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Universalglot is an a posteriori international auxiliary language published by the French linguist Jean Pirro in 1868 in Tentative d'une langue universelle, Enseignement, grammaire, vocabulaire. Preceding Volapük by a decade and Esperanto by nearly 20 years, Universalglot has been called the first "complete auxiliary-language system based on the common elements in national languages". In his book describing his own language project Novial, Otto Jespersen praised the language, writing that it is "one to which I constantly recur with the greatest admiration, because it embodies principles which were not recognized till much later".
Pirro gave it more than 7,000 basic words and numerous prefixes, enabling the development of a very extensible vocabulary.
This language uses the standard Latin alphabet with few changes:
- "w" and "y" are not used.
- "Σ/σ" is used instead of "sh".
- "Ü/ü" is used for German "Ü/ü" (or French "U/u")
The letters whose pronunciation differs from their pronunciation in English are:
- "c" is like "ts", "j" is like "y", "q" is like "kw"
- "a", "e", "i", "o", "u" are pronounced as in Italian or Spanish. Vowel combinations are pronounced separately.
Nouns and adjectives
Nouns (substantives) are invariable except for the feminine form, which ends in "in". Adjectives are completely invariable E.g. (singular): El old man, el old manin. E.g. 2 (plural): Li old man, Li old manin.
All words can be used as nouns with the help of an article.
Only articles and pronouns have separate singular and plural forms, as follows:
Singular: el (the), un (a/an)
Plural: li (the)
Unmarked nouns will be considered plural: I hab kaval = I have horses.
The verbs all share the same easy conjugation:
Infinitive (-en): esen: to be
Present tense (-e): ese (am/is/are)
Past tense (-ed): esed (was/were)
Future tense (-rai): esrai (will be)
Conditional (-rais): esrais (would be)
Imperative (stem): es! (be!)
Present participle (-ant): esant (being)
Past Participle (-ed, same as past tense): esed (been)
Transitive verbs, such as loben (to praise) also have passive forms:
esen lobed (to be praised)
i ese lobed (I am praised)
i esed lobed (I was praised)
i esrai lobed (I will be praised)
i esrais lobed (I would be praised)
i esrai esed lobed (I will have been praised)
i esrais esed lobed (I would have been praised)
es lobed! (be praised!)
Note that passive verbs use esen, not haben, for the perfect (have been). All other verbs use haben.
se loben (to praise oneself)
i lobe me (I praise myself)
i lobed me (I praised myself)
i lobrai me (I will praise myself)
i lobrais me (I would praise myself)
da, di, fern, pertot, post, retro, sub, up, vo, pre, alterlit, hastlit, insamel, oft, rarlit, re, so, certlit, ies, non, potlit, villit, alor, altervolt, ankor, bald, ditdai, heri, jam, kras, mai, nun, postdit, primlit, semper, admindest, vix, ben, kom, mal, mind, molt, prox, quant, sat, self, talit, tant, totlit, trop, unlit.
ad, adkaus, de, ex, in, inter, kon, kontra, kontravil, ob, per, post, pre, pro, prox, retro, sin, sub, til, tra, um, up, uper.
an-, de-, di-, dis-, ab-, mis-, mal, ob-, re- and the prepositions.
Special word lists
i (I), me (me, object—direct, indirect, of preposition), men (my, mine; pl. meni "meni bibel" my books)
tu (you, singular), te (you, singular/object), ten (your(s) singular; pl. teni)
il (he/she/it), eil (him/her/it, object), sen (his/her(s)/its; pl. seni)
nos (we), enos (us, object) nor (our(s); pl. nori)
vos (you, plural), evos (you, plural object), vor (your(s), plural; pl. vori): vor bibel (your (pl.) book), vori bibel (your (pl.) books)
ili (they), eili (them, object), lor (their(s); pl. lori)
Interrogative and relative pronouns: ke (who(m), what), kei (pl. of ke)
alter, alteri; jed; nul, nuli; on; self, selfi; tal, tali; tot, toti; un, uni
un (1), du (2), tri (3), quat (4), quint (5), sex (6), sept (7), okt (8), nov (9), dec (10)
11=undec, 12=dudec, 13=tridec etc.
20=duta, 30=trita, etc.
21=dutaun, 22=dutadu, 23=dutatri etc.
cent (100), mil (1000), milion (1,000,000)
El prim (the first), el duli (the second), el trili (the third) etc. el ultim (the last)
primlit (firstly), dulit (secondly), trilit (thirdly) etc.
1/2 = un midli, 3/4 = tri quatli
Lundai, Mardai, Erdai, Jovdai, Vendai, Samdai, Diodai = un septin
Li mens (months):
Januar, Februar, Mars, April, Mai, Juni, Juli, August, September, October, November, December = un jar
Examples of texts in Universalglot
Leter de grat (thank letter)
I grate vos pro el servnes ke vos habe donated ad me. Kred, men senior, ke in un simli fal vos pote konten up me.
Adcept el adsekurantnes de men kordli amiknes.
Ben dai, Meni senior, i ese inkanted reinkontra evos; i habe videt evos in London, e ditdai nos finde enos in Skotland. dikt me ex ke land vos ese.
Un ex enos ese ruser e du ese italier e el quatli ese deutsch; ma nos pote toti parlen insamel, den nos parle el universal glot.
- Bray, Mary Connell. "Introduction" in Alexander Gode et al. Interlingua-English: a dictionary of the international language. Storm Publishers, New York, 1951. (read online)
- Jespersen, Otto, PhD., Litt.D., LL.D. An International Language 1928