Ido Not

As readers of this blog may know, I’m a big fan of Esperanto and how it simplifies language to make it more logical and easier to learn. However, some people thought this could be taken a step further and Esperanto itself could be reformed and improved. This reformed language is called Ido (which means offspring in Esperanto) and aimed to replace Esperanto as the main international language. This became known as “The Schism” and like all splits it was incredibly divisive and bitter, leading to a lot of vitriol being thrown around.

(Please accept my apologies for the terrible pun (Ido = I do) in the title, I couldn’t stop myself.)

The very creation of the language itself was incredibly contentious and prevented any easy agreement being reached. You see, at the turn of the century the search for an international language was seen as very important and garnered a lot of attention. The Industrial Revolution had greatly increased contact among previously isolated people who quickly realised they had no way of communicating. Considering the revolutionary change being wrought to society by new inventions, it seemed likely that language too would be modernised. To this end a language committee (known as the Delegation for the Adaptation of an International Auxiliary Language) was created in 1901 to select a new international language.

Now Idists generally play up the importance of this committee (or delegation as it is also called) as if it was the most prestigious language body in the world. In reality, like most committees, it was a self-appointed group of whoever showed up to meetings. It was nominated by a mixture of groups, some big, most small and contained a mixture of people, some of whom were linguists, most were not. These groups selected the committee before any decision was made and almost all votes were for the slate of 12 people proposed by the organisers. Worst still, of the 12 elected to the committee, only 3 actually attended the meeting, the rest were either absent or sent substitutes. In short the committee was hardly scientific or democratic, but rather an ad-hoc group patched together.

The committee would hear various proposed languages and choose whichever it felt was best and it was widely expected that Esperanto would be chosen. As the creator of the language could not represent himself, the main advocator of Esperanto in France, a man calling himself Marquis Louis de Beaufront (though this was a fake title and his real name was Louis Chevreux) made the case for Esperanto. However, in violation of the rules, de Beaufront and the main committee member Louis Couturat, created their own language and got the committee to endorse it in 1907 (it is unknown to this day which of the two created the language).

Esperantists were rightly outraged at the betrayal of de Beaufront for doing a solo run instead of promoting Esperanto as he was tasked. They also disliked the hidden manner in which Couturat promoted his own pet project instead of acting as a neutral judge. Perhaps the two Louis’ thought that they could avoid a divisive debate by making a deal behind closed doors, if so, their plan backfired. Most Esperantists rejected this as a secretive plot to force changes unto their language by a committee with no authority. Although the committee claimed they only wanted to reform Esperanto, these reforms were rejected and they became a new language, Ido.


The main complaint that the committee had was that they viewed Esperanto as ugly and their reforms aimed to make it more beautiful. However, beauty is subjective, so the French creators’ idea of making a language more beautiful was to make it more like French. Ido is essentially Esperanto with all the Slavic elements removed and instead of being a combination of the main language groups of Europe, its mostly a combination of the Latin languages. There are no diacritics like ĉ, ĵ and ŝ, the accusative case is optional and there is no gender suffix. Essentially they wanted to make the language more “natural” (in a Western European sense), but to do this they had to sacrifice some of the logic and simplicity of Esperanto. By removing the diacritics, the Esperanto rule that every letter can only be pronounced one way is removed. The Ido table of correlatives may be more Latin based than Esperanto, but its less logical and if anything looks uglier (kiu in Ido is replaced with qua, iu with ulu and ĉiu with omnu).

The schism became quite bitter, with both sides claiming their language was the best, the most logical and most likely to become the international language. “With language closely bordering on anti-Semitic, Couturat again and again insinuated that Esperanto was a money-making proposition” and claimed Zamenhof refused reforms because he was bound by a contract giving a monopoly of everything printed in Esperanto to one publishing firm (Source). Insults were hurled in every direction and bitter conflict ranged from about 1907-10. Roughly 20% of the leadership of the Esperanto movement defected to Ido, but only 3-4% of the ordinary membership. Ido was therefore generals without an army, a lot of big names, but not much of a movement behind them.

The main reason the Esperanto movement rejected Ido is because of the danger of reform. Why bother learn a language if it’s only going to be changed and you have to start again. All previous writings become outdated and may not be understood. Worst of all, people spend more time arguing over how to improve the language than actually use it. This was one of the main reasons why Volapuk failed; the constant infighting and criticism drove most people away. Once you start reforming a language, it’s very hard to stop and many keep going in search of perfection. This happened to Ido as many of its founders drifted away into other language projects, Otto Jespersen created Novial and Wilhelm Ostwald created Weltdeutsch (simplified German). Dozens of splinter languages were created which claimed to improve on Ido. Ironically, the leaders of Ido had to declare a period of stability when no reform was allowed (the very thing that caused them to split from Esperanto) as the number of reforms was overwhelmingly them.

To avoid this, the Esperanto movement declared certain parts of the language fundamental and unchangeable. This meant that people didn’t spend their time arguing over which grammar rules they liked best, but instead actually used the language. This meant that energies were focused on making Esperanto a living language with an actual culture, instead of wasting time in futile arguments and reform efforts. After about 1910 or soon it became an unwritten rule of the Esperanto movement to simply ignore Ido (such that I hesitated over writing this blog post thinking it might be better to let sleeping dogs lie).

When Zamenhof created Esperanto, his first action was to begin translating works of literature and creating proverbs so that the new language would have a culture. The focus was always on building a community and using the language. When Ido was created its main focus was on bashing Esperanto and claiming its own superiority, but far less effort went into actually using the language and making a community. Esperanto may not be perfect, but the perfect language will never exist and looking for one is a futile journey. Everyone’s idea of the best or most beautiful language is different (personally I like the Slavic elements of Esperanto) and its impossible to find a solution that pleases everyone.

In 1914, Ido suffered a double calamity when its main activist Louis Couturat was killed in a car crash and the First World War broke out. Few people had time for a hobby like Ido and Esperanto during the war and both saw a massive drop in activity. However, while Esperanto had established deep enough roots to recover after the war, Ido had not. Attempts were made to restart it in the 20s but the damage had been done. The movement limps on to this day, but for all practical purposes the language is dead. Its congresses are attended by 15-25 people on the rare occasions when they’re held. There are hardly any speakers left and most of them can speak Esperanto. Not even the internet could revive it and the few Ido websites date from the 90s. The forums are inactive and even they contained little Ido, with most comments being in English.

The flag of Esperanto

The flag of Esperanto

Every so often a question from a beginner pops up about Ido and partly to answer them, I wrote this post (the other part is that I love history). The Esperanto-Ido debate is over and Ido lost. It makes little sense to have more than one universal language and far more can be achieved by uniting around one language (even if it’s not perfect) than by squabbling incessantly. Successes like the Duolingo course would not have happened had Esperanto been divided in two. The creators of Ido made a fundamental mistake, people don’t learn a language because it’s perfect or has the best grammar, they learn it because there is a community or culture behind it. An imperfect language that is used and enjoyed by people will spread while a language that aims for linguistic perfection will never leave the drawing board.


Filed under Esperanto

29 responses to “Ido Not

  1. Very useless critic as always. However, the worst of all is labeling Ido as “bordering on anti-Semitic” with a quote that is not even referenced. This is pointless and hateful defamation against a beautiful project which is for us simply a fun international hobby and not a political statement against Jews nor Israel. By declaring that “Ido lost”, you are doing even worst than the now usually discreet Idists by reviving the endless debate about “universal languages”. Please let this sentence be true only for the past century: “The schism became quite bitter, with both sides claiming their language was the best, the most logical and most likely to become the international language.”

    Learning Ido is not a duty but instead a choice. No one has to learn the language; we do not have a “Fina Venko” like Esperanto. We want Ido to be international, not “universal”, and it succeeded in that. The community can live by itself without these attacks. And what’s wrong with plurilingualism?

    Please accept my respect for supporting auxiliary languages, but please stop defaming against auxiliary languages which are not Esperanto.


    Tre neutila kritiko quale sempre. Tamen, la maxim mala ek omno esas etiketizar Ido kom “kontigua ad antisemidismo” kun citajo qua ne mem esas citita. Co esas insipida ed odioza difamo kontre bela projeto qua esas por ni simple amuzanta internaciona hobio e ne politikala deklaro kontre Judi nek Israel. Per deklarar ke “Ido perdis”, vu esas aganta mem plu male kam la nun kustume diskreta Idisti per rifreshiganta la senfina debato pri “universala lingui”. Pliz lasez ica frazo vera nur pri la pasinta yarcento: “La skismo divenis tote bitra, la du partisi asertanta ke lia linguo esis la maxim bona, la maxim logikoza e la maxim probabla por divenar la linguo internaciona.”

    Lernar Ido esas ne devo ma vice selekto. Nulu mustas lernar la linguo; ni ne havas “Fina Venko” quale Esperanto. Ni volas ke Ido esez internaciona, ne “universala”, ed olu ja sucesis pri lo. La komunitato povas vivar per su ipsa sen ica ataki. Anke, quo esas mala pri pluralingueso?

    Voluntez aceptar mea respekto pri vua suporto di auxiliara lingui, ma voluntez cesar difamar kontre auxiliara lingui qui ne esas Esperanto.


    • Sorry I forgot to include my source for that quote. It was from “Scientific Babel” by Michael Gordin. Funnily enough Gordin is an Idist and my only complaint about his book is that he is overly critical of Esperanto and overly favourable to Ido. I’m not saying that Idists are anti-semites, but you can’t deny that for some people (who knows how many) the fact that Zamenhof was Jewish was a negative. After all, this was the time of the Dreyfuss Affair in France.

      This post was not anattack on Ido, but rather my view of the Schism and why I prefer Esperanto.

      • Dear Whistling In The Wind,
        Language, just like any other means of expression, is a tool, not a culture. Such tools can indeed be used with bad intention.

        Ido can not prevent this, since Ido is as flexible and as complete as the natural languages on which it is based. Ido makes possible a freedom of expression which is otherwise rarely encountered in natural languages. Ido is no Newspeak. Consequently, it was certainly used a few times with bad intentions in mind, just like any other auxiliary language — including Esperanto — and just like all natural languages.

        However, such cultural errors from the past are no excuse to not learn a language. Should I, a native French speaker, have boycotted the English language because it was used by witch hunters, segregationists, sexists, the Ku Klux Klan, homophobes, and yes, fascists and Nazi sympathizers? No. Because the culture is what we make from the language, not the other way around. Words are as powerful to destroy as they are to build. What we built from them — your so-called “culture” — is not a reason to use or not the tool.

        In reality, the Ido community talks no more about politics than the Esperanto community — I even believe that it does less — and it is an obvious fact for me to state that a vast majority of Idists are not antisemites nor anti-Israel. Also, Ido is more neutral than Esperanto, since words are by default gender neutral, and because the prefix mal· (which means “bad” in many languages including Ido) was replaced by des·.

        Your philo-Semitic argument — albeit well-intentioned — constitutes a sophism that soils the reputation of an innocent auxiliary language. We, the Ido community, are not the enemies of Jews; the anti-Semites are. We, the Ido community, are not the enemies of Esperanto; the opponents of constructed languages are. Please, let us support our common innovation together in peaceful and respectful harmony.


        Kara Whistling In The Wind,
        Linguo, tote quale irga altra moyeno de expreso, esas utensilo, ne kulturo. Tala utensili povas ya esar uzita kun mala intenco.

        Ido ne povas preventar ico, nam Ido esas tam flexebla e tam kompleta kam la naturala lingui sur quin ol esas fondita. Ido posibligas libereso di expreso qua esas altre rare trovita en naturala lingui. Ido esas ne Newspeak. Konseque, ol esis certe uzita kelkafoye kun mala intenci ye la mento, tote quale irga altra auxiliara linguo — inkluzanta Esperanto — e tote quale omna naturala lingui.

        Tamen, tala kulturala erori de la pasinto esas ne pretexto pri ne lernar linguo. Ka me — indijena parolanto di Franca — devis boikotar la linguo Angla pro ke ol esis uzita da sorcino-chasinti, segregacisti, sexuisti, la Ku Klux Klan, homeofobi, e ya, fashisti e Nazia simpatieri? No. Nam la kulturo esas quon onu facas per la linguo, ne la inversajo. Vorti esas tam povoza por desktruktar kam li esas por konstruktar. Quon ni konstruktas per li — vua asertita “kulturo” — ne esas motivo por uzar o ne uzar la utensilo.

        Reale, la Idala komunitato diskutas ne plu multe pri politiko kam la Esperantala komunitato — me mem kredas ke lu facas lo min multe — ed esas evidenta por me asertar ke la vasta majoritato ek la Idisti esas nek antisemidisti nek anti-Israel. Anke, Ido esas plu neutra kam Esperanto, nam vorti esas kustume genro-neutra, e nam la prefixo mal· (qua signifikas “mala” en multa lingui inkluzanta Ido) esis remplasita da des·.

        Vua filo-Semidala argumento — quankam bone intencita — konstitucas sofismo qua koruptas la reputeso di inocenta linguo auxiliara. Ni, la komunitato Idala, ne esas la enemiki di la Judi; la antisemidisti esas lo. Ni, la komunitato Idala, ne esas la enemiki di Esperanto; la opozanti di la lingui konstruktita esas lo. Pliz ni suportez nia komuna novajo kune en pacoza e respektoza harmonio.


        • I think you missed the point of my post and my comment. At no point did I say Ido was a bad language because it was political or anti-semitic. Please reread my post and respond to what I actually did say.

          • I think that you missed the point of my comment: I debunked the philo-Semitic argument which you raised with your quotation. This is the only argument of your post which I can debunk, since this is the only one with a source. The rest of your post is pointless defamation and revisionism, with history facts not being referenced and with biased opinion not even being reasoned. For example, how can you claim that “omnu” is “less logical and if anything looks uglier”?

            Me pensas ke vu faliis la skopo di mea komento: me igis ridinda la filo-Semidala argumento quan vu produktis per vua citajo. Ol esas la nura argumento di vua artiklo quan me povas igar ridinda, nam ol esas la nura kun resurso. La cetero di vua artiklo esas neutila difamo e revizismo, historiala fakti ne esanta referita e vua predispozita opiniono ne esanta rezonita. Kom exemplo, quale vu povas asertar ke “omnu” esas “min logikoza e se irgo aspektas plu leda”?

            • Its funny that you complain about my lack of a source when you don’t have one either. Let me repeat for the third time, I don’t believe that Ido is anti-semitic, but in 1907, some people were, so it was an issue for some people.

              The rest of my post are my thoughts on the language which are still valid, whatever you may think. Please point out what part is defamation, or is all criticism defamation to you?

              Beauty is subjective so while some people claim Ido is more beautiful than Esperanto, I gave my subjective opinion that this was not the case.

              • You claimed that Ido is “less logical” than Esperanto. Read this whole page and try to repeat that same claim without lying:


                Not only is that text based on verifiable sources, but it also thoroughly destroys pro-Esperanto arguments in a way that is not nonsense like your article. You are protecting a flawed language just because a few thousands of speakers learned it, yet these same flaws will always hinder Esperanto from reaching the other 7+ billions like prophesied in Zamenhof’s so-called “Fina Venko”.

  2. I studied Esperanto for most of my life and became quite fluent in it by about 3 years ago when I realized that it’s flaws made it seem “clunky”. It failed to flow in the naturalistic way other IALs do such as LFN, Interlingua and Ido. Ido is my favorite of the three because it has the ingenious Zamenhofan word endings that mark for noun, verb, adjective etcetera. I was also impressed with Ido’s nouns defaulting to a neutral gender, with -ino and -ulo as the optional gender markers i.e. hano( chicken), hanino ( hen), hanulo (rooster). I am dismayed at the usual Ido-bashing that includes false-hoods about the history. I say nevermind history and just compare the 2 languages. Learn them both, as I have.

  3. NohemiSM

    Hola, que interesante articulo. Mi opinion solo es una expresion positiva hacia Esperanto puesto que no conozco Ido.
    Tengo 2 años de aprender Esperando y creo que es fantastico: aunque no tengo el nivel de fluidez que quisiera, me sorprendio que a los pocos meses de estar estudiandolo ya podia entender frases completas, y, reproducirlas, escribir y traducir.
    La idea de un Lenguaje Universal es fantastica, me decepciona que no tome mas fuerza, a pesar de las enormes bondades, principalmente, el hecho de que lo puedas aprender por ti mismo. Tambien me sorprenden la falta de interes general, si eso ocurre con Esperanto, creo que el interes acerca de Ido seria aun menor. Personalmente, estoy muy contenta con Esperanto, animo! a cualquiera que lea este post, ya sea para aprender Esperanto, Ido, o cualquier otro lenguaje. A mi el Esperanto me desperto el deseo de aprender Aleman. Creo que es bueno que te facilite al aprender mas facilmente el siguiente lenguaje.

    Hello, how interesting article. My opinion only is a thumbs up for Esperanto because I do not know Ido.
    I have been learning Esperanto for 2 years and I think it’s great, even when I still don’t have the fluency level that I want, I was sorprised that in very few months I was able to understand complete sentences, by writing and translate it.
    The whole idea of an Universal Language it’s fantastic, I’m dissapointed that the movement lack of strength, in spite of the goodness of the language, mainly, the fact that you can learn it by yourself. Also I’m sorprised by the lack of general interest, if that is going with Esperanto, I think the interest about Ido would be even less. Personally, I’m very happy with Esperanto, cheers! to anyone who is reading this post, if you are learning Esperanto, Ido or another language. For mi, Esperanto stirred the wish to learn German. I think that is good, that you learn more easily the next language.

    Saluton! Kial interesa artikolo! Mia opinio estos nur positiva esprimon al Esperanto, cxar mi ne konas Ido.
    Mi lernis Esperanto dum 2 jaroj kaj mi pensas que estas tre bona, eĉ se mi ne havas la nivelon de fluecon ke mi volus, sorprisas al min ke mi povis kompreni esprimo, traduki kaj eskribi, poste malpli montajoj.
    La tuta ideo de la Universala Lingvo estas tre bona.
    Fraŭdis min ke Esperanto ne estas pli populara, malgraŭ la avantaĝoj de lingvo, ĉefe, oni povas lerni mem. Se ĉi tio okazas kun Esperanto, mi pensas ke la intereso por Ido estus malpli. Persone, mi estas kontenta kun Esperanto, do, gaja! por ĉiuj kiuj legas ĉi tiu post, se vi lernas Esperanto, au Ido. Por mi, Esperanto inspirita lerni Germana lingvo. Mi pensas que la afero grava estas, ke vi lernos pli facile la venonta lingvo.

    • ¡Gracias, NohemiSM! I think that you have exactly the right attitude: we should stop criticizing other languages and instead embrace what we love. Danko!

  4. Tyroncs

    My thoughts on it are that Ido is a much nicer language to look at and when spoken. The reason though that I am learning Esperanto is that it has far more learning tools, a large community behind it and once I learn it I will be able to use it with a wider range of people. Ido is definitely an improvement on Esperanto, but it isn’t one that is large enough to warrant Esperanto no longer to be used

    • Hello Tyroncs,
      I am of those who want to help with the Ido project. What kind of “learning tools” do you miss? Your feedback can be important for the future of the community.

      Thank you,

  5. This has been an entertaining discussion. Ido lacks a Duolingo course, as I am sure Ciencisto (I prefer the Esperanto “sciencisto”) knows. About 52,000 people have signed on for the new (beta) Duolingo Esperanto course in just a month. There is a huge range of events (holidays, study sessions, specialist meetings) held in Esperanto every year – all accessible to learners. See, for example, a list produced annually in Hungary at This list is helpful for learners who can combine their linguistic interests with their scientific or leisure interests.

    You can go skiing, take part in a fungus foray, learn book-binding, visit archaeological sites in China, the Brittany coast and so on. People who get to know each other at these events make private arrangements to visit each others’ homes. .

    Mi ne vidis tian diskuton dum jardekoj. Persone, kvankam mi uzas Esperanton, mi havas nenion kontraǔ Ido. Ido tute ne minacas Esperanton. Mi ne pretendas ke Esperanto estas perfekta, sed ĝi funkcias tre bone. Mi uzis ĝin sen problemoj en Afriko, Sud-Ameriko kaj dudeko da eǔropaj landoj.

  6. Novamondo

    The OP claims that this article is not bashing the Ido language. From my reading that is all it does. If the Ido language is dead as the OP claims then why go to such effort to discredit it.

    • I agree with you, Novamondo. This article is simply pointless.

      • I’m sorry, is no one allowed criticise Ido? Must all articles about Ido be positive or else they are a waste of time? Considering how little attention Ido gets, I thought you’d be glad at least someone else on the Internet gives it any thought.

        • I do prefer no attention at all than negative attention. You indeed are allowed to criticise Ido — nobody can forbid you from doing that — but it is a pointless waste of time. I do not think that your article can do any good to the Esperanto community nor to the Ido community. It can only do harm.

  7. You ask, “Why create a second (or third etc.) ‘international’ auxlang when one already exists?”
    I ask, why create an additional language at all (except for fun, fiction or personal fascination) when there are already c7,000 natlangs in existence, each with it’s own individual character, ‘beauty’ and culture. Many in fact in need of support?

    A language created from scratch, however inventive and diligent its creator(s), is a pale weed compared to the efflorescence of even the humblest natlang. Who would choose to live in the linguistic equivalent of a Soviet tower block settlement when the alternative is mediaeval city, complete with cathedrals and back alleys?
    I know it’s unfair and that Volapuk is (I think?) “world-speak” with a simplified phonology, but I can’t look at the word without thinking “vole-puke” — Oh, Dear!

    • Why create a language? Well because only a newly created language is neutral and not carrying the historical baggage that most others have. Also unlike other languages it can be made simple and easy to learn without any irregularities.

      I strongly disagree about the beauty of a constructed language. Just because something is artificial doesn’t mean its ugly, after all the cathedrals you mention are constructed too. Were you to experience some Esperanto culture I’m sure you would change your mind and see that it is as beautiful a language as any other.

      • “because only a newly created language is neutral and not carrying the historical baggage that most others have.”
        Like a newborn baby, a blank slate. But as the language ‘grows up’ by being used by a particular group of people it will acquire its own cultural baggage. The only way to avoid that would be to use it only for largely culture-free discourse (rocket science? pure maths? …) but that’s not what most people want to talk about most of the time. They want to talk politics, or sex-n-drugs-n-rock-n-roll or whatever. Even so called general-purpose programming languages which are all theoretically equivalent (Turing compatible) in that they can be used to express the same algorithms, even these develop their own separate cultures and idioms based on the backgrounds and interests of their various user groups. Even if you could create a ‘culture-free’ language would it not be a soul-less language?

        “Also unlike other languages it can be made simple and easy to learn without any irregularities.”
        I strongly suspect that this would not last long once the language became widely used and ‘naturalised’. People would inevitably do all the things they do with natlangs. They would abbreviate common phrases, extend one set of regularities at the expense of another, find work-arounds where ambiguity cropped up, and so the cycle would just start over. It’s just the way the brain is wired and the way we interact socially.

        “I strongly disagree about the beauty of a constructed language. Just because something is artificial doesn’t mean its ugly, after all the cathedrals you mention are constructed too.”
        Yes, but usually (at least an old town/city centre) has been built up over a long period of time through very many decisions of very many people. No individual, even a genius, has the capacity to handle that level of ‘harmonious complexity’, which is what most of us perceive as ‘beauty’. Anyway although a simple object may indeed have a stark beauty all of its own, it soon becomes boring. I don’t believe a language can be both interesting and simple at the same time.

        “Were you to experience some Esperanto culture I’m sure you would change your mind and see that it is as beautiful a language as any other.”
        So you admit it has its own culture😉 What if it’s not one I want to buy into? I’ve no interest in E. so I can’t refute your statement. It’s a bit like religion. Life’s too short to study every religion/philosophy in depth only so as to be able to reject them with authority. I still have 7,950-something natlangs to investigate, and E. would come far back in the queue, well behind Latvian and Malagasy for example. In any case my understanding (second-hand but still …) is that E. was really a bit of a botched job, and its ‘international’ character doesn’t really hold up in a globalised world, since it’s just a conflation of the European languages that its creator happened to be familiar with.

        You were discussing why it was a bad idea for the E.-ists to split into factions, sub-cultures presumably, but this is exactly what humans like to do. It doesn’t seem very logical from a communication POV (hence the Tower of Bable myth as a ‘Just So Story’) but the point is that languages are also important for group identity or if you prefer as a means of maintaining cultural diversity. I don’t wish to live in a monocultural world, do you?

        Possibly of interest :

  8. foobar

    The whole point of a conlang is the ability to start over and make it better than what exists. It would be really sad if we would get stuck after the first amateur attempt (esperanto). Esperanto may seem good, simple, easy for you, but it really is only marginally simpler than english, for a non-european.

    The diacritics are unforgivable, and since they are necessiated by phonology, that must be thrown away too.

    • But nothing would get done if people constantly restart and remake the language according to their personal preference. At some point you have to say that this is close enough.

      “Esperanto may seem good, simple, easy for you, but it really is only marginally simpler than english, for a non-european.”

      That is completely untrue, Esperanto is massively easier than English. Even if the vocabulary is not the same, the fact that the grammar and pronunciation is completely regular makes it much much easier than English.

      “The diacritics are unforgivable”

      Pretty much every language except for English has diacritics, so I don’t see what the problem is with them. They help ensure that each letter has only one sound.

      • In designing a universal auxlang it would seem to be sensible to use only phonetic distinctions that are common to many languages, so you would rule out tones for example, although these might seem quite natural to someone from SE Asia. You would rule out complex assibilants and affrictives although these seem quite natural to many East Europeans. And of course /θ,ð/ though familiar to English speakers are ‘weird’ to most of the rest of the world. Indeed, a study of creoles formed where two or more dissimilar languages intersected might well give some clues as to what constitutes a ‘happy medium’. The end result should then have a phoneme inventory small enough to be represented by the normal Roman alphabet without any messy diacritics.

  9. gzoref

    Check out the history of how Modern Hebrew became the Lingua Franca in Israel despite the fact that Hebrew had not been spoken for thousands of years and nearly all of the settlers spoke German or Russian. It took a personality, Eliezer Ben-Yehudi. Here’s part of the story:

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