Arturo Alfandari

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Arturo Alfandari
Born (1888-06-08)8 June 1888
Died 1 May 1969(1969-05-01) (aged 80)
Occupation diplomat
Known for Inventor of Neo

Arturo Alfandari (8 June 1888 – 1 May 1969) was a Belgian diplomat, known as the creator of the constructed language Neo.


Originally from Italy, in the First World War he served as a cipher officer for the Italian High Command. After the war he settled in Belgium, where he worked as an exporter before eventually becoming a diplomat for the Belgian state.[1] Apart from Neo, he spoke seven languages.


His proposal for Neo, an international auxiliary language, was developed in the 1930s and first presented in 1961. As with Ido and some other constructed languages of the time, Alfandari's own was based on Esperanto, although he added elements from English, French, German and Russian. However, he took some further steps, reducing the use of initial and final syllables, and devising a built-in vocabulary. Root words were made as short as possible, thus emphasizing rhythm and articulation, but sometimes, as with Volapük, at the expense of easy recognition of word meanings.

War veteran Paul Rasquin, from Geraardsbergen, Belgium,[2] described Alfandari's language as "the natural and inevitable further development of Esperanto",[3] whilst Aldo Lavagnini considered it as "a radical and satisfying way for a reform of Esperanto, which could have been accepted by Esperantists even as a simplification of their language."[3]

“After 25 years of research,“ a feature article in Life magazine stated, Alfandari had presented “a 1,300-page volume containing the complete grammar and 60,000-word vocabulary of his new universal language, Neo. Using Latin for many roots of words, Italian for phonetics, a vocabulary range inspired by French, adverbs and conjunctions from German and grammar from English and Russian, he claims to have welded them into a clearer and more fluent mixture than Esperanto, from which he also borrowed some structure.”[3][1] He said he'd put so much effort into it because “whether you are Flemish or Walloon, white or black, American or Russian, you all want peace, to make an attempt to understand and support each other.” Despite those efforts, however, Neo had much the same fate as most other such language projects, with the notable example of Esperanto itself: it did not survive its creator.


  1. ^ a b Life Magazine. June 16, 1961. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
  2. ^ Chris Cordner, "Six people may hold the key to a Belgian man’s Hartlepool quest", 9 September 2016, Hartlepool Mail. Accessed 1 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Michael Everson, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in Neo". March 21, 2013. Accessed 1 February 2017.