Volapük Grammatical Forms

Collated from "An Introduction to Volapük" by Ed Robertson,
the ten-lesson postal course by Ralph Midgley,
and Volapük and English dictionaries.
Material applies to modern Volapük as revised by Arie de Jong.
This reference is not intended to be a complete description of Volapük grammar.
Please send any corrections or additions to bartlett at panix.com.


- (S) Nominative
-A(S) Genitive
-E(S) Dative
-I(S) Accusative
-U(S) Predicative
O Vocative particle


ob / obs I / we
ol / ols you (1 person) / you (more than 1 person)
om / oms he / they (all males)
of / ofs she / they (all females)
on / ons it / they (neuter or mixed gender)
ok / oks (reflexive)
od / ods (reciprocative)
oy "one"
os (impersonal {null subject})
or / ors "polite" forms of ol and ols
(hardly ever used except poetically)

Part of Arie de Jong's official modern grammar, but never used are og (you or me) and ogs (you and me / you and us).

Some other pronouns are: atos (this), etos (that), it (itself), ot (the same thing), ut (whoever), kel, kelos (who/which: relative, not question), kin (who?), kif (who? female). kim (who? male), kis (what?), ek (somebody), nek (nobody), bos (something), nos (nothing), valikos (all, everything), öm (several, some), öman (someone, such a one, such person), al (each, every).


P()- Passive (PA- for present tense)
E- Present Perfect
Ä- Imperfect
I- Pluperfect
O- Future
U- Future Perfect
Ö- Future in the Past
Ü- Future in the Past Perfect
-ÖN Infinitive
-ÖD Imperative (added after personal ending)
-ÖS Optative (added after personal ending)
-ÖV Conditional (added after personal ending)
-ÖL Participle (verbal adjective)
--LA Subjunctive (appended with hyphen)

Whether a verb is naturally transitive or intransitive varies from one word to the next. Transitive verbs can be made intransitive by inserting the affix -ik, and intransitive verbs made transitive by the use of the affix -ük.

The affix -ik can be used with intransitive verbs, and -ük with verbs that are normally transitive. In these cases, they provide a kind of medial voice or causative voice respectively.


BE- (make indirect object the direct object)      -AF names of animals
DÄ- broken into pieces      -AG abundance
DEI- until death      -AM verbal noun
DO- downward motion      -AN someone who is or does something
DU- movement through      -AT amount of
FA- absence      -AV science
FE- complete consumption      -ÄB recipient of, victim
FI- to the end; completion      -ÄD generalisation of effect
FÄI- shut      -ÄN country
HI- male      -ÄT abstraction
JI- female      -ED particularisation
LA- raising up      -EF group of people
KE- together      -EL maker of
LÄX- ex-; emeritus      -EM group of things
LE- size (physical or abstract);     
ancestry (e.g., grandparent)     
-EP plant
LU- disparagement; step relationship      -ER content(s)
LÜ- in-law      -ET consequential or concrete example
NE- opposite      -IÄL tendency, inclination
NI- interior object      -IÄR container
NÜ- movement into      -IL diminutive
PLÖ- exterior object      -IM philosophy
RU- primitive, ancient      -OD softer or less serious example
SÄ- remission      -OT harder or more serious example
    -OV possibility
    -ÖF quality
    -ÖP place
    -ÖM equipment
    -ÜD compass point
    -ÜL young of; endearment
    --LI (with hyphen) interrogative, appended to verb


The comparative and superlative of adjectives is formed by adding -um or -ün respectively after the -ik and before any case or number agreement. The prepositions used with the comparative and superlative degrees are ka and se respectively.


The other parts of speech are prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. These can exist as roots in themselves, with no particular ending.

Ag! Ooh!      Fi! Nonsense!      Yöbö! Ha!
Ha! Aha!      He! Hey!      Adyö! Bye!
O! O!      Ö! Wow!      Yö! Hurrah!
Nö! O no!      Si! O yes!      Ekö! Look!, Here is/are
Sö! I say!

Any other suitable words can also be made into interjections simply by adding the final vowel . For example:

Danö! Thanks!      Seilö! Shut up!
Fümö! Of course!      Spidö! Get a move on!
Liedö! Dear me!      Stopö! Halt!
Prüdö! Look out!      Zedö! Make way!


Ab but      Asa, Asä as, as well as      Zu, Zuo moreover
Bi because      Ibä for, because      Üf even if, in case of, insofar as
Do though      Das that      U(d){...u(d)} {either...}or
Du while      Toä yet (despite)      Ni{..Ni} neither{...nor}
E(d) and      Too yet (however), nevertheless      Klu so
If if      Va whether      Ka than
Ü(d) or (Latin sive)      Ven when      Dat so that
Äsi such as      Ä and*

(*This conjunction is sometimes used with multiple adjectives modifying the same substantive.)

Any other suitable words can also be made into conjunctions simply by adding the final vowel -ä. For example:

Bisä provided that      Kodä by reason of which
Büä before      Pasä only when
Güä on the other hand      Toä despite, in spite of


Da through      Me by means of      Ma according to      Pro for
De of/from/off      Nen without      Nen without      Ad for, to, in order to
Dis under      Ko with      Po behind (place)      Za, Zao about
Fa by (person)      before (time); ago      between, among      Pos after
Fo in front of      Su on      In in      Se out (of), from
Ini into      Sus above      Ta against      As, Äs as
at, in      by (position), with      Du during      Len at, on
at      Bevü between, among      Binü (made) of      Ve along
Sis since      To in spite of      Sa together with      Plas instead (of)
Ünü within (a time)      about, in      to (= direction)      at, on (= time)
up to      contrary to      Ün at, in, on (time)      Love over
Pla besides      Bai according to

Some prepositions can take an ending -i to show motion.

Any other suitable words can also be made prepositions by the simple addition of . For example:

Demü with regard to      Nilü near to      Donü below
Domü at the house of      Binü made of      Travärü across
Gönü in favour of      Labü comprising      Vätälü (+ noun) considering
Nemü in the name of      Kodü because of      Vegü on the way to
Tefü concerning, with regard to

VARIOUS ADVERBS (derived adverbs ordinarily end in -o)

Ai always      Us there      Vio how (relative)      Tu too (excessively)
Ba perhaps      Ya already      Löpo above      Anu at this moment, now
I(d) also      Ye however      Ti almost      Go quite, very
Is here      Nu now      Nog yet (still)      Ga certainly, indeed
Mu extremely      where (relative)      Neai never      Jünu up to now
Plu more      when (relative)      Sevabo namely, that is      Igo even
Te only      Lio how (question)      Täno then      Igo no not even
Enu recently      Zu in addition, moreover      Ebo just      Sosus as soon as
Suno soon      Alna each time      Ömna sometimes

The questions where? and when? are kiöpo? and kiüpo? respectively. These are formed from ki- then the affix of place or time respectively (-öp- or -üp-), then the adverb ending.

As for the whence? (= from where?) and the whither? (= to where?), these two adverbs are expressed in Volapük simply and logically by the endings -AO = from where? and -IO = to where? as in: domao = from the house, and domio = to the house


Numbers follow their noun.

bal 1      degbal 11      teldegbal 21        foldeg 40
tel 2      degtel 12      teldegtel 22        luldeg 50
kil 3      degkil 13      teldegkil 23        mäldeg 60
fol 4          teldegfol 24        veldeg 70
lul 5          teldeglul 25        jöldeg 80
mäl 6          teldegmäl 26        züldeg 90
vel 7          teldegvel 27   tum 100
jöl 8          teldegjöl 28        mil 1000
zül 9          teldegzül 29        balion 1 000 000 (10^6)
deg 10      teldeg 20      kildeg 30        telion 10^12
              kilion 10^18

teltumkildegfolmil lultummäldegvel
234 567
folbalion jöltumveldegmälmil kiltumteldegzül
4 876 329

dim 0,1
zim 0,01
mim 0,001
dimmim 0,0001
zimmim 0,00001
balyim 0,000001

The fractional part should be read as if an integer number, followed by the decimal fraction word to give the order of magnitude. Thus:

0,345 = kiltumfoldeglul mim
0,123456 = tumteldegkilmil foltumluldegmäl balyim

For smaller magnitudes telyim (10^-12), kilyim (10^-18) etc. are formed in the same way as their high magnitude counterparts telion, kilion, etc.

Ordinal numerals are formed by the suffix -id;
Fractional numerals are formed by the suffix -dil;
Repetition or multiplication is expressed by the suffix -na.


Monday mudel      January janul      August gustul
Tuesday tudel      February febul      September setul
Wednesday vedel      March mäzul      October tobul
Thursday dödel      April prilul      November novul
Friday fridel      May mayul      December dekul
Saturday zädel      June yunul         
Sunday sudel      July yulul         


binos minuts deg pos düp balid = It's 1.10
binos foldil pos düp balid = It's 1.15
binos düpalaf pos bal = It's 1.30
binos minuts teldeg bü düp telid = It's 1.40
binos foldil bü tel = It's 1.45
binos sekuns kildeg bü düp tel = It's thirty seconds to two o' clock

As you will see, the system is very flexible. There's a long way round (pos/bü düp balid) or a short way round (pos/bü bal) depending on your preference. To express a.m. simply say göda = of the morning; to express p.m. say poszedelo = after the middle of the day. The continental system works just as well, and saves a word or two. Thus 15.35 is Binos minuts teldeglul bü düp degmäl. Again, use whatever suits you best!