Interlingua: An international language

Posted on October 15, 2019

Interlingua is an international language that was created in 1951. The result of almost three decades’ work by linguists from several countries, Interlingua is easy to learn and understand, especially if you speak a Romance language.

The main features of Interlingua

Interlingua is a synthesis of Latin-based languages. Where the French language formed coeur, the Spanish, corazon, and the English, “heart,” Interlingua created corde from cordial (French for “cordial”) and cordialitate from cordialité (French for “cordiality”). Thus, Interlingua is defined as a form of modern Latin. Another example is the Spanish tiempo, the French temps, and the English “time,” which Interlingua renders as tempore and which is found in the international derivatives temporel (temporal), temporalitate (temporality), temporari (temporary) and contemporanee (contemporary). The languages influenced by Latin and Greek constitute a common root that forms the foundation of Interlingua.

As a modern reincarnation of medieval international Latin, Interlingua codifies a language that potentially already existed. Since it is taken from the Greco-Latin international vocabulary found in today’s languages, Interlingua does not contain any invented or distorted words.

Interlingua’s grammar can be explained in a few pages. The plural is formed by adding “s.” Adjectives are invariable. For example:

Un bon idea, duo bon ideas, le bon puero, multo bon pueros

A good idea, two good ideas, the good boy, very good boys

Note that puero is found in English “puerile”; and duo, in “dual” and “duality.”

I discovered Interlingua when I read Pierre Burney’s book Les langues internationales, published by Presses universitaires de France. Because Interlingua’s vocabulary draws from many languages, it has often helped me understand terms in French and other languages that Latin has influenced over the centuries.

For example, labio (lip) is found in French, in English and in the Interlingua word labial. Pilo, which means “hair” in Interlingua, is found in the French word pilosité, in the English word “pilosity,” and in the Interlingua word pilositate.

I also enjoy the cadence of Interlingua, with the position of the tonic accent on the last, penultimate or antepenultimate syllable. This feature gives the language a rhythm very similar to Latin, which makes it suitable for poetry and song.

Interlingua is everywhere

Interlingua is the most widespread of the naturalistic international auxiliary languages, according to Wikipedia. The members of the Union Mundial pro Interlingua are spread across all continents. Informal Interlingua meetings are held regularly in several Canadian cities. In Quebec, the Société québécoise pour l'interlingua promotes activities in this international language. This year, the Conferentia international de interlingua will be held in Prague, Czech Republic.

Even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been translated into Interlingua. Here is Article 1:

Tote le esseres human nasce libere e equal in dignitate e in derectos. Illes es dotate de ration e de conscientia e debe ager le unes verso le alteres in un spirito de fraternitate.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


Published in 1951 by the International Auxiliary Language Association, the Interlingua reference works are the Interlingua-English Dictionary and the Interlingua Grammar, both available in major libraries.

Over 200 books, grammar guides and dictionaries have been published in this international language.

In addition, Wikipedia has an Interlingua version containing more than 21,000 articles.

In closing, I would like to propose three resources from the Union Mundial pro Interlingua that will allow you to learn more about Interlingua:

Adapted by Josephine Versace, Language Portal of Canada


The opinions expressed in posts and comments published on the Our Languages blog are solely those of the authors and commenters and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Language Portal of Canada.

Get to know Martin Lavallée

Martin Lavallée

Martin Lavallée is an Interlingua speaker who lives in Montreal. He learned this international language in 1992. The vocabulary of this form of modern Latin is readily accessible to the 900 million speakers of Romance languages.




Leave a comment

Please consult the “Comments and interaction” section on the Terms and conditions page before adding your comment. The Language Portal of Canada reviews comments before they’re posted. We reserve the right to edit, refuse or remove any question or comment that violates these commenting guidelines.

By submitting a comment, you permanently waive your moral rights, which means that you give the Government of Canada permission to use, reproduce, edit and share your comment royalty-free, in whole or in part, in any manner it chooses. You also confirm that nothing in your comment infringes third party rights (for example, the use of a text from a third party without his or her permission).

Join in the conversation and share your comments!


Comments are displayed in the language they were submitted.

Read comments

Submitted by Andrew Read on August 31, 2020, at 18:02

Hi Martin,
Thank you for your post. Apart from the official websites, it’s hard to find much about Interlingua on the internet. Do you think learning Interlingua first and then French later might actually be productive, if the final goal is to be able to read French well and speak it to a degree?

Submitted by Martin Lavallée on September 5, 2020, at 5:32

I think a few weeks is enough for learning the basic vocabulary of Interlingua and its grammar. It can be an incentive for learning a more difficult language like French afterwards. As Interlingua has international Graeco-Latin roots, you will readily understand many words in science and literature like “rotation” and “parvité” (parvity), which come from the Interlingua “rota” (wheel) and “parve” (small), respectively. But you would still have to learn the French words “roue” (wheel) and “petit” (small). I think learning Interlingua will help you in learning French, but it will still take thousands of hours to be able to write and speak the language of Molière. Bon studio! Bonne étude!

Submitted by Yelling Rosa on May 5, 2023, at 13:28

I think that Interlingua needs parallel Interlingua-English much more than it has today. Interlingua also lacked good example sentences from the learner good build up his text fast and effectively.
All the best to you
Yelling Rosa

Submitted by Yelling Rosa on May 5, 2023, at 13:47

Martin Lavallée,
could you tell me how I have managed with Interlingua
Without luck, you won't
survive even from yourself.
© Yelling Rosa
Is the translation below correct?
Sin fortuna, tu mesmo non pote
superviver te mesme.
© Yelling Rosa
Greetings from Finland

Submitted by MARCO DE GRANDIS on April 30, 2024, at 18:09

There is another international artificial language that derives from Latin: it is Eurizian, which was created to be the official common language of the European Union. It is very easy to learn and keeps the imprint of the original Latin language alive.