NOVIAL PRO: A short comparative description     


In 1928/30 a Danish liguist called Otto Jespersen developed a language for international communication, just as Zamenhof had done with Esperanto several decades before. Jespersen called this language Novial, and it was meant to be easier to learn and to read than the other international auxiliary languages (IALs) existing in his time. The result of Jespersen's work deserves by itself a page in the history of interlinguistics, as a balanced IAL between the schematical ones (Esperanto, Ido...), and the naturalistic ones (Occidental, Interlingua...). However, it is possible that a better compromise could be attained where naturalistic solutions were kept within the limits of a strictly schematical grammar. Novial Pro is the realization of this goal. The following description of Novial Pro presuposes from the reader a certain knowledge of Jespersen's Novial, as it just reflects the differences between them.


1 - Novial's four different endings for verbs (-a -e -i -u) are unified in just one: -a. Verbs which formerly ended with -e change this for -a, and those that ended with -i or -u add the -a: 

    lekte -> lekta; voli -> volia; distribu -> distribua...

2 - The vowel ending of the verb is not part of the stem anymore. This meant certain amount of flexionality on former Novial which is now unnecessary, and therefore eliminated.

3 - The -a/-o endings as sex markers are dropped, to avoid shared endings. Sex is now marked with suffixes (-in-, -ul-).

4 - The past tense, which was formerly marked by adding -d (resulting in unnatural endings such as -ad, -id, -ud) are always made with -ed in Novial Pro. 

    telefonad -> telefoned; volid -> volied; distribud -> distribued

'-ed', besides being more natural and recognisable, makes the past tense more different from the present tense (-a), which is a desirable feature, specially in oral speech.

5 - The infinitive tense is now marked with -AR added to the root (lernar, puniar, lektar...).

6 - On Novial Pro, -E is still the general substantive ending, but the ending for deriving neuters (=non-animated nouns) from adjectives is -O (in Novial it was -UM): bono, komunikato... This ending (-O) coincides with the ending for verbal nouns, which is quite coherent, as verbal nouns are in fact derived neuters. The same applies to pronouns; we keep -E as generic ending and -O for inanimates (neuters): totes/totos (everybody/everything), otre/otro (another person / another thing), nule/nulo (nobody/nothing), que/quo (who/what)... 

7 - The -i of adjectives cannot be dropped anymore. It is the ending of the nouns that can be optionally dropped in NPro: doktor, infant, fotografer, ship, hospital, kat, opinion...

8 - Imperative/hortative tense is marked in NPro. The ending is -U.

9 - The -(t)- suffixes, that is -(t)ion, -(t)ivi, -(t)ore, -(t)uro, will be now -at- suffixes by default: -atione, -ativi, -atore, -aturo.

10 - Jespersen's rules for -t- derivation are now unuseful, so they are dropped.

11 - The rule of deriving verbal substantive by replacing the final vowel of the stem with -o (except if it is -i or -u, in which case it's added) is eliminated. All this kind of flexions disappear in Novial Pro.

12 - The letters C (before -E and -I) and Z are introduced in Novial Pro for recognisability purposes, with the same pronuntiation as S (i.e. /s/ & /z/), but maybe /ts/ and /z/ pronunciations could be assigned to this letters in order to make them different in oral speech. A final decision on this point is yet to be taken. Examples: cink, zono, cento, aceptar, azuro...

13 - Genitive case (-n) is dropped. It is now indicated by preposition (de).

14 - Possessive adjectives are made adding the -i of adjectives (not -n) to the pronoun. Thus: le > lei, vu > vui; and also quo > quoi, nule > nulei...

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