Pandunia is a 21st century constructed language, created by Risto Kupsala. Like Esperanto or Ido, it is intended to serve (or at least be suitable to serve) as an international auxiliary language: a simple, neutral second language which everyone could learn (rather than having a single national language, like English, dominate and forcing everyone whose first language is something different to learn that). Unlike those, however, Pandunia strives to draw on a more representative sample of the world’s languages to put together its vocabulary and its grammar.

Pandunia’s main source languages are:

  • English
  • Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese mainly)
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Arabic
  • Russian
  • Hindi-Urdu
  • Japanese
  • Portuguese
  • Malay
  • Korean
  • Bengali
  • Swahili

To decide on vocabulary, Pandunia tries to find the word that is most-used across different widely-spoken languages. So, in addition to the above, it does also sometimes refer to other languages with large numbers of native speakers (like German, Persian or Vietnamese), mainly for help trying to find the “most” widespread word.

Pandunia seems to still be under active development and even though it’s been around for years and years, there’s still no “stable” version that a person could learn with the confidence it won’t be completely upended by radical changes in the pipeline. For example, it seems like the personal pronouns keep getting revamped. Another example is the Pandunia word for “language” itself, which in late 2021 was “basha”, and is now “basə” or “basy”, with [ʃ] no longer even a proper Pandunian phoneme 😐

Pandunia has gone through phases of being an isolating/analytic language (v0.x and v2), which is to say where morphemes are independent words as much as possible, and of being an agglutinative language (v1), where morphemes are particles that get tacked on to root words (cf. Esperanto and Ido). The latest version, the v3 alpha, tries to do both at the same time by having three versions of Pandunia coexist:

  • Mini Pandunia: isolating/analytic
  • Midi Pandunia: agglutinative
  • Maxi Pandunia: lots of inflection

Apparently it’s also desired that Pandunia could be seen as a propadeutic tool by language teachers, which is to say, they would teach an ap­pro­pri­ate­ly-in­flec­ted version of Pandunia to learners first to get them used to the grammar of their ultimate target language, then later “swap in” the target language with all its real vocabulary and tricky irregularities. I think.

Pandunia’s phonetics are designed to be simple, for maximum accessibility for speakers of different languages. As of Pandunia v3 there are six vowels (the cardinals, /a e i o u/ and schwa /ə/) and 19 main consonants. There are a bunch of other consonants (including [ʃ]) that are only supposed to be used in like, place names or borrowings that are only useful in a very specific context (like a food local to a specific country or region). Before v3 there were only five vowels (no schwa) and consonants like [ʃ] and [tʃ] were “core” sounds even though they no longer are.

Personally I think Pandunia is an intriguing idea but it wouldn’t be fair to ask people to “learn” a moving target like this. I am also unsure how it’s supposed to work as an IAL with three separate grammar systems people can just choose between. A similar project to create a “more global” IAL, but one which is apparently more stable, is Globasa.

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