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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

456                The Loom of Language
he had taken spoken English as his model, with due regard to any
merits of German, French, Spanish, and Italian The vowel battery of
Schleyer's phonetic apparatus was made up of a, e, iy o, u, together
with the German a, 0, w, of which the last is notoriously difficult for
English-speaking people to pronounce In conformity with his German
bias, the consonants included the guttural ch sound Out of chivalrous
consideration for children, elderly people, and China's four hundred
million, Schleyer discarded the r sound in favour of/ (absent in Japanese)
and other substitutes This happened before anyone drew Schleyer's
attention to the fact that the Chinese have an r By then he had
changed our English red or German rot to led Similarly rose becomes
lol
In the grammar of Volapuk the noun, like the noun of German and
unlike that of Anglo-American or of any Romance language, trailed
behind it case-marks with or without the uniform plural -S In this
way father becomes
SINGULAR                           PLURAL
Nonun                 fat                         fats
Ace                      fall                         fatis
Gen                     fata                        fatas
Dat                     fate                        fates
There was no grammatical gender Where sex raised its ugly head
the simple noun form represented the male, which could assimilate the
lady-like prefix ^2-, as in blod-jiblod (brother-sister) and dog-jidog (dog-
bitch) The adjective was recognizable as such by the suffix -z, e g
gudik (good), supplemented by -el when used as a noun, e g gudikel
(the good man), jigudikel ^the good woman) Gain on the roundabouts
by levelling the personal pronoun (ob = I, ol = thou, obs = we, oh
= you, etc ) was lost on the swings, because each person had four
cases (e g ob, obt> oba3 obe) From the possessive adjective derived from
the pronoun by adding the suffix -z&, e g obik (my), you got the pos-
sessive pronoun by an additional -/, e g obikel (mine) Conjugation
was a bad joke In what he had to learn about the vagaries of the Vola-
puk verb, the Chinese paid a heavy price for the liquidation of r.
Whether there was or was not an independent subject, the personal
pronoun stuck to the verb stem So fat lofom literally meant the father
love he There were six tenses, as in Latin, each of them with its own
charactensttc vowel prefixed to the stem, presumably in imitation of
the Greek augment