Neo (constructed language)

From HandWiki
Created byArturo Alfandari
Setting and usageInternational auxiliary language
Users"a small following"[1]
SourcesMost of the vocabulary from Romance and some from Germanic languages; phonology from Romance and Slavic languages
Official status
Regulated byAkademio de Neo (now defunct)
Language codes
ISO 639-3neu

Neo is a constructed international auxiliary language created by Arturo Alfandari, a Belgian diplomat of Italian descent. The language combines features of Esperanto, Ido, Novial and Volapük. The root base of the language and grammar (in contrast to that of Esperanto and Ido) are closely related to that of the French language, with some English influences.


The first Neo draft was published in 1937 by Arturo Alfandari but attracted wider attention in 1961 when Alfandari published his books Cours Pratique de Neo and The Rapid Method of Neo. The works included both brief and complete grammar, learning course of 44 lectures, translations of literary works (poetry and prose), original Neo literature, scientific and technical texts, idioms, detailed bidirectional French and English dictionaries. The total volume of the publications was 1304 pages, with dictionaries numbering some 75,000 words. Such a degree of details was unprecedented among constructed languages of the time.

The language stands in the tradition of international auxiliary languages such as Esperanto or Ido, with the same goal: a simple, neutral and easy to learn second language for everybody.

Neo attracted the interest of the circle around the International Language Review, a periodical for IAL proponents whose publishers co-founded the international Friends of Neo (Amikos de Neo) with Alfandari; the organization also published its bulletin, the Neo-bulten. For a few years it looked like Neo could give some serious competition to Esperanto and Interlingua.

As Alfandari's health worsened, to avoid disappearance of his language, he founded a second, more serious organization: the Academy of Neo (Akademio de Neo), with the task of regulating, nurturing and spreading the language; but the organization was not very successful. Progress was cut short by Alfandari's death in 1969 and the language was mostly forgotten.[3]


Grammatically, the language is mostly influenced by Ido and Esperanto; but also, in some characteristics such as a plural -s and natural-appearing pronouns, by the naturalistic IALs like Interlingua and Occidental.

The cover of The Rapid Method of Neo

The way of forming the vocabulary and the preference for short, monosyllabic words show a substantial Volapük influence but, unlike the latter's roots which are often changed and mutilated beyond recognition, the Neo roots are easily recognizable as Romance.

It is also notable for its terseness, which exceeds that of English or any International auxiliary language (IAL) of the a priori type, which makes it very compact and brief in expression, and for the facility of its grammar whose overview occupies only two pages.

Orthography and phonology


Neo alphabet (+ digraphs)
Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 - -
Upper 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 SH TS
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 sh ts
IPA phoneme a b t͡ʃ d e f g h i d͡ʒ k l m n o p kw r s t u v w ks j z ʃ t͡s

Neo uses the 26 letters of the standard Roman alphabet: five vowels and 21 consonants. When spelling a word, the letters have an -e ending:

a, be, ce, de, e, fe, ge, he, i, je, ke, le, me, ne, o, pe, qe, re, se, te, u, ve, we, xe, ye, ze.


Neo How to pronounce
c (ch) chair, such
g garden, log
j jewel, badge
q (kw) quart, liquid
s some, mash
sh shall, mash
ts tsetse, lots
w wing, southwest
x (ks) oxen, taxes
y yarn, yogurt

The c has the same pronunciation as the digraph ch; both are pronounced as in English words like chalk or chimney, and in borrowed Italian words like ciao or bocconcini, never with the 'k' sound in care or the 's' sound in certain. The g always has the “hard” pronunciation, never the “soft” pronunciation of gem or giant. The s is always unvoiced, never pronounced with the 'z' sound in rose or the 'zh' sound in leisure.

Other letters, including the vowels, are pronounced as in Esperanto. Words with the letters q (not pronounced 'kjoo' but as in English 'qu') and x (pronounced 'ks' without an initial vowel) may optionally be spelled with kw and ks, respectively. Each letter is always spoken in the same way, except that final h is silent in a few borrowed words like pashah, muftih, kadih, papah, mamah.


All words are written with initial small letters (minuscules), except for proper nouns and the first word of a sentence.


Words ending in a vowel have a stress accent on the second-last syllable. Words ending in a consonant have a stress accent on the last syllable.

Neo English meaning
libro book
patro father
kemio chemistry
folyo leaf
garden garden
amik friend

The plural -s or -os does not affect the stress accent.

Neo English meaning
libros books
gardenos gardens
amikos friends

In the combinations uo, au and eu, the vowels are to be pronounced separately, not as diphthongs. Nevertheless, the stress accent does not fall on the u in such vowel combinations.

Neo English meaning
linguo language
auto automobile
neutra neuter (grammatical gender)


The articles are invariable:

  • lo (the) : lo frato, lo soro, lo arbro → l'arbro
  • un (a/an) : un arbro

Adjectives end in a and are invariable:

  • un bona soro, un bona frato, lo bona fratos (no s added to lo, nor to bona)

Adverbs end in e and are invariable:

  • bon → bone

Singular nouns end in o, which can be dropped, as long as the pronunciations remain very easy.[4] Plural nouns end in os.

  • arbro, frat(o), sor(o), arbros
Pronoun declension:
English Subject Object Possessive
I mi me ma
you tu te ta
he il le la
she el le/ley la
it it le/it la
(reflexive) so se sa
we nos ne na
you vu ve va
they (m.)[citation needed] zi ze za
they (f.) zel ze/zey za

There is also the pronoun ziel for mixed-sex group.[5]

  • Mi vidar te = I see you
  • Tu vidar me = You see me


  • Present: ar → mi vidar (I see)
  • Past: ir → mi vidir (I saw/have seen)
  • Future: or → mi vidor (I will see)
  • Conditional: ur → mi vidur (I would see)
  • Imperative/infinitive: iu or u (the latter for polysyllabic verbs) → vidu! (See!)
  • Past participle: at → vidat (adjective: vidata) (seen)
  • Present participle: ande → vidande (adjective: vidanda) (seeing)
  • Future participle: inde → vidinde (adjective: vidinda) (will be seen)


The Lord's Prayer:

Na Patro ki sar in cel,
siu ta nom santat.
Venu ta regno.
Siu fat ta vol,
asben in cel, as on ter.
Na shakida pan ne diu oje.
E ne pardonu na debos,
as nos pardonar na deberos.
E no ne induku in tentado,
mo ne fridu da mal.


Look before you leap. = Miru pri salti.
Goodnight, Miss Wilson. = Bonnox, Damel Wilson.
What do you call this in Neo? = Kom namar vu eto nee?
Where are you going? = Qo tu?
It's none of my business. = Eto no ma eco.


1 un, 2 du, 3 tre, 4 qar, 5 qin, 6 sit, 7 sep, 8 ot, 9 non, 10 is
11 isun, 12 isdu
20 duis, 21 duisun, ... 30 treis, 40 qaris
100 ek, 1000 mil
5184 qinmil ek otisqar
3522 tremil qinek duis du

Wanderer's Nightsong (German: Wanderers Nachtlied) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

The Task by Douglas Blacklock:

Lo diplomata linguos

Latin sir, us l'endo del issepa seklo, l'oficala linguo de diplomatio. Latine so redaktir lo tratalos e l'akordos e so skambir lo komunikos inte governos. Lo last gran tratal ridaktat latine sir lo de Westfalio, in 1648; depdan kauzel preeminenta plas trenat pe Franso, Latin pokpoke cedar plas a fransal; e fransal restar us l'enso d'et seklo - us 1918 - lo diplomata linguo, lo linguo de tot internasyona medos.

Ab 1918, lo diplomata linguos jar du: fransal e anglal. In et du linguos, sir meant lo negosados pol Versailles-Tratal e pol osa paxtratalos de 1919 e sir ridaktat et tratalos, amba linguos fande fid; dok no sen inkonvenos, lo du textos pande somyes determeni def interpretazos.

Do 1945, espanal, rusal e cinal sir an admitat as oficala linguos. Nos nun nel epok de tradukeros e interpretos.

(Gino Buti)

Ka sor l'avena diplomata linguo?

Sar nel internasyona riunos, konferensos e kongresos, dey num pluar idide, ke lo neso d'un monda adlinguo se far senti pluste.

Nilo samtempe plu groteska e plu afligifa qam lo spekto ofrat pel kongresistos munat kon udokaskos, ki tentar, sen sem riusi, kapi lo diskorsos pronuncat in def lingoes. Diskorsos tradukat aste pe interpretos, dey lo melestas sar force, konforme l'itala dikton: tradukeros, trazeros.

Es so exijur dal parpreneros lo kono d'un komuna adlinguo, ke zi pur apreni kon infana izeso, so fur ilke un enorma ekonomio de temp, dengo ... e de malkomprenos.

(Arturo Alfandari)


  1. [1]
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds (2017). "Neo (Artificial Language)". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. Harlow, Don (2000). "How To Build A Language: Neo". The Esperanto Book. Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  4. Rapid Method of Neo, p. 10: not "tabl" or "libr" which may be difficult to pronounce
  5. Rapid Method of Neo, p. 16


External links