Trüth, Beaüty, and Volapük

Johann Schleyer invented a new language in the 1880s called Volapük. The language was quite popular for some time, and still exists in publications here and there. The German priest drew from the English language as well as German and others, and had a particular fondness for umlauts, which he sprinkled liberally onto Volapük words.

During one sleepless night in 1879, he felt a Divine presence telling him to create a universal language. The result was Volapük. It was designed to be easy to learn, with a system of simple roots derived from European languages, and regular affixes which attached to the roots to make new words. Volapük was the first invented language to gain widespread success. By the end of the 1880s there were more than 200 Volapük societies and clubs around the world and 25 Volapük journals. Over 1500 diplomas in Volapük had been awarded. In 1889, when the third international Volapük congress was held in Paris, the proceedings were entirely in Volapük. Everyone had at least heard of it. President Grover Cleveland’s wife even named her dog Volapük.

But the very popularity of Volapük contributed to its downfall, as imitators designed languages to improve upon it. The many umlauts didn't help, either. Read the story of Schleyer and his language at the Public Domain review. Link -via the Presurfer


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