Novial (ISO 639-3 code: nov) is an international auxiliary language (IAL) designed by the eminent Danish linguist Professor Otto Jespersen. Of the major IALs it is the most similar to English in terms of both grammar and vocabulary, and is possibly the easiest foreign language for an English speaker to learn.

Novial flag

The vocabulary has been carefully selected from the words most common to English, the Romance languages (especially French) and German and to a lesser extent the Scandinavian languages. The grammar and sentence structure are based mainly on English, allowing students to advance rapidly to reading texts which are interesting in their own right.

The texts in this course are based on an exciting Sherlock Holmes novel with supernatural undertones: The Hound of the Baskervilles written by Arthur Conan Doyle and first published in serial form in the Strand Magazine in 1901–1902.

In each lesson the text is followed by a full list of new words and thorough notes on points of grammar and word formation. Exercises are then provided for students to practise and consolidate their vocabulary and sentence formation.

Beginner's Course

Here are the lessons (there is also a detailed List of Contents here):

0. Pronunciation Guide   
1. The Hound of the Baskervilles         –      Li Hunde del Familie Baskerville
2. The Curse of the Baskervilles         –      Li Malediktione del Baskervilles
3. The Legend         –      Li Legende
4. The Captive         –      Li Kaptate
5. The Hound of Hell         –      Li Hunde de Inferne
6. The Inquest         –      Li Inquesto
7. The Footprints         –      Li Pede-printatus
A1. Appendix 1         –      Prefixes
A2. Appendix 2         –      Suffixes
A3. Appendix 3         –      Tables of proforms


The Wizard of Oz – Li Sorsiero de Oz

1. The Cyclone         –      Li Siklone
2. The Council with the Munchkins         –      Li Konsilo kun li Munchkines

Pri li numral sisteme del finni lingue  

An International Language  

An International Language is a work in progress. It is a translation of the original 1928 book on Novial from English into Novial.

Quotes about Novial

Novial surpasses the other international languages in all respects.
—Professor C. C. Uhlenbeck of Leiden University, President of the First International Congress of Linguists (1928)
Novial, invented by Professor Jespersen, is really good: there is a good deal of English in it, so that it is delightfully easy to read. Besides, Professor Jespersen has common sense, which is a great advantage in a professor. Everybody can learn Novial, there is very little grammar in it; but one must be English to understand how one can get along splendidly without grammar.
—George Bernard Shaw

External links


This is a wiki textbook—feel free to edit it, update it, correct it, and otherwise increase its teaching potential. To find out more about wikis, see the Wikipedia main page.

Ask Questions!

The tutorial group is a place you can ask questions. However, it is not visited much, so do not expect to get an answer within a few hours.