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My experience of learning Esperanto is that it is very easy to learn, I think most people who have tried agree. However, as part of my academic work, I am a neuroscientist with an interest in language learning, I have been looking for articles in refereed journals describing the trajectory of Esperanto learning and haven't found any. Does anyone know of any references?

  • I don't know of any, but you might want to look for publications related to Scandinavia and Hungary, as these regions seem to be teaching Esperanto to children in public schools. There should be Scandinavian publications on the benefits of teaching Esperanto or Interlingua for a year or two before passing to a natural language. IIRC, they found that in the first two years these two languages are even more effective at helping pupils understand written French than teaching French itself! There is probably a publication on that, which might contain further helpful pointers. – user54 Aug 23 '16 at 22:17
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    If you find an answer, please post it below. Thanks. – Robert Cartaino Aug 23 '16 at 22:30
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    @YotamSalmon I wouldn't call it opinion-based, but it may be rather broad, since I would have thought that there would be many such articles, and "trajectory of Esperanto learning" may be vague. But in general, if I'm not sure how broad a question is, I'll vote to leave it open. If it turns out that there are many answers that fit the criteria, then it can be closed as too broad at that point. – Nathaniel is protesting Aug 24 '16 at 3:13
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    @YotamSalmon It is a request for literature references, and thus not opinion-based. – Oliver Mason Aug 24 '16 at 9:09
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    I don't think it is an opinion-based questions, I'm looking specifically for references to publications in refereed journals. I can see it might seem too broad, but after quite a bit of searching I have found nothing at all. As mentioned above there is some discussion about the interaction between learning Esperanto and subsequently learning another language, but I can't find any reference describing the speed and trajectory of Esperanto learning itself. – conor Aug 24 '16 at 12:37
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There is the article On the Acquisition of Esperanto published in 1988 by Dan Maxwell in Studies in Second Language Acquisition. Furthermore, footnote 22 of the Wikipedia article on Esperanto reads as follows:

Grin Report, page 81 "Thus Flochon (2000: 109) notes that 'the Institute of Cybernetic Education of Paderborn (Germany) has compared the learning times of several groups of French-speaking baccalauréat students to reach an equivalent "standard" level in four different languages: Esperanto, English, German and Italian. The results are as follows: to reach this level, 2000 hours of German study produce a linguistic level equivalent to 1500 hours of English study, 1000 hours of Italian study and ... 150 hours of Esperanto study. No comment.' Other estimates scattered in the literature confirm faster achievement in target language skills in Esperanto than in all the other languages with which the comparison has been made (Ministry of Education [Italy], 1995) as well as propaedeutic benefits of Esperanto (Corsetti and La Torre, 1995)."

The Grin report is written in French. You can find the bibliographic details of the articles referred to above in the list of references at the end of the Grin report. Flochon (2000) is a book written in French, whereas Corsetti and La Torre (1995) is the article "Quale lingua prima? Per un
esperimento CEE che utilizzi l’esperanto" published in the peer-reviewed journal Language Problems and Language Planning.

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