The language Interlingue, known as Occidental until 1949, is a planned international auxiliary language created by Edgar de Wahl, a Balto-German naval officer and teacher from Tallinn, Estonia, and published in 1922. The vocabulary is based on already existing words from various languages and a system of derivation using recognized prefixes and suffixes. The language is thereby naturalistic, at the same time as it is constructed to be regular. Occidental was quite popular in the years up to, during, and shortly after the Second World War, but declined thereafter. Occidental is devised so that many of its derived word forms reflect the forms common to a number of Western European languages, primarily those in the Romance family, along with a certain amount of Germanic vocabulary. Many words were formed through application of de Wahl's rule, a set of rules for regular conversion of verb infinitives into derived words including from double-stem verbs of Latin origin (e.g. vider to see and its derivative vision). The result is a language easy to understand at first sight for individuals acquainted with several Western European languages. This readability and simplified grammar along with the regular appearance of the magazine Cosmoglotta made Occidental popular in Europe during the 15 years before World War II. In The Esperanto Book, Don Harlow says that Occidental had an intentional emphasis on European forms, and that some of its leading followers espoused a Eurocentric philosophy, which may have hindered its spread. Still, Occidental gained adherents in many nations including Asian nations. Occidental survived World War II, undergoing a name change to Interlingue, but faded into insignificance following the appearance in 1951 of a competing naturalistic project, Interlingua, which attracted among others the notable Occidentalist Ric Berger. The emergence of Interlingua occurred around the same time that Edgar de Wahl, who had opted to remain in Tallinn, was sent to a sanitarium by Soviet authorities and was not permitted to correspond with Occidentalists in Western Europe. His death was confirmed in 1948. The proposal to change the name from Occidental to Interlingue was twofold: to attempt to demonstrate to the Soviet Union the neutrality of the language, and in hopes of a union with Interlingua.


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