suggestions for CLL, second edition

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For errata relating to the current edition of the CLL, see CLL, aka Reference Grammar, Errata. For errata related to the 4th Baseline Grammar, see CLL PEG Errata.

General considerations


  1. Lojban terms are used for most parts of speech, except for quantifiers and descriptors. Needlessly inconsistent?
    • In particular (this list is not exhaustive),
      • quantifier->something with {snicne}? (though personally I (zort) disagree with the veljvo of {snicne})
      • quantified variable->something with {snicne}?
      • descriptor->gadri
      • description->gadri sumti (I haven't actually seen this used)
      • attitudinal->cnima'o
      • terminator->fa'orma'o
      • modal->sumti tcita
      • vocative->jikma'o? rinsyma'o?
      • evidential->veljivma'o?
    • Using Lojban terms is probably confusing for beginners. They're appropriate for a reference manual but not for a (comprehensive) tutorial, and it is clear that CLL is trying to be both. Not trying to claim that it necessarily shouldn't be both, just clarifying the issue.
  1. A lot of this terminology is used without being defined. We should formally define the terminology that is import to understanding the grammar and syntax of Lojban, preferably in a sidebar outside of the main text.
  1. The general idea of terminators and particularly elision is never discussed as such in the book. Chapter 5.5 is the first mention of a elidable terminators, with the first use of the phrase elidable terminator occurring in Chapter 5.7. I think the concept of terminators, cmavo opening grammatical constructs, and elision should be dealt with in it's own section. At the very least, the construct should be defined.[1]

Teaching Material and Examples

  1. There should be more illustration and diagrams. For instance, with termsets, show with lines and/or colour coding how two sentences are equivalent. See the Japanese Wikipedia for some other examples.
  1. Minimum 2 sentence explanation for every cmavo (excluding ones that are part of a pattern like {fo'i}, of course). Chapter 13 is particularly guilty of the length of the explanation of a cmavo seemingly being inversely proportional to the number of cmavo explained in the section; some just get two gloss words worth of explanation, and it's rather opaque.


  1. Chapter 4 needs to go somewhere else, ideally near the end. It's crazy to give all that crap to newbies.
    • It is a specification, not a tutorial. It makes sense to start with orthography, follow with morphology, and then the continue with the rest of the language. mi'e.djeims.
  1. Maybe the fact that denpabu are optional in writing should be reinforced, since people seem to forget that. Right now it's only mentioned once, early in the book, in a little paragraph in chapter 3. It would not be out of place in chapters 4 and 19.

Topic Suggestions

Each of these topics is important to the CLL, but not strictly contained to a single chapter or Section. Ideally, each of these topics would be reviewed for consistency throughout the text.

brivla/cmevla merger

  • Even though the CLL probably shouldn't encode the "brivla-cmevla merge" proposal yet (if ever), I think it should have {cu} in {la .djan. cu klama}. This is because BCM or not, this elision of {cu} is confusing to beginners. Once they learn that brivla can be names too, they are liable to go e.g. {la zipcpi klama}; makes {la} look like it has "two grammars".


Chapter 4

Section 5

It seems like the writers of the CLL originally did really just think of lujvo as being shortened forms of tanru who have been given an explicit meaning instead of the vague meaning that tanru have.

Cultural Neutrality

Chapter 3, Section 12 is titled "Oddball Orthographies." "Oddball" is value judgment, rather than a factual statement. In the spirit of cultural neutrality we should find statements with implied value judgments and translate them to factual statements. In this case, "Alternate Orthographies" is a much clearer statement about the contents of that section.

  • An obvious objection to this is that a neutral tone of writing is relatively boring. "Oddball" is more fun than "Alternate". By the way, do you advocate changing the chapter title "Relative Clauses, Which Make sumti Even More Complicated"?


  • It would be better if numbered were not only chapters and sections, but also sentences like in the Bible.
      • Exactly what would be the benefit of adding "verse" numbers? We can easily cite specific sentences without the need to do this. For example, citing from the online refgram: (Chapter 9, section 3, paragraph 7, sentence 2): "Therefore, it is perfectly all right to scramble...." Or for examples: 9.3-3.3 (Chapter 9, section 3, example 3.3): "3.3) klama fa mi fi la .atlantas. ...." mi'e.aionys.
  • The brush-stroke placeholders for logical connectives should be written in "blackboard bold" instead, to make it look more form
    • I remember this section being confusing to me because of the brushstroke letters. Suddenly the book became much more formal (in the mathematical sense) and I didn't know what that signified. Writing them as of "-a -e -i -o" might be better, since the hyphen indicates they are not themselves words, without introducing a strange new typographical convention. The book already uses hyphens to show that rafsi are not words, so this would be consistent. Or since "a e i o" actually are words, perhaps they could be used directly. mi'e.paldanyli.
  • The header or footer of each page should include the chapter number along with the title, to make fully referencing examples easier. (i.e., when you see example 1.7, you can look at that page and know that it is example 5.1.7, without having to scroll back to the table of contents to find the name of the chapter.)

Chapter Suggestions

Chapter 3

Section 6

  1. Section 6, restriction no. 2 already forbids 8 of the 12 consonant pairs that are forbidden by restriction no. 3; perhaps it's better to just explicitly forbid the pairs "cs", "jz", "sc" and "zj" like in the last restriction.
    • I kind of like that the explanation for those pairs being forbidden is given, even if it includes things already forbidden. I would like it slightly better if the word "sibilant" were used. Perhaps for consistency the reason could be given for the last restriction instead of listing seemingly-random pairs. .imi'e .skaryzgik.
      • Agreed mi'e.aionys.

Section 9

  1. A bit after example 9.5, the explanation of how to stress words is ambiguous. A possible incorrect interpretation:

set stressed_syllable = penultimate_syllable;

while (stressed_syllable contains "l|m|n|r|y"

&& stressed_syllable != first_syllable) {

stressed_syllable = syllable_before(stressed_syllable); None of the examples demonstrate that only syllables containing "l|m|n|r" as syllables on their own are to be skipped, nor that skipped syllables are to be ignored before you start counting as opposed to skipped while you're counting. The following examples would make it clearer: {djanatyn} is pronounced {DJAnatyn} (not {djaNAtyn}), and {patrica} is pronounced {paTRIca} (not {PAtrica}).

Section 12

  • The tengwar table should use actual tengwar in addition to their names, since we now have Unicode (CSUR) and good fonts.
  • The Cyrillic letters given map to 'abcdefgijklmnoprstuvxyz'? That doesn't seem totally obvious. mi'e.djeims.

Chapter 4

Section 7

  • In the procedure for making a non-Lojban word into a valid Stage 3 fu'ivla, double consonants are to be eliminated before the sounds are to be converted to their closest Lojban equivalents, but it is possible that consecutive consonants have different sounds (like in 'eccentric'). So these actions should swap places. The same goes for section 8, in the procedure for Lojbanizing a name.

Chapter 5

Section 14

  • The three letter language abbreviations were probably used to save space, but now that we have actual tables we can safely write the full names of the languages.

Chapter 10

  • It would be nice if there was a template for compound tenses around the end of the chapter, like the template for compound cnima'o in chapter 13 section 8.

Chapter 11

Section 12

  • The phrase {le ka la frank ciska} is glossed as "The quality-of Frank's writing". {ka} glosses to the word "property", and the Lojban doesn't talk at all about quality (as in jezyprane), so I believe the word "quality" was accidentally put there, having bled into the interlinear gloss from the author's intended natural English translation. That said, I (Zort) believe the gloss should be "The property-that Frank writes".
  • That said, I (still Zort) have a humble suggestion for a demonstration of this section's grammatical feature, a cynical little observation, that has occured in my Lojban speech "in the wild", and perhaps therefore proves at least some usefulness of this grammatical feature: {le'e prenu cu djica lo mu'e jenai za'i gunka}.

Chapter 13

Section 15

  • Couldn't the {se'u}s be elided since their sumti are before their selbri?

Chapter 16

Section 9

  • It says "for no x" (noda) is the same as "it is false for some x" (naku su'oda). I (mi'e zort) interpret "it is false for some x" as "there is an x such that it is false" (su'oda naku), not "it is false that for some x it is true" (naku su'oda), so it should be changed to "it is false that for some x".

Chapter 18

Section 19

This section is very similar to Chapter 19 Section 7. I believe the information in these sections should be consolidated into a single section.

Chapter 19

Section 7

This section is very similar to Chapter 18 Section 19. I believe the information in these sections should be consolidated into a single section.

Chapter 21

Section 2

Rule 6 in the introductory remarks on EBNF syntax should clarify that "A & B" means "A | B | A B", but does not permit "B A". Further, explain that "A & B & C & D" permits one or more of A, B, C, and/or D, but ONLY in that order.