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Ju'i Lobypli Number 7 - November-December 1988

Front matter

 Copyright, 1988, 1991, by the Logical Language Group, Inc.
 2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031-1303 USA
 Phone (703) 385-0273
 lojbab@grebyn.com

All rights reserved. Permission to copy granted subject to your verification that this is the latest version of this document, that your distribution be for the promotion of Lojban, that there is no charge for the product, and that this copyright notice is included intact in the copy.

Ju'i Lobypli Number 7 - November-December 1988

 Published by: The Logical Language Group, Inc.
 Bob LeChevalier, President and Editor
 2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031
 (703) 385-0273

Lojban Grammar Completed

Lojban Ready for Classes! Are You?

This newsletter is a publication by and for people interested in the development of a 'logical language', based on concepts described in the June 1960 Scientific American article Loglan, by Dr. James Cooke Brown (JCB), and in later publications written by Dr. Brown and by others. The Loglan Institute, Inc. of Gainesville, Florida has obtained a registered trademark on the name 'Loglan' for its line of grammars and dictionaries. This acknowledgement is not to be considered acceptance of the validity of this trademark.

The use of the name 'Loglan' in these pages by the editor or by correspondents is generally not in reference to the trademark, or the products covered by it. Rather it is descriptive of either the movement of supporters of which this newsletter is the spearhead, or to the language development effort proposed and initiated by Dr. Brown, which has now culminated in Lojban. 'Lojban' generally refers to the current version of the language developed by The Logical Language Group, Inc. The editorial policy of this newsletter is to print references to 'Loglan' and 'Lojban' exactly as written by the authors to eliminate possible confusion of their intent.

The Logical Language Group, Inc., to be known in these pages as la lojbangirz (/la lozh,BAN,geerz/), is a non-profit organization incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and has its principle office at the masthead address. Copies of the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws are available at cost. la lojbangirz is not connected with The Loglan Institute, Inc., and no publication of this organization is, or purports to be, approved of by Dr. Brown or The Loglan Institute, Inc. Dr. Brown has expressly disapproved of this publication effort.

Ju'i Lobypli is distributed for free. Donations are needed in order to cover our publication costs and to support our development work. We have implemented a voluntary balance system - you may maintain a balance from which we will deduct our production costs for materials sent to you. Details may be found below. la lojbangirz is seeking tax-exempt status from the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization. This may allow your donations, in excess of costs for materials you receive, to be tax-deductible. Upon obtaining IRS approval, we will notify all previous donors as to how much, if any, of their donations may be considered tax-deductible.

Our bylaws require us to inform prospective donors that we are limited to spending no more than 25% of our income on administrative expenses not directly related to the purposes in our charter. We will account at least annually in these pages to show you that we have met this limit. You are encouraged to make donations contingent upon our meeting this requirement.

This newsletter is being sent to about 400 people in about a dozen countries. This newsletter completes a year of regular quarterly publishing.

First, a Commercial

We need your help (and money)! The last issue, our largest, cost us over $1500.00 to print and distribute, while it generated the smallest response yet in terms of donations and contributions towards voluntary balances. This more than used up the surplus we had from JL5, which had the highest response rate yet. Since I'm still not working, Nora and I cannot afford to continue paying the bills for JL. Thus, if you want to keep seeing this newsletter, we need a lot more of you to contribute to its upkeep. While about 3/4 of you have so far indicated that you want to receive JL, only about 90 of you have positive balances. Moreover, a half dozen people: Nora and I, Jeff Taylor, Mike Yoder, Jack Waugh, and Jeff Prothero, have contributed over half the $8000.00 we've spent this year. We hope that you will remedy this as we bring the year to a close.

I believe we've earned your support. We have delivered regular newsletters, and committed to continuing their regularity; these newsletters, by your accounts, are more readable and interesting than The Loglanist was. More than that, we have pretty well met the goals for this year, and did so reasonably close to our scheduled dates. We have re- announced the language to the public and we have completed the basic development of the language (more on this below). I believe we've also been more responsive to your letters and orders than was The Loglan Institute, Inc. And finally, we are not asking nearly the amount that organization has asked ($50 per year) for your right to be kept informed of the language we want you to learn and use.

The four issues this year totalled less than $15 for those who have paid - less than the cost of most magazine subscriptions. Since we do not sell advertising or our mailing list, you get only what you pay for - news about the logical language effort. I'd like to think that you have read far more of our material than most people read of the magazines they subscribe to. Your support costs less than a typical dinner at an average restaurant, and the result is generally more rewarding and lasting (unless you need to diet like I do). And unlike most fund-raising projects, we actually give you something tangible for your contributions.

Think about it. And respond with whatever you can spare for our support - and at least enough to cover what we've been sending you.

WHETHER YOU ARE CHOOSING TO SUPPORT US OR NOT, PLEASE RETURN THE QUESTIONNAIRE ENCLOSED FAIRLY QUICKLY.

If you ask to be kept on our mailing list, you will receive at least one more issue, even if you do not have a positive balance. If you ask to be dropped, we thank you for giving us a chance (We don't expect many of you to drop - in over 200 responses so far, only 6 have asked to be dropped). But we need to hear from you, especially if we haven't heard from you before.

(end of commercial)

We had intended to make this issue shorter, due to our finances and some feedback that the last newsletter was too long. However, we had so much good material that we couldn't decide what to cut. So we will let you decide what you want to read, and will use your questionnaire responses on the subject to determine the future policy. This issue has a significant amount of Lojban text, in addition to your letters of general interest, and to responses to those letters. There will be some 'teaching' going on in those responses, and newcomers will find answers to a lot of their most common questions there. The letters are on various topics, unlike those of last issue, and I recommend at least skimming each letter and response to see whether it contains material that you are interested in.

We anticipate that the next issue, and all succeeding issues, will come out approximately one month earlier. I hate having to compete with the Xmas mailing season - and I hope all of you get this before the new year. We also want the May 1989 issue to be received early in May, so that people are reminded of LogFest 89 (June 17-18, 1989) early enough to make plans to attend.


We regret to inform the community that Joel Shprentz's computer, formerly supporting the Capital Loglan Bulletin Board, has met an untimely but permanent death. Joel is looking for a new PC computer, but CLBB will be down until further notice.

Bulletin Board services to the community are available via a Loglan conference on the AMRAD (Amateur Radio) BBS, also local to Virginia/DC

 (703) 734-1387
 300/1200/2400 Baud
 Lojban Data and Shareware File Upload and Download; PC Pursuitable. Courtesy of Lawrence Kesteloot.

Send messages to the Editor via UseNet/ARPAnet/UUCP care of Joel Shprentz at his address: shprentz@bdm.com

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE

(OMITTED FROM THIS EDITION)

The use of Lojban vocabulary in the following pages is intended to aid readers in learning the gismu, which were enclosed with JL6. Certain words, defined in our glossary, are used to free us from all the misleading connotations of their closest English equivalents. Thus, the glossary probably should be the first thing a newcomer reads. If you do not have the gismu list, please write and order same, or order LogFlash 1/MAC LojFlash 1 for PCs and MacIntosh computers, respectively. These programs teach you the gismu, and give you an on-line list to work from, as well. For those who have the Synopsis of Lojban Phonology and Morphology, skimming it for italicized words (which are defined where they are marked) will give you a greater understanding of the terminology.

Your Mailing Label

The top line of your mailing label gives the status of your voluntary balance. A typical balance line looks like:

C 50.00 -D 10.00 -S 21.25 =B 18.75

This says that we have $50.00 in Contributions from you, including matching funds and volunteer/award credits. You have Donated $10.00 of this as a gift not to be repaid. We have Sent you $21.25 in materials, resulting in a net Balance for you of $18.75. For foreign recipients, this balance does not include the postage for this newsletter, which we won't know until we take the envelope to the post office for shipping.

la lojbangirz Incorporated

The Logical Language Group, Inc. was officially incorporated by the Commonwealth of Virginia on 3 November 1988. The initial Board of Directors and members are identical: Nora and myself, Tommy Whitlock, John Parks-Clifford (pc), and Jeff Taylor. No one else has asked to become a member yet - the qualifications sought are a substantial commitment to the success of the project, and corresponding contributions in time and/or money to that end. We will consider all applicants.

There is no discrimination against new people either. Tommy was not significantly involved in the project until he helped with the development of the gismu list. Athelstan first heard about us at Evecon last January, and first became active in June at LogFest 88. He has been asked to be a member, but has put off accepting until his life gets better organized. This has not stopped his outstanding participation and significant contributions to development effort. We welcome the rest of you to participate in whatever ways you can.

As stated previously, Nora and I are no longer matching contributions to balances or donations. This is partly due to our finances, and partly because, with incorporation as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, we expect that your donations will be tax deductible from the date of incorporation. (We have not gotten approval of this status yet, and it could take several months to obtain it. It appears, though, that your donations prior to approval but after our incorporation date are covered - though possibly not your voluntary balance contributions, since the IRS could decide that you are receiving goods for those contributions. Please consult your tax advisor before deciding whether to deduct any amounts you've contributed. When we get IRS approval, we will notify all donors of any eligible amounts that you've donated, but do not expect this prior to next April.

The Board has already had its first meeting. A proposed set of Bylaws has been drafted and is being circulated; it should be in place by the end of the year. The business of getting established as a business is high priority, but we have the higher priority of preparing materials for you, and especially for the upcoming classes starting in January.

Our annual meeting will occur at LogFest 89 next June 17 at 2PM. You need not be a member to participate, and are welcome to attend. Several decisions about our future activities are likely to be made. Only members have a vote, but in such a public forum, you can be sure that those present will be carefully listened to.

While have had a few new people overseas since we started, contacting Professor Semenov could be a major breakthrough for Lojban. The people of the Soviet Union the are known for their interest in artificial and international languages. This is perhaps due to the large number of nationalities and languages spoken within the Soviet Union, and perhaps to a greater interest and awareness of language than most Americans have. With the recent developments under Premier Gorbachev, Lojban can serve as one of the basis for further intellectual ties between the US and the USSR. We will be communicating further with Professor Semenov, attempting to get his opinions and assistance on developing a community within his country.

With the completion of the major development efforts needed to teach Lojban, we are finally ready to significantly expand our community. A new revision of the brochure is being prepared, and should be available by January. We intend to translate this brochure into other languages,including at least German, French, Spanish, and Russian (for whom we have identified linguists). We seek linguists to translate the brochure into other languages, most especially into Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Hindi and Esperanto. If you are reasonably fluent in any non-English language, or know someone who would be willing to assist our translation efforts, please contact me.

You also can get or make copies of the brochure for your own recruiting efforts. Posting a couple dozen copies in the Computer, Anthropology, Sciences, and Linguistics departments at your local colleges and universities may be all that is needed to build a local group of Lojbanists and enable a class to get started. (We are willing to sponsor student groups; some universities require an organized student group before allowing such postings. Let us know what you need from us.) Or post a few at work, especially if you work in the computer field. Companies are quite willing to support employee activities of this sort - Brooke Albert has gotten significant assistance from UNISYS in setting up the Boston class.

New Recruits - An International Language At Last?

We had a fall-off in new responses in September and October, but November nearly made up for it. Mike Gunderloy has continued to review JL in his quarterly review publication Fact Sheet 5. Each issue brings us a few new responses. Brooke Albert has recruited 9 new people from his workplace, who hopefully will form the nucleus of the Boston class to start early next year. Jamie Bechtel put up 20 copies of the brochure at Univer- sity of Nebraska, Omaha. Nearly all were gone within a month, although we haven't yet heard from those who picked them up. Athelstan takes recruiting honors this time. He has brought in a dozen new Lojbanists, many from the Philcon 88 SF convention.

Athelstan may have made an even greater contribution by going to Philcon for us. Staying at the hotel, but not for the convention, was Professor Alexey Semenov, Deputy Minister of Education for the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Professor Semenov was reportedly quite interested in Lojban, took a full set of material, and gave us his ad- dress and phone number in Moscow (I wish we could afford to use it).

We will shortly be starting on a short video about Lojban, aided by Brad Lowry. When complete, it will be approximately comparable to the brochure as an introduction, but will have some actual conversation, and will be suitable for spreading the word about Lojban via public television and science fiction conventions.

By the way, several others of you have been mentioning Lojban at SF conventions. Keep it up - we occasionally hear from new people who mention hearing of us at conventions that I've never heard of. For our benefit, it wouldn't hurt if you dropped us a postcard telling us that you recruited people at a convention, so we know who did the good work. Also be sure to send us any names and ad- dresses you gather. One recruit who recently moved to the DC area heard about Lojban at a Minneapolis convention and gave his name and address to the person who told him about Lojban, but neither we nor he ever heard from the recruiter (who is still unknown).

After the first of the year, we will be contacting various people who might be able to help us spread word about Lojban in computer, scientific, science fiction, and linguistic circles. Articles in magazines are much more effective than ads, so we will be working to get such articles written.

I will also be trying to sign on to Compuserve and other major networks using the free time that came with my modem purchase. I will upload copies of the new brochure and try to get some discussion going on those networks. I may stick with one of them to supplement our bulletin board support, but haven't decided whether we can afford it. If any of you are involved in one or more of these networks and want to take this task from me, I would appreciate it. I suspect I won't be that efficient, since I am an inexperienced user of these boards. We also have a local volunteer who runs a FIDOnet bulletin board. I don't understand the workings of this net very well, but we can probably support FIDO to some extent if someone else knows better how to best use it to support our needs. I still am looking for a good means to hook into the Usenet/Arpanet/Internet system, where a good deal of discussion on linguistics and languages apparently takes place. We occasionally are mentioned in traffic on that system, but I would like to be able to directly answer what apparently are a lot of questions.

Remember: Lojban is your language. Help us make it successful.

Lojban Grammar and cmavo List Completed

Immediately after JL6 went out, I turned my attention to the grammar and cmavo lists, with excellent results. It took only a week or so to incorporate the rest of the machine grammar to a level matching JCB's last available grammar. Then, using ideas proposed at LogFest and in further work with pc and Jeff Taylor, among others, I was able to devise solutions or responses to all of the known criticisms of JCB's grammar. We eliminated JCB's 'machine lexemes', although we had to add 'lexer lexemes' of a related sort; these latter, however, are generated by rules that are verified unambiguous by YACC. Lexer lexemes are inserted to mark cmavo that are normally compounded into single words, such as nuke, compound tenses, and multi- digit numbers. Jeff Taylor, and possibly others, are working on parsers which will process and add in these lexemes; Jeff's current approach is to use two YACC parsers, one to do the compounding, and one to process the main grammar. He plans to take some vacation time shortly to work on this, and hopes to have a parser done before our next issue.

We also were finally able to abandon using LYCES, the development tool written by Scott Layson, which JCB offered to all Institute members who wanted to work with the grammar a few years ago. JCB of course disapproved of our use for purposes he did not intend. Upon incorporating all of the compounding rules, we were overflowing Scott's conversion of YACC. I luckily located a work-alike alternative - PCYACC, put out by Abraxas Software in Portland. These people gave me outstanding support - Lojban is unlike most computer languages in what it requires of YACC, and they had to tailor a special version for us.

The final grammar is significantly longer than JCB's versions of the grammar, since it includes all of the compounding rules. Incorporating those rules proved valuable - I found several ambiguities hidden in the hitherto unwritten compounding rules, ambiguities which violate the Lojban standard of a single interpretation for any string of sounds.

Another reason the grammar is longer is that I have gone through all issues of TL, looking at proposals that were made during the 1976-84 period. Many of these seemed to have been adopted, but were forgotten by JCB; others had been deferred until they could be looked at with the machine grammar, and still others were probably intended to be covered within the compounding rules. In general, if a proposal was made and found significant support, we have either incorporated it in the grammar, devised an alternative, or identified specific compatibility reasons for excluding it. Thus, the efforts of all of you who worked to learn the last version of the language have finally borne fruit.

The last major accomplishment of the new grammar is that it finally incorporates a presumably workable MEX - a grammar of mathematical expressions. The MEX grammar simplifies to something resembling the old simple usages (and also English mathematical expressions), but is capable of going far beyond what any other language has been able to do with mathematics, and can do so unambiguously. For those who received The Loglanist, TL Issue 5/1 contains a specification of requirements for MEX written by Bill Mengarini.

As far as I can determine, our new MEX grammar fully meets the criteria Bill set forth, and does a few more things besides. Our main limitation will be in coming up with a written description of the MEX grammar and its capabilities. Most of its capabilities are very specialized in application and will not be taught in any depth in the first textbook. It will remain for mathematicians and computer people to take what I've done, test it, and determine the usages that will make it useful for mathematics. Since the MEX grammar operates in parallel to the rest of the grammar, those who learn the basic language will find it reasonably easy to learn MEX.

I also finished a revision to the cmavo list, incorporating dozens of comments, as well as some of the nuances implied by the new grammar. However, I found that my descriptions were in some cases inaccurate, and that I don't know the new grammar well enough yet to catch all of the inaccuracies. I therefore started to write a technical grammar synopsis that delineated the design of the grammar and all the details of usage implied by the design. After doing some 40 pages of description, and making several minor adjustments to the grammar as questions arose, I sent this partial grammar draft and cmavo list out for review to about 20 of you who had expressed the strongest interest in the grammar, or who I knew had expertise with machine grammars. I haven't heard from all reviewers yet, but I have a clear idea of what needs to be done.

Unfortunately, this review leaves both the cmavo list update and the grammar description incomplete. What has turned out to be needed is a complete rewrite of what I've already done, a rewrite that will have to wait until after the classes get started. The material I wrote is com- prehensible to someone who takes time to study it and who has some prior general knowledge of the language.

It is not very useful as a teaching document for the community (and wasn't intended to be). My reviewers agree, however, that the rewrite needs more overview and general explanation of what's going on in the grammar, and better definitions of terms. This will take quite a while, and cannot be allowed to interfere with the textbook and class materials preparation that will be our main emphasis in the next few months. The good side of this is that, of the reviewers that have responded, all but one (Jim Carter) believes that the grammar and cmavo list are basically ready to be taught; Jim would like us to adopt more new ideas from his derivative language (see below). pc has some small quibbles on usage, which so far sound convincing to me (he's assembling a copy for me that I haven't yet received.

The result of all this is that I can safely say that LOJBAN IS COMPLETED AS A LANGUAGE, even if the writing about it still has a ways to go. It is ready to be learned. There is no reason to believe that any changes that might surface in the teaching or grammar description process will be significant to someone who has started learning the language. The types of rules questions that come up are comparable to English quibbles such as split infinitives, who/whom, etc. that do not generally interfere with communication. Most are rules that humans speakers will often ignore - rarely do language speakers, even fluent ones, speak without minor grammatical error. By the time you speak or write Lojban fluently enough to care, any such issues will be resolved.

Since we have a cmavo list, albeit incompletely described, and a partial grammar description that contains significant useful information, as well as the completed machine grammar, we do have some material we can distribute to those that want to tackle it. If you remember that this material is draft only, you will find it useful and possibly interesting. It is probably comparable in usefulness and stability to JCB's Notebooks 1 and 2 at their time of publication; there is a lot of information there, with much not explained; the material is generally accurate and enough close to final to be useful, but individual items are not cast in concrete and may change in the next few months. The text amounts to about 100 pages, and thus is expensive for us to reproduce. We thus cannot afford to send it out unsolicited, so see the information on ordering below to obtain it. We are happy to accept comments and questions from those who receive it and wish to review it.

Jeff Prothero has now incorporated the new grammar in a version of PLOP (Public-Domain Lojban Parser). It needs the work of a good 'C' programmer to complete a lexer, since it handles only a limited subset of the language without it. Jeff and I can supply the information needed to make these modifications. We will send PLOP to anyone who asks for it. When this, or another parser is completed, it will serve as a standard for proper Lojban grammar for anyone who uses it.

LogFlash/LojFlash Status

We sent out some 85 copies of LogFlash 1 (PC) with the baselined gismu list in September. I have had no significant feedback on how people are coming, except that most people seem to be using lesson sizes around 20 instead of 40. This has caused us to consider a revision that will be added before the next release, as described below.

Richard Kennaway offered his MacIntosh version of the teaching program (Mac LojFlash) to JCB as well as to us. He asked us to accept the same royalty terms that JCB wanted, thus not favoring us financially. In return for this, he gave us source and permission to modify and adapt the program if we wished. We had trouble getting the MacIntosh diskette merged with the new gismu list, but fi- nally sent copies to some 16 users in early November. Both Mac LojFlash and LogFlash PC take text files of a particular format for its word list. For anyone still uncertain of whether our language version will survive, either version of the program can easily be used with other language versions, or even with natural languages, provided that word list data is prepared. Thus your investment in these programs is quite secure.

We still have ongoing reports of portings to the Amiga, UN*X C, and Apple 2, but none are complete, though the Amiga version may be close. Our Atari ST conversion volunteer indicated that PC emulation boards for the Atari are able to run LogFlash, and are becoming sufficiently widespread that he doesn't think the market justifies the conversion time (only 2 others of you have indicated interest in an Atari version).

Art Wieners has a UN*X C flashcard program that operates differently from LogFlash. It is built around a voice synthesizer; the program causes the word to be spoken along with the screen display. Art likes it, and will be trying to make it available to other northern New Jersey Lojbanists who want to use his machine - possibly as part of a class there. Others who have a UN*X machine and are willing to invest in a voice synthesizer can probably get a copy from Art. Let me know if any of you are interested. Art's efforts have led us to try to get voice synthesis added into the Mac LojFlash program as an enhancement for the future. (It possibly can be added to other machines as well; we have working voice synthesis algorithms for Lojban, and merely need the programmers to add them into the specific machine versions - as well as to finish the original LogFlash porting.)

I have spent the last month as Nora's guinea pig for LogFlash 2 PC, which teaches the rafsi. They are somewhat easier to learn than the gismu, once you have gotten the latter up to a consistent 90% recall level. I was able to run 60 word lessons in the same 1 to 1 1/2 hour time I used for 40 word lessons the first time I used LogFlash 1. An improvement to the algorithm, has led to substantially increased recall results - I have reached the 90% recall level on rafsi after only two times through the words. The change is minor - we add an Under Control lesson that feeds you words that would otherwise not be seen until you've completed the entire word list. For people using small lesson sizes, going through the entire word list can take a couple of months, and this partially random selection ensures that you don't forget the words from the beginning by the time you get to the end of the list. The extra lesson takes less than 5 minutes per session - I exceeded 90% retention on these words even on the first time through.

As the only LF2 user, I can offer testimony as to its effectiveness. Moreover, it has an unexpected psychological effect as well. Completing the gismu list with LF1 gives a tremendous sense of achievement and accomplishment - a real feeling that you have learned something. I also obtained insights into the semantics of the words we chose that were not possible before I had learned them all. LF2 gives a totally different feeling - I can only describe it as a feeling of tremendous power. With what I have learned with LF1 and LF2 gives me a Lojban vocabulary that is larger than that of English, and I truly feel that vocabulary at my metaphorical fingertips. I feel creative and unconstrained. While I know only about 20% of the cmavo and not much more of the new grammar, nothing really keeps me from saying practically anything I want in Lojban.

I haven't written a poem in English since 6th grade. I was inspired to Lojban poetry after 2 weeks with LF2. That first Lojban poem, which uses only a couple of lujvo, proved to me what I had already believed to be the case - tanru and lujvo probably make Lojban poetry easier to write than English poetry. That first poem is awful; I wrote it at 3AM in two hours. I've gotten the inspiration for the next one already - and it will be longer and undoubtedly better. Bob LeChevalier writing Lojban poetry - a truly unexpected Whorfian effect.

LogFlash 2 PC will be available as of the beginning of next year at our standard $20 Shareware price, with updates for minimal cost. While we need the money from program sales, I would not recommend using the program until you are close to 90% with LogFlash 1. I have no reports yet that anyone except Nora and myself are ready for LF2.

We have designed LogFlash 3, which will teach the cmavo and much of the simple grammar, but I need to make up a data set. I expect to announce its availability next issue. Again, it is recommended that you substantially finish LF1 before going on to LF2 or LF3.

To make LF2 and LF3 a little more attractive, we will be bundling each with a second program that is useful for learning but does not tie into the LogFlash teaching algorithm. LF2 will eventually have a lujvo-making program that will build lujvo from either user-entered or random tanru. Good practice, and it may prove more useful than a LogFlash lujvo-making teacher. The initial release of LF2 will not have this program.

LF3 will be bundled with an update to Nora's random sentence generator. This program uses the complete grammar to generate sentence at four selectable levels of difficulty, and also uses the complete gismu and cmavo lists. The program is now available, but is only useful to those with a cmavo list. We will include it with orders for the latter when requested. The program is neat, and definitely mind-stretching as you attempt to interpret the sentences it generates. More importantly, it can give you a feel for the grammar, and helps you learn the place structures.

I have a tentative teaching order for the gismu in the textbook. This will eventually be added into LF1 and LF2 in place or in addition to the current random selection of words. The long-promised tape will also be prepared using this order. The minor changes needed to the programs will be made at the same time as the enhancement mentioned above, sometime in the next few months, after LF3 is completed.

The teaching programs are keeping ahead of the students, as we have promised. For those with the right computers, now is the time to get started. When the textbook is done, or when you start a Lojban class, you will find that memorizing words is the critical step that will slow you down. Learn them now, and you will be ahead of the game then.

News from the Institute

In November, JCB sent a 'Bulletin' to a rather scattered mailing list of people.

JCB reports that he is spending his time rewriting L1 to reflect his latest iteration of the language. He has at least one more chapter to rewrite, and is trying to figure out how to index it. He apparently plans a several month review cycle, followed by further revision. Bob McIvor (RAM) is giving him some assistance, producing some teaching programs, and helping rewrite Notebook 3, the proprietary language description JCB published last year. JCB's language version has apparently undergone some considerable changes and/or refinements since NB3 was published.

JCB states that he has enlisted the support of an academic linguist who strongly supports the logical language research effort, which is excellent news. There is talk of a paper. la lojbangirz is offering to review this paper before publication, given the opportunity, to ensure that as many technical challenges to the quality of such a paper are resolved before publication, thus presenting the best possible picture of the logical language community is presented to the academic world We extend our offer to share all of our research results, and to fair and timely review, and reaffirm our commitment to integrity in such cooperation.

Now that we are incorporated for this purpose, we will be contacting linguistic, scientific, and computer publications, the National Science Foundation, as well as other forums that may be interested in logical languages. We will offer our services as a source of considerable expertise and credentials in support of the peer review process in our field. By working within the system and in support of it, we hope to ensure fair consideration of all ideas, including both JCB's and our own.

JCB has asked any who disapprove of our policies to tell us so and to ask us to drop them from our list. Since we don't want to send to people who aren't interested, we encourage this, especially if you tell us why. We have received no such requests for deletion, including any from JCB or his Board, but will respect any that we do receive.

JCB quotes a recent letter from pc; pc and I have agreed to the following response and clarification: JCB misinterprets pc's letter as calling for two mutually competitive and secret research efforts culminating in simultaneous publications. This was not pc's intent, and is not the policy of la lojbangirz. All of our research activities are non-proprietary and public, and will continue to be. We are not directly competing with JCB; we certainly are not stressing academic publication, since we believe that that community will take us more seriously once we have proven the language through usage. We view any real advances JCB makes as advances to our efforts as well. Lojban, and la lojbangirz are the culmination of JCB's efforts, and not a contradiction of them. We would like nothing more than to be working in cooperation with him.

How Complicated is Lojban?

Several correspondents indicate that Lojban appears complicated. This apparent complexity is mostly an illusion, which I'll try to deal with briefly.

There are several possible explanations for the illusion, depending on what feature of the language is involved.

Phonology: Lojban has one of the smaller sets of phonemes among human languages, and all phonemes occur in most of the world's most widely used languages. (Lojban 'x' is not found in English, but is more common in other languages than several other English sounds.) The sound set was defined based on familiar linguistic principles, and is easily explained and taught. Permissible consonant clusters were selected for linguistic harmony and easy resolution by a listener, even in a noisy environment. Vowel sounds are pure, and are maximally different for their number.

The phonology is also audio-visually isomorphic: each sound is represented in print in only one way, and vice versa. Spelling is completely phonetic. With the exception of simple and invariant stress rules, the language ignores intonation. All punctuation is spoken. The phonology and morphology rules allow completely unambiguous resolution of correctly spoken speech of any speed, regardless of whether the words are run together. Lojban phonology is closer to English, and easier to learn for English-speakers, than nearly all other languages.

Print: Lojban uses a subset of the Roman alphabet, with only the apostrophe ' as a mandatory special symbol. Commas and capital letters are permitted when Lojbanizing a non-Lojban name to indicate deviations from standard Lojban pronunciation rules. Punctuation marks are optional, but all are represented by Lojban cmavo and are spoken, except the period, which represents a single 'sound' (a pause or glottal stop). The Lojban character set is of course compatible with standard computer keyboards and screens. The lack of capitalization makes typing in the language easier and faster than English. Only a few letters have pronunciations that are significantly different from their most common English/European pronunciation.

Morphology: Word length, the existence of consonant clusters, stress, and pause together serve to completely an unambiguously define the morphology. Content words, the brivla are easily distinguished from structure and support words, the cmavo. The 1316 gismu, serving as roots, and the few hundred cmavo, are a minimal vocabulary to support conversational fluency, compared to most languages. Most other words in the language are compounds, or lujvo, which are built from a set of resolvable affixes (rafsi), each uniquely representing one of the gismu or a small number of cmavo.

The rafsi were selected for maximum statistical word- building efficiency given the set of gismu, and are chosen from a limited set of letter-patterns found with the gismu. Where more than one rafsi exists for a word, the morphology allows the selection of any of them for use in constructing the lujvo, such that the resulting lujvo meets the morphology rules. rafsi are combined in a strict modifier- modificand relationship. The building of lujvo is sufficiently simple that someone who has memorized the rafsi can create lujvo for new concepts while speaking or writing, with minimal disruption. This minimizes the need for dictionaries, and makes the full power of the language available to a new speaker with minimal memorization compared to any natural language.

Borrowing is permitted, subject to adaptation to the Lojban phonology and morphology - a requirement of nearly all languages. There are fairly simple rules for Lojbanization, and for identifying borrowings. There are conventions that make borrowing even easier, and which make a 'nonce' borrowing more easily recognizable to the listener. These are based on categorizing, which is used in Chinese speech for a similar purpose.

Grammar: Lojban has a completely unambiguous grammar, verified by computer analysis. The grammar is described by a rule set of less than 500 rules in the standard format for such rules, and could be written in less than 400 with some loss of clarity. About half of these rules define permissible compounds of cmavo that have the same grammar as the simpler forms. By comparison, English grammar is estimated to have in excess of 50,000 such rules and is believed undefinable in its entirety. Also by comparison, commonly used computer programming languages have about 200 such rules (C, PROLOG, and PASCAL have been compared); ADA, the new military standard language has about 500 rules and is very close to Lojban's complete grammar in complexity.

In spite of the small number of rules, the count overstates the actual complexity of normal conversational usage, which is expected to use less than half of the rules permitted. (The other rules might be used in writing, especially in complex discourse where elaborations, inferences, and qualifications are commonly used.) Following this section, we present a set of about 120 simple sentences which demonstrates most of the conversational grammar rules. The structure implied by these rules is fairly transparent in translation.

Included in Lojban's grammar is a grammar for incomplete utterances, for continued speech, and for mathematical expressions, all of which are unambiguous. The mathematical grammar is consistent with the grammar of the rest of the language.

Lojban's grammar is a predicate grammar, which is not found in any of the natural languages. It is found in logic and in some computer programming languages and is simple in concept, although very different in its implications for language.

Given all of this data which suggests that Lojban is far simpler than any natural language, and indeed is comparable to computer languages in simplicity, why does the illusion persist.

One reason is that Lojban is different from English, though less so than most natural languages. Anything different seems complex until you know the rules, in which case it becomes simple.

Another reason is that there is a fair amount of initial memorization in our current teaching strategy, an exercise which is unappealing to most people. But far less has to be memorized of Lojban to achieve conversational fluency than any natural language. The average American 6- year old has a greater vocabulary than is needed to speak Lojban. The typical college graduate English-speaker has a vocabulary of 50,000 to over 300,000 words, suggesting that several thousand words per year are learned during our development.

A third reason is that most people don't realize just how complex a language is. The typical foreign language program seldom teaches more than a fraction of what is used by fluent language speakers. English, itself, due to its melting pot tradition and extensive world use, is among the most complex of these languages, but this complexity is transparent to a native English speaker.

The fourth reason is that Lojban text, as shown in translations such as The Lord's Prayer (in JL6 and revised in this issue) appear to be longer in Lojban than in the English. Almost any fairly literal translation will tend to be longer in ANY other language. For something as culturally sensitive as The Lord's Prayer, translating must be literal rather than figurative; paraphrase tends to be culturally offensive in such contexts. As is shown by the translations of the Lojban-original texts below, such texts are longer in English when all the hidden structures and optional omissions which are implied in Lojban are explicitly stated. When re-expressed as English idiom, the text becomes shorter but more ambiguous; Lojban as yet has no true idiom to shorten translations, and any idioms would have to memorized if they did exist.

This leads to the final reason why Lojban appears complex. Most things we have translated have been poetry and short aphorisms. These are among the most ambiguous expressions in English; they depend on ambiguity to be interesting; they rely on idiom to be comprehensible. Many are not even grammatical English. People have chosen them for us to translate primarily because of this complex and ambiguous nature (You don't want to make it too easy for us, do you?) If you write the Lord's Prayer in modern grammatical English sentences, so as to make it clear what every line means, it will probably be even longer than my Lojban translation.

The added length of Lojban, by the way, is relatively insignificant by natural language standards. Professionally translated German has about 1.3 times as many words in English as in the original. Several natural languages have words or sentences, even in idiomatic speech, that are much longer than English.

The other reason why Lojban is longer is of course due to the fact that it IS unambiguous in grammar. There is more information, so it takes more data to communicate it. Lojban's phonology and morphology are close to the minimal limits on redundancy needed to allow communication, so the length is actually quite short for the amount of data involved. You must remember that Lojban is a 'logical language'. Logical does NOT mean short, though it may be simple.

English and other languages leave out considerable amounts of logical structure needed to be unambiguous, information that you cannot omit in Lojban. My comments on Kenneth Clark's letter below include an example of an apparently simple English sentence with a significant amount of hidden logical structure. When you learn to look for the that hidden structure, as Kenneth has apparently been able to pick up just by trying to write a few Lojban sentences, you will quickly see why there are more words in typical Lojban sentences. Kenneth's self-taught progress, without any more material than any of you have received, shows that the language structure is actually quite simple to learn, and is relatively intuitive. He doesn't yet know the cmavo and their grammar, but his grasp of the language structure will allow him to add that information in easily.

One other comparison is relevant for the proponents of 'Anglan', a Lojban with English-based roots. These people would be wise to study the problems of BASIC English. This 'simplified English', dating from over 50 years ago, is sufficiently powerful that the New Testament has been translated into the language. It apparently is limited in dealing with technical literature, however. Most important, it is harder for English speakers to learn than for speakers of other languages. Why? English speakers have to memorize the same list of allowable words, comparable in size with that of Lojban, and then remember that NONE OF THE OTHERS ARE ALLOWED. Remembering what isn't permitted is much harder than remembering what is. Nora and I have a similar problem - we thoroughly learned JCB's gismu list, and our own intermediate lists using LogFlash - and we have had our greatest trouble forgetting the old words, which occasionally crop up to haunt us.

A Very Short Introduction to Lojban Grammar

We don't have a lot of room left this issue, which may be good. I want to show how simple Lojban grammar is, so I'm going to give you about 1/3 of that grammar in about 120 example sentences. These will invoke probably 85% of the grammar that is used in normal conversation. These will appear as examples only, with translations but with no commentary, in an order that changes a minimum number of rules from sentence to sentence, and a minimal vocabulary to distract you. Towards the end of the examples, the text will be complex enough to start to resemble conversation, though still with drastically minimal vocabulary.

Much of the rest of conversational grammar will show up in the lojbo ciska, the following section, especially in Nora's comic strip. The entirety of this month's Lojban texts will reveal enough of what is going on that the brave among you can attempt to write in Lojban. Start by studying these examples. Look up the words in the gismu list, or infer their meanings from the translations, which will probably be easier. Then substitute words of your choice until you get the feel of the language. Take it from there in any way you choose. As usual, please send me your attempts as feedback. Those with L1 or TL7/1 will be able to compare with discussions of older versions of the language for more explanations, and will see just how little of the language has changed beyond the words.

We don't have room to give a complete vocabulary list, especially of the cmavo. We have enclosed, with this issue, an attachment listing the cmavo used in these examples and an English translation, which may be misleading due to brevity, but will get people started while we document the full cmavo list. The cmavo are sorted by lexeme type, so that words with similar grammar are found together. This shows you some of the words you can easily substitute into the examples to make your own variations of the sentences given; because of this, it is more useful to learners than an alphabetical listing.

Conventions:

() Parenthesis in Lojban text indicate an optional omission.

[]{}<> All other bracketing is to show grouping and to match with the translation.

The texts appear first without these brackets so you can see what the language looks like in block text, and some idiomatic English translation is given.

Note that all bridi and sumti are neither singular or plural unless specified, and that the place structure of each brivla is carried everywhere it is used. We have often abbreviated, and occasionally omitted, this extraneous information in the complete English translations, which are cumbersome at times.

mi klama .i do klama .i ko'a klama ti ta .i ko'a klama zo'e ta .i ko'a klama fi ta .i ko'a ti ta klama .i ti se klama ko'a ta .i ta te klama ti ko'a .i ko klama .i ko klama ti .i zo'e klama .i klama ti ta

Idiomatic English: I come. You come. It comes here from there. It comes from there. It comes from there. It, to here from there, comes. Here is where it comes from there. There is where it comes here from. Come! Come here! Something comes! Something comes here from there!

mi klama

I(We) (the expressor(s)) come (from...to...via...using...)/I am a comer (from...to...via...using...)

.i do klama

You (the listener(s)) come (from...to...via...using...)

.i ko'a klama ti ta

It1(They1) comes from this(these)-here to that(those)-there...

.i ko'a klama zo'e ta

It1 comes from (unspecified) to that(those)-there...

.i ko'a klama fi ta

It1 comes (3rd sumti) to that-there.

.i ko'a ti ta klama

It1(They1) from this(these)-here to that(those)-there comes...

.i ti [se klama] ko'a ta

This-here [is come from] by It1 to that-there...

.i ta [te klama] ti ko'a

That-there [is come to] from this-here by It1...

.i ko klama

[You imperative] Come!

.i ko klama ti

(Imperative) Come to this-here...! (Come here!)

.i (zo'e) klama

(unspecified) comes...

.i klama ti ta

(I bring to your attention by omitting sumti x1): (unspecified) comes to this-here from that-there...

ni'o mi djica ta .i la bab. djica ta .i le prenu ku djica ta .i le prenu ku cu djica ta .i le prenu cu djica ta .i re le prenu cu djica ta .i le re prenu cu djica ta .i re le rere prenu cu djica ta .i loi prenu cu djica ta .i lo prenu cu djica ta .i lei prenu cu djica ta .i le prenu cu pu djica ta .i le prenu ca djica ta .i le prenu ba djica ta .i le prenu pajenaicajeba djica ta .i le prenu bazi djica ta .i le trina ba na djica ta .i naku le trina ca djica ta .i mi djica da .i mi djica da pe la noras. .i mi djica da poi trina .i mi djica da noi klama ku zo'e .i mi djica da noi ke'a klama zo'e .i mi djica da poi la noras. djica ke'a .i mi djica le nu klama ku .i mi na djica le klama .i mi djica le nuke do klama .i mi djica ko'a goi le nuke do klama .i mi djica ko'a .i mi djica le nuke do klama goi ko'e .i mi djica ko'e

ni'o mi djica ta

(New Para.) I want that-there (for...)/I am a wanter of that-there (for...) I want that.

.i la bab. djica ta

Bob wants that...

.i [le prenu ku] djica ta

[The person(people) (end of description)] wants that...

The person wants that.

.i [le prenu ku] (cu) djica ta

[The person(people)] (kunbri marker) wants that...

.i [le prenu] cu djica ta

[The person(people)] wants that..

.i [re le prenu] cu djica ta

[Two of the people] want that...

.i [le re prenu] cu djica ta

[The two people] want that...

.i {re [le rere prenu]} cu djica ta

{Two of [the twenty two people]} want that...

.i [loi prenu] cu djica ta

[(At least some) People] want that...

.i [lo prenu] cu djica ta

[The one(s) who really is(are) a person(people)] wants(want) that.

.i [lei prenu] cu djica ta

[(At least some of) The people (as a group/whole)] want that...

.i [le prenu] (cu) [pu djica] ta

[The person(people)] [wanted] that...

.i [le prenu] [ca djica] ta

[The person(people)] [now wants] that...

.i [le prenu] [ba djica] ta

The person(people)] [will want] that...

.i [le prenu] [{pajenaicajeba} djica] ta

[The person(people)] [{did-and-not-now-and-will} want] that...

.i [le prenu] [{bazi} djica] ta

[The person(people)] [{will-shortly} want] that...

.i [le trina] [ba {na djica}] ta

[The attractor(s) (of...by...)] [will {not-want}] that...

.i [naku] [le trina] [ca djica] ta

[It is not the case that] [the attractor(s) (of...by...)] [now want] that...

.i mi djica da

I want something(s)x...

.i mi djica [da {pe la noras.}]

I want [the something(s)x {which/who is Nora}]...

.i mi djica [da {poi <trina>}]

I want [the something(s)x {which <it is an attractor(s) (of...by...)>}...

.i mi djica [da {noi <klama> ku}] [zo'e]

I want [something(s)x {which incidentally <comes (to...from...via...using...)>}] [for purpose unspecified]...

.i mi djica [da {noi <[(ke'a)] klama zo'e>}]

I want [something(s)x {which incidentally <[it(they)] comes(come) to unspecified from...via...using...)>}]...

.i mi djica [da {poi <la noras. djica [(ke'a)]>}]

I want [the something(s)x {which <Nora wants [it] (for...)>}] (for...)

I want what Nora wants.

.i mi djica [le {nu klama} (ku)]

I want [the {event of (someone) coming to...from...via...using...}] (for...)

I want the coming.

I want to come.

.i mi [na djica] [le klama]

I [not-want] [the comer to...from...via...using...] (for...)

I don't want the one who comes.

.i mi djica [le nuke {do klama}]

I want [the {event of you come to...from...via...using...}] (for...)

I want you to come.

.i mi djica [ko'a {goi <le nuke do klama>}]

I want [It1 {which is defined as the event of <you come to...from...via...using...>}] (for...)

I want you to come.

.i mi djica ko'a

I want It1 (for...)

.i mi djica [{le nuke do klama} {goi ko'e}]

I want [{the event of you come to...from...via...using...} {which defines it2]} (for...)

I want you to come.

.i mi djica ko'e

I want it2 (for...)

ni'o mi carmi citno prenu .i mi carmi je citno prenu .i mi carmi ja citno prenu .i mi carmi ja citno bo prenu .i mi carmi janai citno prenu .i mi carmi ke citno prenu kei .i mi carmi citno je prenu .i mi carmi ja citno je prenu .i mi carmi ke citno trina prami kei .i mi na carmi ke citno trina kei prami .i mi nake carmi ke citno trina kei prami kei

ni'o mi [carmi citno] prenu (New Para.)

I(We) am an [intense (in property...to...)(ly) young] person(people).

.i mi [carmi je citno] prenu

I am an intense...-and-young person.

.i mi carmi ja citno prenu

I am an [intense... or young] person.

.i mi {carmi ja [citno bo prenu]}

I am an {intense... (one) or [young-person]}.

.i mi [carmi {janai} citno] prenu

I am an [intense... {only-if} young] person.

.i mi {carmi ke [citno prenu] (kei)}

I am an {intense... type-of [young person]}.

.i mi {carmi [citno je prenu]}

I am {intense...(ly) [young and (intensely) a person]}.

.i mi {[carmi ja citno] je prenu}

I am {[either intense... or young] and a person}.

.i mi <carmi ke {[citno trina] prami} (kei)>

I am an <intense...-type-of {[young attractor(s) (of...by...)]- lover}>.

.i mi <{[na carmi] [ke <citno trina> kei]} prami>

I am a <{[not-intense...]-[type-of <young attractor(s) (of...by...)>]} lover>.

.i mi <nake> <{carmi [ke <citno trina> kei]} prami> (kei)

I am <not a> <{intense...-[type-of-<young-attractor(s) (of...by...)>]} lover>.

ni'o xu do klama .i ie mi klama .i mi .e do klama .i xu da klama .i go'i .i xu ta klama .i na go'i .i ma klama .i mi klama .i ma prenu .i mi go'i .i ta mo .i ta djica .i mi na go'i .i do go'i ma .i .ie mi go'i ko'a .i mi djica ko'a .i do djica ko'a goi ma .i le nuke la noras. klama kei .i mi djica ko'a goi le nuke la noras. klama kei .i do djica ko'a ki'a .i ko'a goi le nuke la noras. klama kei .i ki'a do klama .i mi klama ti ta .i ki'a ke'o .i mi klama ti ta .i pei go'i .i .ui .i la noras na pei klama .i .uucai .i .iapei ta ba klama .i .iacu'i .i'aru'e .i .ei

ni'o xu do klama

A: (New Para.) Is it true that you come...?

(.i) ie mi klama

B: Yes, I agree! I come...

.i mi .e do klama

I and you come...

.i xu da klama

Is it true that something(s)x comes...?

(.i) go'i

A: (Yes. I claim) This.

.i xu ta klama

Is it true that that-there comes...?

(.i) na go'i

B: (No. I claim) Not this.

.i ma klama

What (sumti) comes...?

(.i) mi klama

A: I come...

.i ma prenu

What (sumti) is a person?

(.i) mi go'i

B: I am this.

.i ta mo

That-there is a what (bridi)?/That-there does what (bridi)?

(.i) ta djica

A: That-there is a wanter of.../That there wants...

.i mi na go'i

I am a not-this (I do not want...)

.i do go'i ma

You do this (want) to what sumti(x2)/(You want something: what?)

(.i) .ie mi go'i ko'a

B: Yes, I agree! I do this (want) It1 (for...)

.i mi djica ko'a

I want It1 (for...)

(.i) do djica ko'a [goi ma]

A: You want It1 [which is defined as what sumti] (for...)

(.i) le nuke [la noras. klama] (kei)

B: The event of [Nora comes (to...)]

.i mi djica ko'a [goi {le nuke <la noras. klama> (kei)}]

I want It1 [which is defined as {the event of <Nora comes (to...)>}] (for...)

(.i) do djica ko'a ki'a

A: You want It1 (Clarify It1, please? I didn't hear, or I didn't understand.)

(.i) ko'a [goi {le nuke <la noras. klama> (kei)}]

B: It1 [which is defined as {the event of <Nora comes (to...)>}]

.i ki'a do klama

Clarify on the sentence: You come to...from...via...using...

(.i) mi klama ti ta

A: I come from this-here to that-there (via...using...)

(.i) ki'a ke'o

B: (I didn't understand at all.) Clarify, please? What did you say?

(.i) mi klama ti ta

A: (Repeats) I come from this-here to that-there (via...using...)

.i [pei] go'i

[How do you feel about] this bridi?

(.i) .ui

B: Happy!

(.i) la noras na pei klama

A: Nora is not (how do you feel about this?) coming (to...)

(.i) .uucai

B: Sad!!!(intensely)

.i [.iapei] ta ba klama

[Express your certainty about] That-there will come?

(.i) [.iacu'i] [.i'aru'e]

A: [Who knows? Not certain at all!] [Weak belief!]

(.i) .ei

B: Obligation!

It should. (It is obliged to.)

ni'oni'o coi. noras. .i coidoi bab. e'o ko klama .i ki'edoi bab ju'idoi noras. ju'i. bab pu le djica mi klama .i pu le prenu ku mi klama .i ri'a le prenu mi klama .i ri'a le prenu ku le trina cu klama. i mi klama ba le trina .i mi klama ba le trina ti ta .i mi klama ba le nuke le trina cu klama ta ti ku ti ta .i mi klama banai le prenu .i le pu djica ca klama .i le do prenu pu klama .i le prenu cu klama pu .i baku le prenu po'e do pu klama

ni'oni'o

(New topic and paragraph.)

coi. noras.

B: Greetings, Nora!

(.i) [coidoi bab.] e'o [ko klama]

N: [Greetings, O Bob!] Please! [(you imperative) Come. (to...from...via...using...)]

.i ki'edoi bab

Thank You. O Bob!

[ju'idoi noras.] [ju'i. bab] [pu le djica] mi klama

T: [Attention, O Nora!] [Attention, Bob!] [Before the wanter (of...for...),] I come (to...from...via...using...)

.i [pu le prenu (ku)] mi klama

[Before the person,] I come...

.i [ri'a le prenu] mi klama

[Because of the person,] I come...

.i [ri'a le prenu ku] le trina cu klama

[Because of the person,] the attractor(s) (of...by...) come...

.i mi klama [ba le trina]

I come, [after the attractor(s) (of...by...)] (to...from...via...using...)

.i mi klama [ba le trina] ti ta

I come, [after the attractor(s) (of...by...),] to this-here from that-there...

.i mi klama [ba {le nuke <le trina cu klama ta ti> ku}] ti ta

I come, [after {the state of <the attractor(s) (of...by...) coming to that-there from this- here...>,}] to this-here from that-there...

.i mi klama [banai le prenu]

I come [not-after the person...]

.i [le {pu djica}] ca klama

[The {previous/former wanter (of...for...)}] now comes...

.i [le do prenu] pu klama

[The pertaining-to-you person] came...

.i [le prenu] cu klama [pu]

[The person] comes, [previously] ...

.i [baku] [le prenu {po'e do}] pu klama

[Afterwards,] [the person {possessed by you}] came...

ni'o le djica be la Noras. cu klama .i le djica be la Noras. pu le prenu cu klama .i le djica be la Noras. ku pe pu le prenu cu klama .i le la Noras. djica cu klama .i ta djica be la Noras. prenu .i ta djica be le trina ku prenu .i ta ba djica be le trina ku klama .i ta ba djica be le trina ku klama pu le prenu .i mi djica le nuke klama ti ta .i mi djica le nu klama be ti bei ta .i mi klama be ti bei ta djica .i mi klama be ti bei le trina ku djica .i mi klama be ti bei le trina bei ta djica .i ti [mela iunaityd. steits.] .i ti [mela iunaityd. steits. {loi ka carmi}] .i mi [{mela iunaityd. steits.} prenu] .i [le {<mela iunaityd. steits.> prenu}] ca klama .i [le {<la iunaityd. steits.> prenu}] ca klama .i [le {<mela iunaityd. steits. be ti> prenu}] ca klama .i la noras. djica mi .i la noras. me mi djica fa'o

ni'o [le djica {be la Noras.}] cu klama

(New Para.) [The wanter {of Nora} (for...)] comes...

The one who wants Nora comes.

.i [le djica {be la Noras.}] [pu le prenu] cu klama

[The wanter {of Nora} (for...)], [before the person], comes...

The one who wants Nora comes, before the person.

.i <[le djica {be la Noras. ku}] [pe {pu le prenu}]> cu klama

<[The wanter {of Nora} (for...)] [which is {before the person}]>, comes...

The one before the person, who wants Nora, comes.

.i [le {la Noras.} djica] cu klama

[The {pertaining-to-Nora} wanter (of...for...)] comes...

The Nora-wanter comes.

.i ta [{djica <be la Noras.>} prenu]

That-there(Those) is [a {wanter <of Nora> (for...)} person(people)]

That is a Nora-wanting person.

.i ta [{djica <be le trina ku>} prenu]

That-there(Those) is [a {wanter <of the attractor(s) (of...by...)> (for...)} person(people)]

That is an attractor-wanting person.

.i ta ba [{djica <be le trina ku>} klama]

That-there(Those) will be [a {wanter <of the attractor(s) (of...by...)> (for...)} comer(s)...]

That will be an attractor-wanting comer.

.i ta ba [{djica <be le trina ku>} klama] [pu le prenu]

That-there(Those) will be [a {wanter <of the attractor(s) (of...by...)> (for...)} comer(s)...] [before the person(people)]

That will be an attractor-wanting comer before the person.

.i mi djica [le nuke {klama ti ta}]

I want [the state of {...comes to this-here from that-there (via...using...)}] (for...)

I want something to come here from there.

I want to come here from there.

.i mi djica [le {nu klama <be ti [bei ta]>}]

I want [the {state of coming <to this-here [from that-there] (via...using...)>}] (for...)

I want the event of coming to here from there.

.i mi [{klama <be ti [bei ta]>} djica]

I am a [{comer <to this-here [from that-there] (via...using...)>} -wanter] (of...for...)

I am one who wants a coming-to-here-from-there.

I am a coming-to-here-from-there wanter.

.i mi [{klama <be ti [bei {le trina} ku]>} djica]

I am a [{comer <to this-here [from {the attractor(s) (of...by...)},] (via...using...)>} - wanter] (of...for...)

I want the one who comes here from there.

.i mi [{klama <be ti [bei {le trina} {bei ta}]>} djica]

I am a [{comer <to this-here [from {the attractor(s) (of...by...)}{via that-there}] using...)>} -wanter] (of...for...)

I want the one who comes here from the attractor via there.

.i ti [mela iunaityd. steits.] This-here [pertains to the United States (in property...)]

This is American.

.i ti [mela iunaityd. steits. {loi ka carmi}]

This-here [pertains to the United States {in property Intensity}].

This is American Intensity.

.i mi [{mela iunaityd. steits.} prenu]

I am a [{pertaining to the United States (in property...)}-person]

I am an American.

.i [le {<mela iunaityd. steits.> prenu}] ca klama

[The {<pertaining to the United States (in property...)>-person}] now comes...

The American comes.

.i [le {<la iunaityd. steits.> prenu}] ca klama

[The {<pertaining to the United States>-person}] now comes...

The American comes.

.i [le {<mela iunaityd. steits. be ti> prenu}] ca klama

[The {<pertaining to the United States (in property this-here)>-person}] now comes...

The this-kind-of-American person comes.

.i [la noras.] djica mi

[Nora] wants me (for...)

Nora wants me.

.i [la noras.] [{me mi} djica] (fa'o)

[Nora] is a [{pertaining to me in property...}-wanter (of...for...)] (End-of-Text)

Nora is a me-wanter.

Did you follow that even partially? Then you are going to learn Lojban easily. Now try some more natural writings:

lojbo ciska - Writings in the Language

Hopefully this will be a start of a regular section of JL, Lojban writings by members of the community. Per Terry Murphey's suggestion in his letter below, we are including more pronunciation guides than we have been, at least until we have tapes. We will also give translations, but separated from the Lojban text so that those who want to try to read and translate it themselves can have the fun (or the puzzle) of reading the language. The translation will always appear either immediately after the Lojban text, or after the end of the section of writings (possibly with commentary).

A Letter from Jack Waugh (Translation and Footnotes on Page 21)

ju'i .bab .i ju'i .nOris1 .i ju'i .tAmis1

.ni'o.2

ge da ca rinka de gi ge de ca nu ke mi ca glEki da kei gi da nu ke ge mi ca xAnce pOnse di gi ge di ca tUtci da bo3 no gi da bo3 no nu ke lOjbo cIska kei kei .i su'o re di se kAncu klAni

.ni'o.2

la .djek4 .uaus. pu cIska le vi se tcIdu be do ca le se cmEne be li.5 pasobIbinanc .sOmast .rEsodjed .li'u bei do

I've kept Jack's spacing and capitalization of stressed vowels. I don't like unnecessary capitalization; it is a pain to type, and looks funny to those not familiar with it. In the future, for space considerations, I may have to modify spacing of submitted letters, but Jack seems to be trying to convey his structure visually to make up for his uncertainty about his grammar - useful in this case. My translation will be found after this section (after Nora's comic strip). Footnotes are mine and refer to comments that will be found with the translation. I am not including pronunciation guides for this letter and my response. They are not well designed to be read aloud, and we have space limitations.

Bob's Response to Jack

(Translation and Commentary on Page 23)

This is the response I sent, or intended to send, to Jack. (I had too many copies floating around. I think I actually sent it; if not, my apologies, Jack.) I've corrected a couple of errors that Nora and I noticed when preparing this.

ti'u le 31moi djedi jo'u le 10moi masti jo'u le 1988moi nanca

coi. djek

mi spuda le do xatra noi do benji ca le ca masti .i mi pluka le nuke do troci le pu'ujemu'e ke cusku bau la lojban .i do simlu loi jimpe be le lojbo valsi je gerna .iku'i mi djica le nuke mi ciksi so'u sidbo do

.i pamai le ca gerna cu pilno lo'u gi'e...gi le'u sesau loi balvi pensi ke logji te jorne valsi va'o loi bridi

.i remai zo xi ca ve lasna loi namcu loi basti cmavo

.i cimai mi jinvi le nuke le do se cusku pu dukse le ka satci

ni'o mi ba troci le mu'eke krefu cusku le do xatra se cusku

ni'oni'o

mi (do) kancu su'ore tutci poi ca sidju le nuke mi lojbo ciska .i la'e di'u rinka le nuke mi gleki

ni'oni'o

mi se cinri le nike do mansa de'u .i mi djica le do se jinvi be fi ra .i mi denpa le do nu spuda .i mi jmina setca le cabna gerna ve skicu .e le cabna cmavo liste .i a'o ko'a goi ri .e ra sidju loi do jmina nu troci .i a'o do ve pinka ko'a mi pu le cabna masti fanmo

ni'o mi ckire le nuke do ciska


.i mi du la bab leceVAli,er


The First Lojban Poetry!?, by Bob LeChevalier

(Translation and Commentary on Page 23)

This poem was written at 3AM after a pleasant day spent with Nora's brother, sister-in-law, and Nora's long-time friends. Nora is close to her family, a fact I appreciate, and attempt to honor with this poem. My emphasis in writing was to show good meter and reasonable rhyme while conveying my thoughts in a somewhat poetic manner. It isn't very good, but was composed in Lojban and not translated from English. It thus is the first true Lojban poetry. (Marianne Turlington, Birrell Walsh and others wrote poetry in earlier versions of the language, however.)

na da zo'u da simsa lo de lanzu
ki'u le kake de simxu xamgu lifri
.i le nuke de kansa ku cu banzu
ri'a loi cinmo be le nuke manci zifre
.i ri sabji loi nuke carmi seirkrici
ro lei nu troci be di pe loi cnino jo'u vrici

The rhyme scheme is ABABCC, with some poetic liberty. The following pronunciation and phrasing guide will show that the rhythm matches this pattern. The following conventions apply to the rhythm:

+ indicates an extra semi-stressed syllable marking the last line

- Even- or null-stress

/ Mandatory emphatic stress according to the morphology

= Non-mandatory phrasing stresses, somewhat weaker than the emphatic stress, but strong enough to carry the rhythm of a stressed syllable, which they are equivalent to in the rhythm scheme. These non-mandatory stresses are all permissible in the morphology, and reflect what I consider good Lojban phrasing in my dialect.

, - (Hyphen below comma) Two syllables that should be said more quickly together in a single rhythm period (as eighth notes in quarter time). This again is a phrasing convention to support the rhythm scheme and is close to my natural pronunciation is reading the poem.

na da zo'u da simsa lo de lanzu
na da zo,hu da SEEM,sa lo de LAN,zu
- - = - - / - = - / -
ki'u le kake de simxu xamgu lifri
ki,hu le ka ke de SEEM,khu KHAM,gu LEE,free
- - - = - - / - / - / -
.i le nuke de kansa ku cu banzu
.ee le nu ke de KAN,sa ku shu BAN,zu
- - = - - / - = - / -
ri'a loi cinmo be le nuke manci zifre
ree,ha loi SHEEN,mo be,le nu ke MAN,shee ZEE,fre
- - - / - - = - / - / -
.i ri sabji loi nuke carmi seirkrici
.ee ree SAB,zhee loi nu ke SHAR,mee sei,r,KREE,shee
- - / - - = - / - = - / -
ro lei nu troci be di pe loi cnino jo'u vrici
ro lei nu TRO,shee be,dee pe loi SHNEE,no zho,hu VREE,shee
+ - - / - - = - / - = - / -

A Revised Translation of The Lords' Prayer

The cmavo were still in limbo when we did the hasty translation of The Lord's Prayer for last issue. I'm repeating it with corrections, and am including pronunciation guides this time. As before, the parenthetical lines are either optional additions or substitutions based on some of the various interpretations of the text.

le xisyctu jdaselsku be la jegvon. (ni'o)

doi cevrirni .iu noi zvati le do cevzda ku ku
fu'e .aicai .e'ecai lo do cmene ru'i censa
.i le do nobli turni be la ter. kuku se cfari
.i loi do se djica ba snada mulno vi'e le cevzda .e .a'o la ter.
(.i do nobli turni vi'e le cevzda .ebazake .a'o la ter.)
(.i loi do se djica ba snada mulno vi'e le cevzda .e .a'o la ter.)
.i fu'e .e'o ko dunda ca le cabdei ku le ri nanba ku mipezu
.i ko fraxu mi loi ri zu'o palci
.ijo mi fraxu da poi pacyzu'e xrani mi
.i ko lidne mi zaze'o loi pacyxlu
.i ko sepri'a mi loi palci
(.i .uicai ni'ike loi se turni .e loi vlipa .e loi mi'orselsi'a me le do romei)

Now for pronunciation, and my attempt to portray a possible phrasing rhythm:

le xisyctu jdaselsku be la jegvon. (ni'o)
/le KHEES,uh,shtu zhda,SEL,sku be la ZHEG,von. nee,ho./
- / - - / - = - / - . = -.

doi cevrirni .iu noi zvati le do cevzda ku ku
/doi shev,REER,nee .yu noi ZVA,tee le,do SHEV,zda ku,ku/
= - / - .= - / - - / - -
fu'e .aicai .e'ecai lo do cmene ru'i censa
/fu,he .ay,shay .e,he,shay lo do SHME,ne .ru,hee SHEN,sa/
= .= - . = - - - / - . = - / -
.i le do nobli turni be la ter. kuku se cfari
/.ee le,do NOB,lee TUR,nee be la ter. ku,ku se SHFA,ree/
= - / - / - = - = . = - / -
.i loi do se djica ba snada mulno vi'e le cevzda .e .a'o la ter.
/.ee loi,do se JEE,sha ba SNA,da MUL,no .vee,he le SHEV,zda .e .a,ho la ter./
.- = - - / - - / - / - .= - - / - .= .= - - = .
(.i do nobli turni vi'e le cevzda .ebazake .a'o la ter.)
/.ee do NOB,lee TUR,nee vee,he le SHEV,zda .e,ba,za,ke .a,ho la ter./
.= - / - / - = - - / - .- - = - .= - - = .
(.i loi do se djica ba snada mulno vi'e le cevzda .e .a'o la ter.)
/.ee loi,do se JEE,sha ba SNA,da MUL,no .vee,he le SHEV,zda .e .a,ho la ter./
.- = - - / - - / - / - .= - - / - .= .= - - = .
.i fu'e .e'o ko dunda ca le cabdei ku le ri nanba ku mipezu
/.ee fu,he .e,ho ko DUN,da sha le SHAB,dei ku le,ree NAN,ba ku mee,pe,zu/
.- = .= - - / - = - / - - - - / - - = -
.i ko fraxu mi loi ri zu'o palci
/.ee ko FRA,khu mi,loi ree zu,ho PAL,shee/
.= - / - - - = - / -
.ijo mi fraxu da poi pacyzu'e xrani mi
/.ee,zho mi FRA,khu da poi pash,uh,ZU,he KHRA,nee mee/
= - / - = - - - / - / - =
.i ko lidne mi zaze'o loi pacyxlu
/.ee ko LEED,ne mee za,ze,ho loi PASH,uh,khlu/
.= - / - = - = - = / - =
.i ko sepri'a mi loi palci
/.ee ko sep,REE,ha mi. loi PAL,shee/
.= - - / - =. - / -

(.i .uicai ni'ike loi se turni .e loi vlipa
/.ee .wee,shai nee,hee,ke loi se TUR,nee .e loi VLEE,pa
- . = - = - = - / - .- - / -

.e loi mi'orselsi'a me le do romei)
.e loi mee,hor,sel,SEE,ha me le,do ro,mei/
.- - = - / - = - = -

The translation is almost unchanged, but I am formatting the translation with parenthetical groupings and the lined up format that seems clearer for new people.

The translation is quite complex, and it DOES use a fair amount of the more intricate grammar not normally found in conversation. This doesn't mean that there isn't a conversational way to translate the text (which would be appropriate for this context), but rather that the non-Lojban idiom would have to be paraphrased into Lojban, something that is a culturally-sensitive thing to do. I will leave it to people with more theology, and an ability to translate from the original Greek, to do a proper translation of biblical material that will stand up to religious and cultural scrutiny.

Because of the complexity, I will not describe a lot of the details. The parenthesis will give you the general idea of the structure, which can be compared with simpler structures from the conversational grammar introduction.

[le xisyctu jdaselsku {be la jegvon}] (ni'o)
[The Christ-teach religious-expression {to the one named YHVH (Jehovah)}]. (new paragraph)
THE LORD'S PRAYER

[doi {<cevrirni .iu> noi zvati <le do cevzda ku> ku}]
[O {<divine-parent (affection)> who (non-restrictive) is at <your divine-nest,>}]
O Father who is in Heaven,
fu'e .aicai .e'ecai [lo do cmene] [ru'i censa]
(Long indicator scope) (Intention!!) (Obligation!!) [Your (true) name] [is continuously holy].
(Amen!!!) Your name must be hallowed.
.i [le do {nobli turni <be la ter. ku>} ku] [se cfari]
 [Your {noble rule <of Earth>}] [be initiated].
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done throughout Heaven and Earth.
(.i do [nobli turni] [vi'e le cevzda .ebazake a'o la ter.])

You [nobly rule] [throughout {Heaven <[and after-near] (hopefully)> (throughout) Earth}].)
(Your Kingdom become on Earth as it is (now) in Heaven.)
(.i [{loi do} {se djica}] [ba {snada mulno}] [vi'e {le cevzda <.e .a'o> la
ter].)

[{The mass of Your} {Desires}] [will be {successfully-completed}] [throughout {the divine-nest <and (I hope)>
Earth}].
(Your will become done on Earth as it is in Heaven.)
 .i [fu'e .e'o] ko dunda [ca le cabdei ku] [le ri nanba ku] mipezu

[(Long indicator scope) (petition!)] Give, [on the now-day,] [its bread] to all of us.
Please give us today, today's bread.
.i ko fraxu mi [loi {ri <zu'o palci>}]
 Forgive (all of) us for [the mass of {our <Activities-Of-Being-Evil>}].
Please forgive us our sins.
.ijo mi fraxu [da {poi <pacyzu'e xrani mi>}]
if and only if we forgive those who (restrictive clause) evil-actively injure us.
As we (should) forgive those that sinfully injure us.
.i ko lidne mi [zaze'o loi pacyxlu]
 Lead us [from-near-away from the mass of Evil-Influences].
Please lead us not-into temptation.
.i ko sepri'a mi [loi palci]
 Separate-cause us from [the mass of Evil].
Please separate us from evil.
(.i .uicai {[ni'ike] [<{loi se turni}

(Happy!!) [The previous logically follows from this:] [<{the mass of the Governed},
.e loi vlipa> .e loi mi'orselsi'a] [me <le do romei>]})
and the Powerful>, and the Famous-Esteemed] [pertains to <your all-some>]}.
Because that which is governed and powerful and gloried is all yours.

'lei lojbo', a new regular feature by Nora LeChevalier

With any luck, I will be able to convince Nora that she draws people well enough for a comic strip, and this feature will appear each issue. In it, Nora explores the humor that arises out of metaphorical and semantic ambiguity in the absence of grammatical ambiguity - in short, the unique essence of Lojban humor. Any resemblance of the persons or machines in this feature to any real entities are probably your imagination. The translation and commentary start on page 24.

Pronunciation for lei lojbo

lei lojbo
/lei LOZH,bo/

N: ta mo
/ta mo/

B: ti cnino be mi'o skami .i .e'o ko rinsa ra
/ti SHNEE,no be mee,ho SKA,mee (pause) ee .e,ho ko REEN,sa ra/

N: coi. cnino skami
/shoi (pause/glottal stop) SHNEE,no SKA,mee

C: .ua mi ca jimpe loi te rinsa
/wa mi sha ZHEEM,pe loi te REEN,sa

C: COI. SLABU NINMU
/shoi (pause/glottal stop) SLA,bu NEEN,mu/

N: ju'i. bab. .i .o'o ledo skami puzi te mabla mi
/zhu,hee (pause/glottal stop) bab (pause) ee (pause/glottal stop) o,ho le,do SKA,mee pu,zee te MA,bla mee/

C: .uu mi na jimpe loi rinsa
/wu mee na ZHEEM,pe loi REEN,sa/

B: doi noras. le skami cu mutce djuno .i ko zgana
/doi NO,ras (pause/glottal stop) le SKA,mee shu MU,che JU,no (pause) ee ko ZGA,na/

B: doi skami le barda zdani vi zvati ma
/doi SKA,mee le BAR,da ZDA,nee vee ZVA,tee ma/

C: MI PENSI
/mee PEN,see/

va'i le zdani poi barda va zvati ma
/va,hee le ZDA,nee poi BAR,da va ZVA,tee ma/

C: .I LE ZDANI POI BARDA CU ZVATI DA POI PRITU LE VA TRICU
/ee le ZDA,nee poi BAR,da shu ZVA,tee da poi PREE,tu le va TREE,shu/

B: .ui .i ko troci doi noras.
/wee (pause/glottal stop) ee ko TRO,shee doi NO,ras/

N: .ai .i'e
/ai (pause/glottal stop) ee,he

N: doi skami le gerku zdani vi zvati ma
/doi SKA,mee le GER,ku ZDA,nee vee ZVA,tee ma/

C: MI PENSI
/mee PEN,see/

va'i le zdani poi gerku va zvati ma
/va,hee le ZDA,nee poi GER,ku va ZVA,tee ma/

C: .I MI NAKE VISKA LE ZDANI POI GERKU
/ee mee na,ke VEES,ka le ZDA,nee poi GER,ku/

.ue
/weh/

N: i'u le malskami cu mutce bebna djuno
/ee,hu le mal,SKA,mee shu MU,che BEB,na JU,no

Translation and Commentary on lojbo ciska

A Letter from Jack Waugh (From Page 16)

First, some notes on Jack's letter. His grammar is quite good; he used L1, with Nora's update notes as given in JL5, and then used the new gismu list sent out with JL6. The accuracy of his translation shows how stable the language actually has been over the years. All of the footnotes indicate errors or changes, but these are either minor quibbles or changes to the cmavo as I put in the effects of the final grammar changes. Jack actually made no grammatical errors based on the information that he had when writing. Some of these comments may be a bit esoteric for beginners, but those who have studied L1 or later language writings should understand them.

1 Nora and Tommy write their names as noras and tomis. Since the way to pronounce and spell a name is up to the individual (as long as it is valid Lojban morphology), these latter are preferred to Jack's usages.

2 Due to an ambiguity in the grammar that was hidden in compounding rules, we cannot use bo for subscripting. It conflicts with several of its other uses. xi has been assigned as the subscript marker.

3 There is no particular reason to pause after ni'o, nor before it unless required by the nature of the previous word (such as after a name).

4 There is no requirement to pause before djek. The following words that may label a name do not require a pause between them and the name: la, lai, la'i, and doi. Other vocatives, such as ju'i, used in the greeting at the beginning of the letter, require a pause or doi (the vocative marker) between them and the name. When a brivla or other similar construct is used with a vocative, the pause or doi isn't needed. The separators are a result of the morphology restrictions on names, to prevent them from absorbing the words before them. The apparent complication is due to Lojban never requiring something of this sort unless it is absolutely necessary. The use of a pause is, of course, permitted - it just isn't required.

5The open quotation marker is now lu.

Given these comments, I now give a line by line translation, using the corrections I proposed in place of Jack's text, and rewriting the text into a more natural form and with my style of writing pauses and capitalization. I also use parenthesis in the Lojban for the major groupings of Jack's very complex but quite unambiguous grammatical construction.

   ju'i .bab. .i ju'i .noras. .i ju'i .tomis.
   Attention, Bob! Attention, Nora! Attention, Tommy!
   
   ni'o (ge [da ca rinka de]
   both [x now causes y]
   
   gi [ge {de ca6 <nuke mi ca gleki da kei>}
   and [both {y is now <the state of me now being happy about x>}
   
   gi {da <nuke (ge [mi ca {xance ponse} di]
   and {x is <the state of (both [I now {hand-possess7} z]
   
   gi [ge {di ca tutci daxino}
   and [both {z is now a tool for doing x-sub-0}
   
   gi {daxino <nuke lojbo ciska kei> }]) kei> }])
   and {x-sub-0 is <the state of Lojbanically writing> }]) > }])
   
   .i su'o re di se kancu klani
   At least two z are counted -quantities.
   
   ni'o (la djek. uaus.) pu ciska ([le vi se tcidu {be do}] [ca le se cmene {be <lu .pasobibinanc. somast. resodjed. li'u> <bei do>} ])
   Jack Waugh wrote [this here read {by you} thing] during the be-named {as " 1988year 9month 29day " <by you>}8

6The ca here seems superfluous. It implies that y might be something else at a different time. Several other places where Jack used ca (meaning present tense), tense is optional and it isn't clear why he needed it.

7The tanru is meant to imply have-in-hand. Okay, but based on English idiom.

8The grouping seems to indicate that he is claiming that us, the recipients, named the time of writing as he stated. This is true, but is curious enough to make me wonder if he meant something else. Various numbers of ku close markers could have made the 'you' attach to other things.

The complexity of Jack's construction is unnecessary for several reasons. First, each of the terms defined could have been stuck in the sentences where they are referenced. Second, he could have made each sentence a separate sentence connected by .ije instead of making a humongous forethought-logically-connected compound sentence. Third, since all of the sentences are connected by logical AND, it is not logically necessary to mark any of them with an AND connective, so he could have used .i instead of .ije between sentences. I attempted to express this in my answer which is translated following. Since I was sending Jack the new grammar and cmavo list for review (he clearly is ready for it), I didn't hold back on using cmavo and grammar constructs that he might not be familiar with. This, then, is what Lojban letters between fluent users might look like. Embedded in my response is a briefer statement of what Jack's letter said.

Bob's Response to Jack (From pg 16)

   <ti'u [{le 31moi djedi jo'u le 10moi masti} jo'u le 1988moi nanca]>
   <With time of [{the 31st day in-common-with the 10th month} in-common-with the 1988th year]>
   
   <[coi. djek] [mi spuda {le do xatra <noi [do benji {ca <le ca masti>}]>}]>
   <[Greetings, Jack!] [I reply to {your letter <which [you send {during <the now month>}]>}]>.
   
   .i mi pluka (le nuke [do troci {le <(pu'ujemu'e) ke cusku (bau la lojban)>}])
   I (am)pleased by (the state of [you try {the <(process-and-achievement) of expressing (in language Lojban)>}]).
   
   .i do simlu [loi {jimpe <be le (lojbo [valsi je gerna])>}]
   You seem [a part of the {understanders <of the (Lojbanic [words-and-grammar])>}].
   
   .iku'i mi djica (le nuke [mi ciksi {so'u sidbo} do])
   However, I desire (the state of [I explain {a few ideas} to you])
   
   .i pamai [{le ca gerna} cu pilno {lo'u gi'e...gi le'u} {sesau
   First: [{the now grammar} uses {"gi'e...gi"} {necessarily-under-conditions
   
   loi <[(balvi pensi) ke ([{logji <te jorne>] valsi}]>} {[va'o loi bridi]
   <[(future-think)-type of-({[logic-<join place>]} words)]>} {in environment of bridi}].
   
   .i remai zo xi [ca ve lasna] [loi namcu] [loi basti cmavo]
   Second: "xi [now serves as fastener] of [numbers] to [replacing-cmavo].
   
   .i cimai mi jinvi (le nuke [le do se cusku] [pu dukse] [le ka satci])
   Third: I opine (the state of [your expression] [exceeded] in [exactness])
   
   ni'o mi ba troci [le mu'eke {<krefu cusku> <le do (xatra se cusku)>}]
   I will try [the achievement of {<recurringly-expressing> <your (letter-expression)>}]
   
   ni'oni'o mi (do) kancu [{su'ore} {tutci poi <(ca sidju) (le nuke [mi {lojbo ciska}])>}]
   New topic: I (You) count [{at-least-two} {tools which <(now help}) (the state of [I {Lojbanically write}])>}].
   
   .i [la'e di'u] rinka [le nuke {mi gleki}]
   The [referent of the last utterance] causes [the state of {me being happy}]
   
   ni'oni'o mi (se cinri) (le nike [do mansa de'u])
   New topic: I (am interested by) (the-amount-of [you be satisfied by the preceding]).
   
   .i mi djica [{le do} {se jinvi <be (fi ra)>}]
   I desire [{your} {opinion <about (3rd sumti) it
   
   .i mi denpa [le do {nu spuda}]
   I wait for [your {reply}].
   
   .i mi (jmina setca) ([le {<cabna gerna> <ve skicu>}] .e [le {<cabna cmavo> liste}])
   I (additionally-insert) ([the {<now-grammar>,<description>}] and [the {<now-cmavo>,list}])
   
   .i a'o (ko'a [goi {ri .e ra}]) sidju (loi do [jmina nu troci])
   Hopefully (it1 [which is defined as {the latter and something before it}) help (your [additional-tries.])
   
   .i a'o do [ve pinka] ko'a mi [pu {le <(cabna masti) fanmo>}]
   Hopefully you [comment] on it1 to me [before {the <(now-month),end.>}]
   
   ni'o mi ckire [le nuke {do ciska}]
   I grateful for [the state of {you write}].
   
   .i mi du [la bab leceVAli,er]
   mi is defined as equal to [the one named Bob LeChevalier]. /le,she,VA,lee,er/

The point I made about gi'e..gi was irrelevant to Jack's letter (although true). I thought, at the time I wrote this, that Jack was logically connecting bridi instead of sentences. His grammar is correct as written.

Translation of the Lojban Poem (From pg. 17)

First, a colloquial English translation. Naturally written Lojban, or at least my poetic style of it, is almost impossible to interpret at this point:

Nothing but a family
provides the kind of shared special experiences.
Being with them is enough;
the feelings of wondrous freedom that are gained.
Provide an intense self-confidence:
Paving the way to attempting the new and varied.
na da zo'u da simsa lo de lanzu
There is no something such that it is similar to some y's family

ki'u le kake de simxu xamgu lifri
because of the property of y mutually-good-experiences (something)

.i le nuke de kansa ku cu banzu
the state of y accompanying (unspecified) suffices

ri'a loi cinmo be le nuke manci zifre
because of emotions of states-of-wondrous-freedom

.i ri sabji loi nuke carmi seirkrici
These (states) provide states of intense-self-confidence [derived from self-believe]

ro lei nu troci be di pe loi cnino jo'u vrici
for all the attempts at things which (have in common) the new and various.

Translation and Commentary on lei lojbo (From Page 20)

First a colloquial translation. The joke gets lost more easily in the detailed translation that follows.

These Lojbanics

#1
N: What's this?
B: This is our new computer. Please greet it.
N: Greetings, New Computer!
C: Aha! I understand acts of greeting!
C: Greetings, Old Woman!
N: Hey, Bob! YOUR computer just insulted me.
C: Oh, dear! I don't understand greeters.
#2
B: Nora! See how much the computer knows! (Observe that the computer knows a lot.)
B: Hey, computer! Where is the big house?
C: THINKING... (In other words, the house that is big is where?)
C: THE HOUSE THAT IS BIG IS TO THE RIGHT OF THE TREE.
B: Wow! You try, Nora.
N: I guess so, if you insist.
N: Hey, computer! Where is the doghouse?
C: THINKING... (In other words, the house that is a dog is where?)
C: (Oh, what a surprising concept!) I DON'T SEE ANY HOUSE THAT IS A DOG.
N: Blecch! This $%!@# computer is extremely foolish. (The computer knows a lot of foolishness.)
   #1
   lei lojbo
   These Lojbanics
   
   N: ta mo That is-a-what (bridi)?
   What's this?
   
   B: ti [{cnino <be mi'o>} skami]
   This is-a [{new <to we (you and me)>} computer] (for purpose...)
   .i [.e'o] ko rinsa ra1
   [Please! (Petition)] (Imperative you) greet it (some recent sumti reference) (by doing/being...)
   This is our new computer. Please greet it.
   
   N: coi. [cnino skami]2 Greetings! [New (to...in feature...) Computer (for purpose...)]
   Greetings, New Computer!
   
   C: ([.ua] mi ca jimpe [loi {te rinsa}]
   (Thinking) [Aha! (Discovery!)] I now understand [(at least some {acts of greeting (...by greeter...)}]
   Aha! I understand acts of greeting!
   
   C: COI. [SLABU NINMU]3 Greetings! [Old (to...in feature...) Woman]
   Greetings, Old Woman!
   
   N: [ju'i. bab.] Attention! Bob.
   .i4 [.o'o] [{ledo skami} {puzi} {te mabla}5 mi]
   [Grrr! (Anger)] [{The pertaining-to-you computer (for...)} {just previously} {used derogation} of me (in form...)(for...)]
   Hey, Bob! YOUR computer just insulted me.
   
   C: ([.uu] mi na jimpe [loi rinsa])
   (Thinking) [Oh Dear! (Regret)] I don't understand [(at least some of) Greeters (of...by doing/being...)]
   Oh, dear! I don't understand greeters.


   #2
   lei lojbo
   
   B: doi noras. [le skami] cu [mutce djuno]
   O Nora! [The computer (for...)] is [extreme- (in direction...in quality)-ly knowing/knower (of...about...)]
   .i ko zgana
   (Imperative you) Observe (...using...under conditions...)
   Nora! See how much the computer knows!
   
   B: [doi skami]6 [le barda zdani] [vi zvati] ma
   [O Computer (for...)!] [The large- (in property/dimension...) -nest (for...)] is [here (time unspecified) being present at] what sumti x2
   Hey, computer! Where is the big house?
   
   C: MI PENSI I think (about...)
   ([va'i] [le zdani {poi barda}]7 [va zvati] ma)
   (Thinking) [In other words,] [the nest (for...) {which is large (in property/dimension...) is [there-in-space (time unspecified) being present at] what sumti x2
   THINKING... (In other words, the house that is big is where?)
   
   C: .I [LE ZDANI POI BARDA] CU8 ZVATI [DA {POI <PRITU [LE {VA TRICU}]>}]
   The nest (for...) {which is large (in property/dimension...) is present at [somethingx {which is to the right of [the {there-in-space (time unspecified) (tree of species...)}]>}]
   THE HOUSE THAT IS BIG IS TO THE RIGHT OF THE TREE.
   
   B: .ui .i [{ko troci} doi noras.6]
   Great! (Happy) [{(Imperative) You try,} O Nora.]
   Wow! You try, Nora.
   
   N: .ai .i'e
   Aye, Aye! (Willingness) I guess! (Reluctant Acceptance)
   I guess so, if you insist.
   
   N: doi skami le gerku zdani vi zvati ma
   [O Computer (for...)!] [The dog- (of species...from...) -nest (for...)] is [here (time unspecified) being present at] what sumti x2
   Hey, computer! Where is the doghouse?
   
   C: MI PENSI
   I think (about...)
   (va'i le zdani poi gerku va zvati ma)
   (Thinking) [In other words,] [the nest (for...) {which is a dog (of species...from...) is [there-in-space (time unspecified) being present at] what sumti x2
   THINKING... (In other words, the house that is a dog is where?)
   
   C: .I MI [NAKE {VISKA <LE ZDANI [POI GERKU]>}]
   I [not- {see <the nest (for...) [which is a dog (of species...from...)]> under conditions}]
   .ue (Thinking) Oh! (Surprise!)
   (Oh, what a surprising concept!)
   I DON'T SEE ANY HOUSE THAT IS A DOG.
   
   N: i'u [le malskami]9 cu [{mutce bebna} djuno]
   Yecch! (Disgust) [The derogative-computer] is an [{extreme- (in direction...in quality)-ly foolish (in...)} knowing/knower (of...about...)]
   Blecch! This $%!@# computer is extremely foolish.10

Notes:

As you perhaps can tell, Nora (the character, of course) is prone to using tanru that are vague and subject to misinterpretation. The computer tends to take things very literally (presumably due to Bob's inexpert programming).

One thing I will try to do in commenting on Nora's (the one not on paper) comics is to show the smallness of the details that remain unresolved in the language. We are going to define as many of these details as possible, but most of them are semantics quibbles that your usage of the language will have to determine. What this means is that you say what you think is correct, or just take a guess if you aren't sure. Say it first, and then if a misunderstanding occurs, discuss it an resolve it to your satisfaction. (If it seems significant, or if you want an 'official' opinion, you can write it down and send it to me for review by a review group.) If your usage correctly understood, then semantic ambiguity has caused no problem - the main purpose of language is to communicate, and you will have done so. Since most of us will be dealing with our grammatical mistakes as a source of ambiguity for a while, the few unresolved issues are a very minor concern right now.

1 ra is an anaphoric reference to a recent, but probably not the last, sumti. You count backwards, ri is the first, ra is any before it. You do not count the sumti containing the ri/ra. I personally avoid referring to other anaphora (pro-sumti/pronouns), when counting back. There is no usage rule as of yet, and this is a question of semantics more than grammar. We will probably have a consensus opinion by publication of the cmavo list, but this is one of several experimental areas that will be subject to your inputs based on how hard it is to learn and use before the baseline.

2 Direct address vocatives can take any name, any kunbri in a form suitable for a sumti (which this is), or any anaphora/pro-sumti (Hey, you). Any of these may be qualified with a relative clause as in English (per The Lord's Prayer: "O Father, who art in heaven").

3 The joke of the first comic is based on the place structures of cnino and slabu, which indicate they are opposites. The computer, knows this, but gets confused, probably because of incomplete knowledge of the place structures. (Looking at the translated place structures. If the computer had attempted to determine the plausible contents of each place structure, it would know that the 'new to.../old to...' places should refer to the observer.

4 Indicators at the beginning of an utterance apply to the whole utterance. Indicators following a word in an utterance refer either to the referent of that word, or if a closing delimiter like ku, to the referent of that which is delimited. Thus, with the .i, Nora expresses anger about the computer insulting her. Without it, she would be expressing anger about either Bob, or having to get Bob's attention (There is an implied delimiter ku that is seldom needed to be expressed after a vocative. I am inclined to think that the anger would be interpreted to apply to Bob unless the ku is explicit.

5 The place structure of mabla, especially as she used it here, does not match what I thought I was putting in the gismu list, but I think her version is better than mine. The problem is confusing in this example because of the place structure conversion with te. This conversion causes the place structure to go in the order x3 x2 x1 x4 (of the gismu place structure). Nora intends x1 to be the derogative form ("old woman"), x2 to be the thing derogated, x3 the entity doing the derogation, and wasn't sure what x4 was. I had intended x1 to be "old", x2 to be "woman", and x4 to be the thing derogated. This form has its uses, but is clumsy to use. The place structure of mabla (and its matching word zabna) were afterthoughts to the main purpose for including the words - to obtain rafsi for use in lujvo.

That main purpose of mabla and zabna is to provide gismu roots for making derogative and favorable connotations of other brivla in tanru or lujvo. (Esperanto has affixes for these, and they eliminate the cultural bias of associating certain concepts with derogative and ameliorative connotations, such as the genitalia, body functions, and various references to the nature of ones relatives. None of these are derogative in Lojban unless modified by mabla or the rafsi 'mal'.)

My vote right now is to go with Nora's usage, and to make the same change to zabna as well. As I said, usage will tend to determine the final resolution of minor issues in the language, which include most place structures.

6 Note that vocative addressing can go just about anywhere. Specifically, the grammar allows vocatives, parenthesis, and other 'free modifiers' at the beginning of an utterance, after any brivla, or after any of the grammatical units that is marked with a closing delimiter, even if that delimiter is not expressed (which is usually the case). This basically means after anything that grouping markers like I use in these translations can logically go around.

7 The computer has apparently been programmed to disambiguate and interpret tanru by expanding them using poi. This is a legitimate way to avoid tanru and be unambiguous, since poi relative clauses define a specific (identifying) relationship between the two components of the tanru. Unfortunately for the computer, it isn't the only way to disambiguate a tanru, causing the humor of the comic.

8 Nora has used cu here, instead of va. cu is a closing delimiter for all of the stuff before the main kunbri when specifying no tense. It allows Lojban to keep tense completely optional. pc, as our expert on tense, has opinions about what the listener should interpret about tense if it isn't specified, specifically something I call the default space-time-reference, usually here-and-now. Bob and Nora have used vi in their questions, and the computer has used va in thinking about them, but it inexplicably doesn't retain the va in the answer to either. Obviously another programming bug by Bob, though not the point of the comic.

9 An obviously impromptu lujvo made by Nora to express her insult, as described in the earlier note. There are no clues as to its intended place structure in the context, so I have included none in the translation. This is why we encourage you to make tanru and lujvo on the fly - it allows the enormous growth of the language vocabulary without worrying about place structures that do not always matter. We of course always remember that there is a place structure to be defined and used if needed, but you don't necessarily have to have one in mind when you use your creation. (I believe that 'native' Lojban speakers, when they improvise tanru and lujvo will subconsciously keep the place structures straight, or work them out if appropriate, since the association of a place structure with a brivla is an inherent structure of the language. Native English speakers will not necessarily do so.)

10 Nora's complaint (She might have used oi to express 'complaint' instead of i'u, or in addition to it. And yes, the choice of cmavo for that concept was intentional.) does not translate well into idiomatic English. She is answering and commenting on Bob's (Lojban) statement in the first frame, which is closer in Lojban to idiomatic English. The idiomatic translations of the two utterances don't match, although the Lojban versions of the two are very close, with only the word bebna inserted. A case where an English speaker will not understand a Lojban joke/pun, possibly one of the first of this type of joke/pun in the language, and almost certainly the first intentional one. (On the other hand, bad tanru are easy to make in Lojban (easier than the corresponding malapropisms in English), especially with all of us so new at the game. Thus, the misinterpretations of these tanru, whether intentional or unintentional, are already very common jokes.)

Letters and Responses in English

A la lojbangirz Logo?

From Jamie Bechtel comes an suggestion that la lojbangirz adopt a logo. Any opinions on his idea? This letter, and the tanru that accompanied it, was received the week after JL6 was published. Jamie was serious about responding to my request for making tanru.


Esperantists, as you probably know, wear a green star to identify one another as fellow Esperantists. I was thinking that maybe lojbanists need a symbol to represent themselves.

It seems to me that the widespread and well known icons of the world, like the cross, yin-yang, swastika, star of david, "happy face", lemniscate, crescent moon, whatever, all have at least some of the following features: they are simple, they are easy to draw, people like drawing them, they are orderly and symmetrical, they are easy to remember, easy to recognize, and have a hypnotic quality to them.

The Necker cube seems to have all of these qualities. I don't think the Necker cube is used by any group. I hope you consider it.

Jamie's tanru follow. To save space, I will comment on each line, rather than footnote them. Remember for all my tanru comments: I'm not necessarily correct; nor am I the last word. Feel free to comment on others' proposals or my comments yourself.


Some tanru I thought of:

jdaselsku cinki - praying mantis

English idiom, but probably ok

cilta spisa - line

We have linji and skori for two meanings of line. I would interpret this tanru as 'fiber'.

blabi savru - white noise

Another English idiom; savru means noisy; cunso dirce or blabi dirce seem better.

mudri sefta morna - wood grain

But grain isn't just on the surface, unless you only want to talk about the visual aspect. How about mudri morna and mudri tengu?

fagri dertu - ash

I prefer fagri festi, but this seems ok.

plita panje - sieve

Other than texture, I don't see this one. pagre julne or cuxna julne?

canko plita panje - window screen

It is good to build off of other tanru, but a mistake in this case: tanru are left-grouping so this is a window-flat type of sponge. I see the relation between sieve and screen, but I prefer canko julne.

karce bevri - drive someone?

Sounds good - this does not include the other half of drive: the operating of the vehicle.

pikci karce bevri - hitch a ride?

Left grouping again. This might work in reverse, though: karce bevri pikci, or even omit the karce.

cikna senva - day dream

Good.

sanji sipna senva - lucid dream

Also seems good; I'm suspicious about the intended grouping - sanji ke sipna senva?

junta cpare - brachiate

This one totally loses me. 'brachiate' relates to 'branching', or to 'arms'. The tanru translates as 'weight climber'. I get a lot of possible images from this, but none match my dictionary. I suspect that a word of this infrequency will be a longer tanru.

zbasu fange - alienate

Three problems. First, zbasu is 'make/create'. I think you want rinka. Second, it's backwards. You have a makingly-foreign thing. You probably want fange rinka. Third, what is left is similar to the English etymology, but it covers only one of the interpretations of the concept. Another aspect is cinmo sepli rinka.

linji catlu - scan

If you mean the TV kind, excellent. Other meanings might have other tanru.

djacu dertu - mud

cilmo dertu is probably better, but if it is swampy enough, yours is good.

jitro sanji - possess

Backwards, if I get the intent. I don't think it is a kind of conscious. It is uncertain whether ponse should be used. It may be too English. How about menli jitro, which covers any kind of mind-control. Self- possession is then effectively the same as self- control: sevzi jitro

djica tcena - stretch

this shows the problem with using english keywords. tcena by itself means 'stretch', and i don't see a 'wanting kind of stretch' as an equivalent to any common english usage. it is a valid lojban tanru, though, and someone might have a use for it.

djica tcena moklu - yawn

obviously built off of the last one, so i don't understand it. but a yawn is not a type of mouth. did you want molku tcena? i prefer sipna tcena, since i consider it a yawn to stretch when tired, even if you don't open your mouth. perhaps molku ke sipna tcena (mouth kind-of sleep-stretch) will do for the more narrow meaning. this shows a nice feature about tanru - if it isn't specific enough, you add another term and make it mean exactly what you want. in general, shorter tanru are more general or abstract. you can be as specific or as abstract as you choose, and can express very fine distinctions at any of several levels of abstraction. taking about yawning when tired makes me yawn. how about tatpi frati tcena?

mintu gasnu - conform

good tanru for at least one of the english meanings. he avoids the english etymology on this one, which would involve morna. the latter could be used for other meanings of 'conform'.

vacri pipno - organ

excellent!

barda gapci plini - jovian world

good idea, but grouping again. you want barda ke gapci plini, and the barda may be superfluous. hmm! what would a big gas be? this is one way lojban is mind stretching.

cmalu plini - asteroid, comet, or moon

as a category, this is possibly ok. but where would your listener draw the line? most people think of mercury as a small planet. it is important to put yourself in another's shoes, hearing the tanru with little or no supporting information. my proposals: moon is a plini mluni. asteroid is a plini spisa. comet is bisli plini or rebla plini, depending on whether you are being scientific or observational.

cmalu (?) rokci plini - asteroid or rocky

moon

cmalu (?) bisli plini - comet or ice-moon

i put question marks where i thought cmavo were needed. ke is the cmavo for grouping. i will assume we are using the train of thought you seem to be demonstrating. in general, (though not always), if you have used cmalu plini as your category tanru, to be more specific you would then put a modifier before it to restrict its domain. given your category, these would then be rokci ke cmalu plini and bisli ke cmalu plini. why do it this way? so that they can make lujvo with clearly related etymologies. you can then drop the ke to get rokci cmaplini and bisli cmaplini. of course, you could include the modifier in the lujvo as well, but the parallelism starts to get lost in the rafsi and hyphenations: rokcmaplini or ro'ircmaplini and bisycmaplini. these lujvo have also lost the ke grouping that the two-word forms retained.

all in all, i would say that jamie did quite well, especially since he is a novice lojbanist. he avoided a lot of the worst problems, such as overdefining. he put the pieces together in the right order. he also chose simple concepts and used them to build more complex ones, an excellent word building strategy. good work!


in a second letter received just before publication, jamie makes some suggestions that are often raised by new lojbanists:


while memorizing gismu, an idea occurred to me. although you've probably thought of it before, i can't see anything wrong with it. rather than having gismu and rafsi as separate entities, why not combine them in a single word group. instead of having vraga, vag, vra, and va'a, all representing the same thing, have a single word for the concept.

this would greatly reduce the amount of memorization needed to learn the language, and might speed up the growth of the language. several people i've told about lojban were immediately discouraged from learning it because of its apparent complexity. i don't just refer to memorizing the rafsi but also lujvo-making. The phonetics and morphology of the language would be greatly simplified if there was a single word of the CCV or CVV form for each predicate. There would be no lujvo-making to learn.

Sentences would be slightly more compact, making the language slightly more efficient. Also, if there's a preference for the CVV form, pronunciation would be easier, especially for speakers not used to consonant clusters.

An objection to this idea might be that it would not be in accordance to Zipf's law. With the present system, lujvo are less complex phonetically than tanru. With the system I propose there would be no way to compress a commonly used expression into a word less complex than its tanru.

A possible solution to this problem might be to have an affix in front of each predicate. The presence of this affix would change the predicate from a rafsi to a gismu. There would only be one of these affixed in front of a lujvo, and in that way Zipf's law is obeyed. There might be need for only one affix which has no meaning, or there might be several with different functions. One possibility might be to have the affixes place their gismu or lujvo in a particular taxonomic class. This in turn might shrink the number of gismu needed.


I've addressed the issue of Lojban's apparent complexity in an earlier section.

The reason for separating gismu from their rafsi involves Lojban's extremely full use of the possible word space. CVV-form words are cmavo, and most are used. CVC-form words are names, and the final consonant is what makes them distinguishable from other words. If CCV's alone were permitted as gismu, there wouldn't be enough of them. As monosyllables, they wouldn't have the penultimate stress that marks gismu. Any CVCCV-form word would then break up into CV and CCV; CCVCV words would have the same problem, and all longer form words would break up. Unambiguous phonology and morphology are far more important to Lojban than a perceived inefficiency, which is not on the list of goals.

There is also some advantage in knowing that nearly all long words in print are content words (there can be long compound cmavo, but they are rare). Long content words is a norm in the languages that I've seen in my brief linguistics study. In Lojban, we have accomplished a way to have a large vocabulary of 'long words', without an undue amount of memorization required.

Turning to Jamie's example, vraga is a word - the only word for the concept 'lever'; the three rafsi he gives are not words for any concept. There are a couple of side points to be made about these rafsi before moving on, points that will apply to later letters.

We built vraga using JCB's gismu-production algorithm and our 6 source languages. When the gismu had been completed, we then attempted to tune the rafsi list to give rafsi to as many words as possible. Some words couldn't be assigned rafsi without choosing a much lower score word. Occasionally we made trade-offs in the gismu list, but in only a small percentage of cases did we let rafsi availability modify our desire to get maximum recognition scores in the target languages.

When we finished, there were some possible rafsi that were not used, and others that were probably superfluous, given the lujvo-making algorithm and the frequency that a given gismu is going to be used in tanru, and indirectly in lujvo. vraga is clearly one of those; it certainly doesn't need three rafsi. But three possible rafsi are available for vraga, partly because "v" is not a commonly used letter in any of the source languages. We don't know enough about how well the lujvo-making algorithm will hold up under actual use, so we assigned all three to vraga. Usage will determine which, if any of them, will actually be used in lujvo. If one of them never gets used, it will eventually be dropped.

The assignment of rafsi is close to optimal given our baseline gismu list. If we were willing to abandon recognizability, we could have made gismu to correspond more closely to our available rafsi. This would have reduced the memorization difficulty for rafsi and made the language slightly more efficient, but would have made the gismu less tied to anything that could help people learn them. We felt that this would deviate too far from JCB's original concept. If any new gismu are added after the baseline period, they will be added with rafsi assignment a higher priority than recognition, since they will almost certainly be added because of their usefulness in lujvo rather than due to their innate primitive-ness in other languages.

Memorization of rafsi, is however, fairly easy, once you have learned all of the gismu. There are only so many rafsi, and each is assigned to only one gismu. For any given gismu, there are only a few possible rafsi that are acceptable (For gismu of CVCCV form, these are C1V1C2, C1V1C3, C1C2V1, C2C3V2, and C1V1V2. For CCVCV-form gismu, the possibilities include C1V1C3, C2V1C3, C1V1V2, C2V1V2, and C1C2V1. Some potential CCV rafsi are eliminated because they are not permissible initials.) We also had preferences among these possible forms, which you will pick up by studying them; these include using the same starting consonant where multiple rafsi exist for the same gismu if this was possible.

In any case, you do not need to learn the rafsi at the same time as the gismu. This is why we separated them in LogFlash. You can converse with limited vocabulary and learn the entire grammar with only the gismu. Of course, there is nothing wrong with learning them if you happen to find some of them easy; it will give you a head start later, but don't give yourself too hard a job at first. It is no embarrassment to use a gismu list when making lujvo while you are first learning Lojban. After you've made a lujvo, you are more likely to remember the rafsi that you used. (For example, bri and vla, which I used in brivla, were easier for me to learn when I later memorized the rafsi.)

Jamie's idea of an affix (or actually a cmavo) to mark any brivla is similar to Jim Carter's use of tones for the same purpose. Others have suggested reserving a specific vowel for the end of a word. Other than tones, none of these techniques are found in natural languages; their adoption would make Lojban sound less natural (and thus 'ugly'). This is especially true for the affix idea. The best way to imagine the effect of the affix idea is to compare English with 'Pig Latin' and some other children's game languages, which have such an affix marking each word. Lojban's phonology and morphology may seem complex, but are simpler than any natural language. It also is finely tuned so that there is a minimum of wasted information in any form. If anything, information theory suggests that Lojban may not have enough redundancy - it may be too efficient to work well. This caused us to re- think several of the cmavo assignments from earlier versions of the language; for example, at Chuck Barton and Scott Layson's suggestion, we have made number cmavo all start with different consonants and end using all 5 legal vowels.

The concept of affixes that classify words into a taxonomy is the basis of most a priori languages, as discussed in another letter by Todd Moody below. It is generally agreed by philosophers that there is no universal taxonomy, and certainly any taxonomy would have cultural biases built in. Interestingly enough, though, Jamie's suggestion is similar to that which I've proposed as the standard for le'avla. le'avla borrowings would be marked by a rafsi which would classify them by subject. We avoid the cultural bias by using Lojban's own internal set of rafsi which can be combined in an infinite variety of ways - we thus have no preconceived taxonomy. So Jamie can be said to have independently come to the same conclusion I did, one which IS applicable for the one area of Lojban morphology that is relatively unexplored - the making of le'avla. Good work, Jamie! (I certainly don't mind someone seconding my ideas.)

Harry Chesley on His Support For Us

My interests are essentially this: I think that Loglan is an interesting language, for a number of reasons. I would like to see it developed and a base of speakers encouraged to learn the language. I would like to know what's going on toward that end. Thus my subscription to The Logical Language Group.

On the other hand, I don't have any spare time to directly contribute (much as I'd like to), or at the moment to try learning the language myself (and it has been a bit of a moving target in the past).

As far as I have seen, you're doing an excellent job. Keep it up! The priorities (as far as I'm concerned) should be: (1) get the language frozen; (2) make it easy for people to learn it; (3) get the people who do learn it in communication with each other. I think you're pursuing all of these goals.

Again, thanks for you hard work and enthusiasm in promoting this language.

P.S. I wish you and JCB would find some way to bury the hatchet. A feud between the two main Loglan support groups can only hurt the entire effort. So please lean way over backward to forgive, forget and move on to new and better things. Or at least go on in your own direction without stopping to shoot arrows in his direction.

By the way, that is a request and should not be considered a requirement or condition of my supporting your effort (I don't believe in restricting people like that with conditionals).


Not only do I agree with your goals, Harry, I agree with the priorities that you've assigned to them. Thanks for the support. I hope you find the time to learn the language soon. We're trying our best to make peace with JCB, and I've recently tried to keep my tone more peaceable than in earlier issues. After all, you all still seem to be with me, and you've heard my views. I don't need to keep saying them.