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Dil, or Dil Oma ("Language of Man"), is a Volapukido (a language based on Volapük) that was published in 1893 by Julius Fieweger. The following article is drawn entirely from the corresponding chapter in Histoire de la Langue Universelle (pp 181-187) by Louis Couturat.

The standard word order is: subject, verb, direct object, indirect object. Adjectives, adverbs, genitives, and numbers follow their nouns, and prepositions govern the nominative. Questions are formed using the frontal particle li.

A noteworthy feature of this language is that all of its roots are monosyllabic - a fact which, given its finite phonology, implies a limit to the feasible rootstock.

Alphabet and Pronunciation

Phonologically Dil is like Revised Volapük, but with the following differences: the three umlaut vowels are omitted, H and X are omitted, and Z has the value of [z] rather than [ts]. Adjacent vowels are supposed to be slurred together, although in certain derived words it may be preferable to sound them separately, e.g. with ne (no) and nei (yes). And the stress falls on the final syllable of a word.

Nouns and Adjectives

There are no definite or indefinite articles, and nouns are gender-neutral by default, taking the suffixes -ec and -ev to become male or female respectively. The declension paradigm is as follows, using the example of om (man).

Singular Plural
Nom. om omez
Acc. omi omiz
Gen. oma omaz
Dat. omo omoz

Adjectives are invariant in gender and number. The comparative and superlative are formed with the suffixes -ur and -un, e.g. gut (good), gutur (better), gutun (best).

There are some suffixes for forming adjectives, shown in the table below. Note that the bottom two appear to be derived from other affixes.

Suffix Meaning
-ale Having the form of
-ole -like (resemblance)
-ile In the manner of
-oce -worthy
-ioje -able (possibility)
-iuje Necessary

And there is a suffix -et for verbs meaning "make", equivalent to "ük" in Volapük and "ig" in Esperanto. Remark: if an adjective is converted into a verb directly, it does not signify becoming, but being, and so is merely an alternative to the copula.


The personal pronouns are as follows:

Singular Plural
1P eb ebz
2P el elz
3P n. em emz
3P m. emec (emecez)
3P f. emev (emevez)

There is no pronoun "one", and the proscribed alternative is to use the passive, like in Latin.

Possessive adjectives are formed by the suffix -e, e.g. ebe (my, mine) and emze (their, theirs). And like in Volapük, the genitive can also be used, e.g. eba and emaz.

Some prominent demonstrative and indefinite pronouns are: id (this), ed (that), kid (such), did (the same), ded (the one), ik (someone), ek (nobody), an (none), kik (each one), ez (something), nez (nothing), iz (all), jak (a bit), jok (a lot). And there are two relative and interrogative pronouns, ki and ke, the former masculine and feminine, and the latter neutral.

All pronouns decline in the same way as nouns.


Verbs are formed by suffixing personal pronouns, just like in Volapük, and are negated using the adverb ne. The main tenses are expressed by changing the vowel of the suffixed pronoun, as shown in the following table using lob (hire, let).

Dil English
lobeb I hire
lobab I hired
lobob I will hire
lobib I had hired
lobub I will have hired

Verbal adjectives and infinitives are formed in a similar manner using the suffixes -en and -ed respectively, as per the following examples: loben (to hire), loban (to have hired), lobon (to be going to hire), lobed (hiring), lobad (having hired), lobod (going to hire).

There is a subjunctive mood, which is produced by suffixing the relevant personal pronoun to the present infinitive, e.g. lobeneb. And to quote directly from the book: "The conditional (present, past) coincides with the subjunctive (imperfect, pluperfect) like in German".

As in Revised Volapük, there is an imperative and an optative form, produced by suffixing -ed and -ez respectively onto the indicative, e.g. lobeled, lobelzed, lobebzed, lobelez, lobelzez, lobebzez.

Passive forms are produced by interfixing -i- between the root and the suffix(es), e.g. lobien (to be hired), lobiad (hired), lobiam (it was hired).

Reflexivity and reciprocation are conveyed using the suffixes -i and -u respectively, e.g. lobebi (I hire myself) and lobemzu (they hire each other).

Certain auxiliaries are expressed by means of interfixes directly after the root, as per the following table.

Interfix Meaning
-aj- may, permitted to
-ej- should, ought to
-ij- want to
-oj- can, able to
-uj- must, have to

And similarly to the above, there are some interfixes for aspect, namely:

Interfix Meaning
-ap- commencement
-ep- cessation
-ip- completion
-iep- continuation
-iap- learning


The numbers are as follows: un 1, tun 2, zan 3, fir 4, bej 5, siz 6, sib 7, sek 8, nov 9.

The tens are formed using the plural suffix, e.g. unez 10, tunez 20, zanez 30. Other exemplifying numbers include tunezzan 23, zad 100, mil 1000, unon 1000 000, tunon 1000 000 000.

Ordinals are derived using the same suffix as for the superlative, e.g. unun 1st, tunun 2nd, zanun 3rd.

Vocabulary and Derivation

Here is a list of all the Dil words that Couturat happened to include in his book chapter.

Most roots are drawn from the dominant western languages - chiefly German, French, English, and Latin - and others are seemingly a priori. They are designed to be monosyllabic, although affixes will generally make them longer when they're used.

The following suffixes exist:

Suffix Meaning
-er Person, agent
-ec Male
-ev Female
-ier, -iec, -iev Recipient, sufferer
-uer, -uec, -uev "Degenerated" person
-ir Animal
-ic, -iv Male or female animal
-uir, -uic, -uiv Neutered animal
-ar Plant
-ac, -av Male or female plant
-id Young, offspring
-ef Collective
-if Job, function
-of Commerce
-on Place

Further to its affixes, Dil has an unusual system whereby a word is derived from its opposite by the changing or adding of a vowel, within the following four pairs: A and E; A and O; A and U; E and I. Example words include: stad (town) and staed (countryside); sof (hunger) and soaf (thirst); vig (cradle) and vieg (grave); spe (late) and spi (early).