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
Number 9 - May 1989
Published by: The Logical Language Group, Inc.
2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031 USA (703)385-0273
Editor and President: Bob LeChevalier
This publication is the news and product announcements section of Ju'i
Lobypli, the quarterly publication of The Logical Language Group, Inc., known in
these pages as la lojbangirz. la lojbangirz. is a non-profit organization
formed for the purpose of completing and spreading the logical human language
This issue is coming out only two months after lojbo karni #8 in order to
ensure that everyone has information in time to plan for LogFest 89, which will
be in Fairfax VA centered on the weekend of June 17-18, 1989. All Lojbanists
are invited to this celebration of the language; with real speakers of the
language, the gathering should be better than ever. We will also have activi-
ties of interest to new people, and the formal annual meeting of la lojbangirz.,
which all are welcome to attend.
We will try to get Ju'i Lobypli #9 out by the end of this month, but may
have some trouble with simultaneous planning for LogFest and textbook writing,
or I may end up dropping some of the material in order to get it out sooner. We
should, however, continue on a quarterly schedule after this issue, with issue #
10 scheduled for the beginning of August.
Welcome to New Lojbanists
This issue welcomes over 50 new Lojbanists, primarily respondents to our
reviews in Fact Sheet Five and our ad in Discover magazine. We are growing at
an excellent and accelerating pace. New people are responding from both rural
and urban areas, primarily from the US, but a few from other countries.
All new people are being assigned to level 0 unless we hear otherwise from
you. See the descriptions of mailing codes below. You will not receive Ju'i
Lobypli unless we hear from you. We will be sending copies of the "Overview of
Lojban" separately, so that you are familiar with some of our special
terminology, and the nature of the Lojban language design.
As you will see in this newsletter, we have the potential for classes
throughout the US, possibly starting as early as this summer. We will also make
a maximal effort to support those of you in rural areas without nearby
Lojbanists, enabling you to study the language on your own, and correspond with
other Lojbanists either sharing similar interests or located relatively nearby.
Your Mailing Code, Finances (Again), Tough Decisions - page 2
LogFest 89 Plans - page 3
Products - page 4
Research and Development - page 5
Lojban Parser Status, Lojban Grammar Status, Baseline Changes, Place
Structure Inputs Sought
Education - page 6
DC Lojban Class Status; Status of Other Classes - Blacksburg and Elsewhere;
Self-Teaching Lojbanists; Lesson 1 Comments and Responses; Advertising and
Publication Efforts; Analog, Mathematical Intelligencer, and the Press;
Lojban Video Plans; Athelstan's Travels; Worldcon
Other News - page 9
Contents of Ju'i Lobypli #9 - page 10
Our 501(c)(3) Submittal - page 10
Map To LogFest 89 - page 13
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. Those persons with an 'x' or 'y' by their
names will have their mailing code category lowered if we don't hear from you.
Balances reflect contributions received thru 9 May. Mailing codes (and ap-
proximate annual balance needs) are defined as follows:
Level B - Product Announcements Only Level 0 - le lojbo karni only - $5
Level 1 - le lojbo karni and Ju'i Lobypli - $15 balance requested
Level 2 - Level 1 materials and baselined/final products - $20 balance requested
Level 3 - Level 2 materials and draft textbook lesson materials as developed -
$50 balance or more
Feel free to call or write to ask about your balance account or mailing code
This issue of le lojbo karni will be distributed to about 450 people, including
all Ju'i Lobypli subscribers. Some 275 of you will receive Ju'i Lobypli #9.
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 listed as
mailing code "0", YOU MUST WRITE TO US TO RECEIVE Ju'i Lobypli. Our finances
are finally forcing us to make tough decisions about who we can send our
materials to; see below for details.
Our finances have deteriorated since the last issue of lojbo karni. As JL8
recipients know, our bank balance almost disappeared in producing that issue.
Some have responded by bringing their balances up to zero or positive, but the
majority of you have never contributed to your balance. Please help out, if
only a little. It gets monotonous pleading for money every issue. We know that
the ones who contribute get tired of hearing about the wolf at the door.
However, our only income is your contributions, and most of our expenditures go
for publications that you and others like you receive. With our mailing list
growing in excess of one per day now, we are spending almost $1000 per month
(this translates to about $20 per person per year). We need to improve our
situation dramatically if we are to publish the textbook and promote the
Remember that if our prices seem high, it is because we are still doing
small press runs and mailing first class. As we grow, our prices will drop.
Also, if more of you are paying for materials, we will be able to give a price
break to those giving us higher amounts of support. We also have no paid
advertising and do not sell our mailing list; the price of most magazines is
kept low through these additional means of income. In spite of this, since we
are not trying to make a profit, a year's subscription to Ju'i Lobypli costs
less than most magazines on the market, and we suspect that most of you who are
receiving JL are reading a higher percentage of it than you usually read of a
We seek donations independent of your contributions to voluntary balances.
We have now filed with the IRS for Section 501(c)(3) status, approval of which
will officially allow your donations (not contributions to your voluntary
balance) to be tax-deductible. We hope to have approval by the end of the year.
We are operating in accordance with that section, which means that your
donations now should be deductible if approval is obtained later, although there
is always the possibility of disapproval. We will inform all donors at the end
of the year as to the status of deductibility of their gifts. We also note for
all potential donors that our bylaws require us to spend no more than 30% of our
receipts on administrative and overhead expenses, and that you are welcome to
make you gifts conditional upon our meeting this requirement.
The mailing code idea seems to be working - we are developing a fairly
clear idea of each individual's level of interest, and can tailor the volume and
detail of materials that we send to each person. Two problems, both related to
our miserable finances, are going to require modifications to how we've
We have well over 100 of you in mailing code 3, the most active group that
is specified to receive teaching materials as they are developed. If enough of
you want the lessons as they are written, we can print and mail them at about 9
cents per page, instead of the non-bulk 16 cents. Lessons thru number 6 run
almost 250 pages, costing us $20.00 or more per copy to send out. 100 copies is
$2000; we don't have that much. Since only about half of you at mailing level 3
have a positive balance, and only a few have over $20, we can't afford to send
to all of you. This means the remaining people have to pay a higher rate,
almost twice as much, since I can't get the bulk printing price. I'm hoping
that more of you will be interested in getting the lessons, and will contact us
(with a contribution).
(I'm looking at ways to reduce or partially subsidize the higher rate - we
want to encourage people to start learning the language, not discourage them.
Any such reduction will be primarily targeted to help those who are helping us
with contributions, detailed comments on the lessons, or recruiting and
organizing of local Lojbanists. I do not intend to charge more than $50.00 plus
net postage to anyone receiving draft lessons, since $50.00 is all I'm charging
the class for tuition. Also - if you are truly serious about learning the
language NOW, but can't afford this price, let us know and pay whatever amount
you can afford. We may expect you to help in non-monetary ways instead, but I
don't intend to have anyone not learn Lojban if the reason is that they don't
have money to give us.)
Those who are already getting the lessons will obviously continue to get
them. Those I am omitting will have an 'x' after their mailing code '3' on
their mailing label; if I don't hear from you, I will reduce your code, usually
to level '2', which differs from level 3 only in whether you are getting these
Due to finances, I am also going to have to trim our Ju'i Lobypli mailing
list a little. Each copy costs us between $3 and $6 to produce and send. Some
of you receiving JL have never contributed to your balance, and have been
receiving JL and other materials for over 2 years; as a result, you typically
have balances of negative $25 or more. Also,some fairly new people (but from
before our current mailing code system) have never contacted us since their
initial letter or call, nor contributed money; if we don't hear from you, we
will be putting you in level 0 like those who have more recently responded.
Those with a 'y' after their mailing code will have their mailing code reduced
after JL9; you will continue to get lojbo karni, but will not continue to get
Ju'i Lobypli unless you write or call to show you continued interest, and either
contribute or plead 'poverty'; we'll happily keep sending to you if we know the
material is being read and appreciated. If we don't hear from you, these
changes will cut 30-50 people from our Ju'i Lobypli list, saving us $200-$300.
We will not cut the list below the bulk mail threshold.
If you have an 'x' or a 'y' after your mailing code, I hope to hear from you
soon. Your support has helped us grow strong in numbers and in interest in
learning Lojban. A few more months and people will be speaking and writing in
it, and we want you all to be among them. The bills have to be paid, though, so
we need as much help as you and others can give us.
LogFest 89 Plans
The major event of the next few months is our fourth annual gathering of
Lojbanists at our (Bob & Nora LeChevalier's) house in Fairfax, Virginia in the
Washington DC suburbs. This year, the activities will center on the weekend of
June 17-18, 1989, but some people will arrive during the week before or stay on
after the weekend, so activities will not be limited to the weekend. The formal
annual meeting of la lojbangirz. will take place at 2PM on Saturday the 17th.
All Lojbanists are welcome. We will be discussing our plans for classes, the
textbook and other teaching materials, and our efforts to attract new people.
We will have people from the Lojban classes showing off their
conversational, translation, and writing skills. We will have introductions to
pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar for people who haven't yet started
learning. There will be computers with vocabulary teaching programs, the random
sentence generator, the parser, and at least one speech synthesizer. There will
be technical discussions at various technical levels, and possibly some
decisions on language features. If you are interested, you can find out about
the history (and yes, politics) of the Loglan project - I have a fairly complete
archive of materials for reference. Some of the activities will be scheduled,
but the schedule is not yet final; if you need to know the schedule in advance
to plan your attendance, give me a call at 703-385-0273, or write to the
Some specific activities not mentioned above will be:
Decisions on gismu Place Structure issues (see R&D news section below)
Any proposals for gismu Baseline amendments
Discussion of how a Sapir-Whorf Test could be conducted
Additional Discussion of Sapir-Whorf Issues raised by Ralph Dumain
Evaluation of the in-progress textbook and class materials
In spite of all of our planning, previous experience indicates that most of the
activities will be unplanned, with lively discussions on a wide variety of both
Lojbanic and non-Lojbanic topics going on all over our house, and lasting late
into the night. We doubt if anyone, of any level of knowledge, will be bored.
I will be trying to arrange for some press coverage, and the people working
on the Lojban video may be filming some of our activities.
As usual, we will have many of the major figures from the 'Lojban world'
present, including John Parks-Clifford from St. Louis and Jeff Taylor from
California. We also expect people from Florida in the south and Boston in the
north. If previous years are a reasonable guide, we expect over 40 people
coming for portions of the weekend, with over 20 at peak activity times. (If
you are interested in coming and can offer (or need) ride-sharing, let us know
right away. Ride-sharing may be possible from Boston, New York, New Jersey, and
various parts of Pennsylvania, at minimum, especially if you can be a little
flexible in travelling schedule.)
All attendees are welcome to stay at our place - bring a sleeping bag if
possible. We will have tents in the back yard and plenty of couch and floor
space for the rest. There are also motels fairly nearby, if you want more
comfort. Food and beverages will be plentiful. We are asking people to
contribute towards our food costs (which will also be plentiful), but do not
require it for your attendance. ($10-30, depending on how much you eat and how
long you stay, is suggested.)
We are close to the Vienna station of the Washington Metro subway line.
This gives excellent access from Union Station if you come by train, or
Washington National airport if you come by plane. If you come from either, you
will not need a rental car. We will have people running shuttle to Dulles
airport, which is nearby; though it isn't on a Metro line, there is a connecting
bus service. Try to give us advance notice if you will need a ride from Dulles.
You are welcome to bring families, especially if they are interested in
Lojban. Because of our convenience to Washington, they can also sightsee in the
city. Individuals and families are welcome to arrive earlier than the weekend
or to stay afterwards, in order to allow more sightseeing. If you are bringing
a family, please let us know so we can plan the space.
We don't have a lot of new products to announce this time. Most of our
effort is going into lessons for the textbook, which are discussed in the
education section below. We have not had as many orders for flashcards as
expected from responses in the JL7 questionnaires, even though, at $12 (and $10
for additional sets), they are cheaper than we originally thought they would be.
We also have not received many orders for the LogFlash upgrade. LogFlash
PC now teaches both gismu vocabulary and rafsi in an integrated set of programs.
Vocabulary is now taught in an order matching the textbook. The upgrade price
is $10 for people who have LogFlash, or $30 for the whole package.
The random sentence generator was updated to match the new grammar, and
divided into levels according to the textbook. It now generates sentences using
grammar through Lesson 3, Lesson 6, Lesson 10, Lesson 13, the whole grammar, and
'difficult' (which raises the probability of relatively uncommon cmavo and
grammatical structures). We're asking $10 for this program; a copy of the ma-
chine grammar and a partial index of cmavo are also on the disk. Updates are $5
if you already have the program.
You get the upgrade price only if you have actually paid for a previous
version of software. Since contributions to balances can be independent of
purchases, we will give you the benefit of the doubt if you have been making an
effort to keep your balance positive.
Note to Virginia residents - we have to charge 4.5% sales tax on anything
we send you except for subscriptions, and learning materials tied to a tuition
charge for an organized class. (We pay this sales tax whether you pay for the
materials for not.)
Research and Development
Lojban Parser Status - We are pretty much concentrating our efforts on Jeff
Taylor's parser. No one has volunteered to work on Jeff Prothero's PLOP, and
Jeff P. has another major project conflicting with his being able to spend much
time. Jeff T. sent me a new version last week, and many of the major bugs are
taken care of, although there are still a few to work out. We could use some
volunteers who want to work with Jeff T. who are skilled in parser theory,
especially involving YACC. The following is short fairly technical discussion
of some of the problems for these people.
We are using Abraxas Software's PCYACC to generate our parser tables. As
with most versions of YACC, this does some amount of optimization, especially
since it is building a PC-based set of tables. Some of this optimization seems
to be interfering with our elidable terminator algorithm. That algorithm relies
on what is called the 'error lexeme' of the YACC algorithm in order to figure
out what terminators have been omitted. It sometimes chooses incorrectly.
There are also problems with the elidable terminators for another reason.
The Lojban grammar is not really LALR1, the grammar form handled by the YACC
algorithm, in its use of elidable terminators, which are trailing markers that
close off grammatical structures. In effect, an elision may generate a short
term ambiguity suggesting two paths in the parse tree. People and computers can
both eventually tell which of the two actually works. But the YACC algorithm
has only a limited recovery of this sort; we can prove that the grammar is
unambiguous, but may not be able to generate an accurate parser. There are
cases where an elision causes the YACC algorithm to choose a wrong path in the
parse tree that isn't resolved for several words or 'tokens'. It takes what is
called 'backtracking' to totally solve this problem, and we need someone who can
work with Jeff T. to add backtracking to the parser. Alternatively, if we can
build an 'LR2' parser (not possible with the YACC algorithm, although there are
LR2 programs on the market), we may solve most or all of the problem. People
with ideas can call me, or can call Jeff Taylor directly at 916-753-5040 (Davis
CA). Jeff Prothero has a proof that the elidable terminator algorithm is
unambiguous if the parser chooses the path with the minimum number of elisions.
We need to find a way to implement this, or to define the constraints on
elision. Unlike previous versions of the language, we will not accept a machine
language which differs from the human language. The problem is significant but
solvable; we just need to apply the talents of the whole community to doing so.
END OF TECHNICAL DISCUSSION.
The current parser is short of the goal; it parses most common expressions
correctly, but it can be fooled. If so, it says that a statement is
ungrammatical that should be allowed. This can almost always be resolved by
inserting one or more of the normally elidable terminators, even though a human
doesn't need these to unambiguously understand the sentence.
Lojban Grammar Status - There have been no changes to the machine grammar
in the last two months. We are, however, making small adjustments to the cmavo
list as we try to figure out the semantics of some of the grammar constructs.
We can't explain these in this newsletter, but the textbook covers the detailed
grammar thoroughly in these areas. These are very minor changes, actually
clarifications, as we express things using constructs that Dr. Brown, and others
who have worked on the language before, either never examined sufficiently or
did not explain. In each of these cases, we are reviewing the result with John
Parks-Clifford (pc), who was second only to Dr. Brown in knowledge of the
earlier language versions. As a result, about once or twice a week I am talking
to pc to make sure that the textbook is clear, accurate, and consistent both
with earlier language concepts and with the precepts of logic that Lojban is
designed to support.
There have been identified a couple of minor things that will eventually
require changes to the grammar. These are little 'nits', such as a complete
specification of the things to which you are permitted to attach a 'subscript'
without an ambiguity resulting; they will not affect the textbook and by
definition will not cause ambiguities.
Baseline Changes? - The gismu were of course baselined last August after
extensive discussion at LogFest 88. The baseline has been more stable than we
anticipated; there have been no actual proposals for new gismu or deletions.
There will be one proposal for a keyword change to clarify the meaning of
"mukti" discussed at LogFest. There is one possible new gismu proposal which
would cover the concept of "text" as a medium of communication, corresponding to
"picture", "speech", etc. "ciska", meaning "write", does not directly relate to
the concept, since you can write without generating text, and there can be text
without someone 'writing' it (e.g. generated by a computer on a screen). There
may be a lujvo using "lerfu" possible, but this may be decided at LogFest to be
sufficiently 'primitive' a concept to warrant adding a gismu. Any changes to
the baseline must be discussed by the community and carefully decided at
LogFest, in order to preserve the image of language stability.
Place Structure Inputs Sought - The place structures were not baselined
along with the gismu list, and will not be baselined until people using the
language have verified our analysis. In writing the textbook, we have through
usage come up with about two dozen place structure proposals that will be
discussed at LogFest 89. Some of these have been proposed by students; one need
not be expert in the language to point out an inconsistency or an illogical
omission or inclusion in the places of a gismu.
We are specifically seeking inputs from the community in this area, which
we must receive by or at LogFest (preferably in writing so we don't forget them)
to be considered by the attendees (place structures can be changed at other
times by a Board decision, but this is the forum where we can get the widest
consensus on what people want). If you can't get your comments to us by
LogFest, send them anyway and they'll be considered at a later time.
Preston Maxwell of Seattle is already doing an analysis (aided by computer)
based on comparing words with similar place structures (this is called 'valency
analysis' - Paul Doudna did something similar using the gismu of an earlier
version of the language which directly led to many of our decisions on gismu).
Preston is newly active in the project; any of you who have gotten a couple of
our publications know as much about Lojban as he does - YOU ALL HAVE A
POTENTIALLY VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION TO MAKE IN THIS AREA; let us hear from you.
(Preston does know several languages, including some non-Indo-European ones, and
has started on the lessons this month - so his inputs will be taken especially
DC Lojban Class Status - The first class is on Lesson 8 (of 18) as of this
writing, learning about lujvo-making. This isn't as far as I thought we'd be,
but we are making progress at a good rate. As those who have received lessons
know, after teaching lesson 4, I then had to rewrite a large portion of it and
reteach some of the basic concepts of Lojban tense. My tardiness in producing
lessons has slowed things down, although we now are adapting to this situation
and working ahead of where I've written.
Lesson 5 proved to be difficult to write, especially since I was putting
together JL8 at the same time. It was even harder to teach this first time - we
ended up spending 3 weeks on that one lesson, and I will have to find a way to
subdivide it, probably into two parts. The final problem with Lesson 5 is that
Nora and I were trying to write meaningful reading selections using the grammar
being taught, and of successively increasing difficulty. At Lesson 5, I reached
my level of incompetency, or at least non-fluency, as I wrote a two-and-a-half
In the middle of Lesson 5, we had a scheduled interruption for the Easter
holiday; this was lengthened when we had to cancel a class session due to a
severe illness in Nora's family. Textbook writing has never totally recovered -
I still haven't completely finished Lesson 6.
In spite of all of this, the class is doing fine. The people in the class
are learning at the pace we are teaching, and seem to appreciate the few extra
weeks on these basic concepts. Many of them have had trouble sustaining their
vocabulary practice, and they will probably all agree that their (lack of)
knowledge of the gismu vocabulary is their main stumbling block to using the
language effectively. This is why we keep stressing that all of you who want to
learn the language should get a head start by learning as many of the gismu as
possible ahead of time.
We've learned a bit about the problems of scheduling an informal class with
people who have many other activities going on. Three class members have missed
several sessions due to work conflicts (even though the class is on Sunday
night). Several students, especially a couple who are taking other college
classes and working full time are having trouble devoting the time needed to
master the vocabulary. If you plan on learning the language, you need to be
able to regularly budget 6 or more hours a week study time (2 hours per hour of
class) to achieve optimal progress.
You CAN still learn Lojban if you can't manage that much time; your
progress will be slower and you will need to set your goals for the end of the
class a bit lower. Lojban is a full language, albeit a simple one. We spend
several years of our childhood mastering our native tongue; it takes more than a
couple hours a week to learn another language which is fully as powerful as that
native tongue. However, even those who haven't had the time to study are
getting some good results from the class.
Slow progress may be partially due to the lagging textbook writing. People
cannot read the text in advance at home, and we thus have to spend more time in
class on the examples than I would prefer. On the other hand, the extra time
spent on examples has led to some lively and valuable discussions that would
have never occurred if we had spent the budgeted time on each topic.
We have learned, as a result, that if you have spent the necessary time on
vocabulary, you can express yourself in writing quite well by the end of Lesson
6. Ju'i Lobypli #9 will have several of the class essays as examples of what
they were able to do at that point.
Lessons 7 and 8 are going much quicker, simply because we aren't following
a textbook. We keep moving along to the next point, and people don't seem to be
having too much trouble. We'll know in a couple of weeks. As those of you who
received Ju'i Lobypli #8 know, the emphasis in the first 10 weeks is on written
expression and mastering the basics of the grammar, while acquiring enough
vocabulary to meaningfully express some ideas. In the rest of the course, we
will be working on speaking our thoughts spontaneously, and understanding what
someone else is saying. We should be somewhat past that point by LogFest,
perhaps as far as Lesson 13.
One concept that I am building into the class seems to be working. I have
claimed that learning Lojban will teach you more about the nature of language in
general, helping you in speaking and writing English (and also presumably in
learning other languages). Students in the class are reporting these effects.
I'm working through a college-level linguistics text myself now, and I'm
surprised at how much of the material we are covering in the Lojban course. A
linguistics course/textbook based on Lojban could be easily designed and written
once the textbook is done, and there may be a practical 'market' for such a text
in the linguistic community, one that doesn't require a pre-existing community
Status of Other Classes - Blacksburg and Elsewhere - I'm pleased to report
that a second Lojban class has finally started, although not in Boston where we
expected it. John Hodges has gotten together a few people in Blacksburg VA
(home of Virginia Tech), and they should be starting the week this is being
printed. With luck, they should be through Lesson 3 or 4 by LogFest, and we are
hoping that a few of them will be present.
With the lack of enthusiasm shown by other Bostonians, we've lost Brooke
Albert until fall. We may have a better chance for a class then, since we will
probably be able to recruit many Bostonian's when we visit Worldcon Labor Day
weekend. There is still a possibility of starting a class sooner, but no one
has spoken up as desiring to attend.
The following are key people who have indicated interest in organizing
classes in their areas. We would prefer if you call them. They will be given
addresses (and phone numbers where we know them) in a few weeks, and will try to
contact all of the people in their area. It is tough enough to organize the
class; help them out by speaking up before they call you. Your enthusiasm will
inspire things to get moving, even if you aren't an organizer yourself. We also
prefer to have two people in each city co-teach rather than putting all of the
burden on one person, so volunteers in this area should let their contact know.
Seattle - Preston Maxwell 206-328-2081 (H/W)
Blacksburg - John Hodges 703-552-0986 (H)
San Francisco - Dave Cortesi (Palo Alto) 415-321-1986 (H)
Los Angeles - Rory Hinnen (Pasadena) 818-584-6678 (H)
northern New Jersey - Art Wieners (South Bound Brook/Holmdel) 201-271-1483 (H)
Boston - Chuck Barton (Foxboro) 508-543-3090 (H) 508-853-2300x332 (W)
There are a couple of dozen cities that have more than one Lojbanist, and that
may be all that is needed for a 'class'. So, if someone tells me they are ready
to learn, I will try to get them in touch with anyone around them who may also
be interested in learning.
Self-Teaching Lojbanists - Many of you live in areas that do not have other
Lojbanists. Our Discover ad seems to have drawn a lot of rural and small town
people to Lojban. These people tend to be intellectually curious, and learning
Lojban may be more interesting than other intellectual challenges that are
available. Since our text is designed for both classroom use and for self-
teaching, these people can learn at the same pace (or perhaps faster) than those
who are working with others.
We have a couple of people who have now started learning the language on
their own from the textbook lessons that are complete. We will report next
issue on how they are doing. We will also support people who want to study on
their own but exchange practice writings with others by mail. Let me know if
you want this service. I'll try to match you with someone based on field of
interest, level of experience with the language, and geographic area.
Lesson 1 Comments and Responses - We haven't gotten many comments from
people on Lesson 1, which was sent to all recipients of JL8. Of course, as I
found out tonight (May 6) while taking a break from writing this, some people on
the West Coast haven't even received JL8 yet.
Some good comments were received from Rory Hinnen, who will be organizing
the LA area course. Rory is fluent in Russian, and reports a concern that we
are not putting as much emphasis as he would like on oral/audio Lojban in Lesson
1, and that he also would like to see more examples.
The choice to concentrate on reading and writing in the first half of the
course is intentional, and is meant to keep pressure off of people to speak a
language they don't yet feel comfortable with. It is easier to express yourself
in writing when you can take your time, look up unfamiliar words, and check what
you are saying. We also have the need to support those of you who are studying
on your own and thus not able to practice oral Lojban as easily, and even those
people, especially computer people, who want to learn the grammar but are not
sure they want to acquire a speaking knowledge.
We also don't have the tapes done yet, and so can't demonstrate what
emphasis we do place in this area, specifically on pronouncing words accurately
and getting used to the sound of the language. Rory reports that often times
the words seem 'ugly' or 'untasty' by themselves, but roll together in phrases
in a more pleasing manner. This seems to be our experience as well. When we
are more fluent in speech, we will know for sure.
Lesson 1 simply doesn't have enough grammar to usefully give a lot of
examples. Lesson 2 has a lot more. By Lesson 3, we are giving short text
passages, and by Lesson 5, a fairly long story (at least for a new student). We
are always working to put more examples in, and students and/or reviewers are
welcome to contribute ideas.
Advertising and Publication Efforts - We are getting favorable reviews from
Mike Gunderloy of Fact Sheet Five every quarter, and Mike has now joined the
ranks of active self-teaching students. FF grows in readership by about 1000
people per quarter, so we are constantly being exposed to a new audience. Mike
effectively has recruited about 40 of you now, or almost 10% of our readership,
and is thus our top recruiter. he has also given me a recommendation to Whole
Earth Review, and this may expand the number of people who hear of us through
the small press review process. I'm happy to return the favor; Mike's
publication reviews about 1000 publications every quarter, as well as music, and
soon software. (How he finds time to make it through JL, I don't know!) Send
$2 and/or something you are publishing and want reviewed to Mike at Fact Sheet
Five, 6 Arizona Ave. Rensselaer NY 12144-4502. Mention LLG, please.
Our ad in the May Discover (page 87) is having disappointing results so
far. We are typically getting 1 or 2 responses a day, which is quite a lot
compared to our earlier growth rate. However, we expected a much higher rate of
return based on Discover's circulation of 3.4 million. Apparently, Discover
readers are much less likely to notice a small item like our ad as compared to
Fact Sheet Five readers. At the cost of an ad in Discover, we are unlikely to
repeat the experiment.
Analog, Mathematical Intelligencer, and the Press - Instead, we are going
to pursue other publicity opportunities. The Discover ad was to be our debut in
'major' publicity efforts. It was going to test our ability to handle many
orders coming in per day and still being responsive. The slower response is
allowing us more time to adapt to serving more Lojbanists, while giving me the
needed confidence in our capabilities. I can now proceed with these other
The Fall, 1988 issue of Mathematical Intelligencer, a fairly informal
periodical for mathematicians (at least from what I've read), had an opinion
essay by Dr. Robert Strichartz of Cornell U. proposing an 'Intermath', an
international language for mathematical text that could be the basis for machine
translation and international communication of such texts. The properties Dr.
Strichartz attributed to such a language remarkably resemble a description of
Lojban. With permission of the editor and author, we are reprinting this essay
in JL9. I have also written a response describing Lojban and its applicability
to the problem of mathematical communication, and am submitting it to
Mathematical Intelligencer for next fall's issue.
John Hodges wrote to Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact magazine in
December 1987 asking about the status of Loglan. He received several mail
answers describing the various efforts and versions of the language. He
contacted us, and eventually has become one of our major supporters, in that he
has volunteered to teach the second Lojban class. Analog has published two
letters to the editor that were written to the magazine which addressed only Dr.
Brown's efforts, and which in any case did not describe the language features
that I suspect most Analog readers will be interested in. The most recent
appeared in the May 1989 issue. The editor's column in the June 1989 issue
dealt with Sapir-Whorf concepts as applied to SF writing. I have written to
Analog offering to write an article of greater length describing Lojban, and am
hopeful for a positive response, especially since we are participating in
Worldcon this year (see below).
I am also designing a 'press package' that can be given to magazines and
newspapers to introduce them to the concepts and goals behind Lojban. I've been
told that our story will be of interest to newspapers, magazines, radio, and
even television news, provided that we tell it properly. I suspect that this
approach is more effective than advertising in telling people about Lojban.
After all, our purpose is education and not marketing.
Lojban Video Plans - The much delayed Lojban video has been put on the
front burner again with a second professional volunteer joining the effort.
Brad Lowry, with professional credentials in video and recording production will
be joining John Vengrovskie, who runs a sound studio, in producing the video.
Several others, probably including local class members, will participate, and
Brad and John may choose to do some filming at LogFest. We hope to have the
video complete for Worldcon, but the schedule is tight since Brad and John have
to earn livings in the field.
John has also offered to help us in lesson tape production and
reproduction. Since his studio is local to DC, this will probably speed our
development of lesson tapes, and maybe even lower our costs.
Athelstan's Travels - Athelstan, one of the most active volunteers during
the past year as well as one of our best 'ambassadors', is travelling to Anaheim
CA for a convention (Westercon) 4th of July weekend (30 June-4 July). He will
be serving as a 'missionary for Lojban' along the way, travelling by car.
Athelstan will leave right after LogFest and go west via the Midwest, Northern
Plains, and Pacific Northwest. He will then travel south along the Pacific
Coast. After Westercon, he will return via a southerly route. He will visit
several places along the way where there are Lojbanists, and will be available
to answer your questions, demonstrate the language, and give impromptu talks to
prospective Lojbanists. His itinerary is tight, and he thus is not promising he
dates listed below are exact; he is leaving some open days to allow him to make
minor deviations in his route and schedule. If you are on or near the route
given and want to meet Athelstan or have him talk to a few friends about the
language, write to us immediately. If you have schedule constraints or need a
firm date because you want to organize something, please indicate this and make
sure we have a phone number to reach you at.
Athelstan will have information about Lojbanists along his route, since we
can't be sure that everyone will have a chance to respond in time (or that you
will be able to make definite plans this far in advance to match with his), so
if you get a call from him, don't be surprised. If you know people who might be
interested in Lojban, this is a good chance to get them interested.
20 June - Indianapolis IN 4 July - Los
21 - Omaha NE 5 - Phoenix AZ
23 - Minot ND 7 - Oklahoma City OK
25 - Missoula MT 8 - Dallas TX
26 - Seattle WA 10 - New Orleans LA
28 - San Francisco CA 12 - Atlanta GA
29 - Los Angeles CA 13 - Raleigh/Durham NC
Worldcon - Our invitation to participate at the 47th World Science Fiction
Convention (Worldcon), also known as NOREASCON III, has been confirmed.
NOREASCON III will be in Boston 31 August-4 September (Labor Day weekend).
Write to NOREASCON III Box 46, MIT Branch, Cambridge MA 02139 for information
about attending. We expect to give several presentations about, and
demonstrations of, Lojban. We will emphasize developing the world Lojban
community, as well as trying to firm up the large but diffuse Boston Lojban
community. Nora, Athelstan, and I will definitely be attending; there will be
several other Lojbanists there as well. (If you are going and haven't told us,
please let us know. We want to meet as many Lojbanists as possible, and we
might also be able to use your help while we are there.) Before we come, I will
contact Boston area Lojbanists with our detailed plans, since we will budget
some time to meet others of you in the area who are not attending Worldcon.
News for non-USA Lojbanists - For British Lojbanists: Gary Burgess is
returning to the US from his Bedfordshire US Air Force assignment. You will no
longer receive these issues via Gary. Luckily, Lojbanist Dan Nathaniel is also
stationed in the UK with our Air Force, and will continue to keep your
newsletters coming cheaper than most foreign subscriptions.
Non-USA Lojbanists who have not responded have been reduced to mailing
level 0, and must write to get Ju'i Lobypli #9.
No News from The Institute - We promised that we would keep you informed of
any news passing through the grapevine about the efforts of Dr. Brown, but that
grapevine has been quiet for two months. We know only that Dr. Brown has gone
sailing in the Caribbean again. With regard to his language development
efforts, either Dr. Brown is being very secretive, and successfully so, or there
is nothing going on.
Contents of Ju'i Lobypli #9
Sheldon Linker, involved in the project for over a dozen years, has written an
article questioning the algorithm for building gismu. I will briefly
explain that algorithm, since many of you don't know it, and try to address
his issues, many of which are well-raised.
Dr. Strichartz's essay reprinted with permission from The Mathematical
Intelligencer, along with my draft response. I also include some
description of the requirements we assumed for mathematical expressions
(called MEX or "mekso"), based on work by Bill Mengarini in the early
1980's, and the design that resulted.
A short letter from Donald Simpson on various topics of interest
Lojban text written by class students (all using fairly simple grammar) and some
short fable stories derived from non-Indo-European languages/cultures
translated by Preston Maxwell and corrected by Nora, myself and the class.
ALL LOJBAN IN THIS ISSUE WAS THUS WRITTEN BY PEOPLE NEW TO THE LANGUAGE!
If we have room, I'll get to my data and rules supporting a Lojban version of
Our 501(c)(3) Submittal
We have now made our 501(c)(3) submittal to the IRS to obtain provisional
tax-exempt status as a charitable scientific and educational organization,
approval of which would make your donations (as distinct from balance
contributions), tax-deductible. (Provisional status lasts for several years,
while we demonstrate that we are legitimately abiding by the rules.)
If filing your income tax seemed complicated - this was worse. Our filing
totalled over 80 pages including samples of some of our publications; we had to
pay $300 just to file. The poor state of our finances prevented us from getting
help from an accountant; Nora and I sweated over these forms while doing
everything else, including our own taxes.
Per our policy of public disclosure, the following is our purpose as
elaborated in our IRS filing. Your questions and comments are welcome:
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND ACTIVITIES - FORM 1023 PART III, LINE 3
The Logical Language Group, Inc.
Purpose - The purposes of the organization all relate to the Lojban version of
the Loglan language, the development of which was started by Dr. James Cooke
Brown in 1955. Loglan/Lojban is an artificial language usable like any natural
language, but having special properties that are particularly useful for
computer processing and linguistics research. A brochure included in the Line 2
attachments describes the design features and project goals in some depth.
Specific goals include:
- completing the development of the Loglan language, specifically the
Lojban version thereof;
- promoting usage of Lojban and acceptance of the language by (US and
foreign) academia, industry, and the general public;
- developing educational, scientific, and commercial applications for
- developing educational materials and teaching people Lojban;
- using educational methods and materials to enhance the teaching of
languages, linguistics, and intercultural relations;
- conducting scientific research using Lojban as a tool;
- using Lojban as a media for developing and enhancing intercultural and
Past Activities - The organization was founded as the direct result of a dispute
with The Loglan Institute, Inc. (TLI). The founders disagreed with intellectual
property claims by TLI and its Chairman, Dr. James Cooke Brown. TLI
demonstrated a policy of restricting and opposing any activities to work with
and promote the Loglan language, unless they were under its strict control. The
Lojban version was then developed as an alternative to legal disputes.
Otherwise, the original goals of the Loglan project are still being pursued.
The predecessor organization, The Logical Language Group (LLG), was
organized informally to coordinate those activities while preserving the
community of interested persons and promoting the language to new people.
Support was gained from several key people who had worked on earlier versions of
the language, and from some who had criticized technical decisions that had been
Development efforts started with a meeting in June 1987. Much of the early
development effort was in developing a technical consensus on design goals and
details, and in building a linguistics research base and project archive no
longer dependent on TLI. Specific activities included programming an
algorithmic formula for word building, building a revised vocabulary, selecting
and defining a sound system (phonology), and writing a formal grammar
description. Research included language education techniques, current
linguistics theories that are relevant to the project, and investigating various
technical criticisms of earlier language versions.
Formal incorporation of the effort was delayed in the hopes of achieving
negotiated settlement and reconciliation with TLI and a remerging of the two
efforts. This did not occur, and TLI actually increased its restrictions on
information about its version of the language.
In June 1988, attendees at an organizational meeting voted to incorporate,
approving a draft set of Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. It was clear
that LLG had obtained broad majority support from the identifiable Loglan
language community as well as new support from outside the original community
base. Development had proceeded to the point of identifiable products, and
specific goals could be set. It was determined that incorporation and 501(c)(3)
status was vital to obtaining larger donations needed for research and
applications development, and grants and contracts from other organizations and
government. Efforts then proceeded to acquire enough financial accounting
maturity to allow the organization to be demonstrably be managed as a business
and an organization, instead of as an individual-oriented hobby activity.
Although the organization was not incorporated, it is believed that the
predecessor effort was operated in accordance with 501(c)(3) organization
requirements throughout 1988; the organization was managed by consensus and
informal agreement among those currently constituting the Board of Directors and
other active volunteers, even though it was fiscally a sole proprietorship of
Robert LeChevalier. Accounts and assets were segregated from private assets of
Mr. LeChevalier in order to ensure accountability.
The Articles of Incorporation were submitted to an attorney for review. On
her advice, much of the detailed controls included in the Articles of
Incorporation were moved to the Bylaws. Her recommended articles were
submitted, and the organization formally started business on 3 November 1988.
It was immediately noticed that the dissolution clause had erroneously been
moved to the Bylaws and deleted in the submitted Articles, and an Amendment was
filed to correct this error.
Present Activities - These take several forms due to the broad range of purposes
listed. Most of the current efforts are being conducted or coordinated by
Robert LeChevalier, who is working as a full-time unpaid volunteer. Efforts by
others, also on a volunteer basis, have been increasing rapidly since
Development Activities - The language design has stabilized. Formal
descriptions have been partially written, and the technical details have been
examined and tested by several members of the language community.
Education - The newsletter Ju'i Lobypli has been published regularly on a
quarterly basis. Based on subscriber feedback, it was recently split into a
news-only publication and a longer, more technical one, both of which will
continue to be published quarterly. The first language classes started in the
Washington DC area in January 1989, and are continuing. A new class is expected
to start in the Blacksburg VA area in May 1989, and there is recent interest in
organizing classes in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, northern New
Jersey, and Boston. Educational materials are being developed along with the
teaching of the first class; they have proved viable, and have been accepted by
reviewers in the community. They will be published upon completion later this
year, and will serve as a basis for rapid expansion of educational efforts.
Applications - Computer tools (educational software and a language parser)
have been under continuous development since the effort started. The
educational software has potential application in teaching other languages
besides Lojban. Specific applications for the language, including artificial
intelligence and computer-based translation of other languages, are being
explored internally, although no formal proposals have emerged. Other
applications being investigated include a Lojban-based curriculum in language
structure and linguistics suitable for high school or college, aiding in better
English communication, learning of foreign languages, and intercultural
Support - 90% of the approximately 400 subscribers are in the US. Only 35%
are paying for materials received, although this percentage has been growing
steadily. Including the predecessor effort, 42 people have donated money, equal
to 79% of sales, which are the only other revenue source. In the 5 months since
incorporation, financial support has been received from 73 persons, 13 of these
making donations equalling 36% of net sales.
Publicity efforts aimed at education about activities and raising support
have recently expanded, with a paid advertisement in the May 1989 Discover
magazine, and a commitment to make several presentations at the September
'Worldcon' international science fiction convention in Boston.
Future Activities - It is our intent to build support on an open-ended basis.
Through such support, grants, and contracts, we hope to be able to eventually
support a small team of paid researchers, teachers, and materials developers.
Development - It is anticipated that language development per se will be
completed with the publication of a textbook and language description this
year. Thereafter, a long term effort will be started to develop a language
dictionary, probably taking several years to achieve a final form.
Education - Quarterly newsletters will continue to be published.
Educational materials will be published in draft form as they are developed and
then assembled into final publication form. Following textbook publication, a
more formal curriculum will be developed, including additional teaching
materials. If support exists, a network of classes and a school will be
established. As finances and overseas support allow, materials will be
developed or translated for non-English language teaching of Lojban and the
related curricula, and overseas courses may be taught. We expect to support the
writing and translation of a variety of materials into Lojban in support of
educational and research goals.
Applications - Significant applications will take corporate, foundation, or
government grants and contracts, as most significant applications will take
several man-years of effort. With the completion of teaching materials and
approval of 501(c)(3) status, obtaining such support will become high priority.
Research - The original purpose of Loglan, dating from 1955 was the testing
of a linguistic theory called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. With the development
of a speaking community and viable educational materials, such a test may be
possible. Such results also enable a variety of other linguistics and socio-
cultural studies. We intend to seek support for such research from the academic
community and foundations. Artificial intelligence and educational applications
described under applications will require some amount of formal research.
Support - Major press contacts are expected to start in the near future.
Interest has been expressed by Voice of America, which would enhance
international publicity. A short video describing the language will be
developed and distributed to schools, television, and other interested parties.
These, coupled with ongoing publicity activities are expected to greatly expand
the number of supporters, and the amounts of support obtained. Donors have
expressed interest in making larger donations when 501(c)(3) approval is
obtained. While it is hoped that the current ratio of donations to sales will
remain at the current 36%, budgets used in this application are assuming a more
pessimistic 20% ratio.
Map To LogFest 89
Exit 17 from I66 to Nutley St./Route 243 is under construction, and details of
the interchange are changing week by week. Thus, the map below may be incorrect
at the time of Lojban. Coming from the direction of Washington, take this exit.
When you get on Nutley St., head SOUTH across the overpass. On the south side
of the freeway, there is a light for those turning to go East (towards
Washington). There is another light a block later for Swanee Lane and the
Vienna Metro station. Hermosa Drive, where you turn left is a short block
later. If you reach the light at Lee Highway, where there is a shopping center
(called Pan-Am) with a Safeway, you have gone one block too far. If you go more
than about 1/2 mile from the freeway exit without seeing Hermosa or the shopping
center, you are probably going the wrong direction. Of course, feel free to
call us at (703) 385-0273 if you get lost or need directions from anywhere not
obvious from the map. Coming from the west is more complicated. There is an
exit for the Vienna Metro station just before Nutley St. You can go through the
station parking lot, probably requiring a U-turn in order to get to Nutley
(which you can easily see from the station); alternatively, take the previous
exit (Route 123) and call us for details.