July 2009: people gather in Tallinn, Estonia to speak a language only 101 years old

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Yesterday this year's international meeting (renkontro) for the language Ido started in the city of Tallinn, Estonia, and will continue for a week. Ido is the only constructed language that I've ever spoken in person (just spoke it again last week actually) so it's still the easiest one for me to use. Here's the first message from the meeting and my translation below. Since most vocabulary in Ido is taken from six languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian) you'll notice a lot of words you already know, and if you remember that all nouns end in -o, all plurals end in -i, verb tenses are -as/-os/-is (present/future/past) and adverbs all end in -e it should be even easier.

Kara gesamideani!

Dear friends (lit. partisans of the same idea or movement - from here on as well I'll just use the word friend for simplicity's sake)!

Yen itere novaji dil internaciona Ido-renkontro 2009.

Here's some more news of the international Ido gathering for 2009.

Hiere vespere omna asistanti, qui ja esis en Riga, arivis en Tallinn.

Yesterday evening all the assistants that were in Riga arrived in Tallinn.

Ta samideani, qui vehis kun la du automobili di Jonny e Hans ankore povis juar belega peizajo survoye dum migrado tra foresto e marsho.

Those friends that went by Johnny's and Hans' cars were again able to enjoy beautiful scenery during the migration through forest and marsh.

Jonny explikis a ni la planti ed animali, qui trovesas ibe.

Johnny explained to us the plants and animals that are there.

Vespere ni juis Afrikana dishi en specala restorerio.

In the evening we enjoyed African dishes in a special restaurant.

Pose kelka samideani ankore promenis en parto dil anciena urbo e pose sidis komune en libera restorerio til kelka minuti ante la meznokto.

Afterwards, a few friends again walked around part of the ancient city and later sat together in a free restaurant until a few minutes before midnight.

Camatine komencis nia unesma laborasemblo. Pos ke Jonny oficale apertigis la cayarala internaciona Ido-renkontro ni kurte memorigis pri Jacques Bol kun minuto di silenco. Pose Frank Kasper ed Eberhard Scholz lektis la saluti qui arivis. Samideano Arto Moisio prizentis l'Ido-wikipedio e montris ultre altro, quale on povas korektigar linguala erori ibe. Samideano Anvarzhon Zhurajev (Jonny) prizentis sua interretala dicionario multalinguala.

This morning we started our first work assembly. After Jonny officially opened this year's international Ido gathering we had a quick memorial for Jacques Bol with a minute of silence. Afterwards Frank Kasper and Eberhard Scholz read the greetings of the arrivals. Our friend Arto Moisio presented the Ido Wikipedia and showed something else, how one is able to correct the linguistic errors there. Our friend Anvarzhon Zhurajev (Jonny) presented his internet-based multilingual dictionary.

Nun ni ankore diskutas pri diversa aferi.

Now we are talking over a number of items/affairs.

Posdimeze ni exkursos a l'anciena urbo.

In the afternoon we will go on an excursion to the ancient city.

Me adjuntas quar fotografuri ad ica mesajo. L'unesma fotografuro montras la grupo, qua migris en la foresto. La duesma fotografuro montras Jonny e la triesma ed quaresma fotografuri montras parto dil asistanti dum l'asemblo.

I'm adding four photographs to this message. The first photograph shows the group that went in the forest. The second photograph shows Jonny and the third and fourth photographs show part of the assistants during the assembly.

Kordiala saluti de Tallinn

Cordial greetings from Tallinn

anke ye la nomo di omna partoprenanti sendas, Frank Kasper
Sending also in the name of all participants, Frank Kasper

Ido was first created in October 1907 to be an easy-to-learn second language for people of all linguistic backgrounds to use to speak to each other. Number of speakers at present: maybe 1500 or so.

Why support a language that only a thousand or so speak? Why not just stick with "natural" languages? Well, it's exactly the same as these questions as well:
  • Why support a keyboard (Dvorak) that most don't use? Why not stick with Qwerty?
  • (This question would be more pertinent around 2005 or so) Why support a browser that most don't use? Why not stick with Internet Explorer?
  • Why support an operating system called Linux that most don't use? Why not stick with Windows?
  • Why create a new programming language that nobody uses yet? Why not just stick with ones that already exist?
  • (asked in 1791) Why create a crazy new system called "metric"? Why not just stick with feet and spans and rods and hogsheads?
It's pretty much the same thing, just based on linguistics and communication instead of technology. The advantages are obvious (Ido took me under two months to learn), but the user base is small.

Also similar to Linux, there are quite a few of these languages too, and adherents of each have their reasons for preferring one over the other. Ido is one, Interlingua is another one having its conference this month (starts on the 25th), and of course there is the most famous one: Esperanto. Their yearly conference starts next week on the 25th as well. Plus a lot of newcomers (Lingua Franca Nova, Sambahsa...), and some others that have had some success in the past and a few users left (Novial, Occidental, Latino sine Flexione...). One day one of them might win.


Edit: here's a video if you want to hear what Ido sounds like sung.

4 comments:

Barcodex said...

Well, Dave,
Thanks for the PR :) The conference was quite a success!
Cheers,

Johnny

Shawn Kovac said...

Minor correction... all adverbs do not end in 'e'. It is true that "adverbs" end in 'e'. But not all of them. Just those that derive from nouns and verbs. But others have their own special uses with no particular common ending (as is logical). "More" and "most" are two such adverbs. I consider such adverbs more "extra words" than actual "adverbs", but they are technically adverbs. Esperantists have an incorrect view of their language, thinking that it is (much) more regular than it is. Ido is much more regular than Esperanto, but Ido still has not made all words totally "regular" in a logical fassion, which it could (which to me is hardly any problem since it is so amazingly simplified already). But we should be objective in understanding what really is true about the claims of such things. Not all Ido adverbs end in 'e'. Only the adverbs that "make sense" to end in 'e' do end in 'e', that is, those derived from nouns and/or verbs. :)

One example of simplification that Ido improved over Esperanto is all days of the week in Ido end with the Ido word for 'day', just as in English: SunDAY, MonDAY, TuesDAY, etc. In Esperanto they don't have that property. :( But month names do not end in "month" in neither Ido, Esperanto, nor English. It makes sense to me that such would be simpler, but it's totally fine that they do not.

P.S. I use the Dvorak keyboard layout! It is great! (But it's not for everyone.) But Ido is useful for everyone. :P

데이빛 / Mithridates said...

Good point - I guess a better way to put it would be that "if it ends with an e, it's an adverb".

I use Dvorak too, have since 2005. It's true what they say that once you get used to Dvorak you just can't possibly like Qwerty again. It's fun to use it every once it a while but I would never want to make it my regular keyboard layout again.

Shawn Kovac said...

Minor correction... all adverbs do not end in 'e'. It is true that "adverbs" end in 'e'. But not all of them. Just those that derive from nouns and verbs. But others have their own special uses with no particular common ending (as is logical). "More" and "most" are two such adverbs. I consider such adverbs more "extra words" than actual "adverbs", but they are technically adverbs. Esperantists have an incorrect view of their language, thinking that it is (much) more regular than it is. Ido is much more regular than Esperanto, but Ido still has not made all words totally "regular" in a logical fassion, which it could (which to me is hardly any problem since it is so amazingly simplified already). But we should be objective in understanding what really is true about the claims of such things. Not all Ido adverbs end in 'e'. Only the adverbs that "make sense" to end in 'e' do end in 'e', that is, those derived from nouns and/or verbs. :)

One example of simplification that Ido improved over Esperanto is all days of the week in Ido end with the Ido word for 'day', just as in English: SunDAY, MonDAY, TuesDAY, etc. In Esperanto they don't have that property. :( But month names do not end in "month" in neither Ido, Esperanto, nor English. It makes sense to me that such would be simpler, but it's totally fine that they do not.

P.S. I use the Dvorak keyboard layout! It is great! (But it's not for everyone.) But Ido is useful for everyone. :P

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