Interlanguage and 20th Century Scientific Communication

Frank Esterhill 1
Author Information & Copyright
1Interlingua Institute

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.

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


At the outset of the 20th century,it was taken for granted that the true test of any auxiliary language would be its adoption for use in the sciences. Interlingua,the product of the International Auxiliary Language Association [IALA],founded in 1924,emerged from the increasingly naturalistic linguistic models of the late 19th and early 20th centuries (especially those of Liptay,Lott,and Peano),acknowledging the fact that it was the survivmg elements of the Latin language that had lent to the modern tongues of the European littoral their character of internationality and consequently distancing itself from the complicated schematism of Volapük,Esperanto,and their many imitators. For a relatively long period of time,a quaπer of a century,the Interlingua of IALA seemed to meet the expectations of its builders that it would function as a vehicle of scientific communication :more than two dozen medical journals printed abstracts in Interlingua and eleven world medical congresses issued summaries in Interlingua. Then,suddenly,at the start of the 1980s scientific work in Interlingua came to an abrupt end (translations in the Multilingual Compendium 01 Plant Diseases for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and abstracts in the New York State Journal of Medicine being the final scientific projects) from which there has been no recovery

Keywords: Intemational Auxiliary Language Association; Volapük; Esperanto; interlingua