lojban calligraphy

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I've been thinking about calligraphy and Lojban a bit lately. As I see it, the standard roman-alphabet miniscule hands map quite nicely onto Lojban - at least, if you extend them to include k, j, and v, which most don't have as independent letters.

Would-be Lojban calligraphers probably need a fair amount of specialized vocabulary for talking about our craft, though. While calligraphic equipment is a different semantic category that I don't address here, I suggest the following for talking about hands (partly based on the fact that I'm going to write up how I do Lojban calligraphy soon and figure if I'm going to use opaque jargon it might as well be Lojban-language opaque jargon). I've added suggested place structures. I am happy to have all these terms reviewed by others whose Lojban is a bit less out-of-practice than mine.

Letter forms in a particular calligraphic hand are pensni (pen marks), while the hand itself is a pensniste (set of marks).

  • pensni: x1 is a handwritten symbol used to represent letter/lerfu x2
  • pensniste: x1 is a calligraphic hand incorporating symbol(s) x2 used to write text x3 in alphabet/character-set x4

Pensni can represent jbolerfu, the Lojban letters, including y'y and denpa.bu (.) but not slaka.bu (,). They can also represent the letters not used in Lojban, such as h, q, and w; these are naljbolerfu. Furthermore, there may be other marks such as diacritics and the slaka.bu; these are nalyle'usni, or non-letteral marks.

  • jbolerfu: x1 (la'e zo BY/word-bu) is a letter in Lojban representing sound x2
  • naljbolerfu: x1 (la'e zo BY/word-bu) is a letter non-Lojban alphabet x2 representing x3
  • nalyle'usni: x1 is a symbol used with/in character set x2 to represent x3 (which is not a letteral)

Some hands contain ligatures - special glyphs representing a pair of letters in sequence. These are jonle'u in Lojban. In European hands, an "et" jonle'u is probably the most common, since it is also used to represent the word "and" (Latin "et"), but in Lojban I believe the most useful jonle'u would be ones for "tc" and "dj".

  • jonle'u: x1 is a symbol in character set x2 representing letter sequence x3

Letters can be represented by glyphs that are miniscule (lowercase) or majuscule (capital); hands may include one or both types of letters, but most calligraphic hands are not mixed-case. There is not an obvious lujvo for these concepts; I suggest the fu'ivla "minsulu" for miniscule and "kaptalo" for majuscule.

  • minsulu: x1 is a miniscule letter/hand
  • kaptalo: x1 is a majuscule letter/hand

In English, hands are sometimes given names based on the culture they originated from, in addition to a descriptive term; I suggest using cultural gismu or fu'ivla as seltau in tanru used as hand names, possibly along with descriptive terms. Thus one of the major historical hands, Carolingian miniscule, might be termed the "ka'olno minsulu pensniste" or simply "ka'olno pensniste" (using the CVVCCV form which has been suggested for fu'ivla used as cultural designators to coin "ka'olno" for things relating to the culture of the Carolingian empire) while the insular scripts might be collectively known as "brito pensniste".

Most pensni are derived from the Roman alphabet, as this is the most commonly used script for writing Lojban. However, other alphabets may be used in calligraphy, and in some cases Lojban calligraphers might wish to modify a hand by borrowing just one or two letter forms from an alternate orthography or inventing a new pensni from scratch, typically as a Lojbanic way to fit a letter into the style of a hand being adapted to Lojban that didn't have a particular letter, such as k.

I'll be writing up a little the hand I use for what little Lojban calligraphy I've done lately, with pictures, and posting that for your enjoyment - but it will take me a little while. It's one that started life as me adapting Visigothic miniscule (would that be "vi'izgo minsulu pensniste" or some such?) before deciding I didn't like the more exotic glyphs the original contained in something that was trying to be at least partially legible and has undergone significant modification. When I get it up it will appear at bontire pensniste.

mu'o mi'e .kreig.daniyl.