Saturday, October 20, 2012
Why, then, does the Volapuk wikipedia have 120,000 entries? Esperanto, a "legitimate" language, has only about 170,000. A couple dozen enthusiasts and a handful of con-lang nerds who are interested in all con-langs can't, on their own, do that much work on a quality product. And there are plenty of the same sort of demographic in Esperanto, too.
Answer: the Volapuk wikipedia is mostly robot-generated crap. There are few substantive articles. It's mostly full of stubs. There are a large number of machine-translated articles that are very easy to generate (e.g., formulaic articles about each town in Italy). There seems to be a machine-generated stub article for every person who was ever tangentially involved with the Volapuk movement. I'm not saying there isn't some value in this - but this certainly solves the mystery. See their talk page for details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AVolap%C3%BCk and also http://vo.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gebanibespik:Smeira
If you're interested in hearing more about Volapuk, read Puk, Memory. Even if you're not interested, it's a good article. If you're interested in learning constructed languages, you should learn Esperanto instead of anything else. Nobody should try to learn a language without a use for it (and without using it), and the only constructed language with a community of speakers is Esperanto. If you're interested in learning another language and are in the US, the language you are most likely to be able to learn is whatever dialect of Spanish is most common in your area because there will be people to talk to. But if there's an Esperanto club in town, sure, you could try that, you will definitely be able to get to a "I can express myself incompetently and get the gist of what people say" level much more easily and much faster, but I would not recommend it if you don't have people to talk to.
Other uses of "volapuk" besides the Danish:
- It's a slang term ("волапюк") for rendering Cyrillic characters with ASCII Latin characters.
- A few other languages besides Danish use it as a word for "nonsense" - I don't have a full list. It's used in sentences where we might say, "It's all Greek to me."
- There's a band called Volapuk.
- That's about it.