Illustration of International auxiliary language

1839-1887 International auxiliary language

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Joseph Schipfer, Joachim Faiguet de Villeneuve, Jean Pirro, Johann Martin Schleyer, L. L. Zamenhof linguistics Illustration of International auxiliary language

International auxiliary language

In 1839, Joseph Schipfer published a prospectus for Communicationssprache, a simplified French with characteristics of German and English to be used by travelers on railways and steamships. In 1865, Joachim Faiguet de Villeneuve published a grammar for Langue nouvelle in the ninth volume of Diderot’s encyclopedia. In 1868, Jean Pirro published a complete international auxiliary language named Universalglot, based on common elements in national languages. Volapük and Esperanto were the first international auxiliary languages (Volapük in 1879 and 1890, and Esperanto in 1887) to receive widespread support, although by no means the first constructed, artificial, or mystical languages and certainly not the last. Johann Martin Schleyer and L. L. Zamenhof created these languages with the hope they could be a unifying factor in avoiding conflicts between nations. The fact that even in the beginning there were two, each with their own irreconcilable supporters, is indicative of the problem they faced. Schleyer felt that God told him in a dream to create an international language. His motto wasn’t limited being “auxiliary”— One mankind – One language. Zamenhof was disturbed by the separation between Russians, Poles, Germans and Jews in his home town, Białystok, Poland, and strove to alleviate the misery caused by language divisions. Obs defädön pük lifik volädik stütön svist valemik. Ni volas vivantan internacian lingvon por subteni universalan fratecon. We want a living international language to support universal brotherhood.

Universal babble (with dates)

But then Esperanto supplanted Volapük because Esperanto was less complicated, and groups brought together to support Esperanto divided into multiple, competing, efforts, resulting in Esperantidos, offspring of Esperanto: 1888: Mundolinco 1894: Reformed Esperanto 1907: Ido, reforming Esperanto’s orthography 1907: Antido 1910: Adjuvilo 1923: Universal (Esperantido) 1937: Esperanto II 1973: La Sociolekta Triopo (Popido, Arkaika Esperanto, Gavaro) 1991: Romániço 1993: Poliespo 1996: Esperanto sen Fleksio and 1998: Esperant’. The Esperantidos were not the end of it. There were Volapükids, languages based on Volapük: 1886: Nal Bino, by Sébastian Verheggen, a Volapükid without umlauts 1902: Idiom Neutral, from the International Academy of the Universal Language a Volapükid based more on Western European languages 1904: Spokil, by Adolphe Charles Antoine Marie Nicolas, another Volapükid without umlauts There was a multitude of constructed tongues designed to become international auxiliary languages: 1899: Bolak, by Léon Bollack with phonology from the French and vocabulary from the Romance and Germanic languages 1902: Solresol, by François Sudre, in which the seven syllables of solfège are given colors, symbols, and hand signs and combined to make words separated by spaces or intervals of silence 1906: Ro, by Edward Powell Foster based on a category system to help make unknown words recognizable could be described as a taxonomic philosophical language 1928: Novial, by Otto Jespersen whose pronunciation is like Spanish and Italian, whose vocabulary is from Germanic and Romance languages, and whose grammar is based on English 1935: Sona, by Kenneth Searight, an attempt to avoid a European bias with radicals from Roget’s thesaurus 1943: Interglossa, by Lancelot Hogben to put a vocabulary of science and technology into an isolating grammar, in which words never change form 1940s: Mondial, by Helge Heimer a well-designed language by a linguist 1949-present: Blissymbols, by Charles K. Bliss, combining over two-thousand unspoken symbols somewhat like Chinese ideograms 1951: Interlingua, from the International Auxiliary Language Association, a naturalistic language based on Western European languages 1955: Loglan, designed by James Cooke Brown to test the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and the first among the logical languages 1962: Babm, by Rikichi (Fuishiki) Okamoto treats each Latin character as a syllable 1972-1992: Glosa, based on Interglossa, an isolating language 1997: Lojban, from the Logical Language Group a “realization” of Loglan with features of Láadan and enough words borrowed from English is almost recognizable: Mi'a djica tu'a lo se international bangu universal brotherhood lo nu tugni. 1991: Gua\spi, by James F. Carter, a tonal descendant of Loglan 1961: Neo, by Arturo Alfandari is related to French, but with English influences and combining features from Volapük, Esperanto, Ido, and Novial 1973: International Sign (Gestuno), from the World Deaf Congress, a sign-language pidgin 1978: Kotava, by Staren Fetcey focusing on cultural neutrality 1986: Uropi, by Joël Landais a synthesis of European languages, may be more of a zonal language 1996: Unish, from Sejong University, Korea, whose vocabulary is drawn from Esperanto and fourteen major natural languages 2007: Sambahsa, by Olivier Simon based on the Proto Indo-European language with a highly simplified grammar and adding vocabulary from other language families 2010: Lingwa de planeta (Lidepla), based on the most widely spoken world languages but beginning with ideas from Novial Glottolog classifies 7,695 languages into 500 language families, including 15 artificial languages and 182 sign languages, but not counting animal languages, or computer languages. In addition to constructed languages, several national languages have had such widespread adoption over the centuries that they can be considered world languages— Chinese, Arabic, Sanskrit, Latin, Greek, Mediterranean Lingua Franca, and English. Then we have zonal constructed languages philosophical languages, ritual and occult languages, engineered or experimental languages, artistic or fictional languages, markup languages, and computer languages. In addition to natural languages including national and indigenous languages, we have micronational languages, pidgins and creoles, mixed languages, and sign languages.


Organizations may disavow it, but any movement that espouses universal brotherhood will tend to be socialist, if not anarchist. No nation No border No class No division Language is spoken by people, so people, not nations, have the ultimate power, even if they do not use it. No waiting No hating No suffering No distopia Yet whatever may limit the defense of the weak against the powerful is a disguise for imperialism. The success of this movement depends entirely on the powerful giving up or failing first, which might never happen. No hubris No excuse No wonder No kidding People can afford to wait. As nations do themselves in, people can afford to experiment and to educate themselves.

Tower of Babel

It would befit us to be humble and to not pretend that by building up we can be like gods. No matter how you pray, whether in Latin or Tongan, they say, God can understand you. That’s different from being human, not being very good at knowing ourselves or our contrary ways, and always having to learn that pride makes us dumber and less understanding.

All men are brothers

All men are brothers. All women are sisters. All people were once children. Each has his own language. Each has her own language. Each family, each group, each nation has its own language or languages. And each is somewhat unintelligible to the others. Brothers may disagree. Sisters may disagree. We may agree to disagree. Because, fundamentally, love, respect, and maturity should protect us from ourselves.

People may have a stronger tie to their native languages than to the places where they were born; language is a more portable and powerful tool for expression and learning. Language, like religion, is a part of a person’s identity, which no one should try to take away.

Philosphical languages appeared earlier than the first international auxiliary languages, but their purpose was less to communicate widely and more to organize knowledge. It turned out to be impossible to organize all human knowledge as a tree structure.

In this mix should also be mentioned many naturalistic zonal constructed languages, such as Afrihili and Slovio, some of which may be considered international auxiliary languages.

See also in The book of science:

Readings in wikipedia:

Other readings: