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Volapük Vifik: Lärnod Kilid

"Where two's company, Three's a crowd"

Or so it's said! One thing which is certain, however: whether it's a question of two, three or more, it's a question of the plural, because then it's more than one .

In Volapük, the plural is formed without exception simply by adding the letter -s.

Do you remember our little mini-saga entitled "Mem zifa jönik"?

If we wanted to say "cities" instead of "city", this is how it would look:

Mem zifas jönik
Zifs binons jöniks.
Löfob zifis jönik.
Sagob zifes jönik:
O zifs jönik!

As a result of having made zif into the plural, we notice something about the adjective jönik in the second line, this word also adds -s.

The reason for this is because jönik is separated from its noun by another word. In Volapük, if an adjective (describing word) is separated by any other word from its noun, then it must take whatever ending the noun itself has. For example, if in the second line, the word vemo had been introduced between the noun and the adjective, it would have read: Lofob zifis vemo jönikis. This is to ensure absolute clarity as to what refers to what. Ambiguity and Volapük do not make good company!

The only other point to note is that whenever the adjective precedes its noun, the same thing happens as already described above. For example, had jönik come before zifs in the last line, it would have been O jöniks zifs! And likewise with the title: Mem jönikas zifas. As this is not always pleasing either to the eye or ear, however, adjectives tend to come immediately after their nouns! It all depends on the effect one wants to create.

How about having a go yourself. Try writing your own mini-saga entitled: Mem vomas jönik. Good Luck!!

To complete our thoughts about the plural in Volapük, here is how the personal pronouns respond to it:

  • ob, obi, obik/oba, obe: I, me, my, to me;
  • obs, obis, obsik/obas, obes: we, us, our, to us;
  • om, omi, omik/oma, ome: he, him, his, to him;
  • oms, omis, omsik.omas, ome: they, them, their, to them;
  • of, ofi, ofik/ofa, ofe: she, her, her, to her
  • ofs, ofis, ofsik/ofas, ofe: they, them, their, to them

Note the two possible ways of saying: my, our, his, her and their. Just another example of the flexibility of Volapük without loss of accuracy!

Here are some more new words for you to practise by speaking them out loud:

ab = but
anu  = right now
binädön (me) = to consist (of)
blinön  = to bring
bü =  ago, before (of time)
cedön = to think (= have an opinion)
das  = that (conjunction)
de  = of
deadön = to die
enu  = recently
gem (hi/ji)  = a sibling
kanön  = to be able to, can
köst (hi/ji)  = a cousin
lädül   = a young lady (Miss)
län  = a country, a land
lefatül = a grandpa
legivot = gift, a present
legudik = excellent
lemotül = a grandma
matan (hi/ji) = a married person
motafat = a (maternal) grandpa
mödadilo = mainly, mostly
nilo = near, nearby
nitedik = interesting 
nulik = new
numön = to count
obsik = our
od = each other
pal (hi/ji) = a parent
pened = a letter
röletan (hi/ji) = a relation, a relative
sedön = to send 
sevabo = namely, that is
ter (hi/ji) = an uncle/an aunt 
veratik = real, true 
vero = really, truly
vol = (the) world
votik = another, other
yel = year
zuo = moreover

We have already met the present tense in Volapük and practised it quite a lot; we are now going to make the acquaintance of the PRESENT PERFECT, which links the PAST up to the PRESENT.

In the reading, we have the sentence: Edeadom bü yels fol = he died four years ago. As you will see first of all, an E- has been joined onto the beginning of the verb; this feature is what has changed the tense, or timing, from the purely here and now (= the present) to what to what is perceived as the IMMEDIATE PAST. In Volapük, the meaning of the verb must always have been completed (or judged to have been completed by the speaker) within a time span which still connects the actual event, even though complete, with the present time. Liberties are sometimes taken in this respect, but essentially this is what differentiates the PRESENT PERFECT from the PAST HISTORIC, or the past tense which goes way back into the past, and which we shall be meeting very soon. Turn now to the practice sheet and put your newly-acquired knowledge into action.

1. Read aloud, then translate the following story into English:

Els Robert e Lisabet binons pals obik. Els Peter e Janin binons gems obik. Panemob Samü e binob blod de Peter e de Janin, binobs famülans.

Famülans obsik binädons me fat bal e mot bal (sevabo pals tel), sör bal e blods tel (sevabo: gems kil). Binobs kobo famülans lul.

Röletans obsik binädons me lefatül bal; (motafat edeadom bü yels fol); e lemotüls tel, kels blinofs obes legivotis mödik! Röletans votik binons: hiters kil e jiters tel, hikösts fol e jikösts lul. Binons kobo röletans degvel.

Suvo röletans binons i flens gudik, ab cedob, das flens veratik binons flens legudik!

Flens palas obsik lödons in läns mödik vola. Mödadilo binädons me matans; sedons odes penedis nitedik. Flens mödik obsik vero no kanons panumön.

2. As we have seen earlier, -AN added onto a word indicates someone who IS something, or who DOES something. How would you translate:

matematan, lödan, reidan, vakenans, lärnan, vobans, zifan, löfans, bödan

3. The idea of SIZE, whether physical, abstract, or even "grand" as in "grandfather" is conveyed in Volapük by the prefix LE-. In the above reading, we experience a root (fat/mot) flanked by the prefix LE- and the suffix -ÜL. (lefatül/lemotül). How would you translate:

lezif, lebür, lefat, levaken, lemot, ledom, leflen, lesuvo, leveütik, leno!

4. You will now be familiar with the figures 1 - 10 in Volapük. Here's how they continue up to 20. Can you supply the six shown in figures?

degbal, degtel, degkil, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, teldeg.

5. One of the most beautiful verbs there is must be LÖFÖN (to love). Can you write it out in the PRESENT TENSE? Now be a bit braver and have a go in the PRESENT PERFECT. Just a reminder as to how it starts:

Elöfob - I've loved
elöfol - you've loved
... now carry on!

6. Do you remember the PASSIVE VOICE (PALÖFÖN, "to be loved") in the second part of the course? Have a quick glance at it now! The one which corresponds to our new tense is just as easy. Instead of adding PA-, as for the present tense, the letter Pjoins up with the E of the present perfect and becomes PE-. Just as you would expect! Can you complete the following:

PELÖFÖN  = to have been loved
Pelöfob (fa mot oba) = I've been loved (by my mother)
...Now over to you!

Dan: Glidis! Binob fat hiela Robert, kel binom fat elas Samül, Peter e Janin: sekü atos, jimatan ed ob binobs lepals omas. Nem obik binon Dan e jimatan oba binof Marian: Löfobs poscilis valik obas, e visitobs onis suvo. Blinobs posciles obas legivotis mödik! Lödobs nilo.

Roxan: Glidis! Binob mot jiela Lisabet, kel binof mot elas Samül, Peter e Janin: sekü atos, binob lemotül onas. Panemob Roxan - bü yels 4, matan obik Albert edeadom; kodü atos, binob ya viudan! Löfilob vemo ad blinön posciles oba legivotis gudik. Lödob in zifil nilik.

Max: Glidis! Nem obik binon Max e binob son elas Mijelin e Mikäl: mot obik binof sör ela Robert: sekü atos, binob hiköst elas Samül, Peter e Janin. No visitob onis suvo, bi lödobs in Spanyän. Jiel Janin evisitof obis us.

Mijelin: Glidis! Binob Mijelin: blod obik binom Robert e matan oba, el Mikäl, binom spanyänik. Lödobs in top jönik in Spanyän sulüdik nilü mel. Binob zian elas Samül, Peter e Janin, ed el Mikäl binom ziom onas. Sekü atos, binobs i hiter e jiter onas. Enu jiel Janin evakenof domü obs.

Röletans elas Samül, Peter e Janin binödons me lefatül bal; (motafat ya edeadom bü yels fol; e lemotüls tel, kels blinons ones legivotis mödik!

Röletans votik binons: hiters (zioms) kil e jiters (zians) tel, hikösts fol e jikösts lul. Binons kobo röletans degvel.

Cedü ob, röletans kanons suvo binön i flens gudik!