Frequently Asked Questions

General

How many people can speak Pandunia?

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

How can I help to spread Pandunia?

Learn Pandunia! Speak it with others! Talk about it with others! Write stories or articles, make videos, podcasts, music, etc.

You can also help with this website by translating content and correcting mistakes. Contents ("source code") of this website are stored in GitHub. You can also send your edited files by email to risto@pandunia.info

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 2021 – but of course languages evolve all the time!

What does the flag of Pandunia represent?

The flag of Pandunia represents global equality. There is a symbol of the blue planet against the background of the dark blue space. The equality sign is laid over the Earth.

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

Platypus (batakrote in Pandunia) 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 (so called pidgins and creoles) gave many ideas. It is an interesting observation that when speakers of different languages come into contact, they tend to create extremely simplified grammar to overcome the language barrier — no matter how complex languages they speak natively.

Who made Pandunia?

The starter of Pandunia is Risto Kupsala (born in Finland in 1979). He is a language hobbyist and an engineer in information technology who wants to help the world communicate better. People from many countries have helped over the years. There is a list of some of the contributors in GitHub.

Auxiliary language

What is a worldlang?

A worldlang is a constructed interlanguage that borrows its words, speech sounds and possibly grammar from different language families of the world. There are many worldlangs. Some of them are listed here.

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 similar to the European languages.

Did Esperanto contribute to the birth of Pandunia?

At first Esperanto was an important source of inspiration. However the influence of Esperanto to the final language is insignificant. Pandunia has very different structure and vocabulary compared to Esperanto.

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.

Isn't it easier to just speak English instead?

English is indeed widely used – even up to a degree that some would like to call it the international language. Unfortunately, English is not very good at being an international language. It's not its own fault. It just happens to be the case that natural languages, including English, French, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin Chinese and most others, are the products of very long, natural, undirected language evolution. How things are said and written in these languages is more because of convention and tradition than because of beauty, logic, simplicity and practicality.

There is also the viewpoint of fairness. International communication should be fair, like a meeting where everybody get together half-way. That's not the situation with English. Native English speakers don't need to make any effort in learning the international language, while everybody else has to spend years learning English in school or on their own. Native English speakers are in a dominant position that they have gained just by their birth. That's not fair.

This is mostly a result of political history. Britain was once successful at invading and submitting other territories in the age of colonialism and it imposed the English language on other peoples. Although the power of Britain waned eventually, its military, economic and cultural dominance was continued by another English speaking power, the United States, until today.

Native English speakers always have an advantage over non-native speakers because they speak English fluently and they are aware of all the cultural nuances. Native English speakers speak English perfecty by definition, whereas non-native speakers speak it almost always with an accent – and it's their job to lose that accent! They also tend to make mistakes in grammar and they often select their words poorly because English vocabulary is huge, layered, and nuanced.

The table below summarizes the main points of difference between English (a natural language) and Pandunia (a constructed helping language).

English vs Pandunia
Western Global
Many standards (British, American, Indian, etc.) One standard
Very irregular spelling Regular spelling
Irregular stress Regular stress
12 vowels and 24 consonants 5 vowels and 19 consonants
Almost 200 irregular verbs
e.g. speak, spoke, spoken
Only regular verbs
Inflected verbs
e.g. talk, talks, talked
Unchanging verbs
Inflected nouns
e.g. one life, two lives
Unchanging nouns
Inflected adjectives
e.g. good, better, best
Unchanging adjectives
Huge vocabulary Concise vocabulary
Duplicate words from Germanic, Latinate and Greek roots Few duplicate words
Complex and irregular word formation Transparent and regular word building
Changing word order e.g. in questions One fixed word order

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 Pandunia is spoken as the universal second language.

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.

Vocabulary

Why the last vowel of words is sometimes different in Pandunia than in language X?

The main reason is that Pandunia borrows words from many languages, and often those languages don't agree about the final vowel. For example the word supe (soup) ends in -a in Spanish sopa, in -u in Japanese スープ (sūpu), in -e in German Suppe, and not in any vowel in English soup. So it's not one and the same word but rather an international family of similar words, and Pandunia's supe fits perfectly into that family.

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!