Presenting Lojban

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Lojbanists answer on important questions.

What is Lojban?

Lojban is a constructed language based on so called predicate logic which makes it kind of a bridge between different languages and cultures. Therefore, it allows us to see the world brighter.

Why learn Lojban?

  • It is a clean, simple, and at the same time powerful language. Whereas natural grown languages have complications in grammar rules, biases and restrictions Lojban is designed to free us from them thus encouraging other ways of thinking otherwise unreachable. So why not start speaking it?
  • It allows you to say things shorter without unnecessary distracting 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. When you need details you add them. But unlike other languages Lojban doesn't force you to do so.
  • Lojban is for artists: it has unprecedented tools for expressing tiny variations in human emotions
  • It is for lovers of wisdom (philosophers, in the original sense)
  • It is for scientists who like all concepts be put in a concise system.
  • It is the best tool for implementing machine automatic translation. Still it's a speakable language.
  • Lastly, Lojban is also fun !

Lojban is going to change the way you look at verbal communication. Learning it is much more than just learning its words and grammar: it is more about understanding it. You will need to understand many things about the way languages work. If you are not a linguist, it will be new to you. If you are a linguist it'll strike you how different ideas and philosophies you familiar with can be directly uttered in the flow of normal speech.

Lojban will make you think about the ways you express ideas in words. Something that you learned and used every day but never tried to understand how it works.

If you are deciding which language to learn or whether to learn any at all, you need to define your goals. Being able to understand what is spoken or speak so that other speakers understand is a good reason to learn most other languages. Learning new ways of thinking and expression of thoughts is a good reason to learn Lojban.

Lojban is likely to be very different to the kinds of languages you are familiar with — which certainly include English. Learning it may be easy or hard, depending on how well you understand the ideas behind it. There are not many words and rules that you need to learn to get into a basic level. You will get there rather quickly if you put a systemic effort. On the other hand, if you fail to understand some basic point, memorizing things will not help you much. In such cases don't hesitate to move on, and come back to it later. Likewise, some of the exercises are trickier than others (particularly the translation exercises).

You want to get some people into a room to listen to you talk about Lojban

How do you do it?

  • björn:
    • You could try to talk to people that you know deal with formal languages (like computer science professors or linguists) and will be able to bring in other people (like their students).
  • Dunno, I've been trying for some time now, my score is zero, but I'm going into advertising (Lojban, not professional) in about 6 months :-)
  • Jay Kominek:
    • How were you planning on advertising? I'm currently running text ad campaigns on two websites (find Jay Kominek on Lojban IRC if you'd like to know which two). The keyword targeted one pulls 1%, the one on a tech website is pulling about 1.8% (CTR).
      • Nooo! Just adds on campus

You've got some people in a room, and they want to listen to you talk about Lojban

What do you say?

  • Get a couple of nice weird examples
  • suggestions beyond pulling some stuff off of What Does It Mean??

You have an opportunity to talk to people about Lojban.

They weren't expecting to hear about Lojban, but are all staying to listen to the next person talk. What do you say to make them want to hear more?

  • xod:
    • I once started teaching Lojban to two friends using that intro brochure from a few years ago. Unfortunately they didn't have the attention span needed to get past 2 months. Well, you can't sell Lojban on its usefulness, so the only thing people might be interested in are the Sapir-Whorf effects unless they are conlang nerds.
  • I tried giving examples of cool language features, like na'i and fancy uses of connectives. And space tenses.
    • jezrax:
      • This had no visible effect!
  • What happens when you shock the subject with 120VAC or so, and then describe attitudinals?
  • Yup...don't expect to impress girls at a party by explaining how nifty "najo" is.
  • Jay Kominek:
    • You need to go to linguistics cocktail parties. (disclaimer: I've been trying to find a computer science cocktail party for years without luck. YMMV.)
    • don't impress cute girls at a party...
  • We need to start a rumor that Lojban makes you smarter.
    • That shouldn't be hard on the Internet...
    • We need to make Lojban cool. People who are trendsetters throwing Lojban words into their casual conversation. Bands with Lojban names. Mentions by top science fiction authors (you know who you are). Find a way to work references to Lojban into every other subject you natter about in discussion groups. Make people feel out-of-it if they need to have Lojban explained to them. Make it the subject of your art.
      • Naah, the last immediate thing we need is for Lojban to be "cool", Elvish is considered cool, especially since the movie came out, and now the mailing list is cluttered with semantic nonsense that must make JRRT turn in his grave. Cool can come when there is plenty of material available.
      • It would be interesting if intellectuals dropped lojban phrases the way they used to with Latin or French, with the understanding that all educated people would understand them. This is more justified if the imported phrase describes a concept hard to phrase in English (like angst or schadenfreude), or that would be overly wordy in English (e.g. vice versa, post hoc). But for that to occur, you literalists would have to drop the requirement that any new lujvo or phrasing be easily translatable into English; what you've dubbed "understandable".