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.
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.
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’!