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

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(Created page with "<pre> Copyright, 1991, by the Logical Language Group, Inc. 2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031-1303 USA Phone (703) 385-0273 [email protected] All rights reserved. Permission t...")
 
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
  
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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
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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
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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
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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
+
Postal Rates - The recent increase in US Postal Rates was between 15 and 20%. This amounts to 1-2 cents/page added to our production costs. This renders our temporary price increase of last summer necessarily permanent - it is not yet clear whether we are selling materials for more than we pay for them. If not, you can expect a price rise next issue, probably to 12 cents/page US/Canada and 15 cents/page overseas; we'll continue to absorb the slight difference between US and Canadian postage costs.
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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One requirement of second-class mailing is demonstration that most of our readership actually wants to receive the publication. The best way to prove this is with paid subscriptions, with explicit letters also valuable. Thus it is important that we hear from you regularly, preferably with money; at least once per year is very desirable.
  
  
    universals, as in Berlin and Kay's studies of color terms.
+
9-digit Zip - The new rates also come with new rules, though we aren't yet certain just what these rules are. It is possible that we will need to use Zip+4 9-digit codes on our US mailings to get optimal postage rates, and possibly even to get assured delivery. Thus, whenever you send us a change of address, please tell us the Zip+4 number as soon as you know it.
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
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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]OYODYNE.MIT.EDU (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
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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:
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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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.
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 +
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.
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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.
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 +
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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 +
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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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".
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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'.)
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.)
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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:
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"... 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."
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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.
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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.)
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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.
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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.)
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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.)
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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== Response to Arnold Zwicky's 1969 Review of Loglan 1 Loglan and Lojban: A Linguist's Questions And An Amateur's Answers ==
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by John Cowan (ci'a la djan. kau,n.)
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<br />Internet address: [email protected]
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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.
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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.
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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").
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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.
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1. Lojban sentences do not have unique interpretations; how can Lojban be said to be unambiguous?
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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3. The Loglan 'primitive words' seem to have been chosen at random, without regard to any sort of semantic theory. Why was this done?
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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.
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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?
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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?
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 +
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?
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 +
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?
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 +
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?
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 +
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".
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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?
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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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?
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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).
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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.
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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?
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 +
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.
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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?
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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 +
=== 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.
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 +
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 ==
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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.
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 +
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.
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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.
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 +
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.
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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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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:
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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 +
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.
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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?
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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.
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 +
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.
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(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.)
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8. lojbab: (responding to 6.) That would be a truly odd purpose for a language - to be spoken in a monotone. :-)
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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.
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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.
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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 ")".
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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.
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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.)
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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.
 +
 
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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.
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 +
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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 +
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.
 +
 
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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.
 +
 
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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 terrible waste of effort with big noun phrases or sequences of ambiguous words like:
of the readings are implausible for semantic reasons, but     Food  for      cat.
+
 
all (or most) groupings are possible, given the appropriate   Cover  made of  plastic.
+
<pre style="text-align: center">
words. The same thing happens with PP attachment by the
+
Gas pump prices rose last time oil stocks fell
way. The problem is that you cannot tell a priori which   33. cowan: (responding to 32.)  The first method
+
</pre>
grouping will be plausible:  NLP [natural language     (parenthesis) is employed, using "ke"/"ke'e" parenthesis
+
 
processing] programs have to try all possible groupings and marks as needed.  This is not supposed to "look like any
+
in each word is at least two-ways ambiguous (all are both nouns and verbs, and some are also adjectives).
then test them for semantic coherence, a terrible waste of natural language"; this is precisely the area where Lojban
+
 
effort with big noun phrases or sequences of ambiguous     differs from all natural languages, and constitutes the
+
30. aronsson: (responding to 28.) What if the intended grouping was "(plastic and ((cat type of food) type of can)) type of cover"? That is a plastic cover for these cans (which are probably made of tin - I would consider this more probable) rather than a generic cover for these plastic cans. Would the sentence still translate into "lo slasi je mlatu bo cidja lante gacri"? Could the same sentence also mean "(((plastic and cat) type of food) type of can) type of cover"? (Never mind why anybody would make plastic food - that is semantics!) If any of the above, Lojban must be considered ambiguous.
words like:     evidence that Lojban is not an "{English, Chinese, etc.}-
+
 
    based code".
+
31. cowan: (responding to 30.) No. "(plastic and ((cat type of food) type of can) type of cover" would be "lo slasi je ke mlatu cidja lante ke'e gacri", where "ke" and "ke'e" are logical parentheses. "(((plastic and cat) type of food) type of can) type of cover)" would be "lo slasi je mlatu cidja lante gacri" because "je" has higher precedence than concatenation, though lower than "bo".
    Gas pump prices rose last time oil stocks fell       "And" and "or" have the same precedence and are left
+
 
    associative; simple concatenation is also left associative,
+
32. aronsson: (continuing 30.) Or what if both modifiers have a more complex form? In the example above, the modifier plastic has the simplest possible form, but consider a phrase like (I wrote this with Emacs LISP mode!)
 +
 
 +
<pre>
 +
                                                         
 +
((some-special type of plastic)                         
 +
  and                                                     
 +
  (((cat or dog)                                         
 +
    type of food)                                         
 +
      type of can))                                       
 +
type of cover                                             
 +
                                                         
 +
</pre>
 +
 
 +
Here, parenthesis are needed not only for the general grouping, but also to unambiguously determine the precedence of "and" and "or"! IMHO [Net abbreviation: "In my humble opinion"], there are exactly two ways of designing a ambiguous-free language, none of which will make it look like any human language: 1) Using parenthesis as in LISP [see examples above] and 2) Using only very short sentences as in ordinary computer machine language. In case 2, the example would read:
 +
 
 +
<pre>
 +
  Cover.                                                 
 +
  Cover  for      can.                                   
 +
  Can    for      food.                                   
 +
  Food  for      cat.                                   
 +
  Cover  made of  plastic.                               
 +
</pre>
 +
 
 +
33. cowan: (responding to 32.) The first method (parenthesis) is employed, using "ke"/"ke'e" parenthesis marks as needed. This is not supposed to "look like any natural language"; this is precisely the area where Lojban differs from all natural languages, and constitutes the evidence that Lojban is not an "{English, Chinese, etc.}- based code".
 +
 
 +
"And" and "or" have the same precedence and are left associative; simple concatenation is also left associative, whereas "bo" (which semantically is the same as concatenation, i.e. undefined) is high-precedence and right associative.
 +
 
 +
34. cowan: (continuing 23., from 28.) On a third level, a phrase like "cat food" is ambiguous semantically. Is it food for cats or food consisting of cats? Here Lojban really is ambiguous, but the ambiguity is semantic not syntactic. The three main kinds of ambiguity in Lojban (this kind, ellipsis, and the ambiguity of names (which Sam?)) are all semantic in nature. As in any natural language, any of these ambiguities can be "expanded" on the semantic level by adding more information: "lo mlatu cidja" (a cat type of food) could become "da poi cidja loi mlatu" (something which is-food-for the-mass-of cats).
 +
 
 +
35. dan: (responding to 34.) Semantic ambiguity is present all over the place. How does Lojban handle issues like quantifier scope ambiguity? In English, a sentence like "Every man loves a fish" is ambiguous. If Lojban merely paraphrases such utterances, to two separate utterances along the lines of:
 +
 
 +
<pre style="text-align: center">
 +
"For all x, There exists a y such that x loves y"
 +
"There exists a y for all x such that x loves y"
 +
</pre>
 +
 
 +
while tolerating some version of the original utterance, than nothing has been accomplished. I can do the same thing in English.
 +
 
 +
36. cowan: (responding to 35.)
 +
 
 +
1) Lojban has mechanisms for setting quantifier scopes, involving explicit quantifiers appearing in a prenex.
 +
 
 +
2) Loglan/Lojban has never claimed to be free of semantic ambiguity. Your original objection 3 [see 22. above] (refers to "allegedly unambiguous syntax", but on investigation your objections are to semantic rather than syntactic ambiguity. Our claims are: a) Lojban is free of phonological, morphological, and syntactic ambiguity, and b) Lojban semantic ambiguity is present only in clearly marked places within the language: a Lojbanist knows when he/she is using an ambiguous form, and can replace it as needed with unambiguous ones.
 +
 
 +
37. lojbab: (responding to 35.) I disagree [with dan]. For one thing, if Lojban can express the multiple meanings better and more clearly than English, and if the expressions can be more easily manipulated logically, this would presumably 'enhance logical thinking' if SWH is true.
 +
 
 +
Lojban doesn't 'tolerate some version of the original' in the sense that the parallel translation to "Every man loves a fish" - "ro nanmu cu prami pa finpe" is not equivalent to both English paraphrases.
 +
 
 +
38. dan: (responding to 37.) So what's the gloss of the Lojban sentence? Which reading does it correspond to? Is there a quick and easy way to disambiguate?
 +
 
 +
39. cowan: (responding to 38.) The Lojban rule is that quantifiers are applied in the order in which they appear in the sentence, so "ro nanmu cu prami pa finpe", literally "all man love one fish" means "For all men X, there exists one fish Y, such that X loves Y." The other interpretation could be given by "converting" the predicate with the particle "se". This operation reverses the order of the arguments to a predicate. "pa finpe se prami ro nanmu", literally "one fish be-loved-by all man" means "There exists one fish Y, for all men X, such that X loves Y." Note that conversion is analogous to the passive voice but has no semantic significance other than this inversion of quantifiers.
 +
 
 +
Lojban also has machinery for expressing the quantifiers externally in a prenex, terminated by the word "zo'u". So another set of Lojban paraphrases for your sentences above is "ro da poi nanmu pa de poi finpe zo'u da prami de", literally "all X which is-a-man, one Y which is-a-fish, X loves Y"; and "pa de poi finpe ro da poi nanmu zo'u da prami de", literally "one Y which is-a-fish, all X which is-a-man, X loves Y". Presumably, a transformational grammar of Lojban would derive both of these surface structures (with and without prenex) from the same underlying deep structures.
 +
 
 +
What Lojban does not have is any sentence which means both of your two forms ambiguously.
 +
 
 +
40. lojbab: (continuation of 37, in response to 35.) You cannot 'do the same thing in English'. Even if the two English paraphrases are considered 'standard English' (and many linguists do not, identifying them as a jargon), neither is the same as Dan's original. Fill in 'man' for 'x' and 'fish' for 'y', and the result is ungrammatical:
 +
 
 +
* "For all man, there exists a fish such that man loves fish."
 +
* "There exists a fish for all man such that man loves fish."
 +
 
 +
It takes some extensive manipulations to turn these into grammatical sentences, and the results are not 'obviously' the same as the English original. These same manipulations do not suffice for all possible substitutions: if 'x' is 'George' and 'y' is 'fish', or if 'x' is 'George' and 'y' is 'Mary', you have to perform different transforms. In Lojban, the transforms are independent of the value.
 +
 
 +
41. aronsson: (responding to 34.) I fail to see the difference. When designing an artificial language one could outlaw all use of modifiers without modifier indicators (prepositions or similar). Thus it would have been possible for the Lojban designers to make "cat food" illegal, only allowing "food for cats" or "food made-of cats". If they did not do this, they obviously failed to design an ambiguity-free language.
 +
 
 +
42. cowan: (responding to 41.) We didn't want to make the language semantically unambiguous.
 +
 
 +
1) The language is phonologically, morphologically, and syntactically unambiguous; and
 +
 
 +
2) the language is semantically ambiguous only in specified areas, of which this is one (making open com- pounds by concatenation).
 +
 
 +
43. dan: (continuation of 1., from 22.) Natural languages are not unambiguous. From the acquisition side, ambiguous languages are much easier to learn for a child than a logical language would be. The principles of Universal Grammar [UG] do not seem to produce unambiguous languages, and all natural languages are constructed according to the principles of UG.
 +
 
 +
44. cowan: (responding to 43.) A lot of unproven assumptions here. Common assumptions, yes, but still unproven. We simply don't know whether a child could become competent in Lojban. Maybe when the language is complete and documented, somebody will be inspired to start raising bilingual children. There are native speakers of Esperanto, after all, whose parents have no other language in common.
 +
 
 +
45. kimba: (responding to 43.) If you're going to get stuck into people for assuming Sapir/ Whorf, I think you had better not be so blase about assuming the existence of "the principles of UG". The way you throw it in "jargonwise" I assume you mean the Chomskian notion, which will meet with plenty of disagreement. I suppose you could claim to mean any statements about properties which all/no languages have, but then the 2nd clause is vacuous.
 +
 
 +
46. dan: (responding to 45.) I do tacitly assume UG. To me, it seems a whole lot easier to swallow than SW, or other theories of linguistic relativism.
 +
 
 +
47. dtate: (responding to 46.) What a strange comment.
 +
 
 +
As far as I can tell, UG (as a hypothesis about language) and SW (as a hypothesis about language and thought) are independent. Buying into UG wouldn't make me more or less apt to buy into S/W, nor vice versa. They're certainly not competing theories. They address totally different topics.
 +
 
 +
I think the giveaway here is the phrase "linguistic relativism". I can't tell from context exactly what Dan means by this. It looks like the link is something like "S/W says that how you think is influenced by what language you think in; UG says there's an underlying deep structure common to all languages; conflict". But of course there is no conflict; every language has its own grammatical and etymological idiosyncrasies, whether deep structure exists or not, and these idiosyncrasies are the fuel for S/W. The existence of deep structure cannot refute the fact that languages differ in significant ways, any more than a proof of S/W would disprove the existence of deep structure common to all languages.
 +
 
 +
48. lojbab: (responding to 43.) Whether UG is 'real', a question better discussed by others, I know of no useful evidence for the claim [that UG forbids unambiguous languages]. That there is no unambiguous language today is irrelevant, since nearly all languages evolved from some earlier language, interacting with other languages, etc. Most sources of ambiguity probably can be tied to these evolutionary processes. Lojban might also succumb to such ambiguity, but as an a priori language constructed after the printing press, having (unlike other languages) a complete prescription it has a lot better likelihood of re- sistance to 'undesirable' change. There is no way to tell if the misuse of 'hopefully' or split infinitives would have entered English if a) there had not already been a tolerance in English for non-standard usages of this type and b) either of these truly resulted in mis-communication. Note that 'misplaced modifiers', which can in some instances cause miscommunication, are a different question, and are probably frowned on by most speakers IF they become aware of the ambiguity. In Lojban, of course, the speaker WILL be more aware of the ambiguity - at least so we hope.
 +
 
 +
49. dan: (continuation of 1., from 43.) In the unlikely event that a native Lojban speaker ever exists, it will probably actually be speaking its parent native language with some version of Lojban vocabulary.
 +
 
 +
50. cowan: (responding to 49.) I presume you mean "parents' native language". As I mentioned above, its parents might not have the same native language.
 +
 
 +
51. dan: (continuation of 1., from 49.) But even that is unlikely since even the phonology (like everything else in the language) is arbitrary, and it is questionable how easy it would be for a child to learn.
 +
 
 +
52. rjohnson: (responding to 51.) Isn't the phonology of any language arbitrary in this sense? No language avails itself of all the possibilities.
 +
 
 +
53. dan: (responding to 52.) Yes, but certain combinations are unlikely to occur.
 +
 
 +
54. cowan: (responding to 53.) I don't understand this claim. The phonology is the least arbitrary thing about the language. Lojban has six vowels and 18 consonants, all of which are exceedingly familiar and found in many languages world-wide: German, for example, has all of them (although Lojban 'j' is rare in German and found mostly in borrowings from French). On the suprasegmental level, Lojban has two levels of stress (primary and weak) and significant pauses; where "pause" may represent either a complete silence or a glottal stop. Tone is not signifi- cant, as mentioned above.
 +
 
 +
55. dan: (responding to 54.) See what I mean about arbitrary? The Lojban engineers have decided that tone isn't important and that pauses are the same as glottal stops. This is lunacy!
 +
 
 +
56. rjohnson: (responding to 54. and 55, also 1.-8.) By the way, both of you [cowan and dan] are abusing the term "tone". You're talking about pitch. Tone, by definition, involves significant pitch contrasts. You can't have tone be unimportant in a language. If morphemes are systemati- cally contrastive in pitch, the language has tone; if not, there is no tone.
 +
 
 +
57. dan: (responding to 56.) Guilty as charged. Sorry about that.
 +
 
 +
58. cowan: (responding to 56.) Thanks for this correction.
 +
 
 +
59. cowan: (responding to 55.) Of course it's arbitrary in the sense that we select some features of the total human phonological repertoire and not others, but so does every natural language. The phonemes we use are found in many natural languages, and there exists at least one natural language (viz. German) that contains all of them. The consonant clusters and diphthongs we use are also all to be found in natural languages. We go to some pains to prevent
 +
 
 +
difficult clusters like *td or *fz; we also limit which consonant clusters can be used initially to a subset.
 +
 
 +
Pauses and glottal stops are the "same" in Lojban in the sense that they are allophones. In German, the phones [r] and [R] are the "same" in exactly the same sense: they are allophones of /r/ in free variation.
 +
 
 +
60. lojbab: (responding to 55.) Tone is reflected poorly or not-at-all in writing systems of the world, as is pitch and speech rhythm. Audio-visual isomorphism therefore precluded these being critical to disambiguation and we chose better ways to convey the equivalent meanings. In each case where we did so, a similar mechanism is found in some natural languages. For example, in French "est-ce que" almost exactly parallels Lojban 'xu'.
 +
 
 +
61. dan: (responding to 60.) Which is one of the many reasons that linguists concentrate on spoken language.
 +
 
 +
62. lojbab: (continuation of 60.) Pause in Lojban is used only to preserve morphological distinctions. For example, you must pause before a [word-initial] vowel to protect against it being absorbed into the previous word either as a final vowel in a consonant-final word or as a diphthong. A glottal stop provides similar separation of sounds; hence it is phonemically equivalent to a pause.
 +
 
 +
In neither case was the decision arbitrary; we had a good reason for each. This is in general true throughout Lojban - a decision to choose one form over many was primarily to achieve unambiguity. In other circumstances, we chose the least restrictive form possible (thus making tense, number, gender, etc. optional and hence more highly marked forms).
 +
 
 +
63. dan: (continuation of 1., from 51.) In typically blundering fashion, the Lojban engineers have ignored this issue, concentrating entirely on the learnability issue for SECOND language acquisition, that is, adults learning a second language, with no native competence.
 +
 
 +
64. cowan: (responding to 63.) (You raise an interesting side issue here. Do you argue a priori that persons learning a language as adults cannot achieve competence which is empirically indistinguishable from that of native speakers?)
 +
 
 +
65. dan: (responding to 64.) I guess I do. A Native French speaker might learn English well enough to be indistinguishable from a native English speaker, but he or she will not have native competence. In other words, you cannot ask that speaker a question regarding something like say, contraction and get a truthful answer.
 +
 
 +
66. daj: (responding to 65.) Even worse, you would never be able to use this speaker as a guinea pig in a SWH test, since he would be a native speaker of two languages, so his perception of the world would be conditioned by both. This would be true for any bilingual speaker, it seems to me. So you'll never be able to test the SWH until you have a "pure strain" of Lojban speakers.
 +
 
 +
67. cowan: (responding to 66.) Some Lojbanists agree, and say we will need to wait for a second generation. Another viewpoint is that by having people who speak Lojban+English, Lojban+French, Lojban+Vietnamese, Lojban+Navajo, etc. etc. we will be able to factor out the Lojban contribution when compared with people bilingual in two natural languages.
 +
 
 +
("Bilingual" here means "bilingual within the acquisition period".)
 +
 
 +
68. dan: (continuation of 65.) E.g. In English, one can contract words like "he" and "is", but only in particular circumstances. Hence:
 +
 
 +
  He's a nice boy
 +
  Isn't he a nice boy?/* yes, he's
 +
 
 +
The starred sentence is ungrammatical, the contraction is not acceptable in that position. It is acceptable in the first sentence. A native French speaker who knows English might be able to guess on that, but he or she certainly would NOT have a reliable intuition on the matter.
 +
 
 +
69. rjohnson: (responding to 68.) I have to agree with Dan here, sort of. I don't think the distinction to be made is between L1 and L2 competence, though, but between critical- period learning and post-critical-period (or "adult") learning. I think it's pretty clear that they're two different processes (though of course they may share some features). An adult learner may indeed learn a language well-enough to pass an operationalist sort of test (i.e., be indistinguishable from a native speaker), but shouldn't be taken as a reliable judge of grammaticalness.
 +
 
 +
70. cowan: (responding to 63, continuation of 64.) We know that the phonology is learnable by children, because it is a subset of phonologies which children can and do learn. We have every reason to believe that the vocabulary is learnable: the words are similar in morphology to those existing in natural languages, and the consonant clusters and diphthongs are all to be found in natural languages.
 +
 
 +
71. dan: (responding to 70.) Yes, but if there is a theory of phonological universals, then it is argued that certain combinations simply won't ever occur. Did the Lojban engineers take this into account, accept at the most rudimentary level? I doubt it.
 +
 
 +
72. cowan: (responding to 71.) What do you call "rudimentary"?
 +
 
 +
[Brief summary of Lojban phonology omitted.]
 +
 
 +
The rules are arbitrary, yes, but I should like to be shown wherein they are unlearnable. Furthermore, they need to be known only to people inventing new words: several of them are relaxed for borrowings and names.
 +
 
 +
73. lojbab: (responding to 71.) An interesting conditional, that first sentence. Is Dan claiming that there is a theory or not? Is he claiming that certain combinations won't occur? He seems to be claiming that Lojban has combinations that cannot occur but gives no examples. He'll have trouble finding them.
 +
 
 +
We did indeed take phonological universals into account in several ways. In the first place, as John Cowan mentions, the set of permitted sounds was selected as a subset of those found in many languages. We constrained consonant clusters by restrictive rules that recognize phonological properties like voiced/voiceless assimilation and included redundancy as a criteria in assigning words, reducing the number of minimal pairs distinctions. We added the apostrophe to prevent unwanted diphthongization; it represents devoicing of the glide between two adjacent vowels.
 +
 
 +
In addition, the frequency of sounds in predicate words should statistically parallel the sum of the corresponding frequencies in our six source languages. (For those unfamiliar, most of Lojban's predicate root words are formed by maximizing the appearance of phoneme patterns found in those source languages weighted by approximate number of speakers.)
 +
 
 +
I would say that more time has been spent overall during Loglan/Lojban's history on the interaction between phonology and morphology than on any other single feature of the language. This is probably because it is the best documented feature of the design and also the most easily compared to other languages.
 +
 
 +
74. cowan: (responding to 63, continuation of 70.) What we don't know is whether the grammar is learnable by a child. We won't know that until the experiment is tried, first by raising a bilingual or trilingual child, and then eventu- ally as part of a community of monolingual speakers.
 +
 
 +
75. lojbab: (responding to 63.) We've hardly ignored the question [of learnability by children]. However, from what I've read, children learn languages from adult role models. We need adult fluent speakers therefore in order to teach children. Within the next two decades at least, all such adults will be 2nd language speakers. So why not concentrate now on what we can do something about.
 +
 
 +
76. dan: (responding to 75.) My point from my first posting on has been that I can't imagine any child being able to acquire something as baroque as Lojban in its current form. My understanding of acquisition is that non- ambiguity is sacrificed in favor of learnability.
 +
 
 +
77. cowan: (responding to 76.) Maybe so. After all, the English my daughter spoke at the age of two was hardly "acceptable" as a full adult English, although now (at three) her English is clearly acceptable (she seems to be a bit in advance of her age-mates in this respect). There is no reason to think that a Lojban-speaking child would be different.
 +
 
 +
In one respect, some of the simpler Lojban constructions like observatives (bare predicators without arguments) are more analogous to young-child linguistic forms. The English utterance "Dog!" is a bit deviant, in that English- speakers would think it rather odd for an adult to say simply "Dog!" on seeing a dog, but for a child this utterance would be quite acceptable. The exact Lojban translation "gerku", on the other hand, is fully grammatical and not at all deviant.
 +
 
 +
78. lojbab: (responding to 76.) Baroque? Compared to natural languages, Lojban is incredibly simple, and children acquire natural languages (else they would not be 'natural'). Now whether Lojban will be seen as simple to a child is a valid question, but there is no reason to believe otherwise, and we'll know soon enough.
 +
 
 +
How can non-ambiguity be sacrificed in favor of learnability in natural languages acquisition? They aren't unambiguous in the first place. To whatever extent there IS unambiguity, the sheer complexity and irregularity of most of the language would overwhelm this. Lojban, being so much simpler to express unambiguously, MIGHT be able to be acquired unambiguously or at least relatively so (with the child growing into more accurate usage with age and understanding just as children of the natural languages do).
 +
 
 +
79. dan: (responding to 78.) I was suggesting that ambiguous languages are easier to learn than unambiguous ones. There aren't any unambiguous natural languages that I know of, so it's difficult to test this.
 +
 
 +
An unambiguous language would require enough additional baggage, that it would make learning it unwieldy. An ambiguous language has fewer rules. And just for the record, let's get things straight with regard to our definition of "rules". By rules, I mean rules that are used to characterize the language, not rules in the pre- scriptive sense.
 +
 
 +
The average child learns his or her language (barring language disorders or highly unusual circumstances) quite rapidly, ambiguity and all.
 +
 
 +
As to whether Lojban is baroque or not, the question is this: If there were hypothetical native speakers of Lojban, how complicated would an abstract characterization of their competence be? If such an abstract characterization were more complicated than a similar characterization of say, Klammath, then I would stand by my assertion.
 +
 
 +
Of course, one might beg the question and ask whether such abstractions are meaningful at all (as the Schankians do), but that's a whole other ball o' wax (quite interesting too).
 +
 
 +
80. lee: (responding to 76.) The discussion of irregularity might profit from distinguishing types of irregularity:
 +
 
 +
# semantic irregularity - no one-to-one correspondence between form and meaning, as for example when phonological changes produce variations in the form of a stem;
 +
# morphological irregularity - no uniform way of deriving related words, as in the examples of archaic paradigms;
 +
# distributional irregularity - certain combinations of forms (or features) are not permitted, for instance when obligatory phonological changes eliminate some phone(me) combinations;
 +
# form class irregularity - it is not possible to distinguish forms or their categories directly from their pronunciation, as when a phonological change is extended from word-internal to cross word boundaries, making it more difficult to tell where words begin and end.
 +
 
 +
Then it's interesting to catalog the various ways that changes which remedy one sort of irregularity may create others.
 +
 
 +
81. lojbab: (responding to 80.) Each of these has a corresponding 'ambiguity', as well, in which various degrees of inconsistency and inconstancy exist in the rules for building and interpreting forms of each of these types. Lojban has defined regularity and unambiguity in the last three. We can expect to directly observe the causes and effects that result in changes in these areas.
 +
 
 +
82. lojbab: (continuation of 75., responding to 63.) There are several Lojbanists that have indicated intent to try to raise their children as bilingual Lojban/natural-language speakers, probably the best that can and should be attempted until/unless Lojban proves its value. I cer- tainly wouldn't ask anyone to raise children solely Lojban- speaking; it would smack of human-experimentation to me (an issue I'm fairly sensitive on).
 +
 
 +
83. dan: Some Lojban propaganda claims that the language has been characterized by a transformational grammar, but this has never actually been demonstrated, and seems quite unlikely, since I would imagine that a native speaker would be required to characterize a Lojban-user's competence. Since there probably will never BE a native Lojban speaker, how can you possibly ask one whether XXXX is an allowable sentence or word of his or her language? Current Lojban speakers are of no use, because they do not have such intu- itions about the language any more than a fluent second- language speaker of French (a French speaker whose native language is say Hindi) would have such intuitions about French.
 +
 
 +
84. cowan: (responding to 83.) This illustrates a confusion between natural and constructed languages. In a natural language, the source of competence is the native speaker's intuition. In a constructed language, during the construction phase (which Lojban is still in, though rapidly coming to the end of it), competence is defined by the constructor. A grammatical Lojban sentence is what we say it is, where "what we say" is defined by the baselined vocabulary lists and machine grammar. The reference for syntactic correctness is a parsing program, and when a Loj- banist utters something the program can't parse, we say that he has made an "error".
 +
 
 +
85. dan: (responding to 84.) Once again, completely arbitrary. In English, or any other natural language, grammaticalness is also defined by what we can say and understand. "I ain't got none" is perfectly grammatical, because people use and understand it all the time. Only English teachers and guys like John Simon sit around and contemplate (by their own arbitrary standards) whether or not it's okay to split infinitives and use "hopefully" right. The rest of us just do it.
 +
 
 +
86. cowan: (responding to 85.) Correct, and therefore for a natural language like English, the only way to determine the grammar is by {in,intro}spection. But this has nothing to do with the grammar being in transformational form, i.e. a set of PS rules generating a deep structure with a set of T rules generating the surface structure from them. Such a grammar has not been fully worked out for Lojban, but is clearly not impossible in principle. It also happens to be the case that PS rules are sufficient to generate the whole of the language's surface structure all by themselves (probably not true of English), although the PS-only version of the grammar which we have now baselined does not explain semantic equivalences of different structures.
 +
 
 +
87. cowan: (continuation of 84.) But this will not always be so. When the language is fully defined and baselined, it will be "launched" and the normal processes of linguistic change will be allowed to operate. We expect that some grammatical forms, vocabulary items, etc. will be "pruned" because nobody uses them. They will remain in the formal language definition, available to all speakers in the same sort of way that archaic grammar or vocabulary forms are available to speakers of natural languages: viz. if they take the trouble to look them up. At that time it will be appropriate to consult human speakers (and AI programs, if any) to investigate correct linguistic behavior a posteriori.
 +
 
 +
88. dan: (responding to 87.) Org! What a mess! "Correct" linguistic behavior? Lojban will be a linguistic battlefield with prescriptivists running around telling people that they can't say such-and-such a sentence, because it can't be parsed by Lojban's computationally sound grammar (verified by a genuine computer!).
 +
 
 +
89. cowan: (responding to 88.) Don't be silly. Of course Lojbanists can do that if they want to, just as speakers of English and other languages can if they want to. Again, you are ignoring the difference between a language that is born a priori and one that isn't. After the language is delivered from the womb, anything can and quite probably will happen in the way of changes, which will not be dictated from above.
 +
 
 +
90. lojbab: (responding to 85.) Not true for English, really, nor for all natural languages. English is of course not even a single language in the sense that there are many dialects spoken around the world [not all 100% mutually understandable]. Many of these do not use constructs found in the 'standard language', even though they are obviously understood by their listeners. But how could we say this if we didn't have a concept of what the 'standard language' is, which is distinct from what we say and understand. (Of course, the definition of standard language varies from country to country, too. British speakers would even less accept some of Dan's Americanisms, and in some cases might misunderstand them. (Actually, there is some variation among 'standard Englishes', as well, as evidenced by differences in the various published style manuals.))
 +
 
 +
In addition, each language has registers, in some of which certain constructs may be permitted, but which in others are unacceptable. Try using "I ain't got none." in a journal paper. In other languages, such as Japanese, registers are so structured and formalized as to almost make for independent languages. Understanding is not a sufficient criteria for grammaticalness..
 +
 
 +
91. dan: (responding to 90.) This is where I disagree most strongly. To my mind, grammaticalness. is determined solely by whether a member of a speech community finds a given utterance acceptable. Members of my speech community will, if they put their biases aside, admit that "I ain't got none" is a perfectly acceptable sentence.
 +
 
 +
92. cowan: (responding to 91.) Northrop Frye tells a story about going to a hardware store and asking for something or other, and being told "We haven't got any". The speaker then glanced at Frye and added, "We haven't got none." This remark, says Frye, has what literary critics call texture: it means 1) we haven't got any, and 2) you look to me like a schoolteacher, and nobody's going to catch me talking like one of those.
 +
 
 +
The "bias" in question is part of an English-speaker's competence, which is not limited to separating the intelligible from the unintelligible, but also can separate what kinds of grammatical constructions may be used by what speakers in what situations. *"Lazy the jumps fox quick dog brown over the" is ungrammatical in all situations. *"Me see she" is probably also ungrammatical in all situations, although perfectly intelligible. *"Mama like pretty spoon" is good toddler-English but unacceptable adult-English. *"I ain't got none" is ungrammatical in some dialects (mine, for example) and entirely grammatical in others. *"For all x, for some y, such that x is a man, such that y is a fish, x loves y" is grammatical to me, but many native speakers would reject it as almost as unintelligible as my first example. I have asterisked all of these examples as ungrammatical for some speakers in some situations.
 +
 
 +
93. lojbab: (continuation of 90.) And of course, for many nations there are academies that dictate the standard language for that nation (I use nations instead of languages since, for example, Brazil has an academy separate from that of Portugal, although both work together at times.) English has no academy, but this is an exception. Therefore we end up with individuals setting themselves up as a self-appointed 'academy'.
 +
 
 +
94. dan: (responding to 93.) Thank God we don't have such academies. Take a look at how much attention is paid to such academies too. French speakers are constantly being advised to avoid English borrowings like "Picque-Nique" and "Le Weekend" or "Fair du ski", but they use them constantly and of course they should be allowed to if they want to.
 +
 
 +
95. cowan: (responding to 94.) Discussions of "allowing people to do things" are political, not linguistic. Linguistics as such is silent on the subject of what people "should" do, permit, or forbid.
 +
 
 +
"Does a rock roll down hill because it wants to or because it has to?" An animist would plump for the former reply; most educated Westerners, probably the latter. But a pure operational scientist would reply "Neither. Rocks simply do roll down hill, that's all."
 +
 
 +
96. lojbab: (continuation of 90.) This does not make 'academies', or language prescription 'wrong'. Dan's libertarian view of language is understandable given his American and English language cultural values. In addition, there is a difference between the prescriptive/descriptive debate from the point of view of linguists as opposed to that of regular speakers. Most people, for example, expect a dictionary to be prescrip- tive, even thought the linguists who write them disagree.
 +
 
 +
97. dan: (responding to 96.) I prefer "anarchistic" to "libertarian" for personal reasons :-)
 +
 
 +
98. lojbab: (continuation of 90.) Lojban has a valid reason (unambiguity) to prescribe its standard form. If Dan chooses to learn Lojban, and then chooses to deviate from those standard forms, he may be expanding the language. Of course, he also may have trouble getting his computer to understand him. Since ideally Lojban's target 'speaker' population may include computers, failure to express himself so that the computer understands him (unambiguously) means Dan is speaking ungrammatically even by his own definition.
 +
 
 +
99. dan: (responding to 98.) Whaaaat? The goal of Natural Language Understanding should be for the system to understand human languages, not for human speakers to alter their speech so that a computer can understand it. Since we've already established that Lojban isn't unambiguous, any Lojban NLP system is already going to be having a hissy fit over plastic cats.
 +
 
 +
100. cowan: (responding to 99.) Of course. But such a Lojban NLP can 1) recognize unambiguously that it has detected an ambiguity, 2) ask for help, and 3) get an unambiguous response. If a Lojban computer sees "slasi mlatu" in its input, it can ask "lu slasi mlatu li'u ta'unai pei", literally "quote plastic cat unquote expand- the-metaphor how?" and expect a response such as "lo mlatu poi ke'a cidja lo slasi", literally "a cat such-that it eats plastic", or else "lo mlatu poi zo'e zbasu ke'a lo slasi", literally "a cat such-that something makes it from plastic". And other responses are of course also possible.
 +
 
 +
101. dan: (continuation of 99.) Besides, many prescriptivists have used the same arguments against various "slang" forms. The argument against "double negatives" is that they are "illogical". The fact that no one seems to have a bit of trouble understanding them doesn't matter I suppose.
 +
 
 +
102. lojbab: (continuation of 90.) Some other 'natural languages' are indeed defined exactly as Lojban is, by an a priori 'committee' that selected the valid forms. Norse, Modern Hebrew, and several African languages were defined by some nationalists taking features from other languages used by the target population (and in the case of Hebrew, from incomplete knowledge of a dead language), and arbitrary features sometimes where the several languages collided. These all became living natural languages. Why can't Lojban, which is merely doing the same on a grander scale?
 +
 
 +
103. dan: (responding to 102.) I would imagine that all of them underwent creolization, which seems to be nature's way of smoothing things out, linguistically. If Lojban develops a native speech community, then it will undoubtedly do the same, probably in all of the worst sorts of ways (the moral equivalent of "I ain't got none" in Lojban) and Lojban will be yet another zany, irregular, ambiguous, beautiful language. In other words, what's the point?
 +
 
 +
104. cowan: (responding to 103.) Well, perhaps you are right. Then we'll have learned something. And perhaps you are wrong. And then we'll have learned something else. That's what makes this experimental linguistics.
 +
 
 +
105. cowan: (continuation of 87.) There will also be growth in the language: technical terms in all fields will be borrowed and Lojbanized as needed; new compounds will be freely created, and it is even possible that new grammatical constructions will be built by usage, although we have really tried to be quite comprehensive in this domain.
 +
 
 +
I don't understand what the stuff about transformational grammar vs. any other kind has to do with this issue. A transformational grammar is simply certain kind of formal description. Doubtless many natural languages exist of which no transformational grammar has ever been given: do TG [transformational grammar - a linguistics theory] advocates doubt that such grammars are possible a priori?
 +
 
 +
106. dan: (responding to 105.) TG is a formal description that requires native speakers to confirm. Even you have admitted that there are no native speakers of the language. How can there be a transformational account of a language without native speakers? Yet Bob LeChevalier told me point blank that such a transformational account did exist.
 +
 
 +
107. cowan: (responding to 106.) I believe what Bob meant to convey was that an investigation had been made to see whether the semantic equivalence of certain Lojban constructions could be represented by T rules which would transform certain syntax trees into other trees in a meaning-preserving way. Indeed, this can be done, although it has not been done for every detail of the language.
 +
 
 +
Again, I see no difference between TG formal descriptions and others in this respect. Every formal description of a natural language requires speakers of that language to confirm or disconfirm it, but a constructed language is launched with an a priori formal description from which (or from simplified/clarified forms of which) new speakers learn.
 +
 
 +
Think of Lojban as being spoken by people who live so far away that we can't ever go there to talk with them, but they have sent us some of their Lojban as a Second Language materials used for instructing their neighbors in their language. Magically, these materials have been translated into English. Some of us now learn this language and begin to speak it. Our children hear us speaking it and either learn it natively (i.e. as other languages are learned) or else they don't. Either way, a datum for experimental linguistics. A board of psychologists then administers some tests to us and our children to see if either population thinks differently (in some sense) from a matched control group. Another datum for experimental linguistics.
 +
 
 +
Many generations pass and the language undoubtedly changes. All this history is forgotten. A Linguist (capital L) comes on the scene and decides to study this language called Lojban; perhaps he is himself a native speaker. He records, using whatever linguistic theory is current at that time, a model of the grammar (a posteriori) of the language as it is spoken then. An archaeologist digs up a copy of the original Lojban textbook, machine grammar, etc., and historical linguistics goes to work reconstructing the way the language has changed.
 +
 
 +
Why not?
 +
 
 +
108. rjohnson: (responding to 106.) Dan, you're conflating the formal (mathematical) and the psychological issues here. A transformational grammar is simply a class of formal device for characterizing (generating) sentences. it has nothing to do with competence. You could (and do) have transformational grammars for characterizing computer languages, strings of arbitrary symbols, etc. "Transformational" belongs in the same paradigm as "phrase structure", "finite state", "indexed" and so on; these are classes of grammars, not empirical theories.
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 +
109. dan: (responding to 108.) I suppose you're right again, although perhaps my studies in Montague Grammar have made me lose sight of psychological vs. mathematical distinctions :-) Seriously though, one does rely on grammaticalness. judgements when trying to determine if a certain movement is viable: for example in the case of "wanna" contraction:
 +
 
 +
<pre>
 +
1 a. Which movie(t) do you want to see? (t)
 +
  b. Which movie do you wanna see?
 +
2 a. Which team(t) do you want (t) to win?
 +
  b. *Which team do you wanna win?
 +
</pre>
 +
 
 +
The presence of the trace in (2) between "to" and "want" blocks "wanna" contraction.
 +
 
 +
110. rjohnson: (continuation of 108.) The (now moribund) theory of Transformational Grammar, on the other hand, is a set of claims about linguistic competence, largely abandoned by generativists in favor of GB [this, as well as other jargon terms in this paragraph, is a linguistic theory of grammar] and other systems. Among these claims is the idea that the basic data are the grammaticalness. judgements of native speakers. But this has nothing to do with the formal notion of transformations, and can be applied in LFG, GPSG, dependency, or just about any other formal framework as well. The original poster [cowan], quite properly, kept the two levels separate.
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 +
111. dan: (responding to 110.) Well you're probably right again. I'm not a professional linguist yet - only a Cognitive Science type.
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 +
112. rjohnson: (continuation of 110, also responding to 46.) Of course you [assume UG]. You're an MIT student. For most of the rest of the world, however, the jury is still out, and it's a mistake to assume what you're trying to prove.
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113. dan: (responding to 112.) I'm not actually, I just post from here :-( I don't want to misrepresent myself as an MIT linguist. I studied cognitive science as an undergrad at Hampshire College, with a strong bias towards linguistics. As you can see, I play fast and loose with some of the terminology.
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 +
As for assuming what we're trying to prove, isn't that the crux of this argument? Most Chomskian linguists assume UG, and most Lojbanists assume Sapir/Whorf. In the words of The Brady Bunch "I guess we've all learned a valuable lesson".
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114. kimba: (responding to 113.) The point was supposed to be, if you are slamming someone else's assumptions, the least you can do is write your own in black ink in a clear and legible hand, rather than saying (effectively) "this is inconsistent with UG and therefore wrong". As I ought, if I were actually saying anything:-) I find neither [UG nor SWH] particularly convincing or illuminating.
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 +
115. lojbab: (responding to 106.) The claim I made is that John Parks-Clifford, a linguist involved with Loglan since 1975, told me that he investigated 1970's Loglan using TG techniques during the 70's and was able to demonstrate to his own satisfaction that all features of Loglan were amenable to TG analysis, and that he found no 'unusual' transforms. More recently, a student in Cleveland has been attempting to develop a more formal TG description of the language. This will undoubtedly take a while, but he re- ported to me earlier this year that not only had he found nothing unusual, he had identified some elegant features of the language using TG techniques. The features he reported are indeed consistent with the language definition, and in- cluded aspects that the student had not been taught (i.e. that we had not put into any published documents that the student had received.
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 +
116. dan (conclusion of 1., from 63.): Ultimately, the enterprise of Lojban is at best an intellectual puzzle, and perhaps on this level, it is interesting. To learn a "language" (perhaps "code" would be better) like Lojban, based on principles of logic can be seen as the equivalent of a Pig-Latin for intellectuals and engineers.
 +
 
 +
----
 +
 
 +
Subject: Lojban: is it naive?
 +
 
 +
Participants:
 +
<br />[email protected] (John Cowan)
 +
<br />[email protected] (David A. Johns)
 +
 
 +
1. [The following exchange between cowan and daj began with a one-liner from daj that Lojban was "naive". cowan wrote back privately to ask "Why do you say that?"]
 +
 
 +
2. daj: Well, the three things that jump out at me right away are: (1) You can't design a culture-free language. Simply the choice of categories to represent in the language (tense, aspect, definite- indefinite, etc.) are culture-bound. In addition, there's a lot of talk in that description about using metaphor to extend the bare bones of the language. Can there be anything more culture-bound than metaphor (not the mechanism, but the choices of images)?
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3. cowan: (responding to 2.) Absolutely correct. Lojban is not a culture-free language; every language creates its own culture if the SWH is correct, and we assume it correct (its falsity is the null hypothesis) for purposes of the Lojban experiment. Assuming SWH, then lei lojbo 'the mass of those pertaining to Lojban' will create their own culture, with its own metaphors and characteristic idioms.
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4. daj: (responding to 3.) Then what's the point of the language? All you would end up with is a bunch of creolized Lojban daughter languages, wouldn't you?
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5. cowan: (responding to 4.) We hope not. Of course in the very long term that can happen to any language: Latin split into lots of daughters, some of which are more or less heavily influenced by other languages (Rumanian being the prime example). The idea is that Lojban ways of thought (assuming there are such things) will influence the creation of Lojbanic culture.
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6. cowan: (continuation of 3.) Lojban deals with the category problem (which we refer to as the "metaphysical assumptions" problem) by minimizing required categories.
 +
 
 +
Tense, aspect, and definiteness are optional categories of discourse in the language, but can be represented when needed. We can also represent things like the observa- tional status of assertions, the emotional attitude which goes with them (there is an entire set of paralinguistic grunts for expressing emotions), and so on.
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7. daj: (responding to 6.) Since every known language (as far as I know) has a set of required categories, they must fulfill some function. Again, real speakers would make the categories compulsory and create something different from the original design.
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8. cowan: (responding to 7.) Maybe, maybe not. Since the non-required categories are expressed by marked forms (using the particles), sentences that don't express categories are always possible. Again, they might come to seem archaic or childish, but that's a second-order effect. When a 2-year-old says "Dog!" we usually consider that a bit deviant, but the Lojban literal translation "gerku" is fully grammatical Lojban - a predicate with all arguments elliptically omitted.
 +
 
 +
9. daj: (continuation of 7.) Another point. A few weeks ago you posted a list of Lojban pronouns. It struck me then that this paradigm was probably too rich for human language. This is just a gut feeling, but it seems to me that in real languages the number of elements in a con- trastive set is pretty severely limited.
 +
 
 +
10. cowan: (responding to 9.) Depends on what you mean by "contrastive". The 43 Lojban pronouns are indeed contrastive in the sense of being interchangeable in the grammar, but they aren't semantically interchangeable.  They fall into several categories: personal, bound-vari- able, free-variable, question, relativized argument, reflexive, demonstrative, pro-utterance, pro-argument, and indefinite. Within each category there are only a few pronouns (or "anaphora" more technically - "ba'ivla" in Lojban). Grammatically, "do" and "dei" are interchangeable, but no one will confuse "you" (the listener) with "this utterance I am now uttering"!
 +
 
 +
11. daj: (continuation of 7., from 9.) I can see that it would be possible in some cases to have people speaking different dialects of the same language, where each dialect over-specified some categories from the point of view of other dialects. After all, we don't really have much trouble understanding Chinese speakers of English who simply eliminate the verb tense system and replace it with adverbs. But I don't think this would work with the pronouns, since a listener wouldn't know what any given pronoun meant without knowing the entire set.
 +
 
 +
12. cowan: (responding to 11.) Correct. On the other hand, it may be that lots of the ba'ivla don't come up much. For example "da'e" meaning "a far future utterance" probably won't be used very often, and someone who doesn't understand it or even recognize it may still be quite a fluent speaker. One can speak English fluently without knowing "thou", for example, although certainly it is a personal pronoun contrasting with "I" and "you" and the rest. The occasions for its use (in Modern English) just aren't that common.
 +
 
 +
13. daj: (continuation of 2.) (2) If you're going to design a language that people are actually going to speak, you're going to have to deal with whatever it is that leads human languages to be the way they are. One obvious universal of real language is a floating equilibrium between ambiguity and redundancy. If you want to design a language without ambiguity, you'll have to figure out what role ambiguity plays and compensate for the loss. There are many other characteristics like this, such as why semantically external predicates like negation and tense tend to become reduced and attached to internal pieces of a sentence, etc.
 +
 
 +
14. cowan: (responding to 13.) Lojban is not free of ambiguity, only of phonological and syntactic ambiguity.
 +
 
 +
15. daj: (responding to 2.) First phonological ambiguity. In your original posting you gave examples which seemed to indicate that Lojban words were polysyllabic, with syllable-initial stress. I assume that your claim that analysis of the input stream into words was unambiguous has to depend on that stress placement - in other words, a word begins where a stress occurs and includes all following unstressed syllables. But in natural languages, there are unstressed words - clitics - plus other uses of stress for phrase boundary identification, discourse function, etc. How are you going to prevent phonological ambiguity from creeping into Lojban?
 +
 
 +
16. cowan: (responding to 15.) I must have misled you. Lojban stress is as follows: stress on content words ("brivla") is penultimate. All root brivla are two- syllabled, so stress appears to be initial.
 +
 
 +
Structure words ("cmavo") are one or two syllables and may be stressed freely. A structure word with final stress immediately followed by a brivla must have a separating pause (which can be a full pause or just a glottal stop). Thus in "le bridi", "bridi" has penultimate stress; if "le" is unstressed it can be proclitic [sounded together with the following word], whereas if it is stressed a pause is required to forbid the reading "lebri di".
 +
 
 +
Names have free stress, which must be indicated by capitalization in writing when it is not penultimate. Names are always followed by pause, and must be preceded by either pause or one of the cmavo "la", "lai", "la'i", or "doi" (the first three are articles, the last a vocative marker). These same cmavo may not be embedded in names, so "*doil" for "Doyle" is not a valid Lojban name; it would have to be "do'il", roughly "Dough-heel". (The Lojban ' character represents IPA [h], or more accurately a voiceless vowel glide.)
 +
 
 +
17. daj: (continuation of 15.) And then there's syntactic ambiguity. Math/logic notation has an extremely powerful device for preventing ambiguity - parentheses. With parentheses you can resolve "old men and women" into either "((old men) and (women))" or "(old (men and women))." It's hard to imagine anything like this in natural language that could operate at more than one or two levels of embedding. Even with all kinds of contrastive stress and artificial intonation breaks we can't read even slightly complicated math formulas so that they can be written down correctly.
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 +
18. cowan: (responding to 17.) Lojban has lots of kinds of parentheses: "ke" and "ke'e" for Boolean connective groupings, "vei" and "ve'o" for strictly numerical/mathematical parentheses, "to" and "toi" for discursive parentheses (like these). These can be stacked up as required. Of course, if things get too complicated people may not be able to understand what is said, but En- glish has that problem as well. "The cheese that the mouse that the man that the woman married chased ate rotted" is grammatical, but not intelligible due to stack overflow in the listener. But the words do exist as a regular part of the language: if the worst comes to the worst, the listener could write down what is said verbatim, pass it through a machine parser, and figure out exactly what is bracketed with what. This ability could be quite useful for things like drafting regulations, which are notoriously ridden with unintentional ambiguity: having a parser looking over your shoulder as you write such a thing would help you in seeing ways in which your listener/reader could get confused, and clarifying them.
 +
 
 +
19. daj: (continuation from 15., from 17.) Also, once you allow idiomatization into the language, you're going to have syntactic reanalysis, which will produce syntactic ambiguity. For instance, every language has some way of embedding one sentence inside another, and as far as I know, they all have ways of reducing the information in the embedded sentence. For instance, take a structure like (I like (I swim)), which can be realized as either "I like swimming" or "I like to swim." It's pretty clear that the action indicated by "swim" is subordinate to the main verb "like." On the other hand, I don't think anyone would analyze "I am swimming" as (I am (I swim)). Here we think of "am" as being a marker on the main verb, so that the structure is [something like] (I (am swim)). But both structures are realized in actual speech as V-V sequences, and there are many such sequences that are hard to classify: "am to," "am going to," "am supposed to," etc. This sort of reanalysis is extremely common and probably unavoidable in any real language.
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 +
20. cowan: (responding to 19.) I'm not sure how to comment on this. However, I guess the best point I can make is that in Lojban, the "surface structure" is quite close to the "deep structure". We simply do not have things like embedding and tense marking being realized with the same forms.
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 +
(I like (I swim)) comes out "mi nelci le nu mi limna" which is "I like the event-of I swim". (I (am swim)) comes out "mi ca limna" which is "I now swim". The first form could be collapsed into "mi limna nelci" = "I swimly like", which is one of the forms which is explicitly marked as semantically ambiguous: the exact way in which the liking is a kind of swimming is not indicated. This process of making a "tanru" (Lojban for "open compound") is a kind of Lojban transformation, and the current grammar does not ex- press it - it is a grammar of surface structure alone, but a surface structure that is more like the deep structure of other languages. This is the kind of embedding we call "abstraction": there are also other embeddings, involving description, relativization, metalinguistic comments, etc.
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 +
21. cowan: (continuation of 14.) Metaphors (which, as you say, are fundamental - they are Mandarin-type metaphors and really correspond more to nominal compounds in English) are semantically ambiguous, and there is also ambiguity in names and through the extensive use of ellipsis and defaults: the full translation of a simple utterance like mi klama is 'I/we go to somewhere, from somewhere, via some route, by some means'.
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 +
22. daj: (responding to 21.) But as soon as you allow these metaphors, you've compromised universal comprehensibility, which I assume is one purpose of the language. Do you think a Mongol tribesman would understand "heart ache," "dog days," etc., or indeed would he have any way of knowing that "back stabber" wasn't to be taken literally?
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 +
23. cowan: (responding to 22.) There is a subtle point here. There is a marker for "figurative speech" which would be used on "back stabber" and would signal "There is a culturally dependent construction here!" The intent is not that everything is instantly and perfectly comprehensi- ble to someone who knows only the root words, but rather that non-root words are built up creatively from the roots. Thus "heart pain" would refer to the literal heart and literal pain; what would be ambiguous would be the exact connection between these two. Is the pain in the heart, because of the heart, or what? But "heart pain" would not be a valid tanru for "emotional pain", absent the figurative speech marker. It is "malglico" (#*[email protected] English).
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 +
24. daj: (continuation of 22.) In natural language words exist in paradigmatic sets: "No contrast, no content." The meaning of "mi klama" would be determined in any single dialect by the categories that had become compulsory in that dialect. In other words, "I go" does not mean the same thing as German "ich gehe," because in English it contrasts with "I am going," while in German there is no such tense.
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 +
25. cowan: (responding to 24.) Each root word in Lojban expresses an N-place predicate, and its meaning is defined by the significance of the N places. Thus "klama" is a 5- place predicate meaning "A goes to B from C via route D by means E". The Lojban design maintains that these five places are an essential part of the meaning of "klama", and that any state of affairs not involving an agent, a destination, an origin, a route, and a means is not validly captured by the word "klama". Most roots have 1, 2, or 3 places, and 5 is the maximum. Additional places (such as the time, the location, the purpose, etc.) can be expressed as well by an extensible set of tags, but they are not considered essential to meaning. In the case of "klama" there is no word which precisely "contrasts" with it in the sense of having exactly the same five places, although "benji" (A transfers B to C from D via E) and "muvdu" (A moves B from C to D via E) come close - the difference is that "muvdu" and "klama" involve physical objects, whereas "benji" doesn't necessarily. But all Lojban predicates with the same number of places contrast in that they are freely substitutable, although perhaps nonsense-producing.
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 +
26. cowan: (continuation of 14., from 21.) Negation, tense, etc. can be expressed either externally through the semantics or internally through the grammar. Negation in particular has gotten a great deal of attention: we split it into contradictory negation (with na or naku), contrary/ polar/scalar negation (with a variety of particles for simple contrary, polar opposite, and "scale neutral"), and metalinguistic negation (with na'i).
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 +
27. daj: (responding to 26.) Again, I think the evidence from natural language suggests that people won't tolerate very much paradigmatic indeterminacy. They will boil down all these choices to a few that seem particularly important to them.
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 +
28. daj: (continuation of 2., from 13.) (3) You can't design a language "not based on any existing languages." You might be able to choose totally arbitrary vocabulary, since vocabulary IS arbitrary, but interestingly enough, Lojban doesn't do that (words are based on U. N. languages as I remember). But in syntax the choices are limited, and Lojban seems to opt for a word-order language rather than a morphology language like Russian. Lojban is thereby biased toward languages that use word order to indicate structural relationships.
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 +
29. cowan: (responding to 28.) You remember correctly. The relevant languages are Mandarin, English, Russian, Hindi, Spanish, and Arabic, weighted according to the numbers of speakers, and using a phoneme-matching algorithm to assign words with the highest figures of merit relative to the six languages. This mechanism is a "marketing device" to make the vocabulary easier to learn for speakers of any of those languages, especially Mandarin and English.
 +
 
 +
Word order plays a fairly limited role in determining meaning: it determines which arguments of predicates are which, but can be overridden. Lojban is really a particle language: almost everything about the grammar is determined by which particles are used and where.
 +
 
 +
30. daj: (responding to 29.) My mistake. But how do you come up with a culture-free list of particles?
 +
 
 +
31. cowan: (responding to 30.) Again, we can't exactly. We attempt to be superinclusive, as I said above. The list of particles is large (~550) and if anybody comes up with a construct which cannot be handled by existing ones, we add one. Hopefully this process is now complete. The last few things to come in included the observationals (which say "how the speaker knows", from Amerind languages), scalar negation, and the tense system, which is quite comprehensive (it covers space location and aspect as well as time). A few more may still need to be added to cover the needs of mathematics.
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32. daj: (continuation of 2., from 28.) I could go on. One obvious area is how Lojban indicates discourse functions like old and new information components of a sentence (or clause), whether it is iconic in tense sequences, whether it prefers coordination or subordination, etc., etc. All these factors are going to make it look like particular languages. All of them are going to have to be specified if the language isn't going to break up into dialects based on the way speakers of other languages implement unspecified features in their own speech.
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 +
33. cowan: (responding to 32.) Discourse functions are handled by a large set of discursives, each of which has a polar opposite: things like specifically/generally, hypothetically/actually, metaphorically/explicitly, etc.
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 +
34. daj: (responding to 33.) These seem more pragmatic than discourse, but I admit the boundaries are fuzzy, and I may be using non-standard divisions. What I had in mind was the universally marked distinction between information that's already part of the conversation and information being introduced for the first time (in this conversation). English does it with articles (the/a) and intonation, Russian and Chinese do it with word order, Japanese does it with particles, etc., etc.
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 +
35. cowan: (responding to 34.) The nearest Lojban equivalent to the "the/a" distinction is the "le/lo" distinction. "le finpe" means "the fish, the thing(s) I describe as (a) fish". It may be a whale, or a mermaid, or indeed my cat Freddy: as long as the listener understands what is meant, "le finpe" is correct; "le" is non-veridi- cal.
  
  35
+
"Lo finpe" on the other hand means "fish, a fish, some fish, the thing(s) that really is-a (are) fish". "Lo" is veridical and makes a claim; sentences containing "lo" are valid only if the thing is as described (they may be vacu- ously true otherwise, but probably a human listener would consider them ill-formed semantically).
  
 +
36. cowan: (responding to 32.) I don't understand "iconic in tense sequences." Could you explain further?
  
whereas "bo" (which semantically is the same as     one fish Y, such that X loves Y."  The other interpretation
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37. daj: (responding to 36.) In many languages (Chinese is one, I believe) you can say "After I went home I went to bed" or "I went home before I went to bed," but you can't say "Before I went to bed I went home" or "I went to bed after I went home." Clause sequence has to match time se- quence. I think it's even impossible in Chinese to say "I'm staying home because I've got a cold," since the presupposed cause has to precede the consequent. Many other languages, of course, have no such restriction.
concatenation, i.e. undefined) is high-precedence and right could be given by "converting" the predicate with the
 
associative.     particle "se".  This operation reverses the order of the
 
    arguments to a predicate.  "pa finpe se prami ro nanmu",
 
34. cowan: (continuing 23., from 28.) On a third level, a  literally "one fish be-loved-by all man" means "There
 
phrase like "cat food" is ambiguous semantically.  Is it    exists one fish Y, for all men X, such that X loves Y."
 
food for cats or food consisting of cats?  Here Lojban     Note that conversion is analogous to the passive voice but
 
really is ambiguous, but the ambiguity is semantic not     has no semantic significance other than this inversion of
 
syntactic.  The three main kinds of ambiguity in Lojban     quantifiers.
 
(this kind, ellipsis, and the ambiguity of names (which       Lojban also has machinery for expressing the quantifiers
 
Sam?)) are all semantic in nature.  As in any natural     externally in a prenex, terminated by the word "zo'u".  So
 
language, any of these ambiguities can be "expanded" on the another set of Lojban paraphrases for your sentences above
 
semantic level by adding more information:  "lo mlatu     is "ro da poi nanmu pa de poi finpe zo'u da prami de",
 
cidja" (a cat type of food) could become "da poi cidja loi  literally "all X which is-a-man, one Y which is-a-fish, X
 
mlatu" (something which is-food-for the-mass-of cats).     loves Y"; and "pa de poi finpe ro da poi nanmu zo'u da
 
    prami de", literally "one Y which is-a-fish, all X which
 
35. dan: (responding to 34.)  Semantic ambiguity is present is-a-man, X loves Y".  Presumably, a transformational
 
all over the place.  How does Lojban handle issues like     grammar of Lojban would derive both of these surface
 
quantifier scope ambiguity?  In English, a sentence like    structures (with and without prenex) from the same
 
"Every man loves a fish" is ambiguous. If Lojban merely    underlying deep structures.
 
paraphrases such utterances, to two separate utterances       What Lojban does not have is any sentence which means
 
along the lines of:     both of your two forms ambiguously.
 
  "For all x, There exists a y such that x loves y"
 
  "There exists a y for all x such that x loves y"     40. lojbab: (continuation of 37, in response to 35.)  You
 
while tolerating some version of the original utterance,    cannot 'do the same thing in English'. Even if the two
 
than nothing has been accomplished.  I can do the same     English paraphrases are considered 'standard English' (and
 
thing in English.     many linguists do not, identifying them as a jargon),
 
    neither is the same as Dan's original.  Fill in 'man' for
 
36. cowan: (responding to 35.)     'x' and 'fish' for 'y', and the result is ungrammatical:
 
  1) Lojban has mechanisms for setting quantifier scopes,
 
involving explicit quantifiers appearing in a prenex.     *"For all man, there exists a fish such that man loves
 
  2) Loglan/Lojban has never claimed to be free of semantic  fish."
 
ambiguity.  Your original objection 3 [see 22. above]     *"There exists a fish for all man such that man loves
 
(refers to "allegedly unambiguous syntax", but on       fish."
 
investigation your objections are to semantic rather than
 
syntactic ambiguity.  Our claims are:  a) Lojban is free of It takes some extensive manipulations to turn these into
 
phonological, morphological, and syntactic ambiguity, and  grammatical sentences, and the results are not 'obviously'
 
b) Lojban semantic ambiguity is present only in clearly     the same as the English original. These same manipulations
 
marked places within the language: a Lojbanist knows when  do not suffice for all possible substitutions: if 'x' is
 
he/she is using an ambiguous form, and can replace it as    'George' and 'y' is 'fish', or if 'x' is 'George' and 'y'
 
needed with unambiguous ones.     is 'Mary', you have to perform different transforms.  In
 
    Lojban, the transforms are independent of the value.
 
37. lojbab: (responding to 35.) I disagree [with dan].
 
For one thing, if Lojban can express the multiple meanings  41. aronsson: (responding to 34.)  I fail to see the
 
better and more clearly than English, and if the     difference. When designing an artificial language one
 
expressions can be more easily manipulated logically, this  could outlaw all use of modifiers without modifier
 
would presumably 'enhance logical thinking' if SWH is true. indicators (prepositions or similar).  Thus it would have
 
  Lojban doesn't 'tolerate some version of the original' in been possible for the Lojban designers to make "cat food"
 
the sense that the parallel translation to "Every man loves illegal, only allowing "food for cats" or "food made-of
 
a fish" - "ro nanmu cu prami pa finpe" is not equivalent to cats".  If they did not do this, they obviously failed to
 
both English paraphrases.     design an ambiguity-free language.
 
  
38. dan: (responding to 37.) So what's the gloss of the    42. cowan: (responding to 41.)  We didn't want to make the
+
38. cowan: (responding to 37.) Lojban has no such restriction. Of course, Chinese-native Lojbanists might be unlikely to construct Lojban sentences which violate this restriction, but they should be able to understand them passively if they are fluent in the language.
Lojban sentence?  Which reading does it correspond to? Is  language semantically unambiguous.
 
there a quick and easy way to disambiguate?       1) The language is phonologically, morphologically, and
 
    syntactically unambiguous; and
 
39. cowan: (responding to 38.) The Lojban rule is that       2) the language is semantically ambiguous only in
 
quantifiers are applied in the order in which they appear  specified areas, of which this is one (making open com-
 
in the sentence, so "ro nanmu cu prami pa finpe", literally pounds by concatenation).
 
"all man love one fish" means "For all men X, there exists
 
  
  36
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39. cowan: (responding to 32.) Coordination and subordination are both fully supported. Lojban features redundant structures: there are often many ways to say "the same thing" semantically. Lojban's specified grammar is not a transformational one, but that is not to say that a transformational grammar cannot exist or is trivial. Lojban has a "deep structure" even though we didn't design it to! Usage will decide, for example, whether the subordinating or coordinating versions of "A is true because B is true" will become dominant.
  
 +
40. daj: (responding to 39.) But won't different versions become dominant in different areas? And if so, won't that defeat the purpose of Lojban?
  
43. dan: (continuation of 1., from 22.) Natural languages  complete prescription it has a lot better likelihood of re-
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41. cowan: (responding to 40.) Remember that the purposes of Lojban are threefold: 1) experimental investigation of the SWH; 2) communications with computers; 3) international communication. Purposes 2) and 3) are effective if everybody can understand every construct (or almost every construct) even if they do not often use them in their own dialect. Purpose 1) probably cannot be satisfied until some people begin to speak Lojban as native bilinguals. There are native Esperanto speakers, whose parents had no other common language.
are not unambiguous.  From the acquisition side, ambiguous  sistance to 'undesirable' change. There is no way to tell
 
languages are much easier to learn for a child than a     if the misuse of 'hopefully' or split infinitives would
 
logical language would be.  The principles of Universal     have entered English if a) there had not already been a
 
Grammar [UG] do not seem to produce unambiguous languages,  tolerance in English for non-standard usages of this type
 
and all natural languages are constructed according to the  and b) either of these truly resulted in mis-communication.
 
principles of UG.     Note that 'misplaced modifiers', which can in some
 
    instances cause miscommunication, are a different question,
 
44. cowan: (responding to 43.) A lot of unproven     and are probably frowned on by most speakers IF they become
 
assumptions here.  Common assumptions, yes, but still     aware of the ambiguity.  In Lojban, of course, the speaker
 
unproven.  We simply don't know whether a child could     WILL be more aware of the ambiguity - at least so we hope.
 
become competent in Lojban. Maybe when the language is
 
complete and documented, somebody will be inspired to start
 
raising bilingual children.  There are native speakers of