gismu Brochure

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gismu~--~Lojban Root Words

gismu are the basic roots for the Lojban language. These roots were selected based on various criteria:

  • occurrence or word frequency in other languages
  • usefulness in building complex concepts
  • and a few, like the words "gismu," "cmavo," and "lujvo," are included as uniquely Lojbanic concepts that are basic to this language.

Each gismu is exactly five letters long, and

has one of two consonant-vowel patterns: -+CVCCV+- or

-+CCVCV+- (e.g. rafsi or bridi). The gismu are built

so as to minimize listening errors in a noisy environment. A gismu has at least two combining forms, known as rafsi. One is the gismu itself; one is the gismu with the final vowel

deleted. Certain gismu have additional, shorter

rafsi assigned. Up to three of these shorter rafsi may be assigned to a gismu, depending on frequency of usage of the gismu in building complex concepts and on

availability of these shorter rafsi. Short rafsi use only certain combinations of letters from

the gismu, and are of the forms

-+CCV+-, -+CVC+-, and -+CVV+- or


List of Lojban Root Words~--~le gimste

The list of Lojban root words (gismu)

contains about 1350 words. Included in the list are around 50 structure

words (cmavo) that have assigned affixes (rafsi).

Each definition contains the following elements:

  • the gismu
  • the corresponding rafsi (if any) in square brackets
  • the English keyword
  • optional memory tags
  • the definition proper: x1...x5 mark the sumti positions
  • optional comments and cross-references

A sample definition: ;bakfu baf bundle ; 'pack':x1 is a bundle/package/cluster/clump/pack

[shape/form] containing x2, held together by x3 (cf. daski, dakli, tanxe)