Volapük ([volaˈpyk] in Volapük) is a constructed language created between 1879 and 1880 by Johann Martin Schleyer, a Roman Catholic priest in Baden, Germany, who believed that God had told him in a dream to create an international language. Schleyer first published a sketch of Volapük in May 1879 in Sionsharfe, a Catholic poetry magazine of which he was editor. This was followed in 1880 by a full-length book in German. Schleyer himself did not write books on Volapük in other languages, but other authors soon did. In 1889, there were an estimated 283 clubs, 25 periodicals in or about Volapük, and 316 textbooks in 25 languages; at that time the language claimed nearly a million adherents.
However, tensions arose between those who wanted reforms made to the language, and Schleyer, who insisted strongly on retaining his proprietary rights. This led to schism, with much of the Academy abandoning Schleyer's Volapük in favor of Idiom Neutral and other new constructed language projects. By 1890 the movement was in disarray, with violent arguments among the members. Between late 19th and early 20th century Volapük was largely displaced by Esperanto.
In the 1920s, Arie de Jong, with the consent of the leaders of the small remnant of Volapük speakers, made a revision of Volapük which was published in 1931 (now called Volapük Nulik "New Volapük" as opposed to the Volapük Rigik 'Original Volapük' of Schleyer). This revision was accepted by the few speakers of the language. Volapük enjoyed a brief renewal of popularity in the Netherlands and Germany under de Jong's leadership, but was suppressed (along with other constructed languages) in countries under Nazi rule and never recovered. Nevertheless, there has been a continuous Volapük speaker community since Schleyer's time. (Find out more...)