Re: The Loom of Language on Volapük, and a question about sugar
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 raisedPB> But Arie de Jong, in his revision of Volapük, amended this.
>> its ugly head the simple noun form represented the male,
>> which could assimilate the lady-like prefix ji-,
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 FatherPB> I do not find this to be so. Although I am not (yet, anyway) a user
>> Schleyer's hand before they became unrecognizable in the Volapük
>> lexikon. The memory of the beginner had nothing to bite on.
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 itsPB> Ah, here we get the ethnocentric assumption that modern Europe and
>> grammatical structure turns back on the analytical drift of all the
>> more modern European languages, and because its vocabulary is not
>> sufficiently international.
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!
William W. Patterson
Kiu batas edzinon, tiu vundas sin mem.
- --- In volapuk@y..., William W Patterson <ailanto@k...> wrote:
> A question about sugar... The vocabulary lists it as jueg, but I'mBoth in Sprague's Handbook of Volapük (original vpk) and in Ralph
> wondering if it should actually be u-umlaut there rather than ue,
> the ue being leftover from the German orthographic convention?
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.