Monday, November 06, 2006

WHY SO MANY COMPUTER GUYS?

(Our guest bloger again today is Erin Piateski, a.k.a. "Erinja," a Lernu team member. I thought her comments were very perceptive, and with her permission, I publish them here. The Esperanto translation is my own and I alone am responsible for any errors. She had stated that Esperanto in the U.S. tended to attract "nerdy, computery guys." I asked why she thought they predominated in U.S. Esperanto clubs)

They seem to be interested in esoteric stuff in general, and I think Esperanto fits in with that. How many computery people do you know who like Japanese anime, or who juggle (or any other unusual hobby)? Also, I think its logical structure may fit in with their interest in computer programming and such things. I think Esperanto is not seen as "cool" and not seen as a social thing to do, which may draw uncool and not-so-social people to it.

Our community is so spread out that the only people likely to encounter Esperanto are the ones who spend a lot of time on the computer. In Europe, speakers are more concentrated, there are more events
that people can attend without travelling hours and hours and hours, and they can use the reasonably low-cost train system to get there. These factors combine to make it easier to have social events (thus it is seen as a social thing and not just for people who live in front of a computer) and young people are more able to attend.

In the US, we don't have a high enough density of speakers to have events in very many places, and the number of young people able to go to events tends to be small because they simply don't have the money to fly to whatever event. And our train network is sparse and expensive, so that's no help, so in most cases their only choice is an insanely long bus ride.

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