General

How many people can speak Pandunia?

Currently speakers of Pandunia are counted in tens. It is still a very new language.

When was Pandunia created?

Creators of Pandunia began to create a language together first in 2005. Since the beginning the basic idea was to create an evenly global auxiliary language. Many different structures and ideas were tried over the years. The name Pandunia was invented already in 2007 but the language got its "final" form in 2016 – though of course languages evolve all the time!

What does the flag of Pandunia represent?

The flag of Pandunia represents the planet Earth. There is green ground, clear blue atmosphere and yellow sun against the background of dark blue space.

Why the mascot of Pandunia is a duck-billed platypus?

Platypus is an egg-laying, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal that lives in eastern Australia. It is an unusual creature. That's why the platypus is a fitting mascot for Pandunia, which is also an unusual mix, a mix of words and grammar from East and West, from North and South.

Pandunia doesn't fit into any of the traditional types of languages. Also in that regard it is similar to the platypus, which is of its own type.

Past, present and future

I want to change something in Pandunia. What should I do?

If your change is a small thing, you should try it in practice with other people and see how it works. If it really is a good change, other people will accept it and use it.

Creating offshoot languages is very common in the auxiliary language community. The case of Esperanto is famous. Offshoots of Esperanto are counted in the hundreds but most people haven't even heard of them. Esperanto is still the most popular language of its kind.

It is better to have one big language with several dialects than many competing languages.

Which languages have influenced the grammar of Pandunia?

Pandunia has been influenced by both natural and constructed languages.

  • Natural languages with isolating grammar were a useful model. For example the pivot structure comes directly from Chinese.
  • Works of earlier language makers were inspirational.
    • Esperanto, Ido, Novial etc. were closely examined.
    • Latino sine Flexione, Lingua Sistemfrater and Interglossa all have well thought-out isolating grammars.
  • Natural contact languages gave many ideas. It is an interesting observation that when speakers of different languages come into contact, they tend to create a contact language with isolating grammar to overcome the language barrier — no matter what type of languages they speak natively.

The "family tree" of Pandunia is presented in the figure below.

Auxiliary language

How does Pandunia differ from other auxiliary languages?

  • The vocabulary of Pandunia is evenly global. It consists of Western (Greco-Latin) words, Perso-Arabic words, Chinese words and Indian words. Many other auxiliary languages use only or mostly Western words, which is not ideal for the world language in our opinion.
  • Internationality is the main criterion for selecting words to Pandunia. All the words of Pandunia are known by many nations in some part of the world.
  • The grammar of Pandunia is concise but very flexible. Pandunia has only a few grammatical structures, which are re-used over and over again.
  • Pandunia is a truly neutral language. It's not meant to imitate any languages, whereas for example Esperanto, Ido and Interlingua are intentionally close to the European languages.

Did Esperanto and its kind influence Pandunia?

In the end, very little. Esperanto has an ingenious system for marking parts of speech (PoS) with vowel endings. In Esperanto nouns end in -o, adjectives end in -a, verbs in -i and adverbs in -e. (These are the dictionary forms. Some of them are inflected in actual use.) Similar PoS marking systems are used in the offshoots of Esperanto, such as Ido and Novial. The system is fascinating and it was tested in the development of Pandunia. However, it didn't fit together with Pandunia's diverse vocabulary and actually it made the grammar more complicated than what it needs to be. So finally all obvious Esperanto influences were left out.

Are the makers of Pandunia aware of the history of the IAL movement?

Yes. Here are some of the most important lessons to be learned from the history of the international auxiliary language (IAL) movement.

  • Over 99% of IALs do not survive in the long term.
  • Languages that are created without any pre-existing model (so called a priori languages) have very low chance of survival.
  • Languages that imitate and simplify one or more natural languages have some chance of survival.
  • Out of a group of many similar languages only one is likely to do well.
  • Success can be short-lived. (Remember Volapük and Ido.)
  • Rational reasons do not explain success. The "best" language doesn't necessarily win.
  • Large international organizations, such as the UN or the EU, pay very little attention to IALs. So it is up to grassroots movements to push an IAL to success.

Should Pandunia replace English?

Pandunia is not meant to replace English or any other languages. People have ability to speak several languages and they speak every language for a different reason. Some people speak one language at home, another at work and yet another on international travels. We can imagine a world where English and all other languages will continue to be spoken, and where also Pandunia is spoken.

In a way, English will never be replaced. Those who speak it today will speak it tomorrow. But new generations will grow and they will choose which language(s) they want to speak with each other. So it will be another world with another world language. Maybe it will be English, or maybe a new kind of English or maybe something else. The landscape of languages changes in a natural process. Different languages were spoken in the past and different languages will be spoken in the future.

You are free to speak Pandunia, English and any other language that your heart desires.

Grammar and vocabulary

Why isolating structure was chosen for Pandunia?

Different structures were considered and tested during the development of Pandunia. The main choice was between an agglutinating and an isolating structure.

  1. In an agglutinating language every word can be clearly divided into component parts. For example Esperanto word "niaj" (our) consists of three parts: ni- (we), -a- (adjective marker) and -j (plural marker).
  2. In an isolating language every word consists of just one part. For example in Mandarin Chinese the word for "our" consists of three separate words: wǒ (first person pronoun), men (plural marker) and de (possessive marker). Then they are simply put together: wǒmende, 我们的.

Pandunia is an isolating language. It uses separate words to express things like person, number, mood, tense and aspect, which are typically expressed with inflection in agglutinating languages.

To demonstrate the difference, let's compare the same sentence in Esperanto (an agglutinating language) and Pandunia. Parts of word are separated with the bar sign.

Esperanto: Mi pov|as vid|i du  bel|a|j|n okul|o|j|n nun.
Pandunia:  mi ken    vide  du  sundar    yen        nun.
           I  can    see   two beautiful eyes       now.

Why is the letter C pronounced like SH?

Pandunia follows the phonetic principle. One letter represents exactly one sound, and one sound is written with exactly one letter.

Traditionally there isn't any dedicated letter for /ʃ/ in the Latin alphabet. This sound is frequently written by the letter combination SH in English. Other languages use different letters and letter combinations such as CH in French, SCH in German, SJ in Swedish, SZ in Polish, Š in Czech and Ş in Turkish.

On the other hand, there isn't any dedicated sound for the letter C. In English C has several uses. It can stand for /k/ as in cat, /s/ as in city, /ʃ/ as in musician and /tʃ/ as in cello. Other languages use C for these and several other sounds, see details in Wikipedia.

English hard C can be represented by K and the soft C by S. Slavic /ts/, Italian /tʃ/ and Turkic /dʒ/ are compound sounds that are better represented by letter combinations than a single letter. So the letter C is free for re-use. /ʃ/ is the only simple sound that is widely used in modern languages and that doesn't have a dedicated letter in the Latin alphabet. That's why C stands for /ʃ/ in Pandunia.

The sound /tʃ/ (i.e. the CH in church) is logically written TC in Pandunia. This is another sound that is written in different ways in different languages. Some of them are in principle similar to the Pandunia way, including French TCH, German TSCH, Swedish TJ, Vietnamese TR, Finnish TŠ and Filipino TS.

Shouldn't "salam" mean "peace"?

In many languages, expressions of greeting have something to do with peace, health or well-being. The origins of Pandunia's word salam can be traced back to Semitic triliteral root SLM, which covers a variety of meanings including safety, security, peace and health. Likewise the English word salutation (and French greeting salut) can be traced back to Latin "salus", which means safety, security, health and well-being.

So the meaning of salam is greater than the meaning of peace. It means well-being in general and you can use it as a general expression for well-wishing in all kinds of situations, not just when you meet somebody. See the first lesson in the phrasebook for a lot of examples!