Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Ido and Toblerone

An interesting language sighting. For a while I've had on the shelf a promotional cube toy (see Magic Folding Cube) that can be manipulated to show various pictures relating to Toblerone chocolate. But I'd never studied very closely the above picture on one of the main faces, with its logo Swisiana Lakto-Chokolado Toblerone. Linguo Internaciana "Ido". Reform-Esperanto.

This thoroughly understandable text (apart from the name) is written in the contructed language Ido. As the Wikipedia article explains, this was developed in the early 1900s by a schismatic group from the Esperanto community to repair perceived flaws in Esperanto.  Very loosely - see Comparison between Esperanto and Ido - the modifications bring the morphology and roots of Ido closer to the familiar European Romance languages, and away from Esperanto's Slavic and agglutinative elements. There has been a deal of drama in the relationship between the two languages that I won't go into; I'll just recommend a glance at idolinguo.org.uk to get some of the flavour. It does look a very accessible language, though strongly Latin-based.
La lektanto es invitata unesme nur ganar la savo necesa por komprenar ca linguo. Balde vu deskovros la plezuro di rapida progreso e forsan vu volos korespondar kun ulu en altra lando. Ni savas ke Ido funcionas. Nun vu povas probar ol. Ido es klefo qua apertas la pordo a plu vasta mondo.

The reader is invited first just to gain the knowledge necessary to understand this language. Soon you will discover the pleasure of rapid progress and perhaps you will want to correspond with someone in another country. We know that Ido works. Now you can try it. Ido is a key that opens the door to a wider world.
As to why it should turn up on Toblerone merchandise: that's down to Theodor Tobler, the chocolate company's founder, who was a committed internationalist and a proponent of Ido. A number of Tobler's collectable cards were similarly written in Ido.

As you can see, these cubes can show nine pictures: the six 2x2 on the faces, and three 2x4 on the three hidden orthogonal 'slices'.

- Ray


  1. Nice, another Ido Toblerone sighting. I've seen a discussion on Idolisto once before about it and they'll be interested in seeing this one too. I'll mention it on Page F30 (my site) as well probably tomorrow or the next day.

    There's also a site here with a lot of old documents in Ido that have been scanned in case you're interested:

    I recently finished typing up the Kelka maestroverki dil moderna liriko Araba, which is a collection of (very) short stories and poems in Arabic translated into Ido in 1926.

  2. Thanks. As you see, I just added a video showing the other faces.