Aug 29

Nissa has blogged about it, so the cat is out of the bag…

Yes, Ralph Midgley is translating Ventürs jiela Lälid in Stunalän, which Evertype will publish in due course.

The grammar of Volapük is agglutinative. The word ventür [venˈtyr] ‘adventure’ has an -s plural, which is familiar enough. The compound stunalän [stʊnaˈlɛn] is derived from stun ‘wonder, amazement, astonishment’ (evidently based on ‘astonish’ plus a genitive ending -a plus län ‘land, country’ (based on ‘land’). The phrase jiela Lälid [ʃieˈla lɛˈlid] is a genitive, composed of the article el ‘the’ used with names to which is attached the prefix ji- [ʃi]~[ʒi] ‘she’ and the genitive suffix -a.

Why Lälid, you ask? Because Volapük uses initial vowels to represent tenses:

  • o- indicates the future
  • ä- indicates the imperfect
  • e- indicates the perfect
  • u- indicates the future perfect
  • i- indicates the pluperfect
  • ö- indicates the future in the past
  • ü- indicates the future in the past perfect
  • a- indicates the present tense, but this is only used in certain circumstances, such a when an adverb has a temporal sense. Compare: delo ‘by day’, adelo ‘today’, odelo ‘tomorrow’, ädelo ‘yesterday’

Since Alice is—well—not imperfect, *Älis could cause confusion. (There is no verb *lisön, as it happens, but even so.) But Volapük handles this with a prefix l-, as in Lislän ‘Iceland’. But there are also rules in Volapük that discourage the use of -s at the ends of words, since that is the plural marker. Alice derives from Germanic Adalheidis, however, so there’s some justification for using a -d instead. Thus, Lälid, genitive Lälida, accusative Lälidi, dative Lälide. (Note that when preceded by the inflected article the noun does not inflect; jiela Lälid and Lälida mean the same thing.)

Ralph notes that “lälid [is] made up of preposition meaning ‘to be near to’, and the noun lid which means ‘a song’. A person near to a song is almost always happy, and with certain infrequent exceptions, I think this describes Alice very well.”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

preload preload preload