Mi ne Lesbanas

Mi estas ino kaj mia seksa orientiĝo estas ŝati aliajn inojn.

Sed mi pensas ke mi nomigi sin lesbana estas malfacila. Mi ne povas rilati aliajn lesbaninojn kaj mi ne povas iri al lesbanejoj.

Iam lesbangrupo kiun mi partoprenas kreas videobabilo, sed mi neniam ĉeestas. Mi pensas ke ili ne volas min — Mi havas miajn geamikojn sed mi ŝatus ĉeesti.

Mi ne scias se mi sentos plibone post iom da tempo, sed mi nur vivas.

Language Selection in Video Games

Raye Chell Mahela

game

I like supporting multiple languages in my video game projects. Usually, I’m focused on English and Esperanto, since that’s what I speak, but there’s no reason other languages can’t be supported.

Usually on websites, I see flags used to represent language options – as an English speaker, the flag is usually either the U.S. flag or the Union Jack. Seeing either doesn’t really bug me; extra “u”s and “s”es where us Americans have “z”s. But, I can only speak for how I feel about this individually, for myself.

For other languages and countries, I have no idea how representing a language with a specific flag might come across. To support Portuguese, if I’m hiring someone from Brazil, do we use their flag? What country for Spanish? Or Arabic? Or Mandarin?

With a website, who cares if you have a list of text to select from, with the language’s name being written in the target language. With a game, how do we make a language select screen beautiful without cute flag icons? I do see flags used quite often in video games, like if you pick up a game from Europe, but honestly it might not be appropriate.

There is a good article on Flags are not Languages with ideas for how to present language options.The best option at the moment seems to just be to list out the languages with text.languageselect

Asexuality in Esperanto

Raye Chell Mahela

ace-eo-star

Trying to describe one’s sexuality and romantic orientation can be rather a mouth-full in Esperanto. It’s not quite as mono-syllabic as saying “straight”, “gay”, “bi”, and so on.

I, in particular, have a difficult time remembering terms I’ve seen suggested to describe asexual people in Esperanto, so I’m going to keep this blog post so I can have a single source to keep notes. ;P


Asexual Terminology

These definitions are from asexuality.org

Asexual

Someone who does not experience sexual attraction.

Suggested terms I’ve seen: neamoremo, neseksumemo, neseksuala, neamoremulo, neniuseksema

Heterosexual is translated as “malsamseksema” or “aliseksema”, homosexual is translated as “samseksema”, so for the sake of consistency, asexual could be “neniuseksema“.

Demisexual

Someone who can only experience sexual attraction after an emotional bond has been formed. This bond does not have to be romantic in nature.

“Demi” here means “partially”. This is different from the definitions above, as those specify what one would be sexually attracted to, while this describes the degree. We could use “parta” for partial, though I’m not sure whether a different suffix besides “seksema” should be used.

The problem with Demisexual and Gray-asexual is that they don’t specify “targets”, for whom one is sexually attracted to, which is a problem because in Esperanto, the descriptions for sexualities (samseksema) specify targets. It’s not the same in English, but it’s difficult to come up with a fit in Esperanto without making a really long word.

Gray-asexual (gray-a) or gray-sexual

Someone who identifies with the area between asexuality and sexuality, for example because they experience sexual attraction very rarely, only under specific circumstances, or of an intensity so low that it’s ignorable.

I believe that “Gray” here refers to a “gray area” – ill-defined, ambiguous, indefinite, indeterminate.

Attraction

In this context, it refers to a mental or emotional force that draws people together. Asexuals do not experience sexual attraction, but some feel other types of attraction.

Esperanto: Allogo

Aesthetic attraction

Attraction to someones appearance, without it being romantic or sexual.

Esperanto: Estetika allogo

Romantic attraction

Desire of being romantically involved with another person.

Esperanto: Romantika allogo

Sensual attraction

Desire to have physical non-sexual contact with someone else, like affectionate touching.

Esperanto: Sensema allogo

Sexual attraction

Desire to have sexual contact with someone else, to share our sexuality with them.

Esperanto: Seksa allogo


 Romantic orientations

These definitions are from asexuality.org

In Esperanto, “seksama” could be used to mean “-gender-fondness”. Though, it does sound pretty close to “seksema” when spoken aloud.

Aromantic

An aromantic is a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others. Where romantic people have an emotional need to be with another person in a romantic relationship, aromantics are often satisfied with friendships and other non-romantic relationships.

Neniu-seksama

Biromantic

A person who is romantically attracted to two sexes or genders. Biromantic asexuals seek romantic relationships for a variety of reasons including companionship, affection, and intimacy, but they are not sexually attracted to their romantic partners. The sexual counterpart to biromantic is bisexual.

I’ve seen “ge-seksema” and “antaŭ-seksema” used for bisexual. I don’t like these, because ge- and antaŭ both mean “both”, whereas “bi-” denotes two.  Specifically, my definition of “bi-” is that you’re attracted to “same” and “other” genders, not just “both genders” (because I do not approve of gender binary speech).

Heteroromantic

A person who is romantically attracted to a member of the opposite sex or gender. Heteroromantic asexuals seek romantic relationships for a variety of reasons, including companionship, affection, and intimacy, but they are not necessarily sexually attracted to their romantic partners. Most heterosexual people are also heteroromantic.

Malsam-seksama

Homoromantic

A person who is romantically attracted to a member of the same sex or gender. Homoromantic asexuals seek romantic relationships for a variety of reasons, including companionship, affection, and intimacy, but they are not necessarily sexually attracted to their romantic partners. The sexual counterpart to homoromantic is homosexual. Most homosexuals are also homoromantic.

Sam-seksama

Panromantic

A person who is romantically attracted to others but is not limited by the other’s sex or gender. Similar to biromantic. Panromantics will tend to feel that their partner’s gender does little to define their relationship. Often someone identifying as biromantic will also choose to identify as panromantic. Panromantic asexuals seek romantic relationships for a variety of reasons including companionship, affection, and intimacy, but they are not sexually attracted to their romantic partners. The sexual counterpart to panromantic is pansexual.

The “pan-” in pansexual means “all, every, whole, all-inclusive“.

Ĉiu-seksama – Romantically attracted to each gender? (Suggested by frenezulino)


 Additional thoughts…

Geeze, why does describing ourselves have to be so long-winded?! Also, I think that it is a problem that -seks-ema (tendency towards a gender) and -seks-ama (loving of a gender) sound so similar, it makes it hard to differentiate between “samseksema” and “samseksama”. I guess technically, “-seks-ema” doesn’t even describe sexuality, but it’s used commonly for sexuality.

The term “Asexuality” means to not experience sexual attraction towards any gender.  Oni, kiu ne sentas seksan allogon [al iu ajn sekso].

Another problem is that the term “sekso” is used to mean both gender/sex, and in certain contexts also refer to something dealing with the act of sex. The 1880s were quite a while ago, and these sort of details were probably invisible to the activists of the time. Still, just as words like komputilo have been added to Esperanto, perhaps there should be a better set of terms to talk about sexual and romantic orientations.

Geja is also a term in Esperanto, after the English word “gay”. So, perhaps instead of “neniuseksema”, something similar can be done for “ace” — Ejsa? Grej-ejsa? Demi-ejsa? @_@;;; Ho, ve…

  • Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions!
  • Also send me any Ace resources you may know of, especially if it’s also related to Esperanto. :)

  Sources

La Ido Linguo and Sharing it with Others

Raye Chell Mahela

quoesasito

Esperanto has a problem with branding. Can Ido be a blank slate for introducing others to Auxiliary languages?

Most people who have already heard of Esperanto, regard it with disdain, for some reason. I think part of the problem is that they see it as egotistical for one man to invent a language. Some people are a bit more familiar with Esperanto than just the ‘synopsis’, and their dislike of Esperanto comes from run-ins with Esperantistoj, who come off as pushy and defensive. (This, I think, is mainly because there’s a few myths about Esperanto that everybody brings up, and we’re tired of hearing it, so we get exasperated. Nobody listens to us! :P)

So, Esperanto has a branding problem. However, Ido does not. This is partially because almost nobody knows what Ido is.

Ido is more of a tabula rasa at this point. Yes, there are few speakers of Ido, and nobody knows what it is, but that can make it a building point.

I also think that telling people what Ido is would go over a bit better – Oh, a committee of people put together this language! Somehow sounds more scientific and thought-out than just some random man.

You still have the problem of the over-European influences on the language, even more so than Esperanto it seems like, but since nobody knows Ido to begin with, it’s about “marketing” that as a strength. Perhaps not jumping right into the “Fina Venko”, “This is a global second language for everybody” pitch. (Does Ido even have a “Fina Venko”? I’m not that close to Ido culture).

You also have the advantage of Ilu Elu Olu. People new to Ido won’t find the same fighting going on over the Esperanto -iĉ, gender neutrality, and so on. Some people, who would otherwise be interested in learning Esperanto, can run into this early on and leave – not because it’s being discussed, but because of the hate that gets spewed when it is discussed. Alienating people who voluntarily come to the language is not the way to spread your language!

I, myself, kabeis (left the Esperanto world) several times, but eventually came back because it was fundamentally a fun thing for me. I just learned which communities to avoid. ;P

Minor pluses include lack of hats – strange and different, hard-to-type (relatively) characters are intimidating! And perhaps lack of accusative – though, really kids, the accusative isn’t a difficult concept to grasp. I had trouble with it at first, too, but it’s really not difficult. ;P

So what do you think?  If you’re an Esperantist, do you think that Ido is worth a shot? (I mean, you already know Esperanto, how much more work would it be to learn Ido?)

Would it be worth it to be a part of and build the Ido community?

My Ido website is here: http://niaido.moosader.com/

And if you’d like to be part of a chatroom, there is #NiaIdo on Freenode. You can connect via the web through this link.


Some input from my friend Tea (with formatting/grammatical fixes):

As a long time Ido learner, I think that Ido has both a disadvantage and an advantage. That is: It is not well-known.

How’s that good?

Well, Esperanto community is already as big as it is but it’s also very crystallized. It is not flexible at all. Now, Ido is a very beautiful language and it fixes and improves a lot of Esperanto flaws (Call it flaws, call it features) although that depends on your taste. Ido has a chance of not learning of the mistakes of the past and to grow up and mature (both physically and actually the community feels very cozy because is not as big as Esperanto’s).

I always saw Esperanto and Ido as two languages that can live together, that could even merge into one or even many languages (which would be really cool). Maybe they are not as close as dialects but they are two really close languages one to the other.

I saw other communities of not-known-languages that are really cool they are so flexible, so collaborative, they care about newcomers and about making the language grow and not bashing people for “not using it properly” and to see people speaking different languages, understanding each other and going towards the same goal is simply marvellous.

Because what I hate the most is to be new at something and have a bunch of smart-asses bashing me instead of helping me.

Esperanto Controversey: The -iĉ suffix

Raye Chell Mahela

The Gender Problem

One of the problems with Esperanto is gender.  This issue causes a lot of arguing and strife from either side, and, to some extent, it can deter people from wanting to continue learning the language, because of the adversity faced when trying to account for this gender problem with the -iĉ suffix.

So, quick overview. The words: Viro, Patro, Frato, Filo, Edzo, are male by default. These are Man, Father, Brother, Son, and Husband, respectively. To get Woman, Mother, Sister, Daughter, and Wife, you must add the -in suffix: Virino, Patrino, Fratino, Filino, Edzino.

It has been suggested, but is not an official part of the language, to use the -iĉ prefix to denote maleness (Viriĉo, Patriĉo, Fratiĉo, Filiĉo, Edziĉo), while using the original roots (Viro, Patro, etc.) as gender-neutral forms.

I will additionally state that for the words I’ve listed, there is no “Gender neutral” version.  You can say “Gepatroj”, which means multiple parents of both genders, but “Gepatro” would mean a parent who is two genders at once – at least literally. It confuses the hearer.

There is no equivalent of “Kid” and “Child”, as in English; a child must be male or female (heaven forbid they want to identify as something else!)

If you look at a discussion about it online, those who are against the -iĉ suffix seem to have certain arguments:

  • This is a non-issue, having a female suffix and male default isn’t sexist, and how dare you bring this up.
  • Esperanto has had these rules for 125 years! We can’t change this sort of thing! Tradition!
  • If we have to change one thing in Esperanto, then the changes will never end! We will reform ourselves into oblivion!
  • I’m a woman, and I don’t agree with your point of view on using the -iĉ suffix, and therefore your argument is completely moot. Because I’m a woman.
  • We do use “Patro” as a general word for parent, and to specify a father, you add the prefix vir-: virpatro.
  • Because there’s a suffix for women (-in) but not for men, this means that the female suffix is an honorary term, and therefore sexist toward men instead.
  • If we use the -iĉ suffix, then our word for Grandson, Nepo, becomes Nepiĉo, where piĉo is a certain very-bad word. We don’t want to call our grandsons bad words! (though, “Ne” also means “Not”, so then it would be… not that bad word?)

And here’s another discussion, also on Lernu.net.

My Problems with Gender in Esperanto

So, I have taken some time to figure out what exactly bothers me about the current way Esperanto is, and the response people have when one uses -iĉ or debates for using -iĉ. Here are some main points:

1. The Male Default

Why is male the default? Why should a neutral point-of-view be the default? By having women be derived from man, and having man be the default, it implies that the male point-of-view is default, primary, and more important.

And, even if you don’t agree with this yourself, that doesn’t mean my point-of-view (and other peoples’ points-of-views on this topic) is moot. It just means you don’t understand where I’m coming from.

2. How do you speak about a child, generically?

In English, we’re used to having many gender-neutral words. We don’t have gendered words for our inanimate objects.  We do have some adopted words, like Waiter and Waitress, but that’s an exception.

I can speak of a Parent, or a Mother, or a Father.  And, maybe people from another language may not be able to see my point of view here, either, but I honestly cannot see why anyone would not understand: Why it must be possible to talk about a demographic generically, without assigning a gender.

3. Why do some people correct me when I call myself a “Programisto”?

A Programisto is the term for a Programmer. But, of course, traditionally it’s a male default.  I’ve been told to call myself a “Programistino” – a woman programmer.

This bugs me quite a bit: Why does my gender matter in my profession? Why can I not just say that I am simply a “Programmer”, but a gender has to be assigned to myself? At least with men, when “Programisto” is mentioned, it can be assumed to be either male or neutral, since many people these days consider the standard noun to be neutral, even though this is not how Esperanto traditionally was.

4. If we use the base term as the neutral, how do I specify a male?

Say I have a spouse. If we assume Edzo to mean spouse, and Edzino to mean wife, how do I specify husband?

5. The vir- prefix

It has been suggested that, when wanting to specifically state something is male, we use the prefix vir-. Remember that viro is man and virino is woman. BUT! This causes a problem: If now “Edzo” is gender neutral, and “Patro” simply means parent, neutrally, then what is a “Viro“? Is that a gender-neutral-person, or a man? What about Virino? Is that a man-woman?

Secondly, what does the placement here mean? What can it imply, and what can be inferred?

Men get a prefix: Vir-

Women get a suffix: -in

Again, many people who argue that this causes no problems doesn’t understand the implications.  Yes, by having these not symmetric (both suffixes or both prefixes), it sure can imply that men are, again, primary, and women are secondary. It at least separates men from women as being of the same class, in that men are of a form that requires a prefix and women are something different, requiring a suffix. That perhaps we’re not of the same status.

6. Derivation

Esperanto was built to be a very regular language; very standard rules with no exceptions. One of these rules was cutting down the amount of words by having a male word, and a female suffix. If we adapt it today and say that the base word is gender-neutral, such as “Edzo” (spouse), there are still problems with some of the words:

Patro. Frato. These are derived from masculine words in Latin. Patro is always going to sound like Father, even if we have Virpatro or Patriĉo.

And again, a third point about women coming after men, or women being derived from men.

The language Ido (essentially Esperanto++, but not as popular as C++ :) solves this problem by having separate words. Matro and Patro.  Of course, this undoes this one aspect of Esperanto meant to make things easier, but I prefer this to having “Patro” be generic. Or, I would go for having a new base-word for “Parent”.

Let’s always start from a neutral base, and add symmetric affixes for different genders: -in, -iĉ, and I know there have been suggestions for other, but I cannot find the thread anymore.

Arguments against “iĉistoj”:

So those are my main points. Now, for the arguments against -iĉ…

1. This is a non-issue / Sexism doesn’t exist

A. I think that this whole “Esperanto is sexist!” criticism is ridiculous, and it annoys me to no end that it is constantly brought up.

Tomo S. Vulpo

If it is “constantly” being brought up, doesn’t that denote that some amount of the population is having trouble with it? Just because you may not be personally affected, doesn’t mean that everybody shares your experience.

And that, without talk about THE BIG INSULTING LIE about sexism in esperanto. I haven`t seen yet how that change ovoids the sexism; a sexist person could be totally comfortable using that suffix because it makes an even more very remarkable difference between genres.

novatago

Now if for you the fact that patrino comes from patro is a discrimination, to me it seems exactly the same thing: an obsession, a paranoia.

efilzeo

What is really alienating about the Esperanto community (and not just to me, but others as well) is this assumption that one’s point-of-view is always completely unbias. How can the dominant demographic unabashedly tell others that their complaints are invalid? That it’s a lie?

2. Tradition / Reform is bad!

Now, this is a stupid and ridiculous idea. Whom does it bother that you can differenciate between the genders? That’s how almost all languages work! Why do these people think that Esperanto should not be allowed to have features that other languages have? They try to water down Esperanto until it is a completely Spartan and ambiguous language!

Tomo S. Vulpo

One thing that is not mentioned is that Esperanto is far less sexist than many European languages.

andogigi

Because something is “less-sexist” or “less-racist” doesn’t mean it should remain as it is, and not get better…

Personally, I don’t think of Esperanto as being some kind of linguistic buffet, where we can take some of this, some of that, mmmm that looks yummy, ew no that’s no good…

Esperanto is what it is. Riism is an overt attempt to change Esperanto, which makes the result… like it or not, not Esperanto. If we did that with English, the grabja espno wouldn’t breeve. You vad?

RiotNrrd

English has made a point to rebrand terms; rather than just “Policeman”, “Police Officer” is a better term. Languages change all the time!

The reason is easy to understand: It creates confusion with the esperanto system. It’s not compatible with the esperanto system, because there are already 125 years of writings and recordings that use the esperanto system and it would make mandatory to learn two ways of doing something that now works fine with only one way, it would make mandatory almost every time to guess what system someone is using, because with the “aĉa” system it is very unusual to use the “aĉa” suffix. So, if we still depends on context to understand something, what the hell is solving that suffix?

novatago

This is the only argument against that seem legitimate to me. There are historical writings, and messing with the language too much would render those writings perhaps incomprehensible. However, I do not think that adding a -iĉ suffix, while continuing to use Esperanto as-is, will really throw many people off.

3. I’m a woman and I disagree, therefore you’re wrong

This is never a valid argument, ever, and I see this so much online with any sort of debate. Just because you disagree does not mean the person with a different opinion is wrong, or invalid, or doesn’t deserve to argue their points.

4. -in is sexist towards men

A. It is males, not females, who may feel discriminated against by the -in suffix.

For example, if the Constitution of a Land (say, Esperantio), says that the head of the Executive Power is “la prezidanto”, women can still get into that office. On the other hand, if it says “la prezidantino”, men must lose all hope.

As you can see, women have a special suffix which, when used, excludes inequivocally the male gender, while men must get around with the neutral, thus always leaving room to women.

danielcg

You have to be kidding me. This is like arguing that the “Society of Black Engineers” on campus is racist towards white people, or “Black Girls Code” is sexist AND racist against white boys.

Historical context cannot be forgotten when it comes to issues like these. And I know, the word “privilege” gets passed around a lot as a means for insulting the other party, but this is exactly what this is about.

Finally, I like these comments:

I voted No, and I am male, but that’s not entirely true, because it doesn’t bother me, personally, but the fact that it bothers some people and therefore may hinder Esperanto, bothers me. Know what I mean?

Ailanto

Esperanto doesn’t have a way to refer to a third person without specifying the gender. That’s a big shortcoming because sometimes one doesn’t know the gender or doesn’t want to communicate it.
In some cases it may be an aesthetic issue, in some other cases it may hinder communication. I’ve seen many times of the later when translating from English to Spanish because in Spanish we must apply gender to all nouns and adjectives, so in that regard Spanish is inferior to English. And Esperanto can be better, with just a simple addition: ri.

The other issue is asymmetry. I find asymmetry displeasing and un-aesthetic. That asymmetry is that some nouns are masculine by default. We have to change them to make them feminine. This asymmetry has the potential of causing the same expression problem caused by the lack of a third person singular neutral pronoun. We have ge-, but ge- according to the dictionaries I checked doesn’t mean neutral, they mean both-sexes. So the correctness of calling gepatroj to the parents of a child where both parents are male could be challenged. They should be called patroj, and that might be revealing too much. Maybe you have to be in such a situation to understand it.
Of course solving that might be very hard, because it requires a change. Adding the suffix -iĉ-, and using it to indicate male, after some time may generate a void of the root noun which eventually can be used to turn those nouns into neutral. Not “both-genders” but “any-gender”.

And I know many would say: “But Esperanto already works quite well the well it is.”. For those I can’t but remind you that “But English already works quite well the well it is.” is the reason why not only 5% of the world, but almost the whole world choose not to learn Esperanto. I know Esperanto works and I know it is the best option out there and that’s why I defend it and advocate it as much as I can. But I will not stop raising the issues I see that could make Esperanto work better.

Pupeno

And of course, an argument like this is met with a response of “Pupeno, I am still waiting for you to sign up for my campaign to improve Spanish and English.” – Sarcasm, rather than respecting another’s opinion and debating without spite.

people speak English an Spanish because it’s what’s around them, not by choice. It is not conceivable that they will fix them because something else that would be done by choice and they are not choosing anything.

Pupeno

If you’re considering learning Esperanto, but this issue bothers you…

When I first began learning Esperanto, I found that everybody was very friendly and nice. Though, as time goes on, you realize that the relatively small Esperanto community is just a community of people – people you agree with, people who anger you, people who curse and coarse, and people who are creative and constructive. It’s a community of people.

And I get disheartened, and I stop learning for a bit, and then I come back. It’s understandable if you see a problem with something, and it seems like even trying to bring up the topic will just cause anger and toxic words.

But here’s my perspective: Speak however you want to speak. Some people do use -iĉ and deal with it when people immediately point it out and start complaining. If enough people use it, it will catch on. If enough people use it, maybe we can gain more respect, rather than abrasiveness, from fellow Esperantistoj.

I would perhaps ask those who are anti-iĉ to view it like religion: I’m atheist, and you might hate atheists and completely disagree with me, but if someone found that out about me while out in the world, I wouldn’t expect to be shamed or continually challenged for my beliefs.  It’s frustrating when I try to express myself through art, using a language that I’ve chosen to adopt, and the only thing people can see is the “-iĉ”. If you don’t like it – ignore it.

And no, it won’t taint a beginner’s ability to learn the language. They’ll find out what -iĉ means, and its implications, and decide for themselves what to do. Then they will understand when someone says viriĉo, whether or not they would say viro or viriĉo, themselves.

See Also

My Work in Esperanto

Maybe I’ll translate this article once I’m fluent enough. >_>