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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Pioneers of Language Planning           471
in turn Volapuk and Esperanto Later he helped to shape Ido In 1928
he put forward a project of his own making, but like many other
Esperanto renegades did not succeed in shedding the larval skin of his
highly inflected past He called it Novtal
Novial is the latest arrival It is not the last word in language-plan-
ning Naturally, it is better than Esperanto or Ido Because it had the
advantage of coming later, it could scarcely be otherwise Besides,
Jespersen is the greatest living authority on English grammar. It would
be surprising if a constructive linguist failed to recognize the cardinal
virtues of a language so dear to htm What Jespersen calls the best
type of international language is one which in every point offers the
greatest facility to the greatest number. When he speaks of the greatest
number he refers only to Europeans and those inhabitants of the other
continents uho are either of European extraction or whose culture is based
on European civilization. This sufficiently explains why Nomal retains
so many luxuries common to Western European languages
For instance, the Novial adjective has a conceptual neuter form,
ending in -urn From what is otherwise the invariant ier we get verum,
which means tiue thing In defiance of decent thrift, Novial has two
ways of expressing possessive relations, an analytical one by means of
the particle de, and a synthetic by means of the ending -n Thus Men
patron kontore is Novial for, my (mine) father's office Jespersen's treat-
ment of the verb conforms to the analytical technique of Anglo-Ameri-
can This at least is an enormous advance upon Esperanto, Russian,
Lithuanian, and other difficult languages, but is not particularly
impressive if we apply the yardstick of Pekingese or Peanese Future
and conditional are expressed by the auxiliaries sal and vud, perfect
and pluperfect by the auxiliaries ha and had Novial departs from
English usage in one particular The dictionary form does the work
of our past participle in compound past tenses, e g me protekte, I
protect, me ha pwtekte, I have protected This recalls the class of
English verbs to which cut., put> or hurt belong What simplification
results from this is nullified by the superfluous existence of two ways of
expressing past time, a synthetic one which ends in the Teutonic weak
-&> eg me protekted (I protected), and an analytical one involving an
equivalent non-emphatic Chaucerian helper did, e g me did protekte
There are no flexions of mood; but the student of Novial has to learn
how to shunt tense forms appropriate to indirect speech
Like Esperanto, Novial has a bulky apparatus of derivative affixes
for coining new words They recall forms which exist in contemporary