introductory reader

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I propose a reader, keyed to the lessons, as valuable introductory Learning Material.

When I started learning Lojban, from the lessons, I felt frustrated by the lack of material. I could only go through each lesson's examples a few times before they became boringly repetitive, and I did not know enough Lojban to be able to make sense of discussions on jbosnu, or poems, or much of anything in the wider Lojban world. I wanted more reading material at my level.

If others feel the same way, we should get together and write an introductory reader.

The goals would be:

  • each chapter of the reader corresponds with a lesson
  • it should stick largely to the grammar introduced up through that lesson
  • it should introduce new vocabulary, but not so extensively that it becomes hard for a beginner to read
  • it should be written in a wide variety of styles, by different people, to familiarize beginners with the range of possibilities
  • it should have a wide variety of content: stories, poems, philosophy, polemics, everything
  • it might (or might not) suggest writing exercises or further reading

I personally think that a beginning reader would help the language more than The Lojban Dictionary or a translation of Hamlet. But on the other hand, the community has already started more projects than it can keep up with.


Than it can keep up with? Bwahaha. The community works almost identically to open source development, whether the community likes it or not. We don't need to "keep up", nor do we have any fixed time schedule on which anything needs to be completed. -

  • .i ku'i le nu du'emei tersnada cu nibli le za'i mo'amei selsnada sei oi a'acu'iro'e sa .i le du'e ni te zukte kei le mo'a ni te snada cu nibli .i jitfa .i lenu piro lei lojbo cu gunka lo du'emei na nibli lenu ro lo lojbo cu gunka lo du'emei

Now, more to the point, what should the contents of the reader to be like? If you can't write it in Lojban, consider writing in English, so someone who could write it in Lojban (but who doesn't have time to construct the content) can work on it quickly? --jay

.i cilre seltcidu

  • lesson 1 - maybe a couple attitudinal poems like the one here by .kreig.daniyl. Most of those can be found in the jboste archives, there's two others at .kreig.daniyl. and LojbanPoem. I'm likely to add new ones to my homepage, but they won't all stay there forever.
  • lesson 2 - .i stidi ma - any ideas?
  • Some Lojban classics should be excerpted; including the Tale of The Stairs and The Open Window. (The former is a more pleasant read than the latter, though, IMHO -- nitcion.)

As usual, I am aghast at anything that casts aspersions on the Lessons. :-) [[Not 100% serious on that one, but honestly, could people PLEASE post queries about what goes or hasn't gone into the lessons and brochure on the list or to me first? I'm guaranteed to see that; it's luck that I'll see this; and as editor, I should be seeing this. You know my email, after all.]]

My ego aside :-) , Lojbab has in fact already suggested that a reading sampler be put at the end of each Lesson, and I am not opposed to it. (I am opposed to the Lessons going from 250 pp. to 400, but that's another matter.) I would like to avoid bespoke material where possible; there should be enough material in existing stuff to be keyable in.

A chrestomathy is a separate issue, and can be written in time. But as far as keying texts to the lessons, fine, I'll take it under advisement, and if I get time, I'll start picking texts. If I don't, I would rather people suggest to me existing texts to look at for inclusion. We don't want this to become another White Elephant (everyone writes texts fit for lesson 14, noone writes texts fit for lesson 3), and existing unselfconscious texts are the surest guarantee of diversity.

.ie But are there existing texts that fit the bill? I've only seen a few very short items that I think would work.

  • There are a few things that can be used; the translation of a children's story at tsali's site, for example; some random exchanges on the list. I'd like to include a short extract from Ivan's Tale of The Stairs towards the end.

What Jay says on the open sourcehood of Lojban is 100% correct, and I don't think people are entitled to complain about not keeping up. By the same token, I am coordinating the lessons, and if there's to be any keying of texts in the lessons, I think that (a) it would make a lot more sense to do that keying within the bundle of texts that is the lessons, than to have two independent documents (at least for now); (b) if so, then since I'm editing the lessons, I should be the one coordinating those texts.

.abumai (a) Why? Just to keep it organized? It is common for language textbooks to have associated but separate readers; that seems like a good model to me.

  • Agreed, but I still think that short reading texts (only a paragraph per lesson for the first half, two for the second) are necessary. The chrestomathy has unofficially figured on the list of desiderata as a separate book for years, and I don't object to it being compiled; but I would rather the texts for inclusion in the lessons be separate from that.
    • What is the purpose of the chrestomathy? Is it to show off Lojban's capabilities, or what?
  • I think small amounts of extra reading are right for the early lessons, when people will learn more by moving on to the next lesson than by practicing what little they know. But by the later lessons, people who have not worked intensively on vocabulary (I'd guess most people, since most people are lazy like me) will still have a hard time following, say, jbosnu. I think the largest supply of accessible reading that we can come up with might be barely enough zo'o. Even if you have worked on vocab, reading helps solidify your grasp.

bymai .iacu'i (b) Are the lessons going to suffer any major rearrangements? If so, you should coordinate. If not, well, I doubt anybody will complain if you're willing to take on even more work!

  • This is 2001-10-4, and I am leaving the States in precisely one month; I really doubt I'll get time to work on this before I leave (although I might.) If people don't mind me arranging all this in November rather than October, I propose that. -- nitcion.
  • Presumably the Official Priority is to complete the baseline. A reader, by its nature, doesn't contribute much to a baseline; it can exemplify, but it probably won't explain or define much of anything. That makes a case for separating any reader: it depends on the lessons, but the lessons don't depend on it, so it can't slow the lessons down and delay the baseline. .i pei
    • I feel that the reader should help with the baseline - it provides examples that ought not to be nullified.
    • I'm inclined to disagree, given the trouble we've already gotten into with the canonical examples of the refgramm. -- nitcion.

I personally think a beginner reader is not at all more important than a Lojban Dictionary, btw, and that a Lojban Hamlet (or actually, as far as I'm concerned, a Lojban Wittgenstein) will deliver a Proof Of Concept that a beginner's reader never could --- but I have no interest getting into such a discussion, as nothing constructive would come out of it.

-- Nick, fighting turf wars, though not, I think, unreasonably.

.uanai Huh? What turf? Didn't you mention something about open source communities?

  • Open source projects are still coordinated; that's all I meant. But all the same, I would rather be given the opportunity to compile texts for the lessons first, before this particular aspect be thrown over to open source. And the chrestomathy should wait until the two outstanding major reviews of the lessons --- by Nora and John --- are done; because I expect both to want stuff taken out, so the lessons content won't have been finalised until then. -- n.

See also [1].