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Glosa and Esperanto - Secret Siblings?

William Patterson (William Patterson <esperantisto@...>) on September 30, 2003

On Tue, 30 Sep 2003 09:10:43 +1000, Robin wrote:

I still think Glosa is= suitable as the IAL, but know that Esperanto has the organisation.

I ag= ree completely. And I have also found that Esperanto and Glosa have a lot i= n common. In an interesting but little-known text, L. L. Zamenhof, the crea= tor of Esperanto, wrote…

I have arranged the language to allow for the=

analysis of

ideas into independent words, so that the entire language,

#= instead of consisting of words in various grammatical forms,

is made up =

exclusively of unchanging [invariant] words.

Sounds like Glosa, no? Then h= e said…

But because a linguistic structure of this kind is entirely


foreign to European peoples and it would be difficult for them

to grow us=

ed to it, I have presented this analytical aspect

of the language in a co=

mpletely different way, in conformity

with the spirit of the European lan=

guages, so that anyone

learning my language with a textbook, without havi=

ng read

the introduction first (which is quite unnecessary to the


er), would not even imagine that the construction of this

language differ=

ed from his or her mother tongue.

So that explains why Esperanto looks syn= thetic. Then he went on to explain a structure that sounds very much like G= losa, yet appears to be conventionally European…

The word fratino, for=

example, in reality consists of three

words: frat ‘brother’, in ‘woman’,=

o (‘something that is, or

exists’) (=3D that which is a brother-woman =

=3D ‘sister’). But the

textbook explains fratino as follows: ‘brother’ is=

frat, and

it ends in -o because all nouns end in -o in the nominative,

#= hence frat’o; to indicate the female form of this same idea,

we add the =

small word in, hence frat’in’o; and the apostrophes

are added to show the=

constituent grammatical parts of the


In this way the analytical=

nature of the language in no way

embarrasses the student; he does not ev=

en suspect that what

he calls an ending or a prefix or a suffix is, in fa=

ct, an

entirely free-standing word, which carries the same meaning


her it comes at the beginning or end of another word or

stands on its own=

; that every word can be used equally as a

root-word or as a grammatical =


(In hindsight, in the “modern” world, he perhaps chose an unfort= unate example. It’s that sort of word which prompts accusations of sexism i= n Esperanto. (An anti-female sexism, which argument I’ve always found stran= ge because, as in many languages, and in life, the female is accorded speci= al consideration, while the male is treated like an inanimate object, neutr= al, neuter.))

But the root meaning of “frat” is really more like “sibling”= ; unadorned, “frat o” means brother; decorated with the feminine particle, = “frat in o” means sister. Nowadays some Esperantists use the suffix “ich” t= o indicate maleness, yielding “frat ich o” to parallel “frat in o”. The imp= ortant point is that although Esperanto looks synthetic, it can easily be t= reated analytically, like Glosa. I’ve experimented a bit with an analytical= Esperanto, that is, an Esperanto vocabulary with a Glosa grammar:

Esperan= to Analytical Esperanto Glosa ——— —–= ————— —– La frato alvenis. La ich-frat-o is al-ven. = U an-sibi pa ariva. La fratino alvenis. La in-frat-o is al-ven. U fe= -sibi pa ariva.

Like Glosa, past, present, future:

Analytical Esperanto = Glosa ——————– —– La ich-frat-o is al-ven. U an= -sibi pa ariva. La ich-frat-o as al-ven. U an-sibi nu ariva. La ich-frat-= o os al-ven. U an-sibi fu ariva.

Substitution of Esperanto roots for Glo= sa roots generally yields a pretty good Analytical Esperanto (if the Glosa = writer avoids words like “adelfa” and “sorori”!), and the reverse is also t= rue (if the Esperanto writer avoids neologistic synonyms).

Saluta! Bill


William W. Patterson Kio= m da homoj, tiom da gustoj.

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Glosa and Esperanto - Secret Siblings? - Committee on language planning, FIAS. Coordination: Vergara & Hardy, PhDs.