There has been a good deal of notice taken in the last few months of this new universal language called Volapuk. The newspapers have referred to it many times; scien tists have argued over it. Perhaps a few facts in regard to it may be of general interest. Volapuk was invented by a German Catholic priest, the Rev. Father Schleyer of Constance, Baden. Germany. In 1878 he began work on a simplified universal language, to be used both in commerce and science, and in 1879 he published his system and a dictionary and grammar. The public first regarded the system in the light of a curiosity, but the Germans soon began to study it, and the other countries of continental Europe soon followed. Schleyer's plan is very simple, his idea being to make a language containing as few words as possible, entirely regular in its construction, and using the best words to be found in the four or five languages in common use. The language has no artificial genders, only one conjugation, and no irregular words. The method of derivation is always the same, the adjective, verb and adverb being regularly formed from the substantive, invariably having the same termination, so it is necessary to learn only the nouns of the language. Volapuk has spread with great rapidity. Schleyer's publications date only from 1879, yet now his pupils are numbered by the thousands and seventy societies have formed for study of the language. Schleyer's dictionary contains 13,000 words. There is as yet no English-Volapuk dictionary, but one is being prepared. It is stated by those familiar with the language, that anyone studying Volapuk steadily for three months, giving to it about two hours a day, ought to be able to write fluently and clearly upon simple topics; and some people learn in half that time. There are two magazines published in Volapuk; several enthusiasts in Germany have begun to teach it in schools and declare that it is far easier to acquire than any living or dead language. Volapuk will be used chiefly as a commercial language; already several commercial schools in France and Germany teach it; and at one of the great shops of Paris, a Volapuk interpreter is regular employed. The students of Volapuk in the United States form as yet a very small number. We only had one representative at the Volapuk congress held in Munich last June, but it is hoped that at the next congress, to be held at Paris in 1889, we will have more delegates present. It is said that there are only about twenty-five persons of this country who have made a serious study of the language.
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May 06, 2017