Meanderings of an Amateur Linguist

Just me and my languages – a dangerous combonation

Archive for December, 2008

Volapük: Lesson 2/Volapük: Tiodem Tel

Posted by ILuvEire on December 1, 2008

Volapük is a heavily agglutinative language as I’m sure you know. Each noun can be declined in the Nominative, Dative, Genitive, and Accusative cases. I will abbreviate them as nom., dat., gen., and acc. in the rest of this lesson. The other abbreviations I will be using are pl., and sing..

The nom. sing. doesn’t really have a declension. It is the base for forming all of the other declensions.
The nom. pl. uses the suffix -s.

Acc. sing. uses the suffix -i
Acc. pl. uses -is

Dat. sing. is -e
Dat. pl. is -es

Gen. sing. is -a
Gen. pl. is -as

A fully declined noun:
Nom. Sing. Yat
Nom. pl. Yats
Acc. sing. Yati
Acc. pl. Yatis
Dat. sing. Yate
Dat. pl. Yates
Gen. sing. Yata
Gen. pl. Yatas

Volapük doesn’t use articles for “native words” (real Volapük words). Words that don’t have Volapük equivalents, and ones that wont be transliterated use a “dummy article”. Called el. It is declined instead of the word itself.

This is usually only used for place names. For example using my name (Tyler), I don’t call myself el Tyler. When people are going to see me they say Kileke, not ele Tyler (using the transliteration of my name into Hawaiian, Kileki, and deleting the i).
el New York
els New York

eli New York
elis New York

ela New York
elas New York

ele New York
eles New York

Decline the word buk (book).
Decline the place name Helsinki


Posted in Languages, Volapük - Volapük | 2 Comments »

Volapük: Lesson 1/Volapük: Tiodem Bal

Posted by ILuvEire on December 1, 2008


IPA will be in green, X-SAMPA in blue, but only when they differ. There will also be English examples.
A: /a/ spa
E: /e/ egg
I: /i/ meat
O: /o/ no
U: /u/ blue
Then there are the three umlauted vowels. Similar to the German umlauts.
Ä: / ɛ E/ made

Ö: / ø 2/ This one has no English equivalent. Make it by making your lips say “oo” but have your mouth say “eh”.
Ü: /y/ This one doesn’t have an English equivalent either. Make it by making your lips say “oo” but your mouth say “ee”.
If you cant type umlauts, just leave them out. There is nothing like the <ae oe ue> of German used.
There are also handwritten shortcuts to the umlauts. I personally use them all the time. You can see them here (I can’t post the image because it’s too big.)

All of the consonants are the same as their IPA values except the following:
C: / tS/ church
J: /ʃ S/ shin
X: /ks/ Mexico
Y: /j/ yes
Z: /ts/ Mets
Some amount of voicing is allowed for all of the consonants, especially <C, J>.


Practice saying the numbers 1-10.
1. bal
2. tel
3. kil
4. fol
5. lul
6. mäl
7. vel
8. jöl
9. zül
10. deg

Posted in Languages, Volapük - Volapük | Leave a Comment »

Why I learn Volapük

Posted by ILuvEire on December 1, 2008

Glidis! Alärnosös Volapüki!

I’m one of the world’s few Volapükists. I’ve been asked so many times why I choose to support this language, as opposed to other IALs (Interational Auxiliary Languages). I’ve broken it up into two points.

1) International Vocabulary

Volapük’s vocabulary is far more “international” than Esperanto, Novial, Ido, Lingua Franca Nova and pretty much every other IAL, except for Lojban/Loglan. Much (if not all) of Volapük’s vocabulary is derived from English and German (the two languages its creator spoke the best). Volapük however has an extremely constricting syllable structure. Every word must begin and end in a consonant. He attempted to make the vocabulary as international as possible, and ended up with these extremely changed words, mutilated some would say. This makes the vocabulary equally hard for everyone. Lol means rose, but only in Volapük. A Japanese speaker and an English speaker will both have the same difficulty learning it.

The creator also attempted to keep all of the words to one syllable long (so that compounds wouldn’t be so long, and affixes could be easily applied). This means that he also avoided any long consonant clusters.

2) Grammar

Volapük’s grammar is quite complicated. It’s heavily agglutinative. This is pretty much hard for everyone, because his cases are used in different ways than most other agglutinative languages (like Hungarian or Finnish). He keeps his case endings very short (one vowel apiece) and his tense prefixes are one vowel long, then each mood suffix is a vowel and consonant long (like –ös for example, except for the passive prefix which is just p– . He wraps things up in a little package. I like it.

On top of that, the grammar is not similar to any living language. I think that the creator did that on purpose, so that the language would be totally different and therefore more international.

Some examples:

Lol – rose (nom)

Loli – acc

Lola – gen

Lole – dat

Then, add an –s to make the plural.

Each verb has tons of conjugations and forms, so I’m only going to demonstrate a few. I’m going to have the root bolded on each of the examples, and then the feature I’m trying to demonstrate italicized.

Lärnön – to learn

Lärnom – He learns

The present tense is formed by adding the appropriate pronoun. Om means “he,” so all you have to do is suffix it to the end of the stem.

Alärnomös! – Learn now!

Most of the moods are suffixed after the person inflection. The passive voice is p– on the frond of the tense prefix.

If you ever want someone to talk to about Volapük, I’m right here for ya’!

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