It’s a simple fact that languages, given time, will evolve. If ever you have the chance, take a look at the Oxford English Dictionary, and track the evolution of any random word. Sometimes, the years required for a word to radically alter its meaning are few – take today’s contradictory-seeming definitions of the word “oversight,” for example. One definition means a moment of neglect in which crucial details are missed; the second refers to near-omniscient monitoring of an institution!
The thought of evolving languages always creeps into my mind when I think of Esperanto. I love the language, and want to see it succeed. Yet I cannot help but wonder whether, if it did become the global second language, how long it would last before it evolved differently in varying parts of the world. Perhaps it would take some time…Decades, centuries, eons, I don’t know. Eventually, though, Esperanto would evolve, and again we would have the same diversity of languages that once more begs for a middle ground among them.
Then again, since Esperanto is not intended to be everybody’s first language, there is always the possibility that it would evolve considerably slower that a widely-spoken first language, especially given the contexts in which Esperanto would be used. I imagine may of us have a vision of Esperanto being used in world governments, and as such, it would be a tool for conducting official business. Under those circumstances, perhaps Esperanto would be better off in a static state. Politicians would likely not opt to use words that have come into the regional parlance, but are utterly meaningless to someone from a different milieu.
What do you all think? Is the quest for a global language destined to revert back to the same place from whence it started? Or will it be more tenable once it is finally attained?