Novial (1928) by Otto Jespersen

(Chapter IV of `A Planned Auxiliary Language' by Henry Jacob, 1947)

4. Vocabulary The roots of Novial are selected according to the principle of greatest internationality. In certain cases Jespersen prefers Germanic roots where both Ido and Occidental have chosen Romanic roots [klema from D klemmen, pressen; vud from E would; even as in English]. The main differences between the Novial vocabulary and those of other systems come from the suppression of the letters c and z. The letter s plays an important part but tends to distort some words [siente = science, sesa = F cesser, sivil(i) = civil]. But Jespersen has, as in Ido, retained the chemical formulæ and the well-known abbreviations of measurements. The total vocabulary adopted contains approximately 5,600 roots. A linguistic body could develop this vocabulary as the need arises, and on the principles laid down by Jespersen or accepted by him from other systems. In An International Language he points out a few words which might be taken as derivatives but in fact are complete words, prob(-)abli, meaning probable; but might be taken as meaning that which can be tested; pos(-)ibli = possible, not that which can be placed, seri(-)osi = serious, not full of series, romane = Roman, not novel, rid(-)ono = giving again, not laugh, par(-)dona = pardon, not give fully, par(-)fuma = perfume, not smoke thoroughly.
In his Lexike (Allen & Unwin) he admitted a number of alternative forms [dogma, dogmate, sele, selule] and in Novialiste 1, 1934, he published 49 words which were either omitted or which represent alternative forms considered preferable to those originally proposed.
One outstanding observation equally applies to all systems and should be mentioned here, that is, the agreement among all authors and interlinguists on the general principles of root-selection, the greatest internationality compatible with the particular grammatical structure of the system concerned. A careful study of the vocabularies of the four main systems, Esperanto, Ido, Occidental, Novial, will prove that some thousand words are the common property of these planned languages of demonstrated usefulness.

Return to Contents Page


This page is hosted by Yellow Internet. 1