(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

458                The Loom of Language
For instance, the suffix -el denotes inhabitants of a country or person-
agents So Pansel (Parisian) wore the same costume as rmtel (butcher)
The suffix -a/ denoted some animals, e g suplaf (spider),, tiaf (tiger), but
lem (lion) and jeval (horse) were left out in the cold The names of
birds had the label -rf, e g galit (nightingale)., the names of diseases -ip,
e g vahp (hydropsy), and the names of elements -in, e g vatin (hydro-
gen). The piefix lu- produced something ambiguously nasty Thus
Iwoat (more literally dirty water) stood for unne Lufaen (a nasty bee)
was a Volapuk wasp Schleyer's technique of building compounds of
Teutonic length turned the stomachs of his most devoted French
disciples As a sample, the following is the opening of Schleyer's
translation of the Lord's Prayer
" O Fat obas, kel binol in suis, pa^saludomoz nem ola!
Komoniod monargan ola*  Jenomoz vil olik, as in sul, i su tal1"
[x We can understand the success of Volapuk only if we assume that it
satisfied a deep, though still uncritical, longing equally acute in humani-
tarian and commercial circles So it was a catastrophe that a German
parish priest provided this longing with ephemeral satisfaction at such
a low technical level For a long time to come the naivetes of Volapuk
and its well-deserved collapse discredited the artificial language move-
ment Curiously enough it found many disciples in academic circles,
including language departments of universities, always the last refuge
of lost causes The American Philosophical Society', founded by Ben-
jamin Franklin, though sympathetic to proposals for a world-auxiliary,
was not taken in It appointed a committee in 1887to assess the merits
of Schleyer's interlanguage. In a very enlightened report the committee
formulated principles of which some should be embodied in any future
constructed world-auxiliary It rejected Volapuk because its gram-
matical structure turns back on the analytical drift of all the more
modern European languages, and because its vocabulary is not suffi-
ciently international
The committee suggested the issue of an invitation to all learned
societies of the world with a view to starting an international committee
for promoting a universal auxiliary based on an Aryan vocabulary con-
sonant with the "needs of commerce, correspondence, conversation,
and science " About two thousand learned bodies accepted this invita-
tion of Franklin's Society to a Congress to be held in London or Pans.
The Philological Society of London declined the invitation with thanks,
for reasons equally fatuous One was that there was no common Aryan