:
People come from a geeky technical background and really like the idea of a “logical” language. I think this explains why there is maybe a disproportionately high number of computer programmers in the Esperanto movement.
Idealistic people who are attracted by the language’s ideals about uniting people and removing the injustices of having the dominate language belonging to one particular country. This probably also explains why there is a relatively high number of vegetarians and people concerned with climate change in the movement.
I think it’s also not uncommon to start learning the language because of one of those two reasons and then be heavy influenced by the esperantists and start adopting the other interests too.
Other probably quite common reasons are:
- Having friends or relatives who already speak the language and being exposed to the Esperanto culture. It’s quite attractive that there is a bunch of enthusiastic people just doing stuff out of love for the language without expecting any financial gain.
- Learning the language from your parents as a native speaker.
- Wanting to be bilingual but not wanting to have to do the effort of learning a “hard” language. Duolingo probably helps here; the big friendly Esperanto button is quite tempting.