But then who's for Esperanto?

sunjingtao7996

Member
chinese
Thus the triumph of English not only destroys the tongues of others; it also isolates native English-speakers from the literature, history and ideas of other peoples. It is, in short, a thoroughly dubious triumph. But then who's for Esperanto? Not the staff ofThe Economist, that's for sure.

The last paragraph of the article: http://www.economist.com/node/883997

I really don't understand the meaning of that sentence under red color. What does "who"
here refer to, people,a language or something else? And what does the word "for" mean?
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    It means who really wants Esperanto as a universal language?

    Who means what people. For means in favor of, prefers.
     

    sunjingtao7996

    Member
    chinese
    It means who really wants Esperanto as a universal language?

    Who means what people. For means in favor of, prefers.
    Thanks for your reply. I still wonder why the author uses But here since I can't see any reason for this disjunctive. And why "Not the staff of the Economist"? Just because they are the British?
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Thanks for your reply. I still wonder why the author uses But here since I can't see any reason for this disjunctive.
    It means something like this when connected with the sentence that precedes it: [The triumph of English] is, in short, a thoroughly dubious triumph, but what is the alternative -- Esperanto?
    And why "Not the staff of the Economist"? Just because they are the British?
    Not British specifically, but native English speakers, who wouldn't want to learn another language, especially Esperanto.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    The phrase certainly has British overtones, "Who's for tennis?" is a saying that is part of our culture - it evokes the earlier part of the 20th century and a sort of mindless, middle-class optimism coupled with shallowness.

    "Who's for Esperanto? follows this formula. "The "But then" is used to introduce a rhetorical question, the answer to which is, "nobody."
     
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