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: its users aim to see how its 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 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 challenging way to expand their minds or discipline their thoughts
- a new perspective on languages
- an entertaining medium to communicate with friends or create art
- a domain for exploring the intersection of human language and software
What will Lojban mean for you?
- "The Complete Lojban Language", a reference 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 does not, however, teach vocabulary, style, or colloquial language. Please note that since the initial publication of the reference grammar, some language reforms such as xorlo have become widely adopted.
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
- Lojban in simple phrases, an introduction (also available in PDF)
- Wave Lessons, a popular textbook
- "The Crash Course", a work-in-progress textbook
- la jbovlaste is a prescriptive, editable, multilingual dictionary. It is considered by many to be the current de-facto standard dictionary of Lojban. Many other dictionaries and tools are based on it.
- la vlasisku is an online English—Lojban dictionary, based on data of la jbovlaste; intended to be more user-friendly (note: it is only irregularily updated, la jbovlaste is more up-to-date).
- la sutysisku is an online multilingual Lojban dictionary (including English) that also works offline. Updated at least once a month.
- la slovlacukt, an alternative offline dictionary.
- Stardict dictionaries in some languages (usable with GoldenDict, Dictionary Universal, etc.)
- Multilingual gismu (root word) and cmavo (particle) lists in tsv and html formats
- Word lists ordered by frequency of use
- Memrise.com offers on-line Lojban vocabulary flashcards. Anki is a downloadable alternative.
- camxes is an automatic grammar of Lojban. It can help you to understand the structure and correctness of sentences.
Connect with the community
Lojban is spoken by a vibrant community, producing literature, music, and art, and discussing questions about language and thought. The web comic xkcd said that, if you spoke Lojban, you'd have to speak with Lojbanists. That may not be such a bad thing!
IRC (Internet Relay Chat)
At any time of day, there are likely to be Lojbanists available on IRC to answer questions or engage in real-time Lojban conversation. Join the chat in your browser with the KiwiIRC or QWebIRC browser-based clients, or connect with the IRC client of your choice. There are three channels (chat rooms) on the Freenode IRC network (host: chat.freenode.net, ports: 6667 or 6697 for an SSL-encrypted connection) that are typically used for Lojban:
- #lojban for discussion about Lojban in any language
- #ckule for the teaching of Lojban and questions from beginners in any Language
- #jbosnu for discussions exclusively in Lojban
Here is an cheat sheet for those unfamiliar with IRC.
The general-purpose lojban mailing list, which covers anything else related to Lojban, was founded in 1989, and has about 500 subscribers. You can subscribe to it by sending an email to [email protected].
la jbotcan is an informal bulletin board which hosts images and discussions in Lojban and English.
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Lojban around the world - other ways of communication ...
- Try reading Lojban texts. Start with something shorter and easier such as "Terry the Tiger" (audio is available) or "The Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin". When you're ready, move on to "The Little Prince" and "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz".
- Try your hand at translating into Lojban, or write your own original texts: Poetry, prose, blogs, tweets, etc.
- Continue learning vocabulary using memorization software.
- Help expand the dictionary by translating Lojban words into other languages, or coin new compound words and add them.