Copyright, 1990, 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
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the product, and that this copyright notice is included intact in the
Number 12 - May 1990
Copyright 1990, The Logical Language Group, Inc.
2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031 USA (703)385-0273
LogFest 90 - 15-18 Jun 1990
Details Inside. Also: Negation, Indicators, News, and more.
Ju'i Lobypli (JL) is the quarterly journal 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 "Lojban". la lojbangirz. is a non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal
Revenue Code. Your donations (not contributions to your voluntary balance) are tax-deductible on U.S. and most state
income taxes. Donors are notified at the end of each year of their total deductible donations. We note for all po-
tential donors that our bylaws require us to spend no more than 30% of our receipts on administrative expenses, and that
you are welcome to make you gifts conditional upon our meeting this requirement.
Press run for this issue of Ju'i Lobypli: 350. We now have over 660 people on our active mailing list.
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Contents of This Issue
This issue is coming out only a month after the last, as we try to catch up on our tardy publication from last
year. Thus, no Lojban text this issue, except for incidental examples.
The issue is dominated by two long papers, describing the proposed modifications for negation and
indicators/attitudinals. These are comprehensive, even more so than the textbook discussion will be. The negation
paper may be tough reading, but has lots of examples. The attitudinal paper is lacking in usage examples primarily
because of time, and the lack of a comparable system in English. The two papers are bound separately from the rest of
the issue; many 'level 3' students will wish to bind these papers with their draft textbook materials.
Our regular news section includes information about LogFest 90, and we also present several lesser proposals to be
considered and decided at LogFest. We want your opinion on these.
Please forgive any substandard editing, especially odd formats. We had a hard disk failure the day this was to go
to the printer, and this represents an intricate but hurried reconstruction.
Table of Contents
LogFest Plans --3
In Memoriam - Faith Rich and Preston Maxwell --5
Research and Development --6
Growth and Publicity --9
International News - Athelstan's Travel Plans --10
Products and Policy --11
News About the Institute --14
A Brief Introduction to Predicates and Place Structures, by Athelstan --15
Proposals to be Decided at LogFest --16
Letters, Comments, and Responses --27
Enclosures - Proposed Revision of Attitudinals and Indicators, On Lojban Negation, Some More Proposed Logos, Map to
Computer Net Information
If you have access to Usenet/UUCP/Internet, you can send messages and text files (including things for JL publication)
to Bob at:
You can join the Lojban news-group by sending your mailing address to:
and traffic to the news-group can be sent to: email@example.com
The ".uu.net" trailer on the above address is likely to change soon. We'll notify you by e-mail when we have firm
information, and provide updated information here next issue. There will be some transition period after the change,
during which this address will still work.
Please keep us informed if your network mailing address changes.
Compuserve subscribers can also participate. Precede any of the above addresses with INTERNET: and use your normal
Compuserve mail facility (its possible that you can send only to addresses in the '@' format). Usenet/Internet people
can send to Compuserve addresses by changing the comma in the Compuserve address to a period:
Whether you wish to participate in the news-group or not, it is useful for us to know your Compuserve address. For
example, any decision for la lojbangirz. to obtain a Compuserve account will be based on a need to serve a goodly number
of you that want to exchange information.
We've been requested to more explicitly identify people on 'lojban-list', so that others who are thinking "maybe"
who are referred to by initials in JL, and will regularly will more likely consider going, with the knowledge of re-
do so in this spot, immediately before the news section. duced transportation costs.
Note that some people choose to write under a pseudonym
which is initial-like, as jyjym. did last issue - we prefer What will be going on at LogFest? We will have two major
to print names of our correspondents, but will consider themes this time:
allowing a pseudonym if the author requests privacy and we - How can we help more people learn Lojban easier?
feel the writing is important enough to publish. Note that - What short term applications for Lojban are worth
'Athelstan' is that person's real name, used in his public highest priority?
life, and is not a pseudonym.
We also will have the goal, by the end of the weekend, of
'pc' - Dr. John Parks-Clifford, Professor of Logic and deciding on several last minute proposals regarding the
Philosophy at the University of Missouri - St. Louis and language and declaring a conditional or unconditional
Vice-President of la lojbangirz.; he prefers to be baseline (freeze) on the grammar.
addressed as 'pc'. As an incidental news item, pc is
getting married on 18 May, and his new bride will be accom- Now for details.
panying him when he comes to LogFest in June.
'Bob', 'lojbab' - Bob LeChevalier - President of la There will be several things going on simultaneously.
lojbangirz., and editor of Ju'i Lobypli and le lojbo karni. - Some main track discussions, generally related to the
'JCB', 'Jim Brown'- Dr. James Cooke Brown, inventor of themes above, which Bob will probably be leading or helping
the language, and founder of the Loglan project. out with;
'The Institute' - The Loglan Institute, Inc., JCB's - 1 or 2 computer rooms, with 2-3 MS-DOS machines, Art
organization for spreading his version of Loglan. Wieners' UNIX machine, and whatever else people bring. Art
and others will usually be in there demonstrating existing
News software, and working on new software including the parser.
LogFest Plans There will be a little bit of computer talk on the main
track, but we will generally be trying to make it so non-
LogFest 90 will be held from Friday thru Monday the computer types can understand what is going on.
weekend of 15-18 June 1990; most of the planned activities - Athelstan, and possibly others, will be helping with
will be within the weekend proper. The annual meeting of new Lojbanists. Athelstan will give mini-lessons at times
the Logical Language Group, Inc. is set for Sunday morning, scheduled below (if there are people interested then), but
the 17th, by our bylaws, and is the one absolutely fixed he will also be available impromptu for mini-lessons,
item for the gathering. All other dates and times explanations of grammar points, and demonstration of the
discussed below are subject to change depending on what flash card technique.
attendees want to do and/or talk about. This meeting is - On occasion throughout the weekend we'll hold short
for YOU, so make sure we know what is important to you. sessions of all-Lojban conversation - typically a half hour
Especially let us know if you can only come for part of the or less so that non-speakers don't get bored, or
weekend, and have a particular topic you want to talk frustrated. These sessions will probably occur in between
about; we'll try to move things around to fit you in. main discussions.
From the feedback we've been getting, we're expecting
more people at LogFest this year than in previous years.
For the benefit of our planning, please let us know if you
are coming (or if you 'might be' coming - we don't need
ironclad commitments). There's no penalty for not doing so
- we simply have a smoother, better planned gathering if
We have plenty of sleeping space, especially for those
with sleeping bags and/or tents. Families are welcome,
provided that they have sleeping bags too (there are motels
within a couple of miles, but the DC area isn't cheap); we
also need financial help if we're going to feed families.
Also, if your coming depends on finding transportation to
Washington DC, let us know. There may be someone else
coming from the same place or direction that you can
rideshare with. This is especially likely for the
Northeast corridor, from Boston down to Washington. Be
sure to specify what dates you want to attend, the earliest
you can leave home and the latest you can return home to
make ride-sharing feasible. If you have access to the
computer network, you might also consider posting a notice
Specific schedules as they stand: everybody in the world will be trying to convince Bob and
Nora to switch from MS-DOS to UNIX; Good luck!)
Friday Saturday nite - Bob will lead discussions about textbook
7PM - Athelstan mini-lesson (about 1 hr.), if there are plans, dictionary plans, and take suggestions. We'll
people present who haven't been to one also talk about the recent change proposals to the
8PM - After the mini-lesson (or starting earlier if there language. Non-controversial ones will get a quick
is none), there will be a discussion of Jim Yorke and decision; the rest will be deferred for further discus-
Celso Grebogi's proposal (later in this issue) to have sion on Sunday or later - all attendees have a vote.
Lojban image languages using gismu based on single lan-
guages to make them easier to learn. Side issues may Sunday
include applications such as teaching Lojban to kids
(including using such teaching to help them learn English Sunday morning is the la lojbangirz. business meeting.
better), and other aspects of making Lojban easier to Expect business-y things. Most people tend to sleep in
learn for people than it currently is. Dr. Yorke will be late on Sunday morning after two late nights, so we've
at the session, but has schedule constraints that mean put this at a low ebb time to keep from boring people.
that he can only attend early in the weekend, so the We hope to finish the meeting by noon. The agenda is not
Friday night schedule is relatively fixed. yet known. Topics typically include finances, plans and
priorities. All attendees are welcome to participate
Sunday afternoon, we will discuss gismu list change
Saturday morning - additional discussion about teaching and proposals, hopefully briefly, and make a group decision
learning Lojban, including any leftover discussions from on whether we are ready to baseline the Lojban grammar.
the night before. Bob hopes to have new textbook lesson If so, the language is DONE!!!! Practically speaking,
drafts for people to look at and comment on, so here's expect a conditional baseline, possibly excluding MEX,
your chance to make a difference before the book is and possibly waiting either for the parser or the
finished. textbook to be completed or both, before it becomes a
If there is interest, we will start side discussions at full freeze. (More on this below, under R & D).
that point on how to organize and lead a class when you around 3PM? - A final scheduled mini-lesson; this time an
don't know the language yourself. Athelstan and John advanced lesson for people who have already had the basic
Hodges will both be there, and both have done this now. mini-lesson. This may continue into a longer tutorial,
Eric Tiedemann will, we hope, be there to report on the if there is demand, but will otherwise last an hour.
initial work by the New York City class. We want to Sunday nite and Monday will be left unscheduled for
stimulate new class efforts, even if only 2-3 people are whatever comes up - invariably something runs overtime.
participating. Athelstan is hoping to launch 2 classes, Besides, many out-of-towners will have left by then,
one in Virginia and one in Maryland, at LogFest or though pc and probably Art Wieners will still be here.
immediately afterwards. We are also considering pc and family plan to arrive on Wednesday the 13th. Art
instituting a weekly Lojban conversation session to start usually comes for a full week, but his dates are not yet
with or shortly after LogFest (this may end up having to known.
wait until fall - simply because Athelstan may be spread
1PM - Another Lojban mini-lesson, if there is demand.
Saturday afternoon will include a discussion of voice
recognition, the Lojban parser, AI work and various other
computer processing projects. Art Wieners will tell
about his fairly extensive efforts, including word
recognition and analysis, as well as Artificial Intelli-
gence applications for Lojban. Unfortunately, Jeff
Taylor, who has been leading the parser efforts, is
having to drop out of Lojban work for a while, and won't
be coming. We will be looking for new parser helpers (C
programming language, preferably in an MS-DOS environ-
ment), and there may be technical side-discussions. Eric
Raymond, host of 'lojban-list', our computer network
mail-server, has been working on porting LogFlash to
Unix, and will talk about what he's done. Nora and I
will talk about planned new software and enhancements,
and we'll accept proposals for others. All software (and
other products) will be available for demonstration,
examination, and (of course) purchase. (Oh, yes; and
Other activities will be dependent on demand:
Some have suggested a group effort to write or translate In Memoriam
something, perhaps a short essay reporting on LogFest.
As a possibility, we have an ancient back burner project We've recently heard of the deaths of two noteworthy
to update Jim Carter's short story in old Loglan to supporters of the language, Faith Rich (Chicago, IL) and
current Lojban, and a similar effort involving an old Preston Maxwell (Seattle, WA). Our sympathy goes to their
story by Bob Chassell. These are non-trivial and will families and friends, and we of the Lojban community will
not be finished in a weekend, but are easier than miss them.
composing raw text; people can get a good start and those Faith Rich has been for the last several years the most
who want to can continue on their own. Carter's work, in prolific inventor of tanru and new words for the language.
particular, will take a fair amount of tanru and lujvo While she did most of her work with The Loglan Institute,
re-making; he used a lot of Institute Loglan words that she also has assisted la lojbangirz., especially when we
are based on no longer acceptable tanru. In addition, were attempting to baseline the gismu list. Faith may have
we've found that the current gismu list has more devised over 3000 tanru and lujvo as part of the Eaton
expressive power than earlier lists, making some tanru project, an attempt to provide comprehensive vocabulary
simpler or even unnecessary. coverage for the most frequently used concepts in 4
There will be other side discussions as people desire. European languages. A long-time supporter of the
Speak up now with your favorite topic. Some international language movement, she was in her late 70's
possibilities include lujvo making, and good tanru for when doing this work, and had expressed no hope of living
various words, etc. One topic we're not sure how many until the language reached fruition. Yet, she was a
are interested in is the making of le'avla borrowings; fervent believer that Loglan/Lojban was worthwhile and
any decisions on the algorithm have to be made before the important work, and provided hard effort and constant
textbook session on the topic is written. support over the years.
We will be having Lojban conversation as mentioned above, The community knows less of Preston Maxwell, who joined
possibly with on longer session towards the end (when us only a couple of years ago. However, Preston was one of
more people feel comfortable with trying to say things) the first people to try to learn Lojban on his own.
if there is demand for it. To keep costs down, we need Preston was a skilled translator with experience in several
people to bring their own word lists, etc., though we'll non-Indo-European languages. He was especially intrigued
have inventory if needed. by Lojban's attempt to free itself of European biases and
If you are thinking about ordering stuff, it saves us to support structures and concepts of non-Indo-European
postage to give it to you there and let you carry it tongues. Some of his early writings, Lojban versions of
home. But we need to have a good number of people pay non-Indo-European short tales, were published in earlier JL
for stuff there in order to do this. We will probably issues; these were the first attempts at writing 'natural
have no money in the bank after LogFest to restock in- Lojban', and the first writings by someone who had not
ventory, except what we collect at the meeting. previously learned earlier versions of Loglan. Preston
also attempted to organize the Seattle community, though
Logistics: without success. Hopefully, others there will be inspired
We generally put up a good spread of food to keep people to proceed in his stead.
from going hungry We're asking for contributions of $5-15 These two deaths remind us of our mortality. People are
per day towards costs (and preferably more, if you can always saying that they'll learn Lojban 'later', when they
help), but there is no mandatory admission charge. If we have 'more time', or when the language is 'done', or has
don't get enough volunteer cash flow, this will be the last 'practical use'. Faith and Preston didn't wait till
year of voluntary giving. To pay for LogFest, we will 'later', they made time for Lojban, and they found reasons
probably need more than the $600 spent last year, depending why working on the language now is worthwhile. In their
on attendance, which we expect to be double or more. (That memory, we ask other Lojbanists to do the same.
$600 doesn't include all costs, only those paid by la
lojbangirz. - it averages out to about $30 per person,
including those who only came for part of the weekend.) Finances
As mentioned above, families are welcome if you bring
sleeping bags and tent or trailer. We'll have at least one Should we bore you by complaining about finances again?
adult and one 13-year-old non-Lojbanist here for the We have to. It wouldn't be JL, otherwise.
weekend, so there will probably be some side activities The best I can say is that we are paying our bills, or at
such as sightseeing in DC or shopping at the malls, or least most of them. Our legal bills have to be paid off
whatever for disinterested spouses and kids. Let us know slowly because of our rule limiting legal and other
if you're bring extras along so we can plan for food, etc. expenses to 30% of all expenses. The side benefit of that
We are close to DC's Metro system and right off the rule is that the money reserved for those legal bills is
freeway. There are detailed directions and a map enclosed the only thing keeping our bank balance positive.
with this issue. Of course, if you have any questions, To keep us financially afloat, we've figuratively 'put
just ask. the brakes on' spending by la lojbangirz. We've spent
about $3300 this year as of the publication of this issue,
only 3/4 of what we had spent last year by this time. grammar. When pc was in Washington, we didn't need more
Unfortunately, our income is similarly lagging behind last than an hour or two to devise a new approach; it will take
year's. In spite of over 50% more people, we're getting only days to see if that new approach works in the grammar.
less money in. MEX is a complex problem, but is easy to resolve. With
The major drop has been in donations. In spite of our negation and attitudinal indicators, half the battle is
501(c)(3) status, only a couple of people have donated understanding the entire complexity of the problem. Once
money to the organization above and beyond balance the goals were clear, the design was easy. With MEX, the
contributions. Thus we are hurt more by the large number goals have been understood for a long time; the problem is
of you who aren't contributing. Remembering that we don't merely one of design.
make any money on our publications, every non-payee has to Bob has had contact with Ivor Darreg, who proposed a MEX-
be supported from donations. The small amount of money we like code called Numaudo about 30 years ago. Anyone
make on software doesn't cover the phone bills. familiar with this effort is encouraged to send comments to
The price will eventually have to be paid. We are going us.
to be mounting a major drive to add European Lojbanists le'avla - The other remaining design issue is the making
during Athelstan's trip later this year. Overseas postage of le'avla borrowings from other languages. Unlike the
is enormously expensive, and we will not easily support other design problems le'avla grammar and morphology are
these new Lojbanists. fully settled. The question is merely one of usage:
The result is that we are likely to have to borrow money
to publish the textbook and dictionary. We've worked hard
to get a good credit rating, and can probably get loans of
the size we need, but interest costs would seriously crimp
our future budget. Loans also mean that we'll have to
charge more for the books, perhaps as much as $5 to $10
more than we'd like.
To put it simply, we have to find between $4000 and $6000
to publish each book (more likely the latter figure). If
every JL subscriber buys 1 copy, this probably means a $20
price tag each, which will probably hurt sales, especially
among non-US Lojbanists.
This also means that we won't be able to publish the
dictionary until we've sold a lot of textbooks.
Are you covering your balance? Could you help by $5 or
$10 more? Could you consider donating to the textbook
fund, whether $5 or $50 (or more - wishful thinking)?
The answer to these questions could make a BIG difference
in Lojban's success.
Research and Development
Accomplishments - We've accomplished a lot in only a
month. The two major papers in this issue are the product
of several months work each, but were finally brought to
fruition this month, thanks to pc's visit and Bob's
sweating a lot of ink (Bob's aging printer is going through
a ribbon a week these days).
Assuming the adoption of these two analyses, only three
chunks of the language have significant open questions.
These are the tense system, MEX, and the making of le'avla.
Tense - The most significant grammatically is the Lojban
tense structure. When pc was in Washington, we discussed
the subject thoroughly, and what remains is to incorporate
the decisions into the grammar and write it up. The
incorporation will take only a few days work - the grammar
of tense is isolated from the rest of the grammar, and Bob
has already redesigned it from scratch twice. Writing it
up will take a little longer, but the write-up will not be
nearly as difficult as that of negation.
MEX - MEX, the grammar of mathematical expressions, is a
bigger problem, but is only a small and simple piece of the
How can le'avla be made efficiently and intuitively so that meaning. Thus, if two fields have claim to the word
language learners have the full power of these words at "integral", they both can't use "integra".
their disposal? A few years ago, Bob proposed that all le'avla be
labelled by some tag that associates the word with a
There are two conflicting goals expressed in this particular jargon. Thus all foods would have a label
question. Any efficient and intuitive algorithm for saying that the word was a food. In short, all le'avla
le'avla inherently will cut down on the full potential use would be invented as a sort of lujvo, a compound of two
of le'avla. words or parts of words, one a Lojban categorizer and one a
Ideally, Lojban le'avla should be as much like borrowings base word having no defined meaning or place structure.
found in other languages as possible. Thus, jargon words An advantage of Bob's approach is that, if you are
for foods, technical and scientific terms, etc. would be unfamiliar with a jargon word, the label and morphology
easily recognized for what they mean. By this rationale, will at least tell you that it is a jargon word of a par-
the word for the food "spaghetti" should be "spageti", ticular field. Thus these words are more learnable to a
which is indeed a valid le'avla; the word for "integral" non-specialist.
should be the valid "integra". These words would certainly The disadvantage is that if you ARE in the field, the
be easy to learn. word will no longer resemble the source language word, and
There are three problems with this approach: will be more difficult to learn for people trained in the
- natural language borrowings and jargon fail Lojban's specialty that uses the word.
basic paradigm of Lojban is "one word - one concept". The Ease of learning is important to using the full power of
word "integral" has several jargon meanings - which meaning le'avla. However, ease in making new understandable
will Lojban adopt, and how do you choose words for the le'avla is also important. In natural language, new words
other jargon meanings. Architectural 'integral' has no are created as borrowings all the time. Lojbanists need to
relation to mathematical 'integral'; each field based its be able to make new le'avla at will, with ease comparable
word on a different etymological link to the English and to the making of lujvo.
earlier Latin concept embedded in the word 'integrate'. Unlike lujvo and gismu, le'avla have a more amorphous
- recognition of the word chosen depends on whether the morphology, and ease of making words requires some
appearance or the sound in emulated. Someone inventing a constraint on those words. A legal le'avla is defined
le'avla 'on the fly' in conversation, will not be thinking merely as a Lojban word having a consonant cluster in the
as much about how it looks on paper, as whether it sounds first 5 letters (which must be a legal initial if at the
like the borrowed word. Conversely, a writer will concen- beginning of the word), only permissible consonant clusters
trate on visual recognition, often ignoring sound within the word, no occurrences of 'y', a final vowel, and
differences. penultimate stress. It also cannot break down into a
- cultural bias. Most borrowing nowadays is from English combination of gismu, lujvo and cmavo either directly, or
to other languages, and such borrowing is often at the ex- if preceded by a cmavo.
pense of perfectly good words in the native tongue. le'avla space is thus primarily defined by what it is
Barring adoption of the Yorke-Grebogi proposal below, there not. Testing to see if a word fits the rules is difficult,
is no virtue in making Lojban look like an encoded English, subject to error, and virtually impossible to perform in
and any massive dependence on borrowing from the one lan- your head.
guage that all current Lojbanists know will suggest It turns out, though, that if you always have something
uncontrolled cultural bias (whether it is true or not). on the front of the word as a marker of 'jargon type', as
For any 'official list' of borrowed vocabulary, Lojban proposed by Bob, there is an algorithm (proposed by John
should rely on careful comparison of like words in several Cowan) that makes it as easy to make a le'avla in your head
languages, and borrow from a single language only when a as it is to make a lujvo.
tanru cannot be made and when there is clear evidence that The words so formed are always good le'avla, and the
most other languages have similarly borrowed the word. front part can be any rafsi, which is glued on by a
Otherwise, we would be better to compose a word using a syllabic consonant like 'r' that acts like a vowel.
variation of Lojban's gismu-making algorithm. Unfortunately, a side effect is that the rest of the word
Most le'avla are really names of a sort, applied to often cannot stand on its own as a word. This means that
specialized concepts as labels to allow them to be easily all le'avla are forced to be at least one syllable longer
referred to. There is no semantic breadth to these words (the attached rafsi) than a corresponding natural language
and they are unlikely to be used in tanru other than in a source word, and that all jargon words in a field will be
most obvious manner, much as one would talk of a Broadway prefixed by a common and redundant syllable.
play or a Chrysler car. Bob favors this approach anyway - it encourages tanru and
Unfortunately, not all le'avla will remain 'name-like'. lujvo-making as a preference to borrowing from other
Borrowings have the habit of passing into common usage, languages, which is likely to be heavily biased towards
ceasing to be jargon, acquiring the full range of English at least in the early years. Furthermore, the
connotations that other words have, and being used remaining le'avla word space need not remain unused perma-
metaphorically to build other concepts. nently. Some review board can watch for le'avla that be-
To preserve its integrity, Lojban has to keep all le'avla come 'more than jargon' by coming into common use and being
distinct from each other, so that each has only one using in tanru. Specialists in a field could also set up
boards to approve 'unofficial' jargon le'avla that could be building them reveals irregularities and asymmetries in the
flagged as being special to the field without repeating the grammar. We've already made two extremely minor changes as
redundant field affix. (unofficial because someone has to a result of Carl's work, both expanding the set of
resolve between two fields that try to use the same word). permissible Lojban expressions to include a symmetric
'Official' short le'avla, on the other hand, would become equivalent of another structure. The negation analysis
a subclass that is as carefully made and evaluated as discovered a third asymmetry, which we repaired by removing
gismu. A new learner need not learn these short forms if several redundant rules from the language.
she/he knows how to reborrow the word anytime it is needed. It is unlikely that anyone will notice any change to the
Is Bob's approach adequate? Is the algorithm for grammar after the baseline, but our rules require that any
building le'avla as easy to use as it needs to be? Are such change be announced, explained to all Lojbanists, and
there other approaches to be considered? These are not approved only after a comment period.
really design issues, but usage issues that will be The major risk to the grammar for some time to come will
determined in future years by the people who learn and use be the MEX component. The MEX grammar is impossible to
the language. test without trying to use it, and there is nobody
Until then, we need to know what to teach in the competent enough in Lojban who could make use of the
textbook. This is not something that Bob should decide on capabilities of MEX to the degree necessary to test it like
his own. What do you think? we have tested the rest of the grammar. Only time will
Grammar - With the expected completion of all substantive prove MEX. (Meanwhile, we'll try to be satisfied with one
grammar changes within the next month or so, we can finally of our several attempts at grammatically expressing the
look to baselining the grammar. A decision on this will be opening phrase of the Gettysburg Address.)
(hopefully) made at LogFest 90. As with the gismu list, we Parser - Key to the final test of the grammar will be
expect a 'soft' baseline that will last several months, completing the parser. Unfortunately, Jeff Taylor, who has
followed by a hard freeze on the grammar, with the intent written the most comprehensive parser version so far, has
of holding the grammar constant for 5 years, until fluent indicated that he doesn't expect to be able to help during
speakers can make decisions based on 'inside' knowledge of the critical phrase right after the preliminary baseline.
the language. We are thus looking for people who know something about
There are risks in baselining - we might freeze a fatal parsers to help out over the next several months.
flaw into the language - but these risks are believed We must identify volunteers who are willing to strongly
small. We've now taught 3 classes in Lojban, Bob has commit to seeing the project through to completion. The
written draft lessons covering most basics of the language, parser project is too vital to suffer problems we've had in
and Bob and Athelstan have both done translations of getting LogFlash ported to other computers. Committed
complex and intricate works from other languages. We also people who know what they are doing, and who can and will
have our record as a guideline. Over the last year, the stick to it, can implement the current changes in a
grammar is sufficiently stable that we can still in good relatively short time, and can minimize the amount of work
conscience sell the draft lesson materials written then. needed to maintain the parser if testing shows that further
There have been changes, some drastic in overall effect on changes are needed.
the language, but most do not affect the beginning speaker. Some preferred qualifications:
Writing the textbook may reveal more flaws. Bob believes - ability to program in C, and a knowledge of how YACC-
that any such problems will be minor compared to the past based parsers work, so you can understand what Jeff has
history of the Loglan project, or even the recent history done; rewriting or translating the existing, and working,
of Lojban. Of the two big redesigns described in this is- code in a different language is not an effective use of
sue, only one even required minimal changes in the grammar. time; porting the parser to other computers is a task for
The parser may reveal a few more problems, as may the when the grammar has been baselined and tested with the
random sentence generator. Most of the problems detected first parser;
by the parser have been minor ones related to elidable - a demonstrated attempt to learn the Lojban grammar,
terminators that turned out not to be elidable because of which probably means that you are a level 3 student; most
the restrictions of YACC grammars (thus an incomplete sen- of the problems to be dealt with require a knowledge of why
tence consisting of bare sumti with no selbri must be we are implementing a rule, not just what the rule is. The
followed by "vau" to be grammatical). Doug Landauer has programmer needs to communicate with those who are not
proposed a more powerful parser-writing tool which might familiar with the inside of the parser, like Bob (some
simplify the grammar and resolve these problems. Following level 1 and level 2 people might be able to do this, but
a soft baseline, though, such improvement would have to be we'll be harder to convince);
either invisible to the average user, or offer a benefit - an MS-DOS computer environment with a C compiler; this
major enough to warrant changing the baseline (and the is for compatibility with Bob and with our community, which
textbook that will be written based on that baseline). primarily uses PC-compatibles with MS-DOS. We eventually
A final source of changes may come from an analysis in want to have a UNIX version of the parser, but nearly all
progress by Carl Burke (and possibly to be assisted by of the people who will be involved with testing the parser
David Bowen and others) to convert the YACC grammar into a cannot work with a UNIX version.
simpler format called 'Extended BNF'. 'BNF' grammars are - a willingness to work on the parser pretty much to the
easier to read than YACC grammars, and the process of exclusion of other Lojbanic efforts for a while; this has
to be voluntary, but only for a few months of part-time quired whether an English translation might be considered
work, until a minimal working parser is produced; by the publisher (How many of you would buy such a
- there is a preference for a single person or a small translated novel, merely knowing what we've told you?). If
co-located team, preferably near Washington DC - this is the book is published as expected, la lojbangirz. will try
simply for communications and logistics purposes. Since to make it available to the community.
Jeff lives in California, distance has proven to be a Most significant has been the increase in membership in
surmountable problem. the Usenet/Internet computer mail-server, called 'lojban-
We have about 3000 lines of C code, which Jeff says is list', which is approaching 100 people, including those
not especially well commented. The user interface is cross-linked from Compuserve. Now all we have to do is get
fairly solid. The primary work is inserting new YACC these people talking - the net has been relatively silent.
grammars into the parser, and modifying the hand-coded Since Bob has to pay long distance rates to use the net, he
rules in the lexer to reflect similar changes in the YACC- can't lead activity. Thus people need to start talking
verified grammar. The basic style is fairly well set, so about their own interests.
we need someone who can read Jeff's code and complete it, Our major publicity effort this year independent of the
not rewrite it. Time required is expected to be less than textbook publishing, and any advertising that is associated
100 total hours once you know Jeff's code, and make any with that, will be Athelstan's trip to Europe, which is
conversions to run the code in your environment. Jeff described under International news below. Bob and Nora are
tried to design the system so that inserting a new grammar planning a trip to California in late August to early
would be very fast; and has demonstrated that his concept September, but haven't made specific plans yet.
works several times.
What do you get for this? Only our thanks and credit in
the final product. Since Jeff did the bulk of the work and Education
has chosen not to retain ownership rights, it would be
unfair to offer greater remuneration to anyone else. Athelstan finished his introductory class in Lojban in
I'm sure I've made this out to be worse than it really early May. Unfortunately, attendance at each session was
is. But there will be a lot of pressure to get the parser inconsistent, so not as much was covered as he had
completed without constant support from Bob, who will be intended; however, a good survey of the entire language was
writing the textbook. Faint souls should not venture completed. Of 10 who signed up, 4 or 5 'completed' the
forth. course, in that they have moved past the basic material
Any volunteers? covered and can continue studying productively on their own
using the draft textbook lessons. One of these graduates
is moving to the Kansas City area, and we are hoping she
Growth and Publicity will help the several others living in that area when the
textbook is finished.
Our growth rate continues at a phenomenal pace, although Eric Tiedemann has gotten the New York City people
it has slowed some since the beginning of the year. together, and two classes will be starting there. One will
Actually, growth may be continuing at the same rate, but a start 20 May, and run every Sunday afternoon (except
few people have responded to the questionnaire in JL10 by Memorial Day and LogFest weekends) at his residence in
dropping out or indicating that they wish to be inactive Manhattan (near Columbia U.) for most of the summer; the
until the textbook is done. We don't count these people in other will be on Wednesdays in Brooklyn at Marc Glasser and
our active mailing list. Donna Camp's residence. We'll report on progress next
Our growth has been almost entirely in the more active issue.
levels. We've added another half-dozen level 3 students in We also have a potential class in the Vancouver BC area,
the last month, and one of these, John Cowan, has already as mentioned above, and Rory Hinnen has been trying for
done his first Lojban writing, a fairly sophisticated months to get people together for a Los Angeles area class
translation of a single extremely complex (and weird) (if you live in LA, and are interested, his phone number
English sentence - but more on this next issue when we was in le lojbo karni #11, or write to Bob at the la loj-
print it. bangirz. address and he'll try to get you in touch with
Much of our growth has been outside the US. There seems Rory.)
to be a budding class or study group in the Vancouver BC
area, led by new Lojbanist Mischa Sandberg. He contacted
us as a result of our interview on the CBC Canadian
national radio program. Some French-speaking Lojbanists in
Canada have started learning the language as well.
We'll have to leave details out until things are more
definite, but one of these new French-speaking Lojbanists
is a well-known science fiction writer, who wants to
incorporate Lojban as a major element in an in progress
French-language novel about a 'logical language'. We've
offered to assist in incorporating 'good Lojban' and in-
International News drills in the program should significantly enhance your
Athelstan's Travel Plans - Athelstan is doing detailed List of Available Papers - My initial search (described
planning for his trip to Europe and Israel in August last issue) turned up rather fewer items than I had hoped.
through October. He promises to stay out of the poison ivy The following are what I have readily available, with page
this time. (For those not with us last summer, Athelstan counts (parenthetical notes indicate the subject of the
contracted an awful case of poison ivy just as he was to paper - not always clear from the title).
leave on a cross country trip. After being bedridden for a There are a few other papers that I have, which I am less
full week, keeping his schedule was impossible, and the sure the authors intend for me to make public. If you have
whole trip was cancelled.) sent me something in the past that you think should be on
Here is his approximate route: this list and isn't, please let me know.
He will be in The Hague, Netherlands during the third week We are charging 15c/page for these to cover the extra
of August for the World Science Fiction Convention. He work and Xeroxing charge for these essentially individual
will meet with any Lojbanists who can make it there. After orders. Filling these orders will also be on a low
spending a week thereafter sightseeing in the Benelux coun- priority basis, unless you are doing a volunteer activity
tries, he plans to cross over into Germany, possibly requiring the materials for some reason, and these items
travelling by bicycle. He will definitely be stopping in require payment or existing positive balance.
Goettingen. By now it is early September. He will then
travel on a Eurorail pass south, stopping at several places Athelstan and Bob LeChevalier: Review of Loglan 1 - 12 pg.
in Germany, and passing into Austria and/or Switzerland James F. Carter: The Language Gua\ spi - 18 Nov 1988 (the
(partly dependent on the Lojbanists in those countries). latest paper we have describing Carter's tone-based
Athelstan will pass from Switzerland going west; he language derived from Loglan - Carter occasionally
intends to stop in Bessas in southern France to visit revises this paper, and we'll send you the latest we
Lojbanist John Negus. He will then return eastward into have, though the page count may vary) - 23 pg.
Italy, stopping in the Turin area to give talks with the Paul Doudna: Back to School - P*L*G*S Revisited ('Pretty
assistance of Lojbanist Silvia Romanelli. Next he will go Little Girls School' and the Ambiguity of tanru) - 14 pg.
south to the boot-heel of Italy and take the Brindisi ferry Paul Doudna: Comments on Loglan 1 (1989) - 12 pg.
to Greece, and eventually will continue on to Israel. One Paul Doudna: Comments on MEX as discussed in JL9 - 2 pg.
of our level 3 (American) students is planning to move to Paul Doudna: Consolidated Synopsis of the Categories from
Israel, and will help Athelstan organize and present talks Roget's Thesaurus (a detailed analysis based on 4
there. different thesaurus versions) - 26 pg.
All this wandering will use up his month of rail travel, Paul Doudna: Lojban Predicate Categories (Semantic
leaving him in early October returning by a much more Categories of Lojban gismu) - 77 pg.
direct route to the Netherlands around mid-October, from T. Peter Park: Lojban (two excellent introductory papers
which he'll return to the U.S. that will be the basis for a new Overview for new people
Another ambitious schedule, but more likely to be when we get time) 23 pg.
completed since he can sleep on the train between stops. T. Peter Park: Lojban Etymologies (sample gismu
Brochures - By the time Athelstan goes overseas, we etymologies compared to roots in several languages, not
should have completed the translation of the brochure into just the basic 6 used to create them) - 6 pg.
French and Italian, and we are trying to arrange T. Peter Park: On Reconstructing the Common Origin of
translations into Spanish and German (any volunteers to Modern Languages (the work of Morris Swadesh and others
translate or to check someone else's translation?). We postulating a common language origin, and a poem in
will have pre-shipped supplies to several places along his Nostratic) - 21 pg.
route so that he doesn't have to cart them all over Europe, T. Peter Park: Prehistoric gismu?: Lojban and the Human
but Athelstan should have copies of most of our Proto-Language and The Morris Swadesh "Top 100" in Lojban
publications to show off as he goes. (compares Lojban words and etymologies with hypothetical
If you aren't on this itinerary, we'll have to try to proto-language words; 2 papers) - 12 pg.
catch you next trip, unless you can meet Athelstan Eric Raymond: La Tenguar: A romantic Orthography for
somewhere on his route. To do any coordination of this Lojban (Applying the Tenguar Alphabet of Tolkien to
sort, we need to hear from you as soon as possible. Lojban) - 6 pg.
Products and Policy
I am also expecting some papers from Andy Hilgartner,
lujvo Analyzer - Nora has enhanced the lujvo-making relating General Semantics, Lojban, and novel theories of
program so that it also takes lujvo apart for you, giving logic, sets, and behavior that he and his associates have
you the source tanru, in addition to putting them together developed over the last few decades.
and drilling you on the latter skill. No price increase The Planned Languages File Server - We've had a lot of
for the added capability. Nora is also adding a drill on requests for distribution of our materials 'on-line' via
taking lujvo apart, which will be available by LogFest. electronic mail. For reasons we'll go into in a minute, we
For those few who have made it to LogFlash 2, the lujvo have to constrain this somewhat. Meanwhile, we will at-
tempt to make some of our most common items available via
computer mail, via a new 'Planned Languages file server' number of people that we believe will contribute to that
service offered by Jerry Altzman and Mark Shoulson. effort.
If you have network access and haven't heard of this Finally, since the bulk of the decisions made on any
setup, contact: issue require extensive interchange, usually both informal
and verbal, most people get their chance to participate
firstname.lastname@example.org only at LogFest. Because it takes place only once a year,
we tend to have too many issues 'on the table' at LogFest
(Compuserve people prefix with 'INTERNET:'). to discuss each of them in detail with everyone. Therefore
we have to ask the community to trust its leaders to
If you send a one-line message containing the word 'help' consider everyone's viewpoint. After all, we have ultimate
only to this address, it will send you help information - accountability to you - if we don't do a good enough job on
or you can ask more specific questions. the language, you won't learn and use it.
Items I plan to send to the file server include:
- the gismu list Why the current policy? Several reasons, notably cost,
- the rafsi list time, schedule, and our image as a project.
- the brochure in English and French Cost - It costs money to produce these materials, and
- the Overview this includes basic overhead costs and the R&D costs of
- the latest machine grammar (after the LogFest reviews) producing the first copy of any document, as well as
- the Saki story translated by Athelstan for JL10, with reproduction, postage, and everyday business expenses (for
parser analysis and the JL10 English. example, we pay state sales tax on Virginia 'sales' even
If I have time, these files will be on-line by the time you when they aren't paid for, and on all stuff we throw out
receive this. unsold). Every free copy we give out means that we either
I will listen to requests from people for any other items need to replace the recipient's share of our costs with
they wish to see distributed via this service. Decisions donations, or charge everyone who does pay even more. This
will be made on an item-by-item basis. However, we will is unfair. With our voluntary balance system, we can at
not be putting up materials until we are reasonably sure of least let people know what their share is, and they can
their long-term stability, and some materials like JL and decide whether they can afford to contribute their share,
the Synopsis, are too dependent on text formatting for us and whether they will.
to readily make ASCII versions. As a note on this justification, it does not save us the
We have no problem with other people putting up their own full cost of a copy to send you something via electronic
interpretations and proposals for various aspects of the mail. Even if we use a means of free distribution (as we
language (please send us a hard copy for the archive record plan to do for limited purposes as described below), the
please), but we would like people not to post copies of our lower copy volume increases our per copy cost on the rest.
materials and publications on electronic media, at least As anyone who has sold software under 'Shareware' can
not without asking us first. tell you, only a small fraction of the people who get an
This is part of a large and complicated policy problem on-line Shareware product ever pay for it. Thus only a
regarding materials distribution. Our policy that reflects stable product requiring small support expenditures can be
numerous constraints, and it is not one we are necessarily distributed, unless the product becomes extremely
happy with. Because this policy has been recently widespread, or the suppliers have independent financing.
questioned, we will discuss it at LogFest. Meanwhile, we We don't.
want to explain what that policy is, and why we feel bound Hopefully, this will change after the language is
to it. baselined and the books are written. During the time
period before then, the survival of the language is
Policy - Here is our distribution policy: dependent on la lojbangirz.'s financial solvency, and we
need to ensure this continues.
la lojbangirz. encourages the free exchange and Time - Time affects mostly the special orders policy, and
distribution of information about Lojban. We thus have a the involvement of people in the decision-making process.
copyright policy that encourages distribution 'without To put it simply, I (Bob) have only a limited amount of
charge' of most of our materials. The actual design of the time and far too much to do if we want to have a textbook
language, as opposed to the materials describing it, are and dictionary soon; I already spend as much as half my
considered to be fully in the public domain. time on overhead activities and filling orders. If I take
We can't, however, extend this policy to draft versions extra time to fill special orders, the important work
of our to-be-published materials. With this material, we doesn't get done.
do not want people freely distributing it, without checking If I fill some special orders, I have to fill them all;
with us first (at which point we'll probably OK it on an it would be only fair. Thus, I must avoid filling any,
individual case basis). unless the order is justified by a specific project goal.
While we would like to include everyone in whatever Thus, if you want something that isn't on the order form,
aspects of the project they choose, we cannot. For any you can ask for it. If there is enough demand, we will
given research and development effort, we have to limit consider adding it to our regular offerings.
distribution of the various draft proposals to a manageable
Schedule - People have been waiting for 35 years for the A lot of people have invested time in learning previous
language to be completed. The language is essentially done versions of the language, only to find the language they'd
now. The research questions that occupy so much of our learned was changing like the desert landscape in a
time and paper may seem major, but are really trivial cor- windstorm.
rections. The changes reflected in the 38-page negation The Loglan Project has had a history of uncontrolled
paper, for example, can be summed up two lines of the YACC change, one that Lojban must live with until we have proved
grammar - all the rest is 'teaching material' so that stability. As a result, Bob keeps fairly detailed records
reviewers (and the textbook writer) understand the same of who gets what version of what materials, so that updates
interpretation of those two lines. can be provided on request. (This is the mysterious
Most of the work on these minor issues require a lot of difference between 'level 1' and 'level 2'.)
time, and a fairly deep knowledge of the language. We rely Because of the aura of 'official-ness' that attaches to
on people, like pc, with an immense historical knowledge of our publications, and because we are writing material
the discussions that have taken place undocumented over the intended to look authoritative when approved, you cannot
last dozen years or more. always tell that a draft is incomplete or unapproved.
New people have a lot to contribute, too, and our pages Because so much of our work is paper hard-copy oriented, we
are studded with names like Michael Helsem, John Cowan, and don't have a system in place to reliably inform people of
Albion Zeglin, and John Hodges, who have made contributions the current status of any particular document they get
to the language by asking the right question at the right access to. It is thus likely that someone getting a copy
time, proposing a simple idea that offers major benefit of draft material other than from us will be working with
without causing traumatic language change or relearning, or outdated information. If someone invests time in learning
simply by showing us what the language looks like when from our materials, and then finds the stuff is obsolete,
someone uses it. they get upset - with us - for misleading them. They also
These new people are part of an 'inner circle' of their get the wrong impression that language change is not under
own creation, one of participation. There is, however, control enough for them to bother learning.
because of schedule, another 'inner circle' that is making Even if we had a good system for marking drafts, we still
the 'last minute' decisions about the details of the have to exercise some care. It can be argued that people
language. This circle is by no means fixed - it changes who get well-marked drafts and study from them, do so at
from issue to issue, and usually involves the proposer of their own risk. But it is the language effort as a whole
the change, however new that person is. The core, however, that is at risk. If these people ignore the warnings, but
has been pc, Nora, Bob, Athelstan, and for vocabulary then feel misled anyway, they leave; hundreds of people
issues, Tommy Whitlock. The primary qualification for this have done so with prior versions of the language. The
level of involvement has been a willingness to allow Lojban language was virtually dead in 1986-7 (less than a half-
to disrupt and dominate the rest of your life activities dozen people were still actively working on the language)
(pc spent a couple of days reviewing the negation paper when the effort that became la lojbangirz. got started.
during the week of his wedding), but that is the price of The majority of Lojbanists have little interest in the
getting the language done now. language development project, other than to know that their
There is no intent to exclude others, but we do, and we concerns are listened to. They want a language, complete
unfortunately must, as a side effect of trying to get the and ready-to-learn. That is la lojbangirz.'s primary
language done. For every new person we bring into a priority.
discussion of any issue, we have to provide that person After the language baseline, there will be a 5-or-more-
with the history, and the language design affecting that year period of little or no change, rigidly controlled. By
decision. If the language is ever going to be finished, we being slow and rigidly controlled, we can then involve
have to draw the line fairly strictly. Any new person has everyone, though practically speaking, while a newcomer
to work hard, and gain an understanding of the issues based might find a problem, only someone who has learned the lan-
on their own study, and whatever occasional help we can guage will be able to devise a credible solution.
offer. There will probably be as many or more proposals for
Draft materials are the results of some one person's change as there are now, but the people who learn the
study of a particular research problem, and a given version language will know that the proposals are just debate.
circulates among the 'inner circle' that is associated with After the five-year period, they will be the ones to select
that problem. If the problem is critical, or if the which if any changes to accept. The language will no
results will take too long to complete in the face of high longer be imposed on people from outside 'experts', but
demand, as with the cmavo list, we release this draft to will be a living language responding to its own internal
our entire subscriber list to look at, to use, and to life. The freeze on the language will not end until the
comment on. For these drafts, the final quality isn't speakers of the language have enough self-confidence (and
there, and stability isn't promised. Yet, because anything inertia) that they keep control over the rate of change
we 'publish' smacks of being 'official', our draft publica- they will permit (which will probably be as low as any
tions are treated more seriously than any informal writer's other 'stable' language). This is the way it must be.
expressed proposals or opinions. Finally, addressing one of the original issues that led
Image - Which brings us to the image problems of to this discussion, we cannot orient the Lojban effort
stability, veracity, and inclusiveness. around the computer communications network. To do so would
be to practice an exclusion of non-computer people that we 'adjectives', and then all the varying declensions of each.
cannot afford. Thus the Institute may be repeating ancient history.
Too many of our most committed and productive workers Rex May Resigns - Rex May has resigned as 'editor' of
have no access to the computer networks, and about half the Lognet. He had held this position for the last two issues,
community has no particular access to computers at all. although JCB did the production. Rex indicates that JCB
Many of these people have complained about an apparent bias made editorial decisions without consulting with Rex, and
towards people with computers and computer knowledge. This specifically refused to print an article Rex had written
is partly due to Bob's bad habits of accidentally using proposing a different morphology for Loglan words. Rex
computer jargon throughout his writing. plans to submit it for publication in Ju'i Lobypli after
We can encourage 'on-line interchange', and have done so. rewriting it.
I'm spending far more time supporting 'lojban-list' then I The resignation was due partly because of editorial
intended to. But, we cannot afford to even appear to disputes with JCB, and partly because of the dispute
exclude people who don't have computers. In fact, we have between la lojbangirz. and JCB. Rex printed a statement in
to try especially hard to include people without computers, the recent issue of Lognet that was critical of la
to make sure that they can participate to the same degree lojbangirz. for not clearly demonstrating to him why we
as everyone else. feel that JCB had made Loglan public domain. He has
indicated that this statement was printed in order to stir
a response from the community. Only two people responded,
News About the Institute but the answers were sufficient to provoke Rex's resig-
Readers have indicated that they want me to avoid Rex has given us the following comment for publication:
commentary in this section, on the assumption that everyone "I have decided that the 'ownership' of the Loglan language
who cares already knows about the political and is at best equivocal. As editor I feared I was taking
intellectual property disputes between la lojbangirz. and sides. I don't want to take sides on something I can't
the Loglan Institute. Anybody who doesn't know what's figure out."
going on, and cares, can write to la lojbangirz. for Rex also wrote a review of Loglan 1 for Liberty magazine
explanation. (March 1990), a libertarian publication. The review was
New Lognet Published - Jim Brown (JCB) put out another very positive, although it concentrated more on the
Lognet around the beginning of April. He reports about 300 positive aspects of Loglan than those of the book. A
copies of Loglan 1 sold, and about a dozen new members for rebuttal letter that severely criticizes Rex's review ap-
the Institute. He also reports that the Institute is still peared in the May issue. The comments seem to be aimed at
losing money even at that sales level. Loglan in general, although the comments are based in
JCB also reported that he and his wife visited some response to Rex's statements. The criticisms of the
Arizona universities and an anthropology oriented science language are flawed, and appeared to be based on the
fiction convention. JCB gave several talks on Loglan, and writer's negative attitudes toward what Rex had written,
reported being encouraged by how easily people seem to rather than on any independent knowledge of the language.
learn pieces of the language. He also met with an unnamed Thus, more than anything else, the exchange seems to have
colleague to work on a paper about Loglan which he plans to demonstrated the difficulty in writing very short articles
use as a delayed answer to Arnold Zwicky, who strongly about Loglan/Lojban for a broad audience; if specifics are
criticized linguistic aspects of Loglan in the late 1960's. given out of context, inevitably a few readers will
Several technical proposals for changing the Institute incorrectly generalize or otherwise misinterpret what has
version of Loglan were discussed. Most of the proposals been presented.
either are not applicable to the Lojban version, or have la lojbangirz. is considering a response to the Liberty
been incorporated already in our design. exchange, especially since Lojban was not mentioned.
There are apparently several proposals under Unfortunately though, the misinformed criticisms seem to
consideration for resolving two of the flaws in Institute have dampened Rex's enthusiasm for the language, if not
Loglan that Athelstan and Bob specifically identified in others.
their review of Loglan 1. _______________________________________
One reader argued against a proposal from the December
issue (discussed in JL11), that would divide up Institute Athelstan has noticed that people seem intimidated by the
Loglan gismu into 'nouns', 'verbs' and 'adjectives' of concept of predicates and by the apparent amount of work
several types, and given each group a peculiar series of required to memorize place structures. Athelstan here
inflections based on varying the final vowel. The argument explains what a predicate is, and shows that learning place
against the proposal seems to have convinced JCB. structures is familiar and natural to every English
Interestingly, a new paper in the journal of the New York speaker.
Academy of Sciences reports that linguists investigating
proto-languages are hypothesizing that the earliest lan- A Brief Introduction to Predicates and Place Structures
guage had only one vowel, and that multiple vowels appeared by Athelstan
in language to distinguish between related meanings - these
differing meanings then became 'nouns', 'verbs', and
A predicate in Lojban - or in logic - is a relationship John reads the sentence.
between one or more arguments. For example, if John is and
Sam's uncle, then we say: le jufra cu tcidu la djan.
The sentence reads John.
la djan. cu rirbu'a la sem.
are as different in Lojban as they are in English.
If John hits Sam, we say:
Lojban "dunda" has the place structure:
la djan. cu darxi la sem.
A gives B to C.
If John is taller than Sam, we say:
which has the giver, the gift and the recipient.
la djan. cu sraclamau la sem.
la sem. cu dunda le cukta la djan.
Although the English sentences vary in appearance and la djan. cu dunda le cukta la sem.
grammatical structure, the Lojban sentences are similar to la djan. cu dunda la sem. le cukta
each other. The type of relationship varied from state and
(English noun) to active (English verb) to characteristic le cukta cu dunda la sem. la djan.
(English adjective), but it remained that all three were
relationships between John and Sam, so Lojban treated them go through the same convolutions in meaning that their
all the same grammatically; this is the heart and soul of English counterparts do.
Lojban grammar. So place structures are not foreign to English speakers.
Each relationship has characteristic arguments or roles We use them; we just don't think about them or talk about
associated with it. Uncle has the "uncle" and "nephew" or them. They also move in funny and subtle ways in natural
"niece". Giving has the "giver", the "recipient" and the languages, and we learn by example how to manipulate them.
"gift". Reading has the "reader", the "text", and the Lojban makes them regular and explicit and it's easy to
"document" or "medium of recording" (e.g. book, headstone, manipulate them.
In English most verbs have a rigid place for each of
these arguments. For example (leaving off the last place): Proposals to be Decided at LogFest
John reads the sentence. The two papers separately attached are intended for
and comment, discussion, and (hopefully) approval at LogFest
The sentence reads John. 90. They were written by Bob, and have passed a stiff
review by Nora, Athelstan, and pc. If you cannot attend,
mean two entirely different things. feel free to send in your comments anyway.
The negation paper probably contains about the equivalent
Similarly: of 1 1/2 draft textbook lessons worth of technical
information, and the attitudinal paper another lesson's
Sam gives John the book. worth, thus providing level 3 students with significantly
John gives Sam the book. more study material on the language. They are bound
John gives the book Sam. separately so that students can bind them together with
and textbook lessons in they wish. The attitudinal word list
The book gives John Sam. is bound separately from the paper, for the benefit of
those who bind their various word lists together.
are all different, and the change in meaning is directly There are also several minor proposals which will be
related to the change in position. discussed. Some of these are included in the following
Lojban predicates also have specific places for specific pages.
arguments. This place structure is denoted explicitly in It isn't clear how well detailed technical topics can be
the definition, unlike natural language place structures discussed at a meeting like LogFest, where attendees
which are learned subtly as implicit usage of the word. In backgrounds and interests are widely disparate, so the
Lojban, for example, the place structure of tcidu (read) amount of group discussion time given to each will be de-
is: termined by how many are interested, and how much chance
they have had to review the proposal. Objections to any
A reads B from medium C. proposal will be noted, of course, and small side
discussions will take place as we have time, to resolve
The place structure includes the reader, the text, and these. LogFest decisions are usually made by consensus,
the medium being read from. So: occasionally by direct vote; all proposals not relegated
for specific further study will be decided one way or the
la djan. cu tcidu le jufra
other, though - in previous years this has meant wrap-up close enough, one of these could be transferred to the new
discussions on Monday, or even Tuesday. word.
Now for specific proposals. 4.-5. Bob proposes that "dawn" and possibly "twilight"
(the evening equivalent of dawn) be considered based on
gismu Baseline Changes - New gismu are required by our similar analogy, noting that these are primitive concepts
baseline rules to be discussed and approved. They are in many cultures. At the very least, we need good lujvo
supposed to be analyzed in the 6 languages and 'made' for each.
before the proposal is decided, but we do not currently 6. A similar situation to the "diurne"/"daytime" pair
have an Arabic dictionary reader available (any exists for "good" and "virtue". With the exception of
volunteers?). This is relatively unimportant; rules also English, the same words are used for both of these
stipulate that words to be added will be 'coined' from concepts. Tommy Whitlock thus argued successfully for not
unfilled space when the invented word causes a conflict, including "virtue" in our original gismu list. The
since we don't want to change the baseline word set unless corresponding was not true for "bad" and "evil", these were
absolutely necessary. Change proposals are numbered for distinguished in the source languages (as shown by the
clear reference. widely differing words "palci" and "xlali").
1. A major reason for adding or changing a word is the As a result of the negation analysis, these concepts have
desire to give the concept a rafsi. This is the reason for again surfaced for discussion. A few concepts are being
last issue's proposal to change "ckamu" to "mleca". There proposed for gismu as a result of that analysis, on the
are no other outstanding proposals to change words. basis that the concepts are not well represented as
2. Last year's LogFest decided that the concept "text" negatives of their perceived 'opposite' in English, or that
probably did not need to be a gismu, but no general there is significant difficulty with assigning one to be
solution was found expressing the concept. Recently, 'positive' and the other 'negative'. In each of these
Athelstan recognized that nearly all meanings of the word cases, with the exception of "good"/"virtue", languages
"text" can be covered by "se tcidu" ("selci'u" = 'x1 is generally have words of different roots for each of the
read-by/readable by ...', with the added tanru qualifier opposing pairs.
"lerfu se tcidu" ("lefselci'u") to be absolutely clear, if There are two related arguments for adding "virtue". One
"tcidu" comes to have broader meanings than just the is based on place structures. The place structure for
reading of text. Chinese ideograms probably are included "xamgu" and for "xlali" are parallel: "x1 is good/bad for
in these definitions for "text", since they are "read" and x2 by standard x3". "palci", on the other hand, has the
they are "lerfu" of a sort. This finding, if agreed upon, place structure "x1 is evil by standard x2" - "evil" is an
will remove this proposal from the table. absolute concept in that it doesn't depend on who it
3. Bob wants to revisit the issue of whether we need a affects.
gismu to separately indicate "day" in the sense of Clearly, while the opposite of "good" is "bad" and vice
"daylight". The current meaning of "djedi" is the time versa, the opposite of "evil" is not "good"; this will
interval of '24 hours'; the separate term was omitted in confuse people who don't carefully read place structures,
the original gismu effort because nearly all languages use and lead to the same murky semantics that exists in the
the same word for both concepts, although most languages natural languages.
recognize that the meanings are distinct. The concept Tommy Whitlock has argued for eliminating "palci" and
'daylight' can be represented clearly as the tanru "sun- making both "virtue" and "evil" as tanru: "marde xamgu"
above" or "sun-high" ("solga'u" or "solgau"), but Bob ("madyxau") and "marde xlali" ("madyxla"). Bob feels that
believes that there will come to be many concepts built the place structure argument shows that this will only
from the concept "daytime", enough that it should have a weaken the distinctive relativity of the concepts "xlali"
rafsi. Otherwise those compounds will be 3-part lujvo at and "xamgu", wherein a single event can be good for one
minimum, and probably much longer. Bob notes that we have person and bad for another, even by the same standard. It
gismu currently for "evening", "morning", and "night", all is easy to imagine philosophical and theological arguments
of the same semantic group as "daytime". (There is also a where the place structure distinction is vital, and dis-
question as to how to create culturally neutral definitions tinctive place structures are the core of Lojban's identity
of these terms - for example, the word for "morning" as a predicate language.
describes a different time-range in Sweden and Germany than There are uncountable other examples where place
it does in the U.S.. This will also be discussed at structure arguments could be used to justify adding a
LogFest.) gismu, but the dependence of entire fields of thought on
To avoid confusion between meanings, and possibly bad the distinctions implicit in these particular place
tanru as a result, Bob also proposes changing the keyword structures suggest that this is one case where a change is
for "djedi" to "diurnal" or "diurne". justified.
An argument against a word for "daytime" is that the same 7. Another proposal based on the example of other
words are used for both meanings of "day" in all of our languages is "tears", referring to droplets expelled in
languages. Thus the algorithm will spit out "djedi" as the weeping. The concept has apparently been traced back to
preferred form. But there are lower score forms on the proto-language times. Lojban has gismu for "weep" and for
list, possibly similar to "djedi". Bob notes that "djedi" "drop" and for "liquid". Thus all needed aspects can be
currently has 3 rafsi, and if the word for "daytime" was expressed as lujvo. In English, of course, we have
numerous connotations of tears, and a particular shape Lojban was unaesthetic, and was casting around for possible
called 'teardrop'; it is unlikely that these connotations changes to improve it.
are universal, and tears are no more likely to take the More generally, the issue is 'readability'. I have some
shape named after them than any other kind of droplet on a further thoughts.
surface. Thus we cannot claim any particular use in lujvo I would like to retract the suggestion I made on the
as a justification. The only solid argument is historico- phone. I suggested switching the functions of the period
linguistic. Is this sufficient? and comma, because "it is less jarring to encounter a comma
8.-11. Four other 'opposites' are proposed based on the in the middle of a sentence". Looking over the text in
negation analysis. These are "ugly" as opposed to JL10, I think it would be even more jarring to see a comma
"beautiful", "diffuse" as opposed to "dense", "decrease" as at the beginning of a sentence. Periods are visually
opposed to "increase", and "deficient" as opposed to neater than commas; we can get used to them.
"sufficient". These, of all scalar negatives, seem I also suggested capitalizing the first letter of certain
especially common concepts in natural languages that 'punctuation cmavo'. In the "Guidelines for Understanding
justify gismu assignment. The first two are further jus- Unfamiliar Lojban Text" on page 6, you start with "Put
tified by having separate roots in most languages. The brackets around each sentence in the text." Capitalizing
second pair is further justified by analogy with "ckamu", ".I" would do the same thing - though just putting two
as the 'less than' equivalent of their opposite. spaces before the ".i" would probably do just as well. By
12.-16. Lojban has assigned gismu to the major grains the same logic, we might capitalize the following:
and staples of the world, and especially those of the 6
source languages. Various animals, plants, metals, and "Ni'o", "Lu", "Li'u", "Zo", "To", "Toi", "Sei", "Se'u",
substances common enough in various cultures to have been "Mo", "Ma",
assigned connotations and/or to be heavily used in metaphor and any word following "la" or "doi".
in their languages have also been assigned gismu (in
Lojban, cultural, as opposed to functional, connotations Anything in lexeme COI might optionally be capitalized as
should not be referenced in tanru, unless figurative speech well. Punctuation exists to help the eye break up the text
is explicitly marked - and even there should be avoided into meaningful units. I am suggesting that if punctuation
except in poetic usage). may optionally be capitalized, just as 'r's may optionally
Unfortunately, it has been pointed out over the last 2 be trilled, it would improve readability without seriously
years that three major staples not commonly referenced in affecting audiovisual isomorphism.
English were omitted from the list. These are "buckwheat" Enclosed is a bit of text from JL10, before and after ...
which is historically and culturally the staple grain of
Russia (one of our 'Big 6'), "sorghum" the staple grain for Bob responds: First a bit of history. I used to
most of Africa used as animal feed in the U.S., and capitalize the 'I' at the beginning of a sentence before
"cassava" which is the major staple of South America and the period was put in. Nora pointed out, though, that the
part of Africa, and the third most planted crop after rice sans-serif typeface used in The Loglanist rendered capital
and wheat in the world, most familiar to Americans as the 'I' and small 'l' indistinguishable, and that this had
source of tapioca. occasionally caused problems in understanding.
Considering the importance of staple foods to human life, Shortly thereafter, when work on Lojban got started, the
and their use as ingredients in a wide variety of foods, visual pause (period) was proposed, along with the use of
Bob believes that these omissions should be remedied. capitalization to indicate abnormal stress. The period is
Two other grains have been mentioned, but are not as found at the beginning of every sentence. I also use a
strongly recommended for gismu. A weaker case exists for double space between sentences as a convention, though in
"triticale" and "alfalfa", which are not major grains in our current compressed typeface, this may not be obvious.
any culture. But these should be considered for For a long time, periods were seldom found anywhere else,
completeness of the set. In addition, readers familiar though as Lojban use has gotten more sophisticated, the
with other cultures should propose any other basic foods periods have been multiplying.
that are widely used outside the U.S. but are not well- I have to admit a preference for non-capitalization,
known to Americans. Because most early Lojbanists are since it means I seldom have to use the shift key when
English-native Americans, Lojban's image of cultural typing - hence fewer typos and inconsistencies. Typing
neutrality requires that we 'bend over backwards' to avoid Lojban text is not easy, because of its unfamiliarity, and
favoring concepts that are familiar to Americans while I am especially worried about Lojban typos, other errors,
omitting correspondingly important concepts with which we and inconsistencies, appearing in the stuff I produce,
are unfamiliar. since people depend on me for 'good' examples.
I don't, however, see any major problem, other than my
From John Hodges, on Readability - In a phone conversation own fumble-fingers and troublesome typefaces, with capitals
with Bob, I said that I had noticed that JCB's Loglan on most of the cmavo proposed. There is the aesthetic
looked a lot more like English text than Lojban did. JCB consideration of having capitalization mean stress in some
has periods at the ends of sentences, and capital letters cases, and not in others; I find consistency more aes-
at the beginnings, and so forth. I felt the appearance of thetically appealing than a resemblance to English text.
(Note that German capitalizes all nouns, both proper and
improper, without confusion, and American writers do not
capitalize after a colon or semicolon; capitalization is ?ma
clearly not necessary to recognize sentence structure.) ?mo
For names, capitalization would be ambiguous, and lead to ?pei
people with vowel initial names having stress on that first ?xu
vowel. Thus a certain former US President would be
pronounced /AH,yee,zehn,khau,r./ if written "Aizenxau,r." Because I've previously used a single question mark be-
instead of /AI,zehn,khau,r./, resulting from "AIzenxau,r." fore a construct to indicate questionable grammaticality, I
And sometimes the default would not be capitalized at all, would have to change that convention (probably to a double
when penultimate stress were desired, as in some question mark), but would prefer that to the question mark
pronunciations of the English "Alicia" (Lojban ".alicas.") at the end of the word.
As another historical note, there have been several times As an alternative for beginning of sentence or paragraph,
in Loglan history when people have proposed using how about something totally new to mark these (making the
punctuation marks as a substitute for cmavo, justified by period unnecessary - remember that all periods are optional
'readability'. Thus JCB favors French quotation marks for in Lojban, being that they can be inferred from the
his equivalent of "lu" and "li'u" (French quotations, << morphology rules.) A hyphen or equal sign would be dis-
and >>, unlike English quotes " are directional, as re- tinctive.
quired for the two separate words). The list of proposals Whatever the conventions, they should be optional, and a
got quite long, and thus complex, though no clear approval reader's understanding should not be reduced for not
was given to any of them. knowing them.
I am opposed to such substitution, in that I think many Having presented an alternative, let us look at some
people would have trouble learning to speak punctuation current text, John's alternative, and the one I've just
marks as words if they aren't made explicit. Forgetting proposed. I'm using a different text than John supplied,
the verbal punctuation, of course, leads to ambiguity. (We one from Athelstan's translation of Saki which uses more
do allow symbols instead of words in MEX constructs, varied features:
including periods, commas, and colons, as well as numerals.
But in MEX, ALL of the words are replaced by symbols, not Current style:
just some.) .i fo'e bacru lu la selke'i rirme'i cu roroi krici lenu
Having stated this, as an alternative to John's proposal, ko'a ba xruti ko'a ca lo ba djedi .i ko'a noi se kansa le
I would suggest using the punctuation marks in addition to cmalu je bunre pangerku poi ke'a se cirko fa'u lenu ke'a
the words to enhance readability. kansa ko'a cu dzukla levi nenri fo leva canko ta'i le purci
Specifically: po ko'a .i la'edi'u cu krinu lenu le canko cu kalri ranji
- "zo" and "zoi" would use individual and paired quotes, fi ro le vanci pagbu pe ze'o le ctebixtei
respectively: .i la selke'i je selnei rirme'i goi ko'u puta'e tavla mi
lesu'u cliva ne pu'e lenu ge leko'u speni goi ko'e cu kansa
zo "mi ponse leko'e blabi je jacnalgre gackosta noi ke'a dandu
zoi .kuot." non-Lojban text ".kuot. leko'e birka gi la ranis. po'u leko'u citrai bruna goi ko'i
cu sanga lu doi brtis. mu'i ma do plipe li'u noi roroi se
(Athelstan devised the 'name' .kuot. as an obvious mnemonic sanga semu'i lenu zdifanza ko'u ku mu'i lenu ko'u xusra
for delimited quotes. Any single Lojban word can be used lenu le nunsanga cu fanza ko'u .i sei ko djuno be la'edei
as the delimiter.) so'uroiku ca lei bifcau je smaji vanci poi ke'a simsa ti
ko'u mi piso'aroi pencauji'i lenu ro ko'a ba dzugre leva
- regular quotation would use French quote marks: canko li'u
<<lu .... li'u>> John's proposal:
.I fo'e bacru Lu la Selke'i rirme'i cu roroi krici lenu
- parenthesis of various types would use the parenthesis ko'a ba xruti ko'a ca lo ba djedi .I ko'a noi se kansa le
marks: cmalu je bunre pangerku poi ke'a se cirko fa'u lenu ke'a
kansa ko'a cu dzukla levi nenri fo leva canko ta'i le purci
(sei...) if the "se'u" is elided or po ko'a .I la'edi'u cu krinu lenu le canko cu kalri ranji
(sei...se'u) if it isn't fi ro le vanci pagbu pe ze'o le ctebixtei
(to...toi) .I la Selke'i je selnei rirme'i goi ko'u puta'e tavla mi
etc. lesu'u cliva ne pu'e lenu ge leko'u speni goi ko'e cu kansa
ponse leko'e blabi je jacnalgre gackosta noi ke'a dandu
- "ma", "mo" and other question words would be marked with leko'e birka gi la Ranis. po'u leko'u citrai bruna goi ko'i
a question mark, which I would prefer before the word to cu sanga Lu doi Brtis. mu'i Ma do plipe Li'u noi roroi se
help remind English speakers that Lojban differs from sanga semu'i lenu zdifanza ko'u ku mu'i lenu ko'u xusra
English in not requiring a rising tone of voice to express lenu le nunsanga cu fanza ko'u .I Sei ko djuno be la'edei
a question, and to make it less likely that an unnatural so'uroiku ca lei bifcau je smaji vanci poi ke'a simsa ti
'end-of-sentence' pause will be inserted:
ko'u mi piso'aroi pencauji'i lenu ro ko'a ba dzugre leva the language well enough to easily put "seljitro" back
canko Li'u together if it is split over two lines.) This would
resolve the problem Jamie points out. As for explicitly
Bob's alternative: marking the stress in such a split word - this is already
=i fo'e bacru <<lu la selke'i rirme'i cu roroi krici lenu legal in any word, although only in marking abnormal stress
ko'a ba xruti ko'a ca lo ba djedi =i ko'a noi se kansa le in names has it been found useful enough to justify the
cmalu je bunre pangerku poi ke'a se cirko fa'u lenu ke'a jarring appearance of capital letters in the middle of a
kansa ko'a cu dzukla levi nenri fo leva canko ta'i le purci word.
po ko'a =i la'edi'u cu krinu lenu le canko cu kalri ranji As for hyphenation at the end of lines, another
fi ro le vanci pagbu pe ze'o le ctebixtei alternative is the use of underscore. I recently received
=i la selke'i je selnei rirme'i goi ko'u puta'e tavla mi a letter from Italy (in English, but presumably using
lesu'u cliva ne pu'e lenu ge leko'u speni goi ko'e cu kansa Italian conventions), where underscore was used for
ponse leko'e blabi je jacnalgre gackosta noi ke'a dandu 'hyphenation', and there was no particular attempt to break
leko'e birka gi la ranis. po'u leko'u citrai bruna goi ko'i words at syllable boundaries. Whether this is desirable
cu sanga <<lu doi brtis. mu'i ma do plipe li'u>> noi roroi for Lojban or not, clearly the English model is not
se sanga semu'i lenu zdifanza ko'u ku mu'i lenu ko'u xusra universal.
lenu le nunsanga cu fanza ko'u =i (sei ko djuno be
la'edei) so'uroiku ca lei bifcau je smaji vanci poi ke'a John Hodges on Lojban representation of Time of Day: [This
simsa ti ko'u mi piso'aroi pencauji'i lenu ro ko'a ba discussion is based on material in draft lesson 3 on
dzugre leva canko li'u>> telling times and dates, and may not be too understandable
if you haven't read that lesson. John first wrote it last
Other alternatives are possible. What do our readers summer while the Blacksburg class was conducted, and re-
think? cently updated it for LogFest consideration. Karen Stein
also contributed to this proposal, and wrote on slightly
Jamie Bechtel raises an issue on conventions and different aspects, but John summarizes the issues well
terminology which may be related to the above: enough to enable people to prepare for LogFest discus-
How do you hyphenate in Lojban if the hyphen is used to
show a buffer vowel? Can you use capitalization to John: Re. telling time: Your "modified base-12" system was
indicate that a word has been cut in half? For example: not popular [with the Blacksburg class]. One problem is
...selji- that it is not truly base 12, since it contains "gai",
tro ... which is the digit for "12" in a base larger than 12. "12"
in base 12 would be "li pano". Your names for the hours go
would be written: from "la gaicac." to "la papacac." without any "la
...selJI- panocac." When we hear "la pacicac." how are we to know
tro ... what base it is in? On the face of it, it could be any
base larger than 3. Given the global use of base-10, even
Bob responds: I'm hoping there is no terminology problem for the numbers of 12-and-24-hour clocks, I think it would
here, so let me be sure, and remind readers as well. be better to go with the crowd on this one. Long Live La
Hyphen - in Lojban, the letter 'y', or the vocalic 'r' or Recicac. (la daucac. lir. and la gaicac. lec. and their kin
'n' between rafsi used to solve junction problems in lujvo- are OK but I think are likely to be used only on flowery
making caused either by impermissible consonant clusters, and formal occasions, the ones where we use Roman numerals
or a possibility of the lujvo breaking up into two smaller today.)
There is also a 'hyphen symbol': "-". This has no formal Bob: Based on this argument, it is clear that a base-12
purpose in Lojban, though I may have suggested it as a clock system should go from 0 to B (B is the base 12 digit
possible way to explicitly show pronunciation of a for '1110'), and not from 1 to C as proposed in the draft
'buffering sound' between consonants that a speaker has lesson. The 24-hour clock system should go either from 0
trouble pronouncing together. to 23, or from 00 to 1B, base-12, which I strongly prefer.
'Buffer' is used for the 'consonantal buffer', The problem of knowing what base it is exists in English
represented by the apostrophe, and for the buffering sound as well, but the difference between 12-hour and 24-hour
between consonants just mentioned. The latter sound has no clocks goes unnoticed, since people generally use the time
letteral representation in Lojban, since it is by form that others expect. You also have to know what time
definition "some vowel sound not otherwise found in Lojban" zone is referenced. I sure have been confused at times
(usually for English speakers the sound of 'i' in English when someone has responded to "What time is it?" in
"bit"). Greenwich time. The answer is convention. If people use
It is my belief that visual representation of buffers one standard all the time they won't get confused. When
should be rare, and a word in which they are explicitly they don't use one standard, you need to flag base and time
used should never be split across lines (I currently try to zone, just as we flag them in English. (Whenever I call
avoid hyphenating Lojban words at all, because no one reads someone in another time zone and leave a message on their
recorder as to what time I called, I state 'your time' to is Day-of-week/Day-of Month/Month 7:03:f
indicate the time zone. Otherwise the time I give would be =Saturday the Third of November
As for 'going with the crowd', which way does the crowd 2 digits:1 digit:2 digits (4 digits optional)
go?. Remember that in English we effectively use a base-12 is Day-of-Month/Month/Year02:2:92
system for numbers verbally - we say "twelve o'clock", not =Ground Hog's Day, 1992
"one-two o'clock", or "twoteen o'clock" (this may not al-
ways be true for 24-hour clock users, who sometimes say 08:56:3:09:5:89
"one-two-hundred" for "12 noon", which is clearly wrong). =Eight-fifty-six A.M. Tuesday the 9th of May, 1989
Only in numerical form do we use base-10 numbers, and then
you can't do base-10 arithmetic with them. If we drop 3 digits:2 or 4 digits
base-10 completely, as per the preferred form in the draft is day-of-year/year 001:95 =New Year's Day
textbook, there is no confusion as you've indicated, 1995
arithmetic is straightforward, and there is no effective
difference between the 12-hour clock and the 24-hour clock. 08:56:3:129:89
If this is 'bucking the flow', it is only being simple and Clear enough.
logical, as with the rest of the language.
Bob: Yes, weeks of months normal include partial weeks.
John: Re. telling the date: The system you present on page We don't often express such dates in numerical form, as is
3-19 seems to break down because months typically begin in possible in Lojban, but we do count and use them. Anyone
the middle of a week. What do you do with the fractional who ever has meetings on the '4th Tuesday of every month'
week at the beginning? Is it the first week of the month? knows to count all Tuesdays, and the week of month conven-
e.g. 1 August 1989 is a Tuesday; is it the first day of the tion was added to deal with such problems. I will agree
first week of the month? You give an example 2:2:9:5:1989, that the existing proposal is cumbersome and confusing,
"the 2nd day (Monday) of the 2nd week, (which is the 9th), though. I don't like some aspects of John's specific pro-
of the 5th month (May) of 1989". If you look, 9 May 1989 posal, though.
was a Tuesday. (It could be worse. 1 July 1989 was a - After the year 2000, it will not be clear for many years
Saturday. How do people count "weeks of the month" whether two digits are a year, a month, or a day, so this
nowadays anyway? When a "month" was the time between one convention is doomed during our most critical growth
New Moon and the next, it was easy; see which quarter the period. I think we should break with English a decade
moon was in. It might give you some 8-day weeks, but what early.
the hey.) I believe people say "the third Tuesday" rather - Most speakers will dislike leading zeroes - this is
then "Tuesday of the third week." 'bucking the system' as much as my base 12 proposal, only
I suggest not attempting to count "weeks of the month" at more complex, because there are a lot of patterns to
all. 3:9:5:1989, a set of four numbers, is easier to hear remember. Unlike with time, a given person will have uses
than a set of five. (Karen said five was too long a for all of these forms at some time, and cannot limit him-
string.) 3:9:5 and 9:5:1989 would usually be understood. self/herself to just one.
Sets of two still leave you guessing between day-of- I will suggest a skeleton counter-proposal for
week/day-of-month and day-of-month/month. A bare set of consideration. Come up with a canonical form, leaving out
two numbers could also be a time of day. You mention this the week-of-month element.
problem on page 3-15 and offer possible approaches but set
no standard. Try: Day-of-Week:Day-of-Month:Month:Year
HEY, I'VE GOT IT! Declare a convention that:
If less than 4 terms are given, the stated ones are the
2 digits:2 digits leftmost of this set. You can omit one of the early terms
is a time 08:56 leaving the colon "pi'e". The behind. Special cases of
week-of-month and day-of-year would be inserted at any
1 digit:2 digits logical place when desired, but must be marked with a lerfu
is a Day-of-week/Day-of-month4:06 "jy." for weekday (jeftu djedi) or "ny." for day-of-year
=Wednesday the Sixth (default assumption) (nanca). If we use "ny.", it should replace both the day-
This may be overridden if the two digits are obviously a of-month and month fields in the canonical form, since it
year 5:89 is month independence that is the intent of the usage; this
=May, 1989 prevents us from having to express two useless colons every
time. I'll also add "dy." to stand for an arbitrary non-
2 digits:1 digit year-based Julian Day (by whatever convention - like time
is Day-of-month/Month, zones, you need to know the convention in use to interpret
using d,f,g for dau, fei, gai05:9 the date. Astronomers use one standard, and various
=Fifth of September businesses and military projects each use their own
separate one; the lerfu stands either for "djedi" or
1 digit:2 digits:1 digit "djulien.")
John: Postscript 4/27/1990... looking at this nine months The arithmetic of memorization:
later, I would support giving names to the days of the Lojban: 300 cmavo, 1000 difficult gismu, 2000 easy rafsi
week, so that they can be abbreviated with letters instead Image language: 300 cmavo, an easy 1000 gismu.
of digits. Padjed. redjed. cidjed. vodjed. mudjed.
xadjed. zedjed.... so the long string of digits above is These languages would be immediately translatable into
broken by a lerfu in the middle, e.g., each other and would be stepping stones, allowing the
students to get more quickly to the point where they can
16:37:x:27:4:90 4:37 P.M. Friday 27 April 1990 think in the language, the next step being the learning of
the Lojban predicates. The easier entry should allow many
This would be easier to read than a string of six digits, more people to get involved in Lojban's logical structure,
and would reduce confusion over which digit meant what. and the goal would be to rapidly swell the number of people
interested in Lojban/Loglan. A major goal of Lojban should
Bob: This would be grammatical - you can have a bare lerfu be to build up public awareness of the language and in-
in a numeral position, but would be difficult to use. creasing the number of people involved in Lojban (and minor
Remember that in even a moderately noisy environment, lerfu variants).
are nearly indistinguishable, so we can't use them too Technology continues to make communication around the
heavily in verbal communications (their main purpose is for world easier. A person with a PC or MAC on a computer
spelling, which is slow and enunciated, and for numerical network types out a message to a correspondent and it is
variables, which tends to be few in number or are received around the world, sometimes with a delay of a day
subscripted - John Cowan has noted the need for long-name but often in seconds. Such ease of communications with an
forms of the ALPHA-BRAVO-CHARLIE genre for noisy environ- electronic interface creates opportunities.
ments, and names couldn't be used inside of a numeral Automatic computer translation between languages does not
string.) Requiring a difficult to distinguish day-of-week appear feasible in the foreseeable future. One particular
letter every time you want to state the day-of-week seems problem is that words in the source language have many
to be asking for resolution difficulties. I still prefer meanings and the speakers and listeners are able to select
my null:dayofmonth... idea. one from the context. Another problem is that the source
If you want to use time/date combinations, you need to language and the target language have completely different
label the final position of the time, or you can't tell structures. Undoubtedly the occasional ambiguity of the
whether it is minutes, seconds, etc. You could use "t." grammars creates additional problems.
for "tcika". I think combined date/times will be used only Suppose a group decided to establish a family of
in specialized circumstances, just like the other two con- languages designed so that translation between them would
ventions I've proposed that require lerfu, and thus won't be easy. What would that family look like. We are going
cause confusion. The four lerfu I've proposed are probably to call the version for speakers of English "Logenglish"
close to a maximally diverse phonetic set, which is and other versions might be Logmandarin, Logportugese, etc.
convenient for the noisy environment problem, though I We will call these languages "images" or "image languages"
think varying position of the lerfu-label within the since they are exact images of the original. The
various colons will provide redundancy for noisy environ- vocabularies of Logenglish would be selected based on
ment resolution. English in order to ease the learning problem. On the
other hand the words should not be English words since
their grammatical use and exact meanings would be different
Lojban as a Language Template and the user should not be lulled into thinking that he or
by James A. Yorke and Celso Grebogi she was using a trivial variant of English. (A problem
with the image language approach is that the student might
Abstract: We propose creating a series of languages confuse what is a legal Logenglish predicate word and what
using Lojban as a template. These "image" languages would is not, but when eventually learning the full language, it
be identical to Lojban except that the predicate words is unlikely that he/she would confuse Logenglish words with
would be adapted so as to be based on the language of the Lojban, because if the word is recognizably like English,
target population. For each and every predicate in Lojban it is almost certainly not Lojban.) The vocabularies of
there would be exactly one predicate in the image language, other image languages would be based on the native
and it would have exactly the same meaning as in Lojban. language. In principal anyone could create his or her own
These "image languages" would be trivially translated into set of words to correspond to the Lojban. However, it is
each other trivially by substitution. Continued work on likely that a group such as a high school class would speak
Lojban would of course be critical since Loglan is the the language to one another and so would have to have a
template. No development work would be carried out for the single image.
image languages. All official changes in Lojban would by The initial goal would be have the structures of
implication be immediately adapted to the derivative Logenglish (i.e., Logical English) and Logportugese so
languages. The advantages would be to minimize memory of similar that a computer could translate from one to the
those parts of the language which do not carry structure, other trivially so that a Logenglish message typed into one
allowing concentration on grammar and short words. terminal could be translated into a universal form by the
terminal and transmitted and the receiving terminal could The following predicates indicate how one might proceed,
virtually instantly translate the universal form into but each image language should have rules of thumb
Logportugese or Logswahili. The sender would not have any describing how it handles certain situations such as how to
reason to know the dialect of the receiver. expand a single syllable word in English into a two
A second more distant goal would be to have these syllable predicate, from "bulb" to "bulbu" and "grow" into
languages created so that when spoken they would be easily "groro" for example. Here we need to create a final vowel
parsed into words by computer so that when a sentence in since the original words have only one and we have chosen
Loghindi was spoken into a computer controlled telephone, to repeat the existing vowel. We suggest that when
the computer would translate the sounds into letters and possible, Logenglish should stay close to the spelling of
words of the universal language and transmit the universal English (within the constraints of Lojban's rules for C/V
form, which would then be transmitted to the listener after patterns) even when the pronunciation changes
being transformed into Logspanish of Lognavaho or whatever significantly. In Logenglish, all letters are pronounced
was needed. If the family of languages had a one to one including a final "e".
correspondence between words and the word ordering was the Hence:
same, the spoken words could be transmitted word by word "cattle"
(with electronic indicators of tone and pitch and becomes
inflection and timing) and the listener would here those "catle".
words translated into his or her own variant as they were
spoken by the speaker, word by word. "The pretty little girls school"
Assuming these goals were set for a family of languages, might become
then what would the design look like. The universal form "le preti litle girli skolo"
would be a template. Words would have meanings that would
be invariant for all the dialects. We would like to Of course the Lojban grammar is unambiguous so that
suggest that Lojban is an excellent candidate for such a "preti" modifies "litle", which modifies "girli" which
template. The image languages would not have to have the modifies "skolo". We have retained the short word "le"
same set of letters and sounds as in Lojban but predicates (from Lojban), since we believe that little would be gained
should have the Lojban prescribed pattern of vowels and in trying to get little words that correspond to English.
consonants, (e.g. basic predicates of the form CCVCV or In fact the little words represent structures that are
CCVCV). In our efforts here, we have assumed the quite different from English. In learning short words, the
permissible vowels are the same as for Lojban and have the student would be putting the effort into learning aspects
same pronunciation. Such a choice makes it easier to use of the grammar that are fundamentally different from
the image language as a stepping stone in acquiring Lojban. his/her native language. The effort in learning the image
The image languages should be designed to maximize the language would make it easier to progress to Lojban, having
ability to learn the vocabularies. The truly important already learned the grammar and short words.
constraint is that there must be a clear one-to-one In choosing words for the image languages, we have chosen
correspondence between words, including compound predi- to keep the spelling as similar as possible to the natural
cates. Hence the universal language (Lojban) would language, keeping in mind the pronunciation would probably
continue to be developed and each addition or modification be following Lojban rules. That would emphasize to the
would be reflected in the image languages. student that this is not his/her native language. Notice
For the beginner, the terminal might be quite helpful, in any case the spellings in the image language are rarely
with an on-line dictionary suggesting Logenglish the same as for the natural language.
translations of English words, and it could parse the
sentences and warn of ungrammatical constructions that SAMPLE ELEMENTARY PREDICATE WORDS (=gismu IN LOJBAN)
violate the rules of Lojban. Such programs would have to
created. Some, such as the parser, would be the same for The words below are from the beginning of the "baselined
all the languages, since it could be executed after the gismu list" and hence all begin with 'b' since gismu begin
translation into Lojban. The basic translation program with consonants. The table illustrates that many gismu can
would just substitute words from one language to the other, be created in image languages with spellings recognizable
based on a list of pairs it has in memory. It would be to a speaker of the language. Others like "badna"
much simpler than the existing parsing programs. ("banana") are not easy to improve on. The Logmandarin
The creation of Lojban from Loglan (a registered words were created with the assistance of M.-Z. Ding and
trademark of Dr. J. C. Brown) has demonstrated how the Y.-C. Lai.
words can be changed, and how harmless it is to substitute Parentheses show the word or phrase being approximated.
new spellings. Lojban has gone much further in continuing
the development of the language. No such development would Lojban Log- Logpor- Log- Log-
be possible for the image languages since it is critical english tuguese spanish mandarin
that they be exact template projections of Lojban in order ------ ------- ------- ------- --------
to guarantee trivial translation between the image bundle/package containing ...
languages. bakfu pakje fardo bulto bogva
(fardo) (bulto) (bogwa)
chalk in form of ... from source of ...
cow/cattle/ox/beef bakri tcaka jitsi tizja fenbi
bakni catle gadjo gnado nuxnu (giz) (tiza) (fenbi)
(gado) (ganado) *(female
baktu bukte balde balde tongo
(balde) (balde) (tong)
plant bulb of species ...
balji bulbu bulbo bulbo falgi
(bulbo) (bulbo) (hui gin)
balni balko balko balko yangta
(balcao) (balcon) (yan tai)
blade of ...
balre blade filjo filjo davpi
(fio) (filo) (dao pi)
future of ...
balvi futre futro futro junla
(futuro) (futuro) (jung la)
bandu prote prote prote bavfu
(proteger) (proteger) (bao hu)
*"mumnu" is "female cow" while "nu" is non-sexed "bovine"
In Logenglish the letter 'x' could be reserved to
indicate where the constructed word does not correspond to
the English. Hence English "apple" might be "xaple" in
Logenglish. We used "tc" to represent "ch" since the
spelling of "ch" in English is "tc" in Lojban.
COMPOUND WORDS (lujvo) FROM PARTICLES OF PREDICATES (rafsi)
Since Lojban is the template, it remains critical to
continue development of compound words in Lojban. While
users could make up compounds on the fly as they are
encouraged to in Lojban, the only official compound words
in any Log-language would be those that correspond to those
officially sanctioned words in Lojban. For the purpose of
minimizing the required memory, we propose that there be
only one acceptable rafsi for each gismu in derivative lan-
guages, namely the fragment formed by dropping the final
vowel. To go from a compound Lojban word to the corre-
sponding word a derivative language, break the compound
into rafsi, e.g., R1 R2 R3, and then list the corresponding
predicates, P1 P2 P3, and translate them into the
derivative language, yielding D1 D2 D3, cut the final
vowels off D1 and D2 and put the result together, as one
would in Lojban, adding hyphen 'y' as required [ed.: which
is between each pair of rafsi, as the proposal is stated -
the canonical 4-letter form is best described as replacing
the final vowel by a 'y'].
The paucity of fragments will make pronunciation a bit
more awkward but it will drastically cut the list of items
to memorize. The objective here is to minimize the It would seem wise to limit those criticisms of image
memorization of parts of the language that do not languages that are made on the grounds that the similarity
correspond to really new grammatical structures. to native languages would cause confusion, since it is
By providing the beginner with predicates that have a often claimed that Lojban and Loglan and both highly
rather recognizable spelling, we would making easy to get recognizable. While those two are clearly less
into the first level of the language. And it would be easy recognizable to the student, the requirements of testing
for people of every language group. If someone wanted to Sapir-Whorf suggests that any similarity is scientifically
make Lojban available in Tibet, they would undertaking a problematical.
major project, since they would have to produce We would like to thank Bob LeChevalier for his comments
instructional material in the image language. It would a which have helped us clarify the issues.
relatively easy extra step to create a translation list of
1000 basic predicates. Bob: I'll try to respond with brief summaries of some
While many people will tell us it is not difficult to points that I've raised in objection in the comments they
learn the almost 1000 gismu, apparently not many have in mentioned (my actual responses to their drafts were several
fact mastered all the gismu and the short words including pages long). First a general objection, though:
the digits and so on. There is another thousand plus rafsi The basic assumption behind this proposal is that
to memorize in Lojban, while all of the rafsi would be memorizing all of the Lojban cmavo, gismu, and rafsi is
automatic in the image languages. necessary to get "into the first level of the language", in
their words. It isn't so. For the "first level" we would
FINAL THOUGHTS never recommend anyone learn other than the long-form
rafsi, which are made the same way as in their proposal.
Lojban helps us understand the nature of thought and the Also, to learn the basic grammatical structure required to
nature of language. It is a wonderful opportunity to 'think in the language', you don't need more than several
explore these ideas that are so fundamental to the nature dozen gismu.
of human beings, and we feel Lojban should be of interest However, conversation and letter writing are not 'first-
to an immense audience for this reason. level' skills. Nor would learning the basic structures or
The first question about the usability Lojban is whether even a thousand gismu allow you to 'think in the language'
people can think in the language. Users would really like for real. You can only get a taste of the experience until
to know what thinking in Lojban is like. We suspect that you can remember or conjure up words for the entire variety
limited vocabularies prevent most people interested in the of human experience that you wish to deal with; the average
language from ever finding out and the image language idea English speaker has a vocabulary between 20000 and 100000
should allow people to expand their vocabularies rapidly. words. You can 'think' in a foreign language with a frac-
Logenglish and Logportugese and other image languages could tion of those numbers, but it isn't a tiny fraction. For
help people find out. When people learn something, they thinking, conversing, or writing in a new language, it
like a learning curve that gets them to a operational level isn't practical to 'look up in the dictionary' to find
quickly. (It will take some time to see if it is possible suggested Logenglish words for your English words, even
to restrict each word to a single meaning). when it would be a straight word for word substitution -
The learning curve should allow them to progress which it usually wouldn't be.
incrementally, so that learning a bit more allows them to Thus we have two conflicting goals. If you want the
do a bit more. Currently Lojban presents a huge memory 'quick gratification' of a survey of the grammar - enough
requirement that has little to do with the required to learn about the perils of English grammar and the nature
learning of the grammar. If people want to learn to speak of language, you can use Logenglish and the other images,
the language, we should make it as easy as possible, (and or you could just as easily use Lojban with real English
in particular we should not burden them with technical 'predicates' - the specific meanings of the words is not as
terms like "bridi", "valsi", "brivla", "gismu", "kunbri" important for such a purpose, and English speakers could
(obsolete), "cmavo", "glico", "lujvo", "rafsi", "tanru", get used to a pidgin that did not distinguish parts of
"selbri", and undoubtedly others). speech easier than they could memorize any set of words
By making relatively easy to get fluent in a dialect of well enough to communicate.
Lojban, we could get a larger number of people who could But if you want to use Lojban (or a relative) as a
experience the mind-bending aspects of Lojban (as opposed language, for the purposes of a language, you will need to
to the purely painful aspects). By having people work quite a bit harder, and the advantages of an
communicating between Logenglish and Logmandarin, we could intermediate image language are lost.
rapidly see what the differences are in the way the
language is used. We could more rapidly demonstrate that Specific (and minor points):
there is something to test. We would greatly increase the 1. Many of the specific proposed image words do not meet
number of candidates who might want to take the next step the Lojban rules for permissible initials an medials.
of learning the Lojban predicate vocabulary. Making these lists up will not be trivial. But if someone
By having an array of these image languages, we would wants to volunteer, and then get a few people to volunteer
keep the supremacy of Lojban clear. learning the words to try an image language experiment,
fine. But I doubt if we can justify any major effort by la
lojbangirz. as an organization along these lines in the one proposal for hyphenating le'avla), or prefixed with a
near future. hyphen so they don't get read as Lojban words. Nora's
2. Teaching to people in Tibet will still require writing Loglan translator involved a step something like this, but
a textbook and dictionary in Tibetan, whether image added standard suffixes to convert between nouns, verbs,
languages are used or not. I therefore don't see any and adjectives.
savings due to image languages; you actually need to do
more work, since you additionally have to invent new gismu Now, how many of the Logenglish substitutes can you
and redo all the Lojban words in the books to fit the new identify without going to the third passage? Do any of the
image. substitutions help you recognize the meaning of the passage
3. People who know only the image languages can talk more easily? Anyone who wishes is welcome to try doing
only to others who know the same image, unless they are better at coming up with good Logenglish words for each
computer aided. Computers are not yet sufficiently gismu in the passage.
ubiquitous, especially outside the U. S., to make
intercultural computer communication anything but a toy of a.:
the elite. .I fo'e xutra <<lu la selpitxi parnysiste cu roroi belvi
4. There is a reference objecting to the Lojban lenu ko'a ba retru ko'a ca lo ba daxta .I ko'a noi se
terminology we use in teaching the grammar, and Dr. Yorke xacpo le smala je bronu spanydogvo poi ke'a se losxe fa'u
has proposed using metaphorical English instead (such as lenu ke'a xacpo ko'a cu valkycomxo levi xinsi fo leva vindo
"scene" for "bridi", "script" for "selbri", and "role" for ta'i le pasta po ko'a .I la'edi'u cu resno lenu le vindo
"sumti"). I personally think more people would be confused cu xopne conti fi ro le xevne parta pe ze'o le
by this, since the might not see the analogy, but we can nigvybetnytimxe
mention such analogies in the textbook as alternative .I la selpitxi je selxinsi parnysista goi ko'u puta'e
teaching aids, if readers think they help (can readers talka mi lesu'u levza ne pu'e lenu ge leko'u sposu goi ko'e
determine the analogy without further explanation - does it cu xacpo xonxu leko'e xitxe je vatrynalpatru covrycotxo noi
clear anything up for your understanding?). It is ke'a xanga leko'e xarma gi la ranis. po'u leko'u xongysupre
certainly not Lojbanic to use figurative metaphors like brote goi ko'i cu singi <<lu doi brtis. mu'i ma do lipxi
these - Lojban tanru are as analytic as pragmatically li'u>> noi roroi se singi semu'i lenu xamzyxanxo ko'u ku
possible. mu'i lenu ko'u xasre lenu le nunsingi cu xanxo ko'u .I sei
5. Regarding recognition of Logenglish apart from ko konvo be la'edei so'uroiku ca lei brezyvitxo je silna
Lojban, they say: "If a word is recognizably like English, xevne poi ke'a simli ti ko'u mi piso'aroi tinkyvitxyxopni
it is almost certainly not Lojban". Truly a cynical lenu ro ko'a ba valkypatru leva vindo li'u>>
observation. Many Lojban words remind people of English
words, but not always the one closest to their meaning. b.:
6. The only way to talk intelligently about this .I fo'e speka <<lu la selpitli parnysista cu roroi belvi
proposal is with an example involving more than just lenu ko'a ba retru ko'a ca lo ba dande .I ko'a noi se
isolated words. I'll use the same Saki excerpt used for copni le smalu je brona spanydogji poi ke'a se losna fa'u
examining John Hodges writing convention proposals. The lenu ke'a copni ko'a cu valkycomgo levi ninsi fo leva vindo
following are three versions of the same passage, using ta'i le pasta po ko'a .I la'edi'u cu justi lenu le vindo
alternatives forms for the Logenglish brivla (and some of cu kopne conti fi ro le nevne parta pe ze'o le
my readability proposals from that earlier text). nignybetnytimne
a. the text using Logenglish words derived as closely as .I la selpitli je selninsi parnysista goi ko'u puta'e
I can guess to the algorithm suggested (which was loosely talka mi lesu'u levna ne pu'e lenu ge leko'u sposa goi ko'e
stated, and not followed exactly in all of the sample cu copni ponsu leko'e blino je vatrynaltrugo covrycotsa noi
words), including using 'x' where English words do not have ke'a xanga leko'e barma gi la ranis. po'u leko'u zungymosta
a necessary consonant (or a 'v' 'z' or 't' if 'x' cannot be brote goi ko'i cu singe <<lu doi brtis. mu'i ma do jumpa
used and a voiced or unvoiced consonant is needed), reusing li'u>> noi roroi se singe semu'i lenu muzdyrirta ko'u ku
the vowel if the English doesn't have two, and otherwise mu'i lenu ko'u serta lenu le nunsinge cu rirta ko'u .I sei
stressing visual recognition; I'll also use only the key ko konvo be la'edei so'uroiku ca lei brizyvitno je silna
word to maximize the reader's chances of guessing. nevne poi ke'a simla ti ko'u mi piso'aroi tinkyvitnynopni
b. a variant version, still maximizing visual recognition lenu ro ko'a ba valkytrugo leva vindo li'u>>
- but trying to devise less structured ways to deal with
recognition problems of each word. In some cases, I use a c.:
synonym of the key word. .I fo'e -utter <<lu la sel-pity -parent-sister cu roroi
(In neither a. nor b. did I check carefully for words that -believe lenu ko'a ba -return ko'a ca lo ba -day .I ko'a
would conflict if final vowels are dropped. In a., noi se -accompany le -small je -brown -spanish-dog poi ke'a
however, I had to use "accompany" instead of "with" for se -lose fa'u lenu ke'a -accompany ko'a cu -walk-go levi
"kansa" in order to get a non-conflicting word without -in fo leva -window ta'i le -past po ko'a .I la'edi'u cu
great gymnastics.) -reason lenu le -window cu -open -continue fi ro le
c. using English words, tied together with a visible -evening -part pe ze'o le -night-between-time
hyphen which is to be pronounced as /yuh/ (this syllable is
.I la sel-pity je sel-in -parent-sister goi ko'u puta'e merged, the Danes learned English easily, but not the de-
-talk mi lesu'u -leave ne pu'e lenu ge leko'u -married goi clensions. The same thing happened when the Normans
ko'e cu -accompany -possess leko'e -white je -water-nal- conquered England - they generally didn't learn English, so
pass_through -cover-coat noi ke'a -hang leko'e -arm gi la English borrowed heavily from Norman French. But French
ranis. po'u leko'u -young-superlative -brother goi ko'i cu also had different, incompatible declensions, and differ-
-sing <<lu doi brtis. mu'i ma do -leap li'u>> noi roroi se ences in gender, thus reinforcing the confusion when
-sing semu'i lenu -amusing-annoy ko'u ku mu'i lenu ko'u English speakers learned French. These two languages were
-assert lenu le nun-sing cu -annoy ko'u .I sei ko -know be so mutually incompatible that eventually Anglo-Normans
la'edei so'uroiku ca lei -breeze-without je -quiet -evening reverted back to English when their ties to France
poi ke'a -similar ti ko'u mi piso'aroi -think-without-opine weakened.
lenu ro ko'a ba -walk-pass_through leva -window li'u>>
David: Still, I don't think thought is as constrained by
language as might appear. Poetry struggles to overcome
Letters, Comments, and Responses that limitation; most likely social factors constrain
thought, like being burned at the stake for saying the
from David Morrow Earth is a sphere.
By the way, has anyone tried to train animals using Bob: I think the Sapir-Whorf constraint, if it exists, is
Lojban? Perhaps it would turn out more effective then of a different nature. I think that the constraints of
natural languages for communication maybe with highly grammar may hinder our ability to manipulate concepts that
developed types like primates or those who are intelligent are encoded into particular grammatical boxes. Where the
and very different like whales. hindrance is too severe, we avoid pursuing those lines of
thought unless they are particularly fruitful and useful in
Bob: Not really, although I talk to my cat in Lojban, and the short term. Individuals, such as poets and geniuses
he sometimes seems to know a few words - but it may be my like Einstein, may break through the barriers for one or
tone of voice or the similarity to English words that does two concepts, but the society as a whole cannot follow in
the trick. There aren't all that many people working seri- their footsteps.
ously on training primates and dolphins, which are likely
to be the only animals intelligent enough to deal with from Jamie Bechtel:
grammar at all.
"Nomic" is a game designed to mimic the way a government
David: Also, it seems to me that history can show whether works. All the rules of Nomic are subject to change, and
Whorf-Sapir is right, though I'll admit the evidence is the initial set of rules for any game of Nomic simply tell
open to interpretation. However, the evidence seems to how to go about changing the rules. After a short while of
show that language's effect on thought is not so ironclad. playing Nomic, the game can easily be changed to the point
Notice that highly inflected Latin and West Teutonic (ie, where it is no longer the same game. Whether a person is
English) changed during the Dark Ages to predominantly playing by the rules or not, is determined almost entirely
analytical grammars that remain today. This might be by judgement, which need not be bound by rules of prece-
ascribed to the changed mindset between Classical and dent. Any game of Nomic can quickly expand to include all
Medieval civilizations, but German in its homeland remained aspects of life. A description of Nomic can be found in
inflected, and non-Indo-European languages like Basque and the article "Nomic: A Self-Modifying Game Based on
Hungarian (or rather their speakers) all participated in Reflexivity in Law" in the June '82 Scientific American.
Medieval culture. Further, Modern civilization differs It can also be found in Metamagical Themas by Douglas
profoundly from Medieval and even Renaissance culture Hofstadter.
despite the fact that we could probably converse with A possible way to test Sapir-Whorf would be to create an
Chaucer or Shakespeare. Indeed, our civilization probably artificial "game-culture" and test the influence of various
resembles Roman and Hellenistic civilizations - at least in languages on its development. It seems to me that a
attitudes and philosophy - much more than it does the culture can be thought of as an extremely complex game that
worlds of Alfred or Luther. Of course, we could view the extends to all aspects of social interaction. Of course,
attempts to develop artificial languages as a result of our culture differs from most games in various ways. Cultures
outlook... have little distinction between the rules that compose the
"games", and the rules of skill (social skill). The rules
Bob: I read a history of English not long ago. Researchers of cultural-games are also constantly under change,
believe that English inflection was lost for a much (especially between individuals). Also, in natural
different reason than you propose. Specifically, England cultures, it is not always clear when one is acting outside
was conquered twice in less than a century, first by the the cultural rules. But Nomic does have these traits.
Danes, then by the Normans. The Danes spoke a North-Ger- To test Sapir-Whorf (at least its influence on culture)
manic language which was quite similar to West-Germanic you might create a flexible self-modifying game (like
Old-English in vocabulary and grammar. But the inflection Nomic) that closely mimics most aspects of culture. You
pattern was different for most words. As the two peoples could then have several small populations of different
linguistic-cultures, each starting out with the same game- event of '... swims ...'", or "I want the swimming". You
culture, and then eventually developing their own. (The can of course be explicit with "mi djica lenu mi limna",
games will probably change the languages too - maybe just and we tend to do so in writing for new people. If the
pragmatics). Testing the effects of various languages on replicated place is more complicated and you don't want to
these artificial game-cultures would be simple, since you repeat it, we have a couple of anaphoric ways to back
would be able to see the change of the game's rules (since reference the earlier place (or forward reference the later
you could know the rules they started with). place - a very un-English thing to do).
Jim: Yes, Loglan abstractions lack arguments. But when
from Jim Carter you look carefully at what you (I) actually say, I find
that literally 99% of the abstractions need an argument.
[Editor's Note: These comments were received and replied Some gismu have cases which are usually occupied by
to via the network mail, and have been slightly revised to abstractions, like djica x2, and these almost invariably
make them more clear to the general reader. In some cases need a copy of a main phrase argument (x1 for djica). Of
there is non-standard technical vocabulary, and references course variants occur, as in "mi djica lenu do limna". But
to things Jim Carter has worked on apart from Lojban. the variants are much less common. Even rarer are open
Enough of the comments are relevant that we've chosen to first arguments; in -gua!spi I tell the user to say "^:i
print them with minimal editing, and without trying to add !ji /daw !suy !jl", where "jl" is the anonymous variable.
much extra explanation. But this most rare form is the default in Lojban.
Some of the comments are in response to things in this In modal phrases it turns out that most (maybe 80%) also
issue (specifically the LogFest plans), and some are need a replicated argument, but it's much more variable
responses to items in JL10. Bob responds to some, but not than in abstractions; it's about equally divided between
all, of the comments.] "previous sentence" (in discursives), x1 of restricted
phrase (in restrictive sub-clauses and many subordinate
Jim: assertions), and "me" (for the rest of the sub-assertions).
1. Responding to Bob's: "What short term applications for I have some rules worked out that are about 98% effective
Lojban are worth highest priority?" at getting the right replicated argument, with very little
cueing from the user.
- As a substitute for Pidgin English in linguistically
impoverished areas (not exactly short term). Bob: I may be missing something here - I think we're
- Developing a parser-organizer -- not just a parse tree, saying the same thing. In normal conversational use in
but identify the antecedents of pronouns, which phrase ends Lojban, people use a lot of abstractions. But normally,
up in which case, etc. the x1 place of those abstractions is totally obvious from
This has been extremely valuable to me in developing - context; in fact, even without context, generally it is the
gua!spi [ed. note: Carter's derivative of Loglan], as it x1 of the main bridi. The speaker is always permitted to
reveals usage problems which are not at all obvious to an omit 'obvious sumti' as ellipsis, provided that the
unaided human. listener will understand the implied reference. Thus in
Approximate distribution of code lines: Lojban usage, the replicated x1 place will often be left
Data structures, link-list subrt., etc. 1000 out. (But it can be referenced easily with a single cmavo
Word-related basic subroutines 1000 pro-sumti if you really want to be explicit.)
Reading dictionary, lexer, parser, Now, as to other-than-x1 places of the abstraction, these
caselinks 800 tend to be specified about as often as they would be in the
Arguments, infinitives, compounds, main bridi, and therefore might use replicated places. But
replication 1200 again, our pro-sumti system handles this.
Modal phrases 300 In Lojban, discursives and 'modal phrases' (our sumti
Pronouns, modal antecedents, proper names 1400 which are tagged with a sumti tcita, I think), are
Printing output 1000 grammatically distinct from simple abstraction sumti, and a
difference in the default interpretation of the ellipsis is
2. Replicated cases -- does Lojban have them? Does Lojban less likely to be a problem. For subordinate assertions in
want them? For example, in "I want to swim", who's going relative clauses, we have the pro-sumti "ke'a" to refer
to swim? You or I? This is an example of a replicated outward to the main assertion, but this can usually be
case. Replicated cases have turned out to be much more ellipsized, too, just as in English ("The house that Jack
important for -gua!spi than I originally anticipated. built." = "The house that is built by Jack." = "The house
such that Jack built it." The latter is the translation of
Bob: If I understand your referent, these are usually the Lojban phrasing of the colloquial English.)
ellipsized in the natural languages, and are optionally so By the way, Institute Loglan does allow places on
in Lojban, although in Lojban it is far more obvious that abstraction - they just make a grammatical distinction
an ellipsis is taking place. Thus "I want to swim" is "mi between an abstraction optionally with sumti, and one
djica lenu limna", where limna is a bare selbri with the without sumti. This distinction is made in violation of
first place 'mi' ellipsized, meaning literally "I want the audio-visual isomorphism ("lepo [mi] godzi" vs "le po
godzi"), where in oral speech you cannot tell the intended - See above. I freely teach my kid -gua!spi grammar since
grammar of the "po". it works pretty well on English and since it's more
coherent than what he's getting in school.
3. Responding to Bob's: "We also will have the goal, by the 6. Responding to Bob's: "Carter's work, in particular, will
end of the weekend, of deciding on several last minute take a fair amount of tanru and lujvo re-making; he used a
proposals regarding the language and declaring a lot of Institute Loglan words that are based on no longer
conditional or unconditional baseline (freeze) on the acceptable tanru."
- Plus playing fast and loose with the organizational
- Hooray! At last, an official Loglan grammar! (Now you compounding rules, such as they were under the Institute.
can proceed to work on the organizational syntax level.) This is an area that you should look at very closely:
regularities in compound formation.
Bob: If you mean the syntax of greater than sentence
length constructs, it is already in the grammar. If you Bob: We want to see what large numbers of Lojbanists do in
mean questions of anaphora interpretation, they're already compound formation before making decisions. 'Let usage
defined. decide.' Your experiences were relevant, but are only one
set of data points. Besides you, only JCB ever made a
Jim: You wouldn't believe how hard I had to work to get great number of compounds, and we both know that his were
"the speaker" and "the listener" identified consistently, awful (He still defends Institute Loglan "mormao" for
as well as "the reply sentence". And that was only a small "kill" even though it requires a different interpretation
part of the organization work. of "madzo" in a compound than separate. Oh, and Faith Rich
made a lot, too. But she (and most others who make com-
Bob: Ah! I think you are talking about computer pounds) made some bad ones too, based on JCB's patterns,
recognition of anaphora in a multi-party conversation, and often overdefined or used English idiom. She also
given no clues as to who is talking. That isn't a never wrote text, so what work she did with place
grammatical problem, but rather an artificial intelligence structures is untested. In fact, almost everyone who makes
problem. lujvo forgets about place structures.
With live speakers, this isn't a problem - in any given
utterance, we know who 'I' am and who 'you' are, and if Jim: My point here is that compounds ought to have a
there is any question in our minds, we can identify either specific meaning, and therefore need to be prescribed, not
with a vocative or a relative clause. In narrative described.
recording of dialog, the narrator has to identify the
speakers, too. Bob: Agreed that compounds must have a specified meaning,
but who is doing the prescribing. Every linguist and
Jim: lexicographer will tell you that a dictionary is-and-must-
4. Responding to Bob's: "There will be a discussion of Jim be descriptive of what people actually do, not
Yorke and Celso Grebogi's proposal to have Lojban image prescriptive. The main difference in logical languages is
languages using gismu based on single languages to make that whoever does the dictionary must gather enough
them easier to learn." information to form a consensus on what actual usage
dictates a word's meaning to be. To make this process
- Hiss, boo! I am of two minds on this. First, the main easier, we'll quickly develop guidelines as to how to
benefit to me of Loglan, and now -gua!spi, is its grammar algorithmically derive the place structure by combining
and organization, and so it makes a lot of sense to use terms - probably quite similar to what you proposed several
Lojban grammar on English vocabulary. I do this in the years ago for Institute Loglan. But if people don't choose
"English" output option of my parser-organizer. However, to follow these guidelines when they make a new lujvo, it's
when you've read as much of that swill as I have, you their language, not the dictionary writers'.
quickly learn that Loglan demands 1-1 correspondence
between meaning and word mapping; "un-only" just doesn't Jim:
cut it for "barely". 7. Responding to Bob's "In addition, the current gismu
Second, case defaults, switches, replication, etc. are list has more expressive power than earlier lists."
very specific and aren't present in English. Thus you're
really learning Lojban or -gua!spi vocabulary, just without - Right on! Most if not all of your added gismu are in -
the words, and you might as well do the whole job right. gua!spi.
5. Responding to Bob's: "Side issues may include 8. Responding to the Institute's proposal to divide gismu
applications such as teaching Lojban to kids (including into "nouns", "verbs", "bodyparts", etc. sounds rather
using such teaching to help them learn English better)" familiar. In Old Loglan JCB defined all the motion words
with the same cases (x1 = mover, x2 = destination, x3 =
origin x4 = route), and many such categories were apparent
that had somewhat uniform cases. I was able to adjust the "x1 is the house of resident x2". x1 is the first case
definitions of a relatively small number of words and get (or represents). "That is my house". "That" occupies the
the great majority of Loglan words into uniform case first case, and "me" occupies the second.
categories. This was the basis of my Loglan thesaurus,
which I have continued into -gua!spi. HOWEVER, it was Thus the "accusative case" or "x2 case" is actually a set
always my intention that the thesaurus categories were of what I would call "cases", one per word, so you would
merely a learning aid, just as JCB says in L1 of the motion more naturally say "the accusative case of 'flecto'". The
words, and if a category member seemed to need a variant relation "case" isn't very useful without its x2 case being
definition I gave it one. For example under Clothes, "x1 occupied by a specific word. (This despite the Institute's
is a boot"; "x1 is a coat"; etc.; but also "x1 is a curtain idea to codify definition regularities by designating
over x2" and "x1 is a garment worn by x2 on its body part specific meanings for specific cases, e.g. x1 is "always"
x3". an actor, except that isn't true.)
As for "nouns", I'm not averse to using that terminology
for single-case gismu, as a tie-in for people who do have Bob: A 'bridi' is a relation among 'sumti places'; a
nouns in their native language. But of course the student 'gismu' is only a word form - the five letter brivla
has to be reminded that Lojban doesn't have special words (bridi-valsi = bridi-words) that can be combined into lujvo
for "is a" in sentences like "George is a horse"; "horse" compounds using their rafsi affixes. The relationship of a
is very verb-like in Lojban. bridi is indicated by the 'selbri' (erroneously called
'kunbri' for a while). A selbri may be an individual gismu
9. Responding to Athelstan's comments on Esperanto "rules": or other brivla, or it may be a tanru metaphor. We avoid
- a. How does Esperanto get away with not having all the 'case', along with other linguistic terms that have
article variants that Lojban has? For that matter, how different definitions for different people (do we mean
does English? Close attention to articles is one big accusative/nominative/genitive, or actor/beneficiary).
benefit Loglan (and progeny) has brought to me. Thus, what JCB calls 'case tags', and I think you call
'modals', we call 'sumti tcita' or 'sumti tags' that label
Bob: The distinctions made by Lojban aren't often a sumti as to the relationship it holds to the rest of the
consciously made in English and other languages, although bridi, or in a relative clause, to the sumti to which it is
different ones are used that are somewhat comparable. Thus attached. (All this confusing and conflicting grammar
le/lo correspond approximately to definite/indefinite terminology is why la lojbangirz. uses Lojban words in its
articles in English; lo/loi corresponds approximately to teaching materials. Any English word we use gets attacked
the difference between 'count nouns' and 'mass nouns' - by experts who say that we are using the wrong jargon word
though nearly all English words are categorized as one or for the concept as it is understood in their specialty. We
the other, whereas any Lojban word can be either. Names in cannot afford to misuse jargon if we want to gain academic
English have no article, except for 'The Donald' of recent respectability.)
news tabloids, and a few archaic usages surviving from when
British explorers used them for faraway places like 'The Jim:
Transvaal', and rivers like 'The Mississippi'. In any 10. My comments on Bob's answers to questions from students
case, the capital is enough to mark a name in English in in Dr. Gorsch's class on semiotics:
most circumstances. Set descriptors are relatively un- - Without question, different languages slice up the pie
useful in English. Now of course, all this is excuses - differently. My own favorite example was when my wife and
English is just a vague language, but it does have some I were buying a picture frame. She was chattering with the
complex structure to its articles and their equivalents. storekeeper in Chinese, choosing which one, and finally de-
cided: "|mai /hong -kuang". Now I know a little bit of
Jim: Chinese, and "/hong" means "red". So he takes down a BLACK
b. I suggest that you nail down official terminology for frame. It turns out that whatever the luminance, if the
"case", "sumti place", and so on. In Latin there are a hue is red then you can call the thing "/hong", whereas in
finite number (six?) of official cases, which are used English, things below a certain luminance are "black"
semi-idiosyncratically on each word, much like Lojban's x1, whatever the hue.
x2, x3, x4, x5 (or Loglan's X, Y, Q, H, W). As I use the The same is true on phonemes. I have to hear a word
words, a gismu is a relation between one or more "cases", repeated several times before I can distinguish between
much as a function takes arguments. However, what you're Chinese 'q' and 'x' (matching English 'sh'), whereas they
talking about is places into which actual parameters can be have trouble distinguishing our 'l' and 'r' even though
substituted. The actual parameter can be called a "case they have their own versions of both phonemes.
occupant". Here are some examples: I despair of ever writing down in a dictionary an
authoritative statement of the denotation of a word. "Red"
sin(x), x being an angle in radians. "x" IS the first is so obvious: 670 nanometers. Yet you can trip up on a
case of sin. (Or "x" is the symbol representing the first little detail of luminance. Now try to define "liberty".
case of sin.) sin(pi). pi OCCUPIES the first case of sin, Connotations, as noted by the student, are even more
not "is" or "represents". slippery. I solve the problem by slicing the pie with
connotation on the outside: the kinds of connotations
mentioned by this and other class members are simply too redundancy requirements on the lower limit. But we may
complex for 20th century logic and database software to discuss this proposal at LogFest.
handle, and so, connotations will have to wait for major
advances in the study of language artifacts. Jim:
On the third question, I find that my referent boundaries 13. Regarding comments from jyjym.: In -gua!spi I also de-
and connotations were not changed by learning Loglan -- cided that nationalities and national money units should
since, of course, JCB didn't emphasize referent boundaries not have primitive words (gismu), for the same reasons.
-- but the major effects were that the predicate logic def- Also, I define "gua" to mean "x1 is the language of people
inition of the words makes them much clearer to me, and x2", and "spi" is "x1 is a member of the local culture",
certain grammar elements, particularly the articles, the where "local" is defined relative to the group the speaker
abstractions and the tenses, fill gaps in English that I is (currently) in. Thus -gua!spi means, literally, the
feel a need for. local native language.
The idea is that by speaking this particular language the
Bob: Learning to write good dictionary definitions is non- speaker places himself into a particular culture, from
trivial. Even if you feel that the best modern which self-referential words have a unique meaning. I
dictionaries convey definitions well, which Jim suggests is should post this definition in sci.lang -- but my mailer
not the case, the people who write those definitions are would overflow with people telling me what a dumb idea this
bound by space limitations. They also spend years learning is!
to write such definitions, and the results still go through
several editing passes. Lojban words, each referring to a 14. Regarding changing "ckamu" to "mleca": The whole issue
single concept, should be easier to define, but I still of gismu negations is a can of worms. For example, should
expect that our first attempts will fall far short of the you say "evil" or "un-good"? I think that as a matter of
state of the art. policy, negated gismu should be discouraged (shades of
Right now, I'm going through an intensive self-teaching 1984) unless they clearly are used frequently. Go through
in lexicography right now, so the problems are clear to me. all the text you have so far -- admittedly not too expert,
But neither Jim, nor anyone else who isn't concentrating from the students -- and identify all compounds ever used
full time on dictionary work, should expect to be able to with zmadu, and judge whether, had ckamu had a decent
write good definitions for words. rafsi, a compound with ckamu would have been more felici-
As for colors and the like - we cheat in Lojban. "Red" tous. Make the decision by the resulting numbers. The
means 'what you want it to mean'. You add a sumti tcita main problem will be to decide in each case if it's too
indicating things like the standard you are using (which wordy to use the conversion of "zmadu". I'll bet,
could be a wavelength standard, or might simply be labelled actually, that you get a decidedly uneven bias towards
'the Chinese standard'). You also may throw in sumti for positive gismu (where "zmadu" is the natural choice).
'against background' and 'to observer', since colors are
perceived. But since most people don't clearly mean any of Bob: This is partly addressed in the gismu proposals
these when they mention colors, we make all of the places section above. Looking at usage so far will tell nothing
optional. useful. English has an irregular split between words that
are negated by un- and words that have an apparent opposite
Jim: that is a different root. Lojban usage so far has exactly
11. Regarding le lojbo se ciska pe la maiky'elsym: His ex- mirrored English, since English speakers have written
perience with learning Lojban sounds very similar to mine almost all of the Lojban that exists (which isn't much).
learning Loglan -- though I think he has benefitted greatly NO ONE yet writes a Lojbanic seeming idiom. (Helsem tries
from the lessons and the live feedback that you have pro- in his poetry, but in several cases you can tell that he
vided. thought of an idea in English and translated it word-for-
word in to Lojban. The results have been pretty bad
12. On page 45 bottom, you say that the glue in a compound grammatically at times, though he learns.) But he is the
is always 'r' unless the second rafsi begins with 'r'. I best writer outside of DC. I suspect that I can write a
believe I tangled with a similar Institute rule. 'n' has Lojbanic idiom, but I have not yet started writing in
to be lexically valid in place of 'r'; why not allow the Lojban on my own - my evidence is my translation of Arabian
speaker to choose what sounds most pleasing? Nights, which I am doing in a very non-English idiom in
places (and I don't know Arabic).
Bob: No inherent objection, but most people don't want a In any case, we do use 'more' and 'less' in English in
choice, especially one based on personal aesthetics, and it some pattern, though I'll agree that the positive
sure makes the computer program harder (and which goes into comparison is more frequent than the negative one. We also
the dictionary?). The expandable forms are justified by use 'not less than' and 'not more than' (which are of
the pragmatics of redundancy - longer lujvo contain more course not quite opposites, since they include the equality
information for a noisy environment (a criticism of - middle). Presumably the usage patterns have some
gua!spi and other affix-primitive varieties is that they metaphysical basis - there are times when people want to
reduce redundancy too far in a language already pushing express 'less than' as a positive comparison. Since Lojban
tries to remove restrictions rather than add them when
possible, we should make some effort to model this feature the four sounds are "c", a standard "o", an >unvoiced< "o",
of natural language. Why should Lojban restrict negative and then another standard "o". In other words, the two "o"
thinking? sounds are separated by an interval of time when sound is
The several other gismu being proposed for consideration being produced, the vocal tract is in the position for "o",
at Logfest include some where we don't want to assume that but voicing has been "turned off". In the sequence "o'o",
the negative of the existing gismu is identical to the the three sounds are separated only by boundaries between
positive of its 'opposite'. Thus we are proposing 'ugly' voicing and non-voicing.
to correspond to 'beautiful', 'diffuse' to correspond to What about words where the ' separates two distinct
'concentrated', etc. Since we have other pairs of this vowels, for example, "ko'a"? In this case, there is the
type in Lojban, we have to at least consider these. same pattern of voiced vowel + unvoiced vowel + voiced
vowel; the unvoiced vowel may be either "a"-like or "o"-
From John Cowan: like -- I myself tend to make it "a"-like.
This makes for a nice symmetry between . and ' . .
Herewith a few tidbits that may interest Lojbanists. signifies a period of no sound production at all -- voicing
-------- turned off, exhaling turned off. During ' , voicing is
In describing Lojban to a group of friends, I mentioned turned off but exhaling continues, producing a voiceless
as a virtue the default tenselessness of Lojban sentences. vowel. Exactly which voiceless vowel does not matter,
An English-speaker and an English/Spanish-speaker both since Lojban does not distinguish between the different
expressed puzzlement: "Why would you want to say something possibilities.
without mentioning tense?" Rather than replying directly, Note: I am not proposing that this long-winded
I chose to describe a little bit about the Navajo language. explanation replace the basic instruction to beginners of
I don't know Navajo, so what I say here is subject to "Pronounce an 'h'"! It is merely available in reserve, to
correction. be trotted out when the student asks "If it sounds like an
In Navajo, it is necessary to mention all sorts of things 'h', why not use the letter 'h'"? Then you can reply,
that English finds unnecessary to specify. The sentence "It's not >really< an h-sound at all, it's a voiceless
"You eat blueberries", for example, must be rendered as vowel."
"You [pl.] eat separable objects one at a time." The
vagueness of English about singular/plural in the case of Bob: I like the explanation, which explains the intent.
"you" is impossible to render in Navajo, as is the One note on "ko'a". I suspect that in the 'voiceless time'
vagueness of "eat". The Navajo fence-rider cannot simply in between vowels that are different, you are expressing a
report "Fence broken"; he must mention whether the breakage 'voiceless vowel glide'. If you don't turn off the vocal
appeared to be accidental, deliberate, or the result of an cords, the sound you get is /kowa/, where the /w/ is the
animal's act. Likewise it is impossible to say "They went glide. It is this glide that we are trying to 'devoice'
thataway!" in Navajo. The direction of motion must be with the ' , because if the glide were audibly voiced, it
nailed down, as must the mode of travel, as must the would be impossible to distinguish "*koa" from "koua" from
distinction between going >to< a place and going >toward< a "ko,ua".
place, or going to a place and passing it on the way to
another place, etc. etc. etc. John: Mathematical nit:
By comparison, English is downright sloppy. The Navajo- If 'tanjo' means 'trigonometric tangent', how do we say
speaker's reaction to English is "How can I know what the 'geometric tangent'? Why are the trigonometric functions
>belagana< are talking about?" From within English itself, given gismu rather than being handled by something in MEX?
this sloppiness seems more like a freedom. It is not If 'tangent', why not 'Riemann zeta', or 'factorial'?
necessary to pin down all these details to make a --------
grammatical English sentence. Lojban, although it can be Bob: We could generalize "tanjo" to include both, but I
as precise as Navajo, can also be even vaguer than English, suspect that you can do a short tanru for 'geometric
leaving even the details English thinks are fundamental tangent', but not for 'trigonometric tangent'. The primary
unspecified. This gives Lojban an additional range of reason for including both "sinso" and "tanjo" was so the
expressiveness not present in any natural language. concepts, as opposed to the mathematical
-------- functions/operations themselves could be talked about.
It seems there has been much dispute recently about the ' Trigonometric functions are basic to mathematics and many
character, which the Lojban materials say is pronounced other fields - not all purely scientific - as wave-forms
like the English "h". "Why not use the letter 'h', then?" (shapes), yet in English we can only talk about these in
In JL10, lojbab gives a number of reasons for not using a terms of their mathematical function 'names'. You could
letter. It seems to me that confusion might be avoided by make a tanru like square-triangle-ke-opposite-ce'o-
explaining the role of the buffer sound differently. (I adjacent-ke-side-ratio (no, I won't make the lujvo), which
have checked this with lojbab.) captures the original intent. But a non-mathematician -
Consider the word "co'o". An English-based view of this say an artist - can talk in Lojban about 'tangent curve'
would be that it contains four sounds, "c", "o", an h-like (tanjykru) without knowing the mathematical basis.
sound, and another "o". This is also the view of the
current Lojban material. Another view, however, says that
As for the others that are excluded - lack of usage
frequency, or any metaphorical advantage outside of one
John: Another book for the list, too simple for you
probably but I would recommend it to people who want to
understand Lojban's underlying basis:
Semantics, by Geoffrey Leech. (Penguin Books, 1974, no
It's a simple introduction to the subject in plain
language, and much of the explication in the central
chapters reads like a point-by-point explanation of Lojban
grammatical structures -- though without reference to
Lojban, of course!
John: Here's my proposal for a super-simple le'avla
1. Lojbanize the word to be 'borrowed' by the methods
used for cmene.
2. Convert all y's to some other vowel or to a vocalic
3. Modify the ending to be a vowel, either by dropping a
final consonant or by adding an extra vowel.
4. Modify the beginning to be a consonant, either by
adding a extra consonant or dropping an initial vowel.
5. Choose a gismu (not a rafsi) that categorizes the
le'avla into a "topic area". Replace the final vowel of
the gismu with a vocalic 'r'.
6. Prefix the modified gismu to produce the final
spaghetti -> cidjrspageti
maple tree -> tricrmeipli
maple sugar -> saktrmeipli
mathematical integral -> cmacrnintegra or cmacrntegra
brie -> cirlrbri
cobra -> sincrkobra
quark -> saskrkuarka
iambic -> pemcrniambo
Bob: Good proposal, and it appears to generate good words,
so people can use it for now (note that in step 5., you may
have to use an "n" instead of an "r", though, to avoid a
doubled letter). It takes only minor modifications to
allow this to be used with rafsi (I think). You glue the
rafsi on in almost the same way, but always use a gluing
vocalic consonant with a 3-letter rafsi.
Well, this ends our biggest issue yet - and in only 6 weeks
Map to LogFest 90
You need to get to Interstate 66, on the West side of Washington D.C., just outside of its 'Beltway' freeway as
shown on the map below. For those who attended in previous years, our exit from the freeway is now a cloverleaf, so the
exit from the freeway is different, and Nutley St. has been shifted near our house, so it will look much different.
From the West on I-66, take Exit 17, Nutley St. going South (to your right). This exit did not really exist last
year, though it was possible to play games going through the Vienna Metro Station parking lot.
Taking the southbound exit to your right you want to enter Nutley St. (not the Metro parking lot). You need to get
over to the left lane fairly quickly.
There is a traffic light one block away from the overpass (Swanee Lane on the left). You will see a grassy slope
on your left ahead, and a large office building behind some trees ahead on your right. A very short block later
(opposite the office building), there is a left turn lane. You turn left here on Hermosa Dr. Go to the end of this
street - only about 3 houses, and turn left on Beau Ln. Bob & Nora's house will be the first non-corner house, directly
opposite the cross-street Suteki Dr.
From the East - Exit the Beltway for I-66 Westbound 'Front Royal'. You will go about 1 1/2 miles and take Exit 17
- Nutley St., which is the first exit possible after leaving the Beltway. There is a very long ramp - stay on it, and
take Nutley St. South which exits the ramp just after the overpass. You will join with Nutley St. and must move left
quickly to merge. Thereafter, get in the left lane, and follow the instructions in the last paragraph of From the West
Some More Logo Proposals