me lu ju'i lobypli li'u 14 moi: Difference between revisions

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''For a full list of issues, see '''[[zo'ei la'e "lu ju'i lobypli li'u"]]'''.''<br/>
''Previous issue: '''[[me lu ju'i lobypli li'u 8 moi]]'''.''<br/>
''Next issue: '''[[me lu ju'i lobypli li'u 10 moi]]'''.''
__TOC__
<pre>
<pre>
Copyright, 1991, by the Logical Language Group, Inc. 2904 Beau Lane,
Copyright, 1991, by the Logical Language Group, Inc. 2904 Beau Lane,
Fairfax VA 22031-1303 USA Phone (703) 385-0273
Fairfax VA 22031-1303 USA Phone (703) 385-0273  
</pre>


All rights reserved. Permission to copy granted subject to your
All rights reserved. Permission to copy granted subject to your verification that this is the latest version of this document, that your distribution be for the promotion of Lojban, that there is no charge for the product, and that this copyright notice is included intact in the copy.
verification that this is the latest version of this document, that your
distribution be for the promotion of Lojban, that there is no charge for
the product, and that this copyright notice is included intact in the
copy.


Number 14 - March 1991
<pre>
  Copyright 1991, The Logical Language Group, Inc.
Number 14 - March 1991
  2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031 USA (703)385-0273
Copyright 1991, The Logical Language Group, Inc.
Permission granted to copy, without charge to recipient, when for purpose of promotion of Loglan/Lojban.
2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031 USA (703)385-0273
Permission granted to copy, without charge to recipient, when for purpose of promotion of Loglan/Lojban.


    Fund-Raising Drive Successful
Fund-Raising Drive Successful


Regular In-Language Activities Started
Regular In-Language Activities Started


    Loglan Trademark Claim Cancelled
Loglan Trademark Claim Cancelled


      LogFest 91 - 21-24 June 1991
LogFest 91 - 21-24 June 1991


      Details Inside, and More.
Details Inside, and More.
</pre>


    Ju'i Lobypli (JL) is the quarterly journal of The Logical Language Group, Inc., known in these pages as la
Ju'i Lobypli (JL) is the quarterly journal of The Logical Language Group, Inc., known in these pages as la lojbangirz.  
lojbangirz.  la lojbangirz. is a non-profit organization formed for the purpose of completing and spreading the logical
human language "Lojban - A Realization of Loglan" (commonly called "Lojban"), and informing the community about logical
languages in general.  For purposes of terminology, "Lojban" refers to a specific version of a logical language, the
generic language and associated research project having been called "Loglan" since its invention by Dr. James Cooke
Brown in 1954. Statements referring to "Loglan/Lojban" refer to both the generic language and to Lojban as a specific
instance of that language.
    la lojbangirz. is a non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.  Your
donations (not contributions to your voluntary balance) are tax-deductible on U.S. and most state income taxes. Donors
are notified at the end of each year of their total deductible donations.  We note for all potential donors that our
bylaws require us to spend no more than 30% of our receipts on administrative expenses, and that you are welcome to make
you gifts conditional upon our meeting this requirement.
    Page count this issue: 96+8 enclosures ($10.40 North America, $12.48 elsewhere).  Press run for this issue of Ju'i
Lobypli: 270.  We now have about 600 people on our active mailing list, and 200 more awaiting textbook publication.


  Your Mailing Label
la lojbangirz. is a non-profit organization formed for the purpose of completing and spreading the logical human language "Lojban - A Realization of Loglan" (commonly called "Lojban"), and informing the community about logical languages in general. For purposes of terminology, "Lojban" refers to a specific version of a logical language, the generic language and associated research project having been called "Loglan" since its invention by Dr. James Cooke Brown in 1954. Statements referring to "Loglan/Lojban" refer to both the generic language and to Lojban as a specific instance of that language. la lojbangirz. is a non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Your donations (not contributions to your voluntary balance) are tax-deductible on U.S. and most state income taxes. Donors are notified at the end of each year of their total deductible donations. We note for all potential donors that our bylaws require us to spend no more than 30% of our receipts on administrative expenses, and that you are welcome to make you gifts conditional upon our meeting this requirement.


Your mailing label reports your current mailing status, and your current voluntary balance including this issue. Please
Page count this issue: 96+8 enclosures ($10.40 North America, $12.48 elsewhere). Press run for this issue of Ju'i Lobypli: 270. We now have about 600 people on our active mailing list, and 200 more awaiting textbook publication.
notify us if you wish to be in a different mailing code category. Balances reflect contributions received thru 13 March
1991.  Mailing codes (and approximate annual balance needs) are defined as follows:


Level B - Product Announcements Only Level R - This is a Review Copy for Publications
''' Your Mailing Label '''
Level 0 - le lojbo karni - $4 initially + $5/year balance requested
Level 1 - Ju'i Lobypli - $20 initially + $20/year balance requested
Level 2 - Level 1 materials and baselined products - $25 initially + $25/year balance requested
Level 3 - Level 2 materials and lesson materials - $50 initially + $40/year balance requested


Please keep us informed of changes in your mailing address, and US subscribers are asked to provide ZIP+4 codes whenever
Your mailing label reports your current mailing status, and your current voluntary balance including this issue. Please notify us if you wish to be in a different mailing code category. Balances reflect contributions received thru 13 March 1991. Mailing codes (and approximate annual balance needs) are defined as follows:
  you know them.  (We now have to!)


Contents of This Issue
Level B - Product Announcements Only
  2
<br />Level R - This is a Review Copy for Publications
<br />Level 0 - le lojbo karni - $4 initially + $5/year balance requested
<br />Level 1 - Ju'i Lobypli - $20 initially + $20/year balance requested
<br />Level 2 - Level 1 materials and baselined products - $25 initially + $25/year balance requested
<br />Level 3 - Level 2 materials and lesson materials - $50 initially + $40/year balance requested


Please keep us informed of changes in your mailing address, and US subscribers are asked to provide ZIP+4 codes whenever you know them. (We now have to!)


    We skipped one quarterly issue cycle, but have now resumed our activities. This longer than average issue should
''' Contents of This Issue '''
help make up for the long wait.
    This issue reports on the news of the last 6 months.  In addition, we briefly survey the 'areas of interest' that
are listed on our registration form, so that you can see the scope of Lojban activities, and the potential in each area.
We then move from this general discussion into the specific topic of Lojban and linguistics, with which the bulk of this
issue deals.  (Please pardon the occasional jargon therein - some contributors were writing for a different audience.
We've tried to elaborate on the jargon where it seemed necessary for understanding.  The lead article on this topic is
John Cowan's response to the 1969 critical review of Loglan written by linguist Dr. Arnold Zwicky; that review was never
responded to by Dr. Brown, to the detriment of Loglan/Lojban's acceptance in the linguistics community. We also include
edited transcripts of some computer network discussions regarding Lojban, Esperanto, and linguistics, and a brief
description of Lojban written for linguists (as opposed to our brochure discussion for laymen).
    Finally, we print some of your letters, with responses.  Thanks to all of you for your continued interest and
support.  Included are final words for now on the subject of Esperanto and Lojban, including a more scholarly discussion
on 'rule-counting'.
    Bob LeChevalier continues his regular 'column' written directly in Lojban, and without translation.  All
subscribers should have all the materials needed to read this text.  We also have other texts of various levels of
difficulty, including a simple and familiar fairy tale.


We skipped one quarterly issue cycle, but have now resumed our activities. This longer than average issue should help make up for the long wait.
This issue reports on the news of the last 6 months. In addition, we briefly survey the 'areas of interest' that are listed on our registration form, so that you can see the scope of Lojban activities, and the potential in each area. We then move from this general discussion into the specific topic of Lojban and linguistics, with which the bulk of this issue deals. (Please pardon the occasional jargon therein - some contributors were writing for a different audience. We've tried to elaborate on the jargon where it seemed necessary for understanding. The lead article on this topic is John Cowan's response to the 1969 critical review of Loglan written by linguist Dr. Arnold Zwicky; that review was never responded to by Dr. Brown, to the detriment of Loglan/Lojban's acceptance in the linguistics community. We also include edited transcripts of some computer network discussions regarding Lojban, Esperanto, and linguistics, and a brief description of Lojban written for linguists (as opposed to our brochure discussion for laymen).
Finally, we print some of your letters, with responses. Thanks to all of you for your continued interest and support. Included are final words for now on the subject of Esperanto and Lojban, including a more scholarly discussion on 'rule-counting'.
Bob LeChevalier continues his regular 'column' written directly in Lojban, and without translation. All subscribers should have all the materials needed to read this text. We also have other texts of various levels of difficulty, including a simple and familiar fairy tale.
<pre>
  Table of Contents
  Table of Contents


Line 99: Line 82:
Enclosures - cmavo change list, Lojban Grammar in E-BNF form
Enclosures - cmavo change list, Lojban Grammar in E-BNF form


Computer Net Information
</pre>
 
''' Computer Net Information '''
 
Via Usenet/UUCP/Internet, you can send messages and text files (including things for JL publication) to Bob at: [email protected]
 
You can also join the Lojban news-group.
 
Send your mailing address to: [email protected]
 
Send traffic for the news-group to: [email protected]
 
Please keep us informed if your network mailing address changes.
 
Compuserve subscribers can also participate. Precede any of the above addresses with INTERNET: and use your normal
 
Compuserve mail facility. Usenet/Internet people can send to Compuserve addresses by changing the comma in the Compuserve address to a period: [email protected]
 
FIDOnet subscribers can also participate, although the connection is not especially robust. Write to us for details.
 
Whether you wish to participate in the news-group or not, it is useful for us to know your Compuserve or Usenet/Internet address.
 
 
We've been requested to more explicitly identify people who are referred to by initials in JL, and will regularly do so in this spot, immediately before the news section. Note that 'Athelstan' is that person's real name, used in his public life, and is not a pseudonym.
 
'pc' - Dr. John Parks-Clifford, Professor of Logic and Philosophy at the University of Missouri - St. Louis and Vice- President of la lojbangirz.; he is usually addressed as 'pc' by the community.
 
'Bob', 'lojbab' - Bob LeChevalier - President of la lojbangirz., and editor of Ju'i Lobypli and le lojbo karni.
 
'Nora' - Nora LeChevalier - Secretary/Treasurer of la lojbangirz., Bob's wife, author of LogFlash.
 
'JCB', 'Dr. Brown'- Dr. James Cooke Brown, inventor of the language, and founder of the Loglan project.
 
'The Institute', 'TLI' - The Loglan Institute, Inc., JCB's organization for spreading his version of Loglan, which we call 'Institute Loglan'.
 
'Loglan' - This refers to the generic language or language project, of which 'Lojban' is the most successful version, and Institute Loglan another. 'Loglan/Lojban' is used in discussions about Lojban where we wish to make it particularly clear that the statement applies to the generic language as well.
 
== News ==
 
=== Finances ===


    Via Usenet/UUCP/Internet, you can send messages and text files (including things for JL publication) to Bob at:
As most of you know, we sent out a fund-raising letter in November to all US, Canada, and Mexico subscribers, requesting that people contribute against their voluntary balance, or to donate extra money if their balance was positive. Our finances after JL13 had reached a crisis state, and action needed to be taken.
    You can also join the Lojban news-group.
Send your mailing address to:   [email protected]
Send traffic for the news-group to:   [email protected]
    Please keep us informed if your network mailing address changes.
    Compuserve subscribers can also participate.  Precede any of the above addresses with INTERNET: and use your normal
    Compuserve mail facility.  Usenet/Internet people can send to Compuserve addresses by changing the comma in the
    Compuserve address to a period:   [email protected]
    FIDOnet subscribers can also participate, although the connection is not especially robust.  Write to us for
details.
    Whether you wish to participate in the news-group or not, it is useful for us to know your Compuserve or
Usenet/Internet address.


  3
I want to thank those of you who responded to our fund-raising letter. We received over 100 contributions in response to that letter in 6 weeks, more than twice the number of letters we usually receive in 3 months in response to a JL issue. Clearly, you prefer to be bugged about finances in a direct letter rather in the pages of this issue. $3500 in contributions was received in November and December, and small amounts continue to trickle in. Of that money, most was payments against voluntary balances, but over $1000 of it was in donations. (We have sent out summary notices for tax purposes acknowledging all donations received during 1990. If you believe that you made a donation and did not get a receipt, please let us know.)


A secondary goal of the mailing was to identify people who were not reading our publications, and who wished to be dropped to a lower level of mailing, or who wished to be dropped entirely until at least after the textbook is published. Some 25 of the respondents requested such a drop in level.


  We've been requested to more explicitly identify people who are referred to by initials in JL, and will regularly do
A tertiary goal of the mailing was to identify as many as possible incorrect addresses. Our normal 3rd class bulk mailing has a label requesting forwarding, and guaranteeing forwarding postage. However, such notices are often ignored by the post office, which treats bulk mailings as being of the lowest priority. Moral: if you want to keep getting material from us, make sure we get a change of address from you when you move - don't rely on the post office to tell us. To our first class mailing, we received over 35 such notices of incorrect addresses, many of which also had no for- warding notice on file with the post office.
so in this spot, immediately before the news section. Note that 'Athelstan' is that person's real name, used in his
public life, and is not a pseudonym.


  'pc' - Dr. John Parks-Clifford, Professor of Logic and Philosophy at the University of Missouri - St. Louis and Vice-
All in all the letter was a big success, much better than we had hoped for in response to our plea, especially given a recession in the economy and the distractions of world events. We finished the year with over $4000 in the bank, and are no longer living from week to week.
President of la lojbangirz.; he is usually addressed as 'pc' by the community.
  'Bob', 'lojbab' - Bob LeChevalier - President of la lojbangirz., and editor of Ju'i Lobypli and le lojbo karni.
  'Nora' - Nora LeChevalier - Secretary/Treasurer of la lojbangirz., Bob's wife, author of LogFlash.
  'JCB', 'Dr. Brown'- Dr. James Cooke Brown, inventor of the language, and founder of the Loglan project.
  'The Institute', 'TLI' - The Loglan Institute, Inc., JCB's organization for spreading his version of Loglan, which we
call 'Institute Loglan'.
  'Loglan' - This refers to the generic language or language project, of which 'Lojban' is the most successful version,
and Institute Loglan another.  'Loglan/Lojban' is used in discussions about Lojban where we wish to make it particularly
clear that the statement applies to the generic language as well.


  News
We aren't out of the woods yet, of course. While we have $4000 in the bank, voluntary balances total $4500. So we still technically owe more than we have. In addition, legal bills, which Jeff Prothero and Bob have committed to paying, constitute a recorded liability on our accounts of some $6000, making our net worth substantially negative. And we still need to accumulate $5000-$10000 for publication of the Lojban textbook. So don't hold back just because we're not on the point of bankruptcy anymore. Still, you can rest assured that we are in business for a while to come, and if you continue to respond when we are really in need, you can count on la lojbangirz. being around to support your Loglan/Lojban interests and efforts.
Finances


    As most of you know, we sent out a fund-raising letter in November to all US, Canada, and Mexico subscribers,
We have a head start on finances this year. Sylvia Rutiser has pledged a donation of at least $1000 in support of la lojbangirz. for the coming year.
requesting that people contribute against their voluntary balance, or to donate extra money if their balance was
positive.  Our finances after JL13 had reached a crisis state, and action needed to be taken.
    I want to thank those of you who responded to our fund-raising letter.  We received over 100 contributions in
response to that letter in 6 weeks, more than twice the number of letters we usually receive in 3 months in response to
a JL issue.  Clearly, you prefer to be bugged about finances in a direct letter rather in the pages of this issue.
$3500 in contributions was received in November and December, and small amounts continue to trickle in. Of that money,
most was payments against voluntary balances, but over $1000 of it was in donations.  (We have sent out summary notices
for tax purposes acknowledging all donations received during 1990.  If you believe that you made a donation and did not
get a receipt, please let us know.)
    A secondary goal of the mailing was to identify people who were not reading our publications, and who wished to be
dropped to a lower level of mailing, or who wished to be dropped entirely until at least after the textbook is
published.  Some 25 of the respondents requested such a drop in level.
    A tertiary goal of the mailing was to identify as many as possible incorrect addresses.  Our normal 3rd class bulk
mailing has a label requesting forwarding, and guaranteeing forwarding postage. However, such notices are often ignored
by the post office, which treats bulk mailings as being of the lowest priority. Moral: if you want to keep getting
material from us, make sure we get a change of address from you when you move - don't rely on the post office to tell
us.  To our first class mailing, we received over 35 such notices of incorrect addresses, many of which also had no for-
warding notice on file with the post office.
    All in all the letter was a big success, much better than we had hoped for in response to our plea, especially
given a recession in the economy and the distractions of world events. We finished the year with over $4000 in the
bank, and are no longer living from week to week.
    We aren't out of the woods yet, of course. While we have $4000 in the bank, voluntary balances total $4500.  So we
still technically owe more than we have.  In addition, legal bills, which Jeff Prothero and Bob have committed to
paying, constitute a recorded liability on our accounts of some $6000, making our net worth substantially negative.  And
we still need to accumulate $5000-$10000 for publication of the Lojban textbook.  So don't hold back just because we're
not on the point of bankruptcy anymore. Still, you can rest assured that we are in business for a while to come, and if
you continue to respond when we are really in need, you can count on la lojbangirz. being around to support your
Loglan/Lojban interests and efforts.
    We have a head start on finances this year. Sylvia Rutiser has pledged a donation of at least $1000 in support of
la lojbangirz. for the coming year.
    Following is a summary of the la lojbangirz. financial report for 1990.  This report has not yet been finalized and
approved by the Board of Directors.


Following is a summary of the la lojbangirz. financial report for 1990. This report has not yet been finalized and approved by the Board of Directors.
<pre>
1990 Financial Report
1990 Financial Report


Line 178: Line 147:
Donations   $6164.90       $7633.40
Donations   $6164.90       $7633.40
  ________       ________
  ________       ________
  4




Line 222: Line 189:
     Unpaid Legal Fees       ($6360.00)
     Unpaid Legal Fees       ($6360.00)
     VA State Sales Tax Collections ($12.83)
     VA State Sales Tax Collections ($12.83)
      __________
    Net Liabilities       ($10923.19)


    Estimated Net Worth       ($5833.68)
</pre>
The most significant component of our huge drop in net worth is the unfunded legal liability. Jeff Prothero and Bob LeChevalier have committed to funding this liability in full. At our current expenditure rate, this will take about 2 years to pay off. With the February 1991 trademark ruling in our favor, additional legal fees are expected to be minimal.


    Estimated net worth at incorporation in 11/88 was $1427.02
=== Subscription Accounts as of 1 January 1991 ===
    Estimated net worth on 1 January 1990 was ($737.04)


    The most significant component of our huge drop in net worth is the unfunded legal liability. Jeff Prothero and
The mailing list of The Logical Language Group, Inc. consisted of 735 accounts. Of these, 544 were currently active (level 0 or above). Known readership is about 50 more than this, due to multiple readers sharing single sub- scriptions. (The number has grown by over 35 in the first 6 weeks of 1991.)
Bob LeChevalier have committed to funding this liability in full. At our current expenditure rate, this will take about
2 years to pay off. With the February 1991 trademark ruling in our favor, additional legal fees are expected to be
minimal.


  5
Payment rates are highly correlated with level. 45-60% of those at level 1 or above maintain a positive balance. Only 15% of the level 0 recipients have positive balances. This is not sufficient for long term financial security; donations do not make up the difference and no extra money is left over for non-subscription activities.


As of 14 February, there were 92 subscribers at level 3, 100 at level 2, 55 at level 1, 332 at level 0, and 191 at level B for a total of 770. About 20% of our subscribers are non-U.S., with about 1/2 of these in Canada.


Subscription Accounts as of 1 January 1991       Conversation sessions - After several delays while we
Sales or distributions of key products as of 1 January 1990:
    tried to find an optimal meeting day, Lojbanists in the
  The mailing list of The Logical Language Group, Inc.     Washington DC area have now started a weekly Lojban
consisted of 735 accounts.  Of these, 544 were currently    conversation/learning session.  A group of 6 Lojbanists of
active (level 0 or above).  Known readership is about 50    varying skill levels has been meeting on Tuesday evenings
more than this, due to multiple readers sharing single sub- at Bob and Nora's house to use the language.  These 6 are
scriptions.  (The number has grown by over 35 in the first  Bob and Nora, Athelstan, Sylvia Rutiser, Darren Stalder,
6 weeks of 1991.)     and Keith Lynch.  Others have inquired and are expected to
  Payment rates are highly correlated with level.  45-60%  join within the next few weeks; if you are in or visiting
of those at level 1 or above maintain a positive balance.  the DC area and want to drop in, contact Bob at 703-385-
Only 15% of the level 0 recipients have positive balances.  0273.  You needn't be especially skilled in the language;
This is not sufficient for long term financial security;    none of the rest of us are, either. From the experience
donations do not make up the difference and no extra money  thus far, it is useful to know as much vocabulary as
is left over for non-subscription activities.     possible.  You'll pick up the grammar easily (sentence
  As of 14 February, there were 92 subscribers at level 3,  complexity tends to be fairly simple), but a novice will
100 at level 2, 55 at level 1, 332 at level 0, and 191 at  spend most of the time hunting through words lists in order
level B for a total of 770.  About 20% of our subscribers  to follow what is being said.  (On the other hand, Keith,
are non-U.S., with about 1/2 of these in Canada.     who is a relative novice, says that he has learned some
    words quickly simply by looking them up over and over.)
Sales or distributions of key products as of 1 January       The emphasis during the sessions is on actual Lojban
1990:     conversation, and no English is spoken for about 2 hours
    (8-10PM).  Before and after the 2-hour sessions, there are
gismu lists 601     discussions of translation, grammar questions, and other
LogFlash/Mac LojFlash 133     things better handled in English.  We are hoping to
flash cards   30     eventually start regularly offering a mini-lesson for new
Lessons beyond Lesson 1 127     Lojbanists during the hour before the Lojban session.


  83 persons have donated a total of $13976.31 since       Letter exchanges - Sylvia has been working on one other
<pre>
incorporation (32/$7842.15 incorporation through end of     aspect of bringing Lojban to life. She has written to two
gismu lists 601  
1989; 36/$5093.63 from before incorporation); 46 donors     Lojbanists who have written to us in Lojban, and is working
LogFlash/Mac LojFlash 133  
donated during 1990, including $1529 each from Bob & Nora  on letters to a couple of others. (If you write a letter
flash cards   30  
and from Jeff Prothero that was applied to legal fees;     to us in Lojban, and include a translation so we can figure
Lessons beyond Lesson 1 127  
others donated a net of $3106.94.     out any errors, you WILL get an answer, though we can't
</pre>
    promise how quickly.) Michael Helsem has written a
157 persons have net positive voluntary balances.     (complicated) letter on Lojban and poetry to Athelstan, as
542 persons have net negative voluntary balances.     well as several to Bob, and Athelstan is working on an
All others have 0 balances.     answer.  Bob doesn't have time to respond to Lojban letters
    personally (except for really short ones), and passes them
  13 people have balances >$100, 40 have balances >$50, 89  to Sylvia, who wants the practice. Of course, if she
have balances >$20.  These are the people who are keeping  writes to you, please respond reasonably quickly so that
us afloat.  We need a much higher percentage of you in     she knows whether you understood any of her writing.
these categories.
      Translations and writings - As shown in this issue, there
  Bob's proposed budget for 1991 (not yet approved by the  have also been several people working on writings and
Directors) presumes balance contributions of about $13400,  translations of various length and complexity.  In
legal donations of $6600 from Bob and Nora and Jeff     addition, Jamie Bechtel has translated an Ursula Leguin
Prothero, $4800 in donations from the rest of you, and     short story, which we plan to publish after getting a copy-
expenses of around $25600, for a net loss of $729.  To meet right release from the author.  Bob has also intermittently
this budget, we need as many as possible of you to pay your worked on a translation of the first chapter of Heinlein's
share (as appropriate for your mailing level); otherwise we The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, but this also needs a
will repeat last year's financial crisis.     copyright release. He is also working on the initial story
    of Burton's Arabian Nights (the Scheherazade story), which
    is both not copyrighted and written in the style of the
    Using the Language     original Arabic, giving us a flavor of translation other
    than from English. (It is obviously preferable to
  While we have been laying low for 6 months, husbanding    translate things that are not copyrighted, or that the
our money carefully, the language has been progressing in  copyright has expired.  Sherlock Holmes or Lewis Carroll,
several directions.  This section discusses progress in     anyone?)
making Loglan/Lojban a living language.


  6
83 persons have donated a total of $13976.31 since incorporation (32/$7842.15 incorporation through end of 1989; 36/$5093.63 from before incorporation); 46 donors donated during 1990, including $1529 each from Bob & Nora and from Jeff Prothero that was applied to legal fees; others donated a net of $3106.94.


157 persons have net positive voluntary balances.


  Carter translation - One translation project that has     floor space.  Especially if coming from out-of-town, we
542 persons have net negative voluntary balances.
been started, albeit slowly, is the attempt to update two  recommend letting us know in advance that you are coming,
stories by Jim Carter, originally written in 1984 in an     how many, and when you expect to arrive and leave, so we
earlier version of Loglan, to fit the current language.     can plan logistics; drop-ins are of course welcome, though.
These are full-fledged short stories, not just sentences or Based on previous years expenses, we ask for a voluntary
paragraphs, and are quite a bit longer than even the Saki  donation of around $30 per person for the whole weekend to
short story translation published in JL10.  The first being cover food, beverages, etc. Many give more, a few come who
worked on is called 'Akira', and is a science fiction     cannot contribute. (Money contributed on this weekend,
story; the other is called 'The Welding Shop'.     unless specifically noted, is considered a donation towards
  We are trying to involve as many people as possible in    LogFest expenses, and does not apply to voluntary bal-
this effort, each taking a sentence or a paragraph, or even ances.)
a couple of tanru.  Since the vocabulary has changed so       We hope to see as many Lojbanists as possible at our
considerably since 1984, and Jim Brown's versions of the    activities this year.
language have had so many defective tanru, volunteers can
work on problems as small as a single word.  For example,
in Sylvia Rutiser's translation of the first paragraph of
the Akira story, printed later in this issue, she was quite   Language Development Activities
dissatisfied with the tanru she devised for 'to fall by
parachute'.  We welcome all suggestions for this concept,    A lot of work has been done in the area of language
and any others in that paragraph.  We also pose another     development, much of it by John Cowan, who in only several
paragraph for translation, which we ask all of you to work  months has become the principal expert on the formal
on, again even if only a word or two.  Sylvia will compile  grammar (thus relieving Bob of a major burden).
the results for next issue.  As more people become skilled
in the language, we can pass out larger chunks of the text.  Grammar baseline changes and BNF development - As
    reported in last issue, John aided in the final push for a
  LogFair - We had a get-together at Bob and Nora's house,  grammar baseline, devising new designs for MEX (the grammar
the last weekend in October.  Turnout was small, and the    of mathematical expressions), the tense grammar, and the
discussion ranged over a wide area of topics.  A smaller    method of expressing letters and symbols.  We did an awful
version of LogFest, we hope to hold future LogFairs at     lot of work in only a few weeks, and unfortunately, not all
other locations besides the Washington DC area.     of it was perfect. John has found a few mistakes in
    further analysis.
  Logfest 91 - The annual meeting of la lojbangirz., and      Over the 6 months since the baseline, John has
the associated celebration of Lojban, will be held a week  effectively done a complete analysis of the grammar, almost
later this year than in previous years, on the weekend of  from scratch.  He did this by developing an alternative way
22-23 June 1991, at Bob and Nora's house in the suburban    of describing the grammar, using a method called Extended
Washington DC area.  (We officially start on Friday night  Backus-Naur Form (E-BNF).  Unlike the YACC form of the
and end on Monday morning, but those two days tend to be    grammar (YACC is a tool for developing computer languages),
primarily social.)  The schedule change allows us to miss  published last issue, the E-BNF form is condensed and
several competing activities that have prevented people     considerably easier to understand. John's BNF grammar,
from coming in the past.  If you are planning to come and  enclosed with this issue, requires only 4 pages of standard
do not know how to get here, contact us by letter or phone  type.  The E-BNF grammar is similar to the baseline machine
at the address or phone given for la lojbangirz. (day or    grammar, including some minor proposals as described below.
evenings); we are on a major rapid transit line and thus      The problem with an E-BNF grammar is that it cannot be
easily accessible to all modes of transportation.     verified as unambiguous using YACC. This required a lot of
  The major design decisions about the language having been checking and cross-checking.  In the process of doing this,
made before now, we are hoping to shift the emphasis of our every rule of the grammar had to be examined.  Some things
gathering from language design to language use and     showed up as problems:
application.  There will thus be sessions on teaching and    - errors made in the last minute push for a baseline,
learning the language, including demonstrations of our     sometimes only typos, other times rules that were
teaching materials, Lojban conversation for novices as well accidentally deleted;
as for more advanced students, group efforts at Lojban       - asymmetries between similar structures in the grammar,
translation, etc.  There also may be discussion of specific such as differing priority for logical connectives in
Lojban applications.  There will be a limited amount of     compound bridi as compared to other logical connective
preplanned programming; call us the week before the     structures;
gathering to find out details. On the other hand, most       - rules that were clumsily constructed, often as fossils
activities will be ad-hoc, determined by the interests of  of earlier versions of the grammar when they were
those present at any given time.     necessary.
  You can come for one day or the entire weekend; families    John also volunteered to work on a Lojban parser, and in
are welcome.  Most attendees who spend the entire weekend,  thinking about the parser design, proposed some minor
bring sleeping bags or borrow blankets; we have plenty of  changes that would make the design easier.


  7
All others have 0 balances.


13 people have balances >$100, 40 have balances >$50, 89 have balances >$20. These are the people who are keeping us afloat. We need a much higher percentage of you in these categories.


  As a result of all of this analysis, John has proposed 19 about 6 months before the dictionary is done.  John Cowan
Bob's proposed budget for 1991 (not yet approved by the Directors) presumes balance contributions of about $13400, legal donations of $6600 from Bob and Nora and Jeff Prothero, $4800 in donations from the rest of you, and expenses of around $25600, for a net loss of $729. To meet this budget, we need as many as possible of you to pay your share (as appropriate for your mailing level); otherwise we will repeat last year's financial crisis.
changes to the baseline grammar, of which 3 were withdrawn  is working on a catalog describing each selma'o and its
after discussion.  The 16 that remain may sound like a lot, grammar, with examples of each usage; this will not be done
but each is very minor, often affecting only 1 or 2 rules  for several months.
of the roughly 600 in the YACC grammar baseline.  Even this
overstates the effect on the average Lojban student's       Lack of gismu-making - There were 20 gismu approved or
learning effort.  Most of the changes are additions or     proposed for making at last LogFest.  We had commitments
enhancements to the language, and I doubt if any of the     from several people to help with the source language look-
grammar changes proposed affect any text that has been     up. Unfortunately, some of these people failed to come
written thus far in the language.  Thus, the language can  through.  As a result, we have only partial input on Hindi
be considered quite stable, though clearly the grammar is  source words and no input at all on Arabic sources. The
not quite as mature as the gismu list, now baselined for 2  other source language research has been ready for months.
1/2 years.     We are pursuing other alternate researchers, and ask any
  The changes are described along with their purpose and    members of the community who know either language to
justification in an article below.  The principal design    volunteer your assistance either to suggest source words or
group has looked over these changes and accepted them, but  check others work. (You should have a bilingual dictionary
publication of the proposals is a necessary step for a     if you are not fluent in the language.)
baseline change.  Thus you have an opportunity to comment    Because of this, the words have not been constructed, and
or ask questions about these changes, prior to a formal     we have downgraded the priority of producing a revised
approval decision, expected at or before LogFest.  Anyone  gismu list incorporating the new words and updated and
who has worked in depth with the grammar, and wants to see  clarified place structures for each word.
the specific rule changes proposed, may write or send a
computer-mail message to us, and we'll be happy to provide    Place structure review - In conjunction with the addition
it.     of words to the gismu list, we have been conducting a slow
  There may be additional changes at this very low level up review of the place structure of every word in the gismu
until the completion of the textbook and dictionary.  These list.  The review includes updates of Roget's Thesaurus
will be as a result of actual usage or problems discovered  categories for each word; Athelstan did a rough-cut at as-
as a result of finally having a parser incorporating the    signing these categories while we were reviewing the list
complete set of rules. However, you shouldn't get the idea for baseline over 2 years ago.  An effort is being made to
that the language is unstable because of these changes,     ensure that place structures are consistent for words in
requiring a significant effort at relearning, since they    the same Roget category.
will almost certainly be changes in seldom-used features of  You can hardly imagine the difficulty of this review; it
the language.  Ju'i Lobypli will continue to publish such  takes total mastery of the gismu list to do a comprehensive
proposals as they are presented and preliminarily approved. check, and only Bob has achieved that.  Others are
    reviewing pieces of the list, and Bob is checking their
  cmavo list - As part of John Cowan's review, a couple of suggestions. (All readers are encouraged to pose questions
lexemes (word grammatical categories) have been eliminated, and suggestions about place structures, and these will be
and the associated cmavo freed. (As a side note, we will  considered.)  Of course Bob's higher priority is textbook
be trying to phase out use of the word 'lexeme' for these  writing, but the review must be completed before the
categories, in favor of the Lojban word "selma'o", (from se textbook is done, since we don't want to have examples with
cmavo) or cmavo word category. 'Lexeme', used by Jim Brown inconsistent place structures.
and adopted by everyone else, turns out to be an incorrect    Remember that place structures will be a long-evolving
linguistic term for the concept - the appropriate term is  part of the language, and will not even be considered
really 'grameme'.  But since few people know these jargon  baselined at dictionary publication (though publication of
terms anyway, we would rather use the non-jargon Lojban     a dictionary will inherently make changes much more
word.)     difficult). This is because the place structures
  As a result of two place structure changes, we had to     implicitly contain the meaning of the words, meanings that
make some minor changes to associated gismu in selma'o BAI, will never be static, and cannot truly be defined until
and to add one new cmavo to that selma'o.  A couple of     there are significant numbers of language users.
additional words were independently proposed, for various    On the other hand, none of us who are speaking, writing,
reasons.     or translating in Lojban have been significantly hindered
  Since the cmavo list has NOT been baselined, the changes  by nebulous place structures.  We make the best guess we
listed later in this issue are approved and now in force    can, and use paraphrases if a listener doesn't understand,
(although some of them are technically dependent on     thus bypassing any confusion.
approval of the grammar baseline change).  We provide the    Thus, we have demonstrated what we have often claimed,
list on a separate page for people who wish to attach it to YOU DO NOT NEED TO MEMORIZE THE PLACE STRUCTURES TO USE
their cmavo lists. Alternatively (and probably     LOJBAN.  As you use the language, you will master them
preferably), you can manually update your copy of the cmavo practically by osmosis, making mistakes and then learning
lists to reflect these changes. No new publication of the  from them. But mistakes are useful, too; they help us
cmavo list is expected prior to a preliminary baseline     define the weak points in the place structures, and in some


  8
=== Using the Language ===


While we have been laying low for 6 months, husbanding our money carefully, the language has been progressing in several directions. This section discusses progress in making Loglan/Lojban a living language.


cases indicate that normal usage of a word differs from the long-winded, so we cannot even hope to summarize them here.
Conversation sessions - After several delays while we tried to find an optimal meeting day, Lojbanists in the Washington DC area have now started a weekly Lojban conversation/learning session. A group of 6 Lojbanists of varying skill levels has been meeting on Tuesday evenings at Bob and Nora's house to use the language. These 6 are Bob and Nora, Athelstan, Sylvia Rutiser, Darren Stalder, and Keith Lynch. Others have inquired and are expected to join within the next few weeks; if you are in or visiting the DC area and want to drop in, contact Bob at 703-385- 0273. You needn't be especially skilled in the language; none of the rest of us are, either. From the experience thus far, it is useful to know as much vocabulary as possible. You'll pick up the grammar easily (sentence complexity tends to be fairly simple), but a novice will spend most of the time hunting through words lists in order to follow what is being said. (On the other hand, Keith, who is a relative novice, says that he has learned some words quickly simply by looking them up over and over.)
place structure that we devised.     Two major topics in the last couple of months have been the
    expression of intervals, the possible need for special
  gismu making errors of the past - As a side project, late tenses to describe relativistic situations, and the desire
at night or when he can't concentrate (seemingly much too  by some readers for a formal theory describing the seman-
often it seems), Bob has been going back through the     tics of the language.  Discussions on these topics
computer outputs that generated the gismu 3 years ago, an  continue, and we are archiving everything that is said.  If
extracting the scores and etymologies that led to the     you have particular interest in one of these topics, let us
current word being chosen. The project is roughly half     know, and we may discuss it in more detail, or offer a
done.     special-order publication consisting of transcripts of the
  Along the way, unfortunate discoveries have occurred. In discussion.
about 5% of the words, some type of manual error was made
in the rush to compile the list.  In half of these or so,
the error is insignificant:  an erroneous score or cross-       Products Status, Prices, and Ordering
reference error. In the rest, often due to Bob's sloppy
handwriting or typos, the word recorded for a concept was    We have no new products to announce this issue, although
not the highest scoring one.  In most cases, the word     significant progress was made on several that will
actually selected differs by only one character from what  hopefully come to fruition within the next several months.
it should be, but given the nature of the scoring       A reminder that our pricing policy includes a 20%
algorithm, this sometimes leads to a significantly lower    discount for a prepaid order over $20 (prepaid = positive
recognition score.     balance exceeding the price at the time of shipment).
  In short, we screwed up sometimes.  The result is not a  There is a 20% surcharge for non-North-American orders; the
severe problem, and changing the words wasn't even     20% discount on large prepaid orders will cancel the
considered - the actual etymologies of individual words is  overseas surcharge. The overseas surcharge may have to
simply not that important to any of Loglan's goals.  The    rise due to increased postal fees, but not until at least
only requirement is for neutrality.  Since the errors are  next issue. Virginia orders should add 4.5% sales tax.
small in number and fairly random, the only effect is a     Note also that for software, there is no surcharge for MS-
trivial increase in learning difficulty.  And this increase DOS 3 1/2" diskettes, but you must specify in your order if
is real only if the recognition scores used to decide on    you want them.
the words actually do correlate with learnability of the      We cannot promise to fill an order unless it is prepaid;
words.     our finances remain too thin.
  A more systematic error was found in our Lojban
transcription of Russian words. Though the check has only    Textbook - One effort that has not made much progress has
been cursory, it appears that in several cases, we made     been the Lojban textbook.  About 45 pages were done by
mistakes in Lojbanizing the Russian vowels, which     LogFair in late October, but almost no work has been done
frequently change in sound depending on the declension, and since then. There are a lot of reasons for this, but in
on the syllable stress. As a result, the Russian con-     the final analysis Bob simply hasn't managed to treat this
tribution to some words will be incorrect, and learning for effort as the highest priority, as he and everyone else
Russian students of Lojban presumably slightly more     want.  Too many short-term distractions and emergencies.
difficult.  Again, though, the effect is not expected to be If blame must be placed, most of us have some part in the
significant, and we have data that will allow us to     delay; the final responsibility is, however, Bob's.
accurately measure the effect, if any of this systematic    Hopefully, things are improving in this regard.
error. (Lojbanization of Russian words inherently has       LogFlash - The news on LogFlash is a good as the news on
systematic errors due to declensions that shift and     the textbook is bad. A version of LogFlash capable of
sometimes omit sounds.)     handling the August cmavo list turned out to be almost
  Once the computer lists have been verified, we will make  trivial to produce. (This version is currently called
the etymologies available in hard copy or electronic form.  LogFlash 3, but the set may be renumbered before
Data is being stored in Lojbanized phonetic spelling.  We  publication).  Bob has gone through all of the words using
do not plan in the short term to publish a list showing the this program and is working in Maintenance mode at
actual source words, primarily because we would need     mastering the set.
special text fonts and alphabets on our computers.       Meanwhile Nora has been working on the enhanced revision
However, a sample of the intermediate work appears in a     to LogFlash, which will handle the updated gismu list (with
later article this issue.  This effort is a low priority    100 character definitions instead of 40 character ones),
one, though how much time we spend on it will partly depend and add a wide variety of new features, described in previ-
on how much interest is shown by you readers.     ous issues. The program will also provide the capability
    to log data needed for research into the language learning
  Computer Network Discussions - There have been numerous  process, including a test of Jim Brown's recognition score
discussions of Lojban's design on the lojban-list computer  algorithm.
mailing network, which now has over 100 readers. These are  Nora's update is mostly complete, and the program is
generally highly specialized discussions, and often rather  being tested by a couple of Lojban students, most notably


  9
The emphasis during the sessions is on actual Lojban conversation, and no English is spoken for about 2 hours (8-10PM). Before and after the 2-hour sessions, there are discussions of translation, grammar questions, and other things better handled in English. We are hoping to eventually start regularly offering a mini-lesson for new Lojbanists during the hour before the Lojban session.




Sylvia Rutiser, who has gone through the gismu list in only lines of code and is non-trivial to convert. We are thus
Letter exchanges - Sylvia has been working on one other aspect of bringing Lojban to life. She has written to two Lojbanists who have written to us in Lojban, and is working on letters to a couple of others. (If you write a letter to us in Lojban, and include a translation so we can figure out any errors, you WILL get an answer, though we can't promise how quickly.) Michael Helsem has written a (complicated) letter on Lojban and poetry to Athelstan, as well as several to Bob, and Athelstan is working on an answer. Bob doesn't have time to respond to Lojban letters personally (except for really short ones), and passes them to Sylvia, who wants the practice. Of course, if she writes to you, please respond reasonably quickly so that she knows whether you understood any of her writing.
a few weeks and is working on her second pass.     not planning to distribute the LogFlash source.  Conversion
  The changes to support cmavo list learning with the new  volunteers should know both Turbo-Pascal and C and the
version are just as easy as for the old version, and Sylvia problems in converting from the former to the latter.
is also nearly through her first pass on the cmavo using    There is a lot of input/output processing, and the last
this program. The results of using LogFlash have proven    (and most successful) conversion effort stalled out on con-
awesome when we sit down on Tuesday evenings to speak in   verting this processing.
the language.  Bob and Sylvia only rarely need to look at a
word list, while those who haven't studied the words spend    Parser - As noted above, John Cowan has started working
a lot of time paging through the lists.     on a Lojban parser which will reflect the baseline grammar.
  We hope to have gismu list and cmavo list versions of     This much-awaited software will finally allow us to do the
LogFlash available by LogFest in June, or perhaps the next  proper test of the grammar that is needed, as well as
Ju'i Lobypli issue thereafter. A rafsi list version will  provide an excellent teaching tool to students of the lan-
probably wait an additional few months; we have yet to     guage with appropriate computers.  John expects to have the
receive any reports that anyone besides Bob and Nora have  parser available for testing by LogFest in June.  Priority
started studying the rafsi using the existing LogFlash 2.  for test copies will be for people with highly positive
  All of these updates are for PC-compatible MS-DOS     balances and those who have actually been writing in the
machines.  Dave Cortesi is working on an update to his     language. General distribution will of course depend on
Hypercard program equivalent for the MacIntosh; we have had how testing goes.
no discussions with Richard Kennaway regarding an update to
his MacIntosh version, since the Hypercard version, while a  Other Software - The random sentence generator update has
bit slower in execution speed, uses the Mac voice     been held up pending John Cowan's grammar change proposals,
synthesizer function to provide spoken Lojban along with    discussed elsewhere in this issue. David Bowen reports a
the flash cards.  We expect Dave's program to be available  simple equivalent program using the UNIX-based AWK
at approximately the same time as the PC LogFlash version.  language; write to us for details if interested.  There
  Efforts to produce a UNIX C version of LogFlash appear to have been no changes to the lujvo-making program, which may
have stalled out, and given the closeness of the new PC     be integrated with the future version of LogFlash 2 (rafsi-
version will likely be delayed until after it is complete.  teaching).
We get lots of volunteers to make this conversion (for UNIX
and other machines), but few if any have ever produced       Software Pricing - Software is the only product la
anything.  The new program is over 4000     lojbangirz. produces right now that we make any significant
    profit on. Thus, we need significant sales of these items
    to help cover all the people who aren't paying for our pro-
    ducts.  Indeed, our financial troubles last year were no
    doubt in part due to very low software sales and our lack
    of new products in this area.
      Because of our financial situation, we cannot distribute
    our software for free.  If we get more of you to pay for
    the printed matter, we can reconsider this, but no change
    is likely until well after textbook publication.  We may
    continue to offer the old software more liberally,
    recognizing that it will be obsolete and much inferior to
    the new version.  This will allow us to support those who
    can't afford to pay but want to learn the language, while
    providing significant value to our paying customers.
    Exceptions, if any, will be for people who perform
    volunteer efforts valuable enough that someone else donates
    money to cover the cost of their copy, or who demonstrate
    by trying to use the language that our support of their use
    of LogFlash will bring results.
      When the new versions of the program come out, there will
    be a substantial discount (at least 50%) for upgrades from
    people who have the program and a positive balance. People
    who have contributed money but do not have a positive bal-
    ance may receive a lesser discount. As always, prepaid
    orders over $20 will gain a 20% discount.
      Comments on this policy are welcome.
      (Note that old versions of LogFlash are still available
    as Shareware on the Amrad BBS - see the introductory
    brochure for the telephone number. We would of course


  10


Translations and writings - As shown in this issue, there have also been several people working on writings and translations of various length and complexity. In addition, Jamie Bechtel has translated an Ursula Leguin short story, which we plan to publish after getting a copy- right release from the author. Bob has also intermittently worked on a translation of the first chapter of Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, but this also needs a copyright release. He is also working on the initial story of Burton's Arabian Nights (the Scheherazade story), which is both not copyrighted and written in the style of the original Arabic, giving us a flavor of translation other than from English. (It is obviously preferable to translate things that are not copyrighted, or that the copyright has expired. Sherlock Holmes or Lewis Carroll, anyone?)


prefer that you register and pay for this software, getting design on some publications as well, after computerizing
Carter translation - One translation project that has been started, albeit slowly, is the attempt to update two stories by Jim Carter, originally written in 1984 in an earlier version of Loglan, to fit the current language. These are full-fledged short stories, not just sentences or paragraphs, and are quite a bit longer than even the Saki short story translation published in JL10. The first being worked on is called 'Akira', and is a science fiction story; the other is called 'The Welding Shop'.
the latest version, but have no complaint if those who     it, and see what people think.  Thus we have two logos,
cannot pay obtain the program in this way.  We will pro-    which were opposed by only 2 people among the voters.
bably continue to offer a less-advanced Shareware version    A couple of people sent in new designs after the ballot
of LogFlash for the indefinite future, since the principle  was produced, and I unfortunately missed one by Kerry
of mass distribution of language information is a     Pearson in preparing the ballot.  But we needed to have a
fundamental one for la lojbangirz.)     final decision, and these will be the logos for at least
    the next few years.
  Postal Rates - The recent increase in US Postal Rates was  A few people voted for none of the selections, indicating
between 15 and 20%.  This amounts to 1-2 cents/page added  a misunderstanding of the purpose of the logo 'contest'.
to our production costs.  This renders our temporary price  These people identified "logos" with commercialism, and
increase of last summer necessarily permanent - it is not  wanted us to have a less commercial image. A couple
yet clear whether we are selling materials for more than we suggested that instead we devise a "logo" that was more of
pay for them.  If not, you can expect a price rise next     a slogan, perhaps graphically displayed.  This isn't
issue, probably to 12 cents/page US/Canada and 15     practical for a few reasons:
cents/page overseas; we'll continue to absorb the slight      - the logo is intended to be a symbol and graphic images
difference between US and Canadian postage costs.     make better symbols than text, however it is displayed.
  We are considering going to second-class mailing for Ju'i "Logo" is a shortening of "logograph", which more clearly
Lobypli and/or le lojbo karni, though possibly not for a    indicates its purpose;
few months.  For a relatively small cost difference, we       - among other places, the logo will probably be used on
would get better speed of delivery and more assurance that  the textbook, where there will already be plenty of text
you will actually get the issue.  Mailing in the same class (the title, subtitle, and the 'blurb on the back'). The
as junk mail is risky.     purpose of the logo is to leave a strong image that stands
  One requirement of second-class mailing is demonstration  out against all that writing;
that most of our readership actually wants to receive the    - there is a commercial purpose to the logo.  It is a
publication.  The best way to prove this is with paid     symbol for la lojbangirz. as well as, and possibly more
subscriptions, with explicit letters also valuable.  Thus  than, for the language (this unfortunately may not have
it is important that we hear from you regularly, preferably been in the minds of the designers and voters, but, oh
with money; at least once per year is very desirable.     well). While we are a non-profit organization, we must
    operate as a business, sending out correspondence, fund-
  9-digit Zip - The new rates also come with new rules,     raising letters, etc.  The logo, printed by computer with
though we aren't yet certain just what these rules are. It our letterhead, will enhance the visual appearance of our
is possible that we will need to use Zip+4 9-digit codes on business correspondence, calling attention to our letter.
our US mailings to get optimal postage rates, and possibly  (At least this is how the theory goes.)
even to get assured delivery.  Thus, whenever you send us a  - a slogan in any language other than Lojban (such as
change of address, please tell us the Zip+4 number as soon  English) would suggest a bias toward that language, and we
as you know it.     are fighting hard to avoid such biases.  If the text were
    in Lojban, non-Lojbanists (and some inactive supporters)
  Rhyming Dictionaries - Michael Helsem announces     wouldn't know what it means, making it a less meaningful
availability of Lojban gismu rhyming dictionaries for     symbol than the words might intend;
prospective poets.  Price $5 ea.  Specify normal or half-    - we already have a Lojban slogan of a sort.  Claude Van
rhyme versions. Send to Michael Helsem, 1031 DeWitt Circle Horne coined ".e'osai ko sarji la lojban." a couple of
Dallas TX 75224.     years ago, and we have produced and distributed
Publicity     calligraphic buttons with that slogan as well as used it on
    many of our publications.  We are of course interested in
  Logo - Surprisingly to me at least, there was a clear     more Lojban slogans and aphorisms, but this requires you to
winner in the logo balloting from Ju'i Lobypli #13.  The   make them up, and the issue is any case separate from the
selected logo was supposed to be on this issue; maybe next  logo issue.
time.  The winner, designed by Guy Garnett, received a
large majority of positive votes among the 35-40 ballots      Electronic Distribution - We have had a committee non-
received before the October deadline, and was first choice  working on a policy for electronic distribution of our
on many of them.  In fact, only 5 ballots were marked as    materials since LogFest.  For various reasons, the
disliking the selection.  Of these 5, 3 were in favor of    committee pretty much fell apart within a couple of weeks,
the 2nd place finisher (a distant 2nd, but with far more    and efforts to get the effort going again have so far been
'likes' than 'dislikes').  This 2nd place logo, the in-     to no avail.  Athelstan did write up his mini-lesson, which
tersecting planes design by Jamie Bechtel, apparently     will be a centerpiece of the electronic material to be
suffered some vote loss from being hand-drawn compared to  distributed; we hope this will be finalized for publication
Guy's polished computer-generated images.  (Almost all     with JL15. Thereafter, all non-paying people above level 0
negative votes on this design also voted against all other  will have to demonstrate their interest by attempting to
hand-drawn designs.)  As a result, we intend to try this    complete the exercises in the mini-lesson.


  11
We are trying to involve as many people as possible in this effort, each taking a sentence or a paragraph, or even a couple of tanru. Since the vocabulary has changed so considerably since 1984, and Jim Brown's versions of the language have had so many defective tanru, volunteers can work on problems as small as a single word. For example, in Sylvia Rutiser's translation of the first paragraph of the Akira story, printed later in this issue, she was quite dissatisfied with the tanru she devised for 'to fall by parachute'. We welcome all suggestions for this concept, and any others in that paragraph. We also pose another paragraph for translation, which we ask all of you to work on, again even if only a word or two. Sylvia will compile the results for next issue. As more people become skilled in the language, we can pass out larger chunks of the text.




  There has been considerable debate about the extent of    financial and political quagmire that nearly killed Loglan
LogFair - We had a get-together at Bob and Nora's house, the last weekend in October. Turnout was small, and the discussion ranged over a wide area of topics. A smaller version of LogFest, we hope to hold future LogFairs at other locations besides the Washington DC area.
things to be distributed.  Ju'i Lobypli issues and the     in the 1980's before Bob and others started the Lojban
textbook are nearly impossible to put on-line, even with a effort.
file server, because so much of the text is formatted and    Now we've again caught the interest of the academic
relies on greater than 80-column lines. This issue, for    community, and are taking measures to ensure that
example, is over 400K bytes of data.  We are also reluctant Loglan/Lojban is taken seriously and treated with respect.
to post non-baselined language description materials since  This first sci.lang discussion was the critical milestone.
we have no way to ensure that people eventually get updates In the special section on Lojban and Linguistics below,
when the baseline occurs.  Word lists, the machine grammar, John Cowan has done a superb effort at editing and
the brochure, and Athelstan's mini-lesson are likely to be  condensing the non-linear discussion into what seems like a
available initially.  I won't promise a date for an     lively conversation, loaded with important ideas and
electronic package because it is pretty much out of my     detailed examples of Lojban.
hands as long as the committee exists; it is likely that      John then followed up this discussion by re-examining the
the package will be available after LogFest in late June.   old Zwicky review. While it is far too late to directly
    answer the critique in Language, John drafted a response to
  Computer Network - With help from John Cowan and Keith    the key challenges posed by Zwicky, demonstrating that the
Lynch and Eric Raymond (who supports lojban-list and John's Lojban design fully meets Zwicky's challenge.  This
and Bob's computer accounts), Lojban has been highly     response is also printed in the special section below, and
visible on the UNIX-oriented Usenet/Internet computer     will shortly be posted to sci.lang.
network, providing us with worldwide communications with      The second discussion stemmed from a comparative
our supporters, and highly successful recruiting.  We have  discussion of artificial languages, concentrating on
been especially visible in an electronic news/discussion    Esperanto and Ido. Nick Nicholas, an Australian
group called "sci.lang", which is a major focus for     Esperantist, posted a Suzanne Vega song translated into
linguistics professionals, researchers, and students,     several artificial languages (later added to by Ivan
worldwide.  In particular, Lojban has come up as the     Derzhanski), whereupon Bob joined in with a Lojban version.
principal topic of discussion during two periods of several These translations, and some associated discussion, appear
weeks during the last 6 months. (Discussions in these     in le lojbo se ciska in this issue. A few of the Lojban-
groups tend to flow from topic to topic forming a highly    related postings are also included, with more planned for
intertwined set of 'threads of discussion', which     next issue (since the discussion continues).
eventually fade out as people turn to new topics that have    We received several compliments for our direct support of
caught their attention. Thus, Lojban has been mentioned    discussions on the network. Loglan continues its trend as
several times in connection with several topics, but the    being the first 'successful' artificial language to have
'thread' caught people's attention twice in particular.)    its development process openly observed and participated in
  In the first instance, Lojban (and Loglan in general)     by the academic community.
came up as a result of a discussion of the Sapir-Whorf Hy-    Both network discussions were quite productive in terms
pothesis.  John Cowan stepped into the discussion, and then of recruiting - we've added over 50 people as a result.
Bob 'weighed in' in response to some fairly critical     Nick (a Greek native) and Ivan (a Bulgarian native) have
challenges from linguists.  Much to our pleasure, Lojban    both expressed interest in learning Lojban; Nick has
withstood this first challenge from the linguistic academic expressed especial interest in joining our growing group of
community, gaining respect from several people and a will-  Lojban poets.
ingness on their part to see how the project develops
scientifically.       ApaLingua, Tand and Factsheet Five - Lojban continues to
  Given the disastrous history of Loglan's relationship     appear on occasion in the amateur and alternative press.
with the academic community, this was welcome indeed.     Mike Gunderloy reviews each of our issues in Factsheet
While attracting interest from several linguistic academics Five, and a recent issue (incidentally the first one to
in the 1960's, the first publication of Loglan 1 drew a     mention Institute publications) gave us our largest crop of
critical review from Professor Arnold Zwicky, in a 1969 is- new Lojbanists yet, over a dozen.  This, coupled with the
sue of Language, one of the foremost linguistics journals.  sci.lang discussions and our continuing word-of-mouth
While this review was a friendly, constructive critique     spread led to almost 1 new person per day throughout the
(this intent was confirmed in a recent letter exchange     first two months of 1991.
between Bob and Dr. Zwicky, now a leader in the field of      An amateur publication on linguistics, a sort of printed
language typology), Dr. Brown apparently took its     sci.lang, has been started, and several Lojbanists are
challenges as highly negative.     among the participants.  ApaLingua is published bi-monthly,
  For whatever reason, the review went unanswered, and     and consists of several pages written and submitted by each
Loglan has suffered for 20 years as a result.  The     of the subscribers. Like the computer networks, each per-
Institute's attempts to get funding from the National     son poses new topics for discussion and responds to the
Science Foundation were rejected, with several peer     writings of others. There were over 30 contributors at the
reviewers citing the unanswered critique.  Dr. Brown     time of the sample issue Bob received in November, and it
eventually gave up on the academic community and tried to  was clear that the group would be expanding rapidly.  la
"go commercial", a disaster that led in turn to the     lojbangirz. intends to participate in ApaLingua, but at


  12


Logfest 91 - The annual meeting of la lojbangirz., and the associated celebration of Lojban, will be held a week later this year than in previous years, on the weekend of 22-23 June 1991, at Bob and Nora's house in the suburban Washington DC area. (We officially start on Friday night and end on Monday morning, but those two days tend to be primarily social.) The schedule change allows us to miss several competing activities that have prevented people from coming in the past. If you are planning to come and do not know how to get here, contact us by letter or phone at the address or phone given for la lojbangirz. (day or evenings); we are on a major rapid transit line and thus easily accessible to all modes of transportation.


this point Bob has had too many irons in the fire, and has  3rd issue, appearing after JL13, included a lot of reader
The major design decisions about the language having been made before now, we are hoping to shift the emphasis of our gathering from language design to language use and application. There will thus be sessions on teaching and learning the language, including demonstrations of our teaching materials, Lojban conversation for novices as well as for more advanced students, group efforts at Lojban translation, etc. There also may be discussion of specific Lojban applications. There will be a limited amount of preplanned programming; call us the week before the gathering to find out details. On the other hand, most activities will be ad-hoc, determined by the interests of those present at any given time.
committed to making substantial progress on the textbook    feedback, some positive and more negative. We've pretty
before adding this one.     much decided to see where these discussions lead before
  Tand, another amateur publication has had discussions of responding further. Tand comes out infrequently, and the
Lojban for the last 3 issues. The     type of comments being raised are best answered by people
    looking at our publications to avoid our repeating (to
    editor Mark Manning's great distaste) large quantities of
    the same type of thing that appears here in JL.


      Evecon and Arisia - la lojbangirz. participated in this
You can come for one day or the entire weekend; families are welcome. Most attendees who spend the entire weekend, bring sleeping bags or borrow blankets; we have plenty of floor space. Especially if coming from out-of-town, we recommend letting us know in advance that you are coming, how many, and when you expect to arrive and leave, so we can plan logistics; drop-ins are of course welcome, though. Based on previous years expenses, we ask for a voluntary donation of around $30 per person for the whole weekend to cover food, beverages, etc. Many give more, a few come who cannot contribute. (Money contributed on this weekend, unless specifically noted, is considered a donation towards LogFest expenses, and does not apply to voluntary bal- ances.)
    year's edition of Evecon, the largest science fiction
    convention here in the Washington DC area. Bob, Nora, and
    Athelstan gave several talks during the New Years weekend,
    and staffed a booth that provided information about Lojban.
      Meanwhile, Coranth D'Gryphon attended Arisia, a February
    Boston area science fiction convention.  Several new people
    signed up, making it the most successful convention
    recruiting effort yet among those not attended by Bob and
    Nora.  Coranth is planning to follow this effort up with a
    class this spring taught through an MIT extension program.


      GURT - Bob and Athelstan are planning to attend the
We hope to see as many Lojbanists as possible at our activities this year.
    Georgetown University Round Table of Linguistics, an annual
    event of significant stature in the linguistics community.
    A focus of this year's meetings, the first week of April,
    is on language acquisition and education.  We are planning
    to use these meetings to expand our contacts with members
    of the linguistic community, and move towards an
    examination by that community of the potential value for
    Lojban in linguistic research and language education.


      Another Trip:  Will This One Happen? - Bob and Nora have
=== Language Development Activities ===
    been promising themselves a trip to California for two
    years now (Bob grew up in the San Francisco area), but it
    always seemed to be another 2 months away; there always
    seemed to be another deadline.  THIS time we're a bit more
    optimistic, and are planning a late April trip to the Bay
    Area.  We'll probably be able to come for a week and
    associated weekends.  This one should really come off,
    since Nora's boss is encouraging her to take an April
    vacation.  Occasional considerations of a side trip to Los
    Angeles and San Diego are being set aside; too many trips
    have been cancelled because of excess ambition (and Nora
    needs a REAL vacation).
      Our intent is to give several talks on Lojban while
    there, both to existing Lojbanists and to potential
    recruits.  We want to meet as many of you as possible, so
    try to set aside a little time for us.  We badly need
    volunteers to help us organize these meetings, and provide
    or locate places we can get together.  Call Bob immediately
    - (703) 385-0273 - if you can help, given the short time
    frame.  We will try to put out a notice by mail a week or
    two ahead of time indicating our itinerary. Since Bob has
    sisters in the Santa Cruz and mid-Peninsula areas, and
    close friends in Berkeley, these are definite stops for at
    least a night or two each.


      Athelstan Finally Makes a Trip - After two trips in two
A lot of work has been done in the area of language development, much of it by John Cowan, who in only several months has become the principal expert on the formal grammar (thus relieving Bob of a major burden).
    years being cancelled at the last minute, Athelstan says he
    will not promise trips in advance again. As a result (so


  13


Grammar baseline changes and BNF development - As reported in last issue, John aided in the final push for a grammar baseline, devising new designs for MEX (the grammar of mathematical expressions), the tense grammar, and the method of expressing letters and symbols. We did an awful lot of work in only a few weeks, and unfortunately, not all of it was perfect. John has found a few mistakes in further analysis.


he suspects), things finally started going right.  After    who have never responded, we must hear from you by the next
Over the 6 months since the baseline, John has effectively done a complete analysis of the grammar, almost from scratch. He did this by developing an alternative way of describing the grammar, using a method called Extended Backus-Naur Form (E-BNF). Unlike the YACC form of the grammar (YACC is a tool for developing computer languages), published last issue, the E-BNF form is condensed and considerably easier to understand. John's BNF grammar, enclosed with this issue, requires only 4 pages of standard type. The E-BNF grammar is similar to the baseline machine grammar, including some minor proposals as described below.
over a year and a half with one car problem after another,  issue of JL in early May, or you will be dropped to level
he got his car mobile enough to make it out of the DC area. '0'.  If you have responded, but not in the past year, we
Indeed, he made it all the way to Salt Lake City, where he  still want to hear from you, but can allow you support down
stayed a couple weeks with Lojbanist Diane Lehmann and got  to US$-50 before taking action to cut our losses. If your
her started learning the language.  (He then rebuilt his    balance is below US$-50, we need to hear from you by the
car as he drove home, having packed a spare part for     next JL issue, at minimum, to keep sending at this level.
everything and finding he needed most of those spares.       Ideally, as many as possible will send some money, even
ba'u)     if not enough to fully cover our costs. We're doing our
    best to subsidize non-US Lojbanists, but we need your help.
  Press Release - In February, following the legal victory  Please respond.
discussed under Institute News below, la lojbangirz. put
out its first press release.  This news release, a copy of    Non-English Materials - We now have French, Italian, and
which appears after this news section, went to over 300     Esperanto translations of the "What is Lojban? la lojban.
members of the business and scientific press. The response mo" brochure.  The latter two are still only in the
thus far has been small, but with the world situation as    roughest of drafts, not even correctly typed in.  We need
lively as it has been, we wouldn't expect to be an     volunteers to work with our translations, to polish them,
immediate priority.  Also, since each response is likely to to put them into computerized formats, and to add to the
turn into a news or magazine story, a few responses will go list of languages.
a long way.


      News From the Institute
The problem with an E-BNF grammar is that it cannot be verified as unambiguous using YACC. This required a lot of checking and cross-checking. In the process of doing this, every rule of the grammar had to be examined. Some things showed up as problems:
    International News
      Trademark - The most significant news regarding The
  Canadian checks OK - After having three of them make it  Loglan Institute, Inc. is that la lojbangirz. has won its
through our bank with no problem and no service charge, I  challenge of TLI's trademark registration of the name
am happy to tell our Canadian friends that we can accept    'Loglan'.  The decision was rendered in 'summary
checks in Canadian currency if it is difficult or expensive judgement'; the issues were sufficiently clear-cut that
to get US currency checks. We deposit the check, and the   there was no need for a trial.  Following are excerpts from
bank then adjusts the deposit for the exchange rate about a the decision.  la lojbangirz. is 'Petitioner' and The In-
week later, which seems to be within a few cents of the     stitute is 'Respondent':
standard rate.
  Remember that for other countries, we can accept a check
on your non-US bank in your currency, but there is a
service charge of US$3.50.  We can also accept Master Card
and Visa balance contributions with a service charge of 6%.


  Athelstan's European trip aborted - In JL13, we reported
* errors made in the last minute push for a baseline, sometimes only typos, other times rules that were accidentally deleted;
that there were last minute problems threatening to cancel
* asymmetries between similar structures in the grammar, such as differing priority for logical connectives in compound bridi as compared to other logical connective structures;
Athelstan's planned trip to the Netherlands World Science
* rules that were clumsily constructed, often as fossils of earlier versions of the grammar when they were necessary.
Fiction convention, and then around several countries of
Europe. The problems continued to grow, and Athelstan's
then-dead car made it impossible for him to get around and
solve them.  So he didn't go.  We are still hoping to have
some Lojbanist make it to Europe in the next couple of
years, but I think we're going to avoid promises until
there is something definite.


  Non-North American Lojbanists and the Fund-raising Drive
John also volunteered to work on a Lojban parser, and in thinking about the parser design, proposed some minor changes that would make the design easier.
- The November fund raising letter did not go to our
overseas friends.  Except for US and Canada subscribers,
the postage cost was too high for the potential gain.
Instead, we are sending those people who were on the list
in November a somewhat modified form of the letter,
representing the slightly different circumstances and our
more liberal policy in support of non-North American
Lojbanists.  Note that balances reflected in the letters do
not include the price of this issue.
  Simply put, for those JL subscribers with balances (in
November when the letters were prepared) less than US$-30


  14
As a result of all of this analysis, John has proposed 19 changes to the baseline grammar, of which 3 were withdrawn after discussion. The 16 that remain may sound like a lot, but each is very minor, often affecting only 1 or 2 rules of the roughly 600 in the YACC grammar baseline. Even this overstates the effect on the average Lojban student's learning effort. Most of the changes are additions or enhancements to the language, and I doubt if any of the grammar changes proposed affect any text that has been written thus far in the language. Thus, the language can be considered quite stable, though clearly the grammar is not quite as mature as the gismu list, now baselined for 2 1/2 years.


The changes are described along with their purpose and justification in an article below. The principal design group has looked over these changes and accepted them, but publication of the proposals is a necessary step for a baseline change. Thus you have an opportunity to comment or ask questions about these changes, prior to a formal approval decision, expected at or before LogFest. Anyone who has worked in depth with the grammar, and wants to see the specific rule changes proposed, may write or send a computer-mail message to us, and we'll be happy to provide it.


  "The facts of record clearly establish petitioner's     port the decision were provided by The Institute on its
There may be additional changes at this very low level up until the completion of the textbook and dictionary. These will be as a result of actual usage or problems discovered as a result of finally having a parser incorporating the complete set of rules. However, you shouldn't get the idea that the language is unstable because of these changes, requiring a significant effort at relearning, since they will almost certainly be changes in seldom-used features of the language. Ju'i Lobypli will continue to publish such proposals as they are presented and preliminarily approved.
genuine interest in the subject matter of the proceeding    own, possible bases for appeal are minimal.
and support a reasonable belief that petitioner will be       We thus consider the legal cloud on the language to be
damaged by the continued existence of the registration     lifted.  Threats of legal action by The Institute,
sought to be cancelled..."     originally against Bob and Jeff Prothero (before la
  "...both respondent and petitioner have filed documents  lojbangirz. was incorporated), have been retracted or
evidencing use of the term LOGLAN as the generic name or    rendered invalid through this decision.  People can use the
the common descriptive name of a language developed by Dr.  name Loglan public-ally without fear of legal challenge;
James Cooke Brown.  Even Dr. Brown uses the term as the     our success should cause TLI to have second thoughts before
name of the language... There is apparently a community of engaging in further legal harassment.  The legal action was
persons interested in the development of the language who  expensive (we intend NOT to pursue TLI for reimbursement of
have conducted very active communications with one another  legal expenses, in the interest of ending the dispute), and
and without exception they use the term Loglan to refer to  it certainly has distracted Bob and others from more useful
the language, not as a trademark for the grammars and     endeavors on behalf of the language (Bob may have put as
dictionaries which contain the words that make up, and     much as 6 man-months into legal-related research that could
information pertaining to, the construction of the     have gone into textbook writing).
language. ... In addition to the foregoing, we note that      The battle is over.  It is time to move ahead, and to
the Acronyms, Initialisms & Abbreviations Dictionary Ninth  settle the war.  Bob has written to Dr. Brown, proposing a
Edition, 1985-1986, lists the term, "loglan" and defines it settlement between our two efforts that would result in
as "logical language" ...     unity of the Loglan Project behind a Lojban recognized by
  "... the evidence indicates that it was not until 1985    Brown as a legitimate version of Loglan.  The offer
that respondent first expressed the view that LOGLAN was    includes generous incentives towards unity that will en-
its trademark. ... Prior to that time, the term was used by hance Dr. Brown's influence and stature in the community,
Dr. Brown, respondent and others simply as the designation  and aid TLI in performing the Loglan research for which it
for the developing language, although it is reasonable to  was originally founded.  la lojbangirz. would be the
conclude that Dr. Brown and the Institute may have     principal interface with the community and the world,
mistakenly believed that such use by others was with     working to gain acceptance and support for the language.
recognition of their purported proprietary rights.     If accepted, Loglan would become the first major artificial
  "In view of the foregoing, it is our opinion that LOGLAN, language project to mend a split, giving us added
being a generic term, does not function as a trademark for  credibility in convincing the world of Loglan's value. In
respondent's goods.     addition, our combined resources would get more and better
  "... petitioner's motion for summary judgement ... is     quality work accomplished in less time.
granted as to the issue of the generic nature of the term    We ask readers who have also supported The Institute to
LOGLAN. The petition for cancellation is granted and the  write to Dr. Brown and encourage him to move towards such a
registration will be cancelled in due course."     settlement.


  We had filed on several other grounds, including       JCB's finances, TLI Fund-Raiser Fails - As a footnote to
fraudulent filing of the application for the trademark due  the legal decision, Dr. Brown reported in his latest Lognet
to the several false statements therein and abandonment     newsletter that he suffered a serious personal financial
through failure to continually use the term as a trademark. setback.  As a result, he no longer can financially support
The fraud claim was denied because we did not prove "fraud- The Institute.  Indeed, he had to take a large portion of
ulent misconduct accompanied by some element of willfulness the Institute's recent income to pay himself back in
or bad faith". The abandonment claim was declared moot     preference to using that money to further promote his
since the term wasn't a valid trademark in the first place. version of the language.
  Lest there be any doubt, I/we have nothing personal       This setback was coupled with a fund raising drive that
against Dr. Brown.  Indeed, we honor his genius in creating coincidentally occurred at about the same time as our own.
the language.  We believe his policies have been mistaken  Dr. Brown sought donations sufficient to pay for another
and have as a result stultified the progress of the     Scientific American advertisement, a cost of $3500.
language, but this assertion didn't need a legal battle to  Apparently, less than half that amount was raised. This is
be resolved.  One only needs to observe the astounding     probably a good thing for TLI, since Dr. Brown projected a
relative success la lojbangirz. has had in promoting Loj-  gain of perhaps 150 new people from this advertising, an
ban, which IS Loglan in every sense of the word, through    expense of over $20 per person - as much as the price of
our more liberal policies.  (During the last three years,  the book he is selling.
we have outgrown the Institute by a large measure in spite    We note that several of the large donors Dr. Brown listed
of the republication of Loglan 1 by TLI and several     contributed comparable amounts in our own fund raising
thousand dollars in advertising by TLI.)     drive.  We did raise the $3500 and more in our effort, and
  The Institute can appeal the trademark decision, but such are putting it towards producing more and better
appeals historically have been considered frivolous, unless information about the language.  Bob and Nora, and other
buoyed by significant new evidence.  Since this decision    major contributors, have made donations rather than loans.
was based on a matter of law, and sufficient facts to sup-  As a result, la lojbangirz. is relatively debt-free (we


  15
cmavo list - As part of John Cowan's review, a couple of lexemes (word grammatical categories) have been eliminated, and the associated cmavo freed. (As a side note, we will be trying to phase out use of the word 'lexeme' for these categories, in favor of the Lojban word "selma'o", (from se cmavo) or cmavo word category. 'Lexeme', used by Jim Brown and adopted by everyone else, turns out to be an incorrect linguistic term for the concept - the appropriate term is really 'grameme'. But since few people know these jargon terms anyway, we would rather use the non-jargon Lojban word.)


As a result of two place structure changes, we had to make some minor changes to associated gismu in selma'o BAI, and to add one new cmavo to that selma'o. A couple of additional words were independently proposed, for various reasons.


technically owe our subscribers their balances, and Bob,      This is probably all that can really be done at this
Since the cmavo list has NOT been baselined, the changes listed later in this issue are approved and now in force (although some of them are technically dependent on approval of the grammar baseline change). We provide the list on a separate page for people who wish to attach it to their cmavo lists. Alternatively (and probably preferably), you can manually update your copy of the cmavo lists to reflect these changes. No new publication of the cmavo list is expected prior to a preliminary baseline about 6 months before the dictionary is done. John Cowan is working on a catalog describing each selma'o and its grammar, with examples of each usage; this will not be done for several months.
Nora, and Jeff Prothero have pledged donations against the point.  Until we have a community of fluent speakers,
legal debt).  Dr. Brown meanwhile claims an enormous     Lojban will lack credibility among professionals in several
financial debt from the Institute (over $35,000 prior to la of the interest areas.  Moreover, we will have trouble
lojbangirz.'s founding).     raising funds through grants and contracts that would
    greatly advance our capabilities in these areas.
  TL to be revived? - The Institute has been trying to       Still, it is worthwhile to have a brief review of each
improve on its accomplishments. Several months ago, it     area.  Following is a summary, from Bob's perspective, of
announced that The Loglanist, its old journal somewhat     each area:
comparable to Ju'i Lobypli, was going to be revived under a
new name starting in December 1990.  This didn't happen.  A  The Language Development Process - Of course, we have
specific editor was named in the first 1991 LogNet, but we  reported on specific achievements in the language
have no further word on what is planned.     development as they have occurred. In JL13, we surveyed
    where the language development process stood with regard to
  Another Major Revision to Institute Loglan? - We have     individual areas of the design.  There is a broader
mentioned previously (and lambasted) a proposal to devise a picture, though, that might be missed in looking too
series of 'declensions' for each gismu in Institute Loglan. closely.
  Arguments in favor and opposing this revision have       Loglan has been the most public language development
appeared in each issue of Lognet for the past year, with    project in terms of public knowledge of the decisions being
Dr. Brown sounding alternatively supportive and skeptical  made and input into the decision-making itself.  Indeed, it
of the proposal; Bob McIvor, who proposed it, is the other  was this public involvement that led to the big political
member of 'The Loglan Academy' that approves changes to     squabbles of the last decade.  People who have been
Institute Loglan.  Dr. Brown has indicated that a decision  involved in the language development feel that the language
is expected this spring.     is theirs.
  Interestingly, Dr. Brown claims that the Loglan       A side-effect of such a political dispute has been quite
engineering effort is complete, even while contemplating    positive; we have pretty much isolated the politics of the
such major changes as this one.     "movement" from the language development process itself.
    The community understands that it is listened to by those
  Shareware? - The last issue of TLI's Lognet surprised Bob who make day-to-day design decisions.  This has allowed the
with a minor note in response to a letter.  The letter     process to proceed by consensus; there have been few non-
suggested that TLI software be distributed as 'Shareware',  unanimous decisions during the development process.
and Dr. Brown indicated that the idea would be considered.    Ideas and proposals are talked out thoroughly if
Bob's and Nora's intention to distribute LogFlash as Share- proposed.  A recent discussion of relativistic tenses on
ware triggered the intellectual property disputes that     the computer mailing list overflowed every reader's mailbox
caused the current rift.  While Shareware software can     with dozens of pages of discussion. The discussion
technically preserve copyrights, it causes those copyrights continues, and is far from a consensus; no change is being
to be of minimal financial value, since Shareware is freely made.  Meanwhile, the several dozen minor cmavo changes and
copyable. Is The Institute about to make a landmark change grammar changes have so far attracted minimal comment (and
in its policy? We'll be watching.     they can hardly be more abstruse than the interaction of
    light-cones at relativistic speeds).  They are expected to
    be adopted by consensus.
      A Survey of Lojban Applications       The extent of the Loglan development process has had a
    second effect, also a benefit.  There have been few
  Last issue, we gave a rather thorough progress report on  splinter efforts.  Lojban itself is one; the splinter has
the language development progress, and we provide updates  become the mainstream.  The Institute version of the
on that status each issue.  A couple of people have pointed language is ever-changing, and drawing small numbers in
out that we haven't provided comparable information on     spite of massive advertising and a completed book. Jim
other aspects of the language - how Loglan/Lojban will be  Carter's language project remains essentially a one-person
used.  On our registration forms, we ask you to indicate    effort, and Jim himself remains a Lojban supporter.
one or more of several reasons for your interest in the     Meanwhile la lojbangirz. grows at an ever-accelerating
language, and we have been remiss in not addressing those  rate.
areas directly in these pages.       An effect of the dozens of person-years of work put into
  There is a reason for this, of course.  Nearly all of the Loglan/Lojban is that it has become a new standard in
productive work being done is going towards the language    artificial language development. Most previous artificial
development process.  That phase is wrapping up, and people languages have been predominantly the result of one
are slowly starting to use the language.  As a result we    person's work.  But, now, no individual language inventor
can expect the other areas of interest to flower as more    can hope to put as much work into a language design as we
people learn the language.  Meanwhile, we try to focus on  all have.  Barring some major new insight into the nature
the other areas one at a time, to keep people thinking     of language, any future language development project hoping
about them.     to improve upon Lojban would likely require several people


  16


Lack of gismu-making - There were 20 gismu approved or proposed for making at last LogFest. We had commitments from several people to help with the source language look- up. Unfortunately, some of these people failed to come through. As a result, we have only partial input on Hindi source words and no input at all on Arabic sources. The other source language research has been ready for months. We are pursuing other alternate researchers, and ask any members of the community who know either language to volunteer your assistance either to suggest source words or check others work. (You should have a bilingual dictionary if you are not fluent in the language.)


working together, and most likely will build on the work we ideas, the language, the contacts, and hopefully the
Because of this, the words have not been constructed, and we have downgraded the priority of producing a revised gismu list incorporating the new words and updated and clarified place structures for each word.
and others have done rather than start anew.     credibility, to convince some research grant source to
  I believe that this is as it should be.  The Library of  commit a large sum of money to pursue these applications.
Congress has dozens of books about one-man languages that    Until then, we need to exchange ideas.  Patrick Juola
never went anywhere.  Language is by its nature a commu-    wrote on Lojban and machine translation back in JL8, and
nicative process between people with varying experience.    JL9 discussed the closely related area of Lojban as a
One person cannot simultaneously test speakability and     mathematics and science interlingua.  Sheldon Linker has
understandability, and viable languages must exhibit both  thought about the design of a heuristic learning and con-
virtues across the full range of human discourse.     versation program (something like the HAL 9000 computer of
  A final aspect of the publicness of the language     2001 - A Space Odyssey).  Art Wieners has been pursuing
development is the emphasis on keeping a record of what we  similar ideas, and has done experimental work on the
have done.  An enormous archive is being built and     software needed to recognize Lojban words. Of course, the
maintained on this development effort. Whether any     YACC grammar for Lojban enhances this line of research, and
particular version of Loglan survives and prospers, those  John Cowan's parser, coupled with Jeff Taylor and Jeff
who come later will see what we have done and be able to    Prothero's earlier work, may provide the capability to go
learn from it. Among artificial languages, only Esperanto  from individual speech sounds (phonemes) to fully analyzed
has any significant historical record of the language     text structure within a few months.
before it blossomed into public knowledge, and that record    One area we would like to pursue is the current research
is sparse compared to the Loglan/Lojban record.     being done in teaching computers 'common-sense'.  Some
  The other feature of the language development process     researchers are not too far from getting computers to
worthy of comment is our reliance on keeping abreast of the understand a large subset of English.  The simpler, more
field of linguistics, gathering as much information is     regular grammar of Lojban should make the computer
possible on what has been learned about human language     processing for language structure much lighter, allowing
before claiming to have invented a language that can serve  more effort to go into 'understanding' of language.
as a human language.  This serves us well in 'selling       Bob, as editor of Ju'i Lobypli, would like to encourage
Lojban' to both language learners and linguistics     more computer scientists to write brief outlines of their
researchers, making the other goals of the language more    ideas for Lojban for the benefit of JL readers.  These
achievable.     seeds, planted today, may become grant proposals tomorrow.


  Machine Translation and Computer Applications - The major  International Language - JL11 and JL13 have contained
bases of computer scientists' interest in Lojban stem from  significant discussion of the oft-made comparisons between
the potential computer applications of the language, of     Loglan and Esperanto, and this issue hopefully brings those
which machine translation of natural language is the most  discussions to a conclusion.  As the computer network
well-known.  A large portion of the Lojban community,     discussions excerpted later in this issue demonstrate, the
perhaps as much as 50%, are people working in the broad     topic has not been limited to this journal. The topic has
area of computer science, if not specifically in artificial been thoroughly addressed, but let's summarize the key
intelligence, computer language design, machine     elements of the situation.
translation, or any of the several fields where Lojban       I will first cover the question of Lojban as an common
applications may develop.     language in certain specialized domains, such as
  Work on these applications is still predominantly at the  mathematics, international law, etc.  The arguments with
concept stage, for two major reasons.  First is that the    Esperantists in these pages and elsewhere have not
language development is not fully baselined, and computer  addressed these questions. Each language brings its own
application developers avoid as much as possible trying to  advantages to the problem. Esperanto brings its culture,
hit a moving target.  When that baseline occurs, and if the demonstrated speaker base, and (surprisingly as an
language has achieved credibility as a human language, the  'advantage') its European structure and vocabulary. When
second obstacle can be challenged.  That obstacle is, of    well over 90% of the published material in the world is
course, money. Most useful computer applications will take written in a European language, and most of that in
several person-years of development, requiring work from    English, Loglan's non-European grammar is NOT an advantage.
people used to fairly high salaries.  Some might work on    Loglan's advantages are that its grammar is unambiguous,
small efforts as a hobby, but we cannot expect these     that machine translation was considered in making design
efforts to bear fruit, though they might serve as a seed    decisions, and that it is likely to be seen less as a
for some future effort.     "colonial" (=European) language to Third World populations.
  Getting the first financial support for Loglan       It isn't clear what parameters could be used to decide
applications will be difficult; Dr. Brown made one brief    what "international language" is "best".  Esperanto has a
attempt in the late 1970's that was ignored.  la     large number of speakers, an established community,
lojbangirz. is taking a more systematic approach, building  culture, and literature, and considerable recognition
credibility and being aware of other research where Lojban  outside its own speaker base as "the" international
may prove a useful adjunct.  We also have been building     language.  On the other hand, many Esperantists admit that
awareness of our effort in the computer science community.  the language has flaws, and that other languages invented
When Lojban development is complete, we will have the     since have remedied some of these flaws (usually while


  17
Place structure review - In conjunction with the addition of words to the gismu list, we have been conducting a slow review of the place structure of every word in the gismu list. The review includes updates of Roget's Thesaurus categories for each word; Athelstan did a rough-cut at as- signing these categories while we were reviewing the list for baseline over 2 years ago. An effort is being made to ensure that place structures are consistent for words in the same Roget category.


You can hardly imagine the difficulty of this review; it takes total mastery of the gismu list to do a comprehensive check, and only Bob has achieved that. Others are reviewing pieces of the list, and Bob is checking their suggestions. (All readers are encouraged to pose questions and suggestions about place structures, and these will be considered.) Of course Bob's higher priority is textbook writing, but the review must be completed before the textbook is done, since we don't want to have examples with inconsistent place structures.


introducing new ones that are equally severe); they contend into Esperanto or Lojban and it would still convey
Remember that place structures will be a long-evolving part of the language, and will not even be considered baselined at dictionary publication (though publication of a dictionary will inherently make changes much more difficult). This is because the place structures implicitly contain the meaning of the words, meanings that will never be static, and cannot truly be defined until there are significant numbers of language users.
however, that the entire set of flaws in the language are  misleading ideas - you cannot translate idiom literally
more than made up by the 100 years of language experience  without error.  You may not be able to translate non-idiom
that has been acquired.     literally, either - imagine the misunderstanding of an
  I, Bob, agree with this position.  Esperanto is presently translation that results in using the traditional meaning
in good standing as the prime candidate among artificial    of "gay".
languages.  Under the best of circumstances for us, Lojban
will not legitimately contest this standing for at least a   Let us say that it is agreed that there will be an
generation, because it will take at least that long for     international language (not as universally agreed as many
Lojban to build a literature, culture, etc.  It may not     enthusiasts might want to believe), the language must be
happen even then.     chosen.  Then the method(s) of teaching the language must
  It remains to be proven whether any artificial language,  be developed, methods on a scale large enough to overcome
or any single language at all can serve the needs of a     differences of education, and access to materials. If only
"world language".  I doubt that most people really know     the most educated members of a society are taught to speak
what such a language would entail.  Those who raise the     an international language, the only "achievement" is a
claim of English as such a language, for example, forget    class system with walls virtually impossible to surmount.
that English is not a single language. Only in rigid,     (Of course, motivating a farmer who never runs into
formal, written text like scientific writing is there     foreigners to learn an international language may be
enough standardization that various English dialects are    difficult. But if she/he doesn't learn the language,
mutually intelligible to the degree required by an     his/her children will be severely handicapped in joining
"international language".  I can note that, even there, one the internationally-connected 'upper-class'.)
can find lapses.  Last year, I read a technical book on       If a language is chosen, it should probably be an
lexicography, the science of dictionary-making, written by  artificial one, and Esperanto is by far the leading
a Czech linguist under the auspices of the United Nations,  candidate. Indeed, with the exception of Lojban (which has
and translated with his help into English.  Portions were  major goals independent of the international language
only barely intelligible.  Yet it was clear that the author question to drive it), there are no other meaningful
did have considerable command of idiomatic English, and     candidates. The other artificial languages of the world
Czech is a European language, presumably closer to English  simply do not offer anything to justify their selection.
than most non-European ones.  And this was written by a       Why?  Because other candidates have little to offer
linguist who specializes in writing dictionaries of other  besides some aesthetic purity of design, and a purported
languages, and therefore highly aware of the difficulties  claim that they are 'easier to learn' than Esperanto.
in international communication.       But questions of which artificial language is most "easy
  I contend that colloquial or conversational communication to learn" are red herrings that settle nothing.  Indeed,
will be much more difficult to unify under the auspices of  close examination tends to reveal that artificial languages
an 'international language'. This is because the problem  theoretically are no easier to learn than natural languages
is NOT a lack of a common language, but a lack of educa-    - I've heard no claim that the few children who are Es-
tion.  Education starts with the ability to read and write  peranto 'native speakers' because they are raised in a
your own native language fluently - who could justify     household where Esperanto is spoken, learn their language
asking someone to learn to read a second language when they any faster than an English-native speaker learns English.
cannot read their own - and how would you teach them.  But    For second-language learning, too much depends on student
a large portion of the world's population, probably a     background, motivation, and method. There are as many
majority, is totally illiterate, and others are only semi-  theories of the "best" way to teach a language as there are
literate.  How dare we as Loglanists expect to teach them  researchers; yet they give approximately similar results
predicate logic or even relativistic tenses!     when tested against real students. How could non-spe-
  It isn't necessary to learn to read and write in order to cialists be better able to judge fine distinctions as to
learn a language, but all international language proposals  which language is easier to teach, or to learn?
have been predominantly targeted at the educated speaker,     The methodology and the goal are more important than the
and teaching materials and methods generally require     language.  Esperanto vocabulary may be easier for an
ability to read and write as well as some understanding     English speaker to learn, but if this merely leads to
about the formal rules of your native language.     English-native Esperantists that speak an encoded English
  I do not damn the illiterate. The supposedly literate    idiom, why bother? They have not learned an international
societies are just as bad as targets for an international  language, because non-English speakers will fail to under-
language.  How much of the recent turmoil in the Middle     stand the idiom.  (When Lojbanists speak encoded idiom, it
East has been due to the fact that Westerners, especially  stands out so starkly that "malglico" is one of the first
Americans, do not understand Arabic culture, much less the  words a practicing Lojbanist learns.)
Arabic language?  The journalists seemed to consider it a    A quote from Andrew Large's The Artificial Language
major discovery that "mother of all battles", conveyed to  Movement may help set a perspective. Large cites a
us as a grandiose pomposity by Saddam Hussein, was merely  President of the international Esperanto organization UEA,
the literal English translation of a rather natural Arabic  as giving the following as an estimate of Esperanto's ease
way of saying "big battle".  Translate the phrase literally of learning:


  18
On the other hand, none of us who are speaking, writing, or translating in Lojban have been significantly hindered by nebulous place structures. We make the best guess we can, and use paraphrases if a listener doesn't understand, thus bypassing any confusion.


Thus, we have demonstrated what we have often claimed, YOU DO NOT NEED TO MEMORIZE THE PLACE STRUCTURES TO USE LOJBAN. As you use the language, you will master them practically by osmosis, making mistakes and then learning from them. But mistakes are useful, too; they help us define the weak points in the place structures, and in some cases indicate that normal usage of a word differs from the place structure that we devised.


    who also are fluent in other languages in order to get
  "... Professor Lapenna offered a reasonable estimate of  these materials.  (Silvia Romanelli reported working on
two or three hours per week for a year in order to acquire  translating the draft textbook lessons into Italian a year
"a solid groundwork of knowledge of Esperanto's grammatical ago, but we do not know her current status.)
structure and of five hundred or so selected roots, from      Esperanto is likely to be the first non-English language
which the language's agglutinative structure enables one to that we have substantial Lojban teaching materials in,
derive some five thousand words."     simply because it is the most commonly spoken non-English
    language in the community (and the largest audience of
  This sounds far easier than learning a natural language  people immediately likely to be interested in learning an-
(about the equivalent of a 1 semester, 3 credit class,     other artificial language for any purpose).
spread over a full year), but the comparison with natural    The politics of choosing an international language favor
language is only relevant if someone is choosing between    Esperanto, or even English, by far over Lojban.  There is
learning a second natural language and Esperanto.  The     little to be done in this arena other than to survive and
choice is seldom that simple - except for mandatory school  grow as a language. This takes speakers and money, and for
requirements, most people learn a language because they     the near future we will have to concentrate on English
intend to use it.  People who seriously study a second     speakers, while trying to constantly reach out to natives
natural language spend far more than a couple hours a week  of other languages. The English-speaking market is the
in study for a year (or longer) if they want to achieve     hardest one though; English predominance as an
competence in that language; Lapenna's estimate is only a  international means of communication means that there is
hobbyist level-of-effort.     lower motivation among English speakers to learn other
  Serious students with serious goals in language     languages - and motivation and effort, as I said above, are
competence study much more intensely, and achieve much     everything. Even Esperanto has made few inroads in the
better results than Lapenna claims.  I learned the Lojban  English-speaking market (ELNA, the North American Esperanto
gismu list, 1300 words easily giving millions if not     organization, has only around 1000 members, only a few
billions of agglutinative compounds, in 3 months of a bit  times the effective size of la lojbangirz.) la lojbangirz.
more than an hour a day - perhaps half of Lapenna's total  can gain enormous credibility if we can motivate Americans
time estimate at twice the intensity - yet I don't claim    and other English-speakers to learn a candidate
the Lojban vocabulary is as easy to learn for English     international language.  We have an advantage, being
speakers as Esperanto's cognates.  The advantage was due to centered in the United States, and should use that
more intense effort, interest, and a teaching method     advantage.
especially effective at vocabulary instruction. (At such a  It won't be easy, though. Most Americans never learn to
higher level of effort, Esperanto students might learn a    speak a foreign language at even a minimal level
few more roots due to the cognate recognition factor, but  (Europeans, including the British are apparently much
not all that many more.)     better in this regard; Canadians are almost certainly
  On the other hand, if the claim is that Esperanto, or any exposed to French to some considerable degree; I have no
artificial language, is easier to learn than a natural     knowledge of foreign language education in other English-
language at a hobbyist level of effort, I would never     speaking countries).  If a Southern Californian (I lived
contest this.  But that level of effort gives insufficient  there 9 years), faced with almost a majority of native
rewards in terms of achievement and understanding to     Spanish-speaking neighbors, can avoid learning Spanish
sustain the motivation of the average person.     fluently, much less minimally, what will make her/him learn
  I'll claim, by the way, that vocabulary learning is the  Lojban.  It won't be ease of learning.  It must be
major factor in achieving the kind of language skill     motivation and education.  People must come to believe that
Lapenna is talking about, at least in an artificial     understanding the ideas of those of different cultures is
language.  Elsewhere in the same discussion, Large notes    important.
that a few hours of study are all that it takes to
understand the basics of Esperanto's grammar.  We can make    The international language movement must be a movement of
the same claim about Lojban.  But grammar is not the     education. Lojban's contribution to that movement will
critical factor.  (In natural languages, it is idiom, and  therefore not be as a competitor with Esperanto, but as a
other exceptions to the standard grammar, that makes a     tool of education, used in cooperation with Esperantists,
language time consuming to master.)     and all others who seek to improve the world's lot through
    education.
  Returning specifically to Lojban, as an international
language candidate.  The essential first requirement is       Intercultural Communications/Studies - This is often the
that Lojban be demonstrated as truly viable as a language,  goal of those supporting international languages:  a means
among several different native-language populations.  This  to understand other cultures.  Ease of learning is not the
will not be easy.  Lojban is not yet spoken by any non-na-  most important factor here, cultural neutrality is far more
tive-English speaker, and the few in that category that are important.
studying the language must obviously know English to learn    I've put a lot of effort during the last year to ensure
Lojban, since we have no materials beyond our brochure in  that Lojban has incorporated the means to express the ideas
any foreign language.  We must develop fluent Lojbanists    of different cultures with equal ease.  Language typology,


  19
gismu making errors of the past - As a side project, late at night or when he can't concentrate (seemingly much too often it seems), Bob has been going back through the computer outputs that generated the gismu 3 years ago, an extracting the scores and etymologies that led to the current word being chosen. The project is roughly half done.


Along the way, unfortunate discoveries have occurred. In about 5% of the words, some type of manual error was made in the rush to compile the list. In half of these or so, the error is insignificant: an erroneous score or cross- reference error. In the rest, often due to Bob's sloppy handwriting or typos, the word recorded for a concept was not the highest scoring one. In most cases, the word actually selected differs by only one character from what it should be, but given the nature of the scoring algorithm, this sometimes leads to a significantly lower recognition score.


the study of universals that all languages have in common,  minimize the effect of interruption or lesser time spent,
In short, we screwed up sometimes. The result is not a severe problem, and changing the words wasn't even considered - the actual etymologies of individual words is simply not that important to any of Loglan's goals. The only requirement is for neutrality. Since the errors are small in number and fairly random, the only effect is a trivial increase in learning difficulty. And this increase is real only if the recognition scores used to decide on the words actually do correlate with learnability of the words.
and the differences that make each language unique, is a    but the bottom line is that the method requires a
study that is finally gaining significant progress.  From  commitment to regular use - it takes a certain number of
this work, we can see what linguistic features Lojban needs hours to learn a certain amount of vocabulary. Someone who
to succeed as a language, and what features it must emulate doesn't spend that time, regularly for 3 months, will have
in order to successfully model other languages.     less success.  People who need a variety of activities to
  In particular, I've concentrated on a book, The World's  maintain their interest may find LogFlash's monotonous, if
Major Languages, edited by B. Comrie.  This book surveys    effective, drills beyond their tolerance (unless they spend
several dozen languages in considerable detail, both     additional time above and beyond LogFlash study in other
European and non-European.  After 6 months of steady     Lojbanic activities).
plowing, I can report that Lojban has the capability of       Lojban, however, offers an excellent laboratory for
conveying the essence of each of the idiosyncratic     experimenting with new methods in language education, and
structures I found, though sometimes in unusual ways.  For  the techniques we have developed as amateurs have already
example, the 'topic construction' of Japanese turns out to  proven effective for people trying to learn other
be nicely modelled by Lojban's prenex construction,     languages. Darren Stalder, now studying Japanese, reports
designed for certain logical expressions.  The Chinese     that studying Lojban gave him an awareness of the lin-
sentences used as examples can often be conveyed in Lojban  guistic features of how words sound (phonology) that has
as very elaborate tanru.  It is clear to me that, if the    greatly enhanced his learning of Japanese. He understands
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is true, then Lojban's ability to   the rules for pronouncing the language, but also better
model the structures of the world's languages will lead to  understands why the rules hold, allowing him to better
a corresponding ability to understand the cultures that use remember the rules when they apply as well as to extrapo-
those languages. Time will surely tell.     late when the rules do not explicitly cover the situation.
  Lojban's value in understanding other cultures is     Sylvia Rutiser has also been working with Japanese, trying
enhanced by the requirement to thoroughly think about what  to use the LogFlash flash card techniques to learn the
you wish to say in culture-free terms in order to express  Japanese writing system.
it in Lojban, with its drastically different structures.      I personally think that language education may be one of
The translations of a Suzanne Vega song lyric into several  the areas where Lojban first scores a breakthrough that
artificial languages in le lojbo se ciska, and my     attracts attention from those not directly interested in
commentary, may be more revealing than a lot of words here. the language itself.  When the textbook is complete, I will
It took me a couple of hours to do the Lojban translation,  be seeking funding to pursue the study of Lojban as a tech-
not because anything therein was hard to say in Lojban, but nique of language education.  In the meantime, I'll be
it took time to figure out just what the author was trying  listening carefully at the relevant discussions at the
to say (and I'm a native English speaker).     Georgetown Round Table meetings on this subject in April.
  Expressing cultural ideas in Lojban for the benefit of
those in other cultures, will be slow and at times       Linguistics Research - Much of the rest of this issue
cumbersome, especially for those not fluent in the     addresses the subject of Lojban and the linguistics
language.  But the problem is not trivial, and a little     community, so I won't spend much space here.  As that
deliberation may be a good sign rather than a bad one.     discussion will show, the concept of using Lojban to study
    creolization processes (how languages evolve in contact
  Language Education - Half of language education for     with other languages) is a new idea that should have
natural languages (or even more) is understanding the     significant credibility.  Unlike a comparable study based
culture of the target language, since so much of the     on a natural language, studying the creolization of Lojban
natural idiom of a language is tied to various cultural     gains the benefit of a clear statement as to what the
metaphors.  Thus everything mentioned in the last section  language is before the start of such an evolutionary
provides a benefit for Lojban as a medium for learning     process, thus allowing changes to be more easily observed
other languages.     and measured.
  I noted above that linguists have determined no optimal    Most attention regarding Loglan linguistics research has
method for teaching languages. A survey I've done of both  been with regard to testing the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, the
traditional and innovative teaching methods indicates that  original goal and primary ideal of some supporters of the
each method has advantages and disadvantages; they will     language.  JL6 and JL7 discussed this topic considerably,
work for some students and not for others.     and there has been more discussion since then, including
  We have found the same thing with LogFlash, our superb    some in the computer network material in this issue.
vocabulary teaching method.  Both Nora and I have learned  However, a Sapir-Whorf test may take decades to plan and
the Lojban vocabulary with what we saw as incredible ease,  conduct, and may be unconvincing to some even if
and more important, with incredible staying power - we     successful.
don't forget what we have learned.  But the method requires  Thus far more important to Lojban's future in linguistics
the student to use the program for about 2-3 months at an  research, and its credibility among linguists, is that
hour a day, with major interruptions causing a significant  Loglan/Lojban be proven useful for studying other aspects
delay in mastery of the language.  We're working on     of language. We are lucky in this. Dr. Brown, in
improvements with the next version of the program that will inventing the language, envisioned and designed it to serve


  20
A more systematic error was found in our Lojban transcription of Russian words. Though the check has only been cursory, it appears that in several cases, we made mistakes in Lojbanizing the Russian vowels, which frequently change in sound depending on the declension, and on the syllable stress. As a result, the Russian con- tribution to some words will be incorrect, and learning for Russian students of Lojban presumably slightly more difficult. Again, though, the effect is not expected to be significant, and we have data that will allow us to accurately measure the effect, if any of this systematic error. (Lojbanization of Russian words inherently has systematic errors due to declensions that shift and sometimes omit sounds.)


Once the computer lists have been verified, we will make the etymologies available in hard copy or electronic form. Data is being stored in Lojbanized phonetic spelling. We do not plan in the short term to publish a list showing the actual source words, primarily because we would need special text fonts and alphabets on our computers. However, a sample of the intermediate work appears in a later article this issue. This effort is a low priority one, though how much time we spend on it will partly depend on how much interest is shown by you readers.


as a 'test bed' for language experimentation, having a       Lojban is audio-visually isomorphic:  the writing system
minimum of features that might detract from the ability for has a grapheme for every phoneme and vice versa, and there
later linguists to use Loglan as a tool to learn.  We     are no supra-segmental phonemes (such as tones or pitch)
believe that the Lojban designers have stuck to this     which are not represented in the writing system.  Lojban's
principle, and even enhanced it, in the last few years.     phonology contains significant pauses that affect word
What remains is to convince the linguists that we are     boundaries, and allows pauses between any two words.  The
correct.     optional written representation for pause is a period,
  Let us turn now to the first step in making the     although pauses can be unambiguously identified in written
linguistic case for Lojban, the response to Arnold Zwicky's text from the morphological rules alone.  Lojban also uses
1969 critique of Loglan.  We will then follow with other    stress significantly, and again there is a written
aspects of Lojban's application, especially as discussed on representation (capitalization of the affected vowel or
the computer networks.     syllable), which is omitted in most text, where the
    morphological default of penultimate stress applies.
      Lojban is morphologically unambiguous in two senses:  a
    Response to Arnold Zwicky's 1969 Review of Loglan 1     string of phonemes (including explicit pause and stress
Loglan and Lojban: A Linguist's Questions And An Amateur's  information) can be broken up into words in only one way,
  Answers     and each compound word can be converted to and from an
  by John Cowan  (ci'a la djan. kau,n.)     equivalent phrase in only one way.
Internet address: [email protected]       The syntactic unambiguity of Lojban has been established
    by the use of a LALR(1) parser generator which, in
  The following questions about Loglan are based on a 1969  cooperation with a series of simple pre-parser operations,
review by Arnold M. Zwicky of James Cooke Brown's 1966     produces a unique parse for every Lojban text.  In
edition of Loglan 1.  Although basically friendly, Zwicky's addition, the existence of a defined 'phrase structure
review raises a large number of linguistic objections to    rule' grammar underlying the language (and tested via the
Loglan as it existed in 1966.  The review represents the    parser generator) guarantees that there are no sentences
only formal notice the linguistics community has ever taken where distinct deep structures generate isomorphic surface
of the Loglan Project. Unfortunately, the Project has     structures. On the other hand, Lojban does have
never made any reply.     transformations, although they are not explicit in the
  The answers that appear here reflect the perspective of  machine grammar:  there are distinct surface structures
Lojban (not Institute Loglan) as it exists in 1991.     which have the same semantics, and therefore reflect the
Therefore, no attempts have been made to sort out Zwicky's  same underlying deep structure.
misunderstandings of Brown's text, Brown's       The claim for semantic unambiguity is a limited one only.
misunderstandings (or mistakes in writing) about his own    Lojban contains several constructs which are explicitly
language, valid points as of 1969 that were later changed  ambiguous semantically.  The most important of these are
by Brown, and valid points as of 1969 that were changed     Lojban tanru (so-called 'metaphors') and Lojban names.
when (or since) Lojban split from Institute Loglan.     Names are ambiguous in almost any language, and Lojban is
  Throughout, "Loglan" refers to 1966 Loglan as seen by     no better; a name simply must be resolved in context, and
Zwicky, and "Lojban" to 1991 Lojban as seen by me.  The     the only final authority for the meaning of a name is the
word "Lojban" is derived from the same metaphor as "Loglan" user of the name.  tanru are further discussed in later
("logical language") but using Lojban words ("logji     replies.
bangu").
  As the title indicates, I am only an amateur (lit.     2. If the meaning of a particular tanru cannot be
"lover") of linguistics, and I may misinterpret some of     completely understood from understanding the component
Zwicky's points.  The question-and-answer format used here  parts, a separate dictionary entry is needed for every
is purely for expository convenience.  Zwicky is not     possible tanru, making the Lojban dictionary infinitely
responsible for the form of the questions, which reflect    long.  How can this be avoided?
only my interpretations of his points, except for quoted
text within the questions followed by (Z), which are       tanru are binary combinations of predicates, such that
quotations from Zwicky's original review.  That review was  the second predicate is the 'head' and the first predicate
published in Language 45:2 (1969), pp. 444-457.     is a modifier for that head.  The meaning of the tanru is
    the meaning of its head, with the additional information
1.  Lojban sentences do not have unique interpretations;    that there is some unspecified relationship between the
how can Lojban be said to be unambiguous?     head and the modifier.
      tanru are the basis of compound words in Lojban.
  The sense in which Lojban is said to be unambiguous is    However, a compound word has a single defined meaning
not a simple one, and some amplification of the fundamental whereas the meaning of a tanru is explicitly ambiguous.
claim is necessary.  Ambiguity is judged on four levels:    Lojban tanru are not as free as English figures of speech;
the phonological-graphical, the morphological, the     they are 'analytic', meaning that the components of the
syntactic, and the semantic.     tanru do not themselves assume a figurative sense. Only
    the connection between them is unstated.


  21
Computer Network Discussions - There have been numerous discussions of Lojban's design on the lojban-list computer mailing network, which now has over 100 readers. These are generally highly specialized discussions, and often rather long-winded, so we cannot even hope to summarize them here. Two major topics in the last couple of months have been the expression of intervals, the possible need for special tenses to describe relativistic situations, and the desire by some readers for a formal theory describing the seman- tics of the language. Discussions on these topics continue, and we are archiving everything that is said. If you have particular interest in one of these topics, let us know, and we may discuss it in more detail, or offer a special-order publication consisting of transcripts of the discussion.




  Most of the constructs of Lojban are semantically     originally select some words as 'semantic primitives';
=== Products Status, Prices, and Ordering ===
unambiguous, and there are semantically unambiguous ways    however, he later added words with no claim that the addi-
(such as with relative clauses) to paraphrase the meaning  tions were 'primitive' in the same sense).
of any tanru.  For example, "slasi mlatu" ("plastic-cat")
might be paraphrased in ways that translate to "cat that is 4. Some tanru seem poorly designed and not in keeping with
made from plastic" or "cat which eats plastic" or various  expressed standards.  Also, tanru like "nixli ckule",
other interpretations, just as in English.  However, the    analogous to English "girls' school", are so open-ended in
single (compound) word derived from this tanru,     sense that there is no way to block such far-fetched
"slasymlatu", has exactly one meaning from among the     interpretations as "a school intended to train girls
interpretations, which could be looked up in a dictionary  between the ages of 6 and 10 to play the bassoon", which is
(if someone had found the word useful enough to formally    patently absurd.  What is the proper interpretation of
submit it).  There is no law compelling the creation of     tanru?
such a word, however, and there is even an 'escape
mechanism' allowing a speaker to indicate that a particular  In the early part of the Loglan Project, poor tanru were
instance of a 'nonce' compound word is 'nonstandard' (has  regrettably common. In particular, it was common for tanru
not been checked against a dictionary or other standard),  to be calques on English expressions, such as "beautiful
and may have a meaning based on an unusual interpretation  type of small" for English "pretty small". Many tanru
of the underlying tanru.     employed the primitive for "make"' (in the sense "make from
    materials") where "cause" would have been more appropriate
3.  The Loglan 'primitive words' seem to have been chosen  (e.g. "kill" = "dead-make").  Many years worth of effort
at random, without regard to any sort of semantic theory.  since then have gone into removing such malglico
Why was this done?     ('derogatively English') tanru from Lojban texts.
      The Lojban tanru "nixli ckule" ("girl type of school")
  Lojban content words are built up from a list of about    cannot mean, out of context, "school intended to train
1300 root words (called "gismu"), which are not necessarily girls between 6 and 10 years of age to play the bassoon",
to be taken as semantically simple.  Lojban does not claim  although if such a school existed it could certainly be
to exhibit a complete and comprehensive semantic theory     called a nixli ckule.  This interpretation can be rejected
which hierarchically partitions the entire semantic space  as implausible because it involves additional restrictive
of human discourse.     information.  The undefined relationship between "nixli"
  Rather, the 1300-odd root words blanket semantic space,  and "ckule" cannot drag in additional information 'by the
in the sense that everything human beings talk about can be hair', as it were. Instead, this intricate interpretation
built up using appropriate tanru.  This claim is being     would require a larger tanru incorporating nixli ckule as
tested in actual usage, and root words can still be added  one of its components, or else a non-tanru construct,
if necessary (after careful consideration) if genuine gaps  probably involving a Lojban relative clause.  As a
are found.  For the most part, the few gaps which are now  comparison, such interpretations as "school containing
recognized (about 20 words will be added soon) reflect the  girls", "school whose students are girls", and "school to
completing of semantic sets.  It is no longer permitted for train persons to behave like girls" are plausible with
language users to create new gismu root words (in the     minimal context because these renderings do not involve ad-
standard form of the language, at least); newly coined     ditional restriction.
words must fall recognizably outside the highly regulated
gismu morphological space (a specific and separate     5. Lojban claims to be unambiguous, but many constructs
morphological structure is reserved for coined words -     have vague meanings, and the meanings of the primitives
usually borrowings - and a marker is available to indicate  themselves are extremely poorly specified. On the other
that a word is a 'nonce' coinage rather than an established hand, Lojban forces precision on speakers where it is not
'dictionary word').     wanted and where natural-language speakers can easily avoid
  Lojban's empirically derived word list is similar to that it. Is this appropriate to a culturally neutral,
of Basic English, which replaces the whole English     unambiguous language?
vocabulary with English-normal compounds built from about
800 root words. Lojban and Basic English both allow for      Lojban's avoidance of ambiguity does not mean an
the adoption of technical terms from other languages to     avoidance of vagueness.  A Lojban aphorism states that the
cover things like plant and animal names, food names, and  price of infinite precision is infinite verbosity, as
names of chemical compounds.     indeed Wilkins' Philosophical Language illustrates.
  The unfortunate terms "primitive word" and "prim"     Lojban's allowable vagueness permits useful sentences to be
formerly used by the Loglan Project suggested the notion    not much longer than their natural-language counterparts.
that Lojban's set of gismu was meant to be a list of       There are many ways to omit information in Lojban, and it
semantic primitives.  This is not the case for Lojban, and  is up to the listener to reconstruct what was meant, just
the more neutral term "root word" was adopted recently to  as in natural languages.  In each construct, there are
reduce confusion.  Lojban predicate words, therefore, are  specific required and optional components. Unlike English,
now divided into gismu 'root words', lujvo 'compound words' omitting an optional component explicitly and unambiguously
and le'avla 'borrowings' (lit. 'taken words'). (Brown did flags an ellipsis. Furthermore, the listener has a clear


  22
We have no new products to announce this issue, although significant progress was made on several that will hopefully come to fruition within the next several months.


A reminder that our pricing policy includes a 20% discount for a prepaid order over $20 (prepaid = positive balance exceeding the price at the time of shipment). There is a 20% surcharge for non-North-American orders; the 20% discount on large prepaid orders will cancel the overseas surcharge. The overseas surcharge may have to rise due to increased postal fees, but not until at least next issue. Virginia orders should add 4.5% sales tax. Note also that for software, there is no surcharge for MS- DOS 3 1/2" diskettes, but you must specify in your order if you want them.


way of querying any of this elliptically omitted
We cannot promise to fill an order unless it is prepaid; our finances remain too thin.
information.     7. Loglan anaphora use a convention which is "quite
  There are also some categories which are necessary in     precise, and also quite unlike anything in natural
Lojban and not in other languages.  For example, Lojban     languages" (Z), involving counting backward from the
requires the speaker, whenever referring to objects, to     reference to the referent. This provides unique reference,
specify whether the objects are considered as individuals,  but is also difficult to understand and use.  Is there
as a mass, or as a (set theoretic) set. Likewise, logical  nothing better that preserves the desirable property of
relations are made explicit: there can be no neutrality in  unique reference which a logical language needs?
Lojban about inclusive vs. exclusive 'or', which are no
more closely related semantically than any other pair of      The Lojban anaphora conventions have undergone much
logical connectives.     revision and expansion since the early days of Loglan.
  These properties are a product of Lojban's fundamental    There now exist both the "traditional" Loglan back-counting
design, which was chosen to emphasize a highly distinctive  anaphora, which refer to previous referents, and more
and non-natural syntax (that of formal first-order     "natural-language-like" anaphoric words which are
predicate logic) embedded in a language with the same     meaningless until assigned. Assignment may be either in
expressive power as natural languages. Through the     after-thought or forethought.  These words are somewhat
appearance of this one highly unusual feature, the intent  like natural language pronouns, but may more closely be
of the Loglan Project has been to maximize one difference  compared to the use of regions of space in American Sign
between Lojban and natural languages without compromising  Language to refer to remote persons and things.  Unassigned
speakability and learnability. This difference could then  space regions in ASL are similarly meaningless.
be tested by considering whether the use of first-order       It is no longer a required convention that anaphora
predicate logic as a syntactic base aided fluent Lojban     variables be assigned in a fixed order.  Subscripts (as in
speakers in the use of this logic as a reasoning tool.     mathematics) are allowed almost everywhere in the language,
  As to the 'primitives', Lojban gismu roots are defined    and provide for a countable infinity of variables as of
rather abstractly, in order to cover as large a segment of  many other things. Lojban also has added the capability of
closely related semantic space as possible.  These broad    using individual letters and acronyms as anaphoric symbols.
(but not really vague) concepts can then be restricted
using tanru and other constructs to any arbitrary degree    8. Why does Loglan have a different and even more complex
necessary for clarity. Communicating the meaning of a     system of "personal pronouns" for speaker/listener
gismu (or any other Lojban word) is a problem of teaching  reference? Is this level of complexity really in order for
and lexicography.  The concepts are defined as predicate    what other languages treat as a simple matter?
relationships among various arguments, and various
experimental approaches have been explored throughout the    Lojban personal pronouns have been simplified.  There are
Loglan Project to determine the best means to convey these  now forms for I, II, III, I and II, I and III, II and III,
meanings.  It is believed that the current working     and I and II and III.  There are no separate forms (and
definitions of the gismu are much more clear than the 1966  never have been) for plurals, because number is not a
set.     mandatory grammatical category in any part of Lojban.
    Number is expressed, when needed, using explicit numerals
6.  On a more technical note, Lojban tanru involving more  (which include both precise and vague forms analogous to
than two components are always left-grouping (in the     English 'some', 'few', 'too many', etc.)  Honorifics were
absence of a marker word).  Right-branching structure is    recently added to the language, using a general mechanism
"much more natural to human languages" (Z).  Why was this  which may apply to any word or construct, not merely to
choice made?     pronouns.


  Lojban is predominantly a left-branching language.  By    9. Why does Loglan treat predicate connection as primary
default, all structures are left-branching, with right-     and sentence, argument, etc. connection as secondary?
branching available when marked by a particle. Since the
head of most constructs appears on the left, left-branching  Whatever may have been assumed in the past for
structures tend to favor the speaker.  Nothing spoken needs pedagogical purposes, logical connection between sentences
to be revised to add more information. When the head is on is basic to Lojban. All other forms of logical connection
the right, as in the case of tanru, left-branching may seem may be transformed into equivalent sentence connections.
counter-intuitive, as it requires the listener to retain
the entire structure in mind until the head is found.     10. Why are there so many structure words, and why are
However, left-branching was retained even in tanru for the  many of them so similar?  Wouldn't this make Loglan hard to
sake of simplicity.     understand at a cocktail party (or a similar noisy
  Experience has shown, however, that Lojban's left-     environment)?
branching structure is not a major problem for language
learners.  Indeed, many longer English metaphors translate    One of the recurrent difficulties with all forms of
directly into Lojban using simple left-branching     Loglan, including Lojban, is the tendency to fill up the
structures.     available space of structure words, making words of similar


  23
Textbook - One effort that has not made much progress has been the Lojban textbook. About 45 pages were done by LogFair in late October, but almost no work has been done since then. There are a lot of reasons for this, but in the final analysis Bob simply hasn't managed to treat this effort as the highest priority, as he and everyone else want. Too many short-term distractions and emergencies. If blame must be placed, most of us have some part in the delay; the final responsibility is, however, Bob's. Hopefully, things are improving in this regard.


LogFlash - The news on LogFlash is a good as the news on the textbook is bad. A version of LogFlash capable of handling the August cmavo list turned out to be almost trivial to produce. (This version is currently called LogFlash 3, but the set may be renumbered before publication). Bob has gone through all of the words using this program and is working in Maintenance mode at mastering the set.


function hard to distinguish in noisy environments.  The
Meanwhile Nora has been working on the enhanced revision to LogFlash, which will handle the updated gismu list (with 100 character definitions instead of 40 character ones), and add a wide variety of new features, described in previ- ous issues. The program will also provide the capability to log data needed for research into the language learning process, including a test of Jim Brown's recognition score algorithm.
phonological revisions made when Lojban split from Insti-    The English sentence "If you water it, it will grow"
tute Loglan allowed for many more structure words (cmavo),  looks superficially like a Lojban "na.a" connection
but once again the list has almost entirely filled.     (material implication), but it actually has causal
  In some cases, notably the digits 0-9, an effort has been connotations not present in "na.a". Therefore, a proper
made to separate them phonologically.  The vocatives     translation must involve the notion of cause.  Neither the
(including the words used for communication protocol, e.g.  Lojban coordinating causal conjunction nor the two cor-
over the radio) are also maximally separated     relative subordinating causal conjunctions (one of which
phonologically. Many other function words are based on     subordinates the cause and the other the effect) will
shortened forms of corresponding gismu roots, however, and  serve, since these require that either the cause, or the
are not maximally separated.     effect, or both be asserted.  Instead, the correct
  A variety of ways to say "Huh?" have been added to the    translation of the English involves "cause" as a predicate,
language, partially alleviating the difficulty. These     and might be paraphrased "The event of your watering it is
question words can be used to specify the type of word that a cause of the event of its future growing."
was expected, or the part of the relationship that was not
understood by the listener.     14. How can Loglan logical connectives be used in
    imperative sentences? Logical connectives work properly
11.  Loglan's "restrictions on stresses and pauses results  only on complete sentences, and of those, only those which
in long sequences of unstressed syllables which must be     actually assert something.
pronounced without a break" (Z).  This makes correct speech
a "trial for a speaker of English or Russian, and not easy    In early versions of Loglan, imperatives were marked by a
even for a speaker of French" (Z).  Natural languages often predication without a subject.  In Lojban, there is a
have non-significant pauses, but in Loglan every non-     special imperative pronoun "ko". This is a second person
required pause is forbidden.  Is Loglan really speakable?  pronoun logically equivalent to "do", the normal Lojban
    word for 'you', but conveying an imperative sense. Thus,
  Lojban allows certain flexibilities of pause and stress  an imperative can be understood as commanding the listener
in the area of structure words. By default, all structure  to make the assertion true which results when "ko" is
words are unstressed.  However, it is possible to set off  replaced by "do".
structure words with optional pauses, and even to give them  For example, "ko sisti" ('Stop!') is logically equivalent
optional stress, subject to a single limitation:  a     to "do sisti" ('you stop'), and pragmatically may be
structure word followed by a predicate word without pause  understood as 'Make "do sisti" true!".  This allows logical
must not be stressed.     connection to be used in imperatives without loss of
  Pauses are now permitted between any two words; only     clarity or generality; the logical connection applies to
within a word is pause forbidden, and most words are short. the assertion which is in effect embedded in the im-
gismu and cmavo are always one or two syllables long, and  perative.
many lujvo compounds are only two or three syllables.       A minor advantage of this style of imperative is that
    tensed imperatives like "ko ba klama", ('Come in-the-
12.  "A partial explanation for the existence of     future!') become straightforward.
transformations is to be found in the necessity for
providing speakers of any language with relatively     15. Loglan's existential (bound) variables appear to be
acceptable variants of certain types of deep structures."  non-standard.  Brown states that the value of an
(Z)  Loglan has no transformations, making some sentences  existential variable is always unknown to the speaker,
expressible, but far from  straightforward or easy to use.  rather than merely being unspecified (perhaps for reasons
Doesn't this make Loglan harder to use than typical natural of privacy or germaneness). Why is this?  Also, why isn't
languages?     quantification over predicates provided?  Why are the back-
    counting anaphora unable to refer to existential variables?
  Lojban does have transformations, in the sense that there
are several alternative surface structures that have the      Existential variables are now interpreted in a standard
same semantics and therefore, presumably, the same deep     way, to refer to something unspecified, or something
structure.  What it does not have is identical surface     specified by a restrictive relative clause ("all x such
structures with differing deep structures, so a surface-    that..."). There are separate sets of variables for
structure-only grammar is sufficient to develop an adequate quantifying over arguments and over predicates.  In
parsing for every text. Knowledge of transformations is    general, the back-counting anaphora (which are less
required only to get the semantics right.     important in Lojban than in Loglan) are not used to refer
    to other anaphoric words; this makes the counting
13.  Lojban connectives cannot be used to correctly     convention a bit more complex, but leads to more generally
translate English "If you water it, it will grow", because  useful results.
material implication is too weak and the special causal
connectives, which connect assertions, are too strong.     16. Untensed sentences ought to be neutral with respect to
What can be done instead?     tense, mood, and aspect, but Brown treats untensed


  24
Nora's update is mostly complete, and the program is being tested by a couple of Lojban students, most notably Sylvia Rutiser, who has gone through the gismu list in only a few weeks and is working on her second pass.


The changes to support cmavo list learning with the new version are just as easy as for the old version, and Sylvia is also nearly through her first pass on the cmavo using this program. The results of using LogFlash have proven awesome when we sit down on Tuesday evenings to speak in the language. Bob and Sylvia only rarely need to look at a word list, while those who haven't studied the words spend a lot of time paging through the lists.


sentences as expressing disposition, habit, or ability -    17. The decisions about the degrees of predicates (the
We hope to have gismu list and cmavo list versions of LogFlash available by LogFest in June, or perhaps the next Ju'i Lobypli issue thereafter. A rafsi list version will probably wait an additional few months; we have yet to receive any reports that anyone besides Bob and Nora have started studying the rafsi using the existing LogFlash 2.
lasting throughout all time.  This is inconsistent with     number of arguments expected for each) seem arbitrary.
other parts of the language which treat ellipsized material Color words are treated as relations of degree 2; weather
as merely unspecified.     predicates which have no real subject nevertheless need at
    least one argument; event predicates like "kiss" don't have
  The Lojban tense system has been greatly elaborated and   an argument specifying the time.  What theory underlies the
clarified with respect to its Loglan predecessor.  There    choice of place structures?
are now specific mechanisms for stating the potentiality or
actuality of a predication; in the absence of these, a       Very little.  Place structures are empirically derived,
predication is neutral concerning the degree of actuality  like the root word list itself, and present a far more
expressed by it.  It is no longer true that "untensed"     difficult problem; therefore, they will be standardized (if
predicates are used to express disposition or habit.  They  ever) only after everything else is complete.  Many of the
may be so used, by ellipsis, but are in fact neutral in the particular objections made above have force, and have
absence of further evidence.     already been accepted.  There is no sufficiently complete
  Lojban tense, like other incidental modifiers of a     and general case theory that allows the construction of a
predication, tend to be contextually "sticky". When once  priori place structures for the large variety of predicates
specified in connected discourse, to whatever degree of     that exist in the real world.
precision seems appropriate, tense need not be respecified    The current place structures of Lojban represent a three-
in each sentence.  In narration, this assumption is modi-  way compromise: fewer places are easier to learn; more
fied to the extent that each sentence is assumed to refer  places make for more concision (arguments not represented
to a slightly later time than the previous sentence,     in the place structure may be added, but must be marked
although with explicit tense markers it is possible to tell with appropriate case tags); the presence of an argument in
a story in reversed or scrambled time order.  Therefore,    the place structure makes a metaphysical claim that it is
each predication does have a tense, one that is implicit if required for the predication to be meaningful.  This last
not necessarily explicit.     point requires some explanation.  For example, the
    predicate "klama" ("come, go") has five places: the actor,
    the destination, the origin, the route, and the means.
    Lojban therefore claims that anything not involving these
    five notions (whether specified in a particular sentence or
    not) is not an instance of "klama". The predicate "cliva"
    ("leave") has the same places except for the destination;
    it is not necessary to be going anywhere in particular for
    "cliva" to hold.  "litru" ("travel") has neither origin nor
    destination, merely, the actor, the route, and the means.
    The predicate "cadzu" ("walk"), involves only a walker and
    a means of walking (typically legs).  One may walk without
    an origin or a destination (in circles, e.g.).  For
    describing the act of walking from somewhere to somewhere,
    the tanru "cadzu klama" or the corresponding lujvo "dzukla"
    would be appropriate.  The tanru "cadzu cliva" and "cadzu
    litru" may be similarly analyzed.


    18. The Loglan phonological system is hard for English-
All of these updates are for PC-compatible MS-DOS machines. Dave Cortesi is working on an update to his Hypercard program equivalent for the MacIntosh; we have had no discussions with Richard Kennaway regarding an update to his MacIntosh version, since the Hypercard version, while a bit slower in execution speed, uses the Mac voice synthesizer function to provide spoken Lojban along with the flash cards. We expect Dave's program to be available at approximately the same time as the PC LogFlash version.
    speakers (to say nothing of Japanese-speakers) to use, due
    to the large numbers of consonant clusters and non-English
    diphthongs. How can a language be appropriate as an
    international auxiliary language when it is difficult to
    pronounce?


      Lojban phonology is much better than 1966 Loglan's was.
Efforts to produce a UNIX C version of LogFlash appear to have stalled out, and given the closeness of the new PC version will likely be delayed until after it is complete. We get lots of volunteers to make this conversion (for UNIX and other machines), but few if any have ever produced anything. The new program is over 4000 lines of code and is non-trivial to convert. We are thus not planning to distribute the LogFlash source. Conversion volunteers should know both Turbo-Pascal and C and the problems in converting from the former to the latter. There is a lot of input/output processing, and the last (and most successful) conversion effort stalled out on con- verting this processing.
    There are now only 4 falling and 10 rising diphthongs, and
    the rising diphthongs are used only in names and in
    paralinguistic grunts representing emotions. All 25 vowel
    combinations are used, but they are separated by a
    voiceless vocalic glide written with an apostrophe, thus
    preventing diphthongization.  English-speakers think of
    this glide as /h/, and even speakers of languages like
    French, which has no /h/, can manage this sound
    intervocalically.


  25


Parser - As noted above, John Cowan has started working on a Lojban parser which will reflect the baseline grammar. This much-awaited software will finally allow us to do the proper test of the grammar that is needed, as well as provide an excellent teaching tool to students of the lan- guage with appropriate computers. John expects to have the parser available for testing by LogFest in June. Priority for test copies will be for people with highly positive balances and those who have actually been writing in the language. General distribution will of course depend on how testing goes.


  Consonant clusters are controlled more carefully as well.  In any event, the word-making algorithm used for Lojban
Only 48 selected clusters are permitted initially; some of  has the clear benefit of ensuring that phonemes occur in
these, such as "ml" and "mr", do not appear in English, but the language in rough proportion to their occurrence in the
are still possible to English-speakers with a bit of prac-  source natural languages, and in patterns and orders that
tice.  Medial consonant clusters are also restricted, to    are similar to those in the source languages (thus the
prevent mixed voiced-unvoiced clusters, consecutive stops,  first syllable of Lojban gismu most frequently ends in /n/,
and other hard-to-handle combinations. The new Lojban     reflecting the high frequency of syllable ending /n/ in
sound /y/, IPA [@], is used to separate "bad" medial     Chinese).  The result is a language that is much more
clusters wherever the morphology rules would otherwise     pleasant-sounding than, for example, randomly chosen
produce them.     phoneme strings, while having at least some arguable claim
  Difficulties with the variety of permitted initial sounds to being free of the European cultural bias found in the
are overestimated.  Lojban's morphology makes pronouncing  roots of most other constructed languages.
these words easier than they first appear.  Initial
consonant clusters occur only in content words (predicates) 20. Loglan has an absolutely fixed word order; in some
and names.  These words seldom are spoken in isolation;     cases, changes of word order are possible, but only by the
rather, they are expressed in a speech stream with a     addition of marker particles.  Why is this? No natural
rhythmic stress pattern preceded (and followed) by words    language has an absolutely fixed word order (or for that
that end with a vowel. The unambiguous morphology allows  matter, an absolutely free one).
the words to be broken apart even if run together at a very
high speech rate.  Meanwhile, though, the final vowel of      Lojban's word order is by no means fixed. In fact,
the preceding word serves to buffer the cluster, allowing  Lojban is only secondarily a "word order" language at all.
it to be pronounced as a much easier medial cluster.  Thus  Primarily, it is a particle language.  Using a standard
"le mlatu" ("the cat"), while officially pronounced     word order allows many of the particles to be 'elided'
/le,MLA,tu/, can be pronounced as /lem,LA,tu/ with no     (dropped) in common cases. However, even the standard un-
confusion to the listener.     marked word order is by no means fixed; the principal
  In addition, the buffering sound, IPA [I] (the "i" of     requirement is that at least one argument precede the
"English "bit") is explicitly reserved for insertion at any predicate, but it is perfectly all right for all of the
point into a Lojban word where the speaker requires it for  arguments to do so, leading to an SOV word order rather
ease of pronunciation. The word "mlatu" may be pronounced  than the canonical SVO (subject-verb-object).  VSO order is
/mIlatu/ by those who cannot manage "ml", and nothing else  expressible using only 1 particle. In two-argument
need be changed.  This sound is "stripped" by the listener  predicates, OSV, OVS, and VOS are also possible with only
before any further linguistic processing is done.     one particle, and various even more scrambled orders (when
    more than two-place predicates are involved) can also be
19.  Loglan words resemble their English cognates, but     achieved.
unsystematically so.  Does this really aid learning, or
does it make learning more difficult?     21. Loglan does not have WH-questions of the English kind
    (its questions are fill-in-the-blank) and does not have
  Lojban words are less English-like than prior versions of relative clauses.  Therefore, no "unbounded"
Loglan, since they were redone using new (1985) data on     transformations (in the technical sense) exist in the
numbers of speakers.  English is now less important in     language.  Sentences like "I met a man that John said Mary
relative terms than Mandarin Chinese, and most Lojban words told George to visit" can be translated only with great
are fairly equal mixtures of the two languages, with lesser pain.  How can such fairly common types of constructions be
influences from Spanish, Hindi, Russian, and Arabic.  The  represented better?
other languages used in 1966 Loglan are no longer as
prominent in terms of world-wide number of speakers, and      Lojban does have relative clauses, of the Hebrew type;
were dropped from the word-making algorithm.     the relative marker and the relative pronoun are distinct.
  There is no proven claim that the Lojban word-making     The marker "poi" (or "noi" for non-restrictive clauses)
algorithm has any meaningful correlation with learnability  always comes at the beginning, but the embedded clause is
of the words.  Brown has reported that informal     in normal order, using the relative pronoun "ke'a" at the
'engineering tests' were conducted early in the Loglan     appropriate location to represent whatever is being
Project, leading to his selection of the current algorithm, elaborated by the clause.
but these tests have never been documented or subjected to
review. The Logical Language Group has proposed formal     22. If Loglan is to be used as an international auxiliary
tests of the algorithm, and is instrumenting its software  language, it must be culturally neutral.  But many of its
used for teaching vocabulary to allow data to be gathered  conceptual distinctions, for example the color set, are
that will confirm or refute Brown's hypothesis. Gathering  clearly biased towards particular languages.  There is a
this data may incidentally provide additional insights into word for 'brown', which is a color not used in Chinese
the vocabulary learning process, enabling Lojban to serve  (although a word exists, it is rare); on the other hand,
the additional purpose of being a test bed for research in  there is only one word for 'blue', although Russian-
2nd language acquisition.     speakers convey the range of English 'blue' with two words.


  26
Other Software - The random sentence generator update has been held up pending John Cowan's grammar change proposals, discussed elsewhere in this issue. David Bowen reports a simple equivalent program using the UNIX-based AWK language; write to us for details if interested. There have been no changes to the lujvo-making program, which may be integrated with the future version of LogFlash 2 (rafsi- teaching).




How can Loglan be prevented from splintering into dialects
Software Pricing - Software is the only product la lojbangirz. produces right now that we make any significant profit on. Thus, we need significant sales of these items to help cover all the people who aren't paying for our pro- ducts. Indeed, our financial troubles last year were no doubt in part due to very low software sales and our lack of new products in this area.
which differ in such points?       Perhaps not.  However, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis tends
    to be confirmed if experiments show that Lojban-speakers
  To some extent, such splitting is inevitable and already  have a greater facility with predicate logic than non-
exists in natural languages.  Some English-speakers may use Lojban-speakers. That would indicate that language
the color term 'aqua' in their idiolect, whereas others     (natural language) limits thought in ways that Lojban-
lump that color with 'blue', and still others with 'green'. speakers can bypass.  This form of test is not free of its
Understanding is still possible, perhaps with some effort.  own difficulties, which have been discussed elsewhere.
The Lojban community will have to work out such problems
for itself; there are sufficient clarifying mechanisms to       Summary
resolve differences in idiolect or style between
individuals.  The unambiguous syntax and other constraints    Professor Zwicky's analysis raises several points of
defined in the language prescription should make such dif-  concern to linguists who might be interested in the
ferences much more easily resolvable than, say, the     potential use of Lojban for linguistic research.  It is
differences between two dialects of English.     believed that sufficient planning and linguistic
  The prescriptive phase of Lojban is not intended to solve understanding (and occasionally serendipity) has been
all problems (especially all semantic problems) but merely  incorporated in the Lojban language design process to meet
to provide enough structure to get a linguistic community  these concerns.  Other concerns no doubt exist; it is
started.  After that, the language will be allowed to     believed they can similarly be addressed, and that Lojban
evolve naturally, and will probably creolize a bit in some  will prove linguistically viable, as well as useful in our
cultures.  (A recent discussion has pointed out that     attempts to understand language.
observing the creolization of such a highly prescribed       Meanwhile, as Lojban has evolved since the 1966 version
constructed language will undoubtedly reveal much about the of Loglan, new features, not analyzed by Zwicky, have been
nature of the processes involved.     added to the language, further enhancing its potential
    value.  These features, such as Lojban's expression of the
23.  Loglan is supposed to be intended as a test of the     several varieties of natural language negation, the system
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in its negative form:  "structural  of attitudinal words for emotional expression, and the
features of language make a difference in our awareness of  discursives used for metalinguistic manipulation and
the relations between ideas" (Brown).  Is this simply     comment on the discourse in progress, raise new questions
another way of saying "Distinctions are more likely to be  about the adequacy of Lojban's design, while providing new
noticed if structurally marked" (Z)?  If so, this is     opportunities for exploration of the properties of natural
trivially true.     language, as well as the correctness of the Sapir-Whorf
    hypothesis.
  A better paraphrase might be "Unmarked features are more    In 1991, it is time for linguists to again look at
likely to be used, and therefore will tend to constitute    Lojban, with the expectation that new questions, and new
the backgrounded features of the language".  By making the  respect, will be forthcoming.
unmarked features those which are most unlike natural-lan-
guage features, a new set of thought habits will be created
(if Sapir-Whorf is true) which will be measurably different A First Cut at a Linguistic Description of Lojban
from those possessed by non-Lojban speakers.  If Sapir-
Whorf is false, which is the null hypothesis for Lojban     Following are some notes on Loglan/Lojban of possible
purposes, no such distinctions in thought habits will be    interest to linguists.  It is intended that this discussion
detectable.     is more germane to this audience than our general brochure.
  Further elaboration of Loglan Project thinking about     We welcome questions, comments (and yes, criticisms) from
Sapir-Whorf has led to another alternate formulation:  "The the linguistic community on all aspects of the project.
constraints imposed by structural features of language
impose corresponding constraints on thought patterns." In    Lojban is a public domain version of Loglan, a
attempting to achieve cultural neutrality, Lojban has been  constructed language first invented by Dr. James Cooke
designed to minimize many structural constraints found in  Brown in 1955.  Dr. Brown is still working on his version
natural languages (such as word order, and the structural  of the language, which has significant flaws and remains
distinctions between noun, verb, and adjective).  If Sapir- proprietary.  There is a dispute between Dr. Brown's group
Whorf is true, there should be measurable broadening in     and ours, which has been compared to the VolapЃk collapse
thought patterns (possibly showing up as increased cre-     and the Esperanto/Ido split.  However, the 'splinter' in
ativity or ability to see relationships between     this case has survived and the Lojban community is growing
superficially unlike concepts). Again, the null hypothesis at the limit of our resources to support it. We recommend
is that no measurable distinction will exist.     that anyone familiar with Loglan but not with Lojban
    contact us for more detailed information on the situation
24.  How can "ease of thought" be measured?  Measuring     and comparison between the two versions.
facility with predicate logic is not enough to establish      Among the design criteria for Lojban has been particular
"ease of thought"     attention to criticisms of the language presented by


  27
Because of our financial situation, we cannot distribute our software for free. If we get more of you to pay for the printed matter, we can reconsider this, but no change is likely until well after textbook publication. We may continue to offer the old software more liberally, recognizing that it will be obsolete and much inferior to the new version. This will allow us to support those who can't afford to pay but want to learn the language, while providing significant value to our paying customers. Exceptions, if any, will be for people who perform volunteer efforts valuable enough that someone else donates money to cover the cost of their copy, or who demonstrate by trying to use the language that our support of their use of LogFlash will bring results.


When the new versions of the program come out, there will be a substantial discount (at least 50%) for upgrades from people who have the program and a positive balance. People who have contributed money but do not have a positive bal- ance may receive a lesser discount. As always, prepaid orders over $20 will gain a 20% discount.


linguists over the past three decades. We believe that we  will tend to involve different sorts of people than are
Comments on this policy are welcome.
have set the Loglan/ Lojban project on an academically     interested in natural language research questions, although
sound footing, and are seeking continued input and review  there may be some overlap in trying to use Lojban as a
comments from linguists as we document the effort.  While  simple model for natural language processing.
we are unfunded and have not yet been published in peer-      Lojban's design does recognize that most natural language
reviewed journals, we expect both conditions to change. We usage resembling logical connectives is NOT truly logical.
do have linguists actively involved in the design effort    There are grammatical models for non-logical connection
itself, most notably Dr. John Parks-Clifford, a professor  built into the language, although these tend to be more
at University of Missouri at St. Louis researching in tense highly marked than logical expressions.
logic, among other areas, who is Vice President of our       Lojban has systematic structures for logical negation,
group.     scalar negation, and metalinguistic negation, each
  The language has been demonstrated in conversation,     separately expressed.  Particular effort has gone into
although there are no fluent speakers as of yet.  My wife  abstraction based on Aristotelian models, a
and I and others practice the language in spontaneous     tense/location/aspect system which can analytically express
conversation perhaps 2 hours a week.  Some poetry and other an enormous range of aspects, yet is quite unlike Indo-
original writings in the language have been produced,     European forms, systems for metalinguistic expression at a
though most work has been with translations (from English), different 'level' than normal expression, and a system of
most notably Saki's short story 'The Open Window', which    analytically based attitudinal indicators (interjections)
proved especially amenable to translation and exercised     that include Amerind-like observer-based expressions, modal
areas of the language not often found in conversation.     attitudes, and an enormous range of emotional expression,
  The Loglan Project was originally started to develop a    all grammatically independent from the rest of the
language for testing the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.  In     language.  Lojban also has a system for unambiguous reading
addition to supporting this goal, Lojban is designed to     of mathematical expressions, which is relatively untested
support other possible experiments in linguistics,     since such expressions are seldom found in normal
including most significantly the expression of emotions,    conversation.
linguistic typology, and language education techniques.       Lojban attempts to achieve cultural neutrality, a
  With regard to Sapir-Whorf, the formulation we use is     necessity for its research goals.  This is primarily
that "the structure of a language constrains the thought of achieved by minimizing metaphysical assumptions, and
the culture using that language".  This formulation relates wherever assumptions must be made, to be super-inclusive of
to grammar as well as semantics, with more design effort    the range of natural language expressions to minimize at
being placed on grammatical aspects, presuming that     least overt biases. There is also particular militancy in
semantics will develop with the formation of a Lojban-     watching for hidden Americanism and English-language
speaking subculture, and will, if not overtly biased, serve biases, since most of the developers and early speakers are
as one means of examining for Sapir-Whorf effects.     native speakers of American English.  This is believed to
  The main basis for Lojban's use in Sapir-Whorf research  have been generally successful, but is an area that we
is its grammar, which is based on logical predication.     particularly welcome close cross-examination.  Of course,
There are also explicit models for easily expressing first- the logical orientation of the grammar is a planned bias,
order logical connectives.  The strong bias towards logical sufficiently extreme that it should overwhelm minor
structuring would be presumed to have a measurably sig-     cultural constraints that are missed.
nificant effect on expression, and if our formulation of      Typologically, Lojban is SVO or SOV in its unmarked
Sapir-Whorf is valid, on the culture that speaks the     forms, although all other word orders are expressible with
language.     minimal marking.  This typing makes a presumption of how to
  The language may show noticeable changes in first-     interpret 'subject' in Lojban; the Lojban 'subject' is
generation Lojban speakers who are native in other     perhaps better considered as a 'topic'.  Lojban has no
languages (indeed, apparent effects have been observed     inherent gender or number, and hence no morphological de-
already, though it is uncertain whether these are true     clension or agreement.  As a predicate language, Lojban has
Sapir-Whorf effects).  A true Sapir-Whorf test will     no distinction between nouns, verbs, adjectives, and
probably involve at-least-2nd generation speakers raised    adverbs, although constructs comparable to each can be
bilingually in Lojban and a natural language, and speakers  identified. Tense/modality/aspect is optional, and can
from a variety of cultures.  The need to build numbers of  range from simple to enormously complex.  There are op-
Lojban-speakers in many cultures has led to Loglan/Lojban's tional 'case markings' for the arguments of a predication,
association with the international language movement,     but the set of tags is not inherently limited or based on a
although that is not the primary purpose for the language.  particular theory of semantic cases.  These markings occur
  Other applications, based on Lojban's unambiguous,     in pre-position, but are not really "prepositions", since
computer-parsable syntax, heavily analytical semantics, and they can occur in other contexts.  Modification in Lojban
intended cultural neutrality, include multi-lingual machine is left-to-right, with marked reversal and grouping of
translation using Lojban as an interlingua, use of Lojban  modifications possible.  Lojban has two modes of
as a medium for knowledge representation in computers, and  possessive/associative expression, both preceding and
use as a media for human-computer interface.  Work in all  following a target argument. Postposition modification of
of these areas is still at an early stage, and naturally


  28
(Note that old versions of LogFlash are still available as Shareware on the Amrad BBS - see the introductory brochure for the telephone number. We would of course prefer that you register and pay for this software, getting the latest version, but have no complaint if those who cannot pay obtain the program in this way. We will pro- bably continue to offer a less-advanced Shareware version of LogFlash for the indefinite future, since the principle of mass distribution of language information is a fundamental one for la lojbangirz.)




arguments includes both relative clauses and relative     forces, but after a certain point the language develops a
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phrases.     momentum of its own, tending to carry the culture in
  While the vocabulary of predicates strictly defines     directions already inherent in the language.
arguments expressed in a prescribed order (generally
forcing complex expressions to the end of a sentence along  4. minakami: (responding to 2.)  I think this is only the
with less frequently stated information), the 'case tag'    weak form of the Whorfian hypothesis. The strong version
system allows free addition of arguments to a predication, does assert that the structure and lexicon of a language
thus minimizing constraints based on the semantics of in-  shapes thought. According to J. R. Anderson:  "Whorf felt
dividual words. Lojban has a system for explicit and     that such a rich variety of terms would cause the speaker
implicit ellipsis, and a specified grammar for incomplete  of the language to perceive the world differently from a
or partial sentences to support pragmatic considerations in person who had only a single word for a particular
use of the language.  We are especially interested in     category." This stronger version of the hypothesis is
comments regarding other issues in pragmatics.     generally considered disproved by Rosch's studies of color
    vision and similar experiments.


    Computer Network Discussions on Loglan/Lojban and     5. rjohnson: (responding to 2.)  There are various versions
We are considering going to second-class mailing for Ju'i Lobypli and/or le lojbo karni, though possibly not for a few months. For a relatively small cost difference, we would get better speed of delivery and more assurance that you will actually get the issue. Mailing in the same class as junk mail is risky.
    Linguistics (and Esperanto and ...)     of the idea around, which can be attributed to von
    Humboldt, Sapir, Whorf, and their commentators.  The idea
    Subject: The Sapir/Whorf Hypothesis     that language "determines what we can think about" is a
    very strong version of the hypothesis, probably stronger
  Participants:     than Sapir would have liked, maybe stronger than Whorf.
[email protected] (John Lenarcic)     These things were not always stated with perfect clarity
[email protected] (David Pautler)     and consistency, though, so it's difficult to say.
[email protected] (David M Tate)       [jfl's version in 1.] is a slightly odd-sounding version
[email protected] (Michael K. Minakami)     of Whorf's thesis. It's hard to say if it's a good
[email protected] (R o d Johnson)     rendering of Whorf into modern terms, but it feels rather
[email protected]     reductive to me.  At any rate, it's too narrow:  Whorf was
[email protected] (David Mark)     concerned with Hopi versus English way of thinking about
[email protected] (Colin Matheson)     time in that particular article, but the thesis in general
[email protected] (Janet M. Swisher)     isn't strictly limited to that.  Hopi merely provided (or
[email protected] (William Ricker)     seemed to provide) a striking illustration of two different
    ways of thinking.  Note that "ways of thinking" is in fact
1. jfl:   Briefly stated, the [Sapir/Whorf] hypothesis is : rather sloppy here: Whorf didn't actually investigate the
    ways Hopis think about time in any detail at all - he
  " Language shapes the way we think,     merely projected his feeling about the language onto their
  and determines what we can think about."     thinking.  In essence, he assumed the truth of what later
    commentators saw as a "hypothesis". To Whorf, it was
2. pautler: (responding to 1.) A professor in pragmatics  almost self-evident.
told me this spring that the theory only claims that a
given language forces its users to mentally keep track of  6. pautler: (continuation of 2.)  I believe the comparison
certain information like time-of-occurrence, etc. that is  S/W used to illustrate this was the bookkeeping required by
needed to make correct decisions about tense, etc. that are a Southwest Native American language (Hopi?) regarding the
required to form sentences.     source or validation of information - evidently there are
    markers performing the function of "FOAF", etc. that are as
3. dtate: (responding to 2.)  I think this understates the  necessary to well-formedness in that language (which does
hypothesis, at least in Whorf's version.  Whorf claimed     not mark tense) as tense is to English (which does not mark
that, since we think in language, the language in which we  validation).  Of course, the Native American language can
think will have enormous impact on the ways in which we     express time-of-occurrence if need be, just as English can
think, tending to reinforce certain patterns and undermine  express source-of-information, but neither is explicitly
others. It could be something as blatant as having the     required by the language itself.  I believe the traditional
word for "good" being etymologically related to that for    example:
"strong", tending to reinforce "might makes right"
thinking, or as subtle as the lack of a socially acceptable (~11 Inuit language words for snow) and (~1 English word
passive voice encouraging thinking of one's self as an     for snow)  ==> (Inuit language and English users think
agent and not as an object (or, of course, the converse).  about snow differently)
  There is, to be sure, a "chicken and egg" question here:
is it the language that shapes the culture, or the culture  might not be due to S/W and probably misrepresents their
that shapes the language?  The answer (IMHO) [Net     idea.  But I am not a linguist, nor have I read their work.
abbreviation: "In my humble opinion"] is "both": the     I just wanted to suggest that applications of S/W may not
language evolves because of and in accordance with cultural be what you actually want to look for.


  29
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    universals, as in Berlin and Kay's studies of color terms.
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7. rjohnson: (responding to 6.) Yes.  Whorf, though, not  In the huge gray area, evidence seems hard to come by.  I
Sapir/Whorf.  Whorf, though he had had some training, was  was briefly involved with a cognitive science team a few
basically a gifted amateur; Sapir was less inclined to make years back that was grappling with some of these questions,
sweeping claims - he knew how language has a way of stab-   and it seemed to me that the task of designing experiments
bing such claims in the back.     was extraordinarily hard - every approach had serious
  Boas, in fact, in the Introduction to the "Handbook of    pitfalls.  I don't know how their work turned out, though.
American Indian Languages" (1911) [introduces the "snow"
example].  (At least this is the point at which it was     11. colin: (responding to 7.)  I agree with your gut
introduced into linguistics.)  Geoff Pullum has recently    feeling.  I suppose the trouble is, as with many Linguistic
done a fairly comprehensive study of where this idea comes  issues, that the "truth" of the matter lies at such a level
from and how it has mutated into "50 words for snow",     of abstraction that it's difficult just to talk about it.
"*100* words for snow," etc.     However, here's one suggestion of one version of the thesis
  I, and I think many other linguists (though not all),     (count the hedges!).
have a gut feeling that somewhere, somehow, deep down,       Perhaps it's true that the act of "compressing"
there's a kernel of truth in the idea, but no attempt to    abstractions into concepts represented by single lexical
frame it as an empirical hypothesis has, to my knowledge,  items or phrases has a qualitative effect on the kinds of
really led anywhere.     things it is possible to talk about.  Thus although it's
    probably the case that one can express any particular
8. hullp: (responding to 7.)  Actually, several studies     concept in any language periphrastically, it might just be
have indeed led somewhere.  Casagrande's 1950's studies     that the ability to encapsulate things in immediately
demonstrated a so-called Whorfian effect on children's     transferrable units affects the sorts of transfer that are
perception of shape.  The comparison was between Navaho     possible.  (Where the transfer is of information between
speakers (whose language mandates the marking of shape with humans.)
inflections) and English speakers.  There have been a few    Is this version of the Sapir/Whorf stuff part of the
others (not many, admittedly) that have demonstrated     original, by the way?
similar effects.  The problem is that most of the tests of
the hypothesis have been tests of color perception and     12. swsh: (responding to 11.)  No, I don't think so.  In my
categorization. Color perception is strongly rooted in     understanding, Whorf and Sapir were not interested so much
physiology and is thus uniform across cultures to a large  in what "one can express" in a given language, as in the
degree. Any language effects would have to be in a domain  conceptual categories which underlie grammatical ones and
for which there is less evidence for a physical basis.     which are used by speakers as a guide to experience. Thus,
    the important thing in their view is not how many words for
9. dmark: (responding to 8.)  In fact, Lakoff (in "Women,  snow a language has, but what assumptions about things like
Fire, ...") discusses a study by Kay and Kempton that     space, time, form, substance, etc., are implicit in the
seemed to clearly demonstrate linguistic relativity in     language's grammatical categories. The controversial part
color perception.  Phillip Hull is correct in pointing out  about what they, particularly Whorf, said is the thesis
the strong physiological basis of color perception.  Thus  that speakers use these assumptions to guide their habitual
different color perception due to language seems pretty     beliefs and attitudes, and therefore see them as arising
powerful evidence.  (I could describe the experiment, from  directly from reality, rather than projected on to it.
Lakoff's account, and/or give the full reference, if people  The "Whorfian hypothesis" is often stated as having two
want me to.)     forms, a "hard" version (language determines thought) and a
    "soft" version (language and thought are kinda sorta
10. rjohnson: (responding to 8.)  Thanks for this     related).  From Whorf's writings, it appears that he
information.  I guess I was using "led anywhere" in a     himself held views more towards the "soft" end of the spec-
somewhat more global sense.  That is, I know there have     trum.  He shied away from saying there is a "correlation",
been a smattering of studies that purport to be consistent  that being too definite a word, preferring to say that it
with ("confirm" is too strong, I think) the S/W hypothesis  could be shown that there are cases where linguistic
- but it doesn't seem that any real coherent picture     categories are in some way connected to cultural ones, even
emerges of "thought" as a whole being strongly affected by  if it's not universally true.  However, it seems to me that
"language" as a whole; that is, we have little evidence     it would be mighty odd to find a language whose grammar
that "Whorfian" effects are of fundamental importance to    revealed a categorical system that was otherwise unused by
cognition.  Instead we get hints that there may be     speakers, either in individual cognition, or as part of the
something there, but the results are mixed and often rather attendant culture.
tentative.  Does this fit with your perspective on things?
(Admittedly, notions like "of fundamental importance" are  13. wdr: (responding to 11.)  If I understood that
pretty difficult to assess.)     periphrastic version of the hypothesis, I think it has as a
  On the other hand, as you say, the best-known     corollary that English is not highly suited to it's own
disconfirming studies suffer from being in the relatively  transfer. Which, given the context, I suspect may have been
few areas where there probably are reliable hard-wired


  30
Rhyming Dictionaries - Michael Helsem announces availability of Lojban gismu rhyming dictionaries for prospective poets. Price $5 ea. Specify normal or half- rhyme versions. Send to Michael Helsem, 1031 DeWitt Circle Dallas TX 75224.


=== Publicity ===


Colin's point, but if it wasn't, I'll suggest it more       One: The audio-visual isomorphism.  Presumably, this is
Logo - Surprisingly to me at least, there was a clear winner in the logo balloting from Ju'i Lobypli #13. The selected logo was supposed to be on this issue; maybe next time. The winner, designed by Guy Garnett, received a large majority of positive votes among the 35-40 ballots received before the October deadline, and was first choice on many of them. In fact, only 5 ballots were marked as disliking the selection. Of these 5, 3 were in favor of the 2nd place finisher (a distant 2nd, but with far more 'likes' than 'dislikes'). This 2nd place logo, the in- tersecting planes design by Jamie Bechtel, apparently suffered some vote loss from being hand-drawn compared to Guy's polished computer-generated images. (Almost all negative votes on this design also voted against all other hand-drawn designs.) As a result, we intend to try this design on some publications as well, after computerizing it, and see what people think. Thus we have two logos, which were opposed by only 2 people among the voters.
openly.     an attempt to address the rather poor way that some written
  Is a natural language the right language in which to     languages reflect the spoken language (such as English).
discuss the deficiencies of natural languages?     This fails to predict variations of accent, as well as the
  That it was not was one of the original motivations of    language-specific biases of speakers - English speakers for
the Loglan/Lojban successor of Esperanto.  Can one of you  instance will probably continue to mark yes-no questions
sci.lang folks translate the S/W hypotheses various     with a rising tone. Of course this isn't indicated in the
statements in this newsgroup lately into Lojban and give us written form, so already the idea of audio-visual
an unbiased account of how manipulable they are in a non-  isomorphism is weak at best.
formal yet unnatural language? [ed.: no one has done this
yet - any volunteers?]     2. lojbab: (responding to 1.)  Yes, English speakers
    probably will.  But Hindi speakers probably won't. Thus
14. pautler: (wrapping up)  Perhaps many of you are tiring  rising tone (pitch) will not be a significant indication in
of the discussion about the claims made by S/W, but I'm     Lojban.  Now, in the English 'dialect' of Lojban, such
going to take the risk of extending the debate:     suprasegmentals will probably be redundant and reinforcing
  Does the S/W hypothesis suggest that we view a particular information to the truly significant version of the
language as a collection of tools used to achieve social    questioned contained in the words. And if for some other
(communicative, in particular) goals?  The analogy I have  reason, your voice rises in pitch, if there is no 'xu', it
in mind is this: our ability to achieve tasks is determined is not a yes/no question.
by the tools we have at hand, which forces us to think       As an advantage, I suspect that it will be a lot easier
about solving the task primarily in terms of what subtask  to get computers voice-processing the Lojban phonemes than
each tool can achieve. Of course, we can always attempt to the English suprasegmentals (Anyone have any actual
invent new tools if they are needed, but invention is     knowledge on this?)
difficult for both language conventions and tools, so the
analogy still holds.     3. dan: (continuation of 1.)  Furthermore, the idea of a
  My claim, then, is this: if this is an accurate analogy,  language that assumes all of its speakers will have
then should the S/W hypothesis be any more surprising than  precisely the same accent is too terrifying to contemplate,
a claim that farmers and stockbrokers think differently     yet Lojban's writing system would seem to depend on this
about the world due to the different means they have of     fact.
interacting with it?
    4. lojbab: (responding to 3.)  Lojban's prescription says
    nothing about 'accent'.  Each of the sounds we've defined
________________________     as phonemic has a certain range wherein it is phonemic.
Subject:  Lojban as seen by the linguistics and cognitive  Lojban 'r' can range from a full trill to a simple flap,
    science community     for example, and we've made no prescription regarding dark
    'l' vs. light 'l'. Difference in these phonemes will
  Participants:     result in different 'accents'.  There will probably be less
[email protected] (Dan Parmenter)     spread than most natural languages, but there will be some
[email protected] (John Cowan)     spread.
[email protected] (Michael Newton)
[email protected] (Rod Johnson)     5. cowan: (responding to 3.)  Of course [it's too
[email protected].edu (David M Tate)     terrifying to contemplate]! However, this neglects the
[email protected] (Harold Somers)     distinction between "emic" and "etic" features of the
[email protected] (Lars Aronsson)     language.  The claim of audio-visual isomorphism is not
[email protected] (Bob LeChevalier)     that every possible distinction of speech is represented in
[email protected] (Larry P Gorbet)     the written form, but only that all significant distinc-
[email protected].UUCP (Steven Daryl McCullough)     tions are so represented.  For example, true-false
[email protected] (David A. Johns)     questions may be signalled (among English speakers) with a
[email protected] (Greg Lee)     rising tone, but also must be signalled with the prefix
    word "xu". The "xu" carries the entire content, and will
1. dan: (starting the debate - several paragraphs below     be understood by any fluent Lojbanist from whatever back-
elucidate his opinions further) I have been acquainted     ground.  The tone is superfluous.
with Lojban for a few years now, and have a few thoughts on
the matter.     6. dan: (responding to 5.) If every Lojban speaker were a
  My overall impression is that a monumental effort is     native English speaker, you could just as easily argue that
being made by an astonishingly large group of people, and  the "xu" is superfluous.  But this is circular reasoning.
that while it is quite well-intentioned, its ultimate goals Is the purpose of Lojban to be spoken in a dull monotone?
are unattainable at best, and highly suspicious at worst.  Or do you expect the writing system to evolve to account
Some minor and major objections:     for any variations in tone that might come along?  Suppose
    some third-generation Lojban speakers always mark yes-no


  31
A couple of people sent in new designs after the ballot was produced, and I unfortunately missed one by Kerry Pearson in preparing the ballot. But we needed to have a final decision, and these will be the logos for at least the next few years.


A few people voted for none of the selections, indicating a misunderstanding of the purpose of the logo 'contest'. These people identified "logos" with commercialism, and wanted us to have a less commercial image. A couple suggested that instead we devise a "logo" that was more of a slogan, perhaps graphically displayed. This isn't practical for a few reasons:


questions with a falling tone accompanied by a series of   the null hypothesis.  To develop Lojban at all, we must
* the logo is intended to be a symbol and graphic images make better symbols than text, however it is displayed. "Logo" is a shortening of "logograph", which more clearly indicates its purpose;
elaborate hand-jives (gestures are expressive too), will    assume SWH. If Lojban turns out to have no effect on
* among other places, the logo will probably be used on the textbook, where there will already be plenty of text (the title, subtitle, and the 'blurb on the back'). The purpose of the logo is to leave a strong image that stands out against all that writing;
you mark this in the written version as well?  How do you  thought, i.e. to be a mere code, SWH will not be confirmed.
* there is a commercial purpose to the logo. It is a symbol for la lojbangirz. as well as, and possibly more than, for the language (this unfortunately may not have been in the minds of the designers and voters, but, oh well). While we are a non-profit organization, we must operate as a business, sending out correspondence, fund- raising letters, etc. The logo, printed by computer with our letterhead, will enhance the visual appearance of our business correspondence, calling attention to our letter. (At least this is how the theory goes.)
determine what a "significant" feature of the language is?  (This is not to say it will be disproved.)
* a slogan in any language other than Lojban (such as English) would suggest a bias toward that language, and we are fighting hard to avoid such biases. If the text were in Lojban, non-Lojbanists (and some inactive supporters) wouldn't know what it means, making it a less meaningful symbol than the words might intend;
* we already have a Lojban slogan of a sort. Claude Van Horne coined ".e'osai ko sarji la lojban." a couple of years ago, and we have produced and distributed calligraphic buttons with that slogan as well as used it on many of our publications. We are of course interested in more Lojban slogans and aphorisms, but this requires you to make them up, and the issue is any case separate from the logo issue.


7. cowan: (responding to 6.)  We determine significant     12. lojbab: (responding to 10.)  Assumed to be what?  True?
features by defining them.  Again, this is a constructed    No. Important enough to test?  Yes.  If Sapir-Whorf is
language, and a posteriori reasoning appropriate to natural important enough to test, then Lojban must be designed with
(non-constructed) languages doesn't necessarily fit all     features that will likely have a noticeable effect, while
cases.     being sufficiently culturally neutral that non-Lojban
  In the baseline version of Lojban, the way of marking a  variables can be at least statistically removed.
true-false question is to prefix it with "xu". This is       The Lojban design HAS to assume that Sapir-Whorf is true,
true by definition, a priori.  Once the language is     or that design will be meaningless for experimental
baselined, the normal processes of linguistic change may    purposes.
indeed alter the marking system to something involving       As to whether those working on the language 'tacitly
tone, gesture, or toe-wiggling. At that time, Lojban will  assume' Sapir-Whorf, I doubt it.  There are no doubt many
be a natural language (defined here as one having native    who believe SWH true, and a couple I know of who believe it
speakers) and will need to be investigated by the methods  false, but are willing to see.  Most are fairly open-
of ordinary synchronic linguistics.     minded.  In any case, if we are being 'good scientists',
  (When Bob LeChevalier, the most fluent speaker at     our individual opinions on the hypotheses we investigate
present, speaks in the language, he does tend to talk in a  shouldn't matter, since some degree of professional
monotone, possibly bending over backwards to avoid     detachment is expected.  When I work on Lojban as a
influence from English suprasegmentals. He does hesitate  researcher, I try to turn off that part of me that does
longer between sentences than at other mandatory pauses,    'Lojban promotion' (admittedly a bit more biased). I rely
though.)     on peer review to catch any biases from my personal views
    that slip into my work.  Given the wide disparity of views
8. lojbab: (responding to 6.)  That would be a truly odd    among Lojban workers, and our sensitivity towards avoiding
purpose for a language - to be spoken in a monotone.  :-)  unnecessary bias, I'm confident that there is no problem.
  The writing system would not need recognize variations in  If Sapir-Whorf (or its equivalent - since a lot of people
pitch, gestures, or any other feature of spoken language    assume it without even knowing it exists) is tacitly
unless these came to convey variations in meaning that were assumed by the world, it seems an especially important
not already reflected (and reflectable) in the written lan- question to investigate scientifically.  If SWH is used by
guage. In addition, since human-computer interaction using some to justify racism, some concrete data to attack such
Lojban is intended to be significant in its usefulness, it
seems unlikely that there will evolve variations that
cannot be easily recognized AND reproduced by a computer
listener/speaker.
  A significant feature of a logical language, of course,
is one that affects the truth conditions of its statements.
A change or variation in the language would not be
'significant' unless it affected such truth conditions. A
change which introduced ambiguity would obviously be
significant.
9. cowan: (continuation of 5.) Note also that audio-visual
isomorphism cuts both ways.  It ensures not only that every
"emic" feature of speech is representable in writing, but
also that features of text such as paragraphing, structural
punctuation, parenthesis, and layout have representations
in speech.  For example, the word "ni'o" signals a change
of subject and is used to separate spoken paragraphs;
likewise, non-mathematical parentheses are pronounced "to"
for "(" and "toi" for ")".


10. dan: (continuation of 1., from 3.) TWO: Sapir/Whorf is
Electronic Distribution - We have had a committee non- working on a policy for electronic distribution of our materials since LogFest. For various reasons, the committee pretty much fell apart within a couple of weeks, and efforts to get the effort going again have so far been to no avail. Athelstan did write up his mini-lesson, which will be a centerpiece of the electronic material to be distributed; we hope this will be finalized for publication with JL15. Thereafter, all non-paying people above level 0 will have to demonstrate their interest by attempting to complete the exercises in the mini-lesson.
tacitly assumed by almost everyone that I've talked to in
connection to Lojban.  This isn't unusual, since it's also
assumed by an astonishing portion of the world at large.


11. cowan: (responding to 10.) The Lojban project is
There has been considerable debate about the extent of things to be distributed. Ju'i Lobypli issues and the textbook are nearly impossible to put on-line, even with a file server, because so much of the text is formatted and relies on greater than 80-column lines. This issue, for example, is over 400K bytes of data. We are also reluctant to post non-baselined language description materials since we have no way to ensure that people eventually get updates when the baseline occurs. Word lists, the machine grammar, the brochure, and Athelstan's mini-lesson are likely to be available initially. I won't promise a date for an electronic package because it is pretty much out of my hands as long as the committee exists; it is likely that the package will be available after LogFest in late June.
founded on assuming the truth of SWH; the falsity of SWH is


  32


Computer Network - With help from John Cowan and Keith Lynch and Eric Raymond (who supports lojban-list and John's and Bob's computer accounts), Lojban has been highly visible on the UNIX-oriented Usenet/Internet computer network, providing us with worldwide communications with our supporters, and highly successful recruiting. We have been especially visible in an electronic news/discussion group called "sci.lang", which is a major focus for linguistics professionals, researchers, and students, worldwide. In particular, Lojban has come up as the principal topic of discussion during two periods of several weeks during the last 6 months. (Discussions in these groups tend to flow from topic to topic forming a highly intertwined set of 'threads of discussion', which eventually fade out as people turn to new topics that have caught their attention. Thus, Lojban has been mentioned several times in connection with several topics, but the 'thread' caught people's attention twice in particular.)


use is more effective than personal distaste.  Just because 18. lojbab: (responding to 17.)  Indeed.  I know that in
In the first instance, Lojban (and Loglan in general) came up as a result of a discussion of the Sapir-Whorf Hy- pothesis. John Cowan stepped into the discussion, and then Bob 'weighed in' in response to some fairly critical challenges from linguists. Much to our pleasure, Lojban withstood this first challenge from the linguistic academic community, gaining respect from several people and a will- ingness on their part to see how the project develops scientifically.
a scientific question has political ramifications based on  the Loglan/Lojban community, Reed Riner at Northern Arizona
its possible outcomes does not mean that the question     and John Atkins and Carol Eastman at Washington are
shouldn't be asked, or moreover, shouldn't be answered.     anthropologists that were/are interested in S/W.
      In addition, there is another 'related field' that makes
13. dan: (responding to 12.) Yes, I'd say that a     heavy use of S/W, either directly, or in an evolved form.
surprisingly large number of people when informed about S/W Semiotics apparently uses a lot of ideas these days that at
will automatically assume it to be true. The issue to me  least tacitly assume some degree of cultural relativity,
is one of putting the cart before the horse:  to whit, many and I'm told Umberto Eco, is particularly 'Whorfian' in his
people have astonishingly racist attitudes about a wide     ideas.  I don't know these things directly, having no
range of phenomena.  Language is no exception. If you read meaningful exposure to semiotics.  My source is Robert
the literature of the whole English First movement, one     Gorsch at St. Mary's College in CA, who teaches En-
sees thinly veiled racism of the worst sort.  Also witness  glish/Semiotics/Linguistics there. He's been developing an
the thinly veiled classism of most of the prescriptivists - introductory course in Semiotics showing the evolution of
the goal is to avoid sounding "low class".  Even something  S/W into current semiotics theories (incidentally relying
as simple as differing accents within a homogeneous speech  on Esperanto and Lojban as primary examples). We published
community can cause people to raise their eyebrows.  Human  his course outline and bibliography in a recent issue of
beings seem to have an overwhelming urge to pigeonhole     our internal journal, Ju'i Lobypli.
people by any method possible. What does this have to do
with S/W?  Well, given that nobody seems particularly     19. dan: (responding to 18.)  Eco is interested in a number
satisfied either way with the results of actual psy-     of theories that are out of vogue among Chomskian
cholinguistic tests that have been tried, if someone     linguists. He also seems to have an interest in the so-
believes S/W then they can choose to ignore any test     called "meaning-based" theories of language, posited by
results that seem to go against it and start to make some  people like Schank, in the NLP [natural language
pretty frightening statements.     processing] community.  He devotes some space to Schank's
    theory of conceptual dependency in several books (titles
14. dan: (continuation of 1., from 10.) What I'm getting  forgotten ...sorry!).
at is that there is a serious danger that people who       Many of fields related and unrelated to semiotics also
believe in the S/W hypothesis will use this belief to make  make use of certain Whorfian arguments.  Some feminist
claims about their language being superior to someone     theorists have an axe to grind about how language is used
else's. The empirical basis for these claims has already  to oppress women.
been discussed, so I won't get into it, except to say that
I remain unconvinced by the S/W hypothesis.     20. dan: (continuing 17.)  To me, the idea of linguistic
    equality - that all languages are more or less created
15. cowan: (responding to 10 and 14.)  One of the major     equal, is a much more egalitarian view.  It jibes well with
workers in Lojban [ed.: pc] believes that SWH is in fact    my notion that all people are created equal.  This
false. There is as diverse a variety of views on SWH in    principle forms the basis for much in the way of my
the Lojban community as on any other subject.     political views.  I don't want to get into a debate here
    about the politics of language, but it's something I feel
16. lojbab: (responding to 14.) Yes, there is [a serious  very strongly about.
danger].  But there is also the chance that if SWH is true,
that the reverse will happen.  Based on the natural     21. lgorbet: (responding to 20.)  The phrase in Dan's
selection paradigm (also perhaps questionable with regard  recent posts that confuses me a lot is "all languages are
to languages - but the analogy is useful), if one language  equal". So far as I can see that may well - probably has
is 'superior' to another in some small area (such as     nothing to do with whether (some version or other of) S/W
mathematical thinking - as in the previous example), the    is true or not.
fact that the other language survives indicates that it       I suspect the most common belief of linguists who think
also has some compensating advantages that suit its niche.  about S/W at all is that (a) S/W is true; and (b) all
  Thus Sapir-Whorf might help us see the virtue in all     languages are "equal". AND you seem to be assuming that
languages and cultures. I certainly don't think that if    the truth of S/W entails inequality (in some unstated
Lojban was proved able to assist or improve logical     sense) of languages. All S/W says, even in the strongest
thinking, that it should displace English or any other     versions I know anyone competent who believes, is that lan-
language.  To borrow someone else's line, Lojban becomes    guages are different in ways that leads their speakers to
another tool in the linguistic tool chest.  You learn it    tend to think differently.
like an English speaker learns French or FORTRAN, to meet a  Thanks to work by lots of folk over the past half century
communication need that is not well served by English.     (oops, more than that), it's pretty clear that different
    languages have lots in common as well as some striking
17. dan: (responding to 16.)  I am told that among     differences. So probably most of us (my wild supposition, I
anthropologists, S/W in some form, is popular.     admit) think that the impact of a true S/W would not be all
    that huge a difference. But a difference in


  33
Given the disastrous history of Loglan's relationship with the academic community, this was welcome indeed. While attracting interest from several linguistic academics in the 1960's, the first publication of Loglan 1 drew a critical review from Professor Arnold Zwicky, in a 1969 is- sue of Language, one of the foremost linguistics journals. While this review was a friendly, constructive critique (this intent was confirmed in a recent letter exchange between Bob and Dr. Zwicky, now a leader in the field of language typology), Dr. Brown apparently took its challenges as highly negative.


For whatever reason, the review went unanswered, and Loglan has suffered for 20 years as a result. The Institute's attempts to get funding from the National Science Foundation were rejected, with several peer reviewers citing the unanswered critique. Dr. Brown eventually gave up on the academic community and tried to "go commercial", a disaster that led in turn to the financial and political quagmire that nearly killed Loglan in the 1980's before Bob and others started the Lojban effort.


conceptualization and knowledge is not the same thing as    'cat', cidja 'food', lante 'can', and gacri 'cover' take
Now we've again caught the interest of the academic community, and are taking measures to ensure that Loglan/Lojban is taken seriously and treated with respect. This first sci.lang discussion was the critical milestone. In the special section on Lojban and Linguistics below, John Cowan has done a superb effort at editing and condensing the non-linear discussion into what seems like a lively conversation, loaded with important ideas and detailed examples of Lojban.
inequality.     care of all the content words, each of which (luckily for
  It almost seems to me that to assume that different ways  me) has a single-word Lojban equivalent.  I will comment on
of thinking are unequal ways of thinking plays into the     the function words I use as I use them.
hands of racists even more...       It should be stated from the start that Lojban interprets
  This is NOT a flame. You raise some important issues,     dyadic compounds as <modifier> followed by <modificand>, in
many of which I agree with, especially about the ways our  other words AN [adjective-noun order], although this can be
work can get abused by those with an unsavory agenda.     changed with the particle "co".
  [The discussion of Sapir-Whorf and its possible racist
use continued for quite a while, and is omitted.]     [numbers relate back to English in 24.]
      1) "slasi mlatu cidja lante gacri".  This form is totally
22. dan (continuation of 1., from 14.): This empirical     unmarked, and has the meaning of the English 1) because
basis is something that I use as a foundation for my     Lojban associates left-to-right. In other words, "slasi
personal ideological beliefs with regard to such issues as  mlatu cidja lante" modifies "gacri", "slasi mlatu cidja"
English-only laws and prescriptivism (by the likes of     modifies "lante", "slasi mlatu" modifies "cidja", and
Safire, Lederle, Simon et al.). It seems to me that the    "slasi" modifies "mlatu".
Lojbanists, who are already claiming that the language       2) "slasi mlatu bo cidja lante gacri".  The function word
makes them think more clearly on certain things are setting "bo" causes the two content words surrounding it to be most
themselves up for a type of elitism that I find     closely associated. So "mlatu" modifies "cidja".
frightening.     Otherwise, left-to-right modification remains intact, so
  THREE: Lojban's allegedly unambiguous syntax. The bottom that "slasi" modifies "mlatu bo cidja", etc.
line is that "plastic cat food can cover" is still       3) "slasi je mlatu bo cidja lante gacri". Here we make
ambiguous in Lojban.     two coordinated claims about the "lante", namely that it is
    of type "mlatu bo cidja" (a cat-food can) and that it is
23. cowan: (responding to 22.) This English utterance is  "slasi" (plastic). So we insert the particle "je" which
ambiguous in three different ways.  Syntactically, it might means this type of "and".  (There are several Lojban words
be a noun phrase (a kind of cover) or a sentence (asserting for "and", but "je" is the one that's grammatical in this
that plastic cat food is capable of covering something).    context).
Lojban does not have this kind of ambiguity:  the first       4) "slasi mlatu cidja lante bo gacri".  Here "lante" and
would be "lo slasi mlatu cidja lante gacri" and the second  "gacri" are grouped, so that "slasi mlatu cidja" (food for
would be "lo slasi mlatu cidja ka'e gacri".     plastic cats) modifies "lante bo gacri" (can-type-of
    cover).
24. harold: (responding to 23.) Well, I think you'll find    5) "slasi mlatu bo cidja lante bo gacri". Here we have
that syntactically the phrase is MUCH more ambiguous: as a  three components grouped in left-to-right order:  "slasi",
noun phrase, ignoring the semantic ambiguity of any     "mlatu bo cidja", and "lante bo gacri".  Therefore "slasi
noun+noun pairing (e.g. "cat food" = food for cats, food    mlatu bo cidja" modifies "lante bo gacri", making this a
made of cats, food which looks like a cat; "can cover" =    plastic cat-food type of can-cover.
cover for a can, cover made out of a can; "plastic cat" =    6) "slasi bo mlatu cidja bo lante gacri". Here again we
cat made out of plastic, cat which behaves like plastic,    have three components, but different ones from those
cat which belongs to plastic, etc) it has readings [numbers appearing in 5).
added for later cross-reference]:       8) "slasi je ke mlatu cidja lante ke'e gacri".  Here we
    introduce the new particles "ke" and "ke'e".  These group
  a cover for plastic cat food cans i.e.     in the same way that "bo" does, but everything between "ke"
  a cover for cans which contain plastic cat food i.e.     and "ke'e" is grouped.  Wherever "bo" appears between two
1  a cover for cans which contain food for plastic cats or  words, it can be replaced by "ke" before the first and
2  a cover for cans which contain plastic food for cats or  "ke'e" after the second.  So 4) can be rewritten as "slasi
a cover for plastic cans which contain cat food or else  mlatu cidja ke lante gacri", with elision of "ke'e" at the
  a can cover for plastic cat food i.e.     end of the phrase. This is an example of a general point
4  a can cover for food for plastic cats or     about Lojban:  most things are expressible using both
5  a can cover for plastic food for cats or else     "forethought" and "afterthought" forms, comparable to the
  a food can cover for plastic cats i.e.     difference in English between "both A and B" and "A and B".
6  a cover for a food can for plastic cats or     In this case, we need the whole of "mlatu cidja lante" to
7  a can cover for food for plastic cats or else     group as one modifier, so "bo" is not usable.  We also need
  a cat food can cover made of plastic i.e.     "je" because again two claims are being made, that the
  a cover, made of plastic, for cat food cans i.e.     cover is both plastic and for cat-food cans.
8  a cover, made of plastic, for cans for cat food or       9) "slasi je mlatu bo cidja bo lante gacri".  Here "bo"
9  a cover, made of plastic, for food cans for cats     serves us again, in contradistinction to 8), because of an
    additional rule that comes into play when "bo" appears on
25. cowan: (responding to 24.) Let me render each of these both sides of an element: it is right-grouping.  So whereas
forms into Lojban. As a glossary, slasi 'plastic', mlatu  "A B C" means that "A B" modifies "C", "A bo B bo C" means


  34
John then followed up this discussion by re-examining the old Zwicky review. While it is far too late to directly answer the critique in Language, John drafted a response to the key challenges posed by Zwicky, demonstrating that the Lojban design fully meets Zwicky's challenge. This response is also printed in the special section below, and will shortly be posted to sci.lang.


The second discussion stemmed from a comparative discussion of artificial languages, concentrating on Esperanto and Ido. Nick Nicholas, an Australian Esperantist, posted a Suzanne Vega song translated into several artificial languages (later added to by Ivan Derzhanski), whereupon Bob joined in with a Lojban version. These translations, and some associated discussion, appear in le lojbo se ciska in this issue. A few of the Lojban- related postings are also included, with more planned for next issue (since the discussion continues).


that A modifies "B bo C". So here we claim that the cover  in each word is at least two-ways ambiguous (all are both
We received several compliments for our direct support of discussions on the network. Loglan continues its trend as being the first 'successful' artificial language to have its development process openly observed and participated in by the academic community.
is both plastic and is of type "cat food-can".     nouns and verbs, and some are also adjectives).
 
  There are other ways to express these ideas if the
Both network discussions were quite productive in terms of recruiting - we've added over 50 people as a result. Nick (a Greek native) and Ivan (a Bulgarian native) have both expressed interest in learning Lojban; Nick has expressed especial interest in joining our growing group of Lojban poets.
constraint on ordering the content words is relaxed. There 30. aronsson: (responding to 28.) What if the intended
 
are also lots of other possibilities expressible by the     grouping was "(plastic and ((cat type of food) type of
 
Lojban syntax, such as "slasi bo mlatu bo cidja bo lante bo can)) type of cover"?  That is a plastic cover for these
ApaLingua, Tand and Factsheet Five - Lojban continues to appear on occasion in the amateur and alternative press. Mike Gunderloy reviews each of our issues in Factsheet Five, and a recent issue (incidentally the first one to mention Institute publications) gave us our largest crop of new Lojbanists yet, over a dozen. This, coupled with the sci.lang discussions and our continuing word-of-mouth spread led to almost 1 new person per day throughout the first two months of 1991.
gacri", which might be a plastic type of food-can cover for cans (which are probably made of tin - I would consider
 
use by cats. In addition, "je" (and) can be replaced by    this more probable) rather than a generic cover for these
An amateur publication on linguistics, a sort of printed sci.lang, has been started, and several Lojbanists are among the participants. ApaLingua is published bi-monthly, and consists of several pages written and submitted by each of the subscribers. Like the computer networks, each per- son poses new topics for discussion and responds to the writings of others. There were over 30 contributors at the time of the sample issue Bob received in November, and it was clear that the group would be expanding rapidly. la lojbangirz. intends to participate in ApaLingua, but at this point Bob has had too many irons in the fire, and has committed to making substantial progress on the textbook before adding this one.
"ja" (inclusive or) or "jonai" (exclusive or) or any of the plastic cans. Would the sentence still translate into "lo
 
other Boolean relationship, or by various non-logical     slasi je mlatu bo cidja lante gacri"?  Could the same
Tand, another amateur publication has had discussions of Lojban for the last 3 issues. The 3rd issue, appearing after JL13, included a lot of reader feedback, some positive and more negative. We've pretty much decided to see where these discussions lead before responding further. Tand comes out infrequently, and the type of comments being raised are best answered by people looking at our publications to avoid our repeating (to editor Mark Manning's great distaste) large quantities of the same type of thing that appears here in JL.
connectives such as "joi" (mass mixture):  "slasi joi mlatu sentence also mean "(((plastic and cat) type of food) type
 
cidja" would be food made from plastic and from cats [mixed of can) type of cover"?  (Never mind why anybody would make
 
together].     plastic food - that is semantics!) If any of the above,
Evecon and Arisia - la lojbangirz. participated in this year's edition of Evecon, the largest science fiction convention here in the Washington DC area. Bob, Nora, and Athelstan gave several talks during the New Years weekend, and staffed a booth that provided information about Lojban.
    Lojban must be considered ambiguous.
 
26. cowan: (continuing 23.)  In the English utterance, it
Meanwhile, Coranth D'Gryphon attended Arisia, a February Boston area science fiction convention. Several new people signed up, making it the most successful convention recruiting effort yet among those not attended by Bob and Nora. Coranth is planning to follow this effort up with a class this spring taught through an MIT extension program.
is unclear exactly what modifies what.     31. cowan: (responding to 30.)  No. "(plastic and ((cat
 
    type of food) type of can) type of cover" would be "lo
 
27. harold: (responding to 26., continuing 24.) I don't    slasi je ke mlatu cidja lante ke'e gacri", where "ke" and
GURT - Bob and Athelstan are planning to attend the Georgetown University Round Table of Linguistics, an annual event of significant stature in the linguistics community. A focus of this year's meetings, the first week of April, is on language acquisition and education. We are planning to use these meetings to expand our contacts with members of the linguistic community, and move towards an examination by that community of the potential value for Lojban in linguistic research and language education.
think so. Of the above interpretations, there is a more or  "ke'e" are logical parentheses.  "(((plastic and cat) type
 
less clear ranking of preference, notwithstanding some     of food) type of can) type of cover)" would be "lo slasi je
 
context which promotes an unusual reading (e.g. a story     mlatu cidja lante gacri" because "je" has higher precedence
Another Trip: Will This One Happen? - Bob and Nora have been promising themselves a trip to California for two years now (Bob grew up in the San Francisco area), but it always seemed to be another 2 months away; there always seemed to be another deadline. THIS time we're a bit more optimistic, and are planning a late April trip to the Bay Area. We'll probably be able to come for a week and associated weekends. This one should really come off, since Nora's boss is encouraging her to take an April vacation. Occasional considerations of a side trip to Los Angeles and San Diego are being set aside; too many trips have been cancelled because of excess ambition (and Nora needs a REAL vacation).  
about plastic cats):  I find (8) the most plausible, with  than concatenation, though lower than "bo".
 
(3) next best. The least plausible are the ones involving
Our intent is to give several talks on Lojban while there, both to existing Lojbanists and to potential recruits. We want to meet as many of you as possible, so try to set aside a little time for us. We badly need volunteers to help us organize these meetings, and provide or locate places we can get together. Call Bob immediately - (703) 385-0273 - if you can help, given the short time frame. We will try to put out a notice by mail a week or two ahead of time indicating our itinerary. Since Bob has sisters in the Santa Cruz and mid-Peninsula areas, and close friends in Berkeley, these are definite stops for at least a night or two each.
plastic cats or plastic food.     32. aronsson: (continuing 30.) Or what if both modifiers
 
    have a more complex form? In the example above, the
 
28. cowan: (continuing 23., from 26.)  So Lojban's unmarked modifier plastic has the simplest possible form, but
Athelstan Finally Makes a Trip - After two trips in two years being cancelled at the last minute, Athelstan says he will not promise trips in advance again. As a result (so he suspects), things finally started going right. After over a year and a half with one car problem after another, he got his car mobile enough to make it out of the DC area. Indeed, he made it all the way to Salt Lake City, where he stayed a couple weeks with Lojbanist Diane Lehmann and got her started learning the language. (He then rebuilt his car as he drove home, having packed a spare part for everything and finding he needed most of those spares. ba'u)
form is grouped left-to-right unambiguously, and other     consider a phrase like (I wrote this with Emacs LISP mode!)
 
groupings can be unambiguously marked by the insertion of
 
appropriate structure words.     ((some-special type of plastic)
Press Release - In February, following the legal victory discussed under Institute News below, la lojbangirz. put out its first press release. This news release, a copy of which appears after this news section, went to over 300 members of the business and scientific press. The response thus far has been small, but with the world situation as lively as it has been, we wouldn't expect to be an immediate priority. Also, since each response is likely to turn into a news or magazine story, a few responses will go a long way.
      and
 
29. harold: (responding to 28., continuing 27.) It is       (((cat or dog)
=== International News ===
relatively easy to construct plausible noun phrases type of food)
 
consisting of five consecutive nouns for all the above   type of can))
Canadian checks OK - After having three of them make it through our bank with no problem and no service charge, I am happy to tell our Canadian friends that we can accept checks in Canadian currency if it is difficult or expensive to get US currency checks. We deposit the check, and the bank then adjusts the deposit for the exchange rate about a week later, which seems to be within a few cents of the standard rate.
patterns, just by substituting more appropriate nouns: e.g. type of cover
 
Remember that for other countries, we can accept a check on your non-US bank in your currency, but there is a service charge of US$3.50. We can also accept Master Card and Visa balance contributions with a service charge of 6%.
 
 
Athelstan's European trip aborted - In JL13, we reported that there were last minute problems threatening to cancel Athelstan's planned trip to the Netherlands World Science Fiction convention, and then around several countries of Europe. The problems continued to grow, and Athelstan's then-dead car made it impossible for him to get around and solve them. So he didn't go. We are still hoping to have some Lojbanist make it to Europe in the next couple of years, but I think we're going to avoid promises until there is something definite.
 
 
Non-North American Lojbanists and the Fund-raising Drive - The November fund raising letter did not go to our overseas friends. Except for US and Canada subscribers, the postage cost was too high for the potential gain. Instead, we are sending those people who were on the list in November a somewhat modified form of the letter, representing the slightly different circumstances and our more liberal policy in support of non-North American Lojbanists. Note that balances reflected in the letters do not include the price of this issue.
 
Simply put, for those JL subscribers with balances (in November when the letters were prepared) less than US$-30 who have never responded, we must hear from you by the next issue of JL in early May, or you will be dropped to level '0'. If you have responded, but not in the past year, we still want to hear from you, but can allow you support down to US$-50 before taking action to cut our losses. If your balance is below US$-50, we need to hear from you by the next JL issue, at minimum, to keep sending at this level.
 
Ideally, as many as possible will send some money, even if not enough to fully cover our costs. We're doing our best to subsidize non-US Lojbanists, but we need your help. Please respond.
 
 
Non-English Materials - We now have French, Italian, and Esperanto translations of the "What is Lojban? la lojban. mo" brochure. The latter two are still only in the roughest of drafts, not even correctly typed in. We need volunteers to work with our translations, to polish them, to put them into computerized formats, and to add to the list of languages.
 
=== News From the Institute ===
 
Trademark - The most significant news regarding The Loglan Institute, Inc. is that la lojbangirz. has won its challenge of TLI's trademark registration of the name 'Loglan'. The decision was rendered in 'summary judgement'; the issues were sufficiently clear-cut that there was no need for a trial. Following are excerpts from the decision. la lojbangirz. is 'Petitioner' and The In- stitute is 'Respondent':
 
"The facts of record clearly establish petitioner's genuine interest in the subject matter of the proceeding and support a reasonable belief that petitioner will be damaged by the continued existence of the registration sought to be cancelled..."
 
"...both respondent and petitioner have filed documents evidencing use of the term LOGLAN as the generic name or the common descriptive name of a language developed by Dr. James Cooke Brown. Even Dr. Brown uses the term as the name of the language... There is apparently a community of persons interested in the development of the language who have conducted very active communications with one another and without exception they use the term Loglan to refer to the language, not as a trademark for the grammars and dictionaries which contain the words that make up, and information pertaining to, the construction of the language. ... In addition to the foregoing, we note that the Acronyms, Initialisms & Abbreviations Dictionary Ninth Edition, 1985-1986, lists the term, "loglan" and defines it as "logical language" ...
 
"... the evidence indicates that it was not until 1985 that respondent first expressed the view that LOGLAN was its trademark. ... Prior to that time, the term was used by Dr. Brown, respondent and others simply as the designation for the developing language, although it is reasonable to conclude that Dr. Brown and the Institute may have mistakenly believed that such use by others was with recognition of their purported proprietary rights.
 
"In view of the foregoing, it is our opinion that LOGLAN, being a generic term, does not function as a trademark for respondent's goods.
 
"... petitioner's motion for summary judgement ... is granted as to the issue of the generic nature of the term LOGLAN. The petition for cancellation is granted and the registration will be cancelled in due course."
 
 
We had filed on several other grounds, including fraudulent filing of the application for the trademark due to the several false statements therein and abandonment through failure to continually use the term as a trademark. The fraud claim was denied because we did not prove "fraud- ulent misconduct accompanied by some element of willfulness or bad faith". The abandonment claim was declared moot since the term wasn't a valid trademark in the first place.
 
Lest there be any doubt, I/we have nothing personal against Dr. Brown. Indeed, we honor his genius in creating the language. We believe his policies have been mistaken and have as a result stultified the progress of the language, but this assertion didn't need a legal battle to be resolved. One only needs to observe the astounding relative success la lojbangirz. has had in promoting Loj- ban, which IS Loglan in every sense of the word, through our more liberal policies. (During the last three years, we have outgrown the Institute by a large measure in spite of the republication of Loglan 1 by TLI and several thousand dollars in advertising by TLI.)
 
The Institute can appeal the trademark decision, but such appeals historically have been considered frivolous, unless buoyed by significant new evidence. Since this decision was based on a matter of law, and sufficient facts to sup- port the decision were provided by The Institute on its own, possible bases for appeal are minimal.
 
We thus consider the legal cloud on the language to be lifted. Threats of legal action by The Institute, originally against Bob and Jeff Prothero (before la lojbangirz. was incorporated), have been retracted or rendered invalid through this decision. People can use the name Loglan public-ally without fear of legal challenge; our success should cause TLI to have second thoughts before engaging in further legal harassment. The legal action was expensive (we intend NOT to pursue TLI for reimbursement of legal expenses, in the interest of ending the dispute), and it certainly has distracted Bob and others from more useful endeavors on behalf of the language (Bob may have put as much as 6 man-months into legal-related research that could have gone into textbook writing).
 
The battle is over. It is time to move ahead, and to settle the war. Bob has written to Dr. Brown, proposing a settlement between our two efforts that would result in unity of the Loglan Project behind a Lojban recognized by Brown as a legitimate version of Loglan. The offer includes generous incentives towards unity that will en- hance Dr. Brown's influence and stature in the community, and aid TLI in performing the Loglan research for which it was originally founded. la lojbangirz. would be the principal interface with the community and the world, working to gain acceptance and support for the language. If accepted, Loglan would become the first major artificial language project to mend a split, giving us added credibility in convincing the world of Loglan's value. In addition, our combined resources would get more and better quality work accomplished in less time.
 
We ask readers who have also supported The Institute to write to Dr. Brown and encourage him to move towards such a settlement.
 
 
JCB's finances, TLI Fund-Raiser Fails - As a footnote to the legal decision, Dr. Brown reported in his latest Lognet newsletter that he suffered a serious personal financial setback. As a result, he no longer can financially support The Institute. Indeed, he had to take a large portion of the Institute's recent income to pay himself back in preference to using that money to further promote his version of the language.
 
This setback was coupled with a fund raising drive that coincidentally occurred at about the same time as our own. Dr. Brown sought donations sufficient to pay for another Scientific American advertisement, a cost of $3500. Apparently, less than half that amount was raised. This is probably a good thing for TLI, since Dr. Brown projected a gain of perhaps 150 new people from this advertising, an expense of over $20 per person - as much as the price of the book he is selling.
 
We note that several of the large donors Dr. Brown listed contributed comparable amounts in our own fund raising drive. We did raise the $3500 and more in our effort, and are putting it towards producing more and better information about the language. Bob and Nora, and other major contributors, have made donations rather than loans. As a result, la lojbangirz. is relatively debt-free (we technically owe our subscribers their balances, and Bob, Nora, and Jeff Prothero have pledged donations against the legal debt). Dr. Brown meanwhile claims an enormous financial debt from the Institute (over $35,000 prior to la lojbangirz.'s founding).
 
 
TL to be revived? - The Institute has been trying to improve on its accomplishments. Several months ago, it announced that The Loglanist, its old journal somewhat comparable to Ju'i Lobypli, was going to be revived under a new name starting in December 1990. This didn't happen. A specific editor was named in the first 1991 LogNet, but we have no further word on what is planned.
 
 
Another Major Revision to Institute Loglan? - We have mentioned previously (and lambasted) a proposal to devise a series of 'declensions' for each gismu in Institute Loglan.
 
Arguments in favor and opposing this revision have appeared in each issue of Lognet for the past year, with Dr. Brown sounding alternatively supportive and skeptical of the proposal; Bob McIvor, who proposed it, is the other member of 'The Loglan Academy' that approves changes to Institute Loglan. Dr. Brown has indicated that a decision is expected this spring.
 
Interestingly, Dr. Brown claims that the Loglan engineering effort is complete, even while contemplating such major changes as this one.
 
 
Shareware? - The last issue of TLI's Lognet surprised Bob with a minor note in response to a letter. The letter suggested that TLI software be distributed as 'Shareware', and Dr. Brown indicated that the idea would be considered. Bob's and Nora's intention to distribute LogFlash as Share- ware triggered the intellectual property disputes that caused the current rift. While Shareware software can technically preserve copyrights, it causes those copyrights to be of minimal financial value, since Shareware is freely copyable. Is The Institute about to make a landmark change in its policy? We'll be watching.
 
== A Survey of Lojban Applications ==
 
Last issue, we gave a rather thorough progress report on the language development progress, and we provide updates on that status each issue. A couple of people have pointed out that we haven't provided comparable information on other aspects of the language - how Loglan/Lojban will be used. On our registration forms, we ask you to indicate one or more of several reasons for your interest in the language, and we have been remiss in not addressing those areas directly in these pages.
 
There is a reason for this, of course. Nearly all of the productive work being done is going towards the language development process. That phase is wrapping up, and people are slowly starting to use the language. As a result we can expect the other areas of interest to flower as more people learn the language. Meanwhile, we try to focus on the other areas one at a time, to keep people thinking about them.
 
This is probably all that can really be done at this point. Until we have a community of fluent speakers, Lojban will lack credibility among professionals in several of the interest areas. Moreover, we will have trouble raising funds through grants and contracts that would greatly advance our capabilities in these areas.
 
Still, it is worthwhile to have a brief review of each area. Following is a summary, from Bob's perspective, of each area:
 
 
The Language Development Process - Of course, we have reported on specific achievements in the language development as they have occurred. In JL13, we surveyed where the language development process stood with regard to individual areas of the design. There is a broader picture, though, that might be missed in looking too closely.
 
Loglan has been the most public language development project in terms of public knowledge of the decisions being made and input into the decision-making itself. Indeed, it was this public involvement that led to the big political squabbles of the last decade. People who have been involved in the language development feel that the language is theirs.
 
A side-effect of such a political dispute has been quite positive; we have pretty much isolated the politics of the "movement" from the language development process itself. The community understands that it is listened to by those who make day-to-day design decisions. This has allowed the process to proceed by consensus; there have been few non- unanimous decisions during the development process.
 
Ideas and proposals are talked out thoroughly if proposed. A recent discussion of relativistic tenses on the computer mailing list overflowed every reader's mailbox with dozens of pages of discussion. The discussion continues, and is far from a consensus; no change is being made. Meanwhile, the several dozen minor cmavo changes and grammar changes have so far attracted minimal comment (and they can hardly be more abstruse than the interaction of light-cones at relativistic speeds). They are expected to be adopted by consensus.
 
The extent of the Loglan development process has had a second effect, also a benefit. There have been few splinter efforts. Lojban itself is one; the splinter has become the mainstream. The Institute version of the language is ever-changing, and drawing small numbers in spite of massive advertising and a completed book. Jim Carter's language project remains essentially a one-person effort, and Jim himself remains a Lojban supporter. Meanwhile la lojbangirz. grows at an ever-accelerating rate.
 
An effect of the dozens of person-years of work put into Loglan/Lojban is that it has become a new standard in artificial language development. Most previous artificial languages have been predominantly the result of one person's work. But, now, no individual language inventor can hope to put as much work into a language design as we all have. Barring some major new insight into the nature of language, any future language development project hoping to improve upon Lojban would likely require several people working together, and most likely will build on the work we and others have done rather than start anew.
 
I believe that this is as it should be. The Library of Congress has dozens of books about one-man languages that never went anywhere. Language is by its nature a commu- nicative process between people with varying experience. One person cannot simultaneously test speakability and understandability, and viable languages must exhibit both virtues across the full range of human discourse.
 
A final aspect of the publicness of the language development is the emphasis on keeping a record of what we have done. An enormous archive is being built and maintained on this development effort. Whether any particular version of Loglan survives and prospers, those who come later will see what we have done and be able to learn from it. Among artificial languages, only Esperanto has any significant historical record of the language before it blossomed into public knowledge, and that record is sparse compared to the Loglan/Lojban record.
 
The other feature of the language development process worthy of comment is our reliance on keeping abreast of the field of linguistics, gathering as much information is possible on what has been learned about human language before claiming to have invented a language that can serve as a human language. This serves us well in 'selling Lojban' to both language learners and linguistics researchers, making the other goals of the language more achievable.
 
 
Machine Translation and Computer Applications - The major bases of computer scientists' interest in Lojban stem from the potential computer applications of the language, of which machine translation of natural language is the most well-known. A large portion of the Lojban community, perhaps as much as 50%, are people working in the broad area of computer science, if not specifically in artificial intelligence, computer language design, machine translation, or any of the several fields where Lojban applications may develop.
 
Work on these applications is still predominantly at the concept stage, for two major reasons. First is that the language development is not fully baselined, and computer application developers avoid as much as possible trying to hit a moving target. When that baseline occurs, and if the language has achieved credibility as a human language, the second obstacle can be challenged. That obstacle is, of course, money. Most useful computer applications will take several person-years of development, requiring work from people used to fairly high salaries. Some might work on small efforts as a hobby, but we cannot expect these efforts to bear fruit, though they might serve as a seed for some future effort.
 
Getting the first financial support for Loglan applications will be difficult; Dr. Brown made one brief attempt in the late 1970's that was ignored. la lojbangirz. is taking a more systematic approach, building credibility and being aware of other research where Lojban may prove a useful adjunct. We also have been building awareness of our effort in the computer science community. When Lojban development is complete, we will have the ideas, the language, the contacts, and hopefully the credibility, to convince some research grant source to commit a large sum of money to pursue these applications.
 
Until then, we need to exchange ideas. Patrick Juola wrote on Lojban and machine translation back in JL8, and JL9 discussed the closely related area of Lojban as a mathematics and science interlingua. Sheldon Linker has thought about the design of a heuristic learning and con- versation program (something like the HAL 9000 computer of 2001 - A Space Odyssey). Art Wieners has been pursuing similar ideas, and has done experimental work on the software needed to recognize Lojban words. Of course, the YACC grammar for Lojban enhances this line of research, and John Cowan's parser, coupled with Jeff Taylor and Jeff Prothero's earlier work, may provide the capability to go from individual speech sounds (phonemes) to fully analyzed text structure within a few months.
 
One area we would like to pursue is the current research being done in teaching computers 'common-sense'. Some researchers are not too far from getting computers to understand a large subset of English. The simpler, more regular grammar of Lojban should make the computer processing for language structure much lighter, allowing more effort to go into 'understanding' of language.
 
Bob, as editor of Ju'i Lobypli, would like to encourage more computer scientists to write brief outlines of their ideas for Lojban for the benefit of JL readers. These seeds, planted today, may become grant proposals tomorrow.
 
 
International Language - JL11 and JL13 have contained significant discussion of the oft-made comparisons between Loglan and Esperanto, and this issue hopefully brings those discussions to a conclusion. As the computer network discussions excerpted later in this issue demonstrate, the topic has not been limited to this journal. The topic has been thoroughly addressed, but let's summarize the key elements of the situation.
 
I will first cover the question of Lojban as an common language in certain specialized domains, such as mathematics, international law, etc. The arguments with Esperantists in these pages and elsewhere have not addressed these questions. Each language brings its own advantages to the problem. Esperanto brings its culture, demonstrated speaker base, and (surprisingly as an 'advantage') its European structure and vocabulary. When well over 90% of the published material in the world is written in a European language, and most of that in English, Loglan's non-European grammar is NOT an advantage. Loglan's advantages are that its grammar is unambiguous, that machine translation was considered in making design decisions, and that it is likely to be seen less as a "colonial" (=European) language to Third World populations.
 
It isn't clear what parameters could be used to decide what "international language" is "best". Esperanto has a large number of speakers, an established community, culture, and literature, and considerable recognition outside its own speaker base as "the" international language. On the other hand, many Esperantists admit that the language has flaws, and that other languages invented since have remedied some of these flaws (usually while introducing new ones that are equally severe); they contend however, that the entire set of flaws in the language are more than made up by the 100 years of language experience that has been acquired.
 
I, Bob, agree with this position. Esperanto is presently in good standing as the prime candidate among artificial languages. Under the best of circumstances for us, Lojban will not legitimately contest this standing for at least a generation, because it will take at least that long for Lojban to build a literature, culture, etc. It may not happen even then.
 
It remains to be proven whether any artificial language, or any single language at all can serve the needs of a "world language". I doubt that most people really know what such a language would entail. Those who raise the claim of English as such a language, for example, forget that English is not a single language. Only in rigid, formal, written text like scientific writing is there enough standardization that various English dialects are mutually intelligible to the degree required by an "international language". I can note that, even there, one can find lapses. Last year, I read a technical book on lexicography, the science of dictionary-making, written by a Czech linguist under the auspices of the United Nations, and translated with his help into English. Portions were only barely intelligible. Yet it was clear that the author did have considerable command of idiomatic English, and Czech is a European language, presumably closer to English than most non-European ones. And this was written by a linguist who specializes in writing dictionaries of other languages, and therefore highly aware of the difficulties in international communication.
 
I contend that colloquial or conversational communication will be much more difficult to unify under the auspices of an 'international language'. This is because the problem is NOT a lack of a common language, but a lack of educa- tion. Education starts with the ability to read and write your own native language fluently - who could justify asking someone to learn to read a second language when they cannot read their own - and how would you teach them. But a large portion of the world's population, probably a majority, is totally illiterate, and others are only semi- literate. How dare we as Loglanists expect to teach them predicate logic or even relativistic tenses!
 
It isn't necessary to learn to read and write in order to learn a language, but all international language proposals have been predominantly targeted at the educated speaker, and teaching materials and methods generally require ability to read and write as well as some understanding about the formal rules of your native language.
 
I do not damn the illiterate. The supposedly literate societies are just as bad as targets for an international language. How much of the recent turmoil in the Middle East has been due to the fact that Westerners, especially Americans, do not understand Arabic culture, much less the Arabic language? The journalists seemed to consider it a major discovery that "mother of all battles", conveyed to us as a grandiose pomposity by Saddam Hussein, was merely the literal English translation of a rather natural Arabic way of saying "big battle". Translate the phrase literally into Esperanto or Lojban and it would still convey misleading ideas - you cannot translate idiom literally without error. You may not be able to translate non-idiom literally, either - imagine the misunderstanding of an translation that results in using the traditional meaning of "gay".
 
 
Let us say that it is agreed that there will be an international language (not as universally agreed as many enthusiasts might want to believe), the language must be chosen. Then the method(s) of teaching the language must be developed, methods on a scale large enough to overcome differences of education, and access to materials. If only the most educated members of a society are taught to speak an international language, the only "achievement" is a class system with walls virtually impossible to surmount. (Of course, motivating a farmer who never runs into foreigners to learn an international language may be difficult. But if she/he doesn't learn the language, his/her children will be severely handicapped in joining the internationally-connected 'upper-class'.)
 
If a language is chosen, it should probably be an artificial one, and Esperanto is by far the leading candidate. Indeed, with the exception of Lojban (which has major goals independent of the international language question to drive it), there are no other meaningful candidates. The other artificial languages of the world simply do not offer anything to justify their selection.
 
Why? Because other candidates have little to offer besides some aesthetic purity of design, and a purported claim that they are 'easier to learn' than Esperanto.
 
But questions of which artificial language is most "easy to learn" are red herrings that settle nothing. Indeed, close examination tends to reveal that artificial languages theoretically are no easier to learn than natural languages - I've heard no claim that the few children who are Es- peranto 'native speakers' because they are raised in a household where Esperanto is spoken, learn their language any faster than an English-native speaker learns English.
 
For second-language learning, too much depends on student background, motivation, and method. There are as many theories of the "best" way to teach a language as there are researchers; yet they give approximately similar results when tested against real students. How could non-spe- cialists be better able to judge fine distinctions as to which language is easier to teach, or to learn?
 
The methodology and the goal are more important than the language. Esperanto vocabulary may be easier for an English speaker to learn, but if this merely leads to English-native Esperantists that speak an encoded English idiom, why bother? They have not learned an international language, because non-English speakers will fail to under- stand the idiom. (When Lojbanists speak encoded idiom, it stands out so starkly that "malglico" is one of the first words a practicing Lojbanist learns.)
 
A quote from Andrew Large's The Artificial Language Movement may help set a perspective. Large cites a President of the international Esperanto organization UEA, as giving the following as an estimate of Esperanto's ease of learning:
 
"... Professor Lapenna offered a reasonable estimate of two or three hours per week for a year in order to acquire "a solid groundwork of knowledge of Esperanto's grammatical structure and of five hundred or so selected roots, from which the language's agglutinative structure enables one to derive some five thousand words."
 
 
This sounds far easier than learning a natural language (about the equivalent of a 1 semester, 3 credit class, spread over a full year), but the comparison with natural language is only relevant if someone is choosing between learning a second natural language and Esperanto. The choice is seldom that simple - except for mandatory school requirements, most people learn a language because they intend to use it. People who seriously study a second natural language spend far more than a couple hours a week in study for a year (or longer) if they want to achieve competence in that language; Lapenna's estimate is only a hobbyist level-of-effort.
 
Serious students with serious goals in language competence study much more intensely, and achieve much better results than Lapenna claims. I learned the Lojban gismu list, 1300 words easily giving millions if not billions of agglutinative compounds, in 3 months of a bit more than an hour a day - perhaps half of Lapenna's total time estimate at twice the intensity - yet I don't claim the Lojban vocabulary is as easy to learn for English speakers as Esperanto's cognates. The advantage was due to more intense effort, interest, and a teaching method especially effective at vocabulary instruction. (At such a higher level of effort, Esperanto students might learn a few more roots due to the cognate recognition factor, but not all that many more.)
 
On the other hand, if the claim is that Esperanto, or any artificial language, is easier to learn than a natural language at a hobbyist level of effort, I would never contest this. But that level of effort gives insufficient rewards in terms of achievement and understanding to sustain the motivation of the average person.
 
I'll claim, by the way, that vocabulary learning is the major factor in achieving the kind of language skill Lapenna is talking about, at least in an artificial language. Elsewhere in the same discussion, Large notes that a few hours of study are all that it takes to understand the basics of Esperanto's grammar. We can make the same claim about Lojban. But grammar is not the critical factor. (In natural languages, it is idiom, and other exceptions to the standard grammar, that makes a language time consuming to master.)
 
 
Returning specifically to Lojban, as an international language candidate. The essential first requirement is that Lojban be demonstrated as truly viable as a language, among several different native-language populations. This will not be easy. Lojban is not yet spoken by any non-na- tive-English speaker, and the few in that category that are studying the language must obviously know English to learn Lojban, since we have no materials beyond our brochure in any foreign language. We must develop fluent Lojbanists who also are fluent in other languages in order to get these materials. (Silvia Romanelli reported working on translating the draft textbook lessons into Italian a year ago, but we do not know her current status.)
 
Esperanto is likely to be the first non-English language that we have substantial Lojban teaching materials in, simply because it is the most commonly spoken non-English language in the community (and the largest audience of people immediately likely to be interested in learning an- other artificial language for any purpose).
 
The politics of choosing an international language favor Esperanto, or even English, by far over Lojban. There is little to be done in this arena other than to survive and grow as a language. This takes speakers and money, and for the near future we will have to concentrate on English speakers, while trying to constantly reach out to natives of other languages. The English-speaking market is the hardest one though; English predominance as an international means of communication means that there is lower motivation among English speakers to learn other languages - and motivation and effort, as I said above, are everything. Even Esperanto has made few inroads in the English-speaking market (ELNA, the North American Esperanto organization, has only around 1000 members, only a few times the effective size of la lojbangirz.) la lojbangirz. can gain enormous credibility if we can motivate Americans and other English-speakers to learn a candidate international language. We have an advantage, being centered in the United States, and should use that advantage.
 
It won't be easy, though. Most Americans never learn to speak a foreign language at even a minimal level (Europeans, including the British are apparently much better in this regard; Canadians are almost certainly exposed to French to some considerable degree; I have no knowledge of foreign language education in other English- speaking countries). If a Southern Californian (I lived there 9 years), faced with almost a majority of native Spanish-speaking neighbors, can avoid learning Spanish fluently, much less minimally, what will make her/him learn Lojban. It won't be ease of learning. It must be motivation and education. People must come to believe that understanding the ideas of those of different cultures is important.
 
 
The international language movement must be a movement of education. Lojban's contribution to that movement will therefore not be as a competitor with Esperanto, but as a tool of education, used in cooperation with Esperantists, and all others who seek to improve the world's lot through education.
 
 
Intercultural Communications/Studies - This is often the goal of those supporting international languages: a means to understand other cultures. Ease of learning is not the most important factor here, cultural neutrality is far more important.
 
I've put a lot of effort during the last year to ensure that Lojban has incorporated the means to express the ideas of different cultures with equal ease. Language typology, the study of universals that all languages have in common, and the differences that make each language unique, is a study that is finally gaining significant progress. From this work, we can see what linguistic features Lojban needs to succeed as a language, and what features it must emulate in order to successfully model other languages.
 
In particular, I've concentrated on a book, The World's Major Languages, edited by B. Comrie. This book surveys several dozen languages in considerable detail, both European and non-European. After 6 months of steady plowing, I can report that Lojban has the capability of conveying the essence of each of the idiosyncratic structures I found, though sometimes in unusual ways. For example, the 'topic construction' of Japanese turns out to be nicely modelled by Lojban's prenex construction, designed for certain logical expressions. The Chinese sentences used as examples can often be conveyed in Lojban as very elaborate tanru. It is clear to me that, if the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is true, then Lojban's ability to model the structures of the world's languages will lead to a corresponding ability to understand the cultures that use those languages. Time will surely tell.
 
Lojban's value in understanding other cultures is enhanced by the requirement to thoroughly think about what you wish to say in culture-free terms in order to express it in Lojban, with its drastically different structures. The translations of a Suzanne Vega song lyric into several artificial languages in le lojbo se ciska, and my commentary, may be more revealing than a lot of words here. It took me a couple of hours to do the Lojban translation, not because anything therein was hard to say in Lojban, but it took time to figure out just what the author was trying to say (and I'm a native English speaker).
 
Expressing cultural ideas in Lojban for the benefit of those in other cultures, will be slow and at times cumbersome, especially for those not fluent in the language. But the problem is not trivial, and a little deliberation may be a good sign rather than a bad one.
 
 
Language Education - Half of language education for natural languages (or even more) is understanding the culture of the target language, since so much of the natural idiom of a language is tied to various cultural metaphors. Thus everything mentioned in the last section provides a benefit for Lojban as a medium for learning other languages.
 
I noted above that linguists have determined no optimal method for teaching languages. A survey I've done of both traditional and innovative teaching methods indicates that each method has advantages and disadvantages; they will work for some students and not for others.
 
We have found the same thing with LogFlash, our superb vocabulary teaching method. Both Nora and I have learned the Lojban vocabulary with what we saw as incredible ease, and more important, with incredible staying power - we don't forget what we have learned. But the method requires the student to use the program for about 2-3 months at an hour a day, with major interruptions causing a significant delay in mastery of the language. We're working on improvements with the next version of the program that will minimize the effect of interruption or lesser time spent, but the bottom line is that the method requires a commitment to regular use - it takes a certain number of hours to learn a certain amount of vocabulary. Someone who doesn't spend that time, regularly for 3 months, will have less success. People who need a variety of activities to maintain their interest may find LogFlash's monotonous, if effective, drills beyond their tolerance (unless they spend additional time above and beyond LogFlash study in other Lojbanic activities).
 
Lojban, however, offers an excellent laboratory for experimenting with new methods in language education, and the techniques we have developed as amateurs have already proven effective for people trying to learn other languages. Darren Stalder, now studying Japanese, reports that studying Lojban gave him an awareness of the lin- guistic features of how words sound (phonology) that has greatly enhanced his learning of Japanese. He understands the rules for pronouncing the language, but also better understands why the rules hold, allowing him to better remember the rules when they apply as well as to extrapo- late when the rules do not explicitly cover the situation. Sylvia Rutiser has also been working with Japanese, trying to use the LogFlash flash card techniques to learn the Japanese writing system.
 
I personally think that language education may be one of the areas where Lojban first scores a breakthrough that attracts attention from those not directly interested in the language itself. When the textbook is complete, I will be seeking funding to pursue the study of Lojban as a tech- nique of language education. In the meantime, I'll be listening carefully at the relevant discussions at the Georgetown Round Table meetings on this subject in April.
 
 
Linguistics Research - Much of the rest of this issue addresses the subject of Lojban and the linguistics community, so I won't spend much space here. As that discussion will show, the concept of using Lojban to study creolization processes (how languages evolve in contact with other languages) is a new idea that should have significant credibility. Unlike a comparable study based on a natural language, studying the creolization of Lojban gains the benefit of a clear statement as to what the language is before the start of such an evolutionary process, thus allowing changes to be more easily observed and measured.
 
Most attention regarding Loglan linguistics research has been with regard to testing the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, the original goal and primary ideal of some supporters of the language. JL6 and JL7 discussed this topic considerably, and there has been more discussion since then, including some in the computer network material in this issue. However, a Sapir-Whorf test may take decades to plan and conduct, and may be unconvincing to some even if successful.
 
Thus far more important to Lojban's future in linguistics research, and its credibility among linguists, is that Loglan/Lojban be proven useful for studying other aspects of language. We are lucky in this. Dr. Brown, in inventing the language, envisioned and designed it to serve as a 'test bed' for language experimentation, having a minimum of features that might detract from the ability for later linguists to use Loglan as a tool to learn. We believe that the Lojban designers have stuck to this principle, and even enhanced it, in the last few years. What remains is to convince the linguists that we are correct.
 
Let us turn now to the first step in making the linguistic case for Lojban, the response to Arnold Zwicky's 1969 critique of Loglan. We will then follow with other aspects of Lojban's application, especially as discussed on the computer networks.
 
== Response to Arnold Zwicky's 1969 Review of Loglan 1 Loglan and Lojban: A Linguist's Questions And An Amateur's Answers ==
by John Cowan (ci'a la djan. kau,n.)
<br />Internet address: [email protected]
 
The following questions about Loglan are based on a 1969 review by Arnold M. Zwicky of James Cooke Brown's 1966 edition of Loglan 1. Although basically friendly, Zwicky's review raises a large number of linguistic objections to Loglan as it existed in 1966. The review represents the only formal notice the linguistics community has ever taken of the Loglan Project. Unfortunately, the Project has never made any reply.
 
The answers that appear here reflect the perspective of Lojban (not Institute Loglan) as it exists in 1991. Therefore, no attempts have been made to sort out Zwicky's misunderstandings of Brown's text, Brown's misunderstandings (or mistakes in writing) about his own language, valid points as of 1969 that were later changed by Brown, and valid points as of 1969 that were changed when (or since) Lojban split from Institute Loglan.
 
Throughout, "Loglan" refers to 1966 Loglan as seen by Zwicky, and "Lojban" to 1991 Lojban as seen by me. The word "Lojban" is derived from the same metaphor as "Loglan" ("logical language") but using Lojban words ("logji bangu").
 
As the title indicates, I am only an amateur (lit. "lover") of linguistics, and I may misinterpret some of Zwicky's points. The question-and-answer format used here is purely for expository convenience. Zwicky is not responsible for the form of the questions, which reflect only my interpretations of his points, except for quoted text within the questions followed by (Z), which are quotations from Zwicky's original review. That review was published in Language 45:2 (1969), pp. 444-457.
 
1. Lojban sentences do not have unique interpretations; how can Lojban be said to be unambiguous?
 
The sense in which Lojban is said to be unambiguous is not a simple one, and some amplification of the fundamental claim is necessary. Ambiguity is judged on four levels: the phonological-graphical, the morphological, the syntactic, and the semantic.
 
Lojban is audio-visually isomorphic: the writing system has a grapheme for every phoneme and vice versa, and there are no supra-segmental phonemes (such as tones or pitch) which are not represented in the writing system. Lojban's phonology contains significant pauses that affect word boundaries, and allows pauses between any two words. The optional written representation for pause is a period, although pauses can be unambiguously identified in written text from the morphological rules alone. Lojban also uses stress significantly, and again there is a written representation (capitalization of the affected vowel or syllable), which is omitted in most text, where the morphological default of penultimate stress applies.
 
Lojban is morphologically unambiguous in two senses: a string of phonemes (including explicit pause and stress information) can be broken up into words in only one way, and each compound word can be converted to and from an equivalent phrase in only one way.
 
The syntactic unambiguity of Lojban has been established by the use of a LALR(1) parser generator which, in cooperation with a series of simple pre-parser operations, produces a unique parse for every Lojban text. In addition, the existence of a defined 'phrase structure rule' grammar underlying the language (and tested via the parser generator) guarantees that there are no sentences where distinct deep structures generate isomorphic surface structures. On the other hand, Lojban does have transformations, although they are not explicit in the machine grammar: there are distinct surface structures which have the same semantics, and therefore reflect the same underlying deep structure.
 
The claim for semantic unambiguity is a limited one only. Lojban contains several constructs which are explicitly ambiguous semantically. The most important of these are Lojban tanru (so-called 'metaphors') and Lojban names. Names are ambiguous in almost any language, and Lojban is no better; a name simply must be resolved in context, and the only final authority for the meaning of a name is the user of the name. tanru are further discussed in later replies.
 
2. If the meaning of a particular tanru cannot be completely understood from understanding the component parts, a separate dictionary entry is needed for every possible tanru, making the Lojban dictionary infinitely long. How can this be avoided?
 
tanru are binary combinations of predicates, such that the second predicate is the 'head' and the first predicate is a modifier for that head. The meaning of the tanru is the meaning of its head, with the additional information that there is some unspecified relationship between the head and the modifier. tanru are the basis of compound words in Lojban. However, a compound word has a single defined meaning whereas the meaning of a tanru is explicitly ambiguous. Lojban tanru are not as free as English figures of speech; they are 'analytic', meaning that the components of the tanru do not themselves assume a figurative sense. Only the connection between them is unstated.
 
Most of the constructs of Lojban are semantically unambiguous, and there are semantically unambiguous ways (such as with relative clauses) to paraphrase the meaning of any tanru. For example, "slasi mlatu" ("plastic-cat") might be paraphrased in ways that translate to "cat that is made from plastic" or "cat which eats plastic" or various other interpretations, just as in English. However, the single (compound) word derived from this tanru, "slasymlatu", has exactly one meaning from among the interpretations, which could be looked up in a dictionary (if someone had found the word useful enough to formally submit it). There is no law compelling the creation of such a word, however, and there is even an 'escape mechanism' allowing a speaker to indicate that a particular instance of a 'nonce' compound word is 'nonstandard' (has not been checked against a dictionary or other standard), and may have a meaning based on an unusual interpretation of the underlying tanru.
 
3. The Loglan 'primitive words' seem to have been chosen at random, without regard to any sort of semantic theory. Why was this done?
 
Lojban content words are built up from a list of about 1300 root words (called "gismu"), which are not necessarily to be taken as semantically simple. Lojban does not claim to exhibit a complete and comprehensive semantic theory which hierarchically partitions the entire semantic space of human discourse.
 
Rather, the 1300-odd root words blanket semantic space, in the sense that everything human beings talk about can be built up using appropriate tanru. This claim is being tested in actual usage, and root words can still be added if necessary (after careful consideration) if genuine gaps are found. For the most part, the few gaps which are now recognized (about 20 words will be added soon) reflect the completing of semantic sets. It is no longer permitted for language users to create new gismu root words (in the standard form of the language, at least); newly coined words must fall recognizably outside the highly regulated gismu morphological space (a specific and separate morphological structure is reserved for coined words - usually borrowings - and a marker is available to indicate that a word is a 'nonce' coinage rather than an established 'dictionary word').
 
Lojban's empirically derived word list is similar to that of Basic English, which replaces the whole English vocabulary with English-normal compounds built from about 800 root words. Lojban and Basic English both allow for the adoption of technical terms from other languages to cover things like plant and animal names, food names, and names of chemical compounds.
 
The unfortunate terms "primitive word" and "prim" formerly used by the Loglan Project suggested the notion that Lojban's set of gismu was meant to be a list of semantic primitives. This is not the case for Lojban, and the more neutral term "root word" was adopted recently to reduce confusion. Lojban predicate words, therefore, are now divided into gismu 'root words', lujvo 'compound words' and le'avla 'borrowings' (lit. 'taken words'). (Brown did originally select some words as 'semantic primitives'; however, he later added words with no claim that the addi- tions were 'primitive' in the same sense).
 
4. Some tanru seem poorly designed and not in keeping with expressed standards. Also, tanru like "nixli ckule", analogous to English "girls' school", are so open-ended in sense that there is no way to block such far-fetched interpretations as "a school intended to train girls between the ages of 6 and 10 to play the bassoon", which is patently absurd. What is the proper interpretation of tanru?
 
In the early part of the Loglan Project, poor tanru were regrettably common. In particular, it was common for tanru to be calques on English expressions, such as "beautiful type of small" for English "pretty small". Many tanru employed the primitive for "make"' (in the sense "make from materials") where "cause" would have been more appropriate (e.g. "kill" = "dead-make"). Many years worth of effort since then have gone into removing such malglico ('derogatively English') tanru from Lojban texts.
 
The Lojban tanru "nixli ckule" ("girl type of school") cannot mean, out of context, "school intended to train girls between 6 and 10 years of age to play the bassoon", although if such a school existed it could certainly be called a nixli ckule. This interpretation can be rejected as implausible because it involves additional restrictive information. The undefined relationship between "nixli" and "ckule" cannot drag in additional information 'by the hair', as it were. Instead, this intricate interpretation would require a larger tanru incorporating nixli ckule as one of its components, or else a non-tanru construct, probably involving a Lojban relative clause. As a comparison, such interpretations as "school containing girls", "school whose students are girls", and "school to train persons to behave like girls" are plausible with minimal context because these renderings do not involve ad- ditional restriction.
 
5. Lojban claims to be unambiguous, but many constructs have vague meanings, and the meanings of the primitives themselves are extremely poorly specified. On the other hand, Lojban forces precision on speakers where it is not wanted and where natural-language speakers can easily avoid it. Is this appropriate to a culturally neutral, unambiguous language?
 
Lojban's avoidance of ambiguity does not mean an avoidance of vagueness. A Lojban aphorism states that the price of infinite precision is infinite verbosity, as indeed Wilkins' Philosophical Language illustrates. Lojban's allowable vagueness permits useful sentences to be not much longer than their natural-language counterparts.
 
There are many ways to omit information in Lojban, and it is up to the listener to reconstruct what was meant, just as in natural languages. In each construct, there are specific required and optional components. Unlike English, omitting an optional component explicitly and unambiguously flags an ellipsis. Furthermore, the listener has a clear way of querying any of this elliptically omitted information.
 
There are also some categories which are necessary in Lojban and not in other languages. For example, Lojban requires the speaker, whenever referring to objects, to specify whether the objects are considered as individuals, as a mass, or as a (set theoretic) set. Likewise, logical relations are made explicit: there can be no neutrality in Lojban about inclusive vs. exclusive 'or', which are no more closely related semantically than any other pair of logical connectives.
 
These properties are a product of Lojban's fundamental design, which was chosen to emphasize a highly distinctive and non-natural syntax (that of formal first-order predicate logic) embedded in a language with the same expressive power as natural languages. Through the appearance of this one highly unusual feature, the intent of the Loglan Project has been to maximize one difference between Lojban and natural languages without compromising speakability and learnability. This difference could then be tested by considering whether the use of first-order predicate logic as a syntactic base aided fluent Lojban speakers in the use of this logic as a reasoning tool.
 
As to the 'primitives', Lojban gismu roots are defined rather abstractly, in order to cover as large a segment of closely related semantic space as possible. These broad (but not really vague) concepts can then be restricted using tanru and other constructs to any arbitrary degree necessary for clarity. Communicating the meaning of a gismu (or any other Lojban word) is a problem of teaching and lexicography. The concepts are defined as predicate relationships among various arguments, and various experimental approaches have been explored throughout the Loglan Project to determine the best means to convey these meanings. It is believed that the current working definitions of the gismu are much more clear than the 1966 set.
 
6. On a more technical note, Lojban tanru involving more than two components are always left-grouping (in the absence of a marker word). Right-branching structure is "much more natural to human languages" (Z). Why was this choice made?
 
Lojban is predominantly a left-branching language. By default, all structures are left-branching, with right- branching available when marked by a particle. Since the head of most constructs appears on the left, left-branching structures tend to favor the speaker. Nothing spoken needs to be revised to add more information. When the head is on the right, as in the case of tanru, left-branching may seem counter-intuitive, as it requires the listener to retain the entire structure in mind until the head is found. However, left-branching was retained even in tanru for the sake of simplicity.
 
Experience has shown, however, that Lojban's left- branching structure is not a major problem for language learners. Indeed, many longer English metaphors translate directly into Lojban using simple left-branching structures.
 
7. Loglan anaphora use a convention which is "quite precise, and also quite unlike anything in natural languages" (Z), involving counting backward from the reference to the referent. This provides unique reference, but is also difficult to understand and use. Is there nothing better that preserves the desirable property of unique reference which a logical language needs?
 
The Lojban anaphora conventions have undergone much revision and expansion since the early days of Loglan. There now exist both the "traditional" Loglan back-counting anaphora, which refer to previous referents, and more "natural-language-like" anaphoric words which are meaningless until assigned. Assignment may be either in after-thought or forethought. These words are somewhat like natural language pronouns, but may more closely be compared to the use of regions of space in American Sign Language to refer to remote persons and things. Unassigned space regions in ASL are similarly meaningless.
 
It is no longer a required convention that anaphora variables be assigned in a fixed order. Subscripts (as in mathematics) are allowed almost everywhere in the language, and provide for a countable infinity of variables as of many other things. Lojban also has added the capability of using individual letters and acronyms as anaphoric symbols.
 
8. Why does Loglan have a different and even more complex system of "personal pronouns" for speaker/listener reference? Is this level of complexity really in order for what other languages treat as a simple matter?
 
Lojban personal pronouns have been simplified. There are now forms for I, II, III, I and II, I and III, II and III, and I and II and III. There are no separate forms (and never have been) for plurals, because number is not a mandatory grammatical category in any part of Lojban. Number is expressed, when needed, using explicit numerals (which include both precise and vague forms analogous to English 'some', 'few', 'too many', etc.) Honorifics were recently added to the language, using a general mechanism which may apply to any word or construct, not merely to pronouns.
 
9. Why does Loglan treat predicate connection as primary and sentence, argument, etc. connection as secondary?
 
Whatever may have been assumed in the past for pedagogical purposes, logical connection between sentences is basic to Lojban. All other forms of logical connection may be transformed into equivalent sentence connections.
 
10. Why are there so many structure words, and why are many of them so similar? Wouldn't this make Loglan hard to understand at a cocktail party (or a similar noisy environment)?
 
One of the recurrent difficulties with all forms of Loglan, including Lojban, is the tendency to fill up the available space of structure words, making words of similar function hard to distinguish in noisy environments. The phonological revisions made when Lojban split from Insti- tute Loglan allowed for many more structure words (cmavo), but once again the list has almost entirely filled.
 
In some cases, notably the digits 0-9, an effort has been made to separate them phonologically. The vocatives (including the words used for communication protocol, e.g. over the radio) are also maximally separated phonologically. Many other function words are based on shortened forms of corresponding gismu roots, however, and are not maximally separated.
 
A variety of ways to say "Huh?" have been added to the language, partially alleviating the difficulty. These question words can be used to specify the type of word that was expected, or the part of the relationship that was not understood by the listener.
 
11. Loglan's "restrictions on stresses and pauses results in long sequences of unstressed syllables which must be pronounced without a break" (Z). This makes correct speech a "trial for a speaker of English or Russian, and not easy even for a speaker of French" (Z). Natural languages often have non-significant pauses, but in Loglan every non- required pause is forbidden. Is Loglan really speakable?
 
Lojban allows certain flexibilities of pause and stress in the area of structure words. By default, all structure words are unstressed. However, it is possible to set off structure words with optional pauses, and even to give them optional stress, subject to a single limitation: a structure word followed by a predicate word without pause must not be stressed.
 
Pauses are now permitted between any two words; only within a word is pause forbidden, and most words are short. gismu and cmavo are always one or two syllables long, and many lujvo compounds are only two or three syllables.
 
12. "A partial explanation for the existence of transformations is to be found in the necessity for providing speakers of any language with relatively acceptable variants of certain types of deep structures." (Z) Loglan has no transformations, making some sentences expressible, but far from straightforward or easy to use. Doesn't this make Loglan harder to use than typical natural languages?
 
Lojban does have transformations, in the sense that there are several alternative surface structures that have the same semantics and therefore, presumably, the same deep structure. What it does not have is identical surface structures with differing deep structures, so a surface- structure-only grammar is sufficient to develop an adequate parsing for every text. Knowledge of transformations is required only to get the semantics right.
 
13. Lojban connectives cannot be used to correctly translate English "If you water it, it will grow", because material implication is too weak and the special causal connectives, which connect assertions, are too strong. What can be done instead?
 
The English sentence "If you water it, it will grow" looks superficially like a Lojban "na.a" connection (material implication), but it actually has causal connotations not present in "na.a". Therefore, a proper translation must involve the notion of cause. Neither the Lojban coordinating causal conjunction nor the two cor- relative subordinating causal conjunctions (one of which subordinates the cause and the other the effect) will serve, since these require that either the cause, or the effect, or both be asserted. Instead, the correct translation of the English involves "cause" as a predicate, and might be paraphrased "The event of your watering it is a cause of the event of its future growing."
 
14. How can Loglan logical connectives be used in imperative sentences? Logical connectives work properly only on complete sentences, and of those, only those which actually assert something.
 
In early versions of Loglan, imperatives were marked by a predication without a subject. In Lojban, there is a special imperative pronoun "ko". This is a second person pronoun logically equivalent to "do", the normal Lojban word for 'you', but conveying an imperative sense. Thus, an imperative can be understood as commanding the listener to make the assertion true which results when "ko" is replaced by "do".
 
For example, "ko sisti" ('Stop!') is logically equivalent to "do sisti" ('you stop'), and pragmatically may be understood as 'Make "do sisti" true!". This allows logical connection to be used in imperatives without loss of clarity or generality; the logical connection applies to the assertion which is in effect embedded in the im- perative.
 
A minor advantage of this style of imperative is that tensed imperatives like "ko ba klama", ('Come in-the- future!') become straightforward.
 
15. Loglan's existential (bound) variables appear to be non-standard. Brown states that the value of an existential variable is always unknown to the speaker, rather than merely being unspecified (perhaps for reasons of privacy or germaneness). Why is this? Also, why isn't quantification over predicates provided? Why are the back- counting anaphora unable to refer to existential variables?
 
Existential variables are now interpreted in a standard way, to refer to something unspecified, or something specified by a restrictive relative clause ("all x such that..."). There are separate sets of variables for quantifying over arguments and over predicates. In general, the back-counting anaphora (which are less important in Lojban than in Loglan) are not used to refer to other anaphoric words; this makes the counting convention a bit more complex, but leads to more generally useful results.
 
16. Untensed sentences ought to be neutral with respect to tense, mood, and aspect, but Brown treats untensed sentences as expressing disposition, habit, or ability - lasting throughout all time. This is inconsistent with other parts of the language which treat ellipsized material as merely unspecified.
 
The Lojban tense system has been greatly elaborated and clarified with respect to its Loglan predecessor. There are now specific mechanisms for stating the potentiality or actuality of a predication; in the absence of these, a predication is neutral concerning the degree of actuality expressed by it. It is no longer true that "untensed" predicates are used to express disposition or habit. They may be so used, by ellipsis, but are in fact neutral in the absence of further evidence.
 
Lojban tense, like other incidental modifiers of a predication, tend to be contextually "sticky". When once specified in connected discourse, to whatever degree of precision seems appropriate, tense need not be respecified in each sentence. In narration, this assumption is modi- fied to the extent that each sentence is assumed to refer to a slightly later time than the previous sentence, although with explicit tense markers it is possible to tell a story in reversed or scrambled time order. Therefore, each predication does have a tense, one that is implicit if not necessarily explicit.
 
17. The decisions about the degrees of predicates (the number of arguments expected for each) seem arbitrary. Color words are treated as relations of degree 2; weather predicates which have no real subject nevertheless need at least one argument; event predicates like "kiss" don't have an argument specifying the time. What theory underlies the choice of place structures?
 
Very little. Place structures are empirically derived, like the root word list itself, and present a far more difficult problem; therefore, they will be standardized (if ever) only after everything else is complete. Many of the particular objections made above have force, and have already been accepted. There is no sufficiently complete and general case theory that allows the construction of a priori place structures for the large variety of predicates that exist in the real world.
 
The current place structures of Lojban represent a three- way compromise: fewer places are easier to learn; more places make for more concision (arguments not represented in the place structure may be added, but must be marked with appropriate case tags); the presence of an argument in the place structure makes a metaphysical claim that it is required for the predication to be meaningful. This last point requires some explanation. For example, the predicate "klama" ("come, go") has five places: the actor, the destination, the origin, the route, and the means. Lojban therefore claims that anything not involving these five notions (whether specified in a particular sentence or not) is not an instance of "klama". The predicate "cliva" ("leave") has the same places except for the destination; it is not necessary to be going anywhere in particular for "cliva" to hold. "litru" ("travel") has neither origin nor destination, merely, the actor, the route, and the means. The predicate "cadzu" ("walk"), involves only a walker and a means of walking (typically legs). One may walk without an origin or a destination (in circles, e.g.). For describing the act of walking from somewhere to somewhere, the tanru "cadzu klama" or the corresponding lujvo "dzukla" would be appropriate. The tanru "cadzu cliva" and "cadzu litru" may be similarly analyzed.
 
18. The Loglan phonological system is hard for English- speakers (to say nothing of Japanese-speakers) to use, due to the large numbers of consonant clusters and non-English diphthongs. How can a language be appropriate as an international auxiliary language when it is difficult to pronounce?
 
Lojban phonology is much better than 1966 Loglan's was. There are now only 4 falling and 10 rising diphthongs, and the rising diphthongs are used only in names and in paralinguistic grunts representing emotions. All 25 vowel combinations are used, but they are separated by a voiceless vocalic glide written with an apostrophe, thus preventing diphthongization. English-speakers think of this glide as /h/, and even speakers of languages like French, which has no /h/, can manage this sound intervocalically.
 
Consonant clusters are controlled more carefully as well. Only 48 selected clusters are permitted initially; some of these, such as "ml" and "mr", do not appear in English, but are still possible to English-speakers with a bit of prac- tice. Medial consonant clusters are also restricted, to prevent mixed voiced-unvoiced clusters, consecutive stops, and other hard-to-handle combinations. The new Lojban sound /y/, IPA [@], is used to separate "bad" medial clusters wherever the morphology rules would otherwise produce them.
 
Difficulties with the variety of permitted initial sounds are overestimated. Lojban's morphology makes pronouncing these words easier than they first appear. Initial consonant clusters occur only in content words (predicates) and names. These words seldom are spoken in isolation; rather, they are expressed in a speech stream with a rhythmic stress pattern preceded (and followed) by words that end with a vowel. The unambiguous morphology allows the words to be broken apart even if run together at a very high speech rate. Meanwhile, though, the final vowel of the preceding word serves to buffer the cluster, allowing it to be pronounced as a much easier medial cluster. Thus "le mlatu" ("the cat"), while officially pronounced /le,MLA,tu/, can be pronounced as /lem,LA,tu/ with no confusion to the listener.
 
In addition, the buffering sound, IPA [I] (the "i" of "English "bit") is explicitly reserved for insertion at any point into a Lojban word where the speaker requires it for ease of pronunciation. The word "mlatu" may be pronounced /mIlatu/ by those who cannot manage "ml", and nothing else need be changed. This sound is "stripped" by the listener before any further linguistic processing is done.
 
19. Loglan words resemble their English cognates, but unsystematically so. Does this really aid learning, or does it make learning more difficult?
 
Lojban words are less English-like than prior versions of Loglan, since they were redone using new (1985) data on numbers of speakers. English is now less important in relative terms than Mandarin Chinese, and most Lojban words are fairly equal mixtures of the two languages, with lesser influences from Spanish, Hindi, Russian, and Arabic. The other languages used in 1966 Loglan are no longer as prominent in terms of world-wide number of speakers, and were dropped from the word-making algorithm.
 
There is no proven claim that the Lojban word-making algorithm has any meaningful correlation with learnability of the words. Brown has reported that informal 'engineering tests' were conducted early in the Loglan Project, leading to his selection of the current algorithm, but these tests have never been documented or subjected to review. The Logical Language Group has proposed formal tests of the algorithm, and is instrumenting its software used for teaching vocabulary to allow data to be gathered that will confirm or refute Brown's hypothesis. Gathering this data may incidentally provide additional insights into the vocabulary learning process, enabling Lojban to serve the additional purpose of being a test bed for research in 2nd language acquisition.
 
In any event, the word-making algorithm used for Lojban has the clear benefit of ensuring that phonemes occur in the language in rough proportion to their occurrence in the source natural languages, and in patterns and orders that are similar to those in the source languages (thus the first syllable of Lojban gismu most frequently ends in /n/, reflecting the high frequency of syllable ending /n/ in Chinese). The result is a language that is much more pleasant-sounding than, for example, randomly chosen phoneme strings, while having at least some arguable claim to being free of the European cultural bias found in the roots of most other constructed languages.
 
20. Loglan has an absolutely fixed word order; in some cases, changes of word order are possible, but only by the addition of marker particles. Why is this? No natural language has an absolutely fixed word order (or for that matter, an absolutely free one).
 
Lojban's word order is by no means fixed. In fact, Lojban is only secondarily a "word order" language at all. Primarily, it is a particle language. Using a standard word order allows many of the particles to be 'elided' (dropped) in common cases. However, even the standard un- marked word order is by no means fixed; the principal requirement is that at least one argument precede the predicate, but it is perfectly all right for all of the arguments to do so, leading to an SOV word order rather than the canonical SVO (subject-verb-object). VSO order is expressible using only 1 particle. In two-argument predicates, OSV, OVS, and VOS are also possible with only one particle, and various even more scrambled orders (when more than two-place predicates are involved) can also be achieved.
 
21. Loglan does not have WH-questions of the English kind (its questions are fill-in-the-blank) and does not have relative clauses. Therefore, no "unbounded" transformations (in the technical sense) exist in the language. Sentences like "I met a man that John said Mary told George to visit" can be translated only with great pain. How can such fairly common types of constructions be represented better?
 
Lojban does have relative clauses, of the Hebrew type; the relative marker and the relative pronoun are distinct. The marker "poi" (or "noi" for non-restrictive clauses) always comes at the beginning, but the embedded clause is in normal order, using the relative pronoun "ke'a" at the appropriate location to represent whatever is being elaborated by the clause.
 
22. If Loglan is to be used as an international auxiliary language, it must be culturally neutral. But many of its conceptual distinctions, for example the color set, are clearly biased towards particular languages. There is a word for 'brown', which is a color not used in Chinese (although a word exists, it is rare); on the other hand, there is only one word for 'blue', although Russian- speakers convey the range of English 'blue' with two words. How can Loglan be prevented from splintering into dialects which differ in such points?
 
To some extent, such splitting is inevitable and already exists in natural languages. Some English-speakers may use the color term 'aqua' in their idiolect, whereas others lump that color with 'blue', and still others with 'green'. Understanding is still possible, perhaps with some effort. The Lojban community will have to work out such problems for itself; there are sufficient clarifying mechanisms to resolve differences in idiolect or style between individuals. The unambiguous syntax and other constraints defined in the language prescription should make such dif- ferences much more easily resolvable than, say, the differences between two dialects of English.
 
The prescriptive phase of Lojban is not intended to solve all problems (especially all semantic problems) but merely to provide enough structure to get a linguistic community started. After that, the language will be allowed to evolve naturally, and will probably creolize a bit in some cultures. (A recent discussion has pointed out that observing the creolization of such a highly prescribed constructed language will undoubtedly reveal much about the nature of the processes involved.
 
23. Loglan is supposed to be intended as a test of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in its negative form: "structural features of language make a difference in our awareness of the relations between ideas" (Brown). Is this simply another way of saying "Distinctions are more likely to be noticed if structurally marked" (Z)? If so, this is trivially true.
 
A better paraphrase might be "Unmarked features are more likely to be used, and therefore will tend to constitute the backgrounded features of the language". By making the unmarked features those which are most unlike natural-lan- guage features, a new set of thought habits will be created (if Sapir-Whorf is true) which will be measurably different from those possessed by non-Lojban speakers. If Sapir- Whorf is false, which is the null hypothesis for Lojban purposes, no such distinctions in thought habits will be detectable.
 
Further elaboration of Loglan Project thinking about Sapir-Whorf has led to another alternate formulation: "The constraints imposed by structural features of language impose corresponding constraints on thought patterns." In attempting to achieve cultural neutrality, Lojban has been designed to minimize many structural constraints found in natural languages (such as word order, and the structural distinctions between noun, verb, and adjective). If Sapir- Whorf is true, there should be measurable broadening in thought patterns (possibly showing up as increased cre- ativity or ability to see relationships between superficially unlike concepts). Again, the null hypothesis is that no measurable distinction will exist.
 
24. How can "ease of thought" be measured? Measuring facility with predicate logic is not enough to establish "ease of thought"
 
Perhaps not. However, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis tends to be confirmed if experiments show that Lojban-speakers have a greater facility with predicate logic than non- Lojban-speakers. That would indicate that language (natural language) limits thought in ways that Lojban- speakers can bypass. This form of test is not free of its own difficulties, which have been discussed elsewhere.
 
=== Summary ===
 
Professor Zwicky's analysis raises several points of concern to linguists who might be interested in the potential use of Lojban for linguistic research. It is believed that sufficient planning and linguistic understanding (and occasionally serendipity) has been incorporated in the Lojban language design process to meet these concerns. Other concerns no doubt exist; it is believed they can similarly be addressed, and that Lojban will prove linguistically viable, as well as useful in our attempts to understand language.
 
Meanwhile, as Lojban has evolved since the 1966 version of Loglan, new features, not analyzed by Zwicky, have been added to the language, further enhancing its potential value. These features, such as Lojban's expression of the several varieties of natural language negation, the system of attitudinal words for emotional expression, and the discursives used for metalinguistic manipulation and comment on the discourse in progress, raise new questions about the adequacy of Lojban's design, while providing new opportunities for exploration of the properties of natural language, as well as the correctness of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
 
In 1991, it is time for linguists to again look at Lojban, with the expectation that new questions, and new respect, will be forthcoming.
 
 
== A First Cut at a Linguistic Description of Lojban ==
 
Following are some notes on Loglan/Lojban of possible interest to linguists. It is intended that this discussion is more germane to this audience than our general brochure.  We welcome questions, comments (and yes, criticisms) from the linguistic community on all aspects of the project.
 
Lojban is a public domain version of Loglan, a constructed language first invented by Dr. James Cooke Brown in 1955. Dr. Brown is still working on his version of the language, which has significant flaws and remains proprietary. There is a dispute between Dr. Brown's group and ours, which has been compared to the Volapk collapse and the Esperanto/Ido split. However, the 'splinter' in this case has survived and the Lojban community is growing at the limit of our resources to support it. We recommend that anyone familiar with Loglan but not with Lojban contact us for more detailed information on the situation and comparison between the two versions.
 
Among the design criteria for Lojban has been particular attention to criticisms of the language presented by linguists over the past three decades. We believe that we have set the Loglan/ Lojban project on an academically sound footing, and are seeking continued input and review comments from linguists as we document the effort. While we are unfunded and have not yet been published in peer- reviewed journals, we expect both conditions to change. We do have linguists actively involved in the design effort itself, most notably Dr. John Parks-Clifford, a professor at University of Missouri at St. Louis researching in tense logic, among other areas, who is Vice President of our group.
 
The language has been demonstrated in conversation, although there are no fluent speakers as of yet. My wife and I and others practice the language in spontaneous conversation perhaps 2 hours a week. Some poetry and other original writings in the language have been produced, though most work has been with translations (from English), most notably Saki's short story 'The Open Window', which proved especially amenable to translation and exercised areas of the language not often found in conversation.
 
The Loglan Project was originally started to develop a language for testing the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. In addition to supporting this goal, Lojban is designed to support other possible experiments in linguistics, including most significantly the expression of emotions, linguistic typology, and language education techniques.
 
With regard to Sapir-Whorf, the formulation we use is that "the structure of a language constrains the thought of the culture using that language". This formulation relates to grammar as well as semantics, with more design effort being placed on grammatical aspects, presuming that semantics will develop with the formation of a Lojban- speaking subculture, and will, if not overtly biased, serve as one means of examining for Sapir-Whorf effects.
 
The main basis for Lojban's use in Sapir-Whorf research is its grammar, which is based on logical predication. There are also explicit models for easily expressing first- order logical connectives. The strong bias towards logical structuring would be presumed to have a measurably sig- nificant effect on expression, and if our formulation of Sapir-Whorf is valid, on the culture that speaks the language.
 
The language may show noticeable changes in first- generation Lojban speakers who are native in other languages (indeed, apparent effects have been observed already, though it is uncertain whether these are true Sapir-Whorf effects). A true Sapir-Whorf test will probably involve at-least-2nd generation speakers raised bilingually in Lojban and a natural language, and speakers from a variety of cultures. The need to build numbers of Lojban-speakers in many cultures has led to Loglan/Lojban's association with the international language movement, although that is not the primary purpose for the language.
 
Other applications, based on Lojban's unambiguous, computer-parsable syntax, heavily analytical semantics, and intended cultural neutrality, include multi-lingual machine translation using Lojban as an interlingua, use of Lojban as a medium for knowledge representation in computers, and use as a media for human-computer interface. Work in all of these areas is still at an early stage, and naturally will tend to involve different sorts of people than are interested in natural language research questions, although there may be some overlap in trying to use Lojban as a simple model for natural language processing.
 
Lojban's design does recognize that most natural language usage resembling logical connectives is NOT truly logical. There are grammatical models for non-logical connection built into the language, although these tend to be more highly marked than logical expressions.
 
Lojban has systematic structures for logical negation, scalar negation, and metalinguistic negation, each separately expressed. Particular effort has gone into abstraction based on Aristotelian models, a tense/location/aspect system which can analytically express an enormous range of aspects, yet is quite unlike Indo- European forms, systems for metalinguistic expression at a different 'level' than normal expression, and a system of analytically based attitudinal indicators (interjections) that include Amerind-like observer-based expressions, modal attitudes, and an enormous range of emotional expression, all grammatically independent from the rest of the language. Lojban also has a system for unambiguous reading of mathematical expressions, which is relatively untested since such expressions are seldom found in normal conversation.
 
Lojban attempts to achieve cultural neutrality, a necessity for its research goals. This is primarily achieved by minimizing metaphysical assumptions, and wherever assumptions must be made, to be super-inclusive of the range of natural language expressions to minimize at least overt biases. There is also particular militancy in watching for hidden Americanism and English-language biases, since most of the developers and early speakers are native speakers of American English. This is believed to have been generally successful, but is an area that we particularly welcome close cross-examination. Of course, the logical orientation of the grammar is a planned bias, sufficiently extreme that it should overwhelm minor cultural constraints that are missed.
 
Typologically, Lojban is SVO or SOV in its unmarked forms, although all other word orders are expressible with minimal marking. This typing makes a presumption of how to interpret 'subject' in Lojban; the Lojban 'subject' is perhaps better considered as a 'topic'. Lojban has no inherent gender or number, and hence no morphological de- clension or agreement. As a predicate language, Lojban has no distinction between nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, although constructs comparable to each can be identified. Tense/modality/aspect is optional, and can range from simple to enormously complex. There are op- tional 'case markings' for the arguments of a predication, but the set of tags is not inherently limited or based on a particular theory of semantic cases. These markings occur in pre-position, but are not really "prepositions", since they can occur in other contexts. Modification in Lojban is left-to-right, with marked reversal and grouping of modifications possible. Lojban has two modes of possessive/associative expression, both preceding and following a target argument. Postposition modification of arguments includes both relative clauses and relative phrases.
 
While the vocabulary of predicates strictly defines arguments expressed in a prescribed order (generally forcing complex expressions to the end of a sentence along with less frequently stated information), the 'case tag' system allows free addition of arguments to a predication, thus minimizing constraints based on the semantics of in- dividual words. Lojban has a system for explicit and implicit ellipsis, and a specified grammar for incomplete or partial sentences to support pragmatic considerations in use of the language. We are especially interested in comments regarding other issues in pragmatics.
 
== Computer Network Discussions on Loglan/Lojban and Linguistics (and Esperanto and ...) ==
 
Subject: The Sapir/Whorf Hypothesis
 
Participants:
 
[email protected] (John Lenarcic)
<br />[email protected] (David Pautler)
<br />[email protected] (David M Tate)
<br />[email protected] (Michael K. Minakami)
<br />[email protected] (R o d Johnson)
<br />[email protected] (David Mark)
<br />[email protected] (Colin Matheson)
<br />[email protected] (Janet M. Swisher)
<br />[email protected] (William Ricker)
 
1. jfl: Briefly stated, the [Sapir/Whorf] hypothesis is :
 
" Language shapes the way we think,
<br />and determines what we can think about."
 
2. pautler: (responding to 1.) A professor in pragmatics told me this spring that the theory only claims that a given language forces its users to mentally keep track of certain information like time-of-occurrence, etc. that is needed to make correct decisions about tense, etc. that are required to form sentences.
 
3. dtate: (responding to 2.) I think this understates the hypothesis, at least in Whorf's version. Whorf claimed that, since we think in language, the language in which we think will have enormous impact on the ways in which we think, tending to reinforce certain patterns and undermine others. It could be something as blatant as having the word for "good" being etymologically related to that for "strong", tending to reinforce "might makes right" thinking, or as subtle as the lack of a socially acceptable passive voice encouraging thinking of one's self as an agent and not as an object (or, of course, the converse).
 
There is, to be sure, a "chicken and egg" question here: is it the language that shapes the culture, or the culture that shapes the language? The answer (IMHO) [Net abbreviation: "In my humble opinion"] is "both": the language evolves because of and in accordance with cultural forces, but after a certain point the language develops a momentum of its own, tending to carry the culture in directions already inherent in the language.
 
4. minakami: (responding to 2.) I think this is only the weak form of the Whorfian hypothesis. The strong version does assert that the structure and lexicon of a language shapes thought. According to J. R. Anderson: "Whorf felt that such a rich variety of terms would cause the speaker of the language to perceive the world differently from a person who had only a single word for a particular category." This stronger version of the hypothesis is generally considered disproved by Rosch's studies of color vision and similar experiments.
 
5. rjohnson: (responding to 2.) There are various versions of the idea around, which can be attributed to von Humboldt, Sapir, Whorf, and their commentators. The idea that language "determines what we can think about" is a very strong version of the hypothesis, probably stronger than Sapir would have liked, maybe stronger than Whorf. These things were not always stated with perfect clarity and consistency, though, so it's difficult to say.
 
[jfl's version in 1.] is a slightly odd-sounding version of Whorf's thesis. It's hard to say if it's a good rendering of Whorf into modern terms, but it feels rather reductive to me. At any rate, it's too narrow: Whorf was concerned with Hopi versus English way of thinking about time in that particular article, but the thesis in general isn't strictly limited to that. Hopi merely provided (or seemed to provide) a striking illustration of two different ways of thinking. Note that "ways of thinking" is in fact rather sloppy here: Whorf didn't actually investigate the ways Hopis think about time in any detail at all - he merely projected his feeling about the language onto their thinking. In essence, he assumed the truth of what later commentators saw as a "hypothesis". To Whorf, it was almost self-evident.
 
6. pautler: (continuation of 2.) I believe the comparison S/W used to illustrate this was the bookkeeping required by a Southwest Native American language (Hopi?) regarding the source or validation of information - evidently there are markers performing the function of "FOAF", etc. that are as necessary to well-formedness in that language (which does not mark tense) as tense is to English (which does not mark validation). Of course, the Native American language can express time-of-occurrence if need be, just as English can express source-of-information, but neither is explicitly required by the language itself. I believe the traditional example:
 
(~11 Inuit language words for snow) and (~1 English word for snow) ==> (Inuit language and English users think about snow differently)
 
might not be due to S/W and probably misrepresents their idea. But I am not a linguist, nor have I read their work. I just wanted to suggest that applications of S/W may not be what you actually want to look for.
 
7. rjohnson: (responding to 6.) Yes. Whorf, though, not Sapir/Whorf. Whorf, though he had had some training, was basically a gifted amateur; Sapir was less inclined to make sweeping claims - he knew how language has a way of stab- bing such claims in the back.
 
Boas, in fact, in the Introduction to the "Handbook of American Indian Languages" (1911) [introduces the "snow" example]. (At least this is the point at which it was introduced into linguistics.) Geoff Pullum has recently done a fairly comprehensive study of where this idea comes from and how it has mutated into "50 words for snow", "*100* words for snow," etc.
 
I, and I think many other linguists (though not all), have a gut feeling that somewhere, somehow, deep down, there's a kernel of truth in the idea, but no attempt to frame it as an empirical hypothesis has, to my knowledge, really led anywhere.
 
8. hullp: (responding to 7.) Actually, several studies have indeed led somewhere. Casagrande's 1950's studies demonstrated a so-called Whorfian effect on children's perception of shape. The comparison was between Navaho speakers (whose language mandates the marking of shape with inflections) and English speakers. There have been a few others (not many, admittedly) that have demonstrated similar effects. The problem is that most of the tests of the hypothesis have been tests of color perception and categorization. Color perception is strongly rooted in physiology and is thus uniform across cultures to a large degree. Any language effects would have to be in a domain for which there is less evidence for a physical basis.
 
9. dmark: (responding to 8.) In fact, Lakoff (in "Women, Fire, ...") discusses a study by Kay and Kempton that seemed to clearly demonstrate linguistic relativity in color perception. Phillip Hull is correct in pointing out the strong physiological basis of color perception. Thus different color perception due to language seems pretty powerful evidence. (I could describe the experiment, from Lakoff's account, and/or give the full reference, if people want me to.)
 
10. rjohnson: (responding to 8.) Thanks for this information. I guess I was using "led anywhere" in a somewhat more global sense. That is, I know there have been a smattering of studies that purport to be consistent with ("confirm" is too strong, I think) the S/W hypothesis - but it doesn't seem that any real coherent picture emerges of "thought" as a whole being strongly affected by "language" as a whole; that is, we have little evidence that "Whorfian" effects are of fundamental importance to cognition. Instead we get hints that there may be something there, but the results are mixed and often rather tentative. Does this fit with your perspective on things? (Admittedly, notions like "of fundamental importance" are pretty difficult to assess.)
 
On the other hand, as you say, the best-known disconfirming studies suffer from being in the relatively few areas where there probably are reliable hard-wired universals, as in Berlin and Kay's studies of color terms. In the huge gray area, evidence seems hard to come by. I was briefly involved with a cognitive science team a few years back that was grappling with some of these questions, and it seemed to me that the task of designing experiments was extraordinarily hard - every approach had serious pitfalls. I don't know how their work turned out, though.
 
11. colin: (responding to 7.) I agree with your gut feeling. I suppose the trouble is, as with many Linguistic issues, that the "truth" of the matter lies at such a level of abstraction that it's difficult just to talk about it. However, here's one suggestion of one version of the thesis (count the hedges!).
 
Perhaps it's true that the act of "compressing" abstractions into concepts represented by single lexical items or phrases has a qualitative effect on the kinds of things it is possible to talk about. Thus although it's probably the case that one can express any particular concept in any language periphrastically, it might just be that the ability to encapsulate things in immediately transferrable units affects the sorts of transfer that are possible. (Where the transfer is of information between humans.)
 
Is this version of the Sapir/Whorf stuff part of the original, by the way?
 
12. swsh: (responding to 11.) No, I don't think so. In my understanding, Whorf and Sapir were not interested so much in what "one can express" in a given language, as in the conceptual categories which underlie grammatical ones and which are used by speakers as a guide to experience. Thus, the important thing in their view is not how many words for snow a language has, but what assumptions about things like space, time, form, substance, etc., are implicit in the language's grammatical categories. The controversial part about what they, particularly Whorf, said is the thesis that speakers use these assumptions to guide their habitual beliefs and attitudes, and therefore see them as arising directly from reality, rather than projected on to it.
 
The "Whorfian hypothesis" is often stated as having two forms, a "hard" version (language determines thought) and a "soft" version (language and thought are kinda sorta related). From Whorf's writings, it appears that he himself held views more towards the "soft" end of the spec- trum. He shied away from saying there is a "correlation", that being too definite a word, preferring to say that it could be shown that there are cases where linguistic categories are in some way connected to cultural ones, even if it's not universally true. However, it seems to me that it would be mighty odd to find a language whose grammar revealed a categorical system that was otherwise unused by speakers, either in individual cognition, or as part of the attendant culture.
 
13. wdr: (responding to 11.) If I understood that periphrastic version of the hypothesis, I think it has as a corollary that English is not highly suited to it's own transfer. Which, given the context, I suspect may have been Colin's point, but if it wasn't, I'll suggest it more openly.
 
Is a natural language the right language in which to discuss the deficiencies of natural languages?
 
That it was not was one of the original motivations of the Loglan/Lojban successor of Esperanto. Can one of you sci.lang folks translate the S/W hypotheses various statements in this newsgroup lately into Lojban and give us an unbiased account of how manipulable they are in a non- formal yet unnatural language? [ed.: no one has done this yet - any volunteers?]
 
14. pautler: (wrapping up) Perhaps many of you are tiring of the discussion about the claims made by S/W, but I'm going to take the risk of extending the debate:
 
Does the S/W hypothesis suggest that we view a particular language as a collection of tools used to achieve social (communicative, in particular) goals? The analogy I have in mind is this: our ability to achieve tasks is determined by the tools we have at hand, which forces us to think about solving the task primarily in terms of what subtask each tool can achieve. Of course, we can always attempt to invent new tools if they are needed, but invention is difficult for both language conventions and tools, so the analogy still holds.
 
My claim, then, is this: if this is an accurate analogy, then should the S/W hypothesis be any more surprising than a claim that farmers and stockbrokers think differently about the world due to the different means they have of interacting with it?
 
----
 
Subject: Lojban as seen by the linguistics and cognitive science community
 
 
 
Participants:
 
[email protected] (Dan Parmenter)
<br \>[email protected] (John Cowan)
<br \>[email protected] (Michael Newton)
<br \>[email protected] (Rod Johnson)
<br \>[email protected] (David M Tate)
<br \>[email protected] (Harold Somers)
<br \>[email protected] (Lars Aronsson)
<br \>[email protected] (Bob LeChevalier)
<br \>[email protected] (Larry P Gorbet)
<br \>[email protected] (Steven Daryl McCullough)
<br \>[email protected] (David A. Johns)
<br \>[email protected] (Greg Lee)
 
1. dan: (starting the debate - several paragraphs below elucidate his opinions further) I have been acquainted with Lojban for a few years now, and have a few thoughts on the matter.
 
My overall impression is that a monumental effort is being made by an astonishingly large group of people, and that while it is quite well-intentioned, its ultimate goals are unattainable at best, and highly suspicious at worst. Some minor and major objections:
 
One: The audio-visual isomorphism. Presumably, this is an attempt to address the rather poor way that some written languages reflect the spoken language (such as English). This fails to predict variations of accent, as well as the language-specific biases of speakers - English speakers for instance will probably continue to mark yes-no questions with a rising tone. Of course this isn't indicated in the written form, so already the idea of audio-visual isomorphism is weak at best.
 
2. lojbab: (responding to 1.) Yes, English speakers probably will. But Hindi speakers probably won't. Thus rising tone (pitch) will not be a significant indication in
 
Lojban. Now, in the English 'dialect' of Lojban, such suprasegmentals will probably be redundant and reinforcing information to the truly significant version of the questioned contained in the words. And if for some other reason, your voice rises in pitch, if there is no 'xu', it is not a yes/no question.
 
As an advantage, I suspect that it will be a lot easier to get computers voice-processing the Lojban phonemes than the English suprasegmentals (Anyone have any actual knowledge on this?)
 
3. dan: (continuation of 1.) Furthermore, the idea of a language that assumes all of its speakers will have precisely the same accent is too terrifying to contemplate, yet Lojban's writing system would seem to depend on this fact.
 
4. lojbab: (responding to 3.) Lojban's prescription says nothing about 'accent'. Each of the sounds we've defined as phonemic has a certain range wherein it is phonemic. Lojban 'r' can range from a full trill to a simple flap, for example, and we've made no prescription regarding dark 'l' vs. light 'l'. Difference in these phonemes will result in different 'accents'. There will probably be less spread than most natural languages, but there will be some spread.
 
5. cowan: (responding to 3.) Of course [it's too terrifying to contemplate]! However, this neglects the distinction between "emic" and "etic" features of the language. The claim of audio-visual isomorphism is not that every possible distinction of speech is represented in the written form, but only that all significant distinc- tions are so represented. For example, true-false questions may be signalled (among English speakers) with a rising tone, but also must be signalled with the prefix word "xu". The "xu" carries the entire content, and will be understood by any fluent Lojbanist from whatever back- ground. The tone is superfluous.
 
6. dan: (responding to 5.) If every Lojban speaker were a native English speaker, you could just as easily argue that the "xu" is superfluous. But this is circular reasoning. Is the purpose of Lojban to be spoken in a dull monotone? Or do you expect the writing system to evolve to account for any variations in tone that might come along? Suppose some third-generation Lojban speakers always mark yes-no questions with a falling tone accompanied by a series of elaborate hand-jives (gestures are expressive too), will you mark this in the written version as well? How do you determine what a "significant" feature of the language is?
 
7. cowan: (responding to 6.) We determine significant features by defining them. Again, this is a constructed language, and a posteriori reasoning appropriate to natural (non-constructed) languages doesn't necessarily fit all cases.
 
In the baseline version of Lojban, the way of marking a true-false question is to prefix it with "xu". This is true by definition, a priori. Once the language is baselined, the normal processes of linguistic change may indeed alter the marking system to something involving tone, gesture, or toe-wiggling. At that time, Lojban will be a natural language (defined here as one having native speakers) and will need to be investigated by the methods of ordinary synchronic linguistics.
 
(When Bob LeChevalier, the most fluent speaker at present, speaks in the language, he does tend to talk in a monotone, possibly bending over backwards to avoid influence from English suprasegmentals. He does hesitate longer between sentences than at other mandatory pauses, though.)
 
8. lojbab: (responding to 6.) That would be a truly odd purpose for a language - to be spoken in a monotone. :-)
 
The writing system would not need recognize variations in pitch, gestures, or any other feature of spoken language unless these came to convey variations in meaning that were not already reflected (and reflectable) in the written lan- guage. In addition, since human-computer interaction using Lojban is intended to be significant in its usefulness, it seems unlikely that there will evolve variations that cannot be easily recognized AND reproduced by a computer listener/speaker.
 
A significant feature of a logical language, of course, is one that affects the truth conditions of its statements. A change or variation in the language would not be 'significant' unless it affected such truth conditions. A change which introduced ambiguity would obviously be significant.
 
9. cowan: (continuation of 5.) Note also that audio-visual isomorphism cuts both ways. It ensures not only that every "emic" feature of speech is representable in writing, but also that features of text such as paragraphing, structural punctuation, parenthesis, and layout have representations in speech. For example, the word "ni'o" signals a change of subject and is used to separate spoken paragraphs; likewise, non-mathematical parentheses are pronounced "to" for "(" and "toi" for ")".
 
10. dan: (continuation of 1., from 3.) TWO: Sapir/Whorf is tacitly assumed by almost everyone that I've talked to in connection to Lojban. This isn't unusual, since it's also assumed by an astonishing portion of the world at large.
 
11. cowan: (responding to 10.) The Lojban project is founded on assuming the truth of SWH; the falsity of SWH is the null hypothesis. To develop Lojban at all, we must assume SWH. If Lojban turns out to have no effect on thought, i.e. to be a mere code, SWH will not be confirmed. (This is not to say it will be disproved.)
 
12. lojbab: (responding to 10.) Assumed to be what? True? No. Important enough to test? Yes. If Sapir-Whorf is important enough to test, then Lojban must be designed with features that will likely have a noticeable effect, while being sufficiently culturally neutral that non-Lojban variables can be at least statistically removed.
 
The Lojban design HAS to assume that Sapir-Whorf is true, or that design will be meaningless for experimental purposes.
 
As to whether those working on the language 'tacitly assume' Sapir-Whorf, I doubt it. There are no doubt many who believe SWH true, and a couple I know of who believe it false, but are willing to see. Most are fairly open- minded. In any case, if we are being 'good scientists', our individual opinions on the hypotheses we investigate shouldn't matter, since some degree of professional detachment is expected. When I work on Lojban as a researcher, I try to turn off that part of me that does 'Lojban promotion' (admittedly a bit more biased). I rely on peer review to catch any biases from my personal views that slip into my work. Given the wide disparity of views among Lojban workers, and our sensitivity towards avoiding unnecessary bias, I'm confident that there is no problem.
 
If Sapir-Whorf (or its equivalent - since a lot of people assume it without even knowing it exists) is tacitly assumed by the world, it seems an especially important question to investigate scientifically. If SWH is used by some to justify racism, some concrete data to attack such use is more effective than personal distaste. Just because a scientific question has political ramifications based on its possible outcomes does not mean that the question shouldn't be asked, or moreover, shouldn't be answered.
 
13. dan: (responding to 12.) Yes, I'd say that a surprisingly large number of people when informed about S/W will automatically assume it to be true. The issue to me is one of putting the cart before the horse: to whit, many people have astonishingly racist attitudes about a wide range of phenomena. Language is no exception. If you read the literature of the whole English First movement, one sees thinly veiled racism of the worst sort. Also witness the thinly veiled classism of most of the prescriptivists - the goal is to avoid sounding "low class". Even something as simple as differing accents within a homogeneous speech community can cause people to raise their eyebrows. Human beings seem to have an overwhelming urge to pigeonhole people by any method possible. What does this have to do with S/W? Well, given that nobody seems particularly satisfied either way with the results of actual psy- cholinguistic tests that have been tried, if someone believes S/W then they can choose to ignore any test results that seem to go against it and start to make some pretty frightening statements.
 
14. dan: (continuation of 1., from 10.) What I'm getting at is that there is a serious danger that people who believe in the S/W hypothesis will use this belief to make claims about their language being superior to someone else's. The empirical basis for these claims has already been discussed, so I won't get into it, except to say that I remain unconvinced by the S/W hypothesis.
 
15. cowan: (responding to 10 and 14.) One of the major workers in Lojban [ed.: pc] believes that SWH is in fact false. There is as diverse a variety of views on SWH in the Lojban community as on any other subject.
 
16. lojbab: (responding to 14.) Yes, there is [a serious danger]. But there is also the chance that if SWH is true, that the reverse will happen. Based on the natural selection paradigm (also perhaps questionable with regard to languages - but the analogy is useful), if one language is 'superior' to another in some small area (such as mathematical thinking - as in the previous example), the fact that the other language survives indicates that it also has some compensating advantages that suit its niche.
 
Thus Sapir-Whorf might help us see the virtue in all languages and cultures. I certainly don't think that if Lojban was proved able to assist or improve logical thinking, that it should displace English or any other language. To borrow someone else's line, Lojban becomes another tool in the linguistic tool chest. You learn it like an English speaker learns French or FORTRAN, to meet a communication need that is not well served by English.
 
17. dan: (responding to 16.) I am told that among anthropologists, S/W in some form, is popular.
 
18. lojbab: (responding to 17.) Indeed. I know that in the Loglan/Lojban community, Reed Riner at Northern Arizona and John Atkins and Carol Eastman at Washington are anthropologists that were/are interested in S/W.
 
In addition, there is another 'related field' that makes heavy use of S/W, either directly, or in an evolved form. Semiotics apparently uses a lot of ideas these days that at least tacitly assume some degree of cultural relativity, and I'm told Umberto Eco, is particularly 'Whorfian' in his ideas. I don't know these things directly, having no meaningful exposure to semiotics. My source is Robert Gorsch at St. Mary's College in CA, who teaches En- glish/Semiotics/Linguistics there. He's been developing an introductory course in Semiotics showing the evolution of S/W into current semiotics theories (incidentally relying on Esperanto and Lojban as primary examples). We published his course outline and bibliography in a recent issue of our internal journal, Ju'i Lobypli.
 
19. dan: (responding to 18.) Eco is interested in a number of theories that are out of vogue among Chomskian linguists. He also seems to have an interest in the so- called "meaning-based" theories of language, posited by people like Schank, in the NLP [natural language processing] community. He devotes some space to Schank's theory of conceptual dependency in several books (titles forgotten ...sorry!).
 
Many of fields related and unrelated to semiotics also make use of certain Whorfian arguments. Some feminist theorists have an axe to grind about how language is used to oppress women.
 
20. dan: (continuing 17.) To me, the idea of linguistic equality - that all languages are more or less created equal, is a much more egalitarian view. It jibes well with my notion that all people are created equal. This principle forms the basis for much in the way of my political views. I don't want to get into a debate here about the politics of language, but it's something I feel very strongly about.
 
21. lgorbet: (responding to 20.) The phrase in Dan's recent posts that confuses me a lot is "all languages are equal". So far as I can see that may well - probably has nothing to do with whether (some version or other of) S/W is true or not.
 
I suspect the most common belief of linguists who think about S/W at all is that (a) S/W is true; and (b) all languages are "equal". AND you seem to be assuming that the truth of S/W entails inequality (in some unstated sense) of languages. All S/W says, even in the strongest versions I know anyone competent who believes, is that lan- guages are different in ways that leads their speakers to tend to think differently.
 
Thanks to work by lots of folk over the past half century (oops, more than that), it's pretty clear that different languages have lots in common as well as some striking differences. So probably most of us (my wild supposition, I admit) think that the impact of a true S/W would not be all that huge a difference. But a difference in conceptualization and knowledge is not the same thing as inequality.
 
It almost seems to me that to assume that different ways of thinking are unequal ways of thinking plays into the hands of racists even more...
 
This is NOT a flame. You raise some important issues, many of which I agree with, especially about the ways our work can get abused by those with an unsavory agenda.
 
[The discussion of Sapir-Whorf and its possible racist use continued for quite a while, and is omitted.]
 
22. dan (continuation of 1., from 14.): This empirical basis is something that I use as a foundation for my personal ideological beliefs with regard to such issues as English-only laws and prescriptivism (by the likes of Safire, Lederle, Simon et al.). It seems to me that the Lojbanists, who are already claiming that the language makes them think more clearly on certain things are setting themselves up for a type of elitism that I find frightening.
 
THREE: Lojban's allegedly unambiguous syntax. The bottom line is that "plastic cat food can cover" is still ambiguous in Lojban.
 
23. cowan: (responding to 22.) This English utterance is ambiguous in three different ways. Syntactically, it might be a noun phrase (a kind of cover) or a sentence (asserting that plastic cat food is capable of covering something). Lojban does not have this kind of ambiguity: the first would be "lo slasi mlatu cidja lante gacri" and the second would be "lo slasi mlatu cidja ka'e gacri".
 
24. harold: (responding to 23.) Well, I think you'll find that syntactically the phrase is MUCH more ambiguous: as a noun phrase, ignoring the semantic ambiguity of any noun+noun pairing (e.g. "cat food" = food for cats, food made of cats, food which looks like a cat; "can cover" = cover for a can, cover made out of a can; "plastic cat" = cat made out of plastic, cat which behaves like plastic, cat which belongs to plastic, etc) it has readings [numbers added for later cross-reference]:
 
<pre>
  a cover for plastic cat food cans i.e.
  a cover for cans which contain plastic cat food i.e.
1 a cover for cans which contain food for plastic cats or
2 a cover for cans which contain plastic food for cats or
3 a cover for plastic cans which contain cat food or else
  a can cover for plastic cat food i.e.
4 a can cover for food for plastic cats or
5 a can cover for plastic food for cats or else
  a food can cover for plastic cats i.e.
6 a cover for a food can for plastic cats or
7 a can cover for food for plastic cats or else
  a cat food can cover made of plastic i.e.
  a cover, made of plastic, for cat food cans i.e.
8 a cover, made of plastic, for cans for cat food or
9 a cover, made of plastic, for food cans for cats
</pre>
 
25. cowan: (responding to 24.) Let me render each of these forms into Lojban. As a glossary, slasi 'plastic', mlatu 'cat', cidja 'food', lante 'can', and gacri 'cover' take care of all the content words, each of which (luckily for me) has a single-word Lojban equivalent. I will comment on the function words I use as I use them.
 
It should be stated from the start that Lojban interprets dyadic compounds as <modifier> followed by <modificand>, in other words AN [adjective-noun order], although this can be changed with the particle "co".
 
[numbers relate back to English in 24.]
1) "slasi mlatu cidja lante gacri". This form is totally unmarked, and has the meaning of the English 1) because Lojban associates left-to-right. In other words, "slasi mlatu cidja lante" modifies "gacri", "slasi mlatu cidja" modifies "lante", "slasi mlatu" modifies "cidja", and "slasi" modifies "mlatu".
2) "slasi mlatu bo cidja lante gacri". The function word "bo" causes the two content words surrounding it to be most closely associated. So "mlatu" modifies "cidja". Otherwise, left-to-right modification remains intact, so that "slasi" modifies "mlatu bo cidja", etc.
3) "slasi je mlatu bo cidja lante gacri". Here we make two coordinated claims about the "lante", namely that it is of type "mlatu bo cidja" (a cat-food can) and that it is "slasi" (plastic). So we insert the particle "je" which means this type of "and". (There are several Lojban words for "and", but "je" is the one that's grammatical in this context).
4) "slasi mlatu cidja lante bo gacri". Here "lante" and "gacri" are grouped, so that "slasi mlatu cidja" (food for plastic cats) modifies "lante bo gacri" (can-type-of cover).
5) "slasi mlatu bo cidja lante bo gacri". Here we have three components grouped in left-to-right order: "slasi", "mlatu bo cidja", and "lante bo gacri". Therefore "slasi mlatu bo cidja" modifies "lante bo gacri", making this a plastic cat-food type of can-cover.
6) "slasi bo mlatu cidja bo lante gacri". Here again we have three components, but different ones from those appearing in 5).
8) "slasi je ke mlatu cidja lante ke'e gacri". Here we introduce the new particles "ke" and "ke'e". These group in the same way that "bo" does, but everything between "ke" and "ke'e" is grouped. Wherever "bo" appears between two words, it can be replaced by "ke" before the first and "ke'e" after the second. So 4) can be rewritten as "slasi mlatu cidja ke lante gacri", with elision of "ke'e" at the end of the phrase. This is an example of a general point about Lojban: most things are expressible using both "forethought" and "afterthought" forms, comparable to the difference in English between "both A and B" and "A and B". In this case, we need the whole of "mlatu cidja lante" to group as one modifier, so "bo" is not usable. We also need "je" because again two claims are being made, that the cover is both plastic and for cat-food cans.
9) "slasi je mlatu bo cidja bo lante gacri". Here "bo" serves us again, in contradistinction to 8), because of an additional rule that comes into play when "bo" appears on both sides of an element: it is right-grouping. So whereas "A B C" means that "A B" modifies "C", "A bo B bo C" means that A modifies "B bo C". So here we claim that the cover is both plastic and is of type "cat food-can".
 
There are other ways to express these ideas if the constraint on ordering the content words is relaxed. There are also lots of other possibilities expressible by the Lojban syntax, such as "slasi bo mlatu bo cidja bo lante bo gacri", which might be a plastic type of food-can cover for use by cats. In addition, "je" (and) can be replaced by "ja" (inclusive or) or "jonai" (exclusive or) or any of the other Boolean relationship, or by various non-logical connectives such as "joi" (mass mixture): "slasi joi mlatu cidja" would be food made from plastic and from cats [mixed together].
 
26. cowan: (continuing 23.) In the English utterance, it is unclear exactly what modifies what.
 
27. harold: (responding to 26., continuing 24.) I don't think so. Of the above interpretations, there is a more or less clear ranking of preference, notwithstanding some context which promotes an unusual reading (e.g. a story about plastic cats): I find (8) the most plausible, with (3) next best. The least plausible are the ones involving plastic cats or plastic food.
 
28. cowan: (continuing 23., from 26.) So Lojban's unmarked form is grouped left-to-right unambiguously, and other groupings can be unambiguously marked by the insertion of appropriate structure words.
 
29. harold: (responding to 28., continuing 27.) It is relatively easy to construct plausible noun phrases consisting of five consecutive nouns for all the above patterns, just by substituting more appropriate nouns: e.g.
 
<pre>
   1 tabby cat food can cover
   1 tabby cat food can cover
   2 soya-bean cat food can cover       Here, parenthesis are needed not only for the general
   2 soya-bean cat food can cover
   3 (already plausible)     grouping, but also to unambiguously determine the
   3 (already plausible)
   4 =1     precedence of "and" and "or"!  IMHO [Net abbreviation: "In
   4 =1
   5 =2     my humble opinion"], there are exactly two ways of
   5 =2
  6 =1     designing a ambiguous-free language, none of which will
  6 =1
   7 =1     make it look like any human language: 1) Using parenthesis
   7 =1
   8 (preferred reading)     as in LISP [see examples above] and 2) Using only very
   8 (preferred reading)
  9 (already plausible)     short sentences as in ordinary computer machine language.
  9 (already plausible)
    In case 2, the example would read:
</pre>
  And of course, we can construct longer sequences of noun
 
phrases, with even larger numbers of ambiguities.       Cover.
And of course, we can construct longer sequences of noun phrases, with even larger numbers of ambiguities.
  Can Lojban handle all of these, and, more important,       Cover  for      can.
 
would we want a language to do so? The point is that most   Can    for      food.
Can Lojban handle all of these, and, more important, would we want a language to do so? The point is that most of the readings are implausible for semantic reasons, but all (or most) groupings are possible, given the appropriate words. The same thing happens with PP attachment by the way. The problem is that you cannot tell a priori which grouping will be plausible: NLP [natural language processing] programs have to try all possible groupings and then test them for semantic coherence, a terribl