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PronunciationIPA: [ˈido]
Created byDelegation for the Adoption of an International Auxiliary Language
Setting and usageInternational auxiliary language
Users100–200 (2000)[1]
Sourcesbased on Esperanto1894
Official status
Regulated byUniono por la Linguo Internaciona Ido
Language codes
ISO 639-1io
ISO 639-2ido
ISO 639-3ido
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
The Lord's Prayer being said in Ido

Ido is a constructed language, a so-called reformed Esperanto, which was developed in 1907. Ido was made by a group of people that thought Esperanto was too hard to be a world language. They did not like how Esperanto used letters with special diacritic marks over them, because that made it hard to type, and they thought that a world language should be easy to learn and write.

Ido is not as popular as Esperanto, but still about 100-200 people in the world speak it. They have a conference every year where people come together and speak the language.

History[change | change source]

The Delegation for the adoption of an international auxiliary language[change | change source]

At the beginning of the 20th century, the need for an international language was being thought about by many personalities, especially scientists and philosophers. This period goes along with a flowering of new international language projects. The math expert Leopold Leau creted the Delegation for the adoption of an international auxiliary language on January 17, 1901 with the support of many scientists. In 1906, the Delegation had received the support of more than 1,200 members of universities from different countries and more than 300 scientific societies.

In May 1907, the delegation sent the question of the International Association of the Vienna Academies, which declared itself unable to solve the issue, by 12 votes to 8. As a result, the delegation formed a working group whose members were elected by 242 votes out of a total of 253. Among them there were famous scientists, such as the language experts Jespersen, Schuchardt and Baudouin de Courtenay or even the chemist Ostwald. By cooptation, other personalities were admitted, such as the Italian math expert Peano. Léopold Leau and Louis Couturat were the secretaries of the committee.

The group met at the Collège de France during the month of October 1907 and examined many international language projects, presented by representatives of their authors. They quickly came to the result that there were only two international language projects worthy of interest: Esperanto and Idiom Neutral. However, on the last day, the Delegation chose "Ido". The author of this language was unknown to the Delegation (later it would be discovered that Couturat was the creator). Ido was a kind of combination between a kind of Esperanto and Idiom Neutral.

Development[change | change source]

The group of the delegation decided to create a permanent Commission. This commission would be charged with "studying and fixing the details of the language to be adopted". Its members were Louis Couturat, Wilhelm Ostwald, Otto Jespersen, Baudouin de Courtenay and Leopold Leau.

A union of friends of the international language (Uniono di la Amiki di la Linguo Internaciona) was founded. It included an academy and a Directing Committee. Also a monthly magazine, Progreso, was created in 1908 to publish language discussions and decisions of the Ido Academy.

The language would take the name "Ido", after Zamenhof rejected all nominations using the name "Esperanto".

The development of the language was completed in 1910 with the publication of the first language manuals and dictionaries. Finished its mission, the delegation dissolved regularly on July 31, 1910 after founding the Uniono por la linguo internacional.

There was a debate between those who wanted to leave the language as it in to spread it and those who wanted to keep changing it (in order to improve it, according to them).

Finally, after many years of intense work, a period of ten years without further changes was decided in 1914 to make the language known.

Two World Wars[change | change source]

However two terrible events stopped the spread of the language: on August 3, 1914, Louis Couturat died in a car crash, the same day that Germany declared war on France. The Idist movement actually survived in neutral countries such as Switzerland (including the activity of Schneeberger, Secretary of the Ido Union or the International Linguo), and Sweden (with Ahlberg, editor of the idista magazine Mondo). The magazine Progreso stopped being published in 1914.

After the war, the Idist movement was slowly built-up again. In 1920, Schneeberger, president of the Ido Academy, announced the resumption of the academy's work. Louis de Beaufront published in 1925 his "Complete Grammar" (Kompleta Gramatiko Detaloza). Many idist congresses have been organized: Vienna (1921), Dessau (1922), Kassel (1923), Luxembourg (1924), Turin (1925) and Prague (1926). Many Idist magazines have appeared since then.

In 1927, some serious disagreements divided the Idist movement. The appearance in 1922 of another auxiliary language, Occidental, and the reappearance of the argument between stability and change weakened Ido. For his part, Otto Jespersen, who broke away from the Idist movement, published his own linguistic project, Novial, in 1928. Novial, which contains many features of Ido while eliminating the more conspicuous elements of Esperanto (for example, noun endings in -o, adjectives in -a or conjugation, in -is, -as, -os) attracted some Idists like Ahlberg whose Idist newspaper Mondo became a Novialist magazine.

The Zurich Idist congress of 1928 marks the beginning of the reunification of the Idist movement. L'Uniono by the international Linguo Ido is reactivated and an official written announcement is published. Progress magazine reappears from 1931 and without interruption until today.

There were debate about the opportunity to make new changes but until in 1934 a new period of stability was declared for ten years. On the other hand, the international situation had again become bad for international languages, with the rise of Nazism as well as Stalinism, followed by the Second World War. The first concern of the Idist movement had become mere survival.

After the Second World War[change | change source]

The Idist movement survived World War II. Progreso magazine has never stopped appearing. Later the language changing stopped.

An important poetic production has grown in Ido by many authors, whose main author continues to be the Belgian Andreas Juste. He was the most important person in the Idist movement between the years 1960-1998. His collection includes a library with more than 250 books on Ido or in Ido and many texts on Ido. In 2009, it was maintained by the association Juste & Co.

In 2009, the Idist movement is present on the Internet. There are many websites. Many discussion lists on Ido or about Ido are active. There is a Wikipedia in Ido. The Idist magazines Progreso, Kuriero Internaciona and Ido-Saluto appear regularly. Idist reunions happen every year. It is, along with Interlingua, the second most widely spoken auxiliary language.

Special points about Ido[change | change source]

Ido is easy to learn for many reasons:

  • Spelling is simple and regular. In English, the words doughnut, tough, and through all have the letters ough, but the speaker says them differently. In Ido, the word skolo is sko-lo, the word multa is mool-ta, and so on.
  • Verbs (action words) all act the same - In English the speaker says "I learn, you learn, we learn, she learns". In Ido the verb is always the same - "Me lernas, tu lernas, ni lernas, el lernas".
  • Ido looks like a lot of other languages. If learners already know English, French or some other European language, they can probably understand a lot of Ido even without studying it. Me lernas kun mea amiko en la skolo means "I learn with my friend in the school." A person can see that the word for 'I' looks like 'me', 'lernas' is 'learn, and 'skolo' is 'school'. Also, if the person is French, they will know the word 'amiko' which means friend, and looks like the French word, 'ami' or 'amie'. It also resembles the Italian word 'amico', and the Spanish/Portuguese word 'amigo'.

Grammar (how to use the language)[change | change source]

Each word in Ido comes from a smaller word called a root word. A root word has a root and an ending. The speaker can take the root and put it on another word to make a new one. For example, urbo means "city" and -estro means "leader". The root of urbo is urb-, and if -estro is put on the end, it becomes urbestro, which means mayor (leader of a city). Or the speaker can put something on before; chef- means chief or leader, and if the speaker puts that before the word it becomes chefurbo, which means capital city.

Here are some of the endings:

  • -o : single noun (objects and things). Book - libro. Friend - amiko.
  • -i : plural noun (more than one object). Books - libri. Friends - amiki.
  • -a : adjective (words that describe objects). Fast - rapida. Short - kurta.
  • -e : adverb (words that describe how to do an action). Quickly - rapide. Shortly, brief - kurte.
  • -ar : verb (action word), present tense infinitive (like to go, to see, to find). To go - irar. To see - vidar.
  • -is : verb, past tense. Went - iris. Saw - vidis.
  • -as : verb, present tense (now). Go, goes - iras. See, sees - vidas.
  • -os : verb, future tense. Will go - iros. Will see - vidos.
  • -us : verb, conditional (like the English would). (I) would go - irus. (I) would see - vidus.
  • -ez : verb, imperative (telling someone to do something). Go! - irez! See! - videz!

Pronouns[change | change source]

Pronouns are the words in a language like I, thou, he, she, it, we, ye, they, and so on. Ido was made from Esperanto, and all of Esperanto's pronouns end in -i. The people that made Ido thought that they sounded too much the same and that it might be too difficult to hear sometimes. Also, most languages have two ways of saying you so they decided to have two ways of saying you. Lastly, they decided to make a pronoun that can mean he or she. Some languages like the Finnish language and the Estonian language have something like this.

Here is a chart of all the pronouns in English, Ido, and Esperanto.

singular (one) plural (more than one) general
first second third first second third
familiar (with friends) formal (people whom one does not know) men women objects he or she
English I Archaic, Dialectal: thou
Modern: you
you he she it s/he we you they one
Esperanto mi ci vi li ŝi ĝi ĝi ni vi ili oni
Ido me tu vu il(u) el(u) ol(u) lu ni vi li on(u)

Literature[change | change source]

A lot of books were published in Ido until the crisis of 1927-28. It is worth mentioning the booklet Makedonia a la Makedoniani, published in 1913. At the same time appeared Nova Horizonti, a work by J. Barral.

During the First World War appeared Buddho e lua doktrino and, in 1923, an important anthology of texts translated from Hungarian literature was published. During the 1920s, Catholic Idist published booklets about saints' lives. The work Esther by Jean Racine and translated by the priest Guignon is worth mentioning.

With regards to poetry, Andreas Juste is the most famous poet in Ido. He gave new force to Ido literature in the 1970s. Other poets are Lui Pasko (Spain), Jules Houillon (France), Gilbert H. Richardson (Great Britain), Jules Gross (France), Heidi Neussner (Germany), Friedrich Porzenheim (Germany) and Gonçalo Neves (Portugal).

There are also some science fiction works like La suno di Tiahuanako, published in 1999 by G. T. Romanin. It was the first of this genre published in the language. He then published Skandalo en Roseringen in 2005. Also in that year was published La Sucedanto, a detective novel by Eduardo A. Rodi (Argentina). He also published Narkotanti. The Mexican Jose Cossio Ramírez published two science fiction books L' Aventuri dil Amazonia: Unesma Kontakto and (2006) and L' Aventuri dil Amazonia II: Gravito Zero (2007).

In 2006, Robert Pontnau published GDR 66, a booklet about the German Democratic Republic. Since December 2012, Brian E. Drake has published a lot of books in Ido, both original and translations.

Ido and Esperanto[change | change source]

Ido is a language that came from Esperanto, so they look very similar. Since Esperanto has more speakers than Ido, most people that know Ido first learned Esperanto and then later learned that Ido is a language, too. Sometimes Idists (people who speak Ido) and Esperantists (people who speak Esperanto) do not agree with each other. Luckily they both agree that making a language that everybody can learn is a good idea. Most Idists and Esperantists can understand most of each other's language.

Criticism[change | change source]

Some people criticise Ido for the way it was presented by Louis Couturat, who was not supposed to defend any constructed language during the Congress in which he was part of the jury.

Another critique, done by the ex-Idist Ric Berger, is that the system of derivation is too complex, with suffixes that make derivation more difficult.[2]

Samples[change | change source]

Here are samples of the language Ido to show what the language looks like. On the right is a page from a magazine in Ido called Adavane! (forward), written by an Ido group in Spain every two months. This is a page from a diary by a girl named Anne Frank, a Jewish girl from the Netherlands that was killed in 1944 by the German government of Adolf Hitler.

Below is a small part of the book The Little Prince called La Princeto in Ido.

La Princeto[change | change source]


Bona nokto ! – dicis la surprizata princeto.
Bona nokto ! – dicis la serpento.
Adsur qua planeto me falis ? – questionis la princeto.
Adsur Tero, sur Afrika. – respondis la serpento.
Ha !... Kad esas nulu sur Tero ?
To esas la dezerto, e nulu esas sur la dezerti. Tero esas tre granda – dicis la serpento.
La princeto sideskis sur stono e levis lua okuli a la cielo.
Me questionas a me – lu dicis- ka la steli intence brilas por ke uladie singlu povez trovar sua stelo. Videz mea planeto, olu esas exakte super ni... ma tre fore !
Olu esas bela planeto – dicis la serpento-. Por quo vu venis adhike ?
Esas chagreneto inter floro e me – dicis la princeto.
Ha ! – dicis la serpento.
E la du permanis silence.
Ube esas la personi ? – klamis fine la princeto-. Onu esas kelke sola sur la dezerto...
Inter la personi onu anke esas sola – dicis la serpento.
La princeto regardis la serpento longatempe.
Vu esas stranja animalo ! – dicis la princeto-. Vu esas tam tenua kam fingro...
Yes, ma me esas plu potenta kam fingro di rejo – dicis la serpento.
La princeto ridetis.
Me ne kredas ke vu esas tre potenta, mem vu ne havas pedi... nek vu povas voyajar...
Me povas transportar vu plu fore kam navo -dicis la serpento.
Ed olu spulis la maleolo di la princeto, same kam ora braceleto.
Ta quan me tushas retroiras a la tero deube lu venis. Ma vu esas pura e vu venas de stelo...
La princeto nulon respondis.
Me kompatas vu, qua esas tante sola sur ta harda granita Tero. Me povas helpar vu se vu sentas nostalgio a vua planeto. Me povas...
Ho ! – dicis la princeto-. Me bone komprenis, ma pro quo vu sempre parolas enigmatoze ?
Me solvas omna enigmati – dicis la serpento.
E la du permanis silence.

Mea vido-cirklo (horizonto)[change | change source]

This was a song by a bard from Russia named Alexandr Sukhanov; he used words from the poetry of another Russian person named Yunna Mortis. This is the Ido version, sung with guitar.

Me nule savas la Angla, la Franca, la Greka,
Mea vid-cirklo do restas sat mikra e streta -
En mea vid-cirklo trovesas nur flori, arbori,
Nur tero e maro, aero, fairo, amoro.
Me nule savas la Dana e la Portugala,
Mea vid-cirklo restas sat infantala -
Nur joyi rapide pasant', bruligiva aflikto,
Nur esperi, e timi noktal' es en mea vid-cirklo.
Me savas nek la Sanskrito e nek la Latina,
Mea vid-cirklo es ancien-mod' quale tino
Nur morto e nasko homala, nur grani ed astri
Aden mea vid-cirklo penetras e standas sat mastre.
Mea savo artala esas fakultativa.
Mea vid-cirklo restas presk' primitiva -
En olu es nia afero intima, interna
Por ke kun homaro la Tero flugadez eterne.
Mea vid-cirklon restriktas nur timi, esperi,
En olu trovesas nur amo, nur maro e tero.
Aden mea vid-cirklo penetras e standas sat mastre
Nur morto e nasko homala, nur grani ed astri.

Conventions[change | change source]

An Ido conference in the German city of Dessau, in 1922

People who know Ido come together for a few days every year to meet each other and speak the language. Most Ido speakers live in Europe and so the conventions (a meeting of people) have taken place in Europe. Information on Ido conferences (the section that says raporto is the report on the convention written in Ido).

References[change | change source]

  1. Blanke (2000), cited in Sabine Fiedler "Phraseology in planned languages", Phraseology / Phraseologie, Walter de Gruyter 2007. pp. 779.
  2. Defense del naturalitá, by Ric Berger, published in Cosmoglotta B 091 (July 1947) Website

Other websites[change | change source]