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Borrowed word

fu'ivla is a morphologically defined brivla (verb word) in Lojban, a "borrowed word" (with the literal meaning copy word).


Formerly called le'avla, a more literal calque of "loan word".

  • pne:
    • The shift from le'avla to fu'ivla may have come from Colin Fine[1] who wanted to start using fu'ivla instead of le'avla. At that time, there appears to have been a little discussion as to whether fu'ivla was a better word for the concept[2].

Types of fu'ivla

There are four ways to borrow a word into Lojban, with increasing degree of integration:

  • Type 1 fu'ivla: me la'o ly. + word in original spelling + ly. E.g. me la'o ly. Phascolarctos .ly.
    • ly. is for Latin since we borrow this word from Latin. However, any other letter is possible. Officially, the choice of word is quite arbitrary. People get used to gy. (from glico - English).
    • Another variant on Method 1 is me la'e zoi gy. Phascolarctos .gy.
    • And Rosta:
      • Methods 1 & 2 are also less integrated syntactically. me has only an x1 (x2 was almost never used). Hence they won't work for fu'ivla that need to be polyadic.
  • Type 2 fu'ivla: me la + Lojbanized cmevla. E.g. me la faskolerktos.
    • mark:
      • It is OK for noun-like brivla, but less fitting for verb-like brivla, which might have other places. Granted, noun-like ones are much more common. Still, even something like cmacrnintegrali (integral in the calculus sense) is likely to have a place structure like x1 is the integral of x2 with respect to variable x3 or some such. These other places can't always be intuited for Type 3 and Type 4 fu'ivla.
  • Type 3 fu'ivla: gismu + buffer consonant(s) + Lojbanized word. E.g. mabrnfaskolarkto
    • CLL indicates that the canonical form of fu'ivla morphologically is Type 3, with four-letter rafsi prefixes.
      • rab.spir:
        • Four-letter prefixes are recommended only because if you use a three-letter prefix and don't check for a consonant cluster, you might end up making a non-fu'ivla. With tools like vlatai at our disposal, we shouldn't be afraid of 3-letter rafsi prefixes, which can sometimes give nicer, less "crunchy" words (djarspageti, for example, is much nicer than cidjrspageti).
      • nitcion:
        • Generic ideological objections: (1) the 4-letter version is completely predictable, the 3-letter isn't; (2) I won't be running vlatai in face-to-face interaction; (3) of course fu'ivla should be crunchy -- how else will I realise immediately they aren't lujvo?
    • phma:
      • 3-letter rafsi fu'ivla are valid type 3 only if the rafsi is of CVC form. At least that's what vlatai thinks.
        • rab.spir:
          • My copy of vlatai parses djarspageti just fine.
        • Do make sure you're using the absolutely latest vlatai. It was a target of many bug fixes in 0.37
        • No convention exists for what vowel to choose as the final vowel of a loan word, if it ends in a consonant in the source language, and that language's morphology does not suggest a suitable final vowel (unlike the case for Latin). Nick Nicholas proposes in the lessons that the final vowel simply be repeated; e.g. Mamluke - mamluk => prenrmamluku.
        • Another (previous?) proposal was that the final vowel of the gismu used as prefix be used: pren-r-mamluk-u (in this case happily both conventions agree)
          • Counterexample: zgike + rok -> zgikrnroko vs. zgikrnroke.
            • I think you've added an extra hyphen to zgiknroko and zgiknroke. I've never heard of nrock music.
              • The advantage the former proposal has is that it is also usable for Type 4 fu'ivla, whereas the latter is only usable for Type 3.
  • Type 4 fu'ivla: Lojbanized word, with clusters to guarantee it will not fall apart morphologically. E.g. fasxo larto


  1. http://balance.wiw.org/~jkominek/lojban/9305/msg00075.html
  2. http://balance.wiw.org/~jkominek/lojban/9305/threads.html#00076