- Comparison between Esperanto and Novial
Esperanto and Novial are two different constructed international auxiliary languages. Their main difference is that while Esperanto is a schematic language, with an invarying grammar, Novial is a naturalistic language, whose grammar and vocabulary varies to try to retain a "natural" sound. Demographically, Esperanto has thousands of times more speakers than Novial.
Alphabet and pronunciation
Both Esperanto and Novial are written using versions of the Latin alphabet. The Esperanto alphabet has 28 letters: 22 without diacritics and 6 with diacritics unique to Esperanto: ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ, ŝ and ŭ. Novial uses the standard 26 letters of the Latin alphabet with no diacritics.
Esperanto IPA Novial A, a [a] A, a B, b [b] B, b C, c [ts] Ts, ts; S, s Ĉ, ĉ [tʃ] Ch, ch; Sh, sh D, d [d] D, d E, e [e] or [ɛ] E, e F, f [f] F, f G, g [ɡ] G, g Ĝ, ĝ [dʒ] J, j H, h [h] H, h Ĥ, ĥ [x] K, k I, i [i] I, i J, j [j] Y, y Ĵ, ĵ [ʒ] J, j K, k [k] K, k L, l [l] L, l M, m [m] M, m N, n [n] N, n O, o [o] or [ɔ] O, o P, p [p] P, p Kv kv [kv] Qu, qu R, r [r] R, r S, s [s] S, s; Z, z Ŝ, ŝ [ʃ] Sh, sh; Ch, ch T, t [t] T, t U, u [u] U, u Ŭ, ŭ [u̯] U, u (after a vowel) V, v [v] V, v; W, w Ks, ks; kz [ks], [ɡz] X, x Z, z [z] Z, z; S, s
In Esperanto one letter corresponds to one phoneme and one phoneme to one letter: there are no digraphs. Novial has 3 digraphs: ch, sh and qu; c and q are unique to these digraphs (except in foreign proper nouns) and permit no ambiguity; when s and h are separate phonemes this is indicated by separating with a hyphen: s-h. Novial permits some 2-vowel combinations to be pronounced either as 2 separate vowels or as diphthongs; for example, au, eu and oi may be pronounced as a + w, e + w and o + y, respectively, and ie, io and ia as y + e, y + o and y + a, respectively.
In handwriting neither Esperanto nor Novial presents any problem. However, the diacritics of Esperanto require special methods for typing and printing. The original method was a set of digraphs now known as the "h-system", but with the rise of computer word processing a so-called "x-system" has become equally popular. These systems are described in the article Esperanto orthography. However, with the advent of Unicode, the need for such work-arounds has lessened.
The personal pronouns of Esperanto all end in i and some may be difficult to distinguish in a noisy environment (especially mi and ni). The personal pronouns of Novial use various vowels making them more distinct, although some differ only in the initial consonant (e.g. nus, vus and lus). A later form of nus – nos, more distinct from vus – has sometimes been used. Novial does not distinguish familiar and polite forms of “you” (e.g. French tu and vous). Novial’s inventor argued that such a distinction has no place in a language intended solely for international use. The distinction is available in Esperanto but is little used in practice.
Pronouns singular plural indef. 1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd familiar formal m. f. n. pan-gender m. f. n. pan-gender English I thou¹ you¹ he she it he/it we you they one Esperanto mi ci¹ vi¹ li ŝi ĝi ĝi² ni vi ili oni Novial me vu vu lo la lu le nus vus los las lus les on
¹ ci and thou, while technically the familiar form of the word "you" in Esperanto and English, respectively, are almost never used. Results on Google have shown that ci is used less than half of one percent of the amount vi is in Esperanto. Zamenhof himself did not include the pronoun in the first book on Esperanto and only later reluctantly; later he recommended against using ci on the grounds that different cultures have conflicting traditions regarding the use of the familiar and formal forms of "you", and that a universal language should avoid the problem by simply using the formal form in all situations. Novial uses only vu as the singular "you".
² tiu, "that person", is usually used in this circumstance, because many people find it unnatural to use "it" referring to humans.
The Novial system displays a systematic correspondence between singular and corresponding plural forms (i.e. vu, vus; lo, los; la, las; lu, lus; le, les). Strictly speaking "we" is not the plural of "I", because "many I’s" is nonsensical. Jespersen suggested that nu, the singular of nus, could be used as a "royal we". The optional marking of sex in Novial, especially in the third person plural, permits greater flexibility than in Esperanto, at least in this case. Exactly the same system is applied to other pronouns and to nouns with natural sex differences.
The system of sex marking for Esperanto nouns is frequently criticised for being asymmetric and male biased. In contrast Novial has one symmetric, unbiased system for both nouns and pronouns which marks either male, female, epicene or inanimate.
The grammars of Novial and Esperanto differ greatly in the way that the various tenses, moods and voices of verbs are expressed. Both use a combination of auxiliary verbs and verb endings. However, Novial uses many more auxiliary verbs and few endings, while Esperanto uses only one auxiliary verb and a greater number of verb endings.
In Novial all verb forms are independent of person (1st, 2nd or 3rd persons) and number (singular or plural). In Esperanto verb forms are independent of the person but compound tenses, with participles, require the participle (which is an adjective) to agree with the subject of the verb in number (singular or plural).
The continuous tenses are less common in both Esperanto and Novial than in English.
In the following table endings are separated from stems by hyphens. Alternative forms with the same meaning are in brackets. In the Esperanto forms (j) indicates agreement when the subject of the verb is plural.
Active Voice English Esperanto Novial Infinitive (to) love am-i ama Simple present love(s) am-as ama Future will (shall) love am-os sal ama Simple past loved am-is did ama (ama-d) Past perfect have (has) loved est-as am-int-a(j) ha ama Pluperfect had loved est-is am-int-a(j) ha-d ama Future perfect will (shall) have loved est-os am-int-a(j) sal ha ama Future in the past was going to (would, should) love est-is am-ont-a(j) sal-ed ama Conditional would (should) love am-us vud ama Conditional perfect would (should) have loved est-us am-int-a(j) vud ha ama First imperative let us love! ni am-u! let nus ama! Second imperative love! am-u! ama! Third imperative let him love! li am-u! let lo ama! Present continuous is (am, are) loving est-as am-ant-a(j) es ama-nt Future continuous shall (will) be loving est-os am-ant-a(j) sal es ama-nt Past continuous was (were) loving est-is am-ant-a(j) did es (es-ed) ama-nt
The difference between the passive of becoming and the passive of being is not always immediately obvious to English speakers because their forms can often be the same. However, in English the passive of becoming is often expressed with the verb get in the sense of become as well as with the verb be.
Passive voice of becoming
Esperanto uses an appropriate form of the auxiliary verb esti (to be) followed by a passive participle (present, past or future according to sense). With many verbs Esperanto may, instead of the passive voice, use the suffix -iĝ- to form an intransitive verb of becoming, which is conjugated in the active voice (see table below).
Novial uses the auxiliary verb bli (to get, become, be from the equivalent auxiliary verb bli in Scandinavian languages) followed by the root form of the verb. The various tenses and moods are expressed regularly using the other auxiliary verbs ha, had, sal, saled and vud, the word order corresponding to the English.
Passive Voice of Becoming English Esperanto Novial Infinitive (to) get absorbed est-i absorb-at-a(j) (absorb-iĝ-i) bli absorba Simple present get(s) absorbed est-as absorb-at-a(j)
bli absorba Future will (shall) get absorbed est-os absorb-at-a(j)
sal bli absorba Simple past got absorbed est-is absorb-at-a(j)
bli-d absorba Past perfect have (has) got absorbed est-as absorb-it-a(j)
ha bli absorba Pluperfect had got absorbed est-is absorb-it-a(j)
ha-d bli absorba Future perfect will (shall) have got absorbed est-os absorb-it-a(j)
sal ha bli absorba Future in the past was going to (would, should) get absorbed est-is absorb-ot-a(j)
sal-ed bli absorba Conditional would (should) get absorbed est-us absorb-at-a(j)
vud bli absorba Conditional perfect would (should) have got absorbed est-us absorb-it-a(j)
vud ha bli absorba First imperative let us get absorbed! ni est-u absorb-ataj!
let nus bli absorba! Second imperative get absorbed! est-u absorb-at-a(j)!
bli absorba! Third imperative let him get absorbed! li est-u absorb-at-a!
let lo bli absorba! Present continuous is (am, are) getting absorbed est-as absorb-at-a(j)
es bli-nt absorba Future continuous shall (will) be getting absorbed est-os absorb-at-a(j)
sal es bli-nt absorba Past continuous was (were) getting absorbed est-is absorb-at-a(j)
did es (es-ed) bli-nt absorba
Passive voice of being
The passive voice of being is generally expressed in English with an appropriate form of the verb to be followed by the past participle. It is formed in the same way in Esperanto and Novial. Note that in contrast to the passive of becoming , in the Novial passive of being the auxiliary verb is followed by the past participle, which ends in -t.
Passive Voice of Being English Esperanto Novial Infinitive (to) be absorbed est-i absorb-at-a(j) es absorba-t Simple present is (am, are) absorbed est-as absorb-at-a(j) es absorba-t Future will (shall) be absorbed est-os absorb-at-a(j) sal es absorba-t Simple past was absorbed est-is absorb-at-a(j) did es (es-ed) absorba-t Past perfect have (has) been absorbed est-as absorb-it-a(j) ha es absorba-t Pluperfect had been absorbed est-is absorb-it-a(j) ha-d es absorba-t Future perfect will (shall) have been absorbed est-os absorb-it-a(j) sal ha es absorba-t Future in the past was going to (would, should) be absorbed est-is absorb-ot-a(j) sal-ed es absorba-t Conditional would (should) be absorbed est-us absorb-at-a(j) vud es absorba-t Conditional perfect would (should) have been
est-us absorb-it-a(j) vud ha es absorba-t First imperative let us be absorbed! ni est-u absorb-ataj! let nus es absorba-t! Second imperative be absorbed! est-u absorb-at-a(j)! es absorba-t! Third imperative let him be absorbed! li est-u absorb-at-a! let lo es absorba-t!
In Esperanto, most words are created from a set number of roots, endings, and affixes. This allows for a comparatively low number of words to be extended to a described vocabulary, resulting in easy learning. However, some[who?] argue that results in heavy reliance on common affixes. For example, Esperanto notoriously[says who?] relies heavily on the prefix mal- to form the opposite of an adjective or verb. The equivalent prefix in Novial, des-, is used to a much lesser degree.
Language sample for comparison
Here is the Lord's Prayer in both languages:
- Patro nia, kiu estas en la ĉielo,
- Via nomo estu sanktigita.
- Venu Via regno,
- plenumiĝu Via volo,
- kiel en la ĉielo, tiel ankaŭ sur la tero.
- Nian panon ĉiutagan donu al ni hodiaŭ.
- Kaj pardonu al ni niajn ŝuldojn,
- kiel ankaŭ ni pardonas al niaj ŝuldantoj.
- Kaj ne konduku nin en tenton,
- sed liberigu nin de la malbono.
- Nusen Patre, kel es in siele,
- mey vun nome bli sanktifika,
- mey vun regno veni;
- mey on fa vun volio
- kom in siele anke sur tere.
- Dona a nus disidi li omnidiali pane,
- e pardona a nus nusen ofensos,
- kom anke nus pardona a nusen ofensantes,
- e non dukte nus en tentatione,
- ma liberisa nus fro malu.
- Fundamento de Esperanto
- An International Language: Otto Jespersen's 1928 book which introduced Novial. Contains discussion of earlier auxiliary languages including Esperanto.
- OTTO JESPERSEN His Work for an International Auxiliary Language By Henry Jacob, 1943, Comparative Texts comparing Esperanto, Novial, Ido, Occidental, Latino sine flexione, Esperanto and English.
- A PLANNED AUXILIARY LANGUAGE By Henry Jacob, 1947. A detailed comparative study of interlinguistics with full grammatical details of five systems of demonstrated usefulness, Esperanto, Ido, Occidental, Novial, and Latino sine flexione.
- About Direct Derivation in International Languages By Friedrich Auerbach, 1930 (in Novial).
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