Novial

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Novial
novial
Flag of Novial.svg
Created byOtto Jespersen (1928)
Setting and usageInternational auxiliary language
Purpose
Language codes
ISO 639-3nov

Novial is a constructed international auxiliary language (IAL) for universal communication between speakers of different native languages. It was created by Otto Jespersen, a Danish linguist. He who had been involved in the Ido movement, and later in the development of Interlingua.

Its vocabulary is based on the Germanic and Romance languages. Its grammar is influenced by English.

History[change | change source]

Jespersen introduced Novial in his book An International Language in 1928. He updated it in his dictionary Novial Lexike in 1930. He proposed several modifications in the 1930s. However, the language became dormant with Jespersen's death in 1943. In the 1990s, with the revival of interest in constructed languages brought on by the Internet, some people rediscovered Novial.

Grammar[change | change source]

Novial has a simple and regular grammar. The main word order is SVO. There is no grammatical gender (but the sex or gender of referrents can be marked). Verbs don't change according to person or number, and don't have exceptions.

Articles[change | change source]

The definite article is li which doesn't change. It is used as in English.

There is no indefinite article, although un (one) can be used.

Nouns[change | change source]

Nouns mainly end in e, a, o, u or um in singular. The plural noun is formed by adding –s to the singular (-es after a consonant).

There is also a form for indefinite number, expressed by removing the ending of the noun in singular (leone – lion, leon es kruel – a/the lion is cruel, or lions are cruel).[1]

If a noun refers to a living being, then the form ending in -e is neutral in regards to sex, the one ending in -a female, and the one ending in -o male. If the noun is based on an adjective, nouns referring to living beings can be made with the previously mentioned rule, and furthermore nouns referring to concrete objects with -u, and abstractions with -um. The third person pronouns follows the same rule, together with the definite article.

The genitive is formed with the ending -n (-en after a consonant) with the plural being -sen (-esen after a consonant) or with the preposition de.

Other cases are formed with prepositions.

Adjectives[change | change source]

All adjectives end in -i, but this may be dropped if it is easy enough to pronounce and no confusion will be caused. Adjectives precede the noun. Adjectives do not agree with the noun but may be given noun endings if there is no noun present to receive them.

Comparative adjectives are formed by placing various particles (plu, tam, and min) in front of the adjective receiving the comparison. Likewise, the superlative particles (maxim and minim) precede the adjective. The adjective does not receive an inflection to its ending.

Personal pronouns, subject and object[change | change source]

Singular Plural
I me we nus
you vu you vus
common,
she, he
le, la, lo they les, las, los
it lu, lum lus

Verbs[change | change source]

Verb forms never change with person or number. Most verb tenses, moods and voices are expressed with auxiliary verbs preceding the root form of the main verb. The auxiliaries follow the same word order as the English equivalent. The following phrases give examples of the verb forms:

Grammar English Novial
Infinitive to protect protekte
Present I protect me protekte
Present Perfect I have protected me ha protekte
Simple Past I protected me did protekte or me protekted
Past Perfect I had protected me had protekte
Future I shall protect or I will protect me sal protekte or me ve protekte
Future Perfect I shall have protected or I will have protected me sal ha protekte or me ve ha protekte
Future In The Past I was going to protect me saled protekte
Conditional I would protect me vud protekte
Conditional Perfect I would have protected me vud ha protekte
First Imperative Let me protect! Let me protekte!
Second Imperative protect! protekte!
  • Present active participle: protektent – "protecting"
  • Past passive participle: protektet – "protected"

Novial clearly distinguishes the passive of becoming and the passive of being. In English the forms are often the same, using the auxiliary verb to be followed by the past participle. However, the passive of becoming is also often expressed with the verb to get which is used in the examples below.

The passive voice of becoming is formed with the auxiliary bli followed by the root verb form. It can then be conjugated into the previously mentioned forms, for example:

Grammar English Novial
Infinitive to get protected bli protekte
Present I get protected me bli protekte
Present Perfect I have got protected me ha bli protekte
Simple Past I got protected me blid protekte
Past Perfect I had got protected me had bli protekte
Future I shall get protected or I will get protected me sal bli protekte or me ve bli protekte
Conditional I would get protected me vud bli protekte

The passive voice of being is formed with the auxiliary es followed by the past passive participle (stem + -t). For example:

Grammar English Novial
Infinitive to be protected es protektet
Present I am protected me es protektet
Present Perfect I have been protected me ha es protektet
Simple Past I was protected me did es protektet or me esed protektet
Past Perfect I had been protected me had es protektet
Future I shall be protected or I will be protected me sal es protektet or me ve es protektet
Conditional I would be protected me vud es protektet

Adverbs[change | change source]

An adjective is converted to a corresponding adverb by adding -m after the -i ending of the adjective.

Comparative and superlative adverbs are formed in the same manner as comparative and superlative adjectives: by placing a specific particle before the adverb receiving the comparison.

Novialides[change | change source]

Novialide is a term used for languages derivatives of Novial and an artificial language for describing a language project based on or inspired by Novial.

Some Novialides are:

  • Novial by the Novial Revisione Komite (a.k.k. "Grupe Novial", "Novial98")
  • Novial by James Chandler
  • Novial Pro by Marcos Franco
  • Eurial by B. Phillip Jonsson
  • Novial by Jay Bowks
  • Proyo
  • Reformad Novial by Vicente Costalago

References[change | change source]

  1. Jespersen, O: An International Language (p. 89)

Other websites[change | change source]