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Latino sine flexione

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Title: Latino sine flexione  
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Subject: International auxiliary language, Interlingua, Romance languages, Interlingua (disambiguation), Wilhelm Bladin
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Latino sine flexione

Latino sine flexione
Created by Giuseppe Peano
Date 1903
Setting and usage International auxiliary language
Sources Completely based on Latin, but influenced by ideas in other auxiliary languages
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog None

Latino sine flexione ("Latin without inflections"), or Peano’s Interlingua (abbreviated as IL), is an international auxiliary language invented by the Italian mathematician Giuseppe Peano (1858–1932) in 1903. It is a simplified version of Latin, and retains its vocabulary. It was published in the journal Revue de Mathématiques (meaning Mathematical Review), in an article entitled De Latino Sine Flexione, Lingua Auxiliare Internationale (meaning Latin Without Inflection, International Auxiliary Language),[1] which explained the reason for its creation. The article argued that other auxiliary languages were unnecessary, since Latin was already established as the world’s international language. The article was written in classical Latin, but it gradually dropped its inflections until there were none.


  • History 1
  • Parts of speech 2
  • Alphabet and pronunciation 3
  • Language examples 4
    • The Lord's Prayer 4.1
    • Latin proverbs converted to Latino sine flexione 4.2
  • Criticism 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


In 1903 Peano published the article De Latino Sine Flexione to introduce his language, by quoting a series of suggestions by Leibniz about a simplified form of Latin.[2][3] Peano’s article appeared to be a serious development of the idea, so he gained a reputation among the movement for the auxiliary language. In 1904 Peano undertook an essay about the way to obtain the minimal grammar of an eventual minimal Latin (Latino minimo), with a minimal vocabulary purely international.[4]

Peano and some colleagues published articles in Latino sine flexione for several years at the Revue de Mathématiques. Because of his desire to prove that this was indeed an international language, Peano boldly published the final edition of his famous Formulario mathematico in Latino sine flexione. However, as Hubert Kennedy notes, most mathematicians were put off by the artificial appearance of the language, and made no attempt to read it.[5]

In October 1907, Peano was at the Collège de France in Paris to take part in the Delegation for the Adoption of an International Auxiliary Language. Having declared for Latino sine flexione to be adopted, he eventually could not participate in the final voting, because of labour affairs at Turin.[6]

On 26 December 1908, Peano was elected member and director of the Akademi internasional de lingu universal still using Idiom Neutral, which was refounded one year later under the name Academia pro Interlingua. Every academician might use his favourite form of Interlingua, the term being initially used in a general sense as a synonym for international language, yet it soon began to be specially used to denote a reformed Latino sine flexione based on the common rules the academicians were reaching by frequent votings. Thus, the name Interlingua soon began to denote the language evolving from the Academia Pro Interlingua,[5] with the corresponding abbreviation IL.

Interlingua sign in 1911 (Discussiones N. 12)

However, every member was free to write in his own personal style, and indeed some members were proposing radical reforms which eventually might end up as independent languages (like Michaux's Romanal or De Wahl's Interlingue). For this reason, the name Peano’s Interlingua might be regarded as the most accurate for the particular standard by Peano. (As found in “Interglossa and its predecessors”.[7])

The discussions to reach a standard Interlingua may be seen on the pages of Discussiones, the official journal of the Academia pro Interlingua from 1909 to 1913. This and subsequent journals of the academy have been recently published in a CD-Rom by the mathematics department of the university of Turin,[8] the place where Peano developed his teaching and research.

Since De Latino Sine Flexione had set the principle to take Latin nouns either in the ablative or nominative form (nomen was preferred to nomine), in 1909 Peano published a vocabulary in order to assist in selecting the proper form of every noun,[9] yet an essential value of Peano’s Interlingua was that the lexicon might be found straightforward in any Latin dictionary (by getting the thematic vowel of the stem from the genitive ending, that is: -a -o -e -u -e from -ae -i -is -us -ei). Finally, a large vocabulary with 14 000 words was published in 1915.[10]

A reformed Interlingua was presented in 1951 by Alexander Gode as the last director of the International Auxiliary Language Association. It was claimed to be independent from Peano’s Interlingua, because it had developed a new method to detect the most recent common prototypes. But that method usually leads to the Latin ablative, so most vocabulary of Peano’s Interlingua would be kept. Accordingly, the very name Interlingua was kept, yet a distinct abbreviation was adopted: IA instead of IL.

Parts of speech

Though Peano removed the inflections of Latin from nouns and adjectives, he did not entirely remove grammatical gender, permitting the option of a feminine ending for occupations. The gender of animals is immutable. All forms of nouns end with a vowel and are taken from the ablative case, but as this was not listed in most Latin dictionaries, he gave the rule for its derivation from the genitive case. The plural is not required when not necessary, such as when a number has been specified, the plural can be read from the context, and so on. Verbs have few inflections of conjugation; tenses and moods are instead indicated by verb adjuncts. The result is a change to a positional language.


Particles that have no inflection in classical Latin are used in their natural form:

  • supra, infra, intra, extra… (but superiore, inferiore, interiore, exteriore from superior, -oris and so on.)
  • super, subter, inter, praeter, semper… (but nostro, vestro, dextro… from noster, -tra, -trum and so on.)
  • tres, quatuor, quinque, sex, septem, octo, novem, decem… (but uno from unus, -a, -um; duo from duo, -ae, -o; nullo from nullus, -a, -um; multo from multus, -a, -um, etc.)


The form of nouns depends on the Latin declensions.

Latin declension number (genitive ending) 1: -ae 2: -i 3: -is 4: -us 5: -ei
Latino ending -a -o -e -u -e
Latin declension/nominative form Latin genitive Latino English
1st: rosa rosae rosa rose
2nd: laurus lauri lauro laurel
3rd: pax pacis pace peace
4th: casus casus casu case
5th: series seriei serie series

Those proper nouns written with the Roman alphabet are kept as close to the original as possible. The following are examples: München, New York, Roma, Giovanni.


Number Singular Plural
1st person me nos
2nd person te vos
3rd person illo (male), illa (female), id (neutral) illos
Reflexive se se


Verbs are formed from the Latin by dropping the final -re of the infinitive. Tense, mood, etc., are indicated by particles, auxiliary verbs, or adverbs, but none is required if the sense is clear from the context. If needed, the past may be indicated by preceding the verb with e, and the future with i.

There are specific endings to create the infinitive and participles:

  • basic form: ama (loves)
  • infinitive: amare (to love)
  • passive participle: amato (loved)
  • active participle: amante (loving)

Adjectives and adverbs

Adjectives are formed as follows:

  • If the nominative neuter ends with -e, the Latino form is unchanged.
  • If the nominative neuter ends with -um, the Latino form is changed to -o: novum > novo (new).
  • In all other cases adjectives are formed with the ablative case from the genitive, as is the case with nouns.

Adjectives can be used as adverbs if the context is clear, or cum mente or in modo can be used:

  • Diligente (diligent): Cum mente diligente, cum diligente mente, in modo diligente, in diligente modo = diligently.


As with Latin, neither the definite nor the indefinite article exists in Latino sine flexione. When necessary they may be translated with pronouns or words such as illo (it, that) or uno (one):

  • da ad me libro = give me (the) book
  • da ad me hoc libro = give me this book
  • da ad me illo libro = give me that book
  • da ad me uno libro = give me a book
  • da ad me illo meo libro = give me that book of mine
  • da ad me uno meo libro = give me a book of mine

Alphabet and pronunciation

Capital letters
Lower case
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
IPA phonemes
a b k d e f g h i j k l m n o p k r s t u w w ks y z

According to Peano's guide to the language in 1931, "most Interlinguists are in favour of the old Latin pronunciation." This gives the pronunciation of vowels as follows:

  • a—as in father – [a]
  • e—as in they – [e]
  • i—as in feet – [i]
  • o—as in tone – [o]
  • u—as in rule – [u]
  • y—as French u[y]
  • j—as in yes – [j]
  • ae—as in eye[aj]
  • oe—as in boy[oj]

Consonants are pronounced as in English with the following exceptions:

  • b—like English b, but like p if followed by s or t – [b, p]
  • g—like g in go, get – [ɡ]
  • h—silent in th, ph, ch, rh, otherwise like English h – [h]
  • qu—as qu in quarrel – [kʷ]
  • r—as in correct (trilled) – [r]
  • v—like English w. – [w]
  • x—as ks. – [ks]
  • ch, ph, th—as c, p, t in can, pan, tan – [kʰ, pʰ, tʰ]
  • c—like k always, as in scan, scat – [k] (not aspirated)
  • p—as in span
  • t—as in stand

The following simplifications to pronunciation are also allowed:

  • y and j—as i in tin – [ɪ]
  • ae and oe—as [e] above
  • b—always like English b – [b]
  • h—silent
  • ph—as p or f – [f]
  • v—like English v – [v]
  • th—as t
  • ch—as c

The stress is based on the classical Latin rule:

  • Words with two syllables have the stress on the penult.
  • Words with three or more syllables have the stress on the penult only if it has a long vowel, otherwise on the antepenult[10] (p. xii).

A secondary accent may be placed when necessary as the speaker deems appropriate.

Language examples

The Lord's Prayer

This is a sample text, intended to give the reader a basic understanding of how the language sounds, and how closely it is related to Latin.

Latino sine flexione version: Interlingua version Latin version: English (ELLC - 1988[11])

Patre nostro, qui es in celos,
que tuo nomine fi sanctificato;
que tuo regno adveni;
que tuo voluntate es facto
sicut in celo et in terra.
Da hodie ad nos nostro pane quotidiano,
et remitte ad nos nostro debitos,
sicut et nos remitte ad nostro debitores.
Et non induce nos in tentatione,
sed libera nos ab malo.

Patre nostre, qui es in le celos,
que tu nomine sia sanctificate;
que tu regno veni;
que tu voluntate sia facite
como in le celo, etiam super le terra.
Da nos hodie nostre pan quotidian,
e pardona a nos nostre debitas
como etiam nos los pardona a nostre debitores.
E non induce nos in tentation,
sed libera nos del mal.

Pater noster, qui es in caelis,
sanctificetur nomen tuum.
Adveniat regnum tuum.
Fiat voluntas tua,
sicut in caelo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie,
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.
Et ne nos inducas in tentationem,
sed libera nos a malo.

Our Father (who are) in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

Latin proverbs converted to Latino sine flexione

Latin Latino sine flexione English
Vox populi, vox Dei. Voce de populo, voce de Deo. The voice of the people is the voice of God.
Hodie mihi, cras tibi. Hodie ad me, cras ad te. It is my lot today, yours to-morrow.
Gratia gratiam generat, lis litem lis. Gratia genera gratia, lite genera lite. Goodwill begets goodwill, bickering begets bickering.
In medio stat virtus. Virtute sta in medio. Virtue stands in the middle.
Qui non laborat, non manducet. Qui non labora, non debe manduca. He that laboureth not, let him not eat.
Medice, cura te ipsum. Medico, cura te ipso. Physician, cure thyself.
De gustibus non est disputandum. Nos ne debe disputa de gustu. There is no disputing about tastes.
Ars imitatio naturae est. Arte imita natura. Art imitates nature.
Do ut des. Me da ut te da. I give so that you give.
Designatio unius est exclusio alterius. Qui designa uno, exclude alio. Who chooses one excludes another.


Peano formally defended the maxim that the best grammar is no grammar, bearing in mind the example of Chinese.[note 1] According to Lancelot Hogben Peano’s Interlingua still shares a major flaw with many other auxiliary languages, having "either too much grammar of the wrong sort, or not enough of the right".[7] (p. 10) Hogben argues that at least nouns and verbs should be easily distinguished by characteristic endings, so that one can easily get an initial understanding of the sentence. Thus, in Peano’s Interlingua the verbs might be given some specific, standardized verbal form, such as the infinitive, which is sufficient at the Latin indirect speech. Instead, the raw imperative is proposed in De Latino Sine Flexione:

According to Hogben, another handicap is the lack of a pure article, which might clearly indicate the nouns. Nevertheless, Peano occasionally suggested that illo (that) and uno (one) might be used as articles.

Once more according to Hogben, the syntax of Peano’s Interlingua remained conservative:

Reviewing the list of more widely known Latin titles, one might conclude that the sequence noun-adjective is the norm in Latin, yet the inverted sequence is also current.[12] The ratio is over 2 to 1 in a list of Latin titles commented by Stroh.[13] E.g. “Principia Mathematica”. As for a sequence nominative-genitive, it may be the norm in Latin in a similar ratio. E.g. “Systema Naturae”. Indeed, the sequence nominative-genitive must always be the norm in Peano’s Interlingua, since the preposition de must introduce the genitive. Thus, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica would turn into Principio Mathematico de Philosophia Naturale. Since the function of both the adjective and the genitive is often the same, one might infer that the sequence noun-adjective might always be the norm.

See also

  • Dog Latin - imitation of Latin using words from other languages


  1. ^ In modern linguistics, counter to popular – and Peano's – usage, grammar does not refer to morphological structures alone, but also to syntax and phonology, for example, which both Latino sine flexione and Chinese still have. In this sense, "languages without grammar" cannot exist.


  1. ^ Peano, Giuseppe (1903). De Latino Sine Flexione. Lingua Auxiliare Internationale [9], Revista de Mathematica (Revue de Mathématiques), Tomo VIII, pp. 74-83. Fratres Bocca Editores: Torino.
  2. ^ Couturat, Louis (1901). La Logique de Leibniz. Paris.
  3. ^ Couturat, Louis (1903). Opuscules et fragments inédits de Leibniz. Paris.
  4. ^ Peano, Giuseppe (1904). Vocabulario de Latino internationale comparato cum Anglo, Franco, Germano, Hispano, Italo, Russo, Græco et Sanscrito [10]. Torino.
  5. ^ a b Kennedy, Hubert (2006). Peano. Life and Works of Giuseppe Peano. Concord, CA: Peremptory Publications: p. 169 (a), p. 185 (b).
  6. ^ Academia pro Interlingua (Nov. 1909). Délégation pour l’Adoption d’une Langue Auxiliaire Internationale [11]. Discussiones (2): p. 37-9.
  7. ^ a b Hogben, Lancelot (1943). Interglossa. A draft of an auxiliary for a democratic world order, being an attempt to apply semantic principles to language design. [12] Harmondsworth, Middlesex, Eng. / New York: Penguin Books: p. 10-11. OCLC 1265553.
  8. ^ Silvia Roero, Clara (coord.) (2003). Le Riviste di Giuseppe Peano [13] (CD-Rom N. 4). Dipartimento di Matematica dell’ Università di Torino.
  9. ^ Peano, Giuseppe (1909). Vocabulario Commune ad linguas de Europa [14]. Cavoretto - Torino.
  10. ^ a b Peano, Giuseppe (1915). Vocabulario Commune ad Latino-Italiano-Français-English-Deutsch pro usu de interlinguistas [15]. Cavoretto - Torino.
  11. ^ Praying Together
  12. ^ “Note on Peano’s Interlingua” [16]. Updated: June 2014.
  13. ^ Stroh, Wilfried (2009). Le latin est mort. Vive la latin! [2007. Latein ist tot, es lebe Latein]. Paris: Les Belles Lettres. ISBN 978-2-251-34601-4.

External links

  • a critique of Latino Sine Flexione
  • Instituto pro Latino sine flexione - Site in Latino sine flexione; Peano's original writings on this language, blog in Latino sine flexione, etc.
  • Blog in Latino sine Flexione
  • (Latino sine flexione) 100 exemplo de Interlingua, ab Giuseppe Peano
  • (Latino sine flexione) Revista "Discussiones", de Academia Pro Interlingua (1909-13)
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