Babel Resolved

Babel Resolved

Watson Davis


Editorial en Science, Volumen 126, número 3263, del 12 de julio de 1957. p. 55.


The babel of languages hampers international communication in science as in other fields of human knowledge. For the first time in human history, an international language has been fashioned that can be read at sight by all who can read any Western European language.

This language is Interlingua. Interlingua is a planned, natural, auxiliary language. It is neither constructed nor synthetic. It is based on the words and grammar (simplified and regularized) of the predominant European languages; it can be considered a sort of basic, average language (primarily for reading), commin to most of the reading world.

Interlingua is in use. It has made remarkable progress in the 5 years since its simple rules were formulated and put into practice. The article in page 64 is written in Interlingua so that anyone can demonstrate to himself how easy it is to read. Experience shows that Interlingua can be read without study or preparation by German, French, Italian, Anglo-Saxon, and South American people, as well as by Japanese, Russian, and other people who have been exposed to occidental linguistic patterns.

More than a quarter century of linguistic research in the laboratories of the International Auxiliary Language Association, supported largely by the late Ambassador and Mrs. Dave Hennen Morris, produced Interlingua. It was then put into use through cooperation between editors of journals and international conferences and a new division of Science Service. Since 1953 it has come into use for publication of summaries in 17 medical journals and has served as the only secondary language in the programs of seven international medical congresses. This practical demonstration, largely in the medical field, paves the way for other utilizations.

Future applications will be facilitated, to the extent that resources are available, by the Interlingua Division of Science Service (80 E. 11 St., New York City), the chief of which is Alexander Gode, who was primarily responsible for the evolution and formulation of Interlingua.

Written interlingua is a running mate to simultaneous interpretation in international conferences. By the simplest expedient of producing one additional written version (in Interlingua) of program, information, and abstracts of papers, the whole proceedings may be available to all.

If Interlingua summaries are appended to journal articles, the journal may be made readable throughout the intellectual world.

Interlingua differs from earlier auxiliary languages, such as Esperanto, in that it does not offer a new system of communication that needs to be studied and learned. No attempt is being made either to organize thowse who are interested in the use of Interlingua or to teach it to large numbers of people. If it is used, it is successful. Some trials in high schools, however, indicate that Interlingua can be used as an introduction to language study.

Interlingua’s application to science is a pilot operation. It should also prove to be of service in other fields in which international communication is necessary.

Watson Davis, Director - Science Service


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