Kooperatìv ʒinus in Chandelao, Raʒastàn, India

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General Remarks on Word-Formation

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With the prefixes and suffixes enumerated above, you can, when the stems (or roots) are well chosen, build a great number of words which either correspond to existing international terms, or are easily understood at first sight. Let us take for example the stems mari- in Novial, and maʒ-o in Uropi (both meaning marriage).

Mari- comes from Latin maritus > Fr. mari, It. marito, Sp, Por marido, Cat marit

Maʒ comes from Slavic (Pl. mąż, Cz, Slk manžel, Bul "məʒ", Rus "moozh", Cr muž, Slo mož = man, husband)

N.  Paul se ha mari a Anna. Les blid mari yer, dunke les es nun marit.U. Paul av maʒen Ana. Lu maʒì jesta, sim lu se num maʒen (Paul married Anna. They got married yesterday, so now they are married.

Li pastoro ha mari Paul e Anna. Paul es Annan marito, e la es li marita de Paul. Nus espera ke li mariteso sal es felisi. = De paror amaʒì Paul id Ana. Paul se de maʒ Anu, id ce se de maʒa Pauli. Nu sper te li maʒad ve so felic. (the parson married Paul & A. Paul is Anna's husband, and she is Paul's wife. We hope their marriage will be happy).

Contrary to Novial, Uropi uses another word for wedding: vedad, as most European languages do: (wedding, noces, boda, nozze, Hochzeit, bruiloft, bryllup, bröllop, svad'ba, venčanje, wesele, svatba, vestuvės…)

N. Anna sed charmanti kom marienda. After li mario li du marites departed a Paris por li marivoyaje.U. Ana sì carmi wim veda. Pos de vedad, de novimaʒene farì ap a Parìs po li vedivaiz.Anna was charming as a bride. After the wedding, the newlyweds left for Paris on their wedding trip.

However Uropi also uses maʒi to name the in-laws, there where Novial uses the Esperanto prefix bo-, which is particularly ill chosen (from French beau, belle = beautiful): maʒipater = bopatro (father-in-law), maʒimata = bomatra (mother-in-law), maʒifrat, maʒisesta, maʒisòn, maʒidota… (brother-, sister-, son-, daughter-in-law), which means they become father, mother, son, daughter… by marriage. Apparently, in the 1998 reformed Novial - perhaps under the influence of Uropi -bo- has been replaced by the prefìx mari-. Moreover, in Uropi we also have tramaʒor, tramaʒora, tramaʒo = matchmaker (he/she), to matchmake.

In general word families in both languages are formed in the same way,  but there may be slight differences: 

N. Kritike, kritiki?, kritika, kritikere, logikiste, muzikiste, matematikiste = U. Kritik, kritiki, kritiko, kritikor, logikor, muzikor, matematikor = Criticism, critical, to criticize, a critic, logician, musician, mathematician.

Novial elektri (adj.) gives elektreso (electricity), whereas in Uropi we start with the noun elektrik (electricity) which gives elektriki (adj.), elektrikor (electrician)…

The over-precision of suffixes and prefixes in Novial can sometimes lead to ambiguity; for example: N. probabli = likely and "that can be tested", posibli = possible and "that can be placed", seriosi = serious and "full of series", ridono = giving again and big laugh, pardona = forgive and "give fully", parfuma = perfume and "smoke thoroughly".

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Piazza di Spagna, Roma, Italia

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Jespersen uses the term particle for adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions.

N. Nun, nur, preske, quasi, bald = U. num, solem, nerim, wim is (po voko sim), beprù = now, only, almost as if (so to speak), soon.

As in Uropi, there is a difference in Novial between kand = U. wan (= when conjunction) and quand? = Kan? (when interrogative), between kom and qualim ? = U. wim (≠ kim ?) (as/like ≠ how?, see above)

Kand lo departad, lo non dikted quand lo sal veni retro = Wan he itì ap, he dezì ne kan he ruvenev = When he left, he didn't say when he would come back.Quand and kan in these sentences introduce an interrogative content clause. Kom me ha ja dikte = wim he dezì ʒa mo = As he already told me.

Ma, anke, ankore (but, also (too), still, come from Italian and French); in Uropi: ba, os, jok; ba (from Eng but, Lithuanian, Latvian bet, It ma, Arm bayts', Basque baina), os (from Fr. aussi, Eng also, Du oog, Da også + Gr oso = as much, so much), jok (from Serbian and Croatian još), non ankore =ne jok = Engnot yet.

Anke me dikte = I os dez = I also say…Lo es ankore maladi = He se jok pati = he is still ill…Lo ha non ankora ariva = he av ne jok avenen = he has not yet arrived…Lo es richi, ma lon fratro es ankora plu richi = he se ric, ba hi frat se jok rices = he's rich, but is brother is still richer.

Tam… kam = os… te, = as… as, for example: tam bald kam posibli = osprù te mozli = as soon as possible…Lo marcha non tam rapidim kam in sen yuneso = he vad ne sa spelim te in hi junad = he doesn't walk as fast as in his youth

All those M's and N's make the Novial sentence a little heavy: Kam plu oldi, tam plu stupid = maj seni, maj stupi = the older, the more stupidQuam multum ? > Quantum ? = Kamòl ? = How much ?

Sat, tro, nulum plus, tre = sat, tio, nemaj, mol = enough, too, no longer/ no more, very: Sat boni = sat bun = good enough…sat multi tempe = sat tem = enough time…Tre bon (cf Fr très bon = very good) = mol bun (cf It molto buono)

tro = tio = too, tiomòl/e = too much/ many …tro tardim = tio posen= too lateLa parla tro = ce vok tiomòl = she talks too much.

Si = is (= Eng if, Rus iesli, Fr. si, Nor hvis, Wel os,Turk. ise, Fin jos, Ar īdha)  si non = is ne = if not…si nur = is solem = if only

Ja and ya =ʒa and ʒe = already and a particle adding emphasis (Ja and ʒa stem from an old Indo-European root *yā-, *you-, which gave Lat iam, It già, Cat ja, Por, Sp ya, Fr dé-jà, Lit, Latv. jau, Fin jo, Slo že). Ya comes from German ja, and ʒe from Russian "zhe": a particule used to confirm, insist or strengthen.

Vu non besona dikte tum, me savad lum ja = Vu nud ne dezo da, i zavì ja ʒa = you don't need to tell me, I already knew it… Atente! Ma me ya atente = Atense ! Ba i se ʒe atensi = Pay attention! But I do pay attention. This particle can also be found in compounds in Uropi in terms like: oʒe, priʒe, oʒepùr = even, rather, all the same…

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Majan ʒinas od Zinacantan, Chiapas, Mecika

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NO, NON = NE = no, not

Jespersen claimed that: "the natural development in many languages has led to the giving up of the simple form ne" (which is nevertheless the common Indo-European root), "which is felt to be too light …" and to replace it "by fuller forms": non, not, nicht, ikke…". Oddly enough he forgets about the Slavic and Baltic languages (at least 12 languages) using ne or nie without any problem. For example: U. i vol ne (I don't want to) = Rus ne khoču, Sr, Cr ne hoću, Bul ne iskam, Slo ne želim, Cz nechci, Slk nechcem, Bela ne khaču, Latv. nevēlos, Lit nenoriu). I find that "the fuller forms" he mentions, often ending in M or N in Novial (NON, TAM, KAM, TUM LUM, LON, LENnon tam rapidim kam in lun) often make the language much heavier.

YES = AJ = yes

Jespersen took up the Englih word yes, that was already used in Esperanto, although it does not exist outside English and even though English speakers prefer to say: "yeah, yep, yup, ya". The most common European form would be "ja", but in Uropi, ja is already used as a personal pronoun (= it); Slavic "da" is also a demonstrative adjective and pronoun in Uropi: da. This is why we have chosen AJ [ai], which is the anagram of ja. Yet this is not an artificial word, it comes from "aye",an archaic and dialectal form for "yes" in English, which is used in Scotland, the North of England and Northern Ireland; is is also used in the British Parliament when counting the votes. Besides, aj reminds us of Armenian ayo, Japanese and Cantonese hai, and Maori āe.


Jespersen thinks that an interrogative particle is needed in questions… that inverting the subject-verb order as in the sentence "Are you ill ?" "cannot well be used in an IAL". However he does not explain why: he does not give us any argument, whereas this way of asking questions is used in all Germanic languages (and in French) and works very well. For example, U: Ven tu ki ma ? = Are you coming with me? in German: Kommst du mit mir? Dutch: Kom je met me mee? Danish: Kommer du med mig?, Swedish: Kommer du med mig?, Norwegian: Kommer du med meg? U: Vol he ne veno ? = Doesn't he want to come ? G: Will er nicht kommen?, Da: Vil han ikke komme?, Swe: Vill han inte komma?, Du: Wil hij niet komen?.

It seems that, once more, Jespersen was influenced by Esperanto: Zamenhof who was Polish took up the Polish interrogative particle czy which became ĉu in Esperanto. However, such a particle exists neither in Romance languages, nor in Germanic languages, nor in Greek, nor in certain Slavic languages (for example in Czech and Slovak). Jespersen has chosen ob (from German ob = if), which is also used in indirect questions:

Ob lo veni ? = Ven he ? = Is he coming ?… Me non sava, ob lo veni = I zav ne is he ven = I dont know whether he's coming.


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Most prepositions in Novial are directly borrowed from Latin or Romance languages. With these prepositions, you can form adverbs ending in -u

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Imperor Augustus, Roma, Italia

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From Latin

N. IN, INU = Uropi IN, INIA (in, inside: this preposition is also Germanic): N. Lo non es inu = U. he s'ne in = he's not in.

EX, EXTER, EXTRU = US, USIM, USIA = out of, except, outside: Exter ke lo es mediko = usim te he se medikor = besides his being a doctor

PROXIM = NER (Eng near, Da, Nor nær, Swe när): Nus lojia proxim li statione = nu dom ner de stasia = we live near the station…Proxim li venko = ner de viktad = near the victory… li proximi venko = de neri viktad = the close victory.

DEXTER, DEXTRU = BE DEST = on the rightLEFT, LEFTU (from left) = BE LIF = on the left.

SUB, SUBU = UDE = under (from Eng, Swe, Da, Nor under, Du onder, G. unter, Skr adhás, Hin adhīna): submaral = udemari = undersea, submarine, subteral = udeteri = underground, subpelal = udekuti = subcutaneous, sub(u)-veste = udevèst = underwear, sub(u)grupe = udegrùp = subgroup

KONTER (Lat, Sp contra, It contro, Fr contre) = GON = against (G. gegen, Du tegen, Eng against, Ice gegn); pref. ANTI-, GON-: konter li fluo = gon de fluj = against the current, kontervoli = gonvoli (unwilling, reluctant), kontervenene = antivift = antidote

Kontru = gonim, begòn = contrarily, on the contrary: kontrudikte = gondezo = contradict, konternatural = antinaturi = against nature, kontruproposo = gonprobàs = counteroffer.

SIRK (Lat circa) = ARÒN = (a + ron) = around, BERÒN = about, around, approximately (be + ron), pref- KIRKI-: Sirk un hore = beròn un hor = about an hour, sirkuregarda = glado aròn = look around, sirkumure = kirkimùr = enclosure wall.

EK (Gr ek, ex, Lat ex) = US = out (of) (G. aus, Da ud, Swe, Nor ut, Du uit, Eng out, Lit , Sr, Cr, Slo iz, Rus, Bul iz, Cz, Slk, Pl z): Ek li urbe = us de pol = out of town, ek ore = in gor = in gold, un ek men amikes = un od mi frame = one of my friends, ekmigra = usmigro = emigrate, ekpulsa = usproso = expell

PRETER (Lat præter) = PAS = past: pretervada = ito pas = go past

ANTE (Lat, Por ante, Sp antes de) = FOR = before (G. vor, Du voor, Da, Nor før, Swe före, Eng before, Alb para, Rus pered): ante tum = foram = formerly, longitem ante tum = longim for = long ago

PER (Lat per) = be midel…i, tra = by means of, through: Venka per ruse = vikto tra lus = defeat by trickery, pruva per exemples = pruvo tra sampe = prove through examples; per ke = par = because: Lo sava per ke lo vidad li krime = he zav ja par he vizì de krim = he knows it because he saw the crime > parkà? = why?

PRO (Lat pro) = bekòz, par, od = because of, owing to, from: Povre pro pigreso = pavri par lenzid = poor owing to laziness, lo morid pro sen vundes = he morì od hi vune = he died from his wounds

KUN (Lat cum, It, Sp con, Por com) = KI = with (Rom cu, Alb -, Lat -que, Gr kai (and); KUN- pref- = KO- = con-, co-…: Lo veni kun sen filies = he ven ki hi kide = he came with his children, kunlabora = kovarko = collaborate, kunexista = koesisto = co-exist, kunvivo = koʒivo = live together

SIN (Lat sine, Sp sin) = ANE = without (pref- an- = un-, Gr aneu, G. ohne, Ice án, Yid on): Sin duto, sin jeno = ane dub, ane trub = without a doubt, shamelessly, me prisa vine, ma pove viva sinu = i gus vin ba i moz ʒivo ane ja = I like wine, but I can live without.

Ob nus pove fa tum, sin ke lo vida lum ? = Moz nu deto da, ane he viz ja ? = Can we do that without his seeing it ?

ULTER (Lat ulter, ultra, It oltre) = UVE = besides, except for (Eng, Du, Da, Nor over, Swe över, G. über): Lo parla pluri lingues ulter sen patrial lingue = he vok vari lingas uve hi matulinga = he speaks several languages besides his mother tongue.

ultru = uveda = moreover, besides: Ultru me voli dikte = uveda i vol dezo = furthermore I mean, ulter ke = ne solem… ba = not only…, but: Ulter ke la es belisi, la es belim vestat = Ne solem ce se mol bel, ba ce se belim vesten = Not only is she very beautiful, but she is beautifully dressed.

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De famos blu glasifente de Cartri Katedrali, Francia

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From French

CHE (from French chez, Esperanto ĉe) = be, be dom…= at (sb's place): che men patro = be mi pater, be dom mi patri = at my father's (place)

DEVAN (from Fr. devant) = PRO = in front of (Gr., Lat. pro, Slo, Slk pred): Devanbrakie = proràm = forearm, devanchambre = prokamar = antechamber

SUR (Fr. sur) = SU (It. su) = on: Sur li table = su de tab = on the table… su li mare = su mar = on the sea… sur li strade = in de strad = in the street… surnome = sunòm = nickname

A = A (Fr., It, Sp, Por, Cat a) = to (movement in space or time): Fro london a Paris = od London a Paris = from London to Paris, fro tempe a tempe = od tem a tem = from time to time, fro li generalo a li simpli soldato = od de generàl a de slimi soldàt = from the general to the ordinary soldier, parla al direktore = voko a de direktor = to talk to the director, dona 10 dollars al povres = davo 10 dolare a pavrine = to give10 dollars to the poor.

EN (Fr., Sp en) = IN (= into): Vada en li chambre = ito in de kamar = to go into the room, chanja plombe en ore = meto plob in gor = to turn lead into gold. As a prefix: endukte, enskripte, envada = induto, inskrivo, invado = introduce, inscribe, invade.

VERS (Fr. vers) = towards (in space and time) = DO (Sr, Cr, Slo, Pl, Cz, Slk, Rus, Bul do, Eng to, Du toe, G. zu, Ir do, Bre da): vers li somre = do soma = towards summer

DEPOS (Fr. depuis) = DOD (do + od, Sp, Por desde, Cat des, It da, Sr, Cr, Cz, Pl od) = since (for): Me es hir depos sundi = i se zi dod Soldia = I've been here since Sunday.

POR (Eo por, Fr. pour, It per) = PO (= Fr. pour, Cz pro, Eng, Da for, Alb për, Latv. par): Vota por X = voto po X = vote for X, disum es por vu = di se po va = this is for you

DE (Fr., Sp, Por, Rom de) = corresponds to the genitive which does not only express possession, but relation in general: Li veste del emperere = de veste d'imperori = the emperor's clothes, li marito de Anna = de maʒ Anu = Anna's husband, li programe del teatre, del vespre = de progràm de teatru, de vespeni = the theater, evening program.

Other prepositions are used in Uropi when there may be an ambiguity.

Li nombre del monumentes de Paris = de numar monumentis in Parìs = the number of monuments in Paris, li deskovro de Amerika da Columbus = de diskrovad Ameriku pa Kolòmb = the discovery of America by Colombus, li komedies da Molière; li portretes de Molière = de komedije pa Molière, de portrate Molieri = Molière's comedies (which he staged), Molière's portraits (depicting him), li portretes de Rembrandt = de portrate pa Rembrandt = Rembrandt's portraits (which he painted), de portrate Rembrandti = Rembrandt's portraits (of himself).

From Italian

TRA = TRA (It tra, Sp tras, Lat trans) = across (a surface), via, TRU = through (a volume): Tra London = tra London = across London, tra li porte = tru de dor = through the door, trapasa = ito tra = to cross, travidabli = truvizi = transparent, see-through),trauvidabli = truvizli = which can be seen through…, but Jespersen prefers transparenti.

DA (It da) = PA = by (agent) (Fr. par, Sp por, Cat per, Pl przez): Ti libre es skriptet da Wells = di bib vidì skriven pa Wells = this book was written by Wells, Napoleon blid venka da Wellington = Napoleòn vidì vikten pa Wellington = Napoleon was defeated by Wellington.

EXEPT (It eccetto, Sp ecepto, Eng except) = USIM = except (us + im, Sr, Cr osim, Bul osven, G. außer, Da uden, Swe utom): Omnes ha veni exept Anna = tale av venen usim Ana = everyone has come except Ann.

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Elefante in Fort Amber, Raʒastàn, India

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From Germanic

AN (G. an, Du aan) = be, su, gon = at, on, against: Apoga skale an li mure = stabo u skal gon de mur = to lean a ladder against the wall…Li fenstres an li strade = de fente (opran) su de strad = the windows opening onto the street… London lia an Thames = London leʒ su Temiz = London lies on the Thames

FRO (Eng from, su från, Da, Nor fra) = OD = from (Sr, Cr, Slo, Cz, Slk, Pl od, Rus, Bul ot): Fro hinter = od berù = from behind, fro inter li arbres = od intra de dreve = from between the trees

TIL (Eng, Swe till, Da, Nor til) = TIS = till, until (Eng, Swe till, Da, Nor til, G. bis, Du tot, Sp hasta, Por até, Latv. līds, Fin asti): Til nun = tis num = till now, til tand = tis davos = so far (till then)

AFTER (Eng after, Da, Swe efter, Nor etter) = after = POS (also used in Ido and Occidental) (from Lat post, Rus, Sr posle, Cr, Pl, Cz, Slk, Slo, Bul po, Bru paslia, Ukr pislia, Latv. pēc, Lit po, paskui, Alb pas, Sp des-pués, Por após): Aftermorge = posdomòr = the day after tomorrow

Jespersen claims that after is "really more international than… pos, an abbreviated Latin post, which survives only in some compounds"; he merely forgets 16 languages (Slavic and Baltic languages, for instance).

KLOK (Eng o'clock, Da klokken, Swe klockan) = be = at (+ hour)

Jespersen has taken up the peculiar way for indicating time that we find in English and Scandinavian languages, using an old Celtic word "klok", which originally, meant a "bell", as in Oir clocc, Gaul. *clocca, Ir clog, Wel cloch, Bre kloc'h, Fr. cloche, G. Glocke, Du klokFor example in Danish: Hvad er klokken ? = What time is it ? (lit. "What is the bell ?")

N. Klok du = U. be du (hore) = at two o'clock ("bell two"), klok du e duime = be du id mij = at half past two, Klok sink ante tri = be tri min pin = at a quarter to five, Qui klok es? = Ka hor se je ? = What time is it ? This construction is not very international compared to: Quelle heure est-il? Qué hora es? Che ora è? Que horas são? Quina hora es ? Ti ôra einai ? Wie viel Uhr is es ? Sa është ora?

Compound prepositions

In Uropi there are compound prepositions formed with 2 prepositions, or a preposition and an adverb, a noun, an adjective. This is rather rare in Novial which prefers to borrow its prepositions directly from Latin or other languages.

U ALÒNG = N ALONG =  along (< a + longi < Eng along, G. entlang, Du, Da, Nor langs, Swe längs, It lungo, Fr. le long de, Por ao longo de, Rom de-a lungul): N along li strade = alòng de strad = along the street, along li fluvie = alòng de riv = along the river

BEMÌD (be + mid = middle) = N MID, MIDU (from Eng middle, Du midden, Swe mitt…) = in the middle of and TRAMÌD (tra + mid) = among, amid(st). The adjective in Novial is medi = U. midi = middle-

BERÙ (be + ru) = behind, from pref. RU- (= back, see prefixes) = N HINTER, HINTRU (< G. hinter): Hintrupedes = rupode = "back feet", hintruland = rulànd = hinterland, hintrubutike = ruvendia = back shop.

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Bij has in Kapsali, Kitera, Grecia

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BEZÀT (be + zat = side) = next to, by, beside = N LATER: Li kapitano stead later li generalo = de kapitan stì bezàt de generàl = the captain stood next to the general.

DASK A = thanks to (from daske = thanks, Da tak til, Nor takk till, Pl dzięki, Cz díky, Slk vd'aka, li dėka, Bru dziakujučy, Wel diolch i, Hin dhanyavād ) = N Dank (G. dank, Du dankzij): Dank lon afableso, nus vidad omnum = dask a hi netid, nu vizì tal = thanks to his kindness, we could see everything.

INSTÀ (in + sta = place) = instead of (Eng instead, Da i stedet, Swe i stället, G. anstatt) = N INSTED: Lo non poved veni, ma sendad sen asistanto instedu = he mozì ne veno, ba sendì hi asistan instà = he couldn't come, but sent his assistant instead.

INTRA (in + tra, Fr., Sp, Por, Cat entre, Rom între, It. tra) = INTER, INTRU = between, pref. inter-: Interakto = intràkt (pauz) = entr'acte, international = intranasioni = international, interstatal = intrastati = interstate, intruspatie = intraspàs = interval (space), intrutempe = intratèm = interval (time), intermixa = intramico = intermix, interveni = intraveno = intervene…

OBTE (pref- ob (obstacle) + te (that) = in spite of = N MALGRE < Fr. malgré: Lo marid se malgre li desiro de sen patro = he maʒì obte de zel hi patri = he got married in spite of his father's wishes; malgre ke lon patre interdikted lum = obte hi pater pervitì ja = although his father forbade it

SUBE (su + be, Sp, Por sobre, G. über) = above, pref. super- = N SUPER, SUPRU: suprunomat = subenomen = aforementioned, supernatural = subenaturi = supernatural, suprupasa = subepaso = surpass, supruvido = subevizo = supervise, oversee, supruhome = subehuman = superman/woman. It is however rather difficult to know when we are supposed to use super or supru, inter or intru

TRAWÀN (tra + wan = when) = during = N DURANT (< Fr. durant, It, Sp durante); Duran in Uropi means "lasting"

UVEGÒN = opposite (uve + gon, G. gegenüber, Du tegenover, Da, Nor overfor) = OPOSIT (< Eng opposite): Nus lojia oposit li banke = nu dom uvegòn de bank = we live opposite the bank

Other prepositions

PRI (Eo pri) = OV = about, concerning, of (Eng: of, about, Du over, G. über, Swe, Da, Nor om, Rus o(b), Sr, Cr, Slo, Pl, Cz, Slk o): pensa, parla, sava pri = meno, voko, zavo ov = think of, speak about, know about

PO = PO (Eo, Ido, Rus po) = for (used to indicate the price or the value): Me ha kompre li libre po tri frankes = I av kopen de bib po tri Franke = I have bought the book for three francs

YE the indefinite preposition, taken over from Esperanto: it exists neither in natural languages, nor in Uropi.

Ye li fino del libre = be fend de bibi = at the end of the book, ye dek kilometres fro li mare = des kilometre ap mar = ten kilometers from the sea, ye ti sirkumstanties = in di kirkistàde = in these circumstances, pleni ye bonvolio = polen ki bun volad = full of goodwill, vu es ye justum = tu se regi = you are right, longi ye tri metres = tri metre longi = 3 meters long, la es ye duanti = ce se dudes jare = she's 20 (years old).

In all these examples Uropi has used constructions existing in natural languages.

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Orkide in Koh Chang, Tailand

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According to Jespersen "The task then is to find the most international name and use that, even if there may be countries where it is unknown". It is always a question of degree, but how can we measure the degree of internationality ? In Idiom Neutral they counted the number of languages in which a given word is used; yet for Jespersen it is preferable to "count the number of people who know it from their mother-tongue - a simple consequence of the fundamental principle of the greatest facility for the greatest number". Which would of course imply today that, each time, the Chinese term would be chosen because it is the word known to the greatest number of people, even if it is totally unknown to non-Chinese speakers. Let us take a word like television for instance, in Mandarin 电视, diànshì (that is electricity + watch, inspect); nobody outside China and Chinese communities knows it. On the other hand television, televizia, televisie, televize, televidenie, etc. is used in at least 52 languages, including Japanese (terebi), Arabic, Korean, Mongolian, Swahili, Indonesian… etc.

I think that here Jespersen is wrong: inter-national means "between nations", and not between persons. Each nation has its own culture and its own language, so that the most international word is the most common term to cultures and languages… If we content ourselves with counting the number of people, the solution is very simple: let us all learn Mandarin ! and all the other cultures will disappear.

But let us take another example: the English word duck is known by a much larger number of people than Danish and, and yet, and is more international. Not only does it exist in the other Scandinavian (and, anka, önd) and Germanic languages (Ente, eend), but it can also be found in Latin (anas, anatis), Italian (anatra), Sp (ánade), Cat. (ánec), Occitan (anet), old French (ane), Lithuanian (antis) and even in Russian (utka) and Finnish (ankka), all stemming from the common Indo-European root *hanhati. This is why, in Uropi, we have chosen the Danish word and.

The simplest form

Jespersen said: "even if the "same word" is found in several languages it is very often under different forms - mostly due to a different phonetic development - so that the choice of form is often a delicate problem… In many cases we have to find what might be termed a common denominator".

This is the approach we have followed in Uropi: we have chosen the simplest form which is the easiest to pronounce. For example Latin caupo innkeeper, tradesman, gave the verbs kaufen (to buy) in German, Du kopen, Da købe, Swe köpa, Nor kjøpe, Ice kaupa, and in Russian kupit', Pl kupować, Sr kupiti, Cz koupit, Slk kúpit', Bul kupuvam… so we chose the Dutch word: kopo (but with an open o unlike kopen); besides this term is closer to Italian comprare, Sp, Por, Cat comprar.

However, according to Jespersen "it should be remembered that … many words are so special and scientific that they are only known to a minority of the nation.". He gives the example of the Idiom-neutral words "ornit" and "diurn" (bird and day) which are understood by less than 1% of those who understand the Esperanto words "birdo" and "tago". Yet, this is also the case for the Novial word "omni" for example, which is only used in French in some rare expressions like "omniprésent", "omniscient" and a few others which are even more sophisticated.

Referring to English, he declared: "nearly everybody prefers short handy "Saxon" words to those long and learned words which pedantry has introduced", in addition, "Extensions of the vocabulary are made possible through composition and through word-formation by means of suffixes and prefixes; and it is one of the great advantages of an I.A.L. that there are no limits to these procedures… Compounds are often very convenient", and they are easy to understand because they are transparent: you only have to know the elements, which are basic words to understand the meaning of compounds. For example, Esperanto, Ido, Novial and Uropi use fervojo, fervie, ernivaj (ern + vaj = iron + way for railway), as in natural languages: ferrovia, Eisenbahn, siderodromo, železnaja doroga although an English speaker might have chosen railivaj (railway).

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De piramid Kheopsi, Egipta

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Conflicting principles

As concerns the number of words to be used in an IAL, Jespersen said: "there are two conflicting principles, both of which are legitimate within certain limits, but which should neither of them be carried to excess, the principle of precision and the principle of economy. According to the former an I.A.L. should be capable of rendering all shades of thought found in the national languages", but those who claim that generally do it, because those particular nuances exist in their own language, they "they are not considering the burden thus laid on all the rest of mankind who have never felt the need of those particular nuances". And he added: "do not let us create too many special words to distinguish nuances that are not absolutely necessary", and can "only serve to make the language difficult without any real advantage".

The principle of economy was practised by Zamenhof, more than by anyone else, in Esperanto. He limited the number of adjectives, of verbs and substantives by using the prefìx mal-: malbona "un-good" = bad, maldolĉa "un-sweet" = bitter, malsata "un-sated" = hungry, malfermi "un-shut" = to open, and making as many compounds as possible, for example: kreskaĵo "thing growing" for plant, pafilego "big tool for shooting" = cannon, vagonaro "collection of railway cars" = train. "There is no doubt that the great number of these rebus-words", that are used instead of well-known international terms "has deterred many intelligent people from Esperanto, and incidentally from the idea of an I.A.L. in general".

We should therefore strive to follow these two principles but not carry them to excess.

Jespersen generally prefers to form his verbs from the Latin passive participle; this is not a bad idea, and it is also used in Uropi, as with the verb vizo (= to see < Lat. p.p. visum from video = to see), akto (to act < Lat. p.p. actum from ago), vikto (= vanquish > Lat. p.p. victum from vinco)…etc. The drawback is that Novial has numerous verbs with KT or PT: the clash of such plosive consonants is not very euphonious, as in dikte, protekte, atrakte, skripte Besides some of these terms are not very international; let's take for example lekte and dikte (to read and to say): lekte can be found only in French lecture and Spanish lectura … meaning reading and not lecture. Uropi liso, on the other hand, corresponds to many forms of the verb lire in French: lis, lisons, lisez, lisait, lisaientbut also of the verb lesen in German: du liest, er liest…, and also to Danish læse, Norwegian lese, Swedish läsa, Icelandic lesa, Latvian lasīt, not to mention Albanian lexoj [ledzoj] .

Dikte reminds us of dictate (Sp dictar, Fr dicter, G. diktieren, Rus diktovat', Lit diktuoti, Alb diktoj) rather than say; Uropi dezo corresponds to Spanish decir (decimos, decís, decía, decíamos, decían…) and to Portuguese dizer (dizes, diz, dizem, dizia, diziam) = say.

Novial uses many (rolled) R's which make the language harsh and heavy, for example: fratro, fratra, matra, somre, vintre, vetreThis may be the reason why Tolkien allegedly declared that Novial wasn't a beautiful language.

We have therefore removed many R's in Uropi: frat, sesta, mata, soma, vima, verem (= brother, sister, mother, summer, winter, weather (from Du weer, Da vejr, Nor vær, Sr, Slo, Bul vreme), in particular in prepositions like po instead of por, pour, pa (par), as in English where the final R is hardly pronounced: for [fɔ:, fə], far [fɑ:], teacher [ti:tʃə].

Avoiding the clash of plosive consonants: KT, NKT, PT, XK, and limiting the number of R's make the language much more fluid.

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pont sofis

De Pont Sofis in Veneza, Italia

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Novial has verbs ending in -e, -a, -i; why then ? It is very perturbing for learners who will never know which ending they are supposed to use: skripte, pikte, atrakte (Ur. skrivo, picto, atrajo = to write, paint, attract), but tira, trakta, vida, konosa (trajo, treto, vizo, kono = to pull/draw, treat, see, know)…and voli, mori, rekogni (volo, moro, rekono = to want, die, recognize)…There are almost 3 groups of verbs as in French. Let us note in addition that with tira and atrakte, konosa and rekogni, kurse and konkura, we are losing the etymological link that we have in Uropi between trajo and atrajo (draw, attract, cf Fr. tirer, attirer), kono and rekono (know, recognize), reno and koreno (run, compete). Why not chose a single ending for verbs as in Esperanto (-i) and Uropi (-o) ?

At the same time many nouns end in -e, -o, -a, -u, for example tenta is a tent and tento an attempt, kurso is a race and kursu a course, frise is to freeze and frisa to do sb's hair, fase = phase and fasie = face, kase = cash desk and kasu = case, etc. I understand that vowel endings are essential for euphony in Novial, but why should there be so many different endings for nouns and verbs ? Learners are bound to mix them up.

The lack of difference between S, Z and C in Novial can also be a source of confusion in substantives and verbs: pase = Ur. pac (peace, Uropi c = English sh), pasu =stap (step), pasa = paso (to pass); selo = zelij (zeal), sele = u kel (cell); Ido celar = Uropi celo (to hide), but Jespersen is obliged to choose kasha which doesn't exist anywhere but in French cacher and is thus very little international. Porte = dor (door), porto = perad (carrying), portu = port (port, harbour)… sinke = zink (zinc), sinko = sungad (sinking), sinka = sungo (to sink)…

Uropi has a mobile vowel which can be added for euphony: it is -i for adjectives as in Novial, for example: strit (narrow) > u striti strad (a narrow street), -e for verbs: servo > i serv (to serve, I serve) > un serve solem pasta (they only serve pasta), -a for nouns: kest > u kesta gradi (a question of degree), sort > u sorta strukturi (a kind of structure), form > un alten forma strategiji (another form of strategy)…

Jespersen seems not to know Slavic languages or to ignore them deliberately. Why ? Naturally, when you compare at least 30 languages, you have a much broader prospect than when you compare only 7 or 8 West European languages. For example for the Uropi verb ito (to go); Jespersen says it is very difficult to find a good word to express this idea: Latino sine flexione has i which is too short, Occidental has ear, which can be found only in a few Latin forms, Esperanto iri and Ido irar use infinitive endings (ire, ir)… thus Jespersen chose vada (from Latin vado). But when you take Slavic languages into account, the solution seems obvious: the Slavic root it- (Slo iti, Rus idti, ukr ity, Cr ići, Cz jít) which corresponds to Lithuanian eiti, Latvian iēt, and to some forms of the Latin verb eo (ire): it, ite (= Ur he it, vu it, he goes, you go), to itio (the action of going) and iter, itineris (way, path = TokhA ytār, Hit itar); some of these Latin forms can also be found in Spanish: ir, iréand French: irai, ira…, itinéraire, Eng itinerary All these words stem from a common Indo-European root: *ei-, *ei-dh, *i-ta- = to go.

Novial vada (go) is not a bad choice; Uropi selected it too with vado (= to walk, from Lat vado, mod.Gr vadizô + Swedish vandra, German wandern)

Jespersen does not seem to take etymology and the common Indo-European origin of many words into account either. For example, in Novial, there are two words for day: di and jorn, two terms looking very different but which both come from Latin dies = day and the corresponding adjective diurnus = diurnal. All these terms stem from the Indo-European root *dye(u)- = day, bright sky, which also gave Uropi dia < Sp, Por día, Cat dia (through Latin), as well as Welsh dyw, Breton deiz

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Ʒina in Ʒaisalmer, Raʒastàn, India

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The last part seems to focus on criticisms of Novial; of course, there exist differences with Uropi, but they should not conceal the fact that similarities are much more numerous. For example, many words are identical or very similar: alme = alm (soul < Sp alma), justi = justi (just, fair), isle = isel (pl. isle: island), nobli = nobli (noble), orgele = orgèl (organ (instrument), organe = orgàn (organ (anat.), sigle = sigel (pl. sigle, seal), pikte = picto (to paint), lanse = lans (lance, spear), lansa = lanso (to launch), objete = objeto (to object), sume = sum (sum), suma = sumo (to sum), tua = tudo (to kill) etc.

But, above all, Uropi has followed and put into pratice - without knowing them beforehand - all the principes and the essential ideas that Jespersen put forward about international auxiliary languages (IAL's). Let us recall the main lines:

- Words should not be chosen at random, but those which are already international should be preferred, and adapted to the phonetics of the language.

- Latin words should not systematically be selected because today, most modern languages speakers do not know Latin any more. Many terms from Latin origin are so specific and scientific that most people do not know what they mean.

- Between perfect regularity and perfect naturalness we should find a compromise.

- Monosyllabic root-words should be favoured and the vocabulary extended through composition and word-formation by means of suffixes and prefixes.

- The greatest facility for the greatest number should be sought. Yet facility does not mean that we can recognize the words at first sight.

- An IAL should be simple and natural: in it we should find elements that are still alive and used today.

- The same term in different languages has taken different forms: we should find a common denominator.

- Spelling and phonetics should be as simple as possible (5 clearly pronounceable vowels: a, e, i, o, u); we should not retain the traditional spellings which are too irregular and complicated.

- Each letter should have its most intranational pronunciation.

- No language, even the simplest, can be understood without being studied.

- We should find a balance between the principle of precision and the principle of economy: too many unnecessary nuances make the language uselessly complicated.

- We should try to create a language whose grammar is as simple as Chinese grammar, but which keeps its European character: for example personal inflexion of the verb should not be kept.

- Words should not always be stressed on the same syllable, but on the most important syllable for the meaning of the word.

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Mane od Chamula, Chiapas, Mecika

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- Adjectives should be invariable except when they are used as nouns.

- Novial and Uropi have an -i ending for adjectives, -a for nouns in the feminine, -im for adverbs.

- Novial and Uropi have kept a genitive, which is very convenient to link two nouns, but have no accusative for nouns, adjectives and pronouns, which could create great difficulties for learners.

- Novial and Uropi use different forms for interrogative and relative pronouns (for example: ka? ≠ wa (what?, what), ke? ≠ we (who? who), ko? ≠ wo (where? where)

- We should avoid artificial verb endings as in Esperanto.

- Two participles are enough: active and passive.

- The verb root is used for the present.

- The future is formed with a particle or an auxiliary followed by the verb (infinitive): Uropi: ve/ Novial sal + V.

- Only have is used as an auxiliary for the perfect and compound past tenses.

- Novial and Uropi have a passive of becoming formed with the auxiliaries vido/ bli (= to get, to become)

- Some prefixes, suffixes and prepositions are identical or similar in both languages:

dis-, mis-, mal-, ri-/re-, mi-/mij-, arki-… -iste/-ìst, -ia, -isa/-izo, -an, , -ivi, -et/-it, -on, -im … in, sur/su, por/po, tra, along, insted/instà

I am convinced that Jespersen, and Jean Pirro before him (Universalglot 1868), have opened a new path for international auxiliary languages, between those languages which are still partly a priori and artificial like Volapük and Esperanto, and those which, on the contrary, are purely Latin or Romance, but very little international. On this path we have tried to conciliate naturalness and internationality, naturalness and regularity, naturalness and simplicity. In a typology of international auxiliary languages, Universalglot, Novial and Uropi belong to the same type; Uropi is a further step down this very path.

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