>>>I find it strange that people can criticize Esperanto but I haven't read anyone here criticizing English, which in my view isn't a very pleasant sounding language (with the exception of the Jamacan dialect).
I have to agree with beck123, you really should read a lot more threads to make such a comment. You'll find both praises and pans – and not just for the English language but for several other languages.
I see no need to criticize either language in order to elevate the other. I grew up speaking English and am comfortable with it. It was an accident of my birth. I have criticized it on this board and elsewhere. Especially its inadequate and horrible spelling "system". Does Esperanto's more regular and systematic spelling make it better than English? I doubt it. For me statements about the aesthetic or logical or whatever superiority of one language to another are rather meaningless.
>>>None of us are in need of taking on another's culture in order to meet each other, as one must do when using a national language.
I don’t agree with this comment. It is not necessary to take on another person’s culture to learn a language. I enjoy learning new languages but remain true to my French Canadian culture from Québec. English speaking Canada does not have the same culture as English speaking U.S.A. or English speaking England. To lump them together because they speak the same language is very narrowminded; it means one is looking at only one aspect of an individual to classify them.
I am learning Japanese at the moment. When learning a language you learn a great deal of the dominant culture that speaks that language. I don't see Japanese culture subsuming my American one any time soon. I am learning a lot about Japanese culture though. As Belmarduk says, The are many Anglophone and Francophone cultures in the world. I have spent some time in India and the culture I was immersed in there is quite distinct from the cultures I observed in the UK and the States. There are languages that are separate from culture, too. Latin, Sanskrit, and Esperanto come to mind. It seems to me that most writing in Esperanto is poetry and translations, but this could just be due to ignorance on my part. What is the Great Esperantist Novel?
I have studied Esperanto briefly, as well as a host of other constructed languages. The creation of artificial languages is indeed a fun activity. My major criticism of Esperanto would be that its phonology is difficult for most people whose native language is a non-Indo-European one. As a linguist I have often wondered about the effect of a person's native language on his/her Esperanto grammar and syntax.