The Representation of Korean and Other Altaic Languages in Artificial International Auxiliary Languages

Alan Reed Libert 1 ,
Author Information & Copyright
1University of Newcastle, Australia
Corresponding Author : Alan Reed Libert, Department of Linguistics, University of Newcastle Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia. Phone: 61-2-49215117; Email:

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Jan 30, 2012; Revised: Feb 26, 2012; Accepted: Mar 06, 2012

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


Korean and other Altaic languages are generally not well represented in artificial international auxiliary languages: the best known such languages (such as Esperanto and Ido) have borrowed almost nothing from them, instead almost exclusively using Indo-European languages as sources. In this paper I will present some auxiliary languages which have taken words and/or parts of their grammar from Altaic languages, looking at which items have been borrowed and in some cases what percentage of the vocabulary they account for. The languages discussed (most of which were created relatively recently) include Ardano, Dousha, Dunia, Konya, Kosmo, Kumiko, Lingwa de Planeta, Neo Patwa, NOXILO, Olingo, Pan-kel, Sambahsa-mundialect, Sona, and Unish. In the cases of most of these languages only a small proportion of the total vocabulary comes from Altaic languages. Further, some of the words said to have been taken from an Altaic language originally came from an Indo-European language. In addition, I will compare the proportion of Korean items to those taken from the other languages of the Altaic family. Overall Korean has been drawn upon less than Japanese, but (not surprisingly) more than Mongolian, Azerbaijani, and Uzbek. Most conclusions are tentative because the vocabularies of most of the auxiliary languages examined have not been fully developed and because often information about sources of words is not given.

Keywords: auxiliary language; Altaic; Korean; Japanese; Turkish; vocabulary