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(random heading)[edit]

(inserted for talk page structure and readability ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 09:25, 30 September 2009 (UTC))

If there's no objection, I'm going to move this back to Volapuk. The "language" disambiguator is unnatural with languages that have their own names, rather than being derived adjectives (and thus don't have anything to disambiguate against!) --Brion 19:28 Sep 23, 2002 (UTC)

De Gaulle said something about volapuk, (really !) I should verify where and when.... Réf :

Volapük just don't get no respect, it seems. :) --Brion

It has some pejorative sense in France since... Mainly used for European Affairs and mainly by anti-europeans the abominable Jean-Marie Le Pen use it sometimes.

Could someone translate the links in (presumably) Volapük at the bottom of the article? This is an English article, after all... --cprompt

I commented out the Volapuk text. If you can, please translate to English and restore to the article. --cprompt 04:24, 18 Apr 2004 (UTC)

The a in Volapük[edit]

I have a question about Volapük I believe should be addressed in the article: is the a in Volapük connective, or genitive, or what?

It's genitive. I just added a section on compound formation. --Jim Henry 19:23, 30 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Number of V speakers?[edit]

"There are an estimated 20-30 Volapük speakers in the world today."

Can this number be correct? Should it not be 20-30 THOUSAND?

I don't think so. It was only 100,000 at its peak 115 years ago, and has been in decline ever since. Googling about reveals (unsurprisingly) that no-one knows the exact number, but it was described as "a handful" in the 1960s, and more recently an Esperanto speaker described it as at most in the low triple digits, most of whom are Esperantists learning a different conlang for comparison purposes. Securiger 12:06, 21 Jun 2004 (UTC)
20,000 or more is far too much, but I think 20-30 is too little, considering the astonishinh activity on the internet. It is impossible that 20-30 people, of whom certainly a lot would be elderly and probably incapable of creating a web site, can be so present at the World Wide Web. And indeed most of them will be Esperanto speakers as well, and most of them will be freaks whose pleasure is to learn as many languages as possible (like me fyi :)), but it is too vivid a movement to be that little.--Caesarion 12:43, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)
"Astonishing activity on the internet"? There are two mailing lists, with low traffic and not many posters (though a larger number of subscribers). There are four major websites I know of; I think only three of them are maintained by fluent speakers of the language, the other is by a man who is interested in Volapük historically but is not a speaker. Most of the other web hits are mentions of V on websites of language buffs who are interested in the language but not apparently fluent speakers. I think 20-30 is almost certainly within one decimal order of magnitude of the correct value. --Jim Henry 15:28, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I guess you're right, that means that the actual number of speakers lies between 1 and 999, including the bordering elements. That is quite vague indeed. In my humble opinion, two mailing lists and three websites is still to be called "astonishing activity" if there are only 20-30 speakers today. Not all speakers are to be found on the internet!--Caesarion 17:57, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps I misused the term; I meant "between 2 and 200". Actually, I would be very surprised if the number of fluent speakers is over 50. Not all speakers are found on the Internet, but if all known people on the Internet who read and write Volapük fluently also speak it fluently (a questionable assumption), and there are ten non-Internet users for every Internet user among fluent Volapük speakers, that would still be well under 200.
But if you count everyone who has ever studied Volapük enough to (painstakingly, with frequent references to dictionaries) write an email in Volapük, you might get as many as 1000.
Possibly I could ask on the main Volapük mailing list for further input on this, but previous requests to the list for input on the Wikipedia article have not gotten results. --Jim Henry 18:22, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I'd say that it's quite amazing that it has a fairly large Wikipedia base. It's at least larger than Lojban, Interlingua. I would say that either there is more than one contributor to, or there is one VERY active member. Of course, they could qualify under the list of people who fit in: "painstakingly, with frequent references to dictionaries". So, I don't know how useful it is. Sadly, I am certain that there are more speakers of Volapük than my language *sigh*. --Puellanivis 22:56, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
Maybe it's not so surprising. I am one of the contributors to the Volapük Wikipedia (with an article on Auguste Kerckhoffs and one on the Cifal Statutes (drafted by Cifal Sleumer); I will be trying (as time allows...) to add further articles on past and present Volapükists and other information in the language. Looking a bit around, I was unable to find even one single article that had "article structure": most of them are one- or two-sentence definitions with very little information. It does look like the kind of work one or two people could do in, say, a couple of days, if they were simply thinking of increasing the number of papers as much as possible by writing as little as possible. The one exception -- the "Introduction to Volapük" -- is actually in English! Maybe I am a little pessimistic; but my current guess is that there are maybe 4-5 fluent speakers, 10-20 people capable of writing or reading texts without (too much) need of a dictionary (a cumulative total, which includes the first 4-5...), 20-50 people currently interested, trying to learn and read Volapük texts, 50-100 people who either are or were interested enough in the language to have learned something at some point in life, 100-1000 people who know what Volapük is (i.e. not a rock band or a system for mimically transcribing Cyrillic letters) and saw once something written in the language. Maybe with Andrew Drummond's novel, A Hand-book of Volapük, interest will be renewed and more people will hear about it; but right now I think there are more speakers of, and people interested in, the Klingon language than in Volapük... (Did you notice that the Klingon Language Institute website has a page in (old) Volapük?) Sérgio Meira 00:22 27 Oct 2006
Somehow I don't think any of us would ever have heard of a language with 5 fluent speakers. There are 6 billion people on Earth, and probably thousands of constructed languages. This one seems to have a "buzz", so I'm guessing there are at least hundreds, if not thousands of speakers. And the idea that 2 people could create 100,000 articles (stare at that number for a minute; that is a very large number) in 2 days seems crazy. Even if each article is only 2 sentences (say 20 words), and both people type at an average of 50 WPM, and they both get a total of about 8 hours of productive typing done per day (I think that's reasonable. They must spend some time clicking), it would take them around 40 days to finish typing those 2 million words. That doesn't make it impossible that there are only 4 or 5, of course. But these 4 or 5 folks must be some mad overachievers. (I'd imagine the 10 or 20 who need a dictionary occasionally could not have written all of that at 50 WPM). As for the estimate of 100-1000 people even knowing what Volapuk is, I think that underestimates the popularity of Wikipedia (one of the most popular websites on Earth). Remember, the Volapuk Wikipedia is one of the top-tier Wikipedias. That's like having an ad on Google. Literally hundreds of millions of people see it every day, and I bet at least a few million (a few percent) of them wondered what it was enough to click it. That's how I got here. 01:20, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
As an Esperantist, I recently heard this in the lernu! forum.
"Oddly, Volapük has over 100,000 articles listed. I was suspicious about that since there are probably less than 100 or so Volapük speakers in the world. Turns out they cheated, some Volapük enthusiast wrote a computer program that posted thousands and thousands of short articles from templates."
Now, those are the words of an Esperanto lover, and might not me exactly NPOV. Besides, the poster above me pointed out that there must be more than 30. However, it might be a valid point to consider.--Puchiko 22:28, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
If that's true shouldn't we report that to Meta-Wiki? But I still believe that there are thousands. -- Felipe Aira 09:45, 28 November 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Felipe Aira (talkcontribs)
That seems to be true, I've gone to the Volapuk Wikipedia and clicked the random page selector in the navigation toolbar, and it seems every time I load a random page, the page is a stub. -- Felipe Aira 09:49, 28 November 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Felipe Aira (talkcontribs)
Still, this page says there are 323 Volapuk users just on Wikipedia. So unless they've got a bot building users too, the 20-30 number still seems specious.-- (talk) 21:04, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
If the Volapük Wikipedia has indeed been producing articles and/or users on a massive scale by an automatic programme I do think indeed that it should be reported to the authorities that there might be so that the unacceptable, anomalous situation is corrected. (talk) 09:45, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
If the articles in question are valid, meaningful stubs, it doesn't matter how they were generated. Gestumblindi (talk) 22:41, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Where is the largest Volapük collection?[edit]

An earlier version of the article had this sentence:

"The International Esperanto Museum in Vienna (Austria) holds the world's biggest collection of Volapük literature."

After adding notes on other large collections, I removed the note about IEM having the largest collection, because another source (the Esperanto Wikipedia article on Esperanto libraries) claimed that CDELI had the largest Volapük collection. If anyone can confirm that one claim or the other is true, we can note which has the largest collection.

I posted on the Volapük listgroup asking about this but have no reply yet. --Jim Henry 18:55, 30 Jun 2004 (UTC)

A little research in their websites suggests that the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek collection (Vienna) has more listed titles relating to Volapük (ca. 100 to 60 in CDSLI). But I'm not sure they've got everything in their internet archives, and the ONB search engine (TROVANTO) is often unavailable. It may be worthwhile to visit both places once and compare. Sérgio Meira 00:42 27 Oct 2006

You should have no problem visiting "both places" since the International Esperanto Museum is actually part of the Austrian National Library (cf. and are in the same place. (talk) 09:42, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

"A great name for a brilliant idea"[edit] added a link to a nonexistent article Volapük - A great name for a brilliant idea to the external links section. I removed it. My guess is this person was trying to link to an external page and wasn't sure how. If you want to add an article on that theme, think about whether it fits Wikipedia's neutral point-of-view rules. Maybe you should instead add more text (in neutral tone) to this article about the advantages of Volapük over other languages? --Jim Henry 20:05, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Origin of the idea[edit]

From Johann Martin Schleyer:

According to his own report, the idea of an international language arose out of a conversation he had with one of his parishioners, a semi-literate German peasant whose son had emigrated to America and could no longer be reached by mail because the United States Postal Service couldn't read the father's handwriting.

From the article:

Schleyer felt that God had told him in a dream to create an international language.

Unless God is a semi-literate German peasant, which is inconsistent with Catholic dogma, at least one of the accounts is wrong.

What verse in the Bible tells us: N And the Lord GOD was not a German peasant.? Nothing in the Bible contradicts God being a German peasant. Loosely speaking. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 09:28, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Well the idea came from the peasant and then God told him to act on it.
Actually, the peasant did not give him the idea for the language, but merely for an international alphabet. The version of the story I know is that the peasant's handwriting was readable to the US Postal Service, but that the peasant, not knowing how to spell US city names in English, spelled them in German according to whatever pronunciation he had for them (for example, if the son lived in Tucson, maybe the father wrote Tüsen, or Tüksen?), so they didn't know where to send the letters to. The son actually never got any of the letters his father wrote, and the father in question was getting sad, thinking his son had forgotten his roots. Then Schleyer had the idea of inventing a universal alphabet, a sort of primitive IPA, in which things like addresses could be written and read by mail officers anywhere in the world. He actually wrote it up and sent it to the Union Postale Internationale, but as far as I know he never got any answer. As for Volapük, what Schleyer himself wrote (cf. his German text in the Volapük group) is that, years after the peasant incident, he spent one night awake, not able to sleep, and suddenly had a flash of intuition -- a revelation from God -- and started writing down the rules, playing with them, till by the end of the day he had the basics of Volapük grammar, and some words. A true prophetic revelation, if you will. (His original "international alphabet" was still used in his books -- he was very much interested in reforming the spelling of every language he had learned, and his first Volapük grammar was written in a 'reformed' version of German spelling... -- and seems to be ultimately the source of Arie de Jong's "transcription" alphabet, which occupies an important place in his "Gramat Volapüka" and was supposed to be used in Volapük texts to explain the pronunciation of every geographic word (which should written in the original spelling). Sérgio Meira 00:55 27 Oct 2006
Did I dream that I read somewhere that it was a problem with the German handwriting (some relative of Sütterlin)? --Error 02:11, 3 December 2006 (UTC)


In some stage, Volapuk used Fraktur-like versions of the vowels instead of umlauts.

That is not exactly true. At some point (I think before the second Volapük congress), Schleyer actually came up with the idea of inventing new letters to replace ä, ö, and ü -- a, o, and u with a little 'dent' on the right side that gave them the aspect of the old German "Frakturschrift" -- but it was not really Fraktur. It reminded me more of those Vietnamese vowels with little hooks and mustaches (marking different tonal contours). Sérgio Meira 01:52 27 Oct 2006

The Italian scanned method has examples but they are blotched in the scanning.
I added a scan from a 1888 method. Strangely, ä is an open form quite difficult to distinguish from ü. The book is in German and Fraktur letters are visibly different. --Error 02:17, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Naming fix, again[edit]

Somebody moved this page around to places like User:Ambush Commander/Mover and Volapük language. I've put it back at Volapük where it belongs and cleaned up the redirects (except for User:Ambush Commander/Mover, not sure what that's supposed to be...) --Brion 19:33, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, that was my mistake. I was testing out a theory I had about page moves and it didn't work. Everything seems to be in the right places now though... Ambush Commander 21:27, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)

Independence of Vp movement[edit]

I revised this

...but these are Esperantists who became interested in the history of constructed languages rather than the continuation of an independent tradition.

as it seemed to be an exaggeration. Not all speakers of Volapük are also speakers of Esperanto, and certainly not all of them are "Esperantists" in the sense of being active in the Esperanto movement. Also, there is indeed a continuous though sometimes tenuous tradition in the Volapük speaker community. --Jim Henry 17:20, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Good to know, Jim. kwami 19:37, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
Actually, there's only one speaker I've heard of who's not also a speaker of Esperanto. Even those who learned Volapük first (like, I think, the current Cifal, Brian Bishop) eventually learned also Esperanto. Cherpillod, the author of a Volapük grammar and textbook in Esperanto, is, I think, typical in this respect. So I don't think it's really an exaggeration. Or am I wrong? Can anybody mention modern Volapük speakers who are not simultaneously Esperanto speakers? (I agree that they are not necessarily Esperanto activists, but most speakers are. Do only activist get to be called Esperantists these days? When I learned it, about twelve years ago, any speaker was an Esperantist, regardless of his interest in the Movado.) My guess about the actual relationship is more or less like this: the typical Volapük learner was interested in languages, got to know Esperanto as his first artificial language, and heard about Volapük when reading about the history of Esperanto. S/he got interested and tried to find out more, felt attracted by the language, and ended up learning it, from books, or, nowadays, from Midgley's course in the internet. There may be exceptions, but my impression is that this path would describe the usual case. Sérgio Meira 01:20 27 Oct 2006
I reckon you're right that most Volapük speakers also speak Esperanto, and that most of them learned Esperanto first; what I was objecting to was the earlier version of the article's assertion that all modern Volapük speakers came to the language via Esperanto and that the Volapük speaker community doesn't have continuity since the earliest such community. --Jim Henry 13:50, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Number of words[edit]

Lang Maker says Volapuk has a Lexicon size of 1569.. does this mean it has just 1596 words, or am I just misunderstanding something? Could someone please explain? Thanks Loserdog3000 16:54, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

I don't know where that figure came from, but it has to be way underestimated. Of the Vlapük-English dictionaries I have on my hard disk, one has 35K entries (some are duplicate German and English definitions of the same word, some are phrases rather than single words) and another, more carefully edited, has 6K entries, but can not be regarded as complete. Possibly there were 1596 root words in the earliest edition of Schleyer's Vp, but that's just a guess about where the figure came from -- more likely someone looked at a mini-glossary online and picked that figure. --Jim Henry 17:41, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the explanation, I was wondering how such a successful language managed to take off and have large conferences etc with such a small vocabulary. It'd be more like a pidgen! (Or I thought I'd misunderstood the word Lexicon!) Loserdog3000 18:12, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Yes, that's clearly an understatement. Speaking from memory, Arie de Jong's new dictionary has about 200 pages (in the Volapük-German section) with about 40 words per page; that gives you already 8000 words. If you remember that his Volapükagased pro Nedänapükans kept publishing "Vöds Nulik" (New Words) for quite a while, and that he had compiled about 10 further lists (which the Volapükagased kept mentioning were available for anybody interested in copying them), I'd say the currently sanctioned, cannonical Volapük vocabulary certainly goes beyond 10,000 words. (In the Volapük group new words are still often proposed and accepted; I have myself recently proposed -- and had the joy of seeing it accepted -- the word "plutod" as the Volapük name of the (ex-)planet Pluto, which hadn't been discovered in Arie de Jong's days... Sérgio Meira 01:42 27 Oct 2006

O Fat Obas ?![edit]

The version of the Our Father given here is *not* in 1931-style Volapük (Arie De Jong's Volapük Perevidöl): it is actually in the original, Schleyerian form of Volapük. This should be changed!

In Danish, the word "volapyk" (y is pronounced ü in Danish) means "nonsense"! Very few Danes know the origin of this, and they laugh when they are shown a Dictionarly of Volapük (akin to "The Concise Dictionary of English-Nonsense, Nonsense-English").

- Same in Norwegian, too.

Number of conjugations?[edit]

The article says a verb can be inflected 1,584 ways, but this site (in External Links) says it can be 505,440. Quite a large difference. 00:17, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

The smaller figure is for revised Volapük, and the larger one for classical Volapük.Custardslice7 (talk) 09:44, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Can anybody translate the following?[edit]

Can anybody translate and grammatically analise the following words: löpikalarevidasekretel and klonalitakipafablüdacifalöpasekretan


Trivia section added[edit]

I've added a trivia section--Pontoppidan 18:58, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

I've added the reference to volapük in William Gibson's new novel Spook Country, to the trivia section. Perhaps it should be in a section like "use in literature" or something. I was also going to add this paragraph, but thought it might be too speculative, commentary: "It is not known whether Gibson revised the origins (and dropped the umlaut) for literary effect or because he received incorrect information from someone. Perhaps someone familiar with texting / SMS culture in Russia could comment on the use of volapük in texting in that country. As far as I know, as well, the Russians did NOT have trouble with Cyrillic keyboards/screens as they developed their own systems very early on. Perhaps the reference is more to cell phone/texting culture and history? Again, a person familiar with the history of SMS in Russia could verify this - did volapük see a resurgence with the early GSM phones? I suspect if it did this would be long past, as Cyrillic is fully supported on phones text messages now. --Richard Smith 20:35, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

I don't feel strongly about the issue, but I recommend you check out WP:TRIV. Ben Hocking (talk|contribs) 20:42, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
"Gibson brushed over or misconstrues the origins of volapük," I would say that this is still speculation. We don't know what Gibson's intentions were. Given that he ends his explanation with "They called it Volapuk. I guess you could say it was a joke," and that Gibson is no slouch on the research front, I would as easily believe that he meant that a Roman keypad approximation of Cyrillic would be anything but a universal language, hence the "joke." I think he might have assumed his readership would either know or find out the origins of the term (that's why I'm here), and that this usage is his own creation. (Typegeek 14:41, 26 August 2007 (UTC))

Have any of you seen the text on top of the page saying: «For the French avant-garde rock band, see Volapuk. For the ASCII translitteration of the Cyrillic alphabet, see Volapuk encoding.»? I've you read volapuk encoding article, you'll understand what Gibson wrote. -- 16:33, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Volapuk Wikipedia[edit]

If the language only has 25-30 speakers, how does the Volapuk Wikipedia have 70,000+ articles? That's almost 3,000 articles per speaker! 17:10, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Today it is more than 100 000 but "depth" is 0. More than 95% of the articles are stubs! 16:01, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
Apparently most of them were created automatically by bots from geographical census data from various countries. Try clicking the "random article" link several times in a row and see how similar the articles you get are. Don't laugh; the English Wikipedia had a similar preponderance of bot-created geographical articles in its early days. --Jim Henry 14:30, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
I tried for a few minutes the "recent changed" (Votükams nulik) and my impression is that it is more than only stubs. Random clicking in this list showed quite some medium-size or even large entries, definitely far less than 95% stubs. The last 500 entries looked more or less like a one-man-show by one user (more than 95%). -- (talk) 23:38, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Somebody do something![edit]

Somebody should stop the Volapük Wikipedia from growing so fast! More than 95% of arcticle are stubs!!! User:CDHgrün —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:23, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

I don't think it's much of a problem. As I pointed out earlier, at one point the English Wikipedia also had a preponderance of articles auto-generated from census data by a bot. The person who ran the Vp census-bot has said he did it as a publicity stunt to attract attention to the language, and has no intention of continuing to use bots to expand the Vp Wikipedia now that he's gotten said attention. --Jim Henry 23:34, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
Hm… All other languages want attention too, don't you think so? Why almost dead Volapük should be listed on the Wikipedia front page in the same list as other major languages with 100000+ articles? It is called cheating. --Alexey V. Molchanov (talk) 07:01, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
When other wikipedias did the same thing (Polish, Italian, for example) nobody was complaining about this form of "cheating". I don't have a problem with it. The articles in question ARE in Volapük and they aren't any worse than their bot-generated counterparts in other wikipedias. —IJzeren Jan Uszkiełtu? 10:19, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
The list on the front page isn't an award, a publicity tool (though it clearly can be used as one) or a measure of the most widely spoken languages. It is merely a rank by article count of the largest wikipedias. Nothing need be done about any language appearing here. In fact, the only thing that could be done about it would be a systematic deletion of Volapuk articles, which makes about an equally minimal amount of sense. Any observer with even a basic understanding of languages by speaker population size would recognize quickly the complete lack of relationship between the list and the most spoken languages of the world. aremisasling (talk) 13:54, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, Volapük might be dangerous, I'll take a look to what we can do against Vükipedia. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 16:51, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

synonyme ethymologically [edit]

Please do 'xplain: "synonyme", "ethymologically".

Thank You,

[[ hopiakuta Please do sign your signature on your message. ~~ Thank You. -]] 09:40, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Reasons to use[edit]

The article may say something about why did the language became popular toward the end of 19. century.

A curiosities section in a Czech language daily Pražský ilustrovaný kurýr from April 1, 1898 cites from a Swiss revue "Suisse", from article by Ernst? Naville about the recent international languages. The revue says that the most common use for Volapük was to conduct business communication and that Volapük was used by about 2,000 companies employing on 13,000 people. Perhaps the small business owners considered it as a viable alternative. Pavel Vozenilek (talk) 00:13, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

ö and ü difficult?[edit]

The article says: "Other phonemes difficult for non-Europeans (such as ö /ø/ and ü /y/) remain common." This statement is not factual. These phonemes remain common in Volapük, but they are not "difficult for non-Europeans". Maybe what is meant, is that these sounds are difficult for some people, which could be said of many other sounds too. In fact, these sounds and sounds similar to them occurr commmonly not only in most Germanic languages (including English dialects) and French, but also for instance in most Turkic and Sino-Tibetan languages, which makes them in fact very commonly (and easily) pronounced across vast stretches of the earth by many millions of people! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:50, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps it should say something like "these sounds are difficult for those whose native languages do not have them" and cite the UPSID for the percentage of the world's langauges that have those sounds? I just checked and /y/ and length-variants of the same occur in 5.76% of the languages in the UPSID database. /ø/ and variants occur in between 3 and 7% of the languages in the database. [1] --Jim Henry (talk) 18:28, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
I learned to make the /ø/ and /y/ sounds during one session of my high school German class. It is highly speculative to claim that these sounds are difficult to learn. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:51, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
For speakers of Arabic, having only a phonemic distinction between three vowels, a language with eight distinct vowel sounds would arguably be rather difficult. My sister is currently teaching Swedish (having nine vowels, that generally differ in length) to immigrant Arabs, and they seem to have many difficulties. Most international auxiliary languages I've seen seem to have a "five vowel system" similar to Latin. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 16:30, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
About Swedish (my native language) 8 to 9 vowel distinctions, most dialects don't distinguish short e and short ä. The trouble is that the "long" vowels are in fact diphtongs and are almost always pronounced with a different phonemes than the short forms, so there are more like 17 vowels.
So – compared to English, Swedish is OK, observing that also English have myriads of diphtongs with an equally obfuscated spelling system... ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 09:40, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Source for 20 speakers claim?[edit]

The article claims that there are estimated to be 20 speakers, but the link is wrong. It goes to an irrelevant story. I fear a hoax.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:59, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

This link works fine for me and links to the article it described. While I didn't check every claim of the article, it does seem to confirm the article. It contains the claim about the 20 speakers: "There are by his count about 20 Volapük speakers in the world today," but there seems to be at least 20 people editing the Volapuk wikipedia. Jon513 (talk) 22:53, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

That Volapük has about 20 more or less fluent speakers in the world is sort of common knowledge among people interested in constructed languages. I know a few of them. The Vükiped has a few regular editors, and there is a Yahoo! group where most of the traffic is in Volapük. Of course, in the case of a constructed language it's hard to say what exactly qualifies a person as a speaker. Volapük has no native speakers. Those who can speak it have learned it at some point. But how well must someone know it to be acknowledged as a speaker? I think the number of 20 speakers is on the safe side, but I'm inclined to believe that actually there must be a lot more. Regards, —IJzeren Jan Uszkiełtu? 09:42, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Can people who can only read and write the language, but not converse in it, be counted as speakers? Given a grammar reference, a dictionary and unlimited time, anyone with an IQ >95 can sort of cobble together sentences in Volapük or Esperanto. Does this mean we can claim 3 billion speakers for those languages? Gimme a break. We need to tighten up the standards for these claims. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:54, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Still, the idea of the "20" number doesn't sit well with the sister project with over 100,000 articles and 4,000 registered users. Am I missing something here? Sillyfolkboy (talk) 12:04, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Most of the Volapük Wikipedia's article are automated bot-created stubs. There are very few users writing substantial articles. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 16:39, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
And of course, "4.000 registered users" doesn't mean anything by itself. They could have registered for any reason, it's not evidence in any way, by itself. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 16:43, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I think there is a difference between being a born speaker, a speaker who can do so if she has to, and a speaker who uses a device (handheld computer device, that is) to help her speak. And secondly, if there are actually 20 people who were nativeborn speakers, why not list their names? (talk) 07:40, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

ay, oy, uy[edit]

I've changed the bit that says "ay/oy/uy" are acceptable alternatives to "ä/ö/ü", on the grounds that there's neglible evidence that they are. They are definitely illegal in Revised Volapük, and until someone can find proof that they were allowed in Classical Volapük, I don't think we should make the claim here.

I should add that the problem with adding those y's is that it can change the meaning of a word. For example, in revised Vp, "glidö" means "hello", but "glidoy" means "one greets" !! Custardslice7 (talk) 19:07, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

As far as I know there's only one Volapük speaker who uses those digraphs as ASCII substitutions for the umlauted vowels. I've had a discussion with him before on the Vp mailing list about possibly using some other character than |y| that doesn't occur in the Vp alphabet for such digraphs (e.g. |q|) but we didn't come to any consensus. --Jim Henry (talk) 18:18, 16 September 2008 (UTC)


I'm starting to be fond of Volapük, because it is so anti all other pathetical Intauxlangs claiming:

Look here! No grammar!

all the same providing an informal non-formulated syntactical grammar, that the poor language learner can read about nowhere but have to guess!! Now, it seems the 1931 deJong reformed Volapük deteriorated the language from the original originality. I would rather add circa 10 cases and make flexing forms to make it more forceful. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 16:58, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

(No, de Jong added one case, so it is a slight improvement. 9 left to be added! ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 07:49, 1 October 2009 (UTC))

What Volapük version do the Vükipedia peruse? I couldn't find anything about it anywhere. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 16:58, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Number of "speakers"[edit]

In association to the above discussion on number of speakers: there are no proof that there are any "speakers" at all, but there seems to be at least 2 or 3 pretty fluent writers in Volapük. The language evokes more interest than f.ex. Novial, comparing facebook memberships of Volapük vs. Novial gives 63 vs. 39, there are at least a few pretty fluent writers, and everything else is fuzzy, unclear, disguised and pretty unknown. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 10:54, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Volapük Wikipedia (2)[edit]

The fact that the Volapuk Wikipedia has x number of articles is not relevant to the language. [EDIT:Well it is relevant if a reliable third party reference discusses it specifically in reference to Volapuk]. Since Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, and the vast majority of the Volapuk Wikipedia's articles are bot created, the fact that it has a certain number of articles is not something to be noted in this article. Further, that fact is not from a reliable third party reference. (See WP:V) Finally, how about bringing it to the talk page first, instead of reverting? Good faith edits should be left and discussed, not reverted just because. - Taxman Talk 15:55, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

I think statistics are relevant, particularly for constructed languages without generational transmission to native speakers. It is also relevant in terms of the number of "speakers" or "users" of a conlang. Everybody says that there are "20" Volapük speakers. Well, that statistic was taken before I started learning Volapük, so that means there must be "21". Certainly the Esperanto Wikipedia mentions the fact. If you google "volapük wikipedia articles number" after the first three hits you have discussion outside of Mediawiki about Volapük language in the context of its usage on the WIkipedia; see this and this and this and [ this]. In fact, the Volapük Wikipedia, and its articles (bot created or not, and they were not all bot-created) is an example of publishing in Volapük—and that is notable in terms of the history and usage of the language. Perhaps we should move the sentence to a new section on publications in Volapük. It could easily have two sections, one for publications in Volapük Rigik, and one for publications on Volapük Nulik. Even the controversy could be mentioned... again, it's relevant for conlangs in a way in which it might not be for other languages.
Reversion preserves the text; discussion allows us to decide how we want to proceed. That's my preferred editing style where controversial deletion is concerned.
By the way, I will soon be initiating a poll of the 90 members of the Volapük Yahoo list attempting to determine what level of competency people there think they have. -- Evertype· 16:31, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Statistics are relevant, but only those from reliable, third party references. Spend some time on WP:V. Specifically, Wikipedia is not a suitable reference. A reliable reference that discusses the Volapuk Wikipedia as a use of Volapuk may be worth mentioning, but only so far as what the source supports, not in the current article wording and placement. BTW, those blogs you mention are specifically not reliable references.
Reversion does preserve the text, but that isn't a good goal. Improving the article is. Reverting out of preference is how edit wars start. I think my version is better, you think yours is. You want me to start the discussion so you put it back to your preferred version. The method that avoids edit wars is to not revert in the first place and start the discussion. I don't believe in edit wars, so I didn't revert back. - Taxman Talk 16:42, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
First, I'm not a newbie.
Second, the statistic we have "20 speakers" comes from an interview with the Cifal in 2000. The interview was published in a place, but that doesn't mean that the Cifal's estimate remains accurate today. It was just his opinion 12 years ago. If a poll is held of the members of the Volapük Yahoo group as to their own estimation of their status as users of Volapük, why would that not be reliable? There is no other way to elicit speaker-competence. You're not going to get Volapük (or Esperanto) listed on a national census form, and even then, the census data reflects only the results of self-reporting. How many Irish speakers are there? We don't know. We know what people report on the Irish Census form. Having a poll on the Yahoo site will be no less reliable than that.
Third, the engines which count the number of articles in the different language versions of the Wikipedia are considered reliable by everyone, are they not? I don't understand why you seem to think it's not notable, as it has been discussed off the Wikipedia. In fact it has been widely discussed on the Wikipedia as well. It remains the case that Vükiped articles exhibit a considerable effort on the part of some members of the Volapük community, both in their own right and with their bots. That is notable, in terms of the history of this constructed language, which has not died out as some have. I have read the guidelines on "self reference" on the Wikipedia, and like all guidelines, they can be ignored an exception can be made where there are grounds to do so. In the case of Volapük, I think there are. -- Evertype· 20:53, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
What we have going on here is people that are interested in and would like to promote Volapuk. One way that has been undertaken has been to have a bot produce a substantial number of articles, far larger than would be able to be created by 90 people. Then that number is being used to promote the language as if it has a certain amount of usage. That's not a problem for activities outside of this article, the problem is that's not what a Wikipedia article is for. Wikipedia's content policies are that articles should reflect what reliable references say. If it hasn't been published in a reliable reference, then it can't be included. There are a variety of reasons why a poll of a yahoo user group would not be a reliable reference. WP:V and the related links covering reliability of sources have explanation on why it wouldn't be. For one thing, consider why a conlang is different from a native language, and that there are a number of specific problems that would require closer scrutiny of a more reliable reference source. And I edited my first sentence above to reflect what I wrote later. It's not that the number of articles in the Volapuk Wikipedia is verboten to mention, it's just that if it isn't mentioned in a reliable third party reference then it violates the basic content policies to include it. And for the same reasons above, Wikipedia's stats aren't a reliable reference. They can be gamed, and have been in this case specifically. In summary, at this time, the content policies do not support the inclusion of the sentence I removed. - Taxman Talk 23:44, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
You're not making headway here. Firstly, bots were also used to populate at least parts of the German and Italian Wikipedias at one stage. Second, the bots that populated the Volapük Wikipedia ran years ago. That's when the discussion, on and off the Wikipedia, happened. You are mistaken in thinking that the number of articles "is being used to promote the language as if it has a certain amount of usage". Everybody knows that bots wrote many of the articles. (Grammatically correct articles, too, even if stubs.)
A Wikipedia article is about its content. In terms of a conlang like Volapük, publishing activities of various kinds are well within the scope of the article. Now, this may come as a surprise to you, but the Wikipedia exists in the real world and so the bot-driven population of the Vükiped is, in fact, something within the scope of the article, which is about Volapük.
Where you get into trouble (trying to explain the Wikipedia to someone who has been editing it for 8 years and who is an admin on and is where you mix up "verifiable" and "reliable". You started out with the former, and now you have morphed it into the latter. And above, where you say that people's blogs discussing the bot-driven population of the Vükiped "those blogs you mention are specifically not reliable references", I have to ask: In what way are the not reliable? Do they refer to bot-driven translations? Yes, they do. Were there bot-driven translations? Yes, there were. Was there other discussion, on or off the Wikipedia (or in other language versions of the WIkipedia) about this phenomenon? Yes, there was. Were there responses by those who used the bots? Yes, there were. Can links be given to this material, for anyone who wants to verify for themselves whether bot-translations existed or whether or what kind of discussion there was about it? Yes, they can. There is plenty of verifiability here. The reader can judge for hiimself or herself what the merit of those sources are, but the sources are there. The discussions exist. They are archived and not changed.
I don't think you understood what I was saying about polling for conlang usage. For a natlang, a country or other jurisdiction may make a census in which language-use is elicited. In every case, the respondents will be self-reporting. Is such self-reporting reliable? For a conlang, no country or jurisdiction exists to put such a question to a census. In such a case, one can do one of two things. Currently, for Volapük, we have a 12-year-old newspaper interview citing the opinion of one Volapük speaker about how many Volapük speakers there are. Maybe he was right 12 years ago. Is he right today? But over here we have a group of 90 people who say that they are interested in Volapük. On that group, a census question can be asked. In every case, the respondents will be self-reporting. Is such self-reporting reliable? If it is for a national census, and the questions are the same questions, why should it be judged differently just because of the venue of the census question? Will the self-reporting of 90 people be more reliable than the 12-year-old opinion of the Cifal? I, for instance, wasn't counted by the Cifal in 2000 because I did not know any Volapük. Now the Cifal has appointed me to the Volapük Academy. That means that there's at least 21 people who know Volapük, right?
The blogs that mention the number of articles in the Vükiped are third party references. I don't consider them to be unreliable, just because they aren't the New York Times. And I can use those blogs to go on to the Wikipedia and discover for myself the article count, and discussion on Talk pages, and other interesting text about the issue. They also happen to refer to Wikipedia's own stats. You say that these aren't reliable. Why not? Are the algorithms that generate them inaccurate? How do you know? You are wrong to say that the stats "can be gamed". The stat-engines count articles. Even if bots created articles, the stat-engines are doing nothing but counting. You may claim that the bots were gaming the numbers of articles, but the statistic regarding the number of articles is not affected by the bots. The sentence you dislike says "As of October 2011, the Volapük Wikipedia had the 35th highest count of Wikipedia articles with approximately 119,000 articles." Today if you follow that link you will find that Volapük has fallen to 37th place, with 119.007 articles. Are you saying that the statistics-engine that generates those figures is unreliable? Because that is a matter for the programmers of the statistics-engine. Again, Wikipedias exist in the real world. Only one thing in the world counts articles in the different language versions of the Wikipedia. For my part, I believe that the figures are accurate, and I do not find that anything in the guidelines of the Wikipedia forbid reference to -- Evertype· 14:23, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
I will edit the sentence there so that it reflects current statistics. I invite you to reconsider my suggestion: Perhaps we should move the sentence to a new section on publications in Volapük. It could easily have two sections, one for publications in Volapük Rigik, and one for publications on Volapük Nulik. Even the controversy could be mentioned... again, it's relevant for conlangs in a way in which it might not be for other languages. -- Evertype· 14:23, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
As for those 20 or 21 speakers, those words also spoken by the Cifal before I started learning Volapük, so make that 22 then. Actually, I know of at least one other person who learnt Volapük afterwards, too. Now I have to admit that I am not at all proficient in Volapük, even though I know the basics and a decent number of words. I have never considered myself a "speaker", a "user" or a volapükologist, though. And this raises an interesting question, recurring as far as constructed languages are concerned: what makes a person a "speaker" of a language? Which level of proficiency is required, and how do we test it? Can a person, who with the help of a dictionary and grammar is able to produce a few decent sentences on a mailing list, be considered a speaker? Does the ability to speak a language automatically mean this person also has to use it on a frequent base? Can safe estimations be made on the basis of membership of a mailing list, or edits on a wiki, or membership of an organisation, or whathaveyou? Obviously not! And not surprisingly, the direct result of these difficulties are huge discrepancies when it comes to numbers. For example, estimations about the number of Esperanto speakers vary from a few thousands to over two million! Yet paradoxically, numbers of speakers seem to be an extremely important issue, especially where constructed languages are concerned. For this reason I've always been arguing that in terms of constructed languages numbers of speakers are a hopeless case - about as hopeless as trying to establish how many people in the world know Russian. There is only one thing that can be calculated somehow, and that is the number of users about whom we know it for sure. Needless to say that this is a fairly time-consuming job that requires a tremendous amount of digging. Besides, in order to be able to do such research, you have to be an insider, and that very fact alone make the outcome unreliable - simply because being an insider implies that you have a vested interest in manipulating the data.
I have been a member of the Vükiped almost from the very beginning - to which fact I owe the user number ("gebanadientif") 44. I remember the storm about the Volapük Wikipedia having over 100,000 articles very well, because all of a sudden, major projects had to list it on their Main Page among the editions which 100,000 to 250,000 or 500,000 edits. Indeed, the huge number of bot-generated articles even become the reason for a proposal to close the whole thing, followed by a proposal to delete all the bot-generated stuff. Interestingly, several other projects (especially the Polish and the Italian Wikipedias, if memory serves me well) also used bots to generate similar or even higher amounts of articles, and somehow nobody was really bothered by that. Somehow I'm pretty sure that if a similar thing had been done on the Komi or the Zulu Wikipedia, nobody would have cared much either. The biggest problem, I'm pretty sure of that, was that suddenly an artificial language that previously most people hadn't even heard of, was to be listed among the major languages of the world. This very fact, as well as the ardent responses from both sides, is already a major event in the history of constructed languages. And yes, it echoed way outside Wikipedia itself. I even remember the Dutch radio asked me to talk about the whole thing in a special program dedicated to the subject! Which, if I recall correctly, was precisely what The Man Behind The Bots had hoped to achieve: to put Volapük on the map, and to remind the world of the fact that there is such a thing like Volapük. That "Volapunks not dead", so to speak. I'm positive that this incident has prompted several new people to learn Volapük as well.
Also, it is nowhere written that information from reliable third-party sources is the only thing that can be accepted. If there is one thing I have learned during more than a decade of extensive research on constructed languages, it is how unreliable these reliable sources really are - no matter if it is a major newspaper or a monography by a scientist - and what kind of nonsense they sometimes repeat after incompetent others. The truth is, if an article appears in the NYT, this is not prove at all that something is true, no more than any blog entry does. We should take sources for what they are worth: a NYT article about Volapük proves the existence of a NYT article about Volapük, which definitely adds up to its notability. Likewise, the number of subscribers to the Volapük Yahoo! Group proves that there are currently X people subscribed to this particular mailing list. And likewise, the archived discussions on Meta are proof of the very fact that these discussions have taken place, including the various opinions uttered in them. The notability of these facts may well be established outside Wikipedia, but in this case Wikipedia is the primary source. Therefore this is not a case of self-referencing (which essentially means that Wikipedia claims something is true because elsewhere on Wikipedia it's written so).
NB I've modified the header of this discussion, because the previous one pointed to a different discussion on the same page. —IJzeren Jan Uszkiełtu? 23:02, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

Meaning nonsense "in certain languages"[edit]

Isn't the number of these languages in fact two? Can't we just say "two"?
When a tribe is discovered living under a tree in the Amazon and using Volapük to mean gibberish, the paragraph can be changed to read "three". (talk) 16:37, 2 July 2013 (UTC)