Ido - History


The idea of a universal second language is not new, and constructed languages are not a recent phenomenon. The first known constructed language was Lingua Ignota, created in the 12th century. But the idea did not catch on in large numbers until the language Volapük was created in 1879. Volapük was popular for some time and apparently had a few thousand users, but was later eclipsed by the popularity of Esperanto, which arose in 1887. Several other languages such as Latino sine Flexione and Idiom Neutral had also been put forward. It was during this time that French mathematician Louis Couturat formed the Delegation for the Adoption of an International Auxiliary Language.

This delegation made a formal request to the International Association of Academies in Vienna to select and endorse an international language; the request was rejected in May 1907. The Delegation then met as a Committee in Paris in October 1907 to discuss the adoption of a standard international language. Among the languages considered was a new language anonymously submitted under the pen name Ido. In the end the Committee concluded that no language was completely acceptable, but that Esperanto could be accepted "on condition of several modifications to be realized by the permanent Commission in the direction defined by the conclusions of the Report of the Secretaries and by the Ido project."

Esperanto's inventor, L. L. Zamenhof, had suggested in an 1894 proposition for a Reformed Esperanto several changes that Ido adopted: eliminating the accented letters and the accusative case, changing the plural to an Italianesque -i, and replacing the table of correlatives with more Latinate words. However, the Esperanto community rejected Reformed Esperanto, and likewise most rejected the recommendations of the 1907 Committee. Zamenhof deferred to their judgment. Furthermore, controversy ensued when the "Ido project" was found to have been primarily devised by Louis de Beaufront, who represented Esperanto before the Committee.

It is estimated that 20% of the Esperanto leaders and 3-4% of the ordinary Esperantists defected to Ido. Although it fractured the Esperanto movement, the schism gave the remaining Esperantists freedom to concentrate on using and promoting their language as it stood. At the same time, it gave the Idists freedom to continue working on their own language for several more years before actively promoting it. The Uniono di la Amiki di la Linguo Internaciona (Union of Friends of the International Language) was established along with an Ido Academy to work out the details of the new language.

Couturat, who was the leading proponent of Ido, was killed in an automobile accident in 1914. This, along with World War I, practically suspended the activities of the Ido Academy from 1914 to 1920. In 1928 Ido's major intellectual supporter, the Danish linguist Otto Jespersen, published his own planned language, Novial. His defection from the Ido movement set it back even further.

Read more about this topic:  Ido

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