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Re: The Loom of Language on Volapük, and a question about sugar

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  • William W Patterson
    Glidis! Paul Bartlett wrote... PB But just what is this touted natural line of linguistic progress ? PB I wonder if Bodmer(/Hogben) is falling prey to the
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 27, 2002
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      Paul Bartlett wrote...

      PB> But just what is this touted "natural line of linguistic progress"?
      PB> I wonder if Bodmer(/Hogben) is falling prey to the specious notion
      PB> of "It's not like my language, so it's not natural."

      I think that Bodmer and Hogben just didn't like synthetic languages,
      and that this bias colored their critiques. Synthesis was tolerable in
      natural languages where it couldn't be avoided, but anathema in planned
      languages, so if it's synthetic it must be bad, though other reasons
      were always offered to support the opinion. Traces of that attitude are
      seen throughout the book but are most evident in the chapter concerning
      planned languages, wherein I got the impression that each critique was
      implicitly a comparison with Interglossa and the chapter an essay on the
      design philosophy of Interglossa, though Interglossa was only mentioned
      once in a footnote as having been recently published.

      >> 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 ji-,

      PB> But Arie de Jong, in his revision of Volapük, amended this.

      I find the concept, in so *many* languages, of the female having her
      own means of linguistic distinction while the male is responsible for
      male, neutral, neuter, unspecified and everything else under the sun,
      strangely asymmetric and demeaning to the male. It's the asymmetry
      that bothers me philosphically: If starting from scratch, I'd say,
      here's a word for the genderless thing; if you further want to specify
      masculinity, do this; if femininity, do that. The fact that most
      people, male and female alike throughout history, did *not* think like
      this (instead considering the male to be default) is interesting, and
      probably points to something more fundamental in the human spirit,
      rather than mere sexism.

      And, of course, one must not confuse grammatical gender with sex, the
      two concepts correlating at times but not actually being equivalent.

      >> Conjugation was a bad joke.

      PB> I did not find it so, and again, de Jong cleaned up some of the
      PB> verbal system, and it is de Jong's version, to the best of my
      PB> knowledge, which is used by Volapükists today.

      I fully agree. The thing that makes Volapuekan conjugation seem so
      outrageous (for example, the 500,000 forms of the verb!) is simply a
      consequence of its *highly* agglutinative nature. Many, perhaps most,
      other languages have just as many conjugations, but they are less
      obvious because they are derived more analytically, not bundled all
      together in a single word.

      >> Unluckily, the roots suffered drastic castigation from Father
      >> Schleyer's hand before they became unrecognizable in the Volapük
      >> lexikon. The memory of the beginner had nothing to bite on.

      PB> I do not find this to be so. Although I am not (yet, anyway) a user
      PB> of the language, in my limited acquaintance to date I can still see
      PB> mnemonic hooks to some words. I think Bodmer(/Hogben) is overstating
      PB> the case here.

      So true. In fact, I experienced a bit of satori the other day when I
      pronounced some words out loud, using the specified sounds for the
      letters: Joen... schoen! German. Then, jip... sheep! English. And
      perhaps one of the most bizarre, but understandable once you know the
      derivation methodology in addition to the orthography, Nelijik...
      Ne-lij-ik... En-lish-ik... English+adjective!

      PB> Despite Schleyer, it is de Jong who rules, so to speak, the
      PB> tiny "komot Volapüka" today.

      I definitely prefer bir to bil! (Though I find bil amusingly close to my

      >> [The American Philosophical Society] It rejected Volapük because its
      >> grammatical structure turns back on the analytical drift of all the
      >> more modern European languages, and because its vocabulary is not
      >> sufficiently international.

      PB> Ah, here we get the ethnocentric assumption that modern Europe and
      PB> its languages (more particularly, western Europe's Indo-European
      PB> languages) are the touchstone by which all else is to be judged.

      Well, as I mentioned above, I don't think WENSA's the problem for B&H;
      the problem is analysis versus synthesis!

      A question about sugar... The vocabulary lists it as jueg, but I'm
      wondering if it should actually be u-umlaut there rather than ue,
      the ue being leftover from the German orthographic convention?

      And I'd forgotten about, but was pleasantly re-surprised to see the
      Shonen Knife pictures on the Volapop! pages. For more info, in English,
      see http://kafejo.com/muziko/sk - great minds think alike? Strange,
      or maybe not, that two of the few with an interest in Volapuek would
      also have an interest in Shonen Knife!

      - Bill

      William W. Patterson
      Kiu batas edzinon, tiu vundas sin mem.
    • cavinessk
      ... Both in Sprague s Handbook of Volapük (original vpk) and in Ralph Midgley s dictionaries (revised vpk) the word is given as jueg . I believe the intent
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 29, 2002
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        --- In volapuk@y..., William W Patterson <ailanto@k...> wrote:

        > A question about sugar... The vocabulary lists it as jueg, but I'm
        > wondering if it should actually be u-umlaut there rather than ue,
        > the ue being leftover from the German orthographic convention?

        Both in Sprague's Handbook of Volapük (original vpk) and in Ralph
        Midgley's dictionaries (revised vpk) the word is given as "jueg". I
        believe the intent is a two-syllable word. Many other words
        containing "ü" are given, and I haven't seen the German orthographic
        convention used anywhere else in these dictionaries.

        Valikosi gudikün,

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