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Volapuk, Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua, Novial… A half dozen constructed languages have been invented in an effort to create a lingua franca to ease communication between people whose native languages are different. So far, none has been effective enough.

Against this background, attempts have been made to revitalize Latin as a universal language of international intercourse. Why Latin?

The choice of an existing living language would give such an advantage to the nation whose language was chosen that other nations would not allow it. On the other hand, the adoption of the Latin language (which is considered dead, but is still spoken by a small number of scholars and members of the clergy and is taught in schools and universities worldwide) would be a neutral solution.

Moreover, Latin already served successfully for centuries as a language of international communication. During the Middle Ages, it was the medium for all sciences, theology, higher education, academic communication, administration, and legislation throughout Europe.

First attempts to revitalize the use of Latin as a lingua franca were made in the 19th century. The Latin language revival movement continued in the 20th century. In 1925, the League of Nations formed a commission to study the problem of an international language. There was a suggestion to adopt Medieval Latin, simplified and modified, as the international language. But the suggestion was not supported by the commission.

The International Conferences for Living Latin (the first of which took place in 1956) made additional attempts to revivify Latin, this time with the help of scientists and philologists. As a result, Latin today is "more alive than dead." For example, the European Union in 2000 adopted its official motto in Latin, In varietate concordia, i.e. United in diversity; there are magazines and books published in Latin, as well as translations into Latin.


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Further reading:

Latin phrases with English,
Russian and Ukrainian translation.

Latin proverbs accompanied by
equivalent English, Russian and
Ukrainian proverbs.