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Pronunciation/ɪntərˈlɪŋɡwə/; IA: [inteɾˈliŋɡwa]
Created byInternational Auxiliary Language Association
Setting and usageScientific registration of international vocabulary; international auxiliary language
Users1,500 (2000)[1]
Latin script
SourcesSource languages: English, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, with reference to some other control languages (mainly German and Russian).
Official status
Regulated byNo regulating body
Language codes
ISO 639-1ia
ISO 639-2ina
ISO 639-3ina
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.
Spoken Interlingua

Interlingua is a constructed language using words that are found in most West-European languages. It was made by IALA - a group of people (the most known was Alexander Gode) who worked on it for more than 20 years, and they finished and published the first dictionary in 1951. Interlingua was created on the base of languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.

Inter is the same root word as in the words "interaction", "interface" and so on, and it means "between" or "to each other"; lingua means "language". They chose the name Interlingua because they wanted it to be used for people of different countries to talk to each other easily. Because Interlingua was made by people to be easy, it is easier than natural languages to learn. In the year 2000, the language could be spoken by 1,500 people. Interlingua speakers say that millions can understand it (read texts in it and listen to someone talk in it) without having to learn it first.

There are three other constructed languages in the world that have more than 1000 speakers, Esperanto, Ido, and Toki Pona.[2] Esperanto and Ido were made before Interlingua. Toki Pona was made in 2001. Some people think Esperanto and Ido are easy to learn because they have no exceptions (words that break the rules) but other people think Interlingua is easier because the makers chose all the words to be easy to understand for people who know English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, or Italian, plus languages like Occitan and Romanian, languages that used to be Latin, the language used in Rome a long time ago.

Actually, people who use Interlingua say that their language is actually new Latin, just simpler and modernized (made new).

History[change | change source]

At the beginning of the 20th century, several associations such as the International Research Council, the American Council on Education and the American Council of Learned Societies were investigating the problem of the international auxiliary language.

Alice Vanderbilt Morris and her husband, Dave Hennen Morris had become interested in linguistics and the international auxiliary language movement in the early 1920s. In 1924 they created the non-profit International Auxiliary Language Association (IALA) in New York City. They wanted to give scientific support to the study of IALs. They asked for the help of linguists like Edward Sapir, William Edward Collinson, and Otto Jespersen.[3]

In its early years, IALA was focused on finding other organizations around the world with similar goals; building a library of books about languages and interlinguistics; and comparing IALs such as Esperanto, Ido, Novial, and Interlingue. To achieve the last goal, it arranged conferences with people that supported those IALs. IALA gain the support of different linguists during these conferences and congresses.[4] However, the beginning of World War II in 1939 meant the end of those meetings.[4]

Although the IALA did not have the goal of creating its own language, after ten years of research, it concluded that none of the existing artificial languages was good enough. By 1937, the members had made the decision to create a new language.

E. Clark Stillman with the help of Alexander Gode, developed a technique for selecting and standardizing vocabulary based on a comparison of control languages.[4] Later, in 1943 Stillman left and Gode became acting director of research.[5] IALA began to develop models of the proposed language, the first of which were presented in Morris's General Report in 1945.[6]

In 1946, with the French linguist André Martinet was Director of Research, four models for the language were introduced (two more naturalistic and two more schematic). IALA decided to find a middle way between the two naturalistic models, with some elements of one of the schematic ones.[7] Martinet left the project in 1948, and Gode was in charge of the last phase of Interlingua's development.

The vocabulary and verb conjugations of Interlingua were first presented in 1951, when IALA published the finalized Interlingua Grammar and the 27,000-word Interlingua–English Dictionary (IED). In 1954, IALA published an introductory manual entitled Interlingua a Prime Vista ("Interlingua at First Sight").

Grammar[change | change source]

Articles[change | change source]

  • un - a/an
  • le - the
  • al - to the
  • del - of the

Nouns[change | change source]

The plural is -s after a vowel, -es after a consonant, but -hes after final c:

  • catto > cattos - cat > cats
  • can > canes - dog > dogs
  • roc > roches - rook > rooks (of chess)

Interlingua has no grammatical gender. Some words distinguish female from male by changing -o into -a, or by adding -essa. Other ones have two different forms. But the most of words do not distinguish:

  • puero > puera - boy > girl
  • tigre > tigressa - male tiger > female tiger
  • rege > regina - king > queen
  • jornalista - journalist (male or female)

Adjectives[change | change source]

Adjectives do not change for agreement with nouns. They can precede or follow the noun, except numbers, that always precede the noun. In general, short adjectives precede and long adjectives follow.

  • belle oculos = oculos belle - beautiful eyes
  • un bon idea, un idea ingeniose - a good idea, an ingenious idea

To compare, use plus or minus and le plus or le minus:

  • un plus feroce leon - a more ferocious lion
  • un traino minus rapide - a less rapid train
  • le plus alte arbore - the highest tree
  • le solution le minus costose - the less costly solution

One can use the suffix -issime for the absolute superlative:

  • un aventura excellentissime - the most excellent adventure

Adverbs[change | change source]

There are two kinds of adverbs: first form and second form. Adverbs of first form are a closed class of grammatical words, like quasi (almost), jam (already), and totevia (nevertheless). Adverbs of second form are an open class derived from adjectives by adding the suffix -mente (or -amente after final c):

  • felice > felicemente - happily
  • magic > magicamente - magically

Personal pronouns[change | change source]

singular plural
person gender subject with preposition object reflective possession subject with preposition object reflective possession
1 io me mi, mie nos nostre
2 tu te tu, tue vos vostre
3 male ille le se su, sue illes les se lor, lore
female illa la illas las
thing illo lo illos los

Verbs[change | change source]

These are the most common forms of verbs (note exceptions in underlined letters):

ending -ar -er -ir
Infinitive -r parlar ("to speak") vider ("to see") audir ("to hear")
Present - parla vide audi
Past -va parlava videva audiva
Future -ra parlara videra audira
Hypothetical -rea parlarea viderea audirea
Active participle -(e)nte parlante vidente audiente
Passive participle -te parlate vidite audite

The verbs do not vary for persons and plural, except for alternative versions for esser. The tenses normal are used for the subjunctive and the command. Esse, habe, and vade have forms short for the present: es, ha, and va.

Example text in Interlingua[change | change source]

Lingua natural e musical
de parolas international
e un grammatica minimal.

Comprensibile facilemente
per personas intelligente.

Le medio de communication
adequate pro le solution
del confusion de Babylon.

Pater Noster in Interlingua[change | change source]

Interlingua Basic English
Nostre Patre, qui es in le celos,
que tu nomine sia sanctificate;
que tu regno veni
que tu voluntate sia facite
super le terra como etiam in le celo.
Da nos hodie nostre pan quotidian,
e pardona a nos nostre debitas
como nos pardona a nostre debitores,
e non duce nos in tentation,
sed libera nos del mal.
Our father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
Let your kingdom come.
Let your pleasure be done,
as in heaven, so on earth.
Give us this day bread for our needs.
And make us free of our debts,
as we have made free those who are in debt to us.
And let us not be put to the test,
but keep us safe from the Evil One.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Sabine Fiedler, 1999, "Phraseology in planned languages", Language Problems and Language Planning, vol. 23 no. 2
  2. (PDF) Archived from the original on 2023-07-06. Retrieved 2023-08-05. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  3. Falk, Julia S. (1995). "Words without grammar: Linguists and the international language movement in the United States". Language and Communication. Pergamon. 15 (3): 241–259. doi:10.1016/0271-5309(95)00010-N.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Gopsill, F. P. (1990). International languages: a matter for Interlingua. Sheffield, England: British Interlingua Society. ISBN 0-9511695-6-4. OCLC 27813762.
  5. Bray, Mary Connell (1971) [1951]. "Foreword". Interlingua-English: A dictionary of the international Language (2nd ed.). New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Company. ISBN 0-8044-0188-8. OCLC 162319. Archived from the original on October 6, 2007. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
  6. Gopsill, F. P., and Sexton, Brian, "Profunde recerca duce a un lingua" Archived 2022-12-10 at the Wayback Machine, Historia de interlingua, 2001, revised 2006.
  7. Gopsill, F. P., and Sexton, Brian, "Le natura, si – un schema, no" Archived 2022-04-12 at the Wayback Machine, Historia de interlingua, 2001, revised 2006.

Writings on the subject[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]