Novial language

From Academic Kids

Novial [nov-, new + IAL, International Auxiliary Language] is a constructed language devised by Otto Jespersen, a Danish linguist who had previously been involved in the Ido movement. He devised Novial to be an international auxiliary language, which would facilitate international communication and friendship, without displacing anyone's native language.

It features a vocabulary based largely on the Germanic and Romance languages, and a grammar heavily influenced by English.

The first introduction of Novial was in Jespersen's book An International Language in 1928, with an update in his dictionary, Novial Lexike, published two years later. Further modifications were proposed in the 1930s, but with Jespersen's death in 1943, it became dormant, although in the 1990s, with the revival of interest in artificial language brought on by the Internet, many people rediscovered Novial.

Novial today

While Novial is not very popular relative to its famous predecessor, Esperanto, it has a small group of enthusiasts. Several efforts to revise Novial have emerged. One such project is Novial '98; see below.

Novial compared to Esperanto and Ido

Jespersen was a professional linguist, unlike Esperanto's creator. He disliked the arbitrary and artificial character that he found in Esperanto and Ido. Additionally, he objected to those languages' Latin-like systems of inflection, which he found needlessly complex. He sought to make Novial at once euphonious and regular while also preserving useful structures from natural languages.

In Novial:

  • Syntax is largely a matter of word order, as in English and modern Scandinavian languages. There is no obligatory accusative marker as in Esperanto.
  • A genitive or possessive case is available, based on Jespersen's observation that many modern languages that have lost complex noun inflections yet retain a possessive form.
  • Auxiliary particles express most verb tenses. An inflectional ending is available as a shorthand for the simple past tense.

The most striking difference between Novial and Esperanto/Ido concerns noun endings. Jespersen rejected a single vowel to terminate all nouns (-o in Esperanto/Ido), finding it unnatural and potentially confusing. Instead, Novial nouns may end in -o, -a, -e, or -um. These endings may be taken to indicate natural gender according to the custom in Romance languages. Of course there is no grammatical gender or requirement for adjectives to agree with nouns.

External links


  • An International Language ( Prof. Otto Jespersen's 1928 book which introduced Novial.
  • Novial Lexike ( Novial to English, French and German dictionary.
  • Novial Wiki Book ( A Novial course for beginners.
  • Novial Discussion Group ( Novial discussion group at Yahoo!
  • A summary of 1928 Novial (
  • A summary of the 1930 version (
  • Novial '98 ( "an ongoing project to revive and improve...Novial" in order to modernize it and release it for contemporary use
  • Novial Mailing Lists ( Two mailing lists on Novial and derived

es:Novial eo:Novialo io:Novial ia:Novial ie:Novial hu:Novial nyelv nl:Novial pl:Novial ru:Новиаль zh:诺维亚语


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools