Containing a lecture, grammar with numerous examples, exercises, stories, letters, with key; also conversation, and a vocabulary of 5,000 words.
Let it be distinctly understood that Volapük is intended to be viewed as an
international, and not as a universal language, save in the sense of its
being used in all places where people speak a different language.
Each man's mother-tongue will always be the one best to use when speaking
or writing to his fellow-countrymen on all subjects appertaining to the
ordinary social relations of life, whatever the language in which, by
birth, he may happen to speak. The acquired, or foreign, can never stand in
the place of the naturally instilled mother-tongue of baby-life. There are
nationalisms and peculiarities and verbal idiosyncrasies about one's own
tongue which will always place a foreigner at a disadvantage, how long
soever he may have studied, written and spoken it; and this is the case
with every native language and with the people of every nation. Diversity
of language is felt to be a great barrier to international intercourse.
Volapük, however, is not intended to destroy that diversity, but to
supplement it by the introduction of a neutral or unnatural language which
the people of all nations may learn without wounded pride or national
jealousy. Its intention was never meant to supersede any present dominant
living language, but to be acquired in addition the mother-tongue of every
people (adapted from the preface).
The grammar contains chapters on orthography and pronunciation, nominal
morphology (gender, declension, numeral verbs, pronouns, etc) and verbal
morphology (active, passive, gerund, conditional, subjunctive, etc.),
syntax, and exercises (re-edition; originally published 1888, London).