Lojban slang

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There is a tension in Lojban, as in natural & other artificial languages, between the need for brevity & the desire for accuracy. In addition, the whole concept of figurative language has an uneasy place in both Lojban theory & Lojban practice. Probably the hardliners who would limit metaphorical usage to those phrases marked by pe'a (or the cartouche fu'e pe'a ... fu'o) are doomed to be defeated in the long run by the inherent fuzziness of human semantic space, but there is something lobykai & even noble in the attempt to draw this distinction with rigor. In defense of the stricter view, there is quite a lot of latitude in wielding the gismu themselves, so long as the thing referred to does indeed have the features indicated by the sumti-slots... But the amount of poetry in calling a gerku a danlu or a se kerfa will not, after all, carry us very far.

  • First, there are those idioms which are more or less sanctioned by repeated usage:
    • skudji (express-desire) for "want to say", is common & almost orthodox.
    • ciskycusku 'writingly express', once frequent, seems to be losing out to finti 'invent'.
    • noryru'i (semi-spirit) for "ghost" & xa'unro'a (dweller-prose) for "diary", are useful coinages that have not yet been approved by the community at large.
    • le jboste (Lojban-list) is, although clearly a calque of the worst sort, now the canonical name for the internet mailing list, which might more properly be made from mrilu, benji, or judri.
    • That goes for jbofi'e too (e.g. jbofanva minji); a calque on Babelfish...
    • ji'anai for "except" is difficult to find a better alternative to, but not quite what the original meaning of ji'a 'also' would entail.
    • mibypre as a lujvo substitute for mi, allowing certain literary effects not possible with a cmavo.
      • Since English personal pronoun one means "a me-ish sort of person", And Rosta have used mibypre to render one. The two usages are not incompatible, though, since changing English me to one does not destroy the meaning too much.
    • selma'o was coined as a word for "lexeme" when dikyjvo did not exist and it is thoroughly ensconced in our literature with that meaning. I think it is now a little too late to do to selma'o what we did to kunbri (now selbri, and the former is long forgotten) and le'avla (now fu'ivla, but you can still find the former sometimes).
      • dikyjvo itself is oldfashioned, jvajvo being the 'received' synonym.
        • pne had heard seljvajvo.
        • You may be right. We don't hear about them much now that they have become canonical. --And Rosta
        • The jvoste has an entry for jvajvo, but not seljvajvo. -mi'e .djorden.
        • Ah well. With lujvo, you can play fast and free to a certain extent with places (as in: the places of the lujvo, as well as their order, need not correspond to the places or order of places of the multiple selbri making up the ve lujvo), though I thought the idea of dikyjvo/jvajvo/seljvajvo/(your favourite name here) was to have the places more or less corresponding to those of the base tanru. And seljvajvo aren't rules; they're things governed by rules (so x1 of broda, whatever you want to call it, is x2, not x1, of javni). At any rate, se javni lujvo sounds more plausible as a base tanru to me than javni lujvo. For what it's worth, since I'm not all that proficient in Lojban. --mi'e .filip.
    • guzme stasu, 'watermelon soup', "mild nonsense"; something you can say correctly in Lojban but doesn't really mean anything 'Why is watermelon soup such a ridiculous idea? If it's cold it might not be so bad.'
    • danmo zalvi, among others, for 'beating a dead horse.'
  • Then there are isolated suggestions, for which this place must be thought a kind of limbo pending the creation of a body of fluent speakers who can dispense with both prescriptive & descriptive interference of this sort...
    • besna je betfu 'brain & belly' for something like "body & soul".
    • ko febvi je se zalvi 'boilingly grind you (at once)!' for a very serious pejorative.
    • ko ko kruji: a veiled pejorative (be creamed-you!)
    • datytsani, 'other-sky', for "Dreamtime".
    • lenku margu, 'cold mercury', for "dead". Used in this kenning-like way, without being bracketed with a fu'epe'a...fu'o, it must be considered a residual jbozi'u although far outlasting that era...
    • finti je facki, 'invent and discover'.
    • cfipyboi, 'confuser-ball', for terdi. 'Ball of Confusion, that old Love and Rockets song.'
    • vonpaso, x1 (who is West African, generally but not necessarily Nigerian) swindles x2, causing him to lose x3; hence do se vonpaso "you've been 419ed", "you've been had"
  • The "unofficial gismu" are a third category: http://arj.nvg.org/lojban/unofficial-gismu.html
    • When we become more comfortable coining fu'ivla spontaneously, these will probably fall into disuse. E.g.
      • zo gugrnorge basti zo norgo
      • zo gugrtalia basti zo talno
      • zo gugrturki,e basti zo turko
      • zo gugrxrvatska basti zo xorvo
      • zo kri'ibe basti zo kribo
    • Except that le norgo can refer to a person, a language, a country, a culture, etc, just like le glico, whereas le gugdrnorge would always tend to be a country.
  • As another variation of Lojban slang, we have words like zirpu as a description of a literary style (see Michael Helsem's opera prima ziryroi opus primus [unless there's a musical setting I'm unaware of zo'o... Jbozgi provides a musical setting to everything]), or tilju with the meaning x1 is pedantic by standard x2, which arose from the lujvo tilju'idu'e.
    • This use of zirpu alludes to the English phrase purple prose, properly meaning florid and turgid writing.
    • (Properly speaking, the words were zirjbo and jbozi'u, and the intention was to designate a practice where figurative language usage might be considered optional, like natural languages'. He has since become one of the hardliners, but the name might as well stand for that anti-pe'a position...)
  • besna je betfu, a very nice idiom! Thank you! I would consider it an idiom and not slang.
  • Profanity in Lojban does not officially exist outside mabla. However, Lojbanifications of non-native curse words exist, as described in the article Profanity.