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Volapük's 'articles' (was: No pronoun, no article)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Wednesday, October 22, 2003, 17:42
On Wednesday, October 22, 2003, at 02:59 , Doug Dee wrote:

> In a message dated 10/21/2003 2:41:35 PM Eastern Daylight Time, > ray.brown@FREEUK.COM writes: > > >> It's curious that Couturat & Leau say this about Volapük's articles. I >> wonder if any >> other conlanger more light on this mystery. It's clear they were not >> there in >> Schleyer's original version. > > > > It's all a puzzle to me. > > Judging from Libert's book, it appears that Libert believes that C&L are > describing the original version of Volapuk, with articles, and that an > article-less version was later approved at a Volapuk Congress in 1887,
This was the 2nd Volapük Congress held in Munich in the August of 1887 (the first had been held in Friedrichshafen in August, 1884). Yes, this is a possibility. Sprague says in the Preface to his "Hand-book of Volapük" that: "I have made no changes in the system itself, but have tried to represent faithfully what it actually is, following the authority of the Second Generally Assembly held in Munich this summer." The Second Congress was obviously an important one in that it set up three official Volapük organizations: - Volapükaklub Valemik (General Association of the supporters of Volapük) - Kadem Volapüka (Academy of Volapük) - Volapükabled Zenodik (Central Volapük Organ) Schleyer remained head of the whole movement, but each of the three organizations had its own officers. Dr. Auguste Kerckoffs (a Frenchman) was appointed Director of the Academy and, when Sprague's book was published, he had 17 colleagues as members; they came from Gemany, Austro-Hungary [as it was then], Spain, Italy, Portugal, Holland, the UK, the USA, Russian & Syria. Sprague was one of these members. It could well be that this congress resolved disputed points and "base-lined" the language. But in the Introduction to the Hand-book Sprague also says: "The system is entirely his [Schleyer's] production, and has not been modified in any essential point."
> and this > article-less version was described by C.E. Sprague in 1888 in _The > Hand-Book of > Volapuk_. Either Libert or C&L may be confused about which version is > which. > > Libert says that C&L say the articles aren't much used. (Or at least I > think > that's what they say; Libert quotes them in untranslated French).
Yes, this would make sense if the two articles had been an optional part of Schleyer's original but were, in practice, not much used. If the 2nd Congress officially dispensed with them entirely, then Sprague's sentence in his Introduction makes sense; it implies some modification but "not in any essential point" .
> I might > speculate that perhaps Volapuk didn't actually have articles, but perhaps > did > have a demonstrative "et" and a numeral "un,"
No - 'et' is certainly a demonstrative, but the Volapük numerals are consistently given as: bal, tel, kil, fol, lul, mäl, vel, jöl, zul (1..9) In Schleyer's Volapük we have: bals, tels, kils etc = 10, 20, 30 etc. In the 1930s reform of Arie de Jong 'deg' was introduced for 10, and 20, 30 etc became teldeg, kildeg etc.
> and perhaps either Schleyer or some later writer said that these could be > pressed > into service as articles if one really felt the need in a literal > translation, > and maybe this concession has somehow mutated into the statement that > "Volapuk > has articles" as authors quote one another over the years.
I think the speculation that these were a (optional) part of the original, that they were not much used and were officially abolished by the 2nd Congress is more plausible.
> But I'm just guessing.
So am I :) We're probably not going to get much forwarder with more evidence. Ray =============================================== (home) (work) ===============================================