the NBL Experiment
NBL stands for "Nothing But Lojban".
This is a short desription of semi-large scale experiment I think would be worthwhile trying out.
Anyone who participates vows to only speak Lojban to the other participating Lojbanists.
What I hope this will achieve:
Lojban is not yet being fully used for communication; its vocabulary remains limited because there is always the option to fall back on English if all else fails. This suggests to the subconscious that Lojban is not essential. It is my expectation that if a group of Lojbanists stopped relying on any fall-back language for an extended period of time, it would cause many holes in the language to fill themselves in a natural way. For example, say there isn't yet a known Lojbanic way to express concept X, but person A feels the need to communicate it to person B, person A will try out different ways, many might fail, a few might come close so that B at least has a vague idea of what A is trying to say. This is stage 1, a raw, unpolished rock. The next time they speak, they might find that the same thing comes up again, and now it becomes apparent to both of them that they need to narrow it down, and hey, B is starting to get intruiged as well! B begins asking questions to see if their vague assumptions fit the intended concept. A will try their best to give meaningful answers and together they soon will have worked their way closer to the finish line. During this exchange, not only did they speak entirely in Lojban(!) to get to a result, they also must have tried out dozens of ways of saying nearly identical things, dozens of different angles on the same idea, in short: They must have used Lojban to its (current) limits and by doing so must have pushed that limit, must have expanded Lojban further. The one concept they finally managed to get a hold on is but the tip of an enormous iceberg, the ball got rolling. The longer this is kept up, the faster and more effortless it will become to figure out even more things while also solidifying the already-conquered parts.
I do not think this is wishful thinking, but I also don't want anyone to expect this to be a cake-walk. Like anything else, it takes determination and willingness to experiment. However, I do think there are enough people that could partake in this and I'm sure it will increase the level of proficiency of everyone involved.
So, no English (or any other common language), which means that quoting English is also off limits. No tricks like "lu li'o sa'a li'u (to zoi gy. Elevator .gy toi)". Never.
Certainly, you will come across things where you think "I cannot possibly explain myself adequately in Lojban, so I must use English for this", but don't! If you keep relying on English to solve Lojban's problems, how is Lojban supposed to grow? That's why my motto has been: If you have a complaint about Lojban or something said in Lojban, either complain in Lojban or don't complain at all. Say, for example, you don't know how to talk about quantifiers in Lojban. Take the problem home with you and try to solve it there. Then present your solution next time the opportunity arises and see how close you've come. Do your homework, put in some effort. Lojban cannot grow unless it must. And we have the power to make it have to.
Do you dare?
Note: I think it might be useful to introduce a new concept/word for the sake of this project: jbojbo. Related to the older term lobykai, it means saying things in a way specific to Lojban. Natural Lojban. The way Lojban would be spoken if it was... spoken. The result of what happens when the NBL experiment goes on for a while, the diamond hidden within the rock. However, this does not mean that the goal of this experiment is to end up with a single uniform dialect of Lojban that everybody speaks, since I believe that would be a loss of diversity. Still, I guess now and then, one of these gems will show up out of the blue, and people will recognize it and might find it useful to call it jbojbo. Maybe not. It's all hyptothetical until we try it out for ourselves.
Below is a list of people who are interested in participating. As a reminder, all of the people on that list must agree to only speak Lojban to each other, period.
List of Participants (nonbinding):
Starting date and length of experiment
Since there seems to be some interest in this project, we should all agree on a starting date and we need to decide for how long we want to do this. It seems some have already started heads over heels with this experiment, but we still need to make it "official" that we have started.
I've been thinking January 1st 2013 would make for a good, round starting date. That way it's very easy to measure how long the experiment has been running and we might also be able to get some more participants by then (I know some are currently considering it). Feedback is welcome.
That said, I see no reason for us to not speak Lojban till then, even if it's unofficial. Slip-ups are still excusable until we begin officially and of course you can still drop out.