Novial Lexike


In 1997, Don Blaheta undertook to put the Novial Lexike, Otto Jespersen's 1930 Novial to English/French/German dictionary, online. The dictionary was converted to machine-readable form by Don, with the assistance of Ken Caviness, David Harris, and others, and still resides online at his site. However, there are some problems that I felt needed to be addressed:

  • The text was apparently encoded in a way that causes some difficulty for modern web browsers. Accented letters in French and umlauted letters in German sometimes render correctly, but often the combination of a normal Roman letter and one of those will render as a Chinese character, apparently because the browser tries to combine two 8-bit codes as if a single 16-bit code was intended. This needs to be fixed.
  • There are some typographical errors in the version which Don has put online. Since he no longer actively maintains that part of the site, there is no way to get these errors corrected. (I understand that in copying the site and reformatting it, I may have introduced some new errors. But these can be corrected by contacting me, at least!)
  • There are some things which one might like to do with the data which cannot easily be done in their current form. For example, since the NL is only from Novial to English, French, and German, and not the other way around, one needs to do a search on an English word in the whole site to find it for back-translating. But when Jespersen compiled the NL, presumably for cost reasons, some words were listed in an abbreviated form not permitting a search. For example, one would not find "absence" in a search because "absent(i)" is listed without translation (because the English is identical), and the derivative "absenteso" is shown simply as "-teso," again without translation because its meaning is obvious from the meanings of "absent(i)" and "-eso." The version of the NL that is presented here (a direct copy of the 1930 NL) does not address this point, but a new project (see below) will do so.
  • For some time I have maintained the first part of these pages (A through P) as a Google Document, accessible to the public. I stopped at P because someone else had informed me they had the rest of the alphabet elsewhere. But it is probably not a good thing to have the two parts split up that way, and I decided in late January 2010 to migrate my Google Document to this site and complete the alphabet. I intend to maintain this version of the NL online here, and suggested corrections should be sent to me.

    While I am not unable to read French and German, I am not very fluent in those languages. So I am only able to do a partial job of correcting typographical errors in that part of the dictionary listings. I would really appreciate the help of anyone whose French or German is better than mine in this task. (But see below for an acknowlidgment of Hermann Phillips' help in correcting the errors in the German.)

    Similarly, the cleaned up version of the NL that will be placed here for better machine searchability, discussed above, will only be Novial to English for the same reason. Anyone who can help with the production of Novial to French or German versions (or even create a new one for a different language) would be greatly appreciated as well.

    For some reason, the Spanish equivalents were added to Don's site only for the letter H. Since I do not like to throw away good data, I have kept those Spanish equivalents here. They are not available for the remaining letters of the alphabet, whic h makes for a certain inconsistency, however.

    For the letter T only, some person who proofread Don's Web page (probably David Harris, but I do not know for certain) made some "editor's notes." These are his comments, not mine, but are left here as they appear to be useful to the reader.

    Don's site also included the Preface to the NL, in 4 languages (English, French, German, and Novial). Since, as part of copying James Chandler's Novial pages to this site, I had already put up his copy of the Preface in English and in French, I have not copied the version of the Preface on Don's site.

    I have received corrections from Hermann Phillips and Matthew Barnett, to whom I offer profound thanks. The former has provided the insight of a native speaker of German to correct numerous errors; both of these people have helped eliminate a large number of miscellaneous typographical errors.

    My original plan had been to follow up this project with an expansion to eliminate the abbreviated format, followed by the creation of an inverted (English to Novial) version. The expansion has, however, been undertaken by someone else, and it is beginning to appear on this site. It is still only beginning, so keep checking to see when it has been completed.

    A –  B –  C –  D –  E –  F –  G –  H –  I –  J –  K –  L –  M –  N –  O –  P –  Q –  R –  S –  T –  U –  V –  W –  X –  Y

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    Last modified by Bruce R. Gilson, March 12, 2010.

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