SCIENCE
01/20/2015 10:48 am ET Updated Jan 20, 2015

What Languages The World Will Speak In 2115

The Tower of Babel, 1595. Found in the collection of the Dresden State Art Collections. (Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Im
The Tower of Babel, 1595. Found in the collection of the Dresden State Art Collections. (Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

In 1880 a Bavarian priest created a language that he hoped the whole world could use. He mixed words from French, German and English and gave his creation the name Volapük, which didn’t do it any favors. Worse, Volapük was hard to use, sprinkled with odd sounds and case endings like Latin.

It made a splash for a few years but was soon pushed aside by another invented language, Esperanto, which had a lyrical name and was much easier to master. A game learner could pick up its rules of usage in an afternoon. But it didn’t matter. By the time Esperanto got out of the gate, another language was already emerging as an international medium: English.

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