Skip to main content

Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Pioneers oj Language Planning          459
vocabulary. The other was that Volapuk was used all over the world It
was therefore too late in the day to offer a substitute
After the third Congress of 1889., votaries of Volapuk washed their
hands of the whole business, or ratted Many of those who ratted
followed the nsing star of Esperanto Some regained confidence and
continued to tinker with Schleyer's system Before the final collapse
St de Max had preferred Bopal (1887), and Bauer Spehn (1888)
Thereafter came Fieweger's Dtl (1893), Dormoy's Balta (1893)3 W.
von Armm's Veltparl (1896), and Bollack's Langue Bleue (1899) There
were several other amendments to Volapuk with the same basic defects
The stock-in-trade of all was a battery of monosyllabic roots, cut to
measure from natural languages,, and that past human recognition, or
cast in an even less familiar mould from an arbitrary mixture of vowels
and consonants The root was a solitary monohth surrounded by con-
centric stone-circles of superfluous, if exquisitely regular flexions
There was declension and conjugation of the traditional type, and a
luxuriant overgrowth of derivative affixes The essential problem of
word-economy was not in the picture Indeed, the inventor of La
Langtie Bleue (so-called because the celestial azure has no frontiers)
boasted that 144,139 different words were theoretically possible within
the framework of his phonetics
Before Volapuk, far better artificial languages had appeared on the
market without attracting enthusiastic followers One was Euro's
Unwersal-Sprache^ a purely a posteriori system of a very advanced type
The noun, like the adjective, is invariant Prepositions take over any
function which case-distinction may retain in natural languages The
outward and visible sign of number is left to the article or other deter-
minants The personal pronoun with a nominative and an accusative
form has no sex-differentiation in the third person A verb without
person or number flexions has a simple past with the suffix -ed3 a future
with -raz, and compound tenses built with the auxiliary kaben. Unlike
so many before and after him, Pirro did not shirk the task of designing
a vocabulary His lexicon consisted of 7,000 words, largely Latin, hence
international, but partly Teutonic The number of affixes for deriva-
tives was small, but since he took them over from natural languages
they were not particularly precise The merits of the following specimen
of the Umversal-Sprache speak for themselves.
Men senior, I sende evos un gramatik e un varb-bibel de tin nuov
glot nomed universal glot In futur I scnptrai evos semper in did glot,
I pregate evos responden ad me in dit self glot,