Occidental

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  September 1, 2022
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The language Occidental, later Interlingue, is a planned international auxiliary language created by the Balto-German naval officer and teacher Edgar de Wahl, and published in 1922. The vocabulary is based on already existing international words. The language is thereby naturalistic, at the same time as it is constructed to be regular. Occidental was quite popular in the years before the Second World War, but declined in the years thereafter. Occidental is devised so that many of its derived word forms reflect the similar forms common to a number of Western European languages, primarily those in the Romance family. This was done through application of de Wahl’s rule which is a set of rules for converting verb infinitives into derived nouns and adjectives. The result is a language easy to understand at first sight for individuals acquainted with several Western European languages. Coupled with a simplified grammar, this made Occidental exceptionally popular in Europe during the 15 years before World War II. In The Esperanto Book, Don Harlow says that Occidental had an intentional emphasis on European forms, and that some of its leading followers espoused a Eurocentric philosophy, which may have hindered its spread. Still, Occidental gained adherents in many nations including Asian nations. Before World War II it had grown to become the second largest international auxiliary language in numbers of adherents, after Esperanto. According to the Occidental magazine Cosmoglotta in 1928, a majority of Ido adherents took up Occidental in place of Ido. Occidental survived World War II, undergoing a name change to Interlingue, but faded into insignificance following the appearance in the early 1950s of a competing naturalistic project, Interlingua, attracting among others the notable Occidentalist Ric Berger.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.