Copyright, 1989, 1991, by the Logical Language Group, Inc. 2904 Beau Lane,
Fairfax VA 22031-1303 USA Phone (703) 385-0273
All rights reserved. Permission to copy granted subject to your
verification that this is the latest version of this document, that your
distribution be for the promotion of Lojban, that there is no charge for
the product, and that this copyright notice is included intact in the
le lojbo karni
Number 11 - November-December 1989
Published by: The Logical Language Group, Inc.
2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031 USA (703)385-0273
Editor and President: Bob LeChevalier
This is the quarterly news and product announcements newsletter of The Logical
Language Group, Inc., known in these pages as la lojbangirz. We are a non-
profit organization formed for the purpose of completing and spreading the
logical human language "Lojban". This issue (LK11) is being mailed at
publication to over 600 subscribers, about 20% growth since last issue. Press
run this issue, 650.
Lojban Conversation Demonstrated
Lojban Gains International Publicity
Lead Stories on Page 3
IRS Approves Non-Profit Status - Page 2
Welcome to New Lojbanists - page 1
Your Mailing Label, Voluntary Balances and Our Non-Profit Status - page 2
Lojban Conversation Demonstrated, Lojban Gains International Publicity -
Thanks to Some Friends - page 4
Research and Development - Grammar Changes Approved, Lojban Parser Status, cmavo
Update in Progress, Place Structure Revisions, Summary of Open Grammar Issues
- page 5
Growth and Publicity - Record Growth, Worldcon Success, NYC and Boston
Athelstan's 'Lojban Mini-Lesson', Lojban Video, Advertising and Radio, A Logo
Computer Networks, Where You Are - page 7
Education - DC Lojban Class Completed; Textbook, Blacksburg Class Stalled; New
Planned; Language Summary; Overview; Lojban Mini-Lesson Video - page 10
International News - International Finance; Brochure Translated into French and
Italian - page 12
Products and Prices - LogFlash Conversion and Update Plans; Hypercard Teaching
Materials, lujvo-making Program, cmavo List; Doudna Papers; Tape and Mini-
Lesson Plans - page 13
Business - Finances; Non-Profit Status; Fund-Raising Plans- page 14
News from the Institute - Loglan 1 Reviews, Autumn Bulletin Summary - page 15
Future Plans - Lojban Chrestomathy/Reader - page 16
Contents of Ju'i Lobypli #11 - page 16
A News Note in Lojban - by T. Peter Park - page 17
Note: References to 'Loglan' in this text, unless specifically noted, do not
relate to the 'trademark' claimed by The Loglan Institute, Inc., or to products
described by that 'trademark'.
Welcome to New Lojbanists
We want to welcome a large number of new Lojbanists; our rate of growth
continues to accelerate. Over 100 new Lojbanists have been added since the
publication of LK10, half due to our trip to the World Science Fiction
Convention in Boston, and the rest from a large variety of activities, including
individual word-of-mouth. Keep telling others about this GREAT, NEW, LANGUAGE!;
we'll happily supply copies of the Lojban brochure on request.
You may be receiving more from us than you expected from an initial
information request. A language is not a small thing, and Lojban has an
especially large range of aspects, each interesting to different people. We
want to attract a variety of people, and this requires a variety of information.
Also, we'd rather take the chance of mailing this newsletter to all respondents,
than to individually bring people up-to-date on what has happened since they
last heard from us.
New people are assigned to level 0 unless we hear otherwise from you; this
means that we send you the Overview of Lojban and the latest le lojbo karni
newsletter, along with a brochure if you haven't received one. We also send an
order form and registration form so you can let us know what else you might be
interested in. See descriptions of mailing codes below and reports on ongoing
activities, and write to us about any activities you are interested in. We want
to hear from you.
You will remain on our mailing list indefinitely, even if we don't hear from
you. We think that you read our newsletters, and do not relegate us to the
trash upon arrival like junk mail. While we hope to hear from you often, we've
found that people can take months or years to respond. We'll drop you from our
mailing list if you tell us you aren't interested.
Your Mailing Label
Your mailing label reports to you your current mailing status, and your current
voluntary balance including this issue. Please notify us if you wish to be in a
different mailing code category. Balances reflect contributions received thru 8
December 1989. Mailing codes (and approximate annual balance needs) are defined
Level B - Product Announcements OnlyLevel 0 - le lojbo karni only - $5-10
Level 1 - le lojbo karni and Ju'i Lobypli - $15-20 balance requested
Level 2 - Level 1 materials and baselined/final products - $20-25 balance
Level 3 - Level 2 materials and draft textbook lesson materials as developed -
$50 balance or more
R indicates that you are receiving materials on a review basis pending some
publicity we hope you will give us. If your publication can reimburse us for
our costs, great, but it is not mandatory.
Feel free to call or write to ask about your balance account or mailing code
You are scheduled to receive Ju'i Lobypli if the level code on the top line of
your mailing label is "1", "2", or "3", but not if it is "0". If you are listed
as mailing code "0": YOU MUST WRITE TO US IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE Ju'i Lobypli.
Voluntary Balances and Our Non-Profit Status
Our orientation is non-profit. Almost every dollar we receive goes directly
into producing the products that we send out, with a very small overhead and no
paid salaries. We subsist entirely on your contributions against our costs of
mailing to you. However, a large number of our respondents are college students
and others with low incomes, who want our materials but couldn't afford them at
our costs. Therefore, we operate on a voluntary balance system. We ask you to
contribute what you can towards your balance, and maybe to make a donation to
help cover those who can't afford theirs. Only 40% of you are making
significant contributions now, and we need to raise this percentage - a small
minority of you are supporting the rest. Please contribute, if only a little,
against our costs. At least try to bring your balance up to 0, or even to a
surplus as listed in the mailing codes above.
Our rapid growth is straining our resources, and publishing the textbook will
be very expensive. Please help! Perhaps consider donating to cover the costs
of mailing to one, five, ten, or more new people; it costs us about $5.00 for
each new person we add to the list.
The IRS has approved our organization for Section 501(c)(3) status, back-
dated to our incorporation last year. This approval means that donations (not
contributions to your voluntary balance) by U.S taxpayers are tax-deductible.
We need these donations in addition to and independent of your contributions to
Because IRS rulings of this sort are provisional (in our case for 4 years),
we must document each year that a significant portion of our income is provided
through such donations. Because of this, we are asking that people working who
spend money on our behalf for telephone, postage, transportation, and
copying/printing send us logs or receipts showing your expenditures. We will
record these amounts as donations.
We note for all potential donors that our bylaws require that no more than
30% of our expenses be for administration and legal fees, and that you are
welcome to make gifts conditional upon our meeting this requirement.
To all donors: we will mail notifications of your deductible amounts shortly
after the end of the calendar year. If your balance is negative, we must apply
your donations to your balance before crediting you with a deductible
It's time for our annual questionnaire. If we haven't heard from you, here
is a chance to quickly let us know what you think. We are also seeking to
identify some special interest groups that we believe exist among you. IT IS
ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU RESPOND IF YOU HAVE NEVER RESPONDED TO OUR INITIAL
MAILING. We also would like comments from more of the 200+ people added in the
last year. Let us know how we are or aren't living up to your expectations.
Lojban Conversation Demonstrated
While Nora and Bob LeChevalier have enjoyed short exchanges of Lojban
conversation over the past year, the last three months have finally proven that
Lojban is speakable and teachable, as the members of the DC-area Lojban class
joined the ranks of those able to speak the language.
The first breakthrough took place en-route from Washington to the World
Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in Boston. Athelstan, Bob, and Nora
joined in Lojban conversation for stretches of a couple of hours, though Bob did
most of the talking. The confidence resulting from this exercise was germinal,
though. Upon returning in mid-September, all of the remaining DC Lojban classes
started with an hour long period of Lojban conversation of successively greater
The crowning touch occurred at a party celebrating the end of the class on 5
November 1989 (a historical date indeed). Bob, Nora, Athelstan, Sylvia Rutiser,
and Albion Zeglin, met for dinner and an evening of conversation at Bob & Nora's
house. The homemade pizza was mediocre (Bob made it because no one wanted to
try to order pizza from an outside vendor in Lojban), but the conversation was
stimulating and entirely in Lojban for over 4 1/2 hours.
Unlike previous efforts, class members did much of the talking (Bob was
struggling with pizza dough). There was discussion of the menu and possible
pizza toppings. Athelstan led a discussion on poker terminology, while Nora,
Sylvia, Albion tried to decide the Lojbanic rules for various other games from
Tic-Tac-Toe (kruca ce djine) to Crazy Eights (fenki melibiboi). Finally, as the
dinner settled in full stomachs, the discussion turned to music, philosophy, and
the future of the Lojban project.
None of us is close to fluent in the language, but Bob used a word list only
a couple of times during the evening, and even the class students found
themselves looking at their lists less and less as the evening wore on.
Part of the evening was taped, and, if the conversation wasn't always
grammatical and smooth, history was made. (The tapes will be retained and
eventually donated with other Lojban materials to the Library of Congress, which
is monitoring the language development.)
Lojban Gains International Publicity
Just before we left for Worldcon, Bob was contacted by Don Oldenburg of the
Washington Post. Don had been referred by Mike Gunderloy, and wanted to write a
feature article about the Lojban efforts. Information was sent, and it turned
out that the timing was perfect. After interviewing Bob, Athelstan, and several
other Lojbanists around the country, Don wrote his article the week after the
Lojban party that finally demonstrated that the language is useful in
A large article, over a half-page long, appeared in the Washington Post
'Style' section on 10 November 1989 (page D5 for those who want to look it up in
a library). The article was also sent out the following week on the LA
Times/Washington Post News Service, and it appeared in the Los Angeles Times on
17 November 1989 ('View' section, page E9) and the San Francisco Chronicle on 26
November 1989 (Sunday 'Punch' section, page 6). The article is nicely positive,
tells about our Lojban party, and the project goals.
The News Service provides materials for most metropolitan newspapers; you may
thus have seen the article by now in your local paper, probably in a features
section. (Papers may wait weeks or months to print the article; it contains no
time-dependent news.) If it hasn't appeared, or you aren't sure, call your
paper's features department, mention the author and the key word 'Lojban', the
LA Times/Washington Post News Service, that it was distributed approximately 15
November, and ask if they might run the article. If you want to serve as local
point-of-contact for interested readers, you might volunteer to have them add a
couple of paragraphs identifying you and other local Lojbanists, and your
interests in the language. A big boost for the language will undoubtedly re-
sult. Go ahead! Call today! (Please let us know if the article appears in your
local paper, the date, page number, and send us a copy. We have no other way of
knowing which papers run the article.)
If we get permission from the Post, we will be including a copy of the
article in this or the next issue of le lojbo karni. Put it on your office wall
or a bulletin board with your name and phone number, and you will likely hear
from a few people interested in learning about the language. Tell them what you
know and pass their names along to us if they are interested. (Encourage them
to write us with any questions you can't answer.)
The Post article gives us national recognition, but had additional benefit.
A reporter for the Copley News Service read the article and then interviewed
Bob; a news-wire story was released on 27 November to Copley's customers, some
1800 radio stations in the US, Canada, and Europe. As a result, I've given live
and recorded phone interviews to radio stations in the US and Canada. See
publicity below for a detailed list.
Thanks to Some Friends
We have a policy against advertising. Those of you who contribute to our
publication costs aren't paying to read such stuff, but rather to read about
I'm making an exception in this issue, on a one-time basis. Over the past
year, the Lojban project has received publicity, support, and direct labor from
many people, without whom our progress and growth would have been impossible.
We can't possibly thank everyone who has contributed to the Lojban effort
this past year; there are simply too many of you. Key individuals deserve some
special recognition, which I am extending by listing services they offer to the
public which are in some way tangential to Lojbanic activities. Your use of
their services will perhaps encourage their continued efforts on our behalf.
None of the following are solicited or paid advertisements. I made the
decision based on contribution and possible audience interest in their services.
Jeff Taylor, who is writing the Lojban parser and
the new cmavo dictionary, is a programmer doing
business as 'The Toolsmith', per the
advertisement at right which describes his new
product. He is also seeking contract programming
work. He has extensive experience in compilers,
parsers, and system and user utilities, and works
in C, assembler, FORTRAN, Pascal and Modula-2.
He has previously worked with several other
Abraxas Software, 7033 SW Macadam Ave., Portland
OR 97219; 503-244-5253, provided us PCYACC, their
PC-based equivalent of YACC, the Bell Labs Parser
Generator. While we bought their 'personal'
version of the program, they have provided
exceptional customer support, including several
specially tailored adaptations to our Lojban
needs. They also hired Jeff Taylor's services
for several weeks, and have incorporated his
efforts in error detection and processing that he
also is putting in the Lojban parser. Abraxas
also has MacIntosh and OS/2 parser generators.
Brad Lowry, PO Box 42505, Philadelphia PA 19101-
2505; 215-923-9533, produced the Lojban video for
Worldcon with the help of Elliott Deal. They
also taped la sindereluyd. (JL9) at LogFest.
Brad provides professional video and sound
production services, and production electronics
Nancy Lebovitz, 410 Wollaston C6, Newark DE 19711; 302-368-8398 does
professional calligraphy and related artwork, sells a large variety of humorous
and serious calligraphic buttons, including special orders. Her free catalog is
entertaining on its own. She did the e'osai ko sarji la lojban button for us,
has recruited for us at science fiction conventions, and put us in touch with:
Mike Gunderloy, 6 Arizona Ave., Renssalaer NY 12144-4502; 518-479-3707; also BBS
modem 518-479-3879; Mike publishes Factsheet 5, a bi-monthly journal reviewing
the 'small press'. He reviews up to 1000 publications, software, music tapes,
and other stuff each issue, good info for only a couple of bucks. Mike has
recruited over 50 new Lojbanists through his favorable reviews of our materials.
Mark Manning, 1400 East Mercer #19, Seattle WA 98112, publishes TAND, an amateur
science fiction magazine. He reviewed Lojban in a recent issue, and will be
carrying further discussion of language issues. The publication is free, but
you must write to him each issue, with possible publication of your response.
Rick Harrison, PO Box 507014, Orlando FL 32854, publishes The Alembic
($2/issue), another amateur publication, this one with broad intellectual
subject matter. He published part of the Lojban brochure in his first issue.
There is still a computer bulletin board conference reserved for Loglan and
Lojban on the AMRAD BBS here in the DC area. I am checking it ever week or two;
it has, unfortunately, seen little use. We at one time had some pretty lively
discussions going on the CLBB BBS, and I hope to get these going again. The BBS
phone number is 703-734-1387, and it is PC PURSUIT-able.
USENET, UUCP, and INTERNET mail should now be sent to me via Darren Stalder at
dstalder@gmuvax2 .gmu.edu. Darren has the brochure and the gismu list available
for on-line transmission via the net. Contact him to get either.
Research and Development
Grammar Changes Approved - Last issue described a grammar change proposal that
was being circulated to those who were known to have finished Lesson 3. This
proposal incorporated several minor fine-tunings of the language. I'm pleased
to report that there was no objection to the proposals and they are therefore
Unfortunately, the promised description of the changes at a "student's" level
is being put off - a useful description may not be possible at a low level.
What is needed is a lot of examples showing the effects of the change; coming up
with meaningful examples for specific grammar points, however, has proven to be
the most difficult problem in teaching the language.
What will probably happen is that we will incorporate the changes in textbook
lesson revisions, and then use those revisions to write a change description for
those who have already completed the unrevised lessons. This will not occur
until sometime next year.
Meanwhile, don't let the changes slow you down in learning the language. Few
of the changes will affect your first writings in the language. If you do send
us writings that are affected by the grammar changes, we can use them as the
examples we need to explain the changes to you (and eventually to others).
Lojban Parser Status - Jeff Taylor has incorporated the grammar change
proposal in his parser, as well as some changes in the grammar of tenses that
were identified when we tried to teach that subject (these do not affect any of
the written lessons).
We have found a number of small problems in the cmavo-compounding software.
These are being worked out slowly as we carefully test the parser prior to
releasing it. The parser will be well-tested before we let people have it.
We also will need to update the parser to reflect changes in the cmavo and
grammar that surface in preparing the cmavo list update and resolving the
remaining grammar issues (see following items for these topics). At a point
where the word recognizer (lexer) is reasonably stable, we will probably attempt
to see how well it works with Jeff Prothero's PLOP (Public Domain Lo**an Parser)
which has some processing advantages (and disadvantages) compared to Jeff
While I had hoped to be able to distribute one or both parsers by the end of
the year, I now think that February/March is a more realistic estimate. This
may be affected further by Jeff Taylor's job-hunting efforts.
cmavo List Update in Progress - As a break from parser debugging, Jeff Taylor
has performed a much-needed task. He assembled the cmavo information into an
alphabetic cmavo list to replace the draft cmavo list that we are distributing
now, which dates back to October 1988.
The draft list was never intended to be used this long, and has numerous
omissions, 'to be supplied's, and even a couple errors and inconsistencies. I
made up a 2-page summary of some of the latter, and send this out to anyone who
orders the list now, but that summary is incomplete; I haven't bothered to send
it to people who earlier received the cmavo list.
Jeff has formatted the cmavo list alphabetically, and it looks like a real
dictionary; it may even be considered the first installment of the Lojban
dictionary when it is completed. He is using his HP printer (see his ad above)
to give us exceptional print quality.
I'm going to have to go word by word through the list to verify it, and this
will take time. I also need to incorporate the latest grammar changes, which
are not fully reflected, and the results from studying the open grammar issues
Also needed are summary lists by lexeme and discussions of the role of each
lexeme, possibly with some examples, things Jeff hasn't tried to write. These
are partially written in the draft cmavo list, and should take relatively little
time to update and complete.
This will be my highest priority upon completing LK11, JL10, and JL11, and I
hope to have copy to Jeff early next year. I want to publish the list by LK12,
marking a major step forward in the language definition.
After the list is updated, the changes will be verified in the parser and
incorporated into the random sentence generator. The latter will then be re-
leased as an update, and the former will be published.
Place Structure Revisions - After the cmavo list and parser are done, the next
priority will be to complete the review of gismu place structures started
several months ago. We haven't had as many comments on place structures from
different Lojbanists as we'd like. This is one area where you needn't be too
expert in the language to contribute.
We have completed updating the Roget's Thesaurus index of the gismu that was
used in preparing the final baseline. This index is being used to compare place
structures of similar gismu to ensure consistency. We are using a similar
analysis done by Paul Doudna as well.
The result will be more complete statements of the place structures for each
gismu; the text field for the definitions is being expanded from a maximum 40
characters to over 100. The result should make it easier for you to understand
what goes in each sumti of a place structure.
The updated place structures will be incorporated in a new version of
LogFlash, probably in spring. That version will also include instrumentation
for scientific monitoring of volunteers who participate in learning experiments,
such as the one described in JL9.
Summary of Open Grammar Issues - Now that the first Lojban class has been
completed, we can summarize the language status as being demonstrably teachable
and speakable. However, in teaching the class, questions came up about the
thoroughness of our designs in four areas. We have chosen to resolve these four
areas before writing textbook lessons beyond lesson 6, since they affect several
of the lessons not yet written.
The four areas are negation, attitudinals, tense, and MEX. I'll spend one or
two paragraphs on each.
Negation - Even JCB notes in the new L1 that the question of negation hadn't
been thoroughly studied. When we tried to teach negation in class, questions
immediately arose that we could not answer. Nora and pc (John Parks-Clifford,
who is a professor of logic) started exchanging letters on the subject, finding
more and more open issues as they discussed the subject. Suffice it to say that
the design of negation in Lojban and all other versions of Loglan failed the
tests of both logic and pragmatic usage in a number of ways.
Just as we were at the point of total confusion, I discovered a recent book
that has proven a godsend, an exhaustive treatment of the subject of negation.
It was tough reading, and we let pc go through it in depth. He has finished
that review, and has written a summary of requirements for logical and pragmatic
negation in a logical language. We will review the requirements that he has
identified, make any required design changes (new cmavo or definitions for old
ones are expected to suffice to solve any problems). We hope to have the
results completed in time to print the requirements and design in JL11, to be
published at the end of December.
Attitudinals - It was pointed out by two people on our recent travels that our
set of attitudinals seemed disorganized and unsystematic. The design is
actually more systematic than it appears; a lot of analysis was built into the
list based on a paradigm devised last year by pc; but pc later retracted that
paradigm, and the system embedded in the attitudinals is thus no longer
Athelstan and I started to analyze the problem in September, but the effort
got superseded in priority. The initial result was a very long list of several
hundred possible emotions and attitudes that could be considered for
attitudinals (there is no exhaustive treatment on this subject in any book - and
we've looked). Included in this list were the attitudinals of L adan, the only
other artificial language we've identified that has a defined set.
(One of the criticisms of Esperanto that we've read is that it has no such set
defined, thus making it impossible to 'read between the lines' of a statement to
determine what a speaker intends in expressing it; intentional signals are
generally based on usage forms and cultural associations, so a workable
artificial language that is to be independent of the conventions of the
speaker's native culture must address the issue explicitly.)
Nora examined the list and identified a couple of simplifying paradigms, but
we need to make at least one more simplification to fit the set of attitudes
within available cmavo. As it appears now, though, this won't be too difficult,
and may be solved in the next month. No change to the formal grammar is
expected; there will be cmavo changes, but they are expected to primarily affect
cmavo that have not been covered in existing lessons.
Tense - The design of tense in the published grammar proved to be unteachable
(even I couldn't figure out why I did some things - and we want the grammar to
be pretty understandable to just about anyone), so Nora and I went back to first
principles and tried to reestablish the grammar as I had intended it. This took
only one evening, and then an all-night session of parsing, and voila, we had a
new grammar of tense that was much more understandable. It took only one eve-
ning to cover the subject in class, but we didn't have enough examples. As time
has gone on, we've identified a few such examples in translations, and the
design has had no trouble expressing all things we've devised. What remains is
to write the grammar up so that pc, our expert on the subject of tense logic,
can verify that the tense grammar design reflects the requirements that he has
specified over the past few years. We don't expect any significant problems,
but I will not consider the design done until it has been properly reviewed.
MEX - Those who read JL9 saw the essentials of the MEX design as we were
planning to teach it. Alas, again because I hadn't prepared examples, the
teaching did not go well. MEX seemed very clumsy to use, requiring too many
'parenthesis' and the like. Furthermore, Athelstan, our most mathematically
inclined student, was not there that evening to react to the expressions we were
devising on the fly. The others weren't particularly interested in MEX as a
theoretical subject, and we don't have the usage experience to make the subject
'relevant' to speakers. When I get a chance to go over it with Athelstan and
Nora, we may have a clearer idea whether there is a problem, or whether it was
just a poorly prepared-for class.
My instincts tell me that MEX will probably work as is, but will not be as
usable as we'd like. We may, upon closer examination, find some minor
improvements, but the design is unlikely to change significantly. I suspect
that there will be few approaches to MEX that offer complete flexibility of
notation systems in a predicate grammar, as we are requiring. Time will tell.
Growth and Publicity
Record Growth - The 3 months since LK10 have given us record growth; over 100
new people have been added to our subscriber lists from a variety of sources.
Also, this number included an especially high percentage of people interested in
learning the language NOW, i.e. people in Level 2 and Level 3. We can thank
Athelstan's new 'mini-lesson' approach for these higher levels of interest;
people are starting to realize just how easy Lojban is to learn.
As a result of our growth, we now have more than 75 people with the draft
textbook lessons; some 150 people have obtained flashcards or one of the
computer teaching programs, and presumably are learning the vocabulary.
People are hearing of Lojban from an increasingly wide variety of origins.
We're being mentioned on computer networks, have had newspaper articles written
about us, and have had ads in two different magazines, besides the convention
appearances and simple word-of-mouth. Most recently, I have been giving
telephone interviews to radio stations. Over the last two years we have
distributed perhaps 3000 brochures, and these continue to be passed along until
they find an interested reader. We recently heard from someone in Atlanta (with
three other interested friends) who had been given a brochure that we had
originally handed out over a year ago.
Worldcon Success - Worldcon, the World Science Fiction Convention, was a big
success for Lojban. We were well organized, had support from Todd Dashoff, our
programming section leader (thanx, Todd), as well as several people at the con
who already knew us and spread the word to others to come to our table. We
ended up handing out nearly 600 brochures. An interesting juxtaposition found
our table adjacent to the Esperanto table. This led to some interesting banter
(and a few Esperantists becoming interested in Lojban).
Due to demand, we added 3 extra mini-lesson presentations, thus contributing
7 hours of programming to the convention.
These mini-lessons allowed us to gain much of the international benefits that
we sought from Worldcon (it turned out that less than 10% of the attendees were
from outside the U.S., and most of those were from Canada, so we were happy with
what we got.) International recruits did include a Finlander who does
translations, an American teaching English in Japan who hopes to use Lojban to
bridge between science fiction fans in Japan and the U.S., and a few people from
Britain, recruited with the help of longtime Loglanist/Lojbanist Colin Fine and
his brother Philip.
We also invested a lot of time staffing our table, a real benefit in
garnering new people who had questions, and wanted to talk about their ideas.
It was exhausting, typically 9 AM to midnight, most of the time at our table,
and ALWAYS on the go.
We learned a lot about how to give presentations so as to get and keep people
interested in what we had to say. Those who are planning to give talks about
Lojban at other conventions should be in touch with us for details. We'll be
applying what we've learned at Evecon 90, shortly after the new year.
NYC and Boston Presentations - In connection with our Worldcon trip to
Boston, we held a meeting outside the convention (at the MIT campus) and a
second one in New York City on the way back to Washington.
Actually, we had two meetings in Boston. We got to spend a couple of hours
talking to Lojbanist Dr. Guy Steele, who is noted for his contributions to
artificial intelligence and computer language design. Guy made us feel really
good when he told us that he saw nothing to criticize in our design approach -
we were 'doing fine' on our own. He gave us insights on what is needed to get
industry or government financial support for research into AI applications for
Lojban; we're quite far along on achieving the milestones he thinks are
The MIT meeting was attended by about a dozen people. Noteworthy were Chris
Moriondo, who had served as our Boston point-of-contact for organizing the
meeting. Jay Dobis and Coranth D'Gryphon, both recruited at Worldcon, agreed to
assist Chris in organizing a class in the Boston area. Chuck Barton, a
professional language teacher and longtime Lojbanist, will also be helping with
the class once it gets organized. Coranth is giving talks, including a version
of Athelstan's mini-lesson, early in December, after which a class will start.
Deb Wunder organized a meeting in midtown Manhattan, attended again by about
a dozen people, all of which were interested in a class. Eric Tiedemann,
recruited at Worldcon, is assisting Deb in organizing an NYC area class, which
should be starting shortly. T. Peter Park will also be assisting in teaching
that class. Eric is also giving mini-lesson presentations to add to the number
of class participants.
The night after this meeting, we attended the NYUSFS science fiction
gathering, which is a common interest of several of our Lojbanist friends in New
York. We got to talk to several potential new Lojbanists through this meeting
Still, the meetings continued, and the following night saw another meeting
and mini-lesson at Art Wieners' house in the New Jersey suburbs. We also got to
see Art show off his rapidly growing Lojban software suite, including a
flashcard program that uses a voice synthesizer to speak the words, and a word
resolver that can put unambiguously words together from phonemes and stress,
using the morphology rules in the Synopsis. This can eventually be combined
with the Lojban parser, and with front-end speech recognizer hardware that can
pick out phonemes and stress, we will be able to go from spoken Lojban to
grammatically parsed text, a major accomplishment towards AI applications of the
Athelstan's 'Lojban Mini-Lesson' - In preparing for Logfest 89, Athelstan got
the idea of preparing a short mini-lesson that could quickly get people up to a
level where they could comfortably participate in language discussions. Un-
fortunately, his bout of poison ivy prevented him from putting much effort into
this, although he was able to try a few ideas. At Unicon in August, though, he
actually had a prepared talk, which went especially well: all 8 people attend-
ing signed up as Level 3 language students.
As a result, we went to Worldcon prepared to repeat the mini-lesson, using
Athelstan's experience from this first attempt. Athelstan had planned to do
only one mini-lesson; there was so much interest that he eventually gave four,
and with a little better ability to advertise these on-the-spot programming
changes, we could have easily given a few more.
Athelstan is doing an outline of the mini-lesson to aid others in learning
these basics of the language, and to help those who want to give similar talks.
We are hoping to record or make a video out of the mini-lesson, which can then
be distributed to those of you who want a livelier source than our textbook
Athelstan is hoping to give a couple of mini-lessons at Evecon in January,
and is also working on a second, more advanced mini-lesson that will move beyond
the initial lesson's material. This also may eventually be taped.
Lojban Video - Brad Lowry and Elliott Deal took several hours of video
footage during LogFest last June. The result was edited into a short (3 minute)
professional video on the language, which we used at Worldcon. Due to the lo-
gistic problems resulting from staying at a hotel a mile from the convention
center, we didn't get to use the video as much as we wanted, but those who
watched it found it eye-catching.
If we can avoid logistic problems, we hope to use the video at other
conventions, including Evecon. We also will be showing the video at next year's
LogFest in June, along with the comical footage of our little-rehearsed
production of la sindereluyd., discussed in LK10 and JL9.
Advertising and Radio - The following is a list of those radio interviews I
have given or scheduled. Since, at this writing, I am getting calls daily to do
additional interviews, this may be just the beginning:
11/28/89 WDWS Champaign-Urbana IL
interviewer Stevey Jay (live)
11/28/89 KYW Philadelphia PA
interviewer Karen Phillips (taped for broadcast on 12/3/89)
11/28/89 WSPD Toledo OH
interviewer Dave Macy (live)
11/29/89 WHIO Dayton OH
morning show (live)
11/29/89 KOA Denver CO
interviewer Steve Kelly (live)
12/1/89 WHDH Boston MA
morning show (live)
12/1/89 CBC Winnepeg, Manitoba
interviewer Jack Farr (taped for use on Saturday 12/30/89 - nationally
broadcast at about 3:15 PM Central time)
12/6/89 WLW Cincinnati OH
interviewer Mike McCall (taped for later broadcast - date uncertain)
12/14/89 (Thursday) CKNW Vancouver BC
host - Terry Moore (talk show live at 6:50 PM Pacific time)
12/19/89 (Tuesday) KVEN Ventura CA
host - Ross Olney (15 minute talk show - live at 2:05 PM Pacific time)
I am also contacting with Voice of America and National Public Radio about
possible features on Lojban, and will be pursuing other radio efforts as
opportunities present themselves.
We are pursuing other avenues for advertising. A Lojbanist donated an
advertisement in the October issue monthly national Mensa magazine. This
brought in at least a dozen (some respondents don't say where they heard of us).
We are also contacting the Mensa artificial languages special interest group.
Two small press magazines have run articles on Lojban; one of these, TAND, by
Mark Manning (see pg 4) promises a continuing dialogue between us and Mark's
We expect to shortly be assigned a subject heading in the Library of Congress,
as a result of our working relationship with their linguistics acquisitions
section. They will be binding our publications into a book, which will then be
put on the shelf.
Recent contacts may lead to a working relationship with the San Francisco
Exploratorium, noted for its scientific and education emphasis. We also are
communicating with interested scientists and teachers at several academic
institutions, including some in England.
People are also talking about us on computer networks. While we don't yet
have any direct connection, apparently enough of you are talking about Lojban on
computer networks that we are gaining a lot of name recognition there, and 1 or
2 new people a week.
We are also continuing our support of various conventions, and I've shifted
the job of attending most of these to people including Athelstan, Eric
Tiedemann, John Hodges, and Coranth D'Gryphon, who among them will probably
represent us at over a dozen conventions during the next year.
We've found that copies of the brochure on college and university bulletin
boards have led to many responses. We will supply you with brochures for this
purpose, or you make copies yourself (cheaper because it saves postage); we will
credit your balance or donation upon receiving a receipt.
See international news below, for more on how we are spreading Lojban
In short, our name is growing, and our numbers will as well. We should have a
significant audience by the time the textbook is published, You can help by
spreading the word yourself, or by suggesting possible avenues for publicity.
A Logo - Some may recall Jamie Bechtel's suggestion that we establish a logo
for la lojbangirz. We got very little feedback on this idea, and we put off any
decision until we have a real need for such a symbol. Finally another sugges-
tion has arisen, this time from Kit Archer. Kit proposes a Mbius strip,
horizontal, and inscribed with Claude van Horn's slogan "e'osai ko sarji la
Computer Networks - We have not yet gained direct access to any computer
network such as Compuserve, and finances will not allow it for a while; we may
be able to get free access to USENET/UUCP/Internet through a local university
now that we have our non-profit status, but I don't have time to check on this
However, others among you have access to a wide variety of networks and
bulletin boards, more than we could ever afford to be on from here. You may
wish to consider putting announcements about Lojban on your boards and networks;
we can supply text. We also need people to provide mailboxes, gathering
messages and relaying them to us by 'mundane' mail.
Eric Tiedemann and Eric Raymond are planning another service using the UNIX
networks. Eric Raymond is setting up a 'reflector' program that will accept
messages on his computer and then redistribute them to the entire list of
Lojbanists on the net. I am providing Eric with the entire set of net addresses
that people have given me on registration forms. I'm also asking in the ques-
tionnaire if you want to participate, but those that I have addresses for now
may have already received a message from Eric by the time you get this
Where You Are - Each year, I summarize where Lojbanists are located. A point
of contact is also given where we have identified one. Note where people are
outside your immediate area. When you travel you can visit another Lojbanist;
if you have friends in other cities, tell them that we have other Lojbanists
In the following, the number before the slash is the total number of people;
the number after the slash is the number of people at level 1 or higher, and
thus more likely to be actively studying the language either now or in the near
Los Angeles Central Area 21/11
LA - North/East Suburbs 11/8
San Diego 18/5
Orange County 4/4
San Francisco 9/3
SF Peninsula 9/3
SF East Bay 14/6
San Jose/Santa Cruz 6/1
Doug Landauer 408-336-5005 (h)
Jeff Taylor 916-753-5040
net LA 36/22
Rory Hinnen 818-796-8096 (h)
net SF 38/13
Dave Cortesi 415-321-1986 (h)
Steve Wheeler 303-422-5611 (h)
Claude Van Horn 307-634-8181 (h)
Nancy Lebovitz 302-368-8398
District of Columbia 8/2
net Washington DC area 93/46
Bob LeChevalier 703-385-0273
net Baltimore/Washington area 109/55
Guy Townsend 812-273-6908 (h)
Kansas City 5/1
Washington DC suburbs 38/21
Baltimore & suburbs 16/9
Gary Burgess 301-551-3121 (h)
Boston - North 21/11
Boston - Central 37/19
Boston - West/South 6/4
net Boston 64/34
Jay Dobis 617-354-5433
Chris Moriondo 508-481-9986 (h)
net Boston, NH, & RI 73/37
St. Louis 6/5
John Parks-Clifford 314-727-1250
Jamie Bechtel 402-556-8312
New Hampshire 3/0
New Jersey 13/8
NYC suburbs 12/7
Art Wieners 201-271-1483 (h)
New Mexico 1/1
New York 40/18
New York City - Manhattan 17/8
Eric Tiedemann 212-316-6889 (h)
NYC - Bronx & Suburbs 4/2
NYC - Brooklyn/Queens/L.I. 8/6
NYC net 41/23
North Carolina 11/4
Jack Waugh 919-834-0764 (h)
Bill Gustafson 503-645-4810 (h)
Eric Raymond 215-296-5718
net Phila/Wilmington 18/9
Puerto Rico 1/1
Rhode Island 5/2
RI & SE Massachusetts 11/6
South Carolina 2/1
Jay Hart 512-482-7419
Derrith Wieman 713-859-7685
Dallas/Ft. Worth 4/2
Michael Helsem 214-943-6835 (h)
Washington DC suburbs 47/23
Bob LeChevalier 703-385-0273
John Hodges 703-552-0986 (h)
Preston Maxwell 206-328-2081
West Virginia 2/2
Australia 2/0, Austria 1/0, Canada 19/9
(Ottawa 3/1, Toronto 5/3), Denmark 2/1,
Finland 2/1, France 1/1, Great Britain 12/5 (Cambridge 4/2), Italy 1/1, Japan
Mexico 1/0, Netherlands 3/0, New Zealand 1/1, Poland 1/0, Sweden 1/0,
Thailand 1/0, USSR 1/1, West Germany 4/0
Net Total: 634 Lojbanists
283 Level 1 or higher
DC Lojban Class Completed - We started with 12 students. Three students (plus
Nora and I, who were studying with the class by the end) survived all the way
until November; we had expected to complete the class in June, and 4 students
dropped at that time. Two others attended intermittently, and cannot be said to
have learned to speak the language, even though they were still technically in
the class at the end.
The main weakness of the class was in vocabulary building. Unfortunately,
only one student ever finished the vocabulary with LogFlash or flashcards; Carl
Burke had mostly finished before the class started. I was generally unable to
get the students to spend much time outside of class on either vocabulary work
or on practice exercises, and it showed in the last several months when we made
very slow progress.
We cannot stress enough the need for anyone trying to learn ANY language to
set aside some time, preferably daily or close to it, to practice the language
skills you are trying to learn. It needn't be a lot of time, but without such
practice, a weekly class will spend much of its time relearning old material
that students never learned the first time. Lojban can probably be learned to
conversational fluency in either a semester or full year course, if the students
devote time to the course as they would a normal college class. We didn't get
this, and were further handicapped by my slow development of class materials.
The experiment did work, though. Nora and I transferred our knowledge to new
Lojbanists. Athelstan now ranks nearly equal with us in language competence,
and the other two students who completed the course, Sylvia Rutiser and Albion
Zeglin, are not too far behind. Both Athelstan and Sylvia translated English
texts to demonstrate their competence. Their writings will be found in JL10,
which should be distributed at the same time as this issue.
Textbook and Blacksburg Class Stalled - My failure to complete the textbook as
scheduled has more drastically affected students outside the DC area. Without
lessons beyond #6, any further study has to be individual, with me and Nora con-
ducting tutoring by mail in response to students attempts to write in the
language and their questions.
While the DC area class finished the course, the Blacksburg class has stalled.
With the fall semester, John Hodges, who was leading the class, resumed his
schooling (inspired by his Lojban work to study artificial intelligence). Since
John is also working full time, he hasn't been able to exercise the needed
organizational leadership, and the class therefore hasn't been meeting very
often. They have continued slowly, and were last reported in the middle of
Lesson 5. The lack of lessons beyond 6 has apparently reduced motivation to
proceed at a higher rate. We hope to get things moving again when more of the
textbook is completed.
The only self-teaching student, Jamie Bechtel, completed Lesson 6 back in
June, and has demonstrated writing competence in an short story, the first
Lojban science fiction, which is also in JL10. We are trying to get another
Lojbanist up to Jamie's level of competence in writing so that they can maintain
a correspondence and grow in the absence of new lessons. Jamie is handicapped
by living in Omaha, where there are no other Lojbanists within a reasonable
distance. He also doesn't have or use a computer, and thus cannot use the
various computer-oriented aids to learn the language. Thus his remarkable
accomplishments so far should inspire those similarly lacking computers.
Hopefully, early next year, I'll be able to return to writing the textbook, no
longer bogged down with teaching the class and with very time-consuming legal
work. We have a good plan for rewriting and completing it, so when I do get
started, things should go much more quickly. I won't be working on it though,
until the backlog of distractions gets caught up. I've learned that textbook
writing is a very intense activity for me, and I have to be able to concentrate
on it for several days at a time to make reasonable progress.
I intend the text wave of classes will have textbook materials by the time
they need them. I expect that new classes starting will get to Lesson 7 by
sometime in spring. By then, I should be producing lessons at the rate of 1
every 2 weeks like I was last spring, which would give us a completed textbook
by sometime in summer.
New Classes Planned - At present, I know of 3 classes actively being
organized. These are in Boston, New York City, and here in DC. The first two
classes have been trying to set up organizational meetings, which hopefully will
take place in the next couple of weeks. The DC class will be conducted in a
Maryland suburb (possibly at the U. of Maryland in College Park or at Athel-
stan's house in Beltsville). The organizational meeting will take place the
week after Evecon 90 (which is the weekend of 6-7 January, 1990); if you are in
the DC or Baltimore area, you will hear from us directly around the first of the
year. Athelstan will be teaching the class, starting with his mini-lessons that
have now been proven before several audiences. Bob and Nora will help as
required, but will be concentrating on developing the advanced lessons.
pc is planning to organize the half-dozen St. Louis Lojbanists into a class,
but has not yet started contacting them. All but one of the Lojbanists there is
level 1 or above, so a small group of together-students (kastadni) should be
Attempts to organize in Los Angeles have thus far been unsuccessful. Rory
Hinnen has called everyone that he has a phone number for, but can't find people
willing to make a commitment to learn the language yet. Perhaps, new Lojbanists
recruited through the LA Times article will help get things together. Meanwhile
Rory has studied the vocabulary and most of the lesson materials himself, and
will be well-qualified to lead the class when it can be organized.
There are hints that organizing activities are ready to start in the San
Francisco area, but things haven't jelled; possibly the quake has had an impact
in this, but geographical dispersion seems to also be a factor in that some
Lojbanists in the Bay Area are about 100 miles from those at the other end. We
may eventually have two or more study groups as a solution to this problem.
Recent contacts with the Exploratorium in San Francisco may help in getting us a
place to meet. But given our experience in Boston and New York, the SF-area
Lojbanists may not get together until Nora and I visit and conduct a few
meetings and lectures. We had planned to visit this winter, but now expect to
go in spring. Our plans will appear in the next issue of LK in February.
Other groups of Lojbanists are possible, as can easily be seen by looking at
the lists of where you are located. Signs of interest in class organization
have occurred in over a dozen other cities, but he have no results to report.
The main problem seems to be a lack of people willing to call and write the
others to get that critical first meeting together.
Lack of time may be a factor. However, the Lojban class here succeeded, if
slowly, with about 3-4 hours a week on the part of those who participated
(including commute time to the meetings - the students who completed the class
lived 20 miles or more from my house.)
Nora's Language Summary - As a follow-on to those who have completed the
class, and as an aid to those studying on their own, Nora has been working on an
outline synopsis of the grammar. Loaded with lots of examples, this summary
will step from the basic Lojban sentence pattern to more elaborate convolutions
of that pattern. She is writing it to be compatible with Athelstan's mini-
lessons, and the result may be included as a reference appendix in the textbook.
She hopefully will complete this within a month or two, and we will probably
release it as a product by the next LK issue.
T. Peter Park's Overview - Nora isn't the only one working to make Lojban
accessible to more people. T. Peter Park has been so prolific in writing about
Lojban and in Lojban, such that I haven't been able to keep up with him in re-
viewing and responding.
Among his writings is a new introductory overview of the language, much less
'dry' than our current one, and loaded with interesting examples. He avoids or
explains technical terminology a little better than I did in the current
overview, which was intended as much as anything to serve as a reference
document more than as an introductory one. We may retain both products, with
the old overview combined with a written form of Athelstan's mini-lesson and
with Nora's summary, as an introduction for students of the language - as
opposed to T. Peter's overview, which will become the one sent to new people to
tell them what the language is like.
Again, I hope this to be completed for publication by the LK12 issue in
Lojban Mini-Lesson Video Possible - As we've mentioned or implied several
times, we're quite proud of Athelstan's Lojban mini-lesson, and intend to use it
as a basis for our other activities in teaching the language. It has proven
very effective in convincing people just how easy Lojban is to learn.
One thing we intend is to write the mini-lesson in text, so that those who
participate in the mini-lesson have something to remind them later of what was
covered. This written mini-lesson will then become the first lesson of the
Since Athelstan has gotten the mini-lesson down to a firm outline that he
regularly covers in almost exactly an hour, we are also planning to record the
mini-lesson as a video that you will be able to order. Since we are talking
about small production amounts, an hour video will probably cost us about
$20.00. Unless our finances improve tremendously, we may be unable to afford to
give these away per our normal balance ordering system. So the practicality of
this venture at this time depends on how many of you will commit to buying the
video if we produce it. The questionnaire enclosed in this issue thus asks
about your interest in such a video.
Among significant international news was the recorded interview with the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that will be broadcast nationally on Saturday,
30 December 1989 at about 3:15 PM. The CBC station theoretically could reach
over 200 million people; more realistically, the show's producers estimate that
there will be at least a million people listening to that broadcast, perhaps 5%
of the Canadian populace. We hope that this will significant expand our numbers
in Canada, perhaps making classes possible in major cities, including French-
Bob will also be interviewed live on a Vancouver BC station CKNW talk show at
about 6:50 Pacific time on Thursday, 14 December 1989.
I've also had contact with the French news agency 'ASP', and expect to give an
interview in the near future, that will presumably result in a story being
printed in France and other French-speaking countries.
International Finances - As announced last time, we experimented with a new
service for mailing overseas, international airlift postage. The experiment was
successful and we expect to continue to use it.
Most significantly, our overseas postage costs will drop dramatically when we
mail more than one package outside the U.S., which we normally do. We will get
near air mail speed of delivery, but at a cost closer to surface mail rates.
Thus, effective with this issue, we are dropping our prices for newsletter and
orders sent overseas. We are setting our prices based on an average rate of 30-
35 cents (US) per ounce, or about 2c/page higher than US postage. Thus our
prices except for US, Canada, and Mexico, will be set at 12c/page. We will no
longer charge the 50c/$1.00 surcharge for overseas mailing.
We are also arranging to be able to cash checks in most national currencies at
a cost of $3.50 US per check. Our non-profit status gives us this benefit with
a company that does international exchange. From what I've been told, this is
far cheaper than it is for you to get a check in US dollars overseas.
When our credit is approved we will then accept your contributions for your
balances in your native currency, which should be much cheaper for you. We will
deduct the $3.50 service charge we pay for each transaction from your
contribution, so sending larger amounts less often is preferred. Also, PLEASE
make sure your checks are good. The bad check charges under this service are
Brochure Translated into French and Italian - Andr Bergeron has completed
translating the brochure into French (note the name correction from last issue;
Ren Bilodeau is another Quebec Lojbanist, and I accidently looked at the wrong
name on the list). Since Andr is from Quebec, I am sending the translation to
France for review to make sure that we don't end up with idioms or language
problems due to local dialects. Local French-reading Americans seem to think
the translation is quite good, and Andr has added in explanations of some of
our peculiar terms and Americanisms to make the result more understandable. He
also identified some problems in the translation that we are working on. The
result is some changes to the brochure that will have to also be translated
before we publish the result. So it may be a few months yet.
Meanwhile, new Lojbanist Silvia Romanelli has translated the brochure into
Italian. We will be having the text back-translated in the next week or two by
a local Italian native speaker. Silvia has identified a group of Italians that
may be interested in studying together. Our ability to translate critical
materials into Italian will enhance the chances for this group to succeed.
We are not limited to these two languages. One person is working on a German
brochure, and we are looking for a volunteer to translate the brochure into
Spanish. We have also identified a foundation that we will be talking to in
order to get grants for translating our more advanced teaching materials into
other languages. The four European languages mentioned will probably be our
first priority, but we would also like to try to get brochures and some
introductory teaching materials into other languages, especially Chinese,
Arabic, Hindi, Russian, and Japanese.
If you know anyone who would be interested in helping with this effort, please
let us know. We can't pay for translation services, which range in cost from 5c
to 15c per word - we will support any translator with materials in trade, but
since we don't require payment for materials anyway, this isn't of particular
value. Probably the best we can offer is the knowledge that you are helping
contribute in a unique way, and making it possible for other speakers of your
language to learn about Lojban.
Products and Prices
LogFlash Conversion and Update Plans - Lojbanist Eric Raymond has been
converting LogFlash to machine-portable C language. Several others previously
worked on the conversion; we believe that Eric has been the most successful.
Problems include major differences in string handling, screen input/output and
keyboard access between C and Turbo-Pascal. However, we are confident that we
will shortly have a portable C version.
From the portable C version, we will back-fit to a Pascal version that matches
the C version to make later modifications and enhancements easier. We may at
some later date decide to go entirely to C, but this isn't practical right now,
since Nora doesn't know C well enough to write or support programs written in
We are asking for volunteers to take Eric's program and get it working on
other machines - he apparently can provide the appropriate libraries, etc. I
think we have volunteers to convert for the MacIntosh and the Amiga, but I'll
happily accept redundant volunteers since the conversion problem has persisted
far too long to depend on individuals.
Meanwhile Nora and I will be modifying the Pascal version to accept the new
gismu lists, which have a much larger definition field for each word. We also
will be putting in instrumentation that will allow statistical analysis of
individual learning rates. Those who received JL9 will recall that we wish to
measure and study actual learning rates in comparison with our gismu word
When the cmavo list is done, we will be making up the cmavo and grammar data
set for LogFlash 3. When the place structure review is finished, we will be
building data for LogFlash 4, which will teach place structures.
When will all this be done? Hopefully in spring, though probably not before
LK12. Since we haven't heard of anyone even using LogFlash 2 yet outside of
this household, we haven't been rushing.
Hypercard Teaching Materials - Esperantist Mike Urban has published a
Hypercard program for the MacIntosh that teaches Esperanto. He has recently
joined the Lojban community as well. Two people have independently expressed
interest in working on a similar Hypercard program for Lojban, and they will
hopefully have heard from Mike by now. I'll be trying to get the three of them
to work together to get a useful product, but I can't promise any schedule.
Since we don't have a MacIntosh here, we won't be able to support the
development effort directly.
lujvo-making Program - Nora has completed a short program that builds lujvo
from your entered English keywords, and which optionally tests you on randomly
generated lujvo using the lujvo-making algorithm. The program is much simpler
than LogFlash and doesn't use the same testing philosophy. Eric Raymond may
also port this program, since much of the code overlaps LogFlash, especially in
the areas where C and Pascal are incompatible. We will supply this program to
anyone who wants it now for $10, but you may want to wait a few weeks because we
will probably have room to put some of the other new material on the same
diskette, such as the cmavo list. See the order form.
cmavo List - The cmavo list will be made available in text and on-line when it
is completed. As just mentioned, depending on diskette space, the on-line list
may be combined with some other on-line products to maximize the use of the
Doudna Papers - Last issue included a review of Loglan 1 by Bob and Athelstan.
Since then, we have received one other review, by Paul Doudna, which we are
sending to those who requested to read Loglan 1 review materials.
Paul also has sent other papers and analyses of a fairly technical nature,
which I want to share with interested Lojbanists. These were generated on the
MacIntosh, so I don't have on-line versions. Paper copies will be available at
15c/page unless I (unlikely) get close to 25 orders, reducing our print costs.
See the order form for a list.
Tape and Mini-Lesson Plans - We still haven't made any Lojban tapes for
distribution. After several attempts to tape our class sessions, and even
Athelstan's mini-lesson, we've decided that any tape that we are actually going
to sell has to be scripted. (If we don't get anything together soon, though, we
may offer one of the better mini-lesson tapes - just don't expect the best
The first planned tape will either be a pronunciation tape with sample
dialogs, that will be matched with early textbook lessons, or it will be
designed for use with a written form of Athelstan's mini-lesson. As mentioned
above, we may also do a video version of the mini-lesson.
Finances - Our finances have been stable for the last three months, but only
because of careful cost controls. We haven't gotten much money in, and so have
had to cut our expenses to the bone. I also had to space out trips to the
printer, which slowed down my responses to new people when we ran out of
We're hoping that our non-profit status motivates some of you to donate to la
lojbangirz. We certainly need the money.
Non-Profit Status - As mentioned on page 2, our non-profit status is back-
dated to our date of incorporation, which was in November, 1988. Under current
law, this status is provisional and subject to review for 4 years from that
date. We have to be prepared to show that 'a substantial amount of our support'
comes from public donations, or we may be classified as one of a variety of
different kinds of organizations, each with its own peculiar tax rules and
filing requirements. The one we have is the simplest, so hopefully we can get
sufficient donations to keep it.
Our letter of determination of non-profit status is required to be available
to all requesting to see it. We will provide a copy for anyone that asks. It's
several pages, mostly tax-related instructions that describe what rules we have
Our next goal in the non-profit arena is to get the US Postal Service to also
declare us non-profit, which should be easy now that we have the IRS ruling.
Non-profit status will cut our bulk rate postage approximately in half, possibly
allowing our bulk-rate newsletters to drop in price by 10-30%.
Fund-Raising Plans - The main objectives of getting non-profit status were to
allow your donations to be tax-deductible, to minimize the tax paperwork we have
to do each year, and to allow us to seek grants.
With the backlog of work described above, we won't be able to undertake any
major grant seeking for a few months. We do have a couple of organizations that
we will contact, but proposal writing takes more time than I can afford right
now. Probably I will start by seeking grants to support translations of our
materials into other languages, and to pay for international education
activities. As we get close to publishing the textbook, we may also seek grants
to pay for that publication, but I suspect that our timing will not be too good
for that. It typically takes several months to get a grant, and when we get
close to publishing, we won't want to wait.
Grants for scientific research, such as from the NSF, will probably have to
wait until we can demonstrate significant numbers of reasonably fluent speakers,
and until we can cite recognition by some significant linguists, though we may
be able to get grants for education-related research before then. We will
probably also need to have published one or more papers in the academic press to
gain scientific credibility. Such papers are several months away, and would
take several more months to appear and be recognized.
Another avenue for funding would be grants for AI-related computer work. We
may have the best chance in this area, based on Guy Steele's comments. We will
probably be seeking assistance from both private industry and the US government,
but again, not for a few months.
Final decisions on fund-raising activities will be made by the Board of
Directors, not just by me. Right now, the Board believes that grant-seeking
should be lower priority to completing our teaching materials, baselining the
language, and building our speaker base. All of these require more of you to be
involved in learning and using the language, so your decisions will be most
significant in whether we can seek funding from other sources in the near
News from the Institute
Loglan 1 Reviews - Only two people have bothered to ask for Bob and
Athelstan's longer review of Loglan 1; we delayed sending it out in hopes of
getting more requests (to keep the copying cost down.
In addition to our published review, we received a review from Paul Doudna
which we are making available to interested people. Paul was critical of Loglan
1, although for separate reasons than we identified. Paul concentrated signi-
ficant analysis on the Institute's gismu list, identifying inconsistencies and
unclarities in definitions and place structures of that list. Paul previously
analyzed our list the same way, and we incorporated many of his comments; our
list is thus much more solid than the Institute's. Another area of criticism
was in Jim Brown's discussion of various types of modifying and relative
clauses. Paul identifies several areas where Loglan 1 contains errors of logic
and terminology leading to inevitable confusion in this critical area of the
pc has also looked at Loglan 1. His general comment was that a lot of things
that he thought had been agreed upon and adopted during the years of The
Loglanist (1976-1983) were not incorporated into Loglan 1. Dr. Brown several
times makes reference to articles in The Loglanist, but pc found that his text
on each subject often contradicts the discussion in TL.
pc concentrated his review efforts on the new chapter on the Sapir-Whorf
Hypothesis. He concludes, as did we, that it is useful to know Dr. Brown's
interpretation and how he thinks it can be tested, but that the test he has
devised is seriously flawed. We have printed pc's comments in JL10, along with
Bob and Athelstan's more detailed review of this material.
Autumn Bulletin Summary - The Institute published an Autumn Bulletin
(apparently written entirely by Jim Brown) which, on its surface, implies that a
lot is going on under its auspices. A second reading shows that most of the
discussions are proposals and wishful thinking about what Jim Brown would like
to see happen.
For example, Jim reports more income in two months than in the prior two
years. But since the Institute hasn't advertised nor sold any new products on
the open market for several years, this is to be expected. The Institute is
placing several national advertisements, but response to our Discover ad
suggests that he will find such advertising only minimally cost effective
without a meaningful organization to retain new people.
Jim spends about 6 pages on the organization of the Institute, providing
little new information and revealing his misunderstanding of what people need
and expect from a viable Institute. He describes several offices, but they are
mostly held by either him or Bob McIvor. The governance of the Institute is
described as a benevolent dictatorship by him. He claims meaningful governance
by a Board of Trustees and a Board of Directors, but one Director has told us
that the latter hasn't even met in several years.
The 'Loglan Academy' is unchanged in critical factors and therefore meaning-
less. Dr. Brown has not realized that, if he has a veto power over any
proposal, no one will submit an idea to the Academy until they know he approves
of it. He also defines unworkably bureaucratic rules for change proposals, and
a ludicrous rule that no part of a rejected proposal may be included in another
proposal for two years. Thus the baby goes out with the bath water.
In discussing the role of the 'Chief Grammarian', Dr. Brown reveals the
instability of the Institute's version of Loglan. He reports that the grammar
has on average been changed EVERY TWO WEEKS over the last two years, a pitiable
state for a supposedly complete language.
The Members Council, the body that would supposedly involve the members,
doesn't exist. Jim reports no new activity in bringing this council into exis-
tence; he doesn't seem sure of what its mission is supposed to be. Having de-
fined a wide range of functions for the rest of the organization, and no
official input into those function required of the Member's Council, there is
very little reason for it to exist.
Unfortunately, Jim has stolen the one activity the Members were intended to
control: the publication of Lognet. Jim has appointed a new editor for Lognet,
a power specifically withheld from him by his Board. The new editor's name
isn't given in the Bulletin, but we've found out that Kathy Macedon of Columbia
SC was given the position. Bob has written to Kathy and offered encouragement
and permission to reprint from our publications, but as the job is described, it
looks as though Jim is still retaining final editorial control.
Jim also announces the intent to restart The Loglanist as a multi-department
magazine, repeating a failed plan from several years ago. We note that all of
the proposed editors have either dropped out of Loglan activities due to the In-
stitute's practices, or are among the leaders of la lojbangirz. We suspect
therefore that his idea is but a pipe dream. A misleading one at that, since he
implies that these people might work on The Loglanist, which is most unlikely.
Jim suggests that the quality of writing will be higher than in the old TL,
which would require better writers to contribute than the last time around.
Unlikely! TL was supposed to be out this month, no one reports hearing that
editors have been named yet. Don't expect much.
The remainder of the issue reports changes in MacTeach software prices, and
lists activities people might participate in. MacTeach 2&3 is significantly
higher than LogFlash 1&2 in price. MacTeach 2b is now the same price as
presumably identical Mac LojFlash except for the word list. (Only two
Lojbanists have reported ordering MacTeach; we are hoping for a review
Jim's wish list for Institute volunteers looks surprisingly like ours - to be
expected since he gets le lojbo karni and Ju'i Lobypli. Except that ours isn't
a wish list anymore - we're doing all the things he wants to see done, from
classes to interviews to talks at conventions. Jim offers one thing we don't.
He is giving a drastic discount on software and Loglan 1 books for those
teaching a class. The Institute's discount policy suggests that it is making a
tremendous profit off of everyone else's purchases in order to afford such
discounts. la Lojbangirz., of course, sells materials at cost, and so cannot
give discounts except for bulk reductions in postage. But then, we also use
donations to give teaching materials for free to students who cannot afford
Future Plans - Lojban Chrestomathy/Reader
A chrestomathy is a collection of materials in a language that is designed to
show its relationships with other languages. Usually, a chrestomathy contains a
variety of texts, both short and long, originally written in several other lan-
guages, that are translated into the target language. Such a collection is
vital to demonstrating that an artificial language is usable; Esperanto has had
several chrestomathies published. (According to one source, though, the
original chrestomathy by Zamenhof was noteworthy in its violations of his 16
rules for the language. We haven't verified this.)
One of our criticisms expressed in last issue's review of Loglan 1 was the
extremely limited set of translation material used to show that Jim Brown's
version of Loglan works. When JL10 and JL11 are completed, we will have already
published much more Lojban text, of wider variety, than Jim and The Loglan
Institute have published in 35 years. Yet this collection will be but a
fraction of the initial Esperanto chrestomathy in length. More needs to be
done. As such, our intent is to collect of such a variety of Lojban
translations and original writings over the next several months and to publish
them as our first chrestomathy.
We will use the Esperanto chrestomathies for ideas of what types of things to
translate. Also, a little-known artificial language named 'Frater', invented by
a Vietnamese, was published with an excellent chrestomathy. Our volunteers will
translate additional materials of their own choice, as well.
Athelstan has indicated that he intends to translate several works from
ancient Latin and Greek. Nora and Bob are working on the Scheherazade story and
one of the Sinbad stories from Sir Richard Burton's Arabian Nights translation,
which is as close as we can come to translating directly from the Arabic. Bob
has also been working on the first chapter of Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a
Harsh Mistress, in which Loglan is mentioned, and may translate some writings by
Polish computer scientists on their computer language named 'Loglan' (as a
sample of technical Lojban). Michael Helsem has tried writing original poetry
in a variety of cultural forms, and has translated a Latin poem. T. Peter Park
has translated writings in a variety of styles. For future translations works,
Preston Maxwell has short stories from a variety of cultures and languages. I
will ask T. Peter to locate and translate writings from his native Estonian.
Eventually, we plan to have writings from each of our source languages.
We want as many people as possible involved in this effort, which will build
up our vocabulary lists while proving that our language design and grammar rules
work. While Lojban material is being written slowly now, our pace and skill is
increasing. With only a few more of you working on the project, we can have a
good-sized sample of readings by the time the textbook is done. Some of your
translations may find themselves into the textbook; the rest can go into the
chrestomathy, which will also serve as the first Lojban 'reader' (if not as ele-
mentary in difficulty as that word implies).
Contents of Ju'i Lobypli #11
JL11 will obviously be late. JL10 is being mailed at about the time JL11
should be coming out. However, we already have much of the material intended to
go into that issue. I expect to publish JL11, therefore, in about a month,
which should give people a little time to digest this newsletter and JL10.
So let us say that JL11 will be out around the beginning to the middle of
January. In our continuing and thus far unsuccessful attempt to move our
publishing calendar one month earlier, I will be trying to put out LK12 in
February, and JL12 towards the end of February. Issue #13 of each should then
come out in May. Wish us luck!
JL11 will have plenty of Lojban text to digest. Athelstan has written up a
'new' formulation of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis as it may apply to Lojban. The
description of the Sapir-Whorf-Athelstan Hypothesis is being written in
'technical Lojban' and seems fairly complex to read, so get your cmavo lists and
T. Peter Park has written and translated several things in Lojban, and even
more in articles about the language, almost drowning me in his high volume of
productivity. His Lojban is reasonably good for someone who hasn't yet taken a
class or studied the textbook lessons, but he has some consistent errors.
Luckily he provides good English translations as shown above, so that we can
figure out what was intended. (Make sure that any Lojban you write and send to
us or anyone else includes such a translation until you are sure of your Lojban
skills - and your readers'.)
Michael Helsem has also been fairly prolific, but in a more poetic mode. He
has written some original Lojban poetry and poetic prose, and translated one
poem from Latin. He is trying some very complex things in these writings, and
most will take at least one revision to be publishable, but we hope to
accomplish this by JL11. I am a bit more reluctant to make grammatical
corrections to poetry, since I claim no particular poetic sense that would
ensure that I am retaining the author's intent in making changes.
The highlight article, by Athelstan, will be a discussion at some length
comparing Lojban and Esperanto. There are many misconceptions regarding these
two languages, and we get lots of questions. These include questions about why
Lojban is needed, since 'Esperanto is good enough' (this question usually comes
from Esperantists). Such a question presumes that Lojban and Esperanto are
trying for the same goals, which is not the case: Lojban is not in competition
with Esperanto. Of the question of 'good enough': can any language be said to
be 'good enough'? We certainly have learned a lot more about the nature of
language than Zamenhof knew in the 1880's, so Lojban should be better designed
The biggest misunderstanding comes when we say that Lojban's grammar is
completely and unambiguously expressed with about 500 rules, which is several
orders of magnitude less than any natural language. Esperantists usually then
say 'but Esperanto has only 16 rules'. Athelstan responds to this claim (rather
critically I might add), and shows that a similar description of Lojban is ex-
pressible in 11 'rules'.
We'll try to have a response/rebuttal from an Esperantist who disagrees with
Athelstan (I'm sure there will be one). This might have to wait until JL12,
As discussed in the R&D section above, we intend to discuss some of the last
remaining grammatical issues in JL12, as well as any decisions on those issues
which will have been made.
And of course, even more Lojban text, hopefully from people who haven't yet
written to us. I've talked to at least a dozen Lojbanists who claim to have
read through at least Lesson 4, which is enough to write simple Lojban
paragraphs. Some of these claim to have already written things in Lojban. But
most of them haven't sent us their writings. They'll remain nameless, at least
for now. (Hint! Hint!) Seriously, I'm hoping that all of you who are trying to
learn the language will 'write early and often', and that you will send us stuff
you have written. I may be too swamped to respond quickly at present, but I
hope to have several more people competent to review Lojban writings within the
next few months, now that the first class is done. So let's hear from you.
A News Note in Lojban
by T. Peter Park (with corrections by Bob)
le jbotadni tadgri
THE LOJBAN CLASS
mi de'i la vodjed. pe li xa pe la somast. pe puzaku cu zvati le jbotadni tadgri
noi la .ATlstan. cu'urtanc. vi la niuIORK. cu ctuca
I, on date Wednesday (4th-Day) of number 6 of September (9th-Month), which was
some time ago, attend (was at) the Lojban-studying study-group which Athelstan
Wormtongue, at the one called New York, teaches.
.i la .ATlstan. cu'urtanc. .e la lojbab. lecevalier. .e la noras. lecevalier. pu
vitke klama la niuIORK.
The one named Athelstan Wormtongue and the one named Loj-Bob LeChevalier and the
one named Nora LeChevalier had visitingly-gone to the one called New York.
.i mi vi le briju po la deb. .UYNdr. cu penmi la .ATlstan. .e la lojbab. .e la
noras. .e la deb.
I, at the office of the one named Deb Wunder, then meet the one named Athelstan,
the one named Loj-Bob, the one named Nora, and the one named Deb.
.i mi'a cu klama lo spano gusta gi'e cavi citka le vanci sanmi
We (me and others unspecified) then go to a Spanish restaurant and there-at eat
the evening meal.
.i la deb. .e mi ca citka loi spano seljukpa poi sunga kansa seljukpa
The one named Deb and I at that time eat of the mass of Spanish-cooked (things)
which are with-garlic cooked type-of two-shelled-soft-animals (i.e., Spanish-
style clams with garlic).
.i mi'a ba lenu citka cu klama le dansyku'a po la morakos.
We, after the event of eating, go to the dance-room of the one named Morocco.
.i mi'a vi zvati le jbotadni tadgri poi pu se ctuca la .ATlstan.
We there attend the Lojban-studying study-group which was taught by the one
.i bi .onai so prenu cu zvati le tadgri
8 or 9 people attend the study-group. (Bob: The MEX for "8 or 9" in such usage
is not allowed for in the current grammar, but will be added.)
.i le tadgri cu mutce cinri gi'e mutce pluka terji'i vau ro lovi prenu
The study-group is very-interesting and very-pleasingly thought of by all these
people. (Bob: The only sentence I had to change significantly to correct it.)
.i la deb. .e la lojbab. e la noras. .e la .ATlstan. cu mutce pluka mi
The one called Deb, the one called Loj-Bob, the one called Nora, and the one
called Athelstan (all) much please me. [bridi left tenseless to indicate
continuity not limited to past of being pleased!] (Bob: A tenseless selbri
doesn't necessarily imply this, but doesn't rule it out either. The directional
tense "zai" instead of "cu" would explicitly indicate that the pleasing
continued on at least into the present, but this is an advanced usage that T.
Peter hasn't seen yet.
co'o, until next issue.