I once encountered the terms skemismo and naturalismo to describe different philosophies about how Esperanto should be used or developed. What would be a good summary of these two opposing philosophies?

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Generally speaking constructed languages can be classified as naturalistic or schematic ones. A naturalistic constructed language is derived from another language. The derivation process usually includes some reduction of the complexity of the model language, for instance Latino sine flexione is Latin with inflections removed. Naturalistic constructed language mimic natural languages by retaining some irregularities.

In contrast a schematic constructed language aims to minimise irregulaties. For this purpose they have a set of word stems and schemas to derive new expressions. Because of this approach schematic constructed languages are less mutually intelligible with their model language, if such exists at all. You can think Esperanto as a relatively schematic constructed language based on a couple of languages.

The terms naturalismo and skemismo can refer to these general concepts, or if we limit us to Esperanto, they can be used to describe different schools about how new words should be created.

In the focus stands the 15th basic rule in La Fundamento (here give in its original English wording):

The so-called „foreign” words, i. e. words which the greater number of languages have derived from the same source, undergo no change in the international language, beyond conforming to its system of orthography.

The naturalists advocate adopting "international words" for new phenomena. Because of being "international" they would be (allegedly) easily recognisable. For them the 15th rule is still valid.

For supporters of skemismo it means the same as bonlingvismo (see the site La bona lingvo), according to which new expressions should be created from the existing ones. They regard the vocabulary of Esperanto already so large, extensive that there is very seldom need to adopt new words. (Remember that every new word introduces a new stem, radiko, from which one can generate new Esperanto words.) For these persons the door for adopting new words is only ajar, slightly open, and mostly closed for English.

You might want to read the article Ĉu la 15-a regulo forvelkas? in Libera folio.


The term "unmanned aerial vehicle" is a describing one, but many feel that it is too long, so they have opted for a shorter "drone" (and thereby have given a new meaning to the word). The English word "drone" has spread to many languages and therefore can be considered as an international word.

When you want to create the corresponding term in Esperanto, you can be naturalistic and say drono or droneo. Or you can take a schematic or bona lingvo approach and say senpilota aviadilo, which also matches the English describing term, and shorten it to spavo.

  • If the number of roots were limited more strictly, it would be much easier for learners to reach a point where they can truthfully claim that they have learned "all of Esperanto" (understood to refer to its grammar plus a core vocabulary). Mar 13, 2023 at 14:06
  • La dekkvina regulo validas por ĉiuj skoloj. Tamen, la difino de "plimulto de lingvo" menciita en la Fundamento ne estas sama por ĉiuj. Ĉiuokaze skemismo tute ne estas bazita sur tiu regulo, la ideo estas evoluigi Esperanton same kiel evoluis kelkaj aliaj elektitaj lingvoj. Mar 14, 2023 at 3:23
  • I rearranged and rewrote some parts in order to clarify the differences between the two Espeanto schools. Mar 14, 2023 at 7:53

Ambaŭ terminoj rilatas evoluon de (plan)lingvo. Por pli bone kompreni ilin ni vidu unue difinojn. Jen tiuj de Reta Vortaro:

naturalismo:Tendenco evoluigi lingvon (precipe planlingvon) konforme al la „naturaj“ lingvoj okcidenteŭropaj (bonvolu legi la rimarkon pri la radiko en tiu vorto)

skemismo: Tendenco, en evoluigo de lingvo (precipe de „planlingvo“, kaj speciale Esperanto), preferi la formojn raciajn, sistemajn kaj unuecajn ol formojn fremdlingvajn, malsistemajn kaj ofte redundajn.

Eble pli facilas kompreni tiujn du skolojn se oni uzas la nomojn, kiuj aperas en Lingva Kritiko: "el interna" (skemisma) kaj "el ekstera" (naturalisma) vortofarado. La artikolo estas tute legenda: El-interna kaj el-ekstera vortprovizo – analizo de la diskuto.

El-ekstera vortfarado strebas produkti radikojn por anstataŭigi kunmetaĵojn kun mal-. Ekzemple mav (malbona), liv (maldekstra), frid (malvarma). Sed ne nur temas pri mal-. Aliaj ekzemploj: taŭr- (virbovo), ascend- (suprenir-) ... Oni kutime pruntas rekte el hindeŭropaj lingvoj, kiujn kelkaj ankoraŭ konsideras kiel la plimulton de lingvoj de la dekkvina regulo de la Fundamento.

El-interna vortfarado strebas uzi jamajn rimedojn lingvajn. Jen interesa rezulto de tiu strebo, la listo de samsignifaj vortoj de La bona lingvo. Kelkaj ekzemploj: delegitaro (delegacio), lumbildo (diapozitivo), celo (objektivo).

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