History of Pandunia

Prehistory

In the year 2000, Risto Kupsala, a young student of computer engineering in Finland, finds out about the classical auxiliary languages, Esperanto, Ido, Volapük and Interlingua. Inspired by them, he soon creates several crude drafts of an Europe-centred constructed auxiliary language (auxlang). Risto joins AUXLANG mailing list, which is the only forum to discuss with other auxlangers at that time.

In 2003, Risto publishes an auxiliary language draft called Lone in his personal web pages. It has analytic grammar and its words are borrowed from different languages from all continents. In 2004 Risto drafts a quota system for selecting words from different language families. In his opinion the vocabulary of the future world language should be evenly global and not European or Western as in the classical auxiliary languages. Later this idea becomes a guiding principle for the creation of Pandunia's vocabulary.

In 2005, Risto, Florent Garet (from France, the creator of Luni, an auxlang inspired by Japanese), and Jens Wilkinson (a USA born translator working in Japan, the creator of Dunia Patwa) start to work together for creating a multicultural world language. The language is called Gaia.

In a time when electronic multilingual dictionaries were not available in the internet, Risto creates a new collaborative wiki called Multilingual Vocabulary Resource (Mulivo) for finding out common words in widely spoken languages around the world.

In 2006, the Gaia project is ended without completion. Intensive work has produced a short list of international words and a bunch of ideas for analytic grammar. Risto, Florent and Jens go their separate ways. Jens reforms his Dunia Patwa into Neo Patwa using some of the ideas and words from Gaia.

In 2007, Risto and Jens continue to work together in a short-lived project called Pangaia, which is an international language "that is especially designed to be easy to learn and easy to pronounce".

Early years

In 2007, Risto publishes the first version of Pandunia. In the following years Risto develops Pandunia trying to make the grammar ever simpler. The goal is use only meaningful content words and as few structure words as possible, but it leads to syntactic chaos. Progress is slow because Risto is occupied by graduation, work and raising children.

In 2010, Risto starts to develop an agglutinative language as a private sideproject. He invents the three types of verbs and their vowel endings (active -a, passive -u, and stative -i). The vowel endings are originally borrowed from Arabic verb patterns "faʕala", "faʕila" and "faʕula". These ideas will find their way into Pandunia several years later.


Pandunia flag in 2007

Finally, in 2012, other people learn Pandunia for the first time. A discussion group for Pandunia is created in Facebook social media.

The learning materials are translated to Russian by Arkadii Balandin, who later becomes an important proponent of the Lojban language. The first translation to Esperanto is written by Maksim Solokhin.

The first YouTube video in Pandunia is published in 2013. It records what Pandunia sounded like then.

Risto goes through a divorce and loses his interest for auxiliary languages for a while. Things slow down again.

Fruition


Pandunia flag in 2016

In 2016, the Pandunia website is completely remade. The source text is changed to Markdown format, and the files are stored the Git version control system and then in GitHub, where the first version and all later changes can be viewed. This technology also enables collaboration because everybody can contribute changes and improvements to the language and its documentation.

A new wave of people get interested about Pandunia in late 2016 and early 2017. Pandunia community begins to grow slowly but surely. Discussion groups in Telegram instant messenger are created.

In 2017, Pandunia gets some publicity as the Interlinguistica Tartuensis journal publishes an article titled "Pandunia, a global contact language", and a chapter is dedicated for Pandunia in the book "Keksittyjä kieliä" (in Finnish) by Kauko Kämäräinen. One year later, Pandunia is mentioned in "Artificial Languages" article in Oxford Research Encyclopedias.

Unfortunately the analytic grammar of Pandunia turns out to produce too often sentences that are ambiguous and/or difficult to understand. That's why the grammar is changed for agglutinating grammar that uses vowel endings to indicate word-classes.

The second YouTube video in Pandunia records how Pandunia sounded at that time.

Reddit discussion forum for Pandunia is created in 2017. The most important changes to the language are announced there because it is the only forum that everybody can read without logging in.


Pandunia flag in 2018

In 2019, Pandunia version 1.0 is published. * However, it's not entirely satisfactory, so the work for version 2.0 is started.

Alex André records a 30 day challenge to learn Pandunia.

In a major change in 2020, the alphabet of Pandunia is changed from an eccentrict one to something that conforms more to the international standards. *

Miscellaneous

Creation years of the Wikipedia articles about Pandunia:

  • 2008 Esperanto
  • 2016 Farsi
  • 2017 Kongo, Lingala, Volapük
  • 2018 Finnish, Interlingua
  • 2019 French, Tagalog