vocabulary expertise stages

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rlpowell has identified these stages that fledgling lojbanists usually go through. It is intriguing that these stages almost invariably follow in this order.

Specifically, these are the stages that many Lojbanists seem to go to in their quest to not use sentences with five levels of NU nesting.

  1. Uses no more than 2 places of a gismu with lots of nesting on the sumti
  2. Uses mostly tanru (see also long tanru)
  3. Uses mostly nonce lujvo
  4. Starts using the other-than-first-two places of already existing gismu
  5. Starts using tu'a and jai
  6. Starts using defined/established lujvo
  7. Starts defining new lujvo, in their entirety (including place structure)
  8. Uses all of the above, according to what is necessary/appropriate. "Enlightenment".

This can also be described as a narrative in which a newbie gets various responses to their Lojban usage:

(edited IRC transcript)

Stage 2

<newbie> Oh, my first Lojban sentence! Wow, that's a lot of nesting. Let me re-read it. Wow. I have no idea what I was saying.
<newbie> Hey, #lojban, how do I make this sentence suck less? I'm a newb.
<oldbie> Well, you could use a tanru.
<newbie> Oh, yeah! Those are cool!
Months pass...

Stage 3

<oldbie> Dude, you just used a 5 piece tanru with a very specific meaning in mind. tanru are fuzzy, you know.
<newbie> Oh, yeah, good point. Ummm. I could make a lujvo! Cool!
Months pass...

Stage 4

<oldbie> Dude, I have no idea what cabypurbavlamctidjevei means. What are you trying to say?
<newbie> This nasting nested thing here: {omitted nasting nested thing}
<oldbie> Oh. Have you tried tu'a?
<oldbie> AKA jai?
Months pass...

Stage 8

<oldbie> Umm, dude, klama tu'a lo blanu to mean I weant to the place with a blue roof that I mentioned half an hour ago is pretty weak.

At this stage, enlightenment is often reached, and the various techniques are used as they are appropriate, instead of as a one-size-fits-all.