case against a lujvo dictionary

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Notes Toward An Anti-Dictionary Position (taken from egroups):

...i would just like to interject that the bulk of these lujvo belong to a

period in the evolution of lojban usage, in which it was thought necessary

to coin a lujvo for every english word the speaker was trying to express,

rather than attempting to formulate original thoughts in lojban. very many

of them are bad lojban, & i see no need for this labor for the most part

when equivalent tanru can be coined naturally & understood readily; in fact,

going through that trouble tends to cast an aura of officialness on them &

would lead to unfortunate habits of usage were they to become regarded as

exact equivalents of the english words they were coined to express.

there are indeed lujvo we need, but at the moment i even think a certain

amount of awkwardness is preferable... in any case we need not await THE

dictionary before attempting to express ourselves in lojban directly.

that would be like shakespeare not daring to write until samuel johnson came


what i object to is the prospect of having to live with a dictionary full of

words that don't mean what they're supposed to mean. even if this sort of

semantic drift has occurred repeatedly in english (since e.g. the era of la

grana desku), it is still possible to specify the register of english that

is being used, with key words not found outside it. i can see how the

shortened sort of lujvo might become, not "slang" (since that already

presupposes a lot of uses that don't yet exist in lojban) but something like slang that signals its own context; however this distinction depends on

having the longer, more accurate forms available for the same meanings...

>until we

>have committed sufficient lexicon to paper

there are 2 related fallacies here. first, that because rarnybau have valsi mutce & la lojban doesn't, we need to go madly about cnino finti le lujvo

for every ze'i se jinvi that pops into one's stedu.

ienaisai. that's a good game, but no more than a game. when we bilga co

cusku da, we will be able to cusku da, because the ve cusku fi da already

exists, mulno. back when the prospect of using lojban for international

patent ve skicu first came up, i thought, "uh-oh --when my karce 's voltage

regulator gave out, it killed the battery; & after i bought a new battery it

happened again; & i had to get a new alternator finally before i could fix

the nabmi (or something like that)-- & i wouldn't begin to know how to say

this bau la lojban, much less talk about something which no one else has viska before..." but of course if i were lojbo tavla with a lojbo

karcycikre, we would be able to work it out... (& we don't need to,

UNTIL then.)

remai, the vitno smuni of words is not the mokca smuni of words. you don't make a

translation ratni by ratni & expect nal-babelfishgibberish. there isn't one

single "word for" anything in lojban. please! my karce, my marce, my matra carce, my dargu gunro --my malmabla mabla when it won't zukte-- only the

whole tissue of bangu makes it possible for this referent-speaking & that

referent-rolling (or not?), to have any relation at all. which is the

meaning of meaning bau la lojban. which is not, je'u, the meaning of meaning

bau la gliban, where since we have gobbled up 10 languages' worth of valsi

we have had to develop 10,000 sub-nuances to keep them separate...

maybe all i am saying is that to derxi jmaji a dictionary of lujvo is simply


girmu'i se xusra: "lojban, the language that ckasu cisma at websterization"--

mi mutce le ka tugni fi le du'u ma'a na nitcu lo'e lujvo vlacku iku'i lo'e gismu je cmavo vlacku zo'u frica cuntu i xagrai va'o le nu lei smuni cu se ciksi bau le lojbo --mi'e xorxes
.i doi maikyl. (to ma po'u na'ebo do pilno le de'u bangu toi) mi ji'a .ue ruble tugni fi ledu'u lo lujvo derxi na plixau .i mi pu stidi loi seljvajvo mu'i lenu ribvi lenu lo lujvo derxi poi lei smuni cu cunso cu se jmaji .i ku'i mi xarnu bandu ledu'u zbasu lo vlacku poi tcila skicu ro gismu .e ro cmavo .i doi xorxes. lenu skicu lo lojbo fo lo lojbo cu cinri je banli gi'enai ka'e se troci pu lenu finti lo glibau vlaskicku .i naku vofli gi'enai .ei pubo cadzu -- mi'e nitcion.

For my part, I believe we need a lujvo dictionary. But I would like one which is restricted to high-quality entries (very different from what we have now). I don't think there should be any hurry to make tons o' lujvo so we

can have a big dictionary; that will (1) gives us more bad words and (2) won't help that much because there

are so few speakers, and people have enough trouble learning the gismu and cmavo. But in the long run a big

supply of good lujvo will help everyone speak more clearly and precisely.

Perhaps a dictionary of lujvo commonly used with a now-standard meaning? Things like vlivla, lobykai, tavlykai, javnykai, lujyjvo, ziryro'i, malglico, brivla, selma'o, seltau, tertau, you get the idea.

If there isn't a lujvo dictionary, then how to beginners figure out the word they want? Do they have to learn how to make seljvajvo, or guess about what the appropriately constructed lujvo ought to be. Or in grand Lojbanic tradition, do we just fuck the beginners? --Jay Because many of us are such geeks that it's our only hope...

Do we really ignore beginners? One can easily find the lessons if one knows where to look, and it really is possible to learn from a reference grammar; I am. --anon

We don't make it at all easy for beginners. Forcing them to learn how to make fu'ivla and quality lujvo before they can find words for many important concepts. --Jay

Sure we do. I bet none of you realized this, but I have never used the lessons, because I am learning just fine from the refgram. - .kreig.daniyl., who forgot to sign his writing above, but that was me.

Er. I learned from the refgram also. Learning the grammar is a small subset of what beginners want to do. They also want to be able to develop a vocabulary which includes words that deal with their life. ((Science Terminology otantists might want words about plants, linguists will want words about language, etc) If they don't have those words, it will be, (I postulate) difficult for them to come close to developing fluency, because they don't know words for things they want to think about. Further, the community doesn't make it easy for people to join it, IMO. We can't kick everyone in the head who needs to become more friendly, but we can at least produce word lists in dictionary format.

If you want to learn Lojban, you have to learn how to make fu'ivla and seljvajvo. Lojban is not the easiest language to learn, and to learn it well, you have to ... learn it well (surprise!). If you want speranto, you know where to find it. Eventually, (when Lojban becomes a real language with fluent speakers and all) people will learn it by learning the grammar and reading (or hearing) enough fluent language use, using the concepts they are interested in expressing. High quality texts are more important that a dictionary, and fluency will almost definitely not come by looking up Lojban equivalents of English words. Personally, I know that all of my foreign language dictionaries are much more heavily used on the foreign-to-English side than the other way, and I highly doubt that I'm exceptional. -- Adam

Ninpre (==beginners) should be taught whatever words are actually most actively used at the moment. Right now that would be mostly gismu, plus a few lujvo that are common (ninpre, jbopre, xrukla, nerkla, plixau, sampla, are some examples that come to mind from IRC these days). Fu'ivla aren't as much used at the moment, but it's possible that there could be a fu'ivla upswing (mi nelci zo klamburi) so that it would make sense to teach ninpre all the common fu'ivla right away.

We should recognize that Lojban is a living language and these things are always changing. A dictionary of lujvo certainly shouldn't be prescriptive. There are and have been a large number of speakers of Lojban by now, and we all know what we're doing-- even though we all know slightly different ideas. :) Most of the lujvo which have been invented, and even most of those which were picked up and used by the community, are long since forgotten. It would be sad to put out a dictionary at this late date which portrayed Lojban as if it were a blank slate, an empty language longing for words, instead of showing it full of sofybakni (at least five of them) and tavlykai (whatever that means) and jbobau, lobykai (subtle shades of lojbanity) and ninpre (not nearly as harsh a word as "noob", maybe even gentler than "newbie"?) and (from more recent history) le klamburi be zo cakla bei zo ckakla.

mu'o mi'e la mungodjelis. no'u la bret.