Comparison between Esperanto and Ido

Esperanto and Ido are constructedinternational auxiliary languages, with Ido being derived from Esperanto.

Comparison of related international auxiliary languages.
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Esperanto flag


Ido flag


Esperanto was developed by L. L. Zamenhof, who published it in 1887 under the pseudonym Dr Esperanto. It immediately became popular, but soon the members of the movements were making suggestions as to how they thought it might be improved. Zamenhof responded by making a list of possible changes to Esperanto and in 1894 put them before the Esperanto community. If accepted they would create what Dr Zamenhof called “a Reformed Esperanto”. This proposed reformed Esperanto is sometimes referred to as Esperanto 1894. However, when the Esperanto community was invited to vote on whether to adopt the proposals, they rejected the proposals by a large majority.

Ido was created around a quarter of a century after Esperanto. The name Ido means “offspring” in Esperanto and was so named by its creators because it was a development of Esperanto. The creation of Ido led to a schism between those who believed that Esperanto should be left as it was and those who believed that it had what they perceived as inherent flaws which made it not quite good enough to be the world’s international auxiliary language. Those who opposed change maintained that it was endless tinkering that had led, in their opinion, to the decline of Volapük, a once popular constructed language that had predated Esperanto’s publication by a few years. They also cited the rejection of Zamenhof’s 1894 reform proposals.

The languages of Esperanto and Ido remain close, and largely mutually intelligible, like two dialects of the same language. Just as dialects of a language are quite often sources of new words for that language through literature, so Ido has contributed many neologisms to Esperanto (especially in poetic substitutes for long words using the mal- prefix).

One study conducted with 20 college students at Columbia University circa 1933 suggests that Esperanto’s system of correlative words is easier to learn than Ido’s. Two other studies by the same researchers suggest no significant overall difference in difficulty of learning between Esperanto and Ido for educated American adults, but the sample sizes were again small: in the two tests combined, only 32 test subjects studied Ido. The researchers concluded that additional comparative studies of Esperanto and Ido are needed.[1]

. . . Comparison between Esperanto and Ido . . .

Aspect Esperanto Ido Example
Alphabet uses diacritics
(ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ, ŝ, ŭ)
and a digraph
uses digraphs
(ch, sh, qu)
Translation of “chamber”, “shoe”, and “square”:
ĉambro / ŝuo / kvadrato (Esp.)
chambro / shuo / quadrato (Ido)
Gender masculine by default;
feminine optional
gender-neutral by default;
masculine and
feminine optional
Gender of “elephant”:
elefanto (default) / elefantino (fem.) (Esp.)
elefanto (default) / elefantulo (masc.) / elefantino (fem.) (Ido)
Antonyms formed by mal- prefix come from
natural vocabulary
Translation of “warm” and “cold”:
varma / malvarma (Esp.)
varma / kolda (Ido)
Infinitives -i suffix -ar suffix Translation of “to go”:
iri (Esp.)
irar (Ido)
Imperative -u suffix -ez suffix Translation of “go!”:
iru! (Esp.)
irez! (Ido)
Plural noun -oj suffix
-i suffix
Plural of domo (“house”):
domoj (Esp.)
domi (Ido)
Adjectives Agree with nouns Not declined Translation of “big dogs”:
grandaj hundoj (Esp.)
granda hundi (Ido)
Mandatory Only when object
precedes subject
Translation of “I drink milk” / “I milk drink” / “Milk I drink”:
“mi trinkas lakton” / “mi lakton trinkas” / “lakton mi trinkas” (Esp.)
“me drinkas lakto” / “me lakto drinkas” / “lakton me drinkas” (Ido)
Sometimes rendered Never rendered Translation of “Europe”:
Eŭropo (Esp.)
Europa (Ido)
No. of
c. 100,000–2,000,000 c. 100–1,000

. . . Comparison between Esperanto and Ido . . .

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. . . Comparison between Esperanto and Ido . . .

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