an international auxiliary language based on the words that are common to
the major West-European languages and on a simplified Anglo-Romance
grammar. It was first published in 1951 by the International Auxiliary
The grammar and vocabulary of Interlingua were initially published in
1951. Alexander Gode, director of IALA during its later years, was one of
the prime movers in this effort. He published a survey of the grammar, a
one-way dictionary (Interlingua to English), and an introductory book
entitled Interlingua a Prime Vista ("Interlingua at First Sight").
The international vocabulary has absorbed materials of the most varied
origins, but its center of gravity lies in the sphere of the Greco-Latin
tradition. It can be collected within the confines of a homogeneous group
of source or control languages which not only represent the Greco-Latin
tradition in our time but have likewise absorbed all significant
international words radiated from other centers. This group was defined by
IALA as the Anglo-Romance group of languages (English, French, Italian,
Spanish and Portuguese) with German and Russian as potential contributors.
A word is eligible in Interlingua if it occurs with same meaning and
etymology in three of the four main control units. Spanish and Portuguese
are regarded together as one control unit. If support is found in two
control units, German and Russian are checked to provide the last support.
Grammatical words, required to operate the language, are taken from Latin
if the regular procedure fails.
The grammar of Interlingua is simplified by discarding grammatical
features absent in at least one of the control languages. As a result it
is functionally very similar to English grammar, since that is in many
respects simpler than the grammar of the Romance languages, German and
Interlingua is the second-most spoken international auxiliary language
after Esperanto, although it claims to be the most widely understood IAL
by virtue of the naturality of its grammar and vocabulary, allowing
polyglots and especially speakers of Romance languages to read and
understand it at first sight. The number of speakers is estimated to be
between a thousand and several thousands.
Interlingua has some enthusiastic supporters in North and South America,
Europe, Russia, and particularly Scandinavia. There are some Interlingua
web pages, and several periodicals, including Panorama in Interlingua from
the Union Mundial pro Interlingua and the magazines of the national
societies allied with it. There are several active mailing lists, and
Interlingua is also in use in Usenet newsgroups, particularly in the
Every two years the Union Mundial pro Interlingua organizes an
international conference in a different European country, which is usually
attended by 50-75 people. In the year in between, the Scandinavian
Interlingua societies co-organize a conference in Sweden, which welcomes
not only Scandinavian but also international visitors.