jbovlaste import how to use this book lang en

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  • Insert missing examples


The current LaTeX export of the dictionary sorts output in ASCIIbetical order. This means that all uppercase letters comes before any lowercase letter, and that longer words come before shorter words.

There exists working code that sorts the headwords in the standard order, but that has not yet been incorporated into the main codebase. If you don't like that, talk to our nice LaTeX guy, ay Kominek.

How to read a definition

This explanation presupposes some insight in the grammar of Lojban. In particular, gismu, brivla, lujvo and sumti/place structure should be familiar concepts. A good introductory text is Lojban for Beginners — velcli befi la lojban. bei loi co'a cilre, by Nick Nicholas and Robin Turner. A somewhat more formal text is The Complete Lojban Language (1997) by John Cowan. Both texts should be available from the same place as you got this book, or directly from the Logical Language Group.

The definition of a brivla (predicate words) contains one or more variables that are placeholders for the sumti (arguments) in the sentence. These look like one or more letters, followed by a subscripted number. This is the definition of the word {jvsv tavla}:

  • $x_1$ talks/speaks to $x_2$ about subject $x_3$ in language $x_4$

Here, the $x_1$ is the speaker, the $x_2$ is the audience/listener, the $x_3$ is the subject and the $x_4$ is the language. So, when the fourth place in a sentence with {jvsv tavla} at its core is filled with something, it contains a claim that it is used a language for an act of speaking.

The previous example was from a gismu, the root words of Lojban. Lujvo are composed of component gismu by a process we will explain further later in this introductory chapter. Suffice it to say that in lujvo definitions, it is customary to number the arguments not according to their place in the actual lujvo, but according to their place in the component gismu. Perhaps this will be clearer with an example. This is the definition of the word {jvsv firkre}:

  • $k_1$ is the beard/moustace/facial hair of $f_2$

{jvsv firkre}, incidentally, is built out of the words {jvsv flira} (face) and {jvsv kerfa} (hair). What this definition says is that it relates something that fits the $x_1$ place of hair (the facial hair) with something that fits the $x_2$ place of face (the person with a face; that is, the bearer of the facial hair). We figure this out by looking at which component the letters in the variables is an initial of ({jvsv kerfa} starts with k, so $k_1$ is the first place of kerfa.

Sometimes, the letters in the variables have to have more than one letter. This happens when the component gismu have initial letters in common. Take, for instance {jvsv cidydzu}:

  • $ca_1=ci_3$ crawls on surface $ca_2$

Here, simply using $c_n$ would be pointless, because we wouldn't be able to tell which of the gismu, {jvsv cadzu} or {jvsv cidni}, it was pointing to. So we add enough additional letters to disambiguate.

The remaining thing to find out is which argument places, in the word {jvsv firkre}, the variables refer to. By convention, the first place is mentioned first, and the second place is mentioned second, and so on. This is the case in this example. However, it is also possible to explicitly state what goes where. We could, for instance, change the above to read:

  • $x_1=k_1$ is the beard/moustace/facial hair of $x_2=f_2$

Where the equality sign is used to say multiple things about a single place. We don't usually do that, except for two cases. One case is the one where the definition sounds better when we reverse the order of the places from the one they have in the Lojban.

  • insert example here

We also use explicit place numbering in cases where one of the component gismu start with the letter x. We also use at least two of the first letters of the gismu that start with x.

Canonical and non-canonical lujvo

A lujvo is a compound word that has been assembled from several affixes that we call rafsi. Many gismu have more than one rafsi assigned. These are all equivalent in meaning. This means that a sequence of gismu can be assembled into a lujvo in many different ways, and all these resulting lujvo are by definition, in a sense, "the same word", but with different forms.

  • insert example here

When a lujvo is defined, one of these forms are chosen as the "canonical" lujvo, and committed to the dictionary. The other forms are "non-canonical" forms, and ommitted from the dictionary. These non-canonical forms are valid variants, but should be avoided by the writer to ease dictionary lookup. We realize the inconvenience in this, but listing all possible variant forms could easily explode the size of the dictionary. We hope that the jbovlaste import: table of rafsi lang en will help at least some in breaking an unfamiliar lujvo into its components, and aid in finding the canonical form.

How to find the translation of an English word

If you find a Lojban word that you are not familiar with as the translation of the English term you have looked up, you should always check the definition of the Lojban word to be absolutely sure that it is the one you need.

But in general, we have tried to choose English keywords so that the following is possible:

  • If the English keyword is a noun, and the Lojban translation is a brivla, "lo" followed by that brivla should be a reasonable translation of that noun.
  • If the English keyword is a proper noun, and the Lojban translation is a cmene (cmevla), "la" followed by that cmene should be a reasonable translation.
  • If the English keyword is a verb, and the Lojban translation is a brivla, that brivla should say about the same about its $x_1$ place as the verb says about its subject. When it comes to the other arguments, however, you must look at the definition of the Lojban word.


While the editors of this dictionary have in general checked on each other's work, it has not been put under strict editorial review per se. In particular, the editing system does not offer the possibility of voting for the exclusion of specific words.

Experimental gismu

This dictionary contains what is commonly referred to as "experimental gismu". These are words of the form CVCCV or CCVCV that have been coined by the users of the language. The LLG has reserved the unassigned word forms with these forms, and specifically discourages the usage and attempts to assign a meaning to them. Nevertheless, one of the aims of this dictionary project is to document usage, and then we need to include everything that has actually been used, compliant or not.

In particular, the reader should be aware that at the time of this writing, the exported print dictionary does NOT set off unofficial gismu in any way. We refer people to the web or dict interfaces to determine whether a particular gismu is official or not.