Sunday, 3 April 2011

Internet and Constructed Languages

One of the arguments you often hear from those who propagate Esperanto is that it has taken off from the drawing board and become a living language. To support their claim they often ask you to google Esperanto and look at the number of results you get. 

I've done the same just now. Today is 3 April, 2011 and at 09:54 am, Google came up with more than 78 million results to my search query Esperanto. In contrast, with merely 122,000 results, its closet competitor, Interlingua (IALA), doesn't stand anywhere near.

Impressive! But does it tell the whole story? The answer is no because if that were the case Google wouldn't have showed me about 140 million results for learn latin and just (relatively) 130 million for learn french. The number further drops to 81 million for learn spanish and doesn't even cross the 19 million mark when you type in learn portuguese.

Does that mean more people are studying Latin or speak it than any of these modern languages? I think... nah!

I'm a computer illiterate so I don't know what these numbers signify but I think they point towards one thing - these numbers don't reflect the reality as we understand it. And if that's true, it is time we took a serious look at other constructed languages.

By the way, history of mathematics has only 19 million results which is not even half of the 45 million you get when you google history of underwear. ;)