Folkspraak Charter


Native Speakers Of Germanic Languages

Design Goals And Principles

Vocabulary Design

Initial Vocabulary

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!).

If Folkspraak interests you, take a look at Model Languages - the newsletter about inventing languages.

Native Speakers Of Germanic Languages


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.

Design Goals And Principles

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.

Vocabulary Design

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

OE spraec

EN speech

SW spra*k

DA* Sprog

DU taal

GE Sprache

'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.

Initial Vocabulary

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

!! meaning

!! absorb



EN absorb

SW insuga

DA* indsuge

DU absorbeeren

GE absorbieren

!! language


OE spraec

EN speech

SW spra*k

DA* Sprog

DU taal

GE Sprache

!! make



EN make

SW go:ra

DA* g0re

DU maken

GE machen

!! come



EN come

SW komma

DA* komme

DU komen

GE kommen

!! say


OE secgan

EN say

SW sa:ga

DA* sige

DU zeggen

GE sagen

!! go


OE ga_n

EN go

SW ga*

DA* gaa

DU gaan

GE gehen

!! have


OE habban

EN have

SW hava

DA* have

DU hebben

GE haben

!! see


OE se_on

EN see

SW se

DA* se

DU zien

GE sehen

!! send



EN send

SW sa:nda

DA* sende

DU zenden

GE senden

!! do


OE do_n

EN do

SW go:ra

DA* g0re

DU doen

GE tun

!! give



EN give

SW giva

DA* given

DU geven

GE geben

!! keep



EN keep

SW beha*lla

DA* beholde

DU behouden

GE behalten

!! begin



EN begin

SW bo:rja

DA* begynde

DU beginnen

GE beginnen

!! common

NA - SEE share (shared)


EN common

SW vanlig



GE gewo:hnlich

YI geveyntlekh

!! design

NA - SEE plan

!! plan



EN plan

SW planla:gga, planera

DA* planlaegge

DU ontwerpen

GE entwerfen

YI planeven

!! dwell

NA - SEE live


EN live

SW bo

DA* bo

DU wonen

GE wohnen

!! German



EN German, Dutch (in Pennsylvania Dutch)

SW tysk

DA* Tysker

DU Duitscher

GE Deutscher

!! live



EN live

SW leva

DA* leve

DU leven

GE leben

!! master



EN master

SW ma:stare



GE Meister

YI mayster

!! model



EN model

SW modell



GE Modell

YI model

!! one



EN one

SW en

DA* en

DU een

GE ein


!! put




SW sa:tta

DA* saette

DU zetten

GE setzen

!! share



EN share (with)

SW dela (med)

DA* dele (med)

DU deelen (met)

GE teilen (mit)

!! start

SEE begin

!! take



EN take

SW taga

DA* tage

DU nemen

GE nehmen

Further Design: How You Can Help!

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