Interlingua: A Universal Language?

Gepatroj Amas Siajn Bonajn Kaj Fidelajn Knabinojn Le Parentes Ama Lor Bon E Fidel Pueras Parents Love Their Good and Faithful Children

My friend, for instance, had to work his way

Through school. No one ever gave him anything.

Then he worked like a dog for fifty years,

So he must have saved about one thousand a year... Whatmough, of course, says this unifying force does not exist.

But if science really does provide the world with a universal culture, Gode continues, it is obvious that a universal language must be based on the culture of the place where it originated namely Europe. Since the expressed purpose of Interlingua is to find common roots as the basis of vocabularly, the only remaining problem concerns how to relate all the European tongues. Once the connection has been determined, extracting common roots should be so problem.


Although Gode maintains this relationship does exist, Interlingua appears to use primarily the Romance languages, with only an occasional word derived from another linguistic family. In fact, Gode contradicts himself on this point in his Interlingua-English dictionary. Here he writes, "A word is to be accepted as international when its presence is with corresponding meanings--in at attested--in corresponding forms and least three of the language units, Italian, Spanish and or Portugese, French, and English, with German and Russian as possible substitutes."

Once Gode has stated his case, he backs it up with historical examples of the successes of supranational cultures and languages. While the Greeks and Romans were successively dominating the ancient world, for instance, their respective languages were concurrently universal. Latin remained the dominant language in the West until the Renaissance, when the rise of nationalism ended its universality. It then became an academic, but not spoken, tongue. As Gode illustrates, "When Newton interrupted the composition of his Latin Principia, it was roast beef and not caro bubula tosta' for which he asked."

In stating the case for Interlingua, Gode emphasizes that he does not believe the language will ever replace present natural languages, or that this is even desirable. But it will serve, he hopes, as the common tongue whenever men speaking different languages want to communicate.

One of the best features of Interlingua according to Gode, is its simplicity to incorporate essential improvements in form through the "organic developments of usage." This bit of lgic, however, is also questionable. The International Society of Hematology recently published as announcement of a conference in Interlingua. Included in the social plans was a clambake; in Interlingua, this turned out to be a "picnic a bivalvos." Quite possibly, as Whatmough has suggested, the only real improvement of Interlingua over other universal languages is that you can learn it any morning before breakfast if you know Latin