What is Lojban?
Lojban is a carefully constructed spoken language. It has been built for over 50 years by dozens of workers and hundreds of supporters.
- Lojban's grammar is simpler than of most natural languages, but complex in its own unique way. Lojban is an experiment in thought, as well, it wishes to see how these unique language structures affect thought and understanding.
- Lojban allows the expression of tiny nuances in emotion, using words called attitudinals, which are essentially spoken emoticons.
- Lojban allows you to communicate concisely without unnecessary or undesired details. For example, you don't have to always think of what tense (past, present or future) to use in a verb when it's already clear from context.
- Lojban is machine parsable, which allows potential new explorations in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine translation.
- Lojban is unambiguous in syntax. Natural languages often have ambiguous sentences — does "He's left" mean that he's still here or that he's gone? Lojban systematically eliminates this.
- Lojban has a live community of speakers expanding its vocabulary day by day.
Lojban means different things to different people:
- a linguistic curiosity - a test-bed for language experimentation
- a way to expand their mind or discipline their thought
- a new way to look at languages
- a fun way to meet and communicate with friends, entertainment, a challenge, art, software application
... the list goes on! What will Lojban mean for you?
- The full grammar of Lojban. This book will teach you how to read and use Lojban, what the different types of words and grammatical constructs do. It will not, however, teach you vocabulary, style, or colloquial language.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Since the publication of the full grammar there has been a change to the semantics of Lojban articles known as xorlo. These changes simplify usage in that aspect and the new system is not difficult to grasp. Please keep this reform in mind when consulting the full grammar, as it was effectively published before the approval of xorlo.
Unofficial and supplemental resources
Different non-authoritative learning resources have been created. They are said to be more beginner-friendly.
- A set of pronunciation guides to help you speak Lojban.
- Lojban in simple phrases, an introduction to Lojban. Can also be downloaded in pdf.
- An introductory video.
- Wave Lessons, a popular textbook.
- Work in progress: The Crash Course (a draft).
- la sutysisku is a dictionary that can work offline.
- The lists of gismu and cmavo with definitions in some languages in tsv and html formats. The list of gismu (root words) and cmavo (particles) and a list of simple definitions of gismu (unofficial).
- la jbovlaste is a highly popular multilingual dictionary and dictionary editing system. When new words (such as compound words or loan words) are invented, they usually end up here.
- slovlacukt is an alternative offline dictionary.
- Stardict dictionaries in some languages are usable with GoldenDict, Dictionary Universal etc.
- Word lists ordered by frequency of use.
- Tatoeba.org database has a large collection of sentences in Lojban (since it's a live database not all sentences might be correct).
- Memrise.com is a great place where you can learn Lojban words online. Just register on that website, try several courses and use the one that you like most. Alternatively use Anki (downloadable, Lojban decks are downloadable within the program)
- camxes is an automatic grammar checker of what you write in Lojban (which is unique among all languages!) It can help you quickly understand whether your sentence is grammatically correct.
Connect with the community
Lojban is spoken by a vibrant community of speakers, producing literature, music, and art, and solving together questions regarding Lojban. When the webcomic xkcd said that you'd have to be speaking Lojban with Lojbanists, it was indicating one of the best features of Lojban.
IRC (Internet Relay Chat)
It will allow you
- to make friends,
- to practice real-time Lojban conversation,
- to get your questions answered quickly when there are others around.
Here are the three channels (chat rooms) that are displayed as tabs in the upper left corner of the chat window:
- #lojban for basic discussions in any language,
- #ckule for questions from new learners in any language and
- #jbosnu for discussions in Lojban only.
Here is an IRC cheat sheet for people who are learning Lojban.
For advanced users: if you have an IRC software installed you can use it to connect to the Freenode IRC network (the IRC server host name is chat.freenode.net , the port number is 6667, or 6697 for an SSL-encrypted connection) and join the channels mentioned above.
The Lojban Beginners Mailing List is for discussions related to learning Lojban. Anything about how to understand a part of the language, how to learn it better, study tools, actual teaching sessions, and so on, is on topic. Nothing else is. You can also subscribe to it by sending your first question to email@example.com. Wait until it is approved and others reply to it.
The Lojban General Mailing List is another way to get your questions answered. It has about 500 subscribers, and has existed more-or-less continuously since 1989. You can also subscribe to it by sending a question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
la jbotcan is a simple Lojban image board where one posts images and comments them and discuss other random stuff. The atmosphere is very informal here. There is a Lojban and an English version.
- la selpa'i (English, German), email@example.com
- la gleki (English, Russian), firstname.lastname@example.org
- la ilmen (English, French), email@example.com
- la tsani (English, French), firstname.lastname@example.org
- la xorxes (English, Spanish), email@example.com
- la guskant (English, French, Chinese, Japanese, Esperanto), firstname.lastname@example.org
- la remod (English, Italian), email@example.com
Lojban around the world - other ways of communication ...
- Write your own original texts (prosa or poetry) in Lojban or translations. Start writing a blog or a personal diary
- Continue memorizing the vocabulary and using Lojban as much as you can! Once you know what words you want to learn, you could try additional memorization software to vastly improve your vocabulary.
- Try reading proofread (proofed by at least one Lojbanist in addition to the author) Lojban texts, starting with short-and-easy through to long-and-difficult. For example, read Terry the Tiger (you can listen to this one too!), then one of the Berenstain Bears books, for example The Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin, then The Little Prince.
- You could contribute to the jbovlaste dictionary interface by adding new words. You could also translate some definition into one of the many, many languages that jbovlaste supports.
- BPFK is a Lojban language planning committee.