JACKI LYDEN, HOST:
Communications barriers have long vexed us, as showcased in the movie "Rush Hour."
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "RUSH HOUR")
CHRIS TUCKER: (As Carter) Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?
LYDEN: Scientists in the 17th century were working hard to understand; mainly, the secrets of the universe but also, each other. With Latin on the decline, they were seeking a whole new way of communicating that would defy barriers and borders - a universal language.