The idea of an international language is simply to enable people who have no other language in common to understand one another. Ido (pronounced "ee-doh") was developed by linguists and scientists over a number of years. It is the most practical language to be invented, and its usability has been demonstrated many times, both in writing and in speech. Books in and about Ido have been published in many countries, but as yet few people know about it. So the purpose here is to show how practical it is. As with many of the best inventions, simplicity is the key. Since Ido is very much easier than any national language, much less time and effort is needed if two people both learn Ido than if either learns the other's mother tongue. Ido is the solution waiting to be discovered. It cuts through the language barriers which hinder international understanding.

Let's look now at some of Ido's features and discover a few of the "secrets" of its amazing simplicity.


The vocabulary of Ido is based on that of the major European languages - English, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish - and therefore often indirectly on Latin.

Sometimes the words for a concept are very similar in most of these languages, so it is not difficult to choose a common form. In other cases the choice is not so obvious, but generally the form chosen is based on as many languages as possible.

Here are some examples of words in Ido compared with the equivalents in other languages where similar. In these examples Russian words have been written using Latin letters. Often the word in Ido is not similar to the most common equivalent in English but related to another English word which can be used as an aid to memory. (These "reminder" words are also given in the lists below.)

Note: E=English, F=French, G=German, I=Italian, R=Russian (in Latin letters), S=Spanish

banko - E:bank, F:banque, G:Bank, I:banca, R:bank, S:banco
bona - E:good (but remember "bonus"), F:bon, I:buono, S:bueno
donar - E:to give (but remember "donor"), F:donner, I:dare, donare, S:dar
filtrar - E:to filter, F:filtrer, G:filtrieren, I:filtrare, R:filtr, S:filtrar
gardeno - E:garden, F:jardin, G:Garten, I:giardino, S:jardin
kavalo - E:horse (but remember "cavalry"), F:cheval, I:cavallo, S:cavalo
maro - E:sea (but remember "marine"), F:mer, G:Meer, I:mare, S:mar
naciono - E:nation, F:nation, G:Nation, I:nazione, R:nacia, S:nacion
studiar - E:to study, F: etudier, G:studieren, I:studiare, S:estudiar
yuna - E:young, F:jeune, G:jung, R:yuniy.


Ido uses the 26 letters of the "Latin" alphabet, without any of the accented letters which vary from language to language. So it can be typed, printed and used with computers in most countries without any difficulty. Many letters are pronounced as in English. Note the following, however: c is always pronounced as ts (as in bits), never as k or s. The letter s is always sharp as in song and bus, never dull as in rose. The letter g is always hard as in get and brag, never soft as in page. The letter j is pronounced as in French and like the s in pleasure. The letter r should be slightly trilled and never silent. As a pair of letters, ch is pronounced as in church and sh as in shine.

The vowels a, e, i, o, u are pronounced much as in Spanish and Italian and as in the words "fAther, Eight, machIne, tOtal, rUle". Now practise saying the following words: pasas (pahsahs), paco (pahtsoh), generaciono (gheneratsiohnoh), jetar (jairtahrr), libro (leebroh), dum (doom). The accent or stress falls on the last syllable but one for all words except infinitives which are stressed on the last syllable. For example: generaciOno, mUri, universAla, telefOno, Exter, mUlte; but klozAr (to close), pensAr (to think), dankAr (to thank). When a word ends in a vowel preceded by i or u, the two vowels at the end of the word count as one syllable. So, for example, we say rAdio (not radIo), famIlio, mAnuo.


Ido helps the reader or listener to understand the function of a word. This is done by using endings which often signal the word type. For example, a noun (a word for something) ends with the letter -o in the singular, as in kavalo (horse), sukro (sugar), kozo (thing), puero (child). There is no equivalent to English "a" or "an" as it is not needed. The equivalent of "the" is la: so la kavalo means "the horse". The plural of a noun ends with the letter -I in place of -o. It is easy to see the meaning of kavali (horses), kozi (things) and pueri (children).


(Note: as previously mentioned, after the English word there is often given another word in parentheses which has a related meaning and is derived from the same (often Latin) word to which the Ido word is related.)

amiko - friend (amicable)
animalo - animal
aquo - water (aquatic)
batelo - boat
butiko - shop (boutique)
chambro - room, chamber
dio - day (diary)
domo - house (domestic)
dorso - back (dorsal)
floro - flower (florist)
foresto - forest
frukto - fruit (fructify)
hundo - dog (hound)
kapo - head (capital)
kavalo - horse (cavalry)
kozo - thing
libro - book (library)
ligno - wood (ligneous)
linguo - language (linguist)
maro - sea (mariner)
matino - morning (matins)
matro - mother (maternal)
mondo - world (mundane)
muro - wall (mural)
pano - bread (pantry)
patro - father (paternal)
peco - piece
pedo - foot (pedal)
persono - person
pomo - apple
pordo - door (portal)
puero - child (puerile)
rivero - river
stulo - chair
sukro - sugar (sucrose)
tablo - table
tempo - time (temporary)
urbo - town (urban)
vespero - evening (vespers)
vorto - word

Adjectives (words which describe things) end with the letter -a, as in rapida (fast), plena (full), bela (beautiful) and facila (easy). Advanced users may, particularly in verse, omit (elide) the final letter -a but normally it is retained as a useful indicator.


alta - high (altitude)
bela - beautiful (belle)
bona - good (bonus)
dolca - sweet (dulcet)
dormanta - sleeping (dormant)
facila - easy (facilitate)
felica - happy (felicity)
granda - big, large (grand piano)
interesanta - interesting
kelka - some
klara - clear (clarity)
kolda - cold
kurta - short (curtail)
mikra - small (microscope)
multa - much, many (multiply)
lenta - slow
nova - new (novelty)
omna - all, every (omnipotent)
plena - full (plenty)
plura - several (plural)
poka - few
rapida - fast, quick, rapid
saja - wise (sage)
simpla - simple
varma - warm
utila - useful (utility)
vera - true (veritable)
yuna - young


An adjective can be placed before or after the noun it qualifies or refers to. For example, "fast horses" can be rapida kavali or kavali rapida; "universal language" is universala linguo or linguo universala. Take some words from the lists and put together some simple combinations. See how easy it is: la lenta kavalo; granda flori; libro interesanta; la mikra reda pomi; linguo facila.


Verbs (words which mostly describe actions) are particularly easy compared with most languages. The infinitive is indicated by the ending -ar as in vidar (to see), pensar (to think). The present tense is indicated by the ending -as. For example, vidas (see or sees); pensas (think or thinks); klozas (close or closes); la hundo dormas (the dog sleeps).


amar - like (amity)
apertar - open (aperture)
bezonar - need
dankar - thank
dicar - say (diction)
divinar - guess (divination)
dormar - sleep (dormant)
drinkar - drink
esar - be
finar - end, finish
havar - have
interesar - interest
jetar - throw (jettison)
juntar - join (juncture)
kantar - sing (cantata)
kaptar - catch, capture
klamar - shout (clamour)
klozar - shut, close
komencar - begin, commence
komprar - buy
komprenar - understand, comprehend
kredar - believe (credible)
kurar - run (current)
lektar - read (lecture)
ludar - play (ludo)
montrar - show
parolar - talk (parley)
pendar - hang (pendant)
pensar - think (pensive)
portar - carry (portable)
povar - be able
pozar - put, pose, place
prenar - take
pulsar - push (pulsate)
questionar - ask, question
savar - know [a fact]
serchar - seek, search
sidar - sit
skribar - write (scribe)
tenar - hold (tenacious)
tirar - pull
trovar - find (treasure trove)
venar - come (intervene)
vendar - sell (vendor)
vidar - see (visible)
vivar - live (revive)
volar - wish, want


Now we have enough building blocks to make slightly more ambitious phrases. For example, sukro esas dolca (sugar is sweet), la puero questionas la matro (the child questions the mother), la pomi esas granda (the apples are large), kavalo esas animalo (a horse is an animal), kavali esas animali (horses are animals), la mikra hundo kuras en la foresto (the little dog runs in the forest).

Make up some more phrases for yourself in the same way. In contrast to many languages, in Ido the adjective does not vary to "agree" with the noun, and the verb does not vary according to the subject, so you can hardly go wrong.


Adjectives can be changed into adverbs by replacing that final letter -a with the letter -e, as in rapide (rapidly), facile (easily), klare (clearly) and bele (beautifully). Now add some adverbs to adjectives or verbs: vere facila (truly easy), parolar felice (to speak happily), la hundi serchas rapide (the dogs search quickly). There are also some adverbs which are not made from adjectives. For example, hike (here), tre (very), anke (also). Conjunctions are words used for joining ideas. For example, e (and), o (or), ma (but). Some of these and other types of words, such as prepositions, are given in the next list. These words do not end with any particular letter.


a - to
anke - also
ante - before
apud - beside
ca - this
de - from
di - of
du - two
dum - during
e - and
en - in
exter - outside
hike - here
hodie - today
ibe - there
inter - between
ja - already
kam - than
ke - that [conj.]
kun - with [together]
la - the
ma - but
min - less ne [placed before the verb] - not
no - no [as an answer]
nun - now
nur - only
o - or
per - with [by means of]
plu [with an adjective or adverb] - more
por - for
pos - after
pri - concerning, about
pro - because of
proxim - near
qua - which
quale - how
quo - what
se - if
sen - without
sub - under
sur - on
ta - that [not this]
til - until
tre - very
tro - too
tri - three
ube - where
un - one
yes - yes


Personal pronouns are words like "you" and "they". In Ido they do not change in the way some of them do in English, so me means either "I" or "me", and ni means either "we" or "us". As a result there are fewer words to learn. A particularly useful pronoun is lu which can be used whenever we don't want to, or can't, be more exact, as it often avoids the need to say il o el (he or she).

me - I, me;
vu - you (one person);
ilu - he, him;
elu - she, her;
olu - it;
lu - he, she, it;
ni - we, us;
vi - you (several people);
li - they, them.

To form the possessive pronoun, add the letter -a: mea - my; vua - your; ilua - his; elua - her; olua - its; nia - our; and so on.

Now we have enough material to write some even better sentences:
Ni vidas bela batelo sur la maro.
Vua hundo esas tre granda.
Li kuras rapide a la rivero.
Vi povas komprar pano en la urbo.
Me komprenas nun, e me trovas ke Ido esas vere simpla.


Using the words listed, you can already put together very many short phrases and sentences. Make a start with pronouns and verbs, varying each in turn: me skribas, elu skribas; ni venas, li venas. Then take some adjectives and nouns, again varying each in turn: granda domo, granda pomi, granda hundo; bela domi, bela animalo, bela kozi.

Go on to make longer phrases:
Mea amiko venas a nia domo.
La tablo e la stuli esas en la chambro.
La maro esas varma nun.
Olu ne esas kolda.
La mondo bezonas facila linguo.
Du personi sidas sur la muro.
Ni savas ke ligno esas tre utila.

Playing with words like this is an excellent way of building confidence and fluency, and in Ido it is exceptionally easy, as you can readily discover for yourself.


What about saying something like "they came" instead of "they come"? For the past tense, the ending to use is -is. So li venis means "they came", and li dankis means "they thanked". For the future tense the ending is -os. So li venos means "they will come", and li skribos means "they will write". As there are no irregular verbs, you can already understand the following: elu vidis bela flori en la gardeno; vu trovos kelka pano sur la tablo.


You now have a good idea of how Ido works and how easy it is. It was originally based largely on Esperanto (an earlier invention), but with many improvements. The result is a simple yet effective language which is easy to pronounce and sounds somewhat like Italian. You can easily build on your knowledge and could soon be able to understand much more. A useful knowledge of Ido can be acquired in a small fraction of the time needed for any national language. Through Ido you can correspond with people in other countries, and read books and magazines written in this international language. Ido is the key that opens the door to a wider world.

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