So, what kind of name is lingvamanto anyway?
Lingvamanto is an Esperanto word which can be translated into English as "language-lover". I chose to title this blog in Esperanto, an artificial language created in the 19th century, because I was once rather adept at it but have fallen out of practice and I wanted to revive my interest in it and share that interest with others.
One of the reasons Esperanto was invented was to provide a neutral, international, even universal language that all peoples could learn. Because the language itself isn't tied to any particular nation or ethnicity, it was thought that learning it would provide a means by which people of starkly different backgrounds might get to know one another better, thereby avoiding the strife that arises from lack of understanding. You might encounter arguments that Esperanto's fault lies in its eurocentricity, and arguments that counter this view; I will steer clear of such arguments, and just say that I like Esperanto. That's really the only motivation I needed to begin studying it. And I chose it for the title because of its simplicity, and the beauty of its structure.
Lingvamanto is made up of four components or building blocks, which combine to give the idea of the word. Here they are:
- lingv - a root meaning 'tongue', or 'language'. Consider the English word "linguistics", the study of lanuage.
- am - a root meaning 'love'. Consider the English word "enamored", to be aflow in love.
- ant - an infix indicating an active mood present participle.
- o - a suffix indicating a noun. Together, ant + o = anto, a suffix indicating "one who does or is doing the action of the preceding root", in this case lingv + am = lingvam, or love of language.
Isn't that fascinating? I love how words are built in Esperanto. It sort of reminded me of how German words can be made by sticking different, smaller words together to express the idea you want to get at. Except in Esperanto, you learn roots and other basic building blocks that carry meaning, and put them together at an even more fundamental level. I love it!
People from all over the world with an abundant variety of native cultures all learn Esperanto as an additional language to their own (very few people speak it as a first language) and go out of their way to learn from other cultures, placing other peoples on equal footing with their own. It truly can be an equalizing force, and much less intimidating than attempting to communicate with someone in a national language that isn't your own. In any case, it seemed the perfect language to use for someone primarily familiar with the languages of Europe and with a more than passing interest in the way other language families work, so I used it! It has even proven helpful with my current obsession, Hebrew, which has a system of binyanim or 'building patterns' which tell you how words should be structured. Not quite a 1:1 comparison, but my point is that learning how a simpler language like Esperanto functions is greatly helpful in learning more complex languages.
Esperanto is a great place to start! And there you have it. Lingvamanto means language-lover.