The Volapük alphabet has 27 letters, namely:
a, ä, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, ö, p, r, s, t, u, ü, v, x, y, z -- 8 vowels and 19 consonants.
The vowels are pronounced in the following manner:
|A: as in "fAther"
Ä: as E in "mEt"
E: as French É in "ÉtÉ"
I: as in "machIne"
O: as in "pOrt"
Ö: as French EU in "jeu"
U: as OO in "sOOn"
Ü: as French UE in "rUE"
The consonants are pronounced in the following manner:
|B, D, F, H, K, L, M, N, P, T, V, Y:
as in English
C: as CH in "CHurCH"
G: always as in "Go"
J: like SH in "SHoe"
R: should be rolled S: always as in "So" X: always as in "fleX" Z: like TS in "biTS"
In Volapük, every single letter must be clearly sounded!
Practice now with the numbers from one to ten:
Practice these words of one syllable:
Words of more than one syllable are always stressed on the last syllable. Practice:
Try 2 consecutive vowels: rein = rain
Try 3 consecutive vowels: neai = never (pronounce: nay-ah-EE)
One last important point: Try to make a habit of saying each word out loud! You may feel a little self-conscious doing this to start with, but you will soon become familiar with the sounds of the language, not all of which are exactly like the sounds we are accustomed to in English. Furthermore, we gain much more confidence this way!
Now take a look at the following words and say them out loud:
at = this bi = because binön = to be blod = brother böd = a bird bür = an office büsidan = a businessman cil = a child dom = a house e = and ekö = here is/are famül = a family flor = a flower gretik = big, large gudik = good gudiko = well in = in (place) jönik = beautiful, lovely jul = a school julan = a pupil (at school) kel = which, who lärnön = to learn lödön = to live, reside nem = a name niver= a university nuf = a roof
nulädik = modern ofik = her omik = his reidön = to read saidiko = sufficiently, enough sekretan = a secretary smalik = small sol = the sun sör = a sister Spanyän = Spain stral = a ray studön = to study tefik = corresponding (to), relating (to) tidön = to teach timül = a moment topön = to be situated ün = at, in (time) vakenön = to be on holiday/vacation vemo = very / very much vifik = fast, quick vilön = to want to vobön = to work vöd = a word yan = a door yunik = young zif = a town
In Volapük there is no separate word for "a/an" as there is in English; neither does Volapük use a separate word for "the" except in special circumstances, which will be mentioned later.
As in English, words form plurals simply by adding -s.
Words ending in -ik are adjectives, words ending in -o are adverbs, and words ending in -ön are verbs. Note also how all nouns start and end with a consonant.
1. In Volapük, the suffix -il is appended to words in order to express the idea of smallness. Instead of saying jul smalik, the word julil is shorter and its meaning is the same. On the other hand, a longer way of expressing zifil would be zif smalik!
1a. How would we say in English:
2. Another useful suffix is -an. This denotes a member of a profession, society, country, philosophy or other discipline.
2a. How would you say in Volapük:
3. The personal pronouns in Volapük are:
These words are of course used separately, but here is how they fit into the verbal action! First of all, take any infinitive, remove the final -ön, and proceed accordingly:
BINÖN = to be binob = I am binobs = we are binol = you are binols = you all are binom = he is binoms = they are (masculine) binof = she is binofs = they are (feminine) binon = it is binons = they are (neuter/mixed gender)
3a. Choose a few more verbs and really get used to them, like this!
4. You will notice that vilob (= I want) plus lärnön (= to learn) corresponds exactly to "I want to learn" in English -- vilob lärnön. If we say Ob vilob lärnön, then a great deal of emphasis is being given, because the ob appears twice -- "I want to learn!"
4a. Say in Volapük:
5. Now to the most interesting part! Read the following introductions, and say them out loud. Glidis! is how we say "hello" in Volapük!
Glidis! Binob Samül. Binob studan in niver. Ekö famülans
Fat obik binom büsidan. Vobom in bür nulädik. Nem omik binon "Robert".
Mot obik binof tidan. Tidof in jul smalik. Nem ofik binon "Lisabet".
Sör obik binof sekretan. Vobof in bür gretik in zif. Ün timül at vakenof in Spanyän. Nem ofik binon "Janin".
Blod yunik obik binom cil. Binom julan. Nem omik binon "Peter".
Lödobs in dom gretik e nulädik in zifil jönik.