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Interlingua is an international auxiliary language based on the words that are common to the major West-European languages and on a simplified Anglo-Romance grammar. It was first published in 1951 by the International Auxiliary Language Association. Sometimes called Interlingua de IALA to distinguish it from the other uses of the word, it is the subject of the rest of this article.

Also Giuseppe Peano's Latino sine Flexione was originally called Interlingua but this denomination fell into disuse after the publication of IALA's Interlingua.

The word interlingua can also be a synonym for international auxiliary language. See also interlinguistics.

Finally, an interlingua can be an abstract intermediary language used in the machine translation of human languages.

Table of contents
1 Rationale
2 Vocabulary
3 Grammar
4 Community
5 Sample
6 See also
7 External links


The expansive movements of science, technology, trade, arts, etc. combined with the historical dominance of the Greek and Latin languages have resulted in a large overlap of vocabulary among contemporary languages. Interlingua is designed to be a combination of this pre-existing international vocabulary with a streamlined Anglo-Romance grammar, created in hopes that many people would be able to understand it easily.


The international vocabulary has absorbed materials of the most varied origins, but its center of gravity lies in the sphere of the Greco-Latin tradition. It can be collected within the confines of a homogeneous group of source or control languages which not only represent the Greco-Latin tradition in our time but have likewise absorbed all significant international words radiated from other centers. This group was defined by IALA as the Anglo-Romance group of languages (English, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese) with German and Russian as potential contributors.

A word is eligible in Interlingua if it occurs with same meaning and etymology in three of the four main control units. Spanish and Portuguese are regarded together as one control unit. If support is found in two control units, German and Russian are checked to provide the last support. Grammatical words, required to operate the language, are taken from Latin if the regular procedure fails.

The form of the international words is based on the historical or hypothetical form from which the national forms evolved. The derivational series is also examined. Though French oeil, Italian occhio, Spanish ojo and Portuguese olho ("eye") are quite different, they all came from a historical form oculo, and international derivatives like ocular and oculista determine the form oculo to be used in Interlingua.


The grammar of Interlingua is simplified by discarding grammatical features absent in at least one of the control languages. As a result it is functionally very similar to English grammar, since that is in many respects simpler than the grammar of the Romance languages, German and Russian.

The grammar and vocabulary of Interlingua were initially published in 1951. Alexander Gode, director of IALA during its later years, was one of the prime movers in this effort. He published a survey of the grammar, a one-way dictionary (Interlingua to English), and an introductory book entitled Interlingua a Prime Vista ("Interlingua at First Sight").

Interlingua as now used tends to have less Classical Latin vocabulary than IALA's original version, replaced in part by southern Romance vocabulary. For example emer ("to buy") has been mostly replaced by comprar, sed ("but") with ma and nimis ("too") with troppo. However, other classical Latin words, such as "pro" ("for"), "contra" ("against"), "post" ("after") and "ergo" ("therefore") are retained because they are seen as more internationally understandable than their Romance counterparts.


Interlingua is the second-most spoken international auxiliary language after Esperanto, although it claims to be the most widely understood IAL by virtue of the naturality of its grammar and vocabulary, allowing polyglots and especially speakers of Romance languages to read and understand it at first sight. The number of speakers is estimated to be between a thousand and several thousands.

Interlingua has some enthusiastic supporters in North and South America, Europe, Russia, and particularly Scandinavia. There are some Interlingua web pages, and several periodicals, including Panorama in Interlingua from the Union Mundial pro Interlingua and the magazines of the national societies allied with it. There are several active mailing lists, and Interlingua is also in use in Usenet newsgroups, particularly in the europa.* hierarchy.

Every two years the Union Mundial pro Interlingua organizes an international conference in a different European country, which is usually attended by 50-75 people. In the year in between, the Scandinavian Interlingua societies co-organize a conference in Sweden, which welcomes not only Scandinavian but also international visitors.


Interlingua sample: the widely-translated Lord's Prayer (also available as an MP3 file):

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 de malo.

See also

External links