ROGENER PAVINSKI

Rogener Pavinski is the editor of the Esperantist magazine Kontakto, published by the World Esperanto Youth Organization and supported by Universal Esperanto Association (UEA). The magazine has readers in about 90 countries of the world. He is also director and producer of the film “Esperanto estas…”. CONDO converses with him about Esperanto, seen not only as a Language.

KONTAKTO ESPERANTIST MAGAZINE

1. We never met any Esperanto speaker in our whole life, so we are really curious to know when you started being interested in and learning Esperanto. How did you discover this language?

Although many people claim to have never met a Esperanto speaker at random, it is quite likely that you have but at least once met someone who spoke or had already studied Esperanto ever. Esperanto speakers do not have a distinguishable mark that cause can be recognized at first sight. Many people know and to speak the language a bit, but you only know for sure if you asked directly. I met the language via a small grammar that my brother brought home when I was about 12 years. But only I have been studying it at age 21 when a friend and I saw a sign offering a free course. I was studying fun and gradually. After just meeting people, making friends and got involved deeply with his tongue.

 

2. Can you actually speak Esperanto every day? Where is it possible to speak it?

I do not speak so often these days, but I read and write daily. I’m editor of the magazine Kontakto (kontakto.tejo.org), and it also forces me to use Esperanto every day. And that is no problem, of course.
Previously people gathered in clubs and associations to speak and practice the language. Nowadays people have the internet, chats, use the skype whatsapp and facebook to chat with friends around the world. Not to mention the meetings and congresses Esperanto that happen frequently in various parts of the world.

 

3. Almost no one knows about it, but there are many associations around the world where it is possible to learn Esperanto. Why should people learn this language today?

Depends. I would not say that people should learn something if they don’t want. In any learning or cultural activity there are many advantages. Learning Esperanto I just won. I met interesting people from around the world, I made great friends, I visited places that I never thought I would know, increased my personal and professional horizon. I learned that the world is not only what people want to impose on you. When I was learning, there were people who said I was wasting my time. Of course … they were never interested in knowing more deeply what they were talking about and oh! As they were wrong! I never took the time so well!
However, there are many other reasons that make people become interested in the language. For some Esperanto means an interesting linguistic phenomenon, a way to protect minority languages or even an instrument of a more egalitarian world, for others it means contact with a particular culture, or only travel and fun.

4. How long does it take to people to learn this language?

It depends on the dedication of each. You can not fix a certain time, but what everyone agrees on is that it is often faster than most national languages. It is a language built in a very clever way out, what makes the learning is very pleasurable. Recently and with surprise I saw people starting a conversation after only a few days of study   at the newly opened (still in beta) Esperanto course in Duolingo site. In just two weeks the course already has 25,000 students.

 

5. As English is the most spoken language, at least as a second language, is it correct to consider English as the new Esperanto?

This is a common mistake. The English as well as all other national languages can for a moment be used in international way, but they can never be called international. English fills now the roll that has before the French. And it is in this position not because it is an easy language, or that all love learning. So is the economic and cultural power that force us to learn. Would maybe in the future we will all have to learn Mandarin?

A language to be truly international, must be neutral, not belonging to any country or people, but belonging to all. I even had contact and using English to longer than Esperanto do not feel comfortable using English. Even this interview I am writing in my mother tongue, Portuguese, and then translate it. It’s embarrassing for me the fact, me as Brazilian and you Italian, to use a language that we do not have in common to communicate.

 

6. Is still Esperanto a language “under construction”?

Yes, Esperanto, like every living language is shaped by its speakers. A few days ago we were talking on an internet forum on what word we should use for “making of” films. Some proposed to use a neologism, as in most other languages using the English term. But others, including me think in Esperanto can express the same idea with the word “kulisfilmo” using two existing radical in language: kuliso-backstage and filmo-film. Then a film made backstage.