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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Pioneers of Language Planning          457
lofob      I love                        ilofob        I had loved
alofob    I loved                      olofob       I shall love
elofob     I have loved.              ulofob       I shall have loved
Strange to say., the prefix a- of the imperfect and the o- of the future
also appeared on adverbs formed from del (day), adela (yesterday),
adelo (to-day) There were characteristic suffixes for a subjunctive and
a potential mood, and each with all six tense forms, e g elofomla (that
he has loved) By prefixing p- you could change the active to the
passive, and interpolate an i immediately after the tense-mark to signify
habitual action So it was possible to make one word to say of a woman
that she had been loved all the time The Schleyer imperative, like the
Schleyer deity, was threefold, with a gentle wll-you-please form in -os,
a normal one in -od9 and a categorical of the worft-you-shut-up sort in
"02 The mark of interrogation was a hyphenated /z, prefixed or suffixed,
and the negative particle was no placed before the verb, e g no-h
elofons-la? (will you not have loved?). If admittedly more regular than
either, Volapuk had almost as many grammatical impedimenta as
Sanskrit or Lithuanian
The Volapukists rightly claimed that the root-material of their
language was taken from English, German, Latin, and its modern
descendants Unluckily, the roots suffered drastic casttgatton from
Father Schleyer's hands before they became unrecognizable in the
Volapuk lexicon The memory of the beginner had nothing to bite on
All roots had to conform with a set of arbitrary conditions To take on
several prefixes and suffixes, they had to be monosyllabic, and even so
the enormous length to which such a word could grow forced Schleyer
to italicize the root itself He had to alter all words which ended in a
sibilant (c, 5, #, etc ) to accommodate the plural s; and every root had
to begin and end with a consonant. From this German sausage-machine,
knowledge emerged as not, difficulty osfikul, and compliment SLSphm, the
German word Feld as/07, Licht as lit> and Wunde as vun The name of
the language itself illustrates the difficulties of detection Even geo-
graphical names did not escape punishment. Italy, England, and
Portugal became Tal, Nehj, and Bodugan Europe changes to Yulop,
and the other four continents to Melop, Silop, Fikop, and Talop Who
would guess that Vol in Volapuk comes from world, and puk from
The method of word-derivation was as fanciful, as illogical, and as
silly as the maltreatment of roots In the manner of the catalanguages,
there was a huge series of pigeon-holes each labelled with some affix.