Native Speakers Of Germanic Languages
Design Goals And Principles
Further Design: How You Can Help!
Folkspraak is a model language being designed as a common Germanic language (an "Intergerman", if you will).
Once complete, Folkspraak should be quickly learnable by any native speaker of a Germanic language (see table below), a group numbering over 465 million native speakers (with an additional 300 to 900 million speaking English as a second language).
Folkspraak is not meant to be designed by any one individual, but is a collective work created by all interested parties, according to the basic guidelines set below. You can contribute a word to the language just by sending an e-mail to Dale Morris, listing your proposed word, its meaning and its form in three other Germanic languages (in addition to English). You can volunteer to have a greater part in the design of the language as well (see Further Design: How You Can Help!).
WEST GERMANIC NORTH GERMANIC
DU - Dutch 17,500,000 DA - Danish 5,100,000
GE - German 98,000,000 SW - Swedish 8,300,000
FR - Frisian 300,000 NO - Norwegian 4,300,000
FL - Flemish *1 IC - Icelandic 240,000
EN - English 325,000,000 FA - Faroese 40,000
AF - Afrikaans 4,500,000
YI - Yiddish 350,000
OE - Old English *2 ON - Old Norse *2
*1 Flemish is included in Dutch.
*2 Dead language.
All population estimates adapted from The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language.
The primary objective of Folkspraak is for a speaker of a Germanic language to be able to comfortably read the language with a high level of understanding within a week and to be able to write in the language within a month.
A secondary objective is simply to create a model language through the active participation of many contributors, providing for a less solitary, more interactive hobby.
The primary design principle is that Folkspraak omit any linguistic feature not common to most of the modern Germanic languages. For instance, since English lacks grammatical gender, Folkspraak will lack grammatical gender as well. Since Swedish does not decline weak verbs for person or number, Folkspraak doesn't either. If a phoneme is not included in one of the main Germanic languages, then it is not present in Folkspraak either. (This is all meant to be subject to interpretation by the Folkspraakers; it is up to us as a community to determine what fits the Folkspraakgeist.)
A secondary goal of creating the Folkspraak vocabulary is to assist Rick Harrison in his creation of the Universal Language Dictionary (ULD). Once the Folkspraak dictionary has reached a suitable size, the cognate forms will be formatted in ULD format. (ULD already has German and Dutch lexicons, and an English definition file.)
A tertiary goal is to help people understand the common underpinnings of the Germanic languages.
The vocabulary of Folkspraak will be generated by choosing a "consensus form", derived from the most common patterns of the closest equivalent words in Swedish, Danish, Dutch and German, with words from other languages used as an occasional tie breaker.
EXAMPLE - Word for "language": spraak
'SP' - 5 of 6 words begin with 'SP'
'SPR' - 4 of 6 words begin with 'SPR'
'SPRA' - 3 of 6 words begin with 'SPRA'
'SPRAA' - there is no consensus on the vowel and 'AA' was arbitrarily chosen (note that a better way of determining vowels needs to be developed)
'SPRAAK' - 2 forms end in /k/, other forms /g/, /ch/ are variants of the proto-Germanic /k/
[Verbs end in /-en/.]
The rules for this are still being developed.
The goal is not to re-create a proto-Germanic word but to create a form with maximum recognizibility for today (such a form will in most cases be similar but not identical to proto-Germanic). Folkspraak does have Romance words, but only those words most common to the Germanic languages, such as absorben, adopted into English, Dutch and German from the Latin root absorbére.
In cases where the potential form of a Folkspraak word is unclear, it is often appropriate to forego a word altogether, relying instead on circumlocution. For instance, "quarrel" (SW gräla, DA*skaendes, DU twisten, GE zanken) will be best expressed with a synonym.
Abbreviations as given in the table above, with !! for the meaning of the word. The English word is the Anglo-Saxon-based English word that is the closest equivalent to the broader meaning (e.g., speech for "language").
a* = a with a dot above it
V_ = a vowel with a bar over it
V: = a vowel with .. above it
0 = a slash-oh
NA - SEE share (shared)
NA - SEE plan
SW planla:gga, planera
NA - SEE live
EN German, Dutch (in Pennsylvania Dutch)
EN share (with)
SW dela (med)
DA* dele (med)
DU deelen (met)
GE teilen (mit)
The Folkspraakmaister is responsible for coordinating development of Folkspraak. Individuals can volunteer to participate in designing the phonology, morphology, vocabulary, grammar and so forth of Folkspraak, with the Folkspraakmaister simply coordinating areas so that individuals can work together rather than independently (on phonology, for instance). The Folkspraakmaister will democratically settle any conflicting disputes in accordance with the basic general design principles.
The position of Folkspraakmaister has a three-month term, with each Folkspraakmaister to be elected from within the Folkspraakgeist community. The first Folkspraakmaister was Jeffrey Henning; his term expired 2/28/96. The current Folkspraakmaister, serving until 5/31/96, is Dale Morris.
Anyone can contribute to the design of Folkspraak, simply by e-mailing Dale Morris and asking what you would like to do to help. So you can contribute to the development of this language today!
Key words - auxiliary language, international auxiliary language, IAL, artificial language, model language, constructed language, planned language, Esperanto