Hand-book of Volapük/Preface

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THIS book demands no previous knowledge of any language, except English. While linguistic training would, of course, be a great assistance to the learner, yet in framing my explanations, in selecting terms and in foreseeing difficulties, I have had in view the wants of persons who take up the study of Volapük next after that of their mother tongue. These are the persons most to be benefited by an international language, and this is its natural place in a course of study. I have, therefore, rigidly excluded all reference to any language except the two in question--English, already known, and Volapük, to be acquired. A fair knowledge of English grammar is presupposed; therefore I have not wasted space in explaining the ordinary technical terms.

There are excellent works on the subject in French, German and other languages, but translations of such works are very unsatisfactory to an American learner. He finds things taken for granted which are quite unknown, and things explained which to him are self-evident. I have tried to place myself in the attitude of such a learner, and to give him just the help he needs, and just at the point where he needs it. I have tested and modified my methods by experimental teaching.

I have not followed the ancient custom of treating each part of speech by itself, but have taken up each modification in succession, a plan which seems to me preferable, at least in a language without irregularities. In the Exercises, few words are introduced, but many combinations are made of them, so as to give the greatest amount of drill in the inflections. As English has almost no inflection, this feature is the strangest and most difficult, and requires the most practice.

The Vocabulary will place at command over one thousand of the most frequently occurring words, besides a vast number of their derivatives which will be readily understood.

I have made no changes in the system itself, but have tried to represent faithfully what it actually is, following the authority of the Second General Assembly held in Munich this summer.

Upon the recommendation of the American Philological Association and of the London Philological Society, I have dropped the final e, misleading and unhistorical, from such words as "infinitiv," "feminin," etc.


CHARLES E. SPRAGUE.

1271 Broadway, New York.