jbonunsla 2015

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The south side of the meeting room as jbonunsla starts.
Five of us in Café Nicole, the hotel's restaurant.
On the couch: la .piier. ce'o la .clsn. ce'o la tsani ce'o la durka
Behind the couch: la mukti
Three of us in the west side of the room entering test questions or conversing with Lojbanists elsewhere. Pierre, who took the picture, was on the east side entering questions.



(Initially posted on the lojban mailing list)

For those who may interested, I’ve written up a brief review of my experience of this year’s jbonunsla, which took place last weekend (August 28-30) at the Holiday Inn in Princeton, New Jersey.

I took the train from New York City, arriving in Princeton fairly late Friday night. Pierre Abbat (who had driven up from North Carolina) and Mark Shoulson (“clsn”, who lives nearby) had arrived some time before me, and wandered down to join me in the restaurant just before it closed. I was excited to meet these two, who are the second and third lojbanists whom I had ever met in person.

I had corresponded with Pierre over the last year while making some small additions to the Lojban Bible translation project that Pierre maintains: https://github.com/phma/lojban-bible

Mark I knew mostly from reading old message board threads where he introduced the “dotside” notation: https://mw.lojban.org/papri/BPFK:_Old_Morphology

I think Pierre was the first to speak lojban: He’s mastered a number of lojban tongue twisters. (Pierre, are those collected anywhere?) tsani arrived some time later, having trained down from Montréal, and it was then that we started to jbota’a in earnest. (to ki’e la tsani toi)

Saturday morning, I found Pierre already at work preparing the meeting room. He had created construction paper letters using the initials B (be’a), D (du’a), N (ne’a), V (vu’a) to mark the cardinal directions in the room. Suitably oriented, we played a recording of the lojban anthem (https://mw.lojban.org/papri/Lojban_Anthem) to mark the beginning of the conference. Welcome to lojbanistan! fi’i do’o

Pierre brought his concertina, “Tina”, and I brought my guitar, so we played a few songs, including bits from Djemynai’s album (e.g. «nasa») and some songs Pierre had translated such as «doi cevni do'u .au mi jbize'a do» (“Nearer, My God, To Thee”).

durka42 arrived from Philadelphia in time to join the the CLL edit-a-thon which connected, via Skype and IRC, those of us in the Princeton with Robin, Ilmen, mezohe and others. We managed to review quite a few chapters, and to iterate with Robin on the solution to some widespread formatting issues. durka incorporated the latest changes in the automatic build that he hosts:http://alexburka.com/lojban/prince.php

Work on preparing CLL for reprint continues, as can be seen by the list of issues on github: https://github.com/lojban/cll/issues

Brian Wernham of NooLearn, who had just flown in from London, arrived towards the end of the edit-a-thon, and helped us eat some delivery pizza. Then lojbab and noras logged into the #lojban channel on IRC for a chat in lojban and English.

At some point during the chat, we played «lo jbobau cu mo» (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-Y9eBBTrxU) and Djemynai’s newest song, «tensaǐa» (https://djemynai.bandcamp.com/album/tensaia) and clsn opined that lojban, with it’s comparatively short words and rhyme and stress patterns is well-suited for rap.

Nora was asked if she had anything to do with «fanmo jimte», a remarkable film on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_nKJW_KuK4) which is narrated in lojban and attributed to a “Nora Lee”. Nora said that was someone else. (On Sunday, I found some more information about the film and added it to the Lojban timeline: https://mw.lojban.org/papri/Lojban_timeline#2008)

tsani had the attendees at the conference sign his copy of la xuncku. One of the attendees included a message written in srilermorna script (https://mw.lojban.org/papri/srilermorna).

After dinner, we watched and discussed videos in lojban including «lo cizra zarci» (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmtQ0NcVFjI) an original story in lojban by tsani, read by selpa’i, and a few episodes of bripre jikca (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6fXtgkPdWQ). We also had to bid farewell to durka42.

Activities commenced after breakfast on Sunday morning with an international chat via Mumble, which included a few rounds of «la re no preti». Good fun.

Then, with Brian’s assistance, attendees in Princeton and elsewhere via Internet (e.g. selpa’i, Ilmen, Broca) signed into NooLearn’s servers (https://noolearn-staging.herokuapp.com/) to write and review hundreds of questions in and about Lojban, renewing efforts to devise a Lojban proficiency exam. As a follow-up, Pierre has asked for volunteers to join LBCK (lojbo bangu cipra kamni) to continue this work: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/lojban-lbck

We said farewell to Brian Sunday afternoon, and I returned to Brooklyn Sunday evening.

I was glad to have the opportunity to meet lojbanists in person, and to participate in exchanges between lojbanists of many generations, including founders, and those around the world. I was also inspired by revisiting and sharing the songs, stories and videos that people have created with lojban, and by the work of people contributing to efforts such as LBCK and the republication of CLL.

Thank you to Pierre for taking the initiative to organize jbonunsla, to Brian for helping to sponsor jbonunsla, and for making NooLearn available to us as a resource, to Robin for heading up the CLL edit-a-thon, to Bob and Nora for joining us in IRC, and to everyone else who attended or participated in jbonunsla. If anyone else would like to contribute towards the cost of jbonunsla, please feel free to do so via LLG’s PayPal donation form: http://tiki.lojban.org/tiki/Donations


I came from North Carolina, spending two nights at my sister's house in Delaware. For several days before leaving, I had been busy enough editing the middle third of Ki Tetze' (jamna in Lojban) that I didn't have time to make the four letters for cardinal directions. I asked my sister; she suggested making each out of a different color of construction paper. So I did.

A few hours before I left home, Mark Shoulson told me he planned to arrive Friday afternoon. I emailed Lorit, who works at the hotel, telling her that la .clsn. as well as la tsani would be staying in the common room. To recognize him, I sent the URL of a picture and asked her to ask him in Hebrew to translate from Welsh to Klingon. Unfortunately, Lorit was not there when I arrived, so I explained the situation to whoever was at the front desk. I happened to be near the front desk when la .clsn. arrived, with the same "o'asai" shirt as in the picture, so I identified him to the front desk guy and he got the key.

Next morning, after enough five people had assembled in the meeting room, I handed out copies of the middle third of "jamna" (Deut. 23-24), which we read, taking turns. This is the parashat hashavua` scheduled for that day. (The parashah begins "As you go out to war", but the seventh is "[Jacob] went out", so I called it "war" to avoid confusion, since Lojban has no verb inflection.)

After editing CLL a little bit, I went to my room and took a nap. During this time, Brian arrived, but having arrived from England, he fell asleep before I returned to the meeting room.

After dinner, we gathered in the common room to watch la bripre jikca. I took la durka to the train station and went back to my room.

Sunday morning I ate breakfast before the others. When the others arrived for breakfast, Brian showed us the nooLearn program, and we discussed various things, such as how to say "land" (as in "the plane lands").

Later that day we entered lots of questions for a Lojban proficiency test.

At dinner la .clsn. showed us his watch displaying the date in Roman numerals, which prompted a discussion of leap day. I explained why leap year is "année bissextile" in French (the sixth day before the calends of March is doubled), which la tsani didn't know, despite growing up speaking French. We split up the other way, with two heading home and the other two back to the hotel. I left the next morning, heading first back to my sister's house.