Esperanto vs. Volapük

Get this:

Volapük didn’t die out completely. It has a bit of life today; there are a few online lessons and discussion boards. There is even a Volapük Wikipedia with over 100,000 articles. And its name lives on in the Danish expression det er det rene volapyk – “It’s pure Volapük,” or, in other words “It’s Greek to me.”

The article is here, the pointer is from Bookslut.


Depending on the context the expression "det er det rene volapyk" can also mean "it's pure nonsense" - as e.g. in "his argument is pure nonsense" - rather than "I don't understand what he says".

I think it means "it's gibberish" not "it's Greek to me" (the latter expression implies there's something to understand that I haven't understood).

I prefer Ido myself.


Same in Russian. To "speak in volapuyk" means to talk nonsense (usually applies when the speech is filled with a lot of foreign words). In fact, I strongly suspect that for every 100 Russians who know the word there is no more than one who knows its origin.

In the late 19th century, there were three monetary regimes--gold, silver,and paper. In future, there will be three language regimes--English, Spanish, and Chinese.

Hoping not to overburden an analogy, this has gotta be more peaceful than the 20th century.

More people speak Hindi/Urdu than Spanish. Also, Russian and Arabic are the lingua francas (or is it linguas franca?) for large areas of the world, and are not likely to be supplanted any time soon.

Most educated Hindi/Urdu speakers also speak English, which makes study of Hindi/Urdu fairly pointless for utilitarian reasons and of limited use as a regional language.

Russian is likely to be supplanted very, very soon. The birth-rate is low in Russia proper, it's cultural influence is declining rapidly, and Russian elites are far too eager to learn English. Russian is rapidly declining as a lingua franca as well. More young people learn English than Russian in former Soviet Republics like Kazakhstan or Azerbaijan. Very few people under 50 in the Warsaw pact countries can speak Russian well, nor do they have any desire to. Russians have to speak English to talk to Poles or Czechs even though the languages are fairly closely related. Within 60 years Russia will be probably be on par with Polish or Vietnamese in terms of influence. Interesting to specialists and people who love the culture - but not an important international language of science or business.

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