me lu ju'i lobypli li'u 15 moi

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For a full list of issues, see zo'ei la'e "lu ju'i lobypli li'u".
Previous issue: me lu ju'i lobypli li'u 14 moi.
Next issue: me lu ju'i lobypli li'u 16 moi.

Number 15 - August-September 1991
Copyright 1991, The Logical Language Group, Inc.
2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031 USA (703)385-0273 
Permission granted to copy, without charge to recipient, when for purpose of promotion of Loglan/Lojban.
First International Correspondence

JL to Become Subscription Journal

Lojban List Moves

Details Inside, and More.

ju'i lobypli (JL) is the quarterly journal of The Logical Language Group, Inc., known in these pages as la lojbangirz. la lojbangirz. is a non-profit organization formed for the purpose of completing and spreading the logical human language "Lojban - A Realization of Loglan" (commonly called "Lojban"), and informing the community about logical languages in general.

For purposes of terminology, "Lojban" refers to a specific version of a logical human language, the generic language and associated research project having been called "Loglan" since its invention by Dr. James Cooke Brown in 1954. Statements referring to "Loglan/Lojban" refer to both the generic language and to Lojban as a specific instance of that language. The Lojban version of Loglan was created as an alternative because Dr. Brown and his organization claims copyright on everything in his version, including each individual word of the vocabulary. The Lojban vocabulary and grammar and all language definition materials, by contrast, are public domain. Anyone may freely use Lojban for any purpose without permission or royalty. la lojbangirz. believes that such free usage is a necessary condition for an engineered language like Loglan/Lojban to become a true human language, and to succeed in the various goals that have been proposed for its use.

la lojbangirz. is a non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Your donations (not contributions to your voluntary balance) are tax-deductible on U.S. and most state income taxes. Donors are notified at the end of each year of their total deductible donations.

Page count this issue: 88+2 enclosures ($9.00 North America, $10.80 elsewhere). Press run for this issue of ju'i lobypli: 275. We now have about 620 people on our active mailing list, and 240 more awaiting textbook publication.

Your Mailing Label

Your mailing label reports your current mailing status, and your current voluntary balance including this issue. Please notify us of changes in your activity/interest level. Balances reflect contributions received thru 31 August 1991. Mailing codes (and approximate balance needs) are:

Activity/Interest Level:                        Highest Package    
Received (Price Each)                           Other flags:       
B - Observer     0 - Introductory Materials ($5)  JL JL            
Subscription ($25/yr)                                              
C - Active Supporter                            1 - Word Lists and 
Language Description ($15)                      LK LK Subscription 
D - Lojban Student                              2 - Language Design
Information ($10)                               R  Review Copy (no 
E - Lojban Practitioner                         3 - Draft Teaching 
Materials ($30)  UP Automatic Updates (>$20)                       

Please keep us informed of changes in your mailing address, and US subscribers are asked to provide ZIP+4 codes whenever you know them.

Contents of This Issue

Important: Due to financial constraints, ju'i lobypli will be fully converting to a subscription basis over the next few issues. Be sure to read the financial news section if you wish to keep receiving ju'i lobypli.

We got a lot accomplished in the months leading up to LogFest, and several major decisions were made at that meeting. See the news section.

la lojbangirz. has made its first research proposal, to the U. S. defense agency DARPA, and also has attended its first linguistics conference. See the news section.

This issue contains a lot of material derived from the Lojban List computer mailing list on the Internet. Nearly all such material has been edited, revised, and corrected from the original. Included are discussions of grammar points, some more on Lojban and linguistics, and a LOT of Lojban text. I have Lojban text material from over a dozen people to choose from for this issue, and it is tough to choose. Some will be saved for JL16.

                         Table of Contents                         
  Finances                                                    ---3 
  Logfest 91                                                  ---5 
  Lojban List Moves / Electronic Distribution Policy          ---7 
  Language Development Activities                             ---8 
  Using the Language                                          --10 
  Research and Linguistics                                    --11 
  Products Status, Prices, and Ordering                       --12 
  International News                                          --15 
  Publicity; News From the Institute                          --16 
  New Loglans                                                 --17 
le lojbo se ciska                         --18, 26, 42, 47, 57, 65 
Is Lojban Scientifically Interesting?                         --20 
Summary of gismu/rafsi Official Changes                       --23 
Cleft Place Structures and sumti-Raising                      --32 
Versions of the Theory of Linguistic Relativity               --42 
On Loglan and Lojban Elidables                                --47 
A History and Description of le'avla in Loglan and Lojban     --50 
The Culture gismu Revisited:  Cultural Neutrality and the gismu    
List                                                          --53 
Grammar Notes:  On Observatives; Predications and Identities  --61 
How to Say It - A New Regular? Feature                        --63 
Translations of le lojbo se ciska                             --79 

Computer Net Information

Via Usenet/UUCP/Internet, you can send messages and text files (including things for JL publication) to la lojbangirz./Bob at: (This is a new address and supersedes the prior "snark" address.)

You can also join the Lojban List mailing list (currently around 80 subscribers). Send a single line message (automatically processed) containing only:

"subscribe lojban yourfirstname yourlastname"


If you have problems needing human intervention, send to:

Send traffic for the mailing list to:

Please keep us informed if your network mailing address changes.

Compuserve subscribers can also participate. Precede any of the above addresses with INTERNET: and use your normal Compuserve mail facility. If you want to participate on Lojban List, you should be prepared to read your mail at least every couple of days; otherwise your mailbox fills up and you are dropped from the mailing-list. FIDOnet subscribers can also participate, although the connection is not especially robust. Write to us for details if you don't know how to access the Internet network.

Whether you wish to participate in the news-group or not, it is useful for us to know your Compuserve or Usenet/Internet address.

We've been requested to more explicitly identify people who are referred to by initials in JL, and will regularly do so in this spot, immediately before the news section. Note that 'Athelstan' is that person's real name, used in his public life, and is not a pseudonym.

'pc' - Dr. John Parks-Clifford, Professor of Logic and Philosophy at the University of Missouri - St. Louis and Vice-President of la lojbangirz.; he is usually addressed as 'pc' by the community.

'Bob', 'lojbab' - Bob LeChevalier - President of la lojbangirz., and editor of ju'i lobypli and le lojbo karni.

'Nora' - Nora LeChevalier - Secretary/Treasurer of la lojbangirz., Bob's wife, author of LogFlash.

'JCB', 'Dr. Brown'- Dr. James Cooke Brown, inventor of the language, and founder of the Loglan project.

'The Institute', 'TLI' - The Loglan Institute, Inc., JCB's organization for spreading his version of Loglan, which we call 'Institute Loglan'.

'Loglan' - This refers to the generic language or language project, of which 'Lojban' is the most successful version, and Institute Loglan another. 'Loglan/Lojban' is used in discussions about Lojban where we wish to make it particularly clear that the statement applies to the generic language as well.



We may have gotten momentarily overconfident in JL14, after raising a nice amount of money with our fund-raising letter last fall. Unfortunately, since that fund-raiser, income has been lower than the already depressed levels before the letter. We are hoping that this is due only to the recession, but cannot take chances - we have to pay the bills.

We've found that a high percentage of people specifically ordering material from us contribute money to pay for it. It is ju'i lobypli and le lojbo karni, which we send people without a specific prepaid order, that people do not contribute enough to cover. Our financial tracking system finally improved to the point where we could identify this situation.

Yet ju'i lobypli is what people provide most feedback on, a product that people clearly like.

The answer, it seems, is to put JL on a prepaid, specific order basis. Then, presumably, those of you who want JL will tell us so with your checkbooks and credit cards.

This solution engenders its own new problems. We can presume that not every JL subscriber will subscribe if they have to pay for it in full and in advance. But if we drop significantly below 200 U.S. addressees, we lose our reduced 3rd class bulk rates in postage. This reduction amounts to about $2 per copy, or $400 per issue. So, if by reducing our subscriber list for JL does not save us at least $400, we are merely serving less people for the same amount of money. We thus find that there is a gap between about 140 and 200 U.S. subscribers where we lose as much or more money than when we send to additional people who are not paying. We suspect that going to a prepaid subscription basis will put us in the middle of that interval.

Going to a fully paid basis also makes it more difficult for students, people out-of-work, and low-income Lojbanists to get JL. Yet these subscribers are among our most productive volunteers, and have been more likely to spend the time and effort to start learning Lojban. Non-U.S subscribers are also hurt, having a higher price to pay, but often having a lower income because of their country's economy.

Finally, reducing our subscriber list reduces our outreach - our ability to attract new people and get them involved in learning and using Lojban. People who buy our products often learn about them through seeing how others use them productively in JL.

Fortunately, there is one option that may eliminate the bubble. In going to prepaid subscriptions, we may be able to become a 'legitimate' periodical qualifying for U.S. Second Class (Periodical) postage rates. Second Class doesn't require the 200 minimum mailing that our current bulk rate permit does, has even lower rates per piece, and offers faster and more certain delivery than bulk rate mailings.

However, to establish legitimacy, we have to prove that our readers WANT to receive our publication. We can prove this either with formal audit procedures (which we cannot afford), or through having on file explicit requests from each of our subscribers. The latter must be signed and dated, or we must have other proof that the request is bona fide (such as electronic mail headers and addresses). The postal service will audit us at least once a year, and they check carefully.

A side benefit/penalty (depending on whether you are the reader or the editor) is that 2nd class periodicals MUST be published regularly, and at least quarterly, so that JL would be coming out every 3 months with no slips like we've been making lately.

A final factor is that it costs $275 just to apply for a 2nd class permit, so we must have all of our procedures in place BEFORE we apply.

We haven't decided for sure to go to 2nd class mailing - the rigor may be more than we can handle with one full-time worker, me, who has other things to do besides publish JL. But we are going to start jumping through the hoops and see whether we could do so if it proves financially necessary.

Thus, at LogFest 91, we decided on the following steps:

1. JL will be converted to a prepaid subscription basis over a period of around a year. If this means that we lose bulk rate, so be it. Price will be $20- $25/year, payable in advance. People with negative balances will be cut off (switched to le lojbo karni), unless supported either by volunteer credits (see below) or by direct donation by another person.

2. The first step will be a fund-raiser and direct-mail announcement of the new policy in the next month or two. Every subscriber to JL will be sent a form to be signed and returned indicating that you want to receive JL, and a signature line will be added to our order form. If not signed and returned and you have a negative balance, you will be dropped as a JL subscriber, but will receive LK instead. If you have a positive balance, we still need you to return the form to qualify for 2nd class mailing.

3. Thereafter, the negative balance cutoff for JL subscribers will be raised each issue, and people not making the cut will be dropped to an LK subscription. We will give people a one issue advance notice of cutoff. For those with very negative balances, you will be able to avoid the cutoff by explicitly subscribing and sending a signed, paid order for JL.

There will be no exceptions. Some of you with very negative balances may wish to decide what you want your status to be, and possibly to negotiate with someone or with us to continue to receive issues. If you have done things for us, including active participation on Lojban List such that we use your material in JL, you can possibly negotiate delayed payment or a partial amount to be paid to zero out your balance. We ask however that for those who can afford to, you pay most or all of your balances off so that we can help out others who cannot.

We do not intend to drop LK subscribers until the books are done, except upon request. It isn't feasible to put LK on a subscription basis, because the response rate to our mailings is so low.

4. Given the cutback, we hope that our financial condition improves to the point that we have a surplus. If so, the following plan will aid the ones who cannot pay for subscriptions and other materials.

A 'volunteer credit' donation fund will be set up. People who donate can specify donations for general expenses, or specifically for this fund. In addition, a specific portion of any excess revenues (profits) will be put in this fund.

A committee will accept recommendations of people who have contributed in a wide variety of ways from commentary on JL, learning the language, participation on Lojban List, recruiting, overseas activities. They will also get a list from me each issue of people whose balance is less than the subscription cutoff, along with notes on any special circumstances that might allow them to be retained as JL subscribers. The committee will allocate the funds among the possible recipients, so as to allow the maximum number to be retained as JL subscribers.

5. We will seek direct donations of larger amounts of money from companies, especially from computer companies who might profit by the positive image of supporting non-profit scientific and educational research with computer applications. We are asking ALL subscribers associated with a company who might be willing to help support us, and who either have some influence in such decisions, or know who we should contact to request such assistance in your company, to let us know. We will also be directly seeking out ideas and information from a couple of you whom people have recommended that we specifically ask.

We are seeking donations, probably in the $1000-$15000 range, to support specific or general research projects in Lojban applications, and also to support publication of the textbook and dictionary in amounts large enough to keep the price down and allow wide distribution. Specifically from companies that manufacture and sell computers, we also are seeking unrestricted donations of one or two small machines. Unrestricted donation means that we could use or sell the machine - selling it to get money for support or using it for research purposes. Two machines would allow us to sell one and keep one. Donation of machines to la lojbangirz. apparently benefits such companies more than direct cash donations. Again, ideas are welcome in this area.

One such donation will greatly ease our month to month financial pressure. A larger donation or more smaller ones would allow us to make intelligent financial decisions on how to complete our projects and to get serious research started, without the distorting effect of living hand-to-mouth. Please help if you can.

6. We plan to establish a 'Sustaining Membership' similar to other non-profit organizations. Probably costing $50/year, the benefits will be minimal - perhaps acknowledgement in our books, periodicals, and our annual reports, perhaps a 10% or 20% discount on purchases, and higher priority on orders and services. The main 'benefit' will be knowing you are helping make Lojban a success. Details will be announced.

7. Finally, we have gotten a local computer network account which will significantly cut la lojbangirz.'s phone bill.

We believe these steps will be more than sufficient to right our tottering finances. We've made a lot of progress so far, but as we continue to rapidly grow, it is easy to lose control. la lojbangirz. is now far larger than I can financially support by myself.

As a business, we need a safety margin so that financial crisis is not always knocking at the door. And if we have to worry less about finances, that means all the more effort that can be put towards writing books and software and otherwise making sure Lojban continues to grow.

LogFest 91

Logfest 91, the annual gathering for celebration of Lojban, started Thursday night, June 20, with the arrival of the first three visitors, even though no organized activities (other than getting ready) were scheduled for Friday. As happens when a good group of Lojbanists gets together, Friday was filled with a variety of lively and interesting discussions (not limited to Lojban). As people arrived, the discussions got livelier, and a bit more serious.

On Friday night, we turned to discussion of the financial situation, and a related matter - the distribution of Lojban materials electronically (via the computer networks). Such distribution helps our costs by reducing postage, and offers the potential of more rapidly expanding the Lojban community, but with a likely loss of income since many people who receive materials electronically will not contribute to the costs of those materials.

The discussion ran all night, and was heated at times. The result, though, was a workable policy that attendees were satisfied with. This new policy is discussed below.

On Saturday, after a slow start due to late sleepers, we started doing 'serious' Lojban. We had prepared for a couple of dozen different kinds of activities, so as to be ready for a range of Lojban experience and interests. This year, attendees were almost all active students who knew enough vocabulary and grammar for us to undertake intermediate activities.

One activity that proved moderately successful was translating aphorisms. People seem much more comfortable trying to translate single sentences both from English to Lojban and vice versa, than with longer texts. Thus, every participant got a random aphorism out of a box (we pregraded the aphorisms by grammatical difficulty, so people chose a line they had a reasonable chance to translate), and worked on a translation to Lojban. More experienced Lojbanists aided the less skilled ones. Then each person presented her/his translation to the group as a whole, who then tried to figure out what it meant. In general, everyone successfully understood others' translations, using their word lists.

A weakness of the activity was the size of the group. With over a dozen participants, it took a long time to go through all translations. We know next time we have that many people to divide into groups, so that things move quicker. Still, everyone learned a lot, and many were surprised at how easily and well they could understand the translations. You can try the activity yourself - aphorisms in both English and Lojban will be found in le lojbo se ciska this issue.

Less intense was a discussion on making tanru and lujvo. We've tried this before, but working at the level of individual words gets people bogged down in the semantics of English. In this case, working on lujvo for the English word "tyranny", we ended up with over a dozen tanru, each with its own subtle distinction in meaning, and no real agreement on a 'best' one. My own opinion is that there is no 'best' lujvo for any given English concept, because you will choose a different emphasis depending on the context. This exercise, always educational but always somewhat of a failure, reminds us that Lojban and English are very different languages.

There were other activities on Saturday, but the primary focus outside of the above activities was group discussion and socializing. Art Protin and David Twery, visiting from New Jersey and the Philadelphia area respectively met local Lojbanist Sylvia Rutiser, and agreed to start writing Lojban letters to each other; there is now good hope that there will come to be active Lojban social/study groups in those two areas. Art and David also promised that every once in a while they would pile into the car and drive to the DC area for an informal Lojban social get together.

Sunday was dominated by the annual meeting of la lojbangirz., which started at 10:30 AM. That meeting recessed for lunch, but ran until 5 PM as we wrestled with financial issues and priorities for the coming year. A lot of decisions were made, and even more than previous years, I think people were both satisfied with the result and convinced that everyone had a meaningful voice in the process. Since the latter was a major reason for forming la lojbangirz., these long meetings are worthwhile.

We are taking some steps towards speeding up future meetings. We will have more advance notice of agenda items so people can be prepared for discussion before LogFest starts. We will also try to have a Board of Directors meeting perhaps a month before LogFest to weed out issues and ensure group attention to the most important, while expediting routine business. We also hope, of course, that our finances will improve to the point that we no longer have to spend hours debating new strategies.

With such a long meeting, nonvoting Lojbanists tended to drift in and out of the meeting into a variety of discussions and informal activities. By the end of the meeting, a lively game of "la reno preti" (20 Questions) was being played, entirely in Lojban. This proved to be the most successful of the Lojban activities, continuing well-into the evening.

By Monday, only 3 Lojbanists were left. Two stayed until mid-week, with Bob Chassell joining in the regular Tuesday evening conversation group, reporting in Lojban on his touristy explorations of Washington, and leading another round of "la reno preti". One unfortunate problem with a weekend gathering is that so many (especially those from out-of-town) cannot arrive until very late Frday (whereupon they have to sleep half of Saturday in order to recover), and they then have to leave by late afternoon Sunday. Given that the annual meeting so dominates Sunday, this tends to give us less than a day for a variety of activities. Thus the activities portion of LogFest has tended to be only mildly successful.

We work more each year on pre-planning activities, but planning is inherently limited. We never know till people arrive who is coming, what their Lojban skill level is, and what activities they find interesting. Also, as with the aphorism translations, activities that we test out successfully in a weekly conversation session may work quite successfully with 5 or 6 people, but may bog down with a dozen or more participating.

Still, people noted and were pleased by the increasing sophistication of the in-Lojban activities, and the general skill of everyone participating. We still haven't reached the point where Lojban conversations break out spontaneously, but this may happen next year given the rate of improvement in Lojban speakers. More attendees will make this more likely, and improve the variety of activities going on at any one time.

Total attendance was 17, most of whom were there all weekend. 7 were from out-of-town. About half were skilled enough to converse at least minimally in Lojban, although such 'conversations' tended to be only snippets and remarks. 13 attended the business meeting on Sunday. John Cowan was elected to the Board of Directors and Albion Zeglin dropped his Board and voting membership due to lack of time.

LogFest is supposed to be FUN, not all work. A major difference from previous LogFests is that the activities schedule didn't include a mass of technical debates and decisions that had to be made. Of course, since the major Lojban design decisions have been made, only relatively minor questions of style, semantics, and how we teach the language remain to be resolved. These were decided in advance, or in a couple of cases, informally during the gathering (for example, the nest of issues we've called "sumti-raising" - see below - were satisfactorily resolved "in the halls" during LogFest).

Among minor decisions: "?spero" as a culture word for "Esperanto" was voted down, and the baseline of the gismu was reaffirmed; few of the 'old-timers' want even minimal change. "navni" is broadened to include "inert gas" in its meaning. Finally, pending grammar proposals were adopted and the grammar was rebaselined until after the textbook is completed - people are generally satisfied with the grammar for now, and are waiting to see how it is used and taught.

la lojbangirz./Institute split - In accordance with a unanimous vote taken at the time of la lojbangirz.'s original charter in August 1987, when we started "Lojban - The Realization of Loglan", now also known as "Loglan/Lojban" or just "Lojban", la lojbangirz. has made repeated efforts over the last several years to mend the political split with The Loglan Institute, Inc.

Earlier this year, we proposed a settlement that would have remerged the two current versions of Loglan into one. The plan would have guaranteed an honored place for JCB, as well as organizational and possible financial support for the Institute. No response was received.

The Lojban design is essentially complete. Time has run out on making changes to facilitate a merger - we can no longer make significant changes without corresponding impact on those who have learned and will learn Loglan/Lojban. Our version of Loglan is now substantially better than the Institute's, and we have people speaking and writing the language.

As a result of this situation, the LogFest attendees voted that "Expending resources towards reconciliation with JCB or the Institute is not a good use of resources at this time, but we remain open to such reconciliation should their position change in the future." and "There is no longer special authority given to pronouncements of JCB or the Institute about the language."

It is unfortunate that we have had to go to such lengths in our dispute, but we have tried hard and long for an alternative without success. We cannot allow the ill will of one person, even the language inventor, to prevent us from freely using the language he invented. The language belongs to the community now, as it must be to succeed.

We hope that JCB and the Institute will change their position; we then can restore JCB to the position of honor and esteem that he once held among the entire Loglan community.

Electronic Distribution News

Lojban List Moves

A major accomplishment of LogFest was the adoption of a policy for electronic distribution of materials that balances our desire to get these products to the public, thus aiding in the language growth, with our need for income from our publications, and a goal to fairly distribute our services to both computer people and non-computer people.

The essential core of the policy benefits all Lojbanists, regardless of your access to materials: All published "language definition materials" will be placed in the public domain, and will be distributable without restriction, in any medium. These include word lists and the language grammar.

Teaching materials, some draft materials, and all JLs, will be distributable under our retained copyright using a standard license - shown in the distribution policy below.

All materials, except those that we rely on to show a profit to support our other activities (like software and the textbook), will be posted for electronic distribution. Some materials, like ju'i lobypli, will be posted after considerable delay (6 months or more), so that we make a current paid-for copy a valuable service. In addition, the material as posted will generally have minimal formatting for electronic text. Electronic JLs and many other publications will be difficult to read, because standard electronic text uses 80 characters per line, and we use much higher print densities in formatting our publications. As a result, an electronic 'printout' of JL may have sections that will be unreadable without manual editing; la lojbangirz. will not do that editing.

Our point of original distribution will be the 'Planned Languages Server' on the Internet. Over the next few months, as time allows, Bob will prepare materials for distribution. (We will also supply data directly on diskette - current price is $10 per uncompressed diskful, in any of the 4 diskette formats we can support: 5 1/4 and 3 1/2 high and low density MS-DOS.)

For those with Internet access who wish to get materials, send a message containing, on separate lines, "help" and "index lojban" to:

The Server will reply automatically. The index will identify what files are available - a reading priority should be a 'read-me' file that will describe the files officially put out by la lojbangirz., and their status. The help file will tell you how to request files to be sent to you - generally all you need to do is say:

"send lojban/filename".

On an organized basis, we expect that much of this material will be cross-posted to the Compuserve 'Foreign Language Education' forum by varying Lojbanists with access to both Internet and Compuserve. Lojbanists are welcome to distribute the material electronically in keeping with the policy described below - any restrictions will be noted in the files themselves.

All materials will be released directly by me to Jerry Altzman of the PLS. The read-me file will contain my directory of dates and version numbers of all such releases.

We eventually plan to include in the official directory an MD-4 (tamper-resistant 'message digest' value) for each file so you can verify that material you obtain is authentic. We will also publish a printed MD-4 checksum list separately, and will make available for free a program to determine the MD-4 checksum of any file. There are some hangups in implementing the MD-4 support because the checksum must be calculated on the file as it actually is sent by the Server, which has UNIX-oriented line and file conventions that differ from the ones associated with the MS-DOS version produced by la lojbangirz.

Others are encouraged submit Lojban materials to the Server; we will occasionally check these materials and advise the Server managers (Lojbanists Jerry Altzman and Mark Shoulson) as to which materials we think are useful and current. (We ask that you send us a copy of all such submissions, with a note that you plan to so submit them. Send them either by paper-mail to the la lojbangirz. address, or electronically to:

la lojbangirz. encourages comments on draft materials that are released to PLS.

Jerry Altzman is helping us out in another way. Volume on the Lojban List mailing group has grown so that it was straining list-founder Eric Raymond's network connection. Jerry found room for us on one of the computers he manages, and Lojban List was switched during the last week of August. In addition, the list now uses a more advanced "Listserv" process that allows people to sign up and remove themselves from the list, temporarily suspend receiving messages when overloaded or vacationing, and of course post messages, all without human intervention. See page 2 for details.

Logical Languages Group Policy 
Electronic Distribution of Materials
Approved 23 June 1991

Copyright, 1991 The Logical Language Group, Inc.
(la lojbangirz.) 
2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031-1303 USA
Phone (703) 385-0273

All rights reserved. Permission to copy granted subject to your verification that this is the latest version of this document, that your distribution be for the promotion of Lojban, that there is no charge for the product, and that this copyright notice is included intact in the copy.

1) la lojbangirz. publications and materials are hereby divided into three groups:

Group A materials consist of text, and are sold at or near cost.

Group B materials consist of text, and are sold above cost.

Group C materials consist of computer software, and are sold above cost.

This division is independent of the division into Level/Package 0-3 materials, which depends not on cost but on the presumed interest level of the reader.

2) The following are non-exhaustive lists of materials in each group:

Group A: JL and LK issues; draft textbook lessons; word lists; language definition materials; ancillary materials.

Group B: the (as yet unwritten) textbook; the (as yet unwritten) dictionary.

Group C: Logflash for PC and Mac; the la lojbangirz. Lojban Parser (in beta release); lujvo-maker; random sentence generator.

3) la lojbangirz. will provide all materials in Group A for electronic distribution free of charge. All materials, except word lists and other language definition materials, will be copyrighted using a copyright notice essentially similar to the one attached to this draft policy.

4) To assure the integrity of electronically distributed la lojbangirz. materials, every document distributed electronically will bear a message digest value computed using the MD-4 algorithm, source code for which is publicly available.

5) la lojbangirz. will make available, free of charge, a list of the MD-4 message digest values for all materials released in electronic distribution. la lojbangirz. will also provide a program to compute message digest values, free of charge with the purchase of Group C materials, subject to technical limitations.

6) la lojbangirz. intends to use the Planned Languages Server as the primary distribution medium on the Internet. Other distribution media on the same or other networks may be established at la lojbangirz.'s discretion.

7) Materials in Group B and Group C will not be distributed electronically. Group C materials in object form will be distributed on diskette and whatever other media are technically available to la lojbangirz. (currently, none).

8) Source code to Group C software will be made available on diskette or other media to persons who sign a non-disclosure agreement with la lojbangirz., at a cost equal to the cost of the Group C software in object form.

9) This policy becomes effective when ratified by la lojbangirz.'s official bodies. (it has been.) It may be altered at any time by la lojbangirz.

Language Development Activities

Vocabulary - Many minor vocabulary-polishing activities occurred since last issue. 20 gismu proposed and approved last year were finally created using the 6-language algorithm. rafsi were assigned to as many of these as possible, and the cmavo list was examined to see how many cmavo that might be useful in lujvo could be assigned rafsi. The revised rafsi have been released in an updated list - see the products news below. The new gismu and the changes to the rafsi list are in the features section of this issue.

The cmavo list has also been updated - reflecting the grammar and usage developments of the last year. Extended definitions, up to 96 characters long, are incorporated into the new list. The cmavo list update will be released at approximately the same time as JL16 in October, along with the Logflash 3 cmavo instruction software and other materials, giving time for last minute reviews.

The gismu place structure revision has been idling since last fall. This project was intended to produce 96-character extended and clarified place structures/definitions for each gismu, thus providing clearer information for those learning and using the words, and allowing the new list to be used as input for the updated LogFlash 1, now scheduled for October release.

The place structure review will almost certainly not be completed before that October release because of its relatively low priority, so we have decided that a version close to the present working list will be released in October at the time LogFlash is updated, replacing the current list. The new list will become the official public domain language definition list upon release, and we will recommend that people studying or using the language start using that list as soon as possible.

A last minute proposal assigns rafsi to fo'a, fo'e and fo'i (selma'o KOhA). These assigned to names with du or goi plus several other cmavo rafsi (mi, do, vi, va, vu, ti, ta, tu) can be used along with names to allow more abbreviated expressions of cultures not included in the gismu list. e.g. fo'e du la suomis (Finland). .i mi cilre lo fo'enselsanga. (I learn a Finnish song.) Since the most useful culture words are those for 'my' culture and 'your' culture, "mi" and "do" will be likely to be used in this way.

The last paragraph uses the word "selma'o", which may be unfamiliar. We have adopted this lujvo for what we have previously called a "lexeme". The lujvo is based on the second place of "cmavo", which is the grammatical role of the cmavo. The things we are calling "selma'o" are the basic grammatical types of cmavo and other words found in Lojban.

(The definition of "selma'o" shows a little of the meaning variation permissible in lujvo, since selma'o BRIVLA and CMENE are not grammatical units of cmavo, although all other selma'o are. The generalized meaning implicit in "selma'o" is acceptable since people learn finely details of word meanings by seeing how they are used, not by some kind of rigorous analysis.)

Grammar - The proposed changes to the grammar printed in JL14 went without a single comment, or even a question. What little feedback we got seemed to indicate that the discussion was too technical for most readers, and that without considerably more discussion and examples, printing the proposals was not worthwhile.

Additional proposals evolved after JL14 was published, finally totalling 28. All but one, the 'sumti-raising' proposal discussed below, passed without comment from Lojban List as well.

Thus, at Logfest, the set of 28 changes was adopted, and the grammar was rebaselined until after the textbook is completed and reviewed. We do not plan to consider any changes until then, and very few are expected to surface, anyway.

Even the 28 changes adopted are quite minor: almost nothing written in the language in the past two years became ungrammatical as a result of changes, and a few things not grammatical became so, since many of the changes were designed to bring the formal description of the grammar more closely aligned with how people actually were using the language.

Indeed, and this seems significant: in the last few months it has become clear that no longer is the language design being driven by language engineers like myself who are trying to figure out how people WILL use the language. Instead, we have a group of people using Lojban, and what they find out in trying to express things in the language has driven many, if not most, of the most recent changes.

The other significant factor in the grammar is that a complete-grammar Lojban parser has finally been completed. Not only does this provide a new standard for what is grammatical in the language, but it serves as a stabilizing force motivating against changes that might render this valuable tool outdated. (The parser is expected to be released some time this fall.)

Semantics and style - A new entry in this discussion, because the Lojban design plan excludes semantics and style being prescribed. However, we have people actively using the language in conversation, translation, and new writings. The questions that come up in actual usage of the language are generally not grammatical ones, but usage questions like "How do you say this?" and "Why doesn't this work?".

One Lojbanist, Nick Nicholas, has made discussion of style his primary theme on Lojban List. He has backed this discussion with the most prolific use of the language after Michael Helsem (whose Lojban poetry is now truly voluminous - he has published a volume of it).

Style and semantic issues that have been raised and discussed on Lojban List are too numerous to mention here. A lengthy discussion of relativistic tenses started the trend last winter. More recently, the primary topics have been the determination of meaning of lujvo (stimulated by Jim Carter's oft-rejected proposal for what he calls "dikyjvo" - regular mandatory rules for building lujvo based on the source gismu place structures), the distinction between abstract and non-abstract sumti values (tied in with the discussion of 'sumti-raising' - see below), the meaning and usage of the various modals in selma'o BAI, and the mass/set/individual distinction in Lojban descriptors.

Other 'old' issues are really semantic ones. Debate has continued on the necessity and value of the cultural gismu and the gismu that represent elements. Most often the debate derives from new people who are not familiar with the reasons why they were included, which include historical reasons as well as the justification of usage. There is considerable fear that these words will lead to cultural biases, fears not shared by Bob and others who have been working on the language longest. We expect that this issue will not be resolved until the dictionary is published, wherein the words for other cultures and elements that did not get assigned gismu will be listed, along with the rules for deriving new words of those kinds as needed. (An article later in this issue discusses cultural gismu.)

One recurring issue that affects the community as a whole is the frequency and type of translations presented with Lojban text. We can give no translation, or a block translation for an entire text, or line by line translations which are either colloquial English or word-for-word. The more literal the translation, the less need you have to look up words in words lists. This can be both good and bad: the trade-off is between learning the vocabulary or understanding the grammar. Some people want text they can try to read and be challenged. Others are just trying to get a feel for the language. What do you want? What do you think we should change, if anything, in our Lojban text presentations in JL?

Using the Language

This is the most significant area of news, in my opinion. The number of people actively trying to speak and write in Lojban to communicate with others has exploded. Since JL14, I have received or reviewed extensive text (more than a couple of paragraphs of block text) in Lojban from Bob Chassell, John Cowan, Ivan Derzhanski, Coranth D'Gryphon, Michael Helsem, Rory Hinnen, Nick Nicholas, Sylvia Rutiser, Mark Shoulson, David Twery, and written some myself. By comparison, only Jamie Bechtel, John Cowan, Sylvia Rutiser and myself sent in extensive text over the 8 month period between JL13 and JL14.

This is not counting a couple of dozen people who have written letters or sent messages electronically with a sentence or two of understandable and often grammatical text. Several other people have told me that they have written some, or a lot of, Lojban text (in some cases, I am waiting to see before believing; the amounts claimed seem incredible).

Michael Helsem has collected several of his Lojban poems, made corrections, and published them in an artistically decorated cover - copies were given to every LogFest attendee. There are still some Lojban errors in the book, but if you like poetry, the English versions will have value and the enormous volume of Lojban may inspire you, as well as provide ideas on what works and what fails to communicate in Lojban text. We have several copies left of this 'first Lojban book', which we will send free upon request to anyone making a prepaid order over $20, or for postage costs only ($2-$3) otherwise. Michael seeks comments and suggestions from all readers.

John Hodges observes that Michael's publication, even with imperfect Lojban, is a "significant event, symbolically and politically. This is exactly the kind of thing [la lojbangirz.] wanted to make possible by insisting that the language be public domain, and precisely what JCB wanted to prevent by keeping copyright control over the very words of his language. Helsem did not ask permission to publish. You and he took it for granted that it was his right to publish. JCB would deny this. To defend the purity of the language, JCB would insist that Helsem correct his grammar before publishing. (Not to mention, send royalties to JCB.)"

Sylvia Rutiser and Ernest Heramia started an intermittent 'pen-pal' correspondence last winter. Ivan Derzhanski (Bulgaria) and Nick Nicholas (Australia) started the first international correspondence exchange in May. Recently Sylvia, David Twery, and Art Protin started a round-robin letter exchange. I have a list of several others interested in writing letters in Lojban - send us a note with a few sentences (or maybe a self-descriptive paragraph) in Lojban with English translation, and we will try to match you with someone of comparable skill. Give us some indication of how often you would expect to write - one problem we have experienced so far is people prepared to write as often as once a week paired with people who take months to respond.

The amount of Lojban text now being posted on the Lojban List is rather overwhelming at times. Nick Nicholas first got materials from us around the time JL14 was published. He has recently been the most prolific and one of the most skillful among Lojban writers, posting paragraphs of text to Lojban List virtually every week. Noting that Nick is also a full-time student AND one of the leaders of the Australian Esperanto organization, his productivity makes me ashamed of my own (but .ui what inspiration).

Also on the computer network, Jack Bennetto has started a game of "telephone" (you may know this as "whisper down the line", or by another name). Starting with a moderately complex sentence, each successive person translates what he/she receives from English to Lojban or vice versa, and passes the translation to the next person. We've had no reports yet on how well this activity is proceeding.

Weekly Lojban conversation sessions have continued here in the Washington DC area, with anywhere from 3 to 6 attending each session (about 10 people total have participated). The amount of conversation time has dropped a bit, because the group spent time before LogFest planning activities for the gathering. Since LogFest, we have started an intermittent group project - translating the entire board game "Careers" into Lojban in honor of Jim Brown, who invented both the language and the game. (We may seek permission from Parker Brothers Inc., which owns rights to the game, to distribute the game translation to those of you who are interested.)

Not all Lojban text is orderly. Next issue will contain a sampling of the Lojban graffiti that appeared on a wall of Bob and Nora's house (specially prepared to make this non-destructive) during LogFest. One other ongoing activity is the construction of a Lojban traveler's phrase book, after the style of Berlitz.

New Lojbanic activities seem to surface every week or two, and I have no doubt that there will be a new crop of them to report by JL16. Why not let yours be among them?

Research and Linguistics

The Loglan Project is starting to become a real research endeavor again. We have established a presence on several major forums for computer linguistics information exchange, and are making ourselves known to linguists who are researching in areas where Lojban might be relevant. Among these areas are:

  • linguistic expression of emotion;
  • word compounding;
  • predicate deep structure grammars;
  • the ISO standards for international character set encodings;
  • semiotics;
  • representation of abstraction;
  • logical expression;
  • computational linguistics;
  • machine translation;
  • abstract system specification language;
  • foreign language education.

At least one well-known linguist has expressed interest in Lojban, and we hope to attract many more.

Bob wrote an essay on the linguistic research applications of Lojban for posting to one of these groups. This essay appears later in this issue, slightly edited. A new version of the Lojban brochure will be issued in a couple of months, incorporating some of this material.

Athelstan and Bob attended GURT (The Georgetown University Round Table of Linguistics) this year. GURT is one of the more prestigious linguistics conferences. There were just under 800 attendees. After initially being hesitant for fear of adverse reaction from linguists, on Wednesday we put out about 30 brochures with a short note on Lojban's applicability to linguistics research. They were gone within two hours. On Thursday we put out 110 more, and nearly all were gone when the conference ended at 4PM. We got some great name recognition out of this, even if none of these brochure readers decides to do something about Lojban just yet.

I suspect some will do so eventually. Almost everyone we talked to seemed at least mildly interested in the concept of an artificial language designed for linguistics research, and a couple of researchers thought we had some interesting research angles that they might like to investigate. I would say that Athelstan and I together threw up more questions (usually good from the reaction of the audience and the speaker) than most people, so I'm sure we were noticed.

The primary topic at GURT was foreign language education, but we also attended sessions on natural language processing.

la lojbangirz. is planning to attend at least one and possibly two more linguistics conferences this year.

la lojbangirz. is closer to initiating scientific research using Lojban. The new version of LogFlash contains instrumentation that will allow study of how people learn words, and whether the recognition score algorithm used to build the words has any relevance to their learnability.

More importantly, la lojbangirz. in July prepared and submitted its first research proposal. The proposal (actually a proposal abstract since we did not request a specific dollar amount) was submitted to DARPA (US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the primary government funding agency for artificial intelligence and natural language processing research. We didn't win this initial bid, but preparing the proposal stimulated much new activity around here and opened options that look quite promising for the future.

Bidding for research grants is a learning experience. In today's competitive research environment, it may take several proposals to get one grant or contract. The initial proposal not only serves as a basis for further proposals, which are now half written at the start, but every effort we make teaches us more about how to do things better the next time.

For example, since submitting the proposal abstract, John Cowan has been researching and writing up a detailed analysis that shows that Lojban is a superset of the computer language PROLOG, often used in artificial intelligence processing. This means that most, if not all, Lojban sentences could be processed into PROLOG statements and fed into a PROLOG processor. This would greatly reduce the cost and risk of developing a Lojban processor from scratch. (We seek PROLOG experts among the community to review John's work. Let us know you're interested!)

A major plus in our efforts to obtain research funding is John Cowan's completion of a full-language Lojban parser. Still in testing, this parser breaks all Lojban text (including cmavo compounds) down to individual words and parses the results. The ability to parse at the individual word level is a major improvement over the best accomplishments of the Loglan Institute before we started on the Lojban redesign. More importantly, it is better than anything that can be accomplished in processing natural languages.

Of course, our 'advantage' may be a problem with getting DARPA funding. It turns out that having bypassed the worst problems in natural language processing, the problems that we need and want to solve to process Lojban text are quite different than the ones considered on the 'leading edge' of research. We thus are required to write proposals extremely carefully to show how learning to process Lojban text will lead to better processing of natural languages.

We hope to include portions of our proposal in JL16, in order to give our supporters an idea of how we are presenting the language. But also, we welcome suggestions from the community on how to better explain our research approach, and to prove that it is sound. (We also want to hear of any alternate research approaches that we may be missing).

Products Status, Prices, and Ordering

With the decisions described in the finances section, we are making changes in our coding for mailing status. These changes are summarized in the new mailing label coding block on page 1.

Most importantly, we have separated JL and LK subscriptions from the status codes (levels 0, 1, 2, 3, and B). We have also added an automatic update status that is independent of the others, indicating your desire to receive updates and your commitment to keep enough in your balance to pay for them.

Next, we are separating the activity level implied in the level numbers from the encoding of the materials we actually have sent you. As people have moved around in level, or been downgraded, your 'mailing level' no longer tells us what material you have.

The activity level portion of your level will be converted to a letter code indicating your current interest level. The level numbers 0 through 3 will refer to a series of packaged materials that will tell us what we've sent you.

The conversion to letter codes, and their interpretation, is as follows:
(Level B) Observer (old level 0/B)
(Level C) Active Observer/Supporter (old level 1 and 2)
(Level D) Lojban Student (old level 3)
(Level E) Lojban Practitioner (people demonstrating some competency with the language, and actively using it in some regular activity)

('A', in case you are wondering, is used for people dropped from our mailing list, for whom we maintain financial accounts because we've sent materials.)

The difference between old level 0 and old level B has merely been whether you were receiving le lojbo karni or not.

The original difference between old levels 1 and 2 was whether you automatically get updates of materials when they are updated (presumably a level 2 was more active and needed the latest information for active work). Since we went so long without issuing any updates, and have gotten into such a financial morass, the distinction became insignificant.

Then, during the last year, we started sending some additional materials to level 2 people that we don't send to level 1 people, in order to keep the level 1 price down. Thus the original distinction we intended between the two levels was lost, and we are restoring that information as the automated update flag. You will not receive automatic updates unless you keep sufficient balance to pay for them.

These codes will now appear separately on your mailing label, and with the start of paid JL subscriptions, your subscription expiration date/ issue will also appear on your mailing label.

There is increasing interest among Lojbanists in contacting and communicating with others of equivalent skill levels. Right now, Bob makes these evaluations subjectively, but as the numbers of people actually using the language increases, Bob's evaluations become less reliable.

Thus, we are also planning a proficiency code system that will tell us your demonstrated proficiency level at reading, writing, or speaking Lojban. To minimize confusion, we will delay implementing this for about 6 months. Suggestions are welcome, though.

Products and Schedule - This past year has been one of change, of consolidation. We haven't produced many 'new' things; we have been enhancing and refining old ones.

The fruits of that effort are now starting to show up on our order forms. Even more will appear over the next couple of issues. The following is a summary of the current products schedule (as well as the minor releases since last issue):

(Jun 91)

Electronic postings to P.L.S.: Baselined gismu list (old version)
Draft Proposed gismu Place Structure Revisions
Review of Loglan 1 - Draft Long Version

(Aug 91) 


Updated rafsi list and lujvo-making guide
(Sep 91)


Synopsis of Lojban Orthography, Phonology, and Morphology (updated)
Attitudinal Paper (updated)
What is Lojban - la lojban. mo Brochure (revised)
What is Lojban - la lojban. mo Brochure (Esperanto version)


Revised Random Sentence Generator
Revised lujvo-Making Program

Electronic postings to P.L.S.:

What is Lojban - la lojban. mo Brochure (revised)
What is Lojban - la lojban. mo Brochure (Esperanto version)
Overview of Lojban (1991 update)
lujvo-making guide
Updated rafsi list
Re-baselined formal grammar
E-BNF for re-baselined grammar
Reply to Arnold Zwicky's review of Loglan 1 (orig. review 1969)
Revised cmavo list
Back issues of JL #1-13
Back issues of LK #8-13
Summaries of sci.lang discussions of Lojban
The Lord's Prayer in Lojban (Revised 1991)
Negation paper
Lojban Mini-Lesson (Athelstan)
(Oct 91)


Re-baselined formal grammar
E-BNF for re-baselined grammar
Lojban Mini-Lesson (Athelstan)
Revised cmavo list
Rebaselined gismu list (updated)


LogFlash 1 - gismu (Revision 7)
LogFlash 3 - cmavo (Revision 1)

Electronic postings to P.L.S.:

Lojban Tense Paper (Cowan)
Lojban MEX Paper (Cowan)
Attitudinal Paper (updated)
Rebaselined gismu list (updated)
Synopsis of Lojban Orthography, Phonology, and Morphology (updated)
Lojban and Machine Translation
Lojban and Esperanto - 16 Rules Comparison and Commentary
Lojban, Sapir-Whorf and Semiotics
(Nov 91)




Lojban Parser (PC and some UNIX versions)

Electronic postings to P.L.S.:

New Textbook Lesson 1 Draft
le'avla-making algorithm and examples (Cowan)
(Dec 91) 

Electronic postings to P.L.S.:

selma'o paper (Cowan)
Selected list of Lojbanized names
Revised Draft Lessons 1-6
A comparison of Lojban and 1989 Institute Loglan (Cowan)
Glossary of Lojban/linguistic terminology
(Jan 92) 


Lojban Learning Materials (Book)
Lojban Reference Materials (Book)
Unscheduled But Planned


Lojban Textbook
Lojban Dictionary
Lojban Pocket Reference
Lojban Reader (Book)
Lojban Phrase Book

Printed and Electronic:

Lojban gismu Etymologies


Logflash 2 - rafsi (Revision 7)
Hypercard LogFlash/Mac - (Revised and New versions)
Lojban Adventure Game

Now that we've shown the overall plan, we can explain.

As with all of our schedules, this one should be taken as a plan, not a promise. We are a volunteer organization and the schedule depends on the time availability of specific people. We also are short of money, and the scheduled publications depend heavily on significant numbers of you paying up your balances and putting in additional money to cover these new products.

The true goals are the items listed for next January - two books that will contain all of the teaching and reference materials we have put out, updated to the current language.

In the process of creating those books, all of our current products will be updated to reflect changes in the language or the way we teach it. As each is updated, there will be a heavy emphasis on making it available on the Planned Languages Server. This helps fulfill our obligation and commitment to place the language definition materials in the public domain, enables more people to see detailed design information about Lojban, and of course gives us some last minute feedback on these materials before binding them.

In the process of making these materials available, we will be reviewing them for current accuracy, and will make minor revisions and updates. Some of the printed products will thus not be generally distributed - we won't waste your money (and Bob's time) sending you minor corrections to a publication you may not be using. We will, however, send the latest version on new orders, and inform you in this column about other revisions you may want to know about.

As noted in the discussion of electronic policy above, we will not be rewrite or specially format materials for electronic distribution. Tables and some example texts will suffer the worst; page numbering will be incorrect, and graphics (like Nora's cartoons) will not be presented at all. Some of these materials will thus be of marginal use; consensus is that different people judge usefulness by different standards.

Software updates to all of our software nears completion. In the case of the lujvo-making program and random sentence generator, this is merely an update to accept new data files based on the latest language definition.

As described in JL14, LogFlash, our vocabulary teaching software, is undergoing a major overhaul. The new versions retain the teaching algorithm that has proven so effective, but adds colored screens, user flexibility, and a new learning mode designed to help Lojbanists quickly become familiar with the range of the gismu and cmavo without the time-consuming effort needed to master the lists.

Since the major guideline for this schedule is the earliest practical publication of two books, let us look more closely at what they are and why we are putting them out.

First, these two books may be considered the prototype Lojban textbook and dictionary. The word "prototype" is used because Bob has long had an idea of what a Lojban textbook and dictionary SHOULD be, and these short term products will not be anything like the goal versions.

However, people in the community are in need of books containing materials for studying Lojban, and reference materials needed to use Lojban. Even serious Lojbanists who work with the language a lot are becoming overwhelmed by the volume of materials and updates that la lojbangirz. has issued. Time is being wasted hunting through accumulated ju'i lobypli issues and enclosures, and other materials you have obtained from us, looking for relevant material that has become a bit outdated.

The language design is now firm enough that we can create up-to-date versions of all important materials. By collecting these materials in bound volumes, we give people actively working with the language the tools you need to do so - all in one place.

Bob's work on the textbook revision has dragged on far too long, and the reasons are not going away. Shifting away from long-term targets to short-term goals, he has already picked up in productivity.

The materials being revised and issued electronically (and occasionally in printed form) over the next 6 months will become the contents of the new books. The books will then be assembled out of the revised pieces and published, hopefully, around the beginning of next year.

Under current plans, the learning materials book will contain the 1st lesson of the revised textbook, Lojban mini-lessons by Athelstan and John Hodges, the 6 draft textbook lessons, the negation paper, the attitudinal paper, the old grammar summary, and selected short writings (mostly revised from JL articles) that teach the language. This will be published as a bound book, probably Velo-bound. Total page count will exceed 400 pages. Price will be around $25-$30, depending on the number of advance orders.

The reference manual will contain revised versions of:

  • la lojban. mo brochure;
  • Overview of Lojban;
  • Machine grammar and E-BNF;
  • Synopsis of phonology, morphology, and orthography;
  • gismu list updated with new place structures, and Roget's Thesaurus codes, and multiple English synonyms where applicable (instead of the English keyword index used now);
  • rafsi lists and lujvo-making guide;
  • cmavo list with clearer definitions than the current one, possibly with sample sentences for each;
  • a glossary of linguistic and Lojban jargon terms;
  • a selected list of le'avla borrowings and an algorithm to make more;
  • a selected list of Lojbanized names;
  • a set of cultural/national words for all countries in the United Nations, and selected other places;
  • a selma'o catalog describing the grammar of each word type, with many examples;
  • as many sample lujvo as we have time to verify and space to include.

This book will also run about 300-400 pages and be bound. It will also probably cost around $25, depending on orders.

Since we have had an excellent record of recruiting Institute Loglanists who later find out about Lojban, la lojbangirz. is planning a 'guide to Lojban for Institute Loglanists', which may be incorporated in one of the two planned books. This will maximize people's use of the Institute's books that may have been purchased, since much of the material JCB has written applies to Lojban equally as well as the Institute version of the language.

Once the books are out, Bob will then concentrate on producing refined versions while you concentrate on learning and using Lojban. Your efforts will then provide the hundreds of examples needed for the properly completed books.

The only immediately available new product is an updated rafsi list, incorporating the changes listed later in this issue. Also, since people receiving the rafsi in the past have often had no idea how to use it, the section on lujvo-making from the Synopsis has been extracted and heavily revised, and will now be distributed with the rafsi list.

International News

Esperanto brochure - Considerable effort by Paul Francis O'Sullivan, followed up by Mark Shoulson, Nick Nicholas, and David Twery, have led to a complete and up-to-date translation of the la lojban. mo brochure into Esperanto. In addition, Mark is formatting it for a typeset-quality master, and we should have printed copies within a few weeks. The brochure will also be posted electronically on the Planned Languages Server, and possibly on Compuserve.

Large numbers of our readers are Esperantists interested in Lojban. We encourage you to distribute copies of the Esperanto version to other Esperantists. This not only will spread knowledge of Lojban around the world, but it will enhance our position as an artificial language working with the Esperanto community, and not in competition with it. Indeed, we now see Esperanto as one of our primary languages for spreading information about Lojban to other countries.

We don't yet have other materials about Lojban in Esperanto, but we expect that this will change. As more and more Esperantists who also speak English join in with those who translated the brochure, our ability to produce Esperanto translations of our other materials improves.

(We remind our readers that we also have a French translation of the brochure, although it has not been updated yet to reflect new policies and new materials, and is missing the newly added section on Lojban and linguistics research.)

(We are constantly seeking volunteers to translate any of our materials into other languages. Please contact us if interested. Such volunteer work is the type which we qualify for credits in receiving materials when you cannot pay for them.)

Australian Lojban Society - la lojbangirz. has effectively gained an affiliate in Australia. Major, in Perth, and Nick Nicholas, in Melbourne, are attempting to establish and keep contact with all Lojbanists in Australia and New Zealand. In addition, because the cost of mailing overseas is so high, Major is serving as a focal point for la lojbangirz. mailings, and he then redistributes copies to all his correspondents. Nick is becoming one of our most skilled Lojbanists, and can answer most questions about the language.

This benefits la lojbangirz., because we lose money on most overseas mailings even with the 20% surcharge we require. It benefits those who are part of the new group, because it costs less for all of you: Major can produce copies for you and get them to you via local post much cheaper than we can. Major does ask for reimbursing of his expenses, or the group will not be able to grow.

Major and Nick both keep in communication with the rest of la lojbangirz. via electronic mail.

Major's address is:

Box T1680 GPO Perth WA 6001

Nick's address is:

Nick Nicholas
17 Renowden St.
Cheltenham Victoria 3192

It doesn't take a lot of people to make this type of regional group work (there are 7 on our lists in this region of the world, and only 5 are thus far participating). We require that one person is willing to take responsibility to get materials to the others, and also take the financial risk of supporting those who don't pay for materials right away.

We welcome others who would like to try to similarly organize the people of your country and possibly neighboring countries. Already, we have a potential volunteer in Sweden, Christopher Arnold, who hopes to organize and recruit other Lojbanists to join the half dozen of you now in the Scandinavian countries.

Publicity - Bob and Nora's Trip

Bob and Nora travelled to the San Francisco area in late April for a vacation and Lojban promotion trip. We had an opportunity to meet with several Lojbanists, though with a couple we were dogged by an inability to get schedules together. We regret those of you we missed. (One way not to be missed is to make sure we have your telephone number - sometimes plans get made in a big hurry. Specify if the number is unlisted or otherwise not for release to other Lojbanists.)

Bob gave one lecture, to a group of students at St. Mary's College including Dr. Robert Gorsch's class in semiotics that has studied a small Lojban unit (see JL12 for more on this class), and gave two talks combined with mini-lessons to groups of Lojbanists. Dave Cortesi organized and publicized the primary meeting, held in Palo Alto. Donald Simpson organized the other at his house in Albany as a smaller event for those who couldn't get to the other meeting.

A total of around 20 people showed up between the two meetings. Special pleasure was Scott (Layson) Burson's attendance at the Palo Alto meeting. Scott, now inactive in the Loglan community, did the final work to complete the first Loglan parser and the first version of the machine grammar accepted by the Institute.

Jay Stowell arranged to videotape the Palo-Alto mini-lesson. We have considered distributing copies of this, but the cost of videotape duplication is high enough that we want to use a better original (unedited videotapes have a 'home movie' quality about them, and we saw no easy way to turn Jay's tape into a salable product). We are going to try to specially film a mini-lesson, hopefully later this year. Brad Lowry, who does professional video filming, has volunteered to film and edit this mini-lesson.

Some new people attended the Palo Alto meeting, and at least one person signed up as a level 3 Lojban student. All-in-all, the meeting was a success, though we always wish we could have done better at getting information to prospective attendees and helping more people to attend.

Finally, Bob and Nora got together for a brunch with Scott Burson and Doug Landauer, another pioneer in Loglan machine grammar work.

News From the Institute

Legal - Last issue, we thought the legal battles between la lojbangirz. and the Loglan Institute had finally ended. Alas, the day after JL14 went to press, we heard from our lawyer that Jim Brown had informed him of his intent to appeal to the US Court of Appeals.

At this writing, the appeal process is well underway. The Institute has filed its appeals brief and we have responded; we see little chance of the appeal succeeding. We won't go into the issues again at length - anyone interested can contact us for details.

We are hoping for a ruling around the end of the year which firmly closes the door on the legal battle. Meanwhile, we are proceeding in accordance with the decision, using "Loglan" to refer to the generic language of which "Lojban" and what we have been calling "Institute Loglan" are versions.

JCB claims in the new Lognet that our initial challenge was "an harassment designed to strain our resources" and that our suit "is a timewaster once based on the premise that The Institute couldn't or wouldn't be able to respond to their attack."

Our response: No! We hoped that the dispute could be settled by negotiation, but fought at this juncture because we knew our legal position, that 'Loglan' cannot be a 'trademark', was sound, and was important to our making the Loglan project a success. Contrary to what JCB claims, our legal fight started when Jim Brown sent a letter threatening us with legal action (a copy of this letter was included in all issues of JL5); it is unfortunate for all of us that his position on threats was not then what it is today:

JCB reiterates his claims that Bob and Nora split off from the Institute "presumably to accommodate their own entrepreneurial interests", using "the threat of schism to try to make us [change Institute business policies]". He then insists that the two efforts "went their separate ways" because "threats seldom work on human beings".

Our answer: No! Our purpose in starting Lojban was to put Loglan in the hands of the people who had been promised it, had paid for it, and had long assumed that they had the free right to use it as they choose, as "the human use of any language is, of course, in the public domain" (Jim Brown, again, but this time from a 1977 proposal).

JCB also claims that "there were no substantial intellectual differences between me and the proto-Lojbanists".

Response: We consider our commitment to intellectual freedom a substantial difference.

To stop these misstatements of our purpose and goals, and to ensure that there is no further doubt or misconception of our true purpose, we have modified our statements about Loglan and Lojban that appear on page 1 on each issue of ju'i lobypli to more clearly indicate that the free use of Loglan as a human language is the sole reason for the split and our existence.

Actually, of the statements in the new issue of Lognet, those of editor Jim Smith are most ofensive, and are indeed libelous. Mr. Smith accuses la lojbangirz. with the false statements "LLG has been around for just a few years, but they are claiming all of JCB's work since 1955 as their own ... I will not give free advertising to a competitor whose primary technique is plagiarism and whose product lacks any hint of originality." Mr. Smith has received a considerable set of our publications and knows that we claim no work of JCB's as our own. We have formally requested that Mr. Smith issue a retraction and public apology for these uncalled for and unacceptable remarks.

Name of the language - We have been told that some supporters of Jim Brown are offended by our use of "Institute Loglan" for their version of the language. We have asked for an alternative other than the generic name that would satisfy them, but have received no response. We cannot agree to use the generic name "Loglan" only for their version - we need and use the term for our discussion of the evolutionary history of the language that includes Lojban, and in reaching out to people who have heard of Loglan through Robert Heinlein's books or the 1960 Scientific American article, and might not realize that Lojban implements the language described.

The Institute Moves - Shortly before publication, the Institute moved back to San Diego (actually Jim Brown moved - the Institute proper will continue to be incorporated in Florida and hold annual meetings there).

"Careers" Lives - Jim Brown reports that the board game Careers, which he invented, is again on the market. This additional income is bolstering his capability to finance the Institute. He indicates that some money will be earmarked for new Scientific American advertising, which now costs $3500 for one advertisement.

CACM Paper - Since 1982, JCB and others have been writing and revising a paper on the Loglan machine grammar for intended publication in the Communications of the ACM, a noted computer journal, albeit not a refereed publication. This paper was finally submitted, and was rejected.

la lojbangirz. is considering its own paper on Loglan/Lojban's formal grammar, but not until next year.

Declensions - Institute Loglan added an 'animal' declension proposed over a year ago by Bob McIvor. The change adds a large number of gismu to that version of Loglan which differ from each other only in the final vowel. A broader proposal for a broader set of declensions, applying to all Institute Loglan gismu, was never formalized, and is no longer being considered.

Publications - There has been no further word of the reincarnation of The Loglanist that was promised for late last year. Lognet has continued coming out quarterly to 'Members' of the Institute. The May issue, indicated that the 'membership' numbered 110. The August issue reported another 7 members were added.

Bill Gober, in the new issue of Lognet, criticizes the Institute use of the "lexemic pause". This is not a new criticism, and was one of the key language changes we made in designing Lojban. What is new is that this lengthy criticism was printed without rebuttal from JCB, who was less open-minded on the subject four years ago.

Steve Rice is the chief word-maker for the Institute now. He has made several dozen new words, both gismu and lujvo, and these have appeared in the last couple of issues. Some of these are good, but most have the traditional failings of tanru (metaphors) made up by the Institute, incorporating English idiom.


"criminal-quality-take", in Lojban: "zekri ckaji lebna" becomes the lujvo for "x1 decriminalizes x2".

"beyond-fast-record-use", "bancu sutra vreji pilno" is given to a lujvo meaning "x1 fast forwards past x2 on record/tape x3 on machine x4".

(The word "vreji", and its Institute equivalent, refer to any record of an event, not merely sound recordings.)

New Loglans?

Nora noticed in passing that Barbara Hambly's recent 'Star Trek' novel, Ghost Walker, contains several references to a computer language called 'Loglan'. She didn't note the page numbers, so you will have to read the book for yourself. Hambly's book thus joins two books by Robert Heinlein, one by Robert Rimmer, and one by JCB that mention a fictional Loglan language.

A new book, Loglan-88 is out, describing Loglan, but the language described has nothing to do with ours or the Institute's versions of the language. Professor Salwicki and others at the Polish Institute of Informatics has been developing a computer language for about 20 years that it calls 'Loglan'. The newly published book reports that the language is an ALGOL derivative and has object-oriented programming features. The book is published in hardbound by Springer-Verlag; look under 'Loglan' in Books in Print for more details.


le lojbo se ciska

Our Lojban text will start this issue with commented sentences, and then a commented letter. The sentences are offered by Rory Hinnen on behalf of a group of Lojbanists studying together in the Los Angeles area. (If you live in this area, and wish to join this group, please contact Rory at 818-796-8096 (home) or 818-354-8128 (work), or Gerald Koenig at 213-641-2905 (home) or 213-829-4156 (work). They are meeting irregularly, rotating the meeting place, because of the travel times, and offer to be very flexible in order to get new people to join in.

In the following, Rory's submitted sentences are followed by an indented actual translation if it differs from his intended translation. Corrected Lojban and any comments from Bob LeChevalier are also indented.

le cmalu mlatu crane le bardu gerku
the small-cat in-front-of thing, the large-dog, ... [an incomplete sentence with no selbri]

The small cat is in front of the large dog
le cmalu mlatu cu crane le barda gerku

ti poi gerku cu prami le mlatu
This which dogs, loves the cat. [This dog loves the cat.]

The dog loves the cat.
le gerku cu prami le mlatu
Bob: "ti" should be used only when pointing. The other and more common way to say "this dog" is "le vi gerku"

.i ma prami le mlatu
What loves the cat?
.i ma se prami le mlatu
What does the cat love?

Bob: Excellent!

mi cadzu vi le srasu
I walk at the grass.

I walk on the grass.
mi cadzu le srasu
Bob: The correction uses the Lesson 4a revised place structure of "cadzu", which specifies "on surface ..." Your version should be understandable, though.

mi cadzu vi le srasu le ckule le ru'azda le klaji be va le zdani
I walk on the grass to school from home via the street near the building.

Bob: Using the baseline gismu list place structure of "cadzu", this looks fine. With the Lesson 4A change, just replace "cadzu" with "dzukla" ("walkingly-go")

do cadzu mo
You are a walking _____.
You are walkingly _____ing.

Where are you walking to?
do cadzu ma
Bob: "cadzu mo" is a tanru. See above regarding "dzukla".

le ckule se cadzu mi
The school-walking_destination, I, ...

To school I'm walking.
le ckule cu se cadzu mi
  • do cadzu fi mo [Ungrammatical - no translation possible.]
Where are you walking from?
do cadzu fi ma

le ru'azda te cadzu mi
The assuming-nest type of walked-from thing, me, ...

I'm walking from home. [Actually: "From home, walk I".
le re'azda cu te cadzu fi mi
I'm not sure what the lujvo is intended to mean, unless it is a typo for "re'azda" ("human-nest"), which I assumed in the correction. "te" switches the x1 and x3 places, leaving x2 unchanged.

do gasnu ma?
What are you doing? [You do what?]

mi gasnu lenu cilre la Lojban. .i do gasnu ma
I'm doing the event of learning Lojban. What are you doing?

Bob: .i'e xamgu

mi na cilre la Lojban. .i mi zutse le stizu
I'm not learning Lojban. I'm sitting in the chair.

Rory: (Jim [Carter] had a lot of problems with the last little exchange. He said I was taking for granted the replication of the actor "mi". [in the "lenu" clause])
Bob: He's right in that the x1 place of "cilre" was elliptically unspecified. In natural usage, "mi" would be the obvious value, but formally the translation is: "I'm doing the event of ... learning Lojban. What are you doing?". The most frequent assumption in the pattern [x1 broda <lenu ... brode>] is to assume that the x1 is replicated in the ellipsis. But if the listener is unsure, it/she/he can always ask: ".i ma cilre la Lojban".

ko catlu .i le crino nanmu
Look! The green man ...

Look! Green man!
ko catlu .i crino nanmu
Rory: (Jim made me put the "le" in there, and then convinced me he was right.)
Bob: He's wrong. The "le" made it an incomplete sentence, a bare sumti, leaving the listener hanging for the rest of the sentence (.oi). There is no implicit or explicit selbri.

ko sisti .i mi na catlu le crino nanmu
Cease! I don't look at the green man.

Rory: We argued for a while "le" or "lo" in the above sentence, but we eventually came to the conclusion that it didn't matter because of the negation. But without negation, I should go with "lo").
Bob: Either could be correct with or without a negation. "lo" claims that it really was a green man, rather than possibly a picture of one. Usually English speakers use "lo" for indefinites. "le" is definite - you DO have a specific one in mind, but it might only be being described as a man for convenience of conversation. In this context, "le" would normally be taken as referring to the green man of the previous observative, since that is the logical 'thing described' that the speaker could expect the listener to assume.

Note that I can't be sure of the intended meaning of this sentence for another reason, given the context. What is supposed to be "ceased", the discussion, talking about the green man, or something else? The second sentence also loses me, although it is quite grammatical. Is it a mistake for "I don't see ...", or is it missing the attitudinal ".aunai" (I don't want!).

Is Lojban Scientifically Interesting?

David Pautler (, challenged the scientific relevance of artificial languages. The following is lojbab's (Bob LeChevalier's) response.

David wrote:

I did not say that ALs have no good use. I said there's nothing particularly interesting about them (from a scientific viewpoint ...) because they're artificial. Some interesting sociological behaviors may appear if these languages come into widespread use, perhaps even some interesting linguistic phenomena if enough spontaneous innovation occurs (although AL enthusiasts seem to want to prevent this). But there certainly doesn't appear to be anything interesting about them now, because AL enthusiasts in this group prefer to argue over which of several (truly arbitrary) conventions are "better".

I am willing to admit I am wrong about all this if some of you AL enthusiasts can give the rest of us some good reasons why ALs are scientifically interesting.

and later added in clarification:

I still believe that knowing the design principles of any system beforehand makes a scientific study of those principles silly...

lojbab's response:

The added comment definitely clarifies the problem, especially since it removes the loaded topic 'AL' from the question. I will answer primarily from the standpoint of Lojban, though some of my points are applicable to Esperanto and other ALs.

David is taking a very limited view of science, to presume that the design principles of a system are the only interesting thing about that system to a scientist. I can see a few other possibilities:

a) in a highly complex system (which even an AL is), the interaction of the design features displays properties that are 'more than the sum of the parts'. Thus it is possible that all language is merely a system comprised of a bunch of neurons releasing neurotransmitters. Biochemistry may eventually devise a complete explanation for the neuronic process (including genetic components), and we may then say we "know the design principles of the system". But we won't know the system, because the complexity of those neuronic interactions is so great that knowing the pieces does not give a total understanding of the system. This indeed may be what defines the concept of 'system'.

Knowing all the prescribed rules of an AL does not tell you how that AL is used communicatively, and I don't mean in the sociological sense. A sample question: Given multiple ways of communicating the same idea, do users of the language choose particular forms over others, and why? This is similar to a question that presumably is commonly asked about natural languages.

I can come up with many other sample questions of science that can be applied to the system of an AL that are not compromised by 'knowing the design', but let's move on. (Feel free to ask, though).

b) A simpler system, which can be more fully understood, may serve as an excellent model for a less understood, more complex system. Thus the simpler system could be examined for parallels to hypotheses about the more complex system. Examination of the simpler system may suggest properties to look for in the more complex system, or it may even suggest hypotheses that can be tested in the more complex system.

A 'hot' topic in parts of the Lojban community is whether the language has or should have, an underlying semantic theory. If one exists, it is certainly not as developed or prescribed as the syntactic design and theory. Filtering out syntactic ambiguity allows a more direct examination of semantic ambiguities, including the properties of modification and restriction, resolution of anaphora, and identification of ellipses. Any semantic theories proposed for natural language can be looked at in terms of semantic usage in the simpler Lojban system.

As a 'model of a natural language', it seems likely that any theory NOT true of Lojban is at least suspicious with regard to natural language, thus allowing partial verification of theories (not complete - I would never say that ALs should be studied to the exclusion of natural languages, but rather in relation to them). If the theory is true of natural language, then you have found evidence that Lojban is in some way unnatural. Then you try to explain which of the (fully-known) design features of Lojban causes this unnaturalness. By counterexample that design feature is not a feature of natural languages.

You've learned something about natural language by studying an artificial one.

As another example, pragmatic effects can be more easily recognized in the simpler Lojban system, and can be clearly identified as pragmatic. Thus, insights about pragmatic effects may be more visible in Lojban, insights that would then be tested in the natural languages.

c) Another aspect of a simple system is that it is easier to perform experiments on than a more complex system. There are fewer variables, and if the system is 'designed', some things that are variables in complex systems are in effect tunable constants in the simple, carefully-designed system. You can then rerun the experiment with minor changes to explore the effects of those variables.

Experimental linguistics of this sort is a virtually unthinkable possibility with the natural languages. The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is not really testable in the natural languages since we can't control any variables, and we don't know what things about a language might be determining to a culture. Sapir-Whorf may be more testable when you can reduce or even control the variables with a language like Lojban. Let me be specific:

Lojban is a predicate language, with no nouns, verbs, or adjectives. What are the linguistic (communicative) properties of such a system? The answer has been partially explored through symbolic logic. But do people thinking linguistically in any way mimic the processes of formal logic? What effects would a formal-logic-based language have on those linguistic thinking processes. Is the resulting language susceptible to the same analysis as natural language in terms of the various formal systems that have been developed by linguists over the past few decades?

Given that natural language processing in computers usually involves converting natural language to some kind of predicate form in which deductions can be made, the validity of predicate logic as a tool for such analysis is already accepted. But how to you identify the logical deductions that a human being makes from a natural language statement. If thinking in Lojban, the human is already thinking using predicate logic structures; thus the deduction process is much more plain.

Let me pose an experiment. Take even a few children during the critical period of language learning and teach them this artificial language (at the same time as they learn their traditional language). Do they become truly bilingual? If they are as fluently communicative in the AL as they are in their natural language, then the AL is a suitable linguistic model. Then, ANY theory of language that cannot extend to cover the features of the AL is inadequate. You could perform a series of experiments with ever more exotic artificial languages (obviously you need new speakers for each test). Sooner or later, either the model breaks and the AL is no longer acquirable by children and/or communicative as a language, or the theory breaks, and you've learned where to look for improvements in the theory.

With only natural languages, you have to devise theories based on the available data, and then go look in other natural languages for confirmation or refutation. But this isn't the optimal kind of experimentation because you really cannot plan the experiment or control the variables (the other language may have the same apparent feature through a totally different process that you won't recognize because you aren't looking for it.)

A language like Lojban is such an ideal test bed for experimentation, because it is flexible; you can evolve slightly different versions of the language very easily by simply changing some features. Forbid a given construct in the prescription, and do not teach it to a child. Does the child develop that construct anyway by analogy to other languages known, or does the child successfully adapt to whatever other processes you've designed into the language instead of the construct. It seems that all manner of linguistic universals could be investigated in this way.

My remaining points are not necessarily specific to the 'system' nature of a language, but deal with David's original question on whether artificial languages are scientifically interesting. In general they rely on the assumption argued above that a model of a system is valuable for learning about the system.

d) I've mentioned only child learning as revealing the essential nature of language, because this is what many linguists concentrate on. But there is also the important applied linguistics problems of teaching foreign languages. It is much easier to test a method or theory of vocabulary teaching/learning with an artificial language than with a natural language; I don't think the statement that ALs are more quickly (I didn't say easily - which is a subjective question) learned then NLs is particularly controversial; there have been experiments verifying this in the literature for decades.

The pragmatic problems of language learning are alone justification into researching using ALs. But ALs may provide the solution as well as the means of testing.

It seems to be well accepted that in learning a second language and then learning a third, you learn the third MUCH more quickly than the second. The example I've heard is this:

Assume that it takes 4 years to learn French and then 2 to learn German thereafter; and vice versa. Let us assume that you can learn an artificial language in 1 year to a comparable degree as you can learn French.

Then you can learn the AL and German in 3 years instead of 4, and all three languages in 5 years instead of 6. This gains a year EVEN IF YOU NEVER AGAIN USE THE AL.

I don't claim this example as a fact - it should be easily testable in a controlled experiment, and this seems much more scientific than arguments about what ALs and NLs are 'easier to learn'.

e) Lojban has one feature designed to explore a less-understood aspect of language - the expression of emotion. Lojban allows expressive communication of emotions in words without suprasegmentals (this presumably unlike all natural languages, but not entirely, as many languages have a limited set of indicators of attitude in the form of interjections and some discursive function words e.g. 'but'). Can human beings manipulate the symbols of emotion in the same way they manipulate the comparable symbols of non-emotional expression? There is a whole range of experimental questions raised by this design element, probably the most 'unnatural' element of Lojban's design.

f) The latter points to the one other aspect of a well-designed artificial language of scientific interest and value to linguistics - as a tool of analysis.

I present an example, based on the 1991 Scientific American Library book The Science of Words, by George A. Miller of Princeton.

In the book, a picture caption notes that Nootka (a Pacific Northwest language) has the single word: "inikwihl'minik'isit" meaning the equivalent of the entire English sentence "Several small fires were burning in the house." I won't presume to know any more about Nootka than I've just told you, but in Lojban, I can express that sentence paralleling the English:

so'i cmalu fagri puca jelca vine'i le prezda
Many small fires were-then burning at-within the person-nest.

and analytically as a single word (though not with the same structure as Nootka)

prezdane'ikemcmafagyso'ikemprun unje'a person-house-inside-type_of-small-fire-many_some-type_of-previous-burning

(Yes, I can say it!) Actually, according to Miller, the Nootka breaks down as:

-inikw -ihl -'minih -'is -it
fire/burn in-the-house plural diminutive past-tense

This order is also expressible in Lojban:

fire-type_of-person-nest- inside-many_some-small- past_thing/event

I don't know which of the two orders more accurately conveys how the Nootka speaker thinks of the concept expressed by the word, or whether others would be better still.

The Lojban in either case more accurately tracks the semantics of the Nootka, demonstrating the inadequacy of the English - the actual word as broken out did not require two separate particles for fire and burn as did the English equivalent, and the English translation used the more complicated tense "were-burning" instead of the simpler, and presumably more accurate "burnt". (I'll plainly admit that I'm relying on the given explanations by Miller, which are in English, but it seems clear that in translating the word-sentence into English there is a considerable ambiguity introduced.

I won't claim that Lojban can express everything in the natural form of any language. Lojban has a less-marked syntactic word-order, and expressing other orders requires marking particles that would not be found in the source language. Thus there is a tradeoff between semantic representation and syntactic representation.

Still, I think a convincing case can be made that, as a predicate language, Lojban is a much more effective tool at studying both the forms and semantics of other languages than is English, which has its own cultural, syntactic and semantic complexities to gum up the analysis. This is especially true for analysis by non-native English speaking linguists - if there is any place where there is a justification for an international, minimal-culture language, it is when linguists from different native language backgrounds try to perform and communicate their linguistic analyses.

g) There is also the 'other' tool aspect of an artificial language, in computer and artificial intelligence (AI) applications. I mentioned the similarity in c) above between Lojban and the internal representations used in natural language processing by computers.

A predicate language like Lojban should be especially amenable to AI processes - the programmers are familiar with predicate language expression and manipulation, and often store the data in predicate form internally for manipulation. With Lojban, such storage becomes a fairly trivial process.

If Lojban is proven by experiment (per above) to have the systemic properties of a natural language, and is easier to implement in computational linguistics research problems, it serves as a tool to bridge those two disciplines, leading to more rapid and effective natural language processing. But only if it is tried. Even if it proves less than ideal, I have little doubt that study of natural language using computational linguistic techniques and a Lojban-based tool will be productive in ways not possible with any natural language.

(In effect, this argument is the same as f), except that instead of two different-naturallanguage speakers trying to communicate about language, you have a human and a computer, who obviously speak different native languages, trying to communicate.)

h) A highly prescribed language is an ideal test bed for examining the processes of language evolution. In the case of an AL like Lojban, as the speaking community in each culture grows, you can observe how the language creolizes in contact with those other languages. Because of the speed of learning, artificial languages should tend to show effects more quickly (by being mastered to a communicative level more quickly). Anecdotal evidence about Esperanto supports this idea.

Does this mean that the conclusions are absolutely valid for natural language evolutionary processes? I don't claim so. But again, we are performing experiments with a model, somewhat idealized, of a natural language. Unlike a paper-theoretic model (as all linguistic theories must inherently be), this is a model that can be experimented with using live speakers. Provided that we understand the model as it evolves, that understanding much more approximates an understanding of natural language as time goes on.

i) The large majority of languages have some degree, more or less, of prescription. In addition, some 'natural' languages, like modern Hebrew, formal Swahili, and some standardized dialects (e.g. Mandarin, which has been noted as being related to but not identical to the Beijing dialect), are not all that far from being true artificial languages, but are much more interesting to linguists. A predominantly prescribed language would seem an especially effective tool for studying the effects of prescription on language development and use (again, I refer to linguistic and not sociological effects).

Such studies may aid in first-language education as well as second-language acquisition. They may also aid in analyzing the development of different registers (usages based on social class and situation) of a single language: such registers can be interpreted as reactions to

prescriptive environments that constrain language use.

None of these scientific applications of Lojban inherently requires a large fluent body of speakers, or any solely-native speaker of that tongue. If any of the less scientific applications of Lojban serve to justify it developing such a speaker base, the nature of Lojban's usefulness as a model will change. New applications, as yet not really predictable, will turn up, aided by our no doubt increased understanding of language. But the model, even if well understood, no longer is as simple, and new Loglans and other experimental linguistic tools, all artificial languages, will be developed to take the next step.

I have hopefully given a bit of food for thought, yet with only a few hours preparation. I also only thought about this as somewhat an outsider to the profession of linguistics. With a different point-of-view others should be able to find many more questions of scientific interest using an AL like Lojban either as a model, an experimental test bed, or a tool. And if even a small fraction of these ideas are useful, then ALs have a valid scientific role in linguistics.

Summary of gismu/rafsi Official Changes

New gismu as approved in June 1990 (see JL13):

  1. Add "daytime", changing the keyword for "day" to "full day" - "dinri";
  2. Add "virtue", as distinct from "good", to parallel with "evil" - "vrude";
  3. Add "citrus" - "nimre";
  4. Add "cabbage", to include broccoli, cauliflower, and perhaps lettuce - "kobli";
  5. Add "hemp", to include natural rope, burlap, marijuana, and hashish - "marna";
  6. Add "protein" - "lanbi";
  7. Add "buckwheat" - "xruba";
  8. Add "cassava", to include taro and yam, and other starchy roots (not tubers) - "samcu";
  9. Add "sorghum" - "sorgu";
  10. Add "magenta" and "cyan" as the missing two subtractive primary colors - "nukni", "cicna";
  11. Add "North America", the continent, as distinct from "merko", referring to the U.S. - "bemro";
  12. Add "South America", the continent, as distinct from "xispo", referring to Latin America - "ketco";
  13. Add "Antarctica" - "dzipo";
  14. Add "glimmering" to cover the concepts of morning and evening twilight - "murse";
  15. Add "decrease" in parallel to a revised meaning of "increase" - "jdika";
  16. Add a different gismu to be the inverse of "panzi" - "rorci";
  17. Add "elder/ancestor" for family members of generations preceding the parents (including non-direct line, the relationship is more social/ethnic than biological). Gender would be added via tanru, as would explicit biological lineage. The conversion would give "descendant" as well as "grandkids" in the broadest sense - "dzena";
  18. Add "aunt/uncle/godparent" for non-lineal (socio-ethnic) family members of the parental generation. The conversion would give "niece/nephew" - "famti";
  19. Add "cousin" for non-immediate (socio-ethnic) family members of the same generation. The generalized family relationship is still expressed by "lanzu", which can be modified via tanru - "tamne".

The following shows the new gismu actually made, which may be added to your gismu lists.

gismu   rafsi           keyword  clue /   synonyms                         
bemro   bem             North    American                         berti    merko                            
  x1 reflects North American     culture/nationality/geography  in aspect x2                   
cicna                   cyan     /       turquoise                        
  x1 is cyan/turquoise/green-blue
dinri                   daytime  /       daylight                         
  x1 is a daytime of day x2 at   location x3                    
dzena       dze         elder    /       grandparent, ancestor            
  x1 is an elder/ancestor of x2  by bond/tie/ degree x3         
dzipo   zip dzi zi'o             Antarctican                      dzucipni (penguin?)                       
  x1 reflects Antarctican        culture/nationality/ geography in aspect x2                   
famti                   aunt or  uncle                            /       godparent                        
  x1 is an aunt/uncle of x2 by   bond/tie x3                    
jdika                   decrease / reduce
  x1 is decreased/reduced in     property x2 by amount x3       
ketco   ket tco         South American Quechua
  x1 reflects South American culture/nationality/geography in aspect x2

kobli                   cabbage cole- / cauli-, broccoli, kale, kraut
  x1 is a quantity of cabbage/leafy vegetable of species/strain x2

lanbi                   protein albumin / amino
  x1 is a quantity of protein of type x2

marna                   hemp marijuana / jute, cannabis
  x1 is a quantity of hemp/marijuana/jute of species/strain x2

murse glimmering / twilight, dawn, penumbra
  x1 is a twilight/dawn of day x2 at location x3

nimre       mre         citrus lime / lemon, citric
  x1 is a quantity of citrus (fruit, tree, etc.) of species/strain x2

nukni   nuk             magenta fuchsin / fuchsia
  x1 is magenta/fuchsia/red-blue

rorci   ror             procreate / engender, sire, dam, beget
  x1 engenders/procreates/begets x2 with coparent x3

samcu                   cassava / taro, manioc, tapioca, yam     
  x1 is a quantity of            cassava/taro/manioc/tapioca/yam (starchy root) of              species/strain x2              
sorgu   sog             sorghum  
  x1 is a quantity of sorghum of species/strain x2              
tamne                   cousin   
  x1 is a cousin of x2 by        bond/tie x3                    
vrude   vud     vu'e    virtue   x1 is virtuous by standard x2  
xruba   xub             buckwheat rhubarb / sorrel grass
  x1 is a quantity of buckwheat/rhubarb/sorrel grass of species/strain x2

The following are rafsi changes needed for the above changes. In both cases, these are words that had been given an extra rafsi "because it was there", not because it was needed.

dotco   dot     do'o German
delete rafsi tco
merli   mel     mei  measure
delete rafsi mre

The following is a previously approved change to the gismu baseline.

ckamu-               less
deleted, replaced by:
mleca   mec     me'a less

The following are previously approved changes to the gismu keyword baseline.

mukti   muk     mu'i    motive
                        was purpose
djedi   ded dje dei     full day
                        was day
gismu   gim     gi'u    root word
                        was primitive
tanru                   phrase compound
                        was metaphor
lujvo   luv jvo         affix compound
                        was cpd predicate

Several cmavo were newly assigned rafsi, but in some cases where a rafsi might be useful, there was no rafsi even remotely similar to the cmavo available. The following lujvo-making conventions are proposed as solutions for these cmavo used in lujvo. Note that there may be lujvo with these patterns that are not convention-based cu'o preceded by number rafsi is a probability rather than modification fi'u with number rafsi is interpreted as fraction rather than modification

 ka'e        handled by kakne  
 li'i        lifrysucty-  in first position             
 mu'e        mulnynun-    in first position             
 pu'u        prucynun-    in first position             
 si'o        sidbysucty-  in first position             
 su'u        sucty-       in first position             
 za'i        zastynun-    in first position             
 zu'o        zuktynun-    in first position             

The following is then a summary of ALL changes to the rafsi list since the gismu baseline list was published. You may wish to manually update your gismu lists and rafsi lists. New lists will be published by the end of the year.

( - after a rafsi means the rafsi was deassigned for reuse.)       
 CVC CCV CVV     cmavo/gismu      
         ce'o    ce'o             
         co'e    co'e             
         fo'a-   forca (retains for, fro)            
         fo'a    fo'a             
         fo'e    fo'e             
         fo'i    fo'i             
         ke'e    ke'e             
         le'e    le'e             
         lo'e    lo'e             
         me'a    mleca            
         no'e    no'e             
         nu'o    nu'o             
         to'e    to'e             
         ve'e    ve'e             
         vu'e    vrude            
         za'o    za'o             
         ze'e    ze'e             
         ze'o    ze'o             
         zi'o    dzipo            
         zo'a    zo'a             
         zo'i    zo'i             
     dze         dzena            
     dzi         dzipo
     mre         nimre
     mre-        merli
     tco         ketco
     tco-        dotco
bem              bemro
biz              bi'o or bi'i
caz              ca'a
caz-             cadzu (retains dzu)
cel              ce
cez              ce'i
daz              da'a
dum              du'u
joz              jo'e
kep              ke'e
ket              ketco
kuz              ku'a
mec              mleca
mem              mei
mom              moi
nal              na'e
nal-             na
nar              na
nuk              nukni
pez              pe'a  (figurative lujvo - totally unpredictable place structure)
piv              pi'u
piz              pi
puz              pu'i
ror              rorci
rov              roi
sog              sorgu
soj              so'a
sop              so'e
sor              so'i  (also has "so'i" added this one is for making a series)
sor-             skori (retains sko, ko'i)
sos              so'o
sot              so'u
vud              vrude
xub              xruba
zip              dzipo

I received a question about the listing in the rafsi change summary about conventions for some abstractions. So let me explain further.

For the example, we will use "salci", which has the place structure "x1 celebrates x2 by doing/being x3".

"nu salci" is an abstraction selbri: "x1 is the event of (x1S celebrates x2S by doing x3S)".

To make this into a lujvo, we have reserved a rafsi for 'nu', and in this case the lujvo-making algorithm gives "nunsalci": "x1 is the celebration-event of x2 celebrating x3 by doing x4". All we do is renumber the places.

We also have rafsi reserved for 'ka', 'ni', and 'jei' among the abstractors. We do not have rafsi for the four Aristotelian subcategories of 'nu' events: 'states', 'activities', 'processes', and 'achievements'. Nor do we have rafsi for other members of NU, including the idea abstractor "si'o", the experience abstractor "li'i", etc.

The convention described says that for those members of NU that do not have rafsi, we will use a combination of rafsi for related gismu in specific positions (generally at the beginning of the lujvo) to indicate the abstraction. We don't assume that all lujvo in that form will be representing the abstraction since there may be more obvious non-abstraction meanings. The convention however tells you how to make a lujvo that will at least suggest the abstraction rather than force you to try to guess randomly how to do so. In general, the convention is close to the most obvious interpretation anyway.

As for nunsalci, the places of the unabstracted selbri are renumbered shifted by 1. For a couple of abstractors (ni and jei come to mind) with more than one place in the abstraction selbri, the trailing places are added to the end.

This convention is not part of any baseline, and is quite open for your comments. Indeed, we'd like to see some people try making lujvo using them and using them in example sentences.

le lojbo se ciska (continued)

Coranth D'Gryphon sent me a letter - an excellent beginning writing effort, which I will share with all of you since it brings out some neat points. I'm sure Coranth's ego will stand public correction, and all-in-all he did an outstanding effort even if I've commented it to death. I encourage beginning people to write to each other in Lojban, preferably with English translation enclosed. Send your first writing to me (Bob) at the la lojbangirz. address, and I'll match you with someone based on your skill level (and possibly your interests). A suggestion for a first letter is either a list of sentences or a self-description. There is NO BETTER WAY to learn the language than to see how others misunderstand your attempts to express in the language. And if communication actually occurs, you've achieved the purpose of language, which is more important than being correct. If you can figure out most of what Coranth was TRYING to say on the following (there are errors and even typo-nonexistent words that can make some parts virtually impossible to a novice), you are ready.

Following is Coranth's uncorrected original text and his translation. My comments follow.

coi doi lojbab.

le lojbo ckule cu xamgu
.i di'u cu pluka mi
.i re le ci tardi cu djica troci le nu la Lojban cu se djuno
.i ji'a .i'ou'anai mi pu skami ciska piso'i le ti fasnu tebe'i do
.i mi'u pu fonxa tavla

.i la lojbo gerna cu frili mi
.i le lojbo valsi na go'i

.i mi cu troci le nu la'edi'u cu se djuno
.i .au.a'o mi baze'e djuno roru

.i paupei la logflac. cu kakne le sidju di'e .inaja jei di'u
.i pe'u.e'o ko cu tavla mi le pu'u cpacu ko'a

.i ju'e ki'e co'o lojbab.

la korant.

Hi Bob

The Lojban-school is good.
This pleases me.
2 of the 3 students desire-ingly try-to-attain the-state-of Lojban being-known.

I regret/sorrow-at I have-before not computer-written much-of these events to-you.

Ditto have-before not telephone-talked.

Lojban grammar is easy for me.
The-set-of Lojban words is not.

I try-to-attain the-state-of them-previous being-known.
I hope-desire-that I will-after-some-time know them-all.

Question-opinion : Logflash is-able-to help?

The-following only-if the-previous-sentence is-true:
Request-please : you (imper) talk-to me about the-process-of getting them.

I conclude. thanks. bye.


Commentary. The unindented text and translation are Coranth's versions:

coi doi lojbab.
Hi Bob

le lojbo ckule cu xamgu
The Lojban-school is good.

Both excellent. [Coranth, by the way was attempting to tutor some students in Lojban in the Boston area, which is another group that is ripe for group study as the LA people are doing.

.i di'u cu pluka mi
This pleases me.

You translated the Lojban to English correctly, but the English is ambiguous. A more exact English translation of your sentence is:
The last sentence pleases me.
Now you have a right to be pleased about the last sentence: it was well done. But I suspect that you were trying to express that the state of affairs described by the last sentence is what pleased you, in which case you wanted to say:
.i la'edi'u [cu] pluka mi.
It is probably useful to memorize "la'edi'u" as a single word; you will use it in an English translation far more often than "di'u" alone, unless you are writing essays about language.

.i re le ci tardi cu djica troci le nu la Lojban cu se djuno
2 of the 3 students desire-ingly try-to-attain the-state-of Lojban being-known

Except "tadni" for "tardi", excellent. I explicitly check or have Nora check all of my writings before sending them out to make sure I don't make word mistakes. Until you master the vocabulary, you should do an extra check whenever possible. Of course, though, I would rather you write Lojban without checking the words, than not write Lojban at all.

.i ji'a .i'ou'anai mi pu skami ciska piso'i le ti fasnu tebe'i do
I regret/sorrow-at I have-before not computer-written much-of these events to-you.

A great teaching sentence. It was grammatical and I understood what you intended, but you made lots of little errors.
You left out translating the "ji'a" ("additionally"), and I'm not sure how it applies; if you are trying to non-specifically link this sentence to the previous one ".ije" is a logical joining, and ".i" is the simple run-on sentence "and".
The attitudinal "appreciation+loss" does not convey to me your English - what did you "lose"; it sounds like the type of emotion one might feel when a trusted and valued employee left the company, or maybe what you might say in a letter of resignation. Possibilities are the simple ".u'u", or ".i'anaise'i" (or attaching the ".i'anai" differently: "mi .i'anai pu ..." which means roughly: "I, damn me, previously ..."
Your English sentence is a negation - you have NOT PREVIOUSLY written much-of these events, but this negation is not in the sentence. You could do so with "na", but I would prefer the more exact "punai".
"ciska" is "inscribe"; you clearly noticed that its place structure wasn't that useful and used "tebe'i". "cusku" is usually more applicable; writing is just a medium (which could go in the "ve cusku" place if it was important). "tavla" is also useful here; it is not limited to verbal expression (which is "bacru"), and it has a 'talkee' too. Finally, as implied by your "tebe'i", you could have used "benji" with "le datni/se skicu be le fasnu" or more simply "le fasnu datni".
"piso'i" is a fraction of a whole. If you are treating the events as separate reportable instances, you wanted "so'i le fasnu" = "many of the events". If you wanted to talk about them as a mass, you wanted "piso'i lei fasnu" = "much of the mass of events". Probably the latter is better.
"ti" as a demonstrative does not work well in letters, and in any case I doubt if you could point to the "ti" that 'possesses' the events. "ti" is a sumti and in that position "le ti fasnu" it meant "this thing's event(s)". For "this" in such a sumti you usually want the locator "vi": ("le vi fasnu" = "the here event"). Now it turns out that a different possessive might actually have been appropriate here: "le de'u fasnu" = "the earlier sentence's events", or possibly, "le ru fasnu" which in your writing can only refer to "the Lojban class"; therefore "the Lojban-class's events". Of course, "ru" alone might have been clear since you would have been writing about the class as well as the events associated with the class.
Adding all these comments together, I might have written the sentence as:
.ije mi .i'anai punai .uu skami cusku le de'u fasnu do
And I, (Damn me!) didn't (Regret!) computer-express the earlier sentence's events to you.

.i mi'u pu fonxa tavla
Ditto have-before not telephone-talked.

Again missing the negation, only it is more blatant here. You said that we have talked.
You don't say what we haven't talked about. Since you and I have telephone talked before, you are putting a lot of semantic load on that "mi'u" to convey that you want me to transfer the subject of talking from the previous sentence (as well as the other places).
I like "je" or "ji'a" here instead of "mi'u" though it seems as interesting concept to use a "ditto" discursive to copy the sumti from the previous sentence, while changing the selbri. Hmmm.
"je", with no discursive, linking a specified-sumti bridi with an observative, does strongly suggest the sumti copying. I do this a lot, according to Nora. There are also more obvious forms, based on a compound sentence using "gi'e", but I won't go into that here.
My attempts:
.ije punai fonxa tavla
And didn't telephone talk.
.ije punai fonxa tavla do le de'u fasnu
And didn't telephone talk to you about the earlier sentence's events.
You also could have combined the last two sentences into one, but the negated tense makes the translation apparently illogical for English speakers, who implicitly convert the selbri from "and" to "or" under DeMorgan's Law. This is not recommended until people can truly think in Lojban:
.ije mi .i'anai punai .u'u skami je fonxa cusku le de'u fasnu do
And I, (Damn me!) didn't (Regret!) computer-(or)-phone express the earlier sentence's events to you.

.i la lojbo gerna cu frili mi
Lojban grammar is easy for me.
.i le lojbo valsi na go'i
The-set-of Lojban words is not.

You are correct that "na" does not require "cu". Excellent.

.i mi cu troci le nu la'edi'u cu se djuno
I try-to-attain the-state-of them-previous being-known

"la'edi'u" here makes your sentence mean:
I try-to-attain the-state-of (the-set-of Lojban words is not [easy for me]) being-known.
You wanted "ri" to get your translation:
.i le lojbo valsi na go'i .i mi troci lenu ri cu se djuno.

.i .au.a'o mi baze'e djuno roru
I hope-desire-that I will-after-some-time know them-all

I corrected for publication what I presume to be a typo ".ava'o" in your original.
You wanted "ze'eba" instead of "baze'e", which means here "I will for some interval in the future know all of them." Examine the parallel examples in "tense*" in the cmavo 'Lexeme order list', which are based on "pu". "ra" is more correct than "ru" here; counting backwards in your version, "ri" is "la'edi'u" and "ra" is "le lojbo valsi". In my rewritten versions, "ri" is still "le lojbo valsi".
(See the following article for details regarding this comment.) Given the new place structure of "djuno", I think you want "tu'a roru".)

.i paupei la logflac. cu kakne le sidju di'e .inaja jei di'u
Question-opinion : Logflash is-able-to help? The-following only-if the-previous-sentence is-true:

This one was fun. I had to write most of the following before I knew what you were trying.
"paupei" isn't wrong but the "pau" is superfluous. "pau" is used to let the listener reader know that a question is coming up later in the sentence that might not be expected, forewarning that attention is needed so that the answer can be provided. When the question is the next word, the warning is redundant, but not wrong. I think that your desired question was probably ".iapei" or "pe'ipei", asking about belief or opinion.
I'm sure you wanted "le nu sidju di'e". Otherwise "le sidju" ("the helper") is the x2 place of "kakne" and "di'e" is the x3 place. But as for what it means:
Your second sentence isn't grammatical; you may have wanted "di'u jetnu" based on your English. But more pressing is that you have one awesome self-referential sentence loop here, and I can't honestly say I understand the English any better than the Lojban. It's often a good idea to put a colloquial English translation along with a literal one if the structure is convoluted as in this case.
I'll rephrase your English to reflect what you said (making the corrections already noted):
.i la logflac. cu kakne lenu sidju di'e .inaja di'u jetnu
Logflash is able at helping the following sentence. [Only if] the previous sentence is true.
Does this make the problem clearer? You have a logical connective that makes some funky claims about the truth conditions of the combined pair of sentences. (I think you get a tautology of a sort: ".inaja" here effectively causes "not X or X", where "X" is the "di'u" of the second sentence.
If the first is true the second must be; if the first is false, so is the second.) Then the second sentence is talking about the truth of the first sentence, while the first sentence is talking about Logflash helping with the second sentence. [Sounds of mental explosion as circuits are fried .oicairo'e].
.ua.ue ki'anai [I think I finally understand!]
I think I figured out now what you were trying to do (but only after all that analysis. My clue is how you grouped your English with a line separating:
Question-opinion : Logflash is-able-to help.
The-following only-if the-previous-sentence is-true: Request-please : you (imper) talk-to me about the-process-of getting them.
This makes it clear that "di'e" is supposed to be part of the same sentence as the "di'u", and actually refers to the sentence afterwards. At which point all becomes clear:
".i" is an almost perfect sentence terminator. It says that the following sentence is about to start, making all of the 'elidable' terminators of constructs shorter than sentence scope (i.e. "vau", "kei", "ku", etc.) actually elidable at the end of a sentence. BUT the ".i" can ONLY go between sentences. It seems you were trying to use ".inaja" as the selbri. But the "di'e" is irrevocably part of the first of two sentences in this case, and I merely spent my effort trying to figure out how it fit in. But then, that analysis pointed out the need for "lenu sidju" vs. "le sidju" - which I think is what you wanted; I might have missed it if not for the hanging "di'e".
At which point I can say GOOD TRY, especially since we nowhere cover logical connectives in text materials. But:
The members of "GOhA", "me"+"KOhA", and PA+MOI, are the only cmavo or cmavo compounds that come to mind as being valid as a selbri (there may be some complex equivalents of these, too. Lojban logical connectives connect constructs; they are not in themselves selbri. If you want a predicated connective, you need a gismu or tanru. We have provided "kanxe", "vlina", "dunli" and "nibli", and I think the latter is what you want here:
.i pe'ipei la logflac. cu kakne lenu sidju .i di'e se nibli di'u
(Opinion-question?) Logflash is able at helping. The following is entailed by the preceding.
(Nora would stop here; she likes short simple sentences, but I'll muck things up a little more.) At which point we can actually eliminate the 2nd sentence entirely, using a causal connective:
.i .pe'ipei la logflac. cu kakne lenu sidju
.iseni'ibo pe'u.e'o ko cu tavla mi le pu'u cpacu ko'a
which translates as:
Question-opinion : Logflash is-able-to help?
Necessitating therefore: request-please: you (imperative) talk-to me about the-process-of getting them.
It is even possible to compress this to the single sentence (in which case the "pau" is useful, too):
.i pau la logflac. cu kakne lenu sidju pe'ipei kei seni'i lenu pe'ue'o ko cu tavla mi le pu'u cpacu ko'a
Question follows: Logflash is-able to help (Your opinion please), which (the ability) would necessitate therefore (I request-please) that you (imperative) talk-to me about the-process-of getting them.
Note the "kei" to terminate the "lenu" clause. Without it, the now-more-complex sentence means something only roughly similar (note the angle brackets):
Question follows: Logflash is-able at <helping (your opinion please) thus necessitating therefore (I request-please) that you (imperative) talk-to me about the-process-of getting them.>
There is no problem asking a Lojban question about a sentence while exploring the logical consequences of its truth. Lojban presumes that, logically speaking, the truth value of a question is the same as that of the sentence with the question satisfied (the blank filled in, etc.) Thus you can ask my opinion on the first sentence, while telling me what to do if it is true. Note that you have to move the "pe'ipei" question itself around when you try to ask it all in one sentence, so that I clearly know that you are asking about Logflash's ability to help, and not whether (its ability to help necessitates talking about getting it).
One other comment. Just as "LogFest" Lojbanizes poorly, so does "LogFlash". "*gf" is not a permissible medial pair in Lojban, since "g" is voiced and "f" is unvoiced. Lojbanize it as "logyflac." or "logvlac."

.i pe'u.e'o ko cu tavla mi le pu'u cpacu ko'a
Request-please : you (imperative) talk-to me about the-process-of getting them.

An excellent non-trivial concluding sentence, with only two minor flaws. "pe'u" is a vocative member of COI, and expects a name or description afterwards - you can't quite use it like an attitudinal, unless you close it with "do'u". Without the "do'u", the vocative absorbs "ko" as the target of "pe'u", and you have approximately: "Request-of-you (imperative), that (observative: someone unspecified) talks-to-me about ...". This still gets your point across. However, with the "ko" absorbed, there is no sumti to separate, and the "cu" is not needed or allowed. Secondly, "ko'a" is undefined. Presuming that you mean Logflash, I would simply repeat "la logyflac." Alternatives are the vague "ra" or assigning "ko'a" with "goi" - a waste for one reference.
As an answer to your letter, call or write again regarding getting LogFlash. I of course believe it is helpful - it is the ONLY reason I can lojbo cusku with any skill.

.i ju'e ki'e co'o lojbab.
I conclude. thanks. bye.

la korant.
You wanted "mi'e korant." for complete grammaticality. Overall an excellent first effort. It better than others argues for some explanation of logical connectives at an early stage. I will modify my textbook outline as a result. Keep it up!

Cleft Place Structures and sumti-Raising

A minor excursion in "how to say it in Lojban" turned into a major philosophical examination of language and metalanguage (how we talk about language) this spring. The result of this endeavor was a series of minor word changes - mostly additions of cmavo, one minor grammar change, and a couple of major philosophical realizations about language that shook us to the underpinnings and will have a profound effect on how we teach the language.

Unfortunately, we can't take the space here to discuss the question in depth, including the various rationales for decisions made and not made. The discussion would be as long and intricate as the negation paper published last year, only more confusing. Instead, we'll try to outline what was decided, emphasizing effects on Lojban expression.

English does not have very effective tools for talking about language. You have to teach a whole specialized vocabulary for any aspect of language - a vocabulary that reads like jargon without a great deal of explanation. Classic problems are how to describe the meaning of words like "of" and "the", or how to describe the meaning of a form of the verb "to be" combined with the suffix "-ing" on a verb without merely giving an example.

However, for those questions, you at least know the answer, even if you can't easily phrase it. Topics like 'indirect questions' (which are not really questions at all), and 'object raising' (sumti raising when generalized in Lojban) are topics for linguistic researchers. Everyday people use these linguistic features all the time without realizing it AND, even realizing it, find it difficult to paraphrase and explain what they are doing, and why they understand what it means.

Thus, I'll explain some of the problem, give simple examples of a couple of the points which you may be able to use and generalize, but otherwise will just try to explain the changes. If you don't understand just yet, don't worry - we carried on conversations in Lojban for a couple of years without even noticing the problem.

(Difficulty warning: this material in places relies on all of the contents of the draft textbook lessons. You may not understand everything that follows without them, but I've tried to make the explanation independent of your knowledge of Lojban as much as possible.)

You may know that Lojban has at least two major kinds of sumti (arguments) in its bridi (predications). Only two are relevant here. I will call these 'simple' and 'abstract' sumti.

A simple sumti is comparable to what in English are 'common nouns' - objects that you can point to. Examples include "le stizu" ("the chair"), "le zarci" (the market). But because Lojban doesn't distinguish nouns, verbs, and adjectives, we can also have "le blanu" ("the blue thing"), or "le kurji" ("the one taking care of ...") as simple sumti. All of the examples so far are what we call 'descriptions' in the Loglan/Lojban project. In a description, a selbri (the predicate word or phrase that defines the relationship) is converted into a sumti, omitting the x1 place, using a descriptor word like "le" or "lo". The description then refers to something intended that would fill that x1 place. Thus "le klama" is something that would fill the x1 place of "x1 comes/goes to x2 from x3 via x4 using mode x5".

An abstract sumti looks and acts differently. In an abstract sumti, you take a whole bridi predication (including the x1), i.e., a whole sentence, and turn it into a sumti. That sumti then represents the abstract state or event of the relation occurring ("nu"), the characteristic property(ies) of that relation ("ka"), or any of several other abstractions, including "du'u" (a predication about the relation), and "jei" (the truth value of such a relation). These others may be found in selma'o NU in your cmavo list.

What is hidden in most usage of these abstract sumti is that we have created an entirely new selbri relationship encompassing the abstracted bridi and its places as the selbri. For most abstractions, this new selbri has only one place, though "jei", which talks about truth values, has an x2 place for epistemology, and "ni", and amount, has a scale. When you use one of these abstractions in a sumti, you are again filling in the x1 place of one selbri, but at a higher, more abstract level than for a simple sumti. Thus there is a parallel between these different levels of sumti such that both are tied back to a bridi relation with one unspecified place.

An example of an abstract bridi is:

x1 is the event ("nu") of <xk1 comes/goes (klama) to xk2 from xk3 via xk4 using mode xk5>

In "le nu klama", the "le" means that we are talking about the x1 just defined, just as "le" means for simple sumti. The other sumti may or may not be explicitly expressed, but the grammar is that of a full bridi terminated by the elidable terminator "kei":

le nu mi klama le zarci kei ku
[le nu <mi klama le zarci kei> ku]
The event of my going to the market ...
(As a lujvo, "nunklama", the 6 places would be renumbered x1 through x6, hiding the two levels of grammatical structure.)

The parallel effect of "le" allows us to grammatically treat these two kinds of sumti alike in many ways. An abstraction has the abstract marker from NU on the front and an elidable terminator "kei" on the back, to keep the language unambiguous, allowing you to know whether a selbri is part of the abstraction or is the main selbri of the sentence, or whether a sumti is a sumti of the main sentence bridi, or of the abstraction bridi.

These descriptions and abstractions are long, possibly complex in grammar, and generally a pain to repeat when you are saying a lot about them. So we have symbols or 'anaphora' to stand for them. You may be familiar with "ko'a" which can be assigned to represent any sumti, whether abstract or simple, as well as "mi" ("me") and "do" ("you"). All of these are 'anaphora' - words that stand for something previously defined or obvious from the context. There are a lot of others. One other kind of anaphora is names. When you use the name "lojbab." for me, the name represents me for discussion in a sentence. "la lojbab." is thus grammatically equivalent to "do" and "le nu mi klama le zarci [ku] [vau] [kei] [ku]".

We can also use names as anaphora for events and other abstraction sumti. "The Renaissance" is a name for an important historical period, and "The Battle of Bunker Hill" is the name of an event.

By equating simple sumti and abstract sumti grammatically, we achieve some of the power of Lojban's grammar. Lojban allows the manipulation of both types of arguments using its grammar as predicate logic does - you ignore the representation when manipulating the symbols.

The risk for human speakers is the same as the advantage: you may ignore the representation when manipulating the symbols. If you forget that you are working with abstractions, you can end up mixing levels of abstraction. The result is nonsense. In natural language, when we speak nonsense, the listener tries to make sense of it, and intuitively ignores errors of abstraction level, giving understanding that may ignore logical errors. We want to avoid this in Lojban.

Some examples. Here are some relations expressed as English sentences:

It is good. (It representing "the cat")
It is good. (It representing "the long romantic walk to the park")

Mary considered it. (It representing "the cat")
Mary considered it. (it representing "the long romantic walk to the park")

(1) serves to remind that abstract sumti and simple sumti are equivalent in Lojban bridi. You need to be able to manipulate them using their symbols, without worrying about what the symbols represent, or whether you end up with nonsense, as in (2). At some point, however, you want to interpret "it", and if "it" represents something illogical in the context, you want to recognize that you have nonsense.

(3) I know about John. I know about John sleeping with Susan.

(4) The cooking is done. (My cooking something has completed.) I'm done cooking. (I have completed the cooking.)

(5) I turn the water into steam by boiling it. My boiling it turns the water into steam.

(3) through (5) are pairs of sentences with two 'arguments' that would be sumti in Lojban. The relations that would be the selbri in Lojban are traditionally represented by a single word root ("gismu") in Lojban; respectively these are "djuno" ("know"), "mulno" ("complete"), and "galfi" ("modify").

In each pair of sentences, one relates a concept using an abstract sumti, and the other a concept using a simple sumti. But notice: it is the "actor" of the event in the abstraction sentence that serves as the simple sumti in the other sentence. In (4) you may need to look at the parenthesized versions to see this.

In English, we typically interpret both sentences as meaning the same thing. But how can this be - is an abstraction really the same as the actor of that abstraction? Is it "I" that turns the water into steam, or is it "my boiling the water" that turns it into steam? It cannot be both using a single definition for "turns it into steam".

And indeed, the result is that the meaning of "turns water into steam", "is done", and "knows about" in English have at least two meanings, and we figure out which one applies based on context.

Linguists say that in such cases, we have in effect 'raised' the simple sumti out of the abstraction and are using it to represent the abstraction. This feature is called 'subject-raising' or 'object-raising' when used to describe English and other natural languages. We call it sumti-raising when talking about Lojban, which does not distinguish between subjects and objects.

Notice that Lojban can make it clear that there are really two distinct place structures involved when you have a sumti-raising. For the examples, we have:

x1 knows about x2 (an actor) being the actor in doing x3 (an activity abstract like 'sleeping with')]
x1 knows about x2 (an abstract event or fact)

x1 (an event) is done/complete.
x1 (an actor) is done being the actor in event x2

x1 (an actor) modifies x2 into x3 by being the actor in event/process x4
x1 (an event/process) modifies x2 into x3

The problem is explicit because so much of Lojban semantics is embedded in the place structures. For a variety of reasons - logical integrity, ease of learning, etc., we want to have only a single place structure for each Lojban word, and we want to know what goes into each place.

We have given a label to bridi place structures where one of the sumti places is defined to be an actor (or some other place) in an abstraction sumti found elsewhere in the same bridi. We call these 'cleft place structures'.

Even if there were no other reason, we dislike cleft place structures because they are repetitive and redundant. This becomes evident in completely expressed Lojban sentences, for which I will give English equivalents:

I know about John that John is sleeping with Susan.
I am done with my doing the cooking.
I turn the water into steam by my boiling the water.

Note that the last example has two redundant sumti, "I", and "the water", thus showing that sumti-raising is not limited to 'actor' places.

Now, if you look at the Lojban for these, you realize that it is perfectly acceptable to put a different value in one of the two supposedly equivalent places, resulting in apparent non-sequitors:

I know about John that the dog is sleeping with Susan.
I am done with you doing the cooking.
I turn the water into steam by John boiling Susan.

These appear to be nonsense, but the human mind attempts to make sense of them anyway, possibly concluding that John is literally or figuratively a dog, that "my being done with you cooking" means that I will not tolerate it any more and will eat out instead, with "done" being interpreted figuratively.

Another example out of recent events that shows the logical errors that can result from this (courtesy Art Protin):

Saddam Hussein modified the borders of Iraq to include Kuwait by Iraqi soldiers invading Kuwait.

Here we have an abstract cleft-structured sentence (it uses the same structure as "I turn the water ..."), where the actor, Saddam, does not appear in the abstraction. To interpret this, we can jump to all manner of conclusions that are in some way logically faulty. We relying on hidden assumptions to pull meaning out of the statement, as we try to decide whether Saddam or his soldiers were the aggressors against Kuwait.

For example, we may rely on the main predicate as pre-eminent, interpreting the statement as if the Iraqi soldiers were Saddam Hussein, or else his direct agents, puppets, or tools and not thinking and feeling human beings capable of independent choice:

The Iraqi soldiers are not responsible for attacking because they had no choice.

Alternatively, we think of "invade" as the active verb making the soldiers the actual 'actors', while Saddam remains a nebulous motivational force (who actually 'did' nothing):

The Iraqi soldiers are responsible, because Saddam merely gave orders and they were obligated to disobey an immoral or illegal order (the Nrenburg judgement).

The converse of the first version (seen from Saddam's point of view perhaps) sees Saddam as actor, and the soldiers as impersonal tools that failed in their function:

Saddam is not responsible for Iraq's losing the war because his soldiers failed him.

We thus end up depersonalizing either the soldiers or Saddam; they cease to be thought of as real people because our instinctive language use wants to recognize only one active agent in an abstract statement. Carrying such statements to their illogical conclusion can depersonalize any aspect of the war:

The allied coalition forces should/should-not punish the soldiers (or Saddam, or the people of Iraq: take your choice) because they were/were-not responsible.

(I deliberately chose a current and controversial topic because opinion molders, whether government or media, 'honest' writers or propagandists, use just such illogical arguments and hidden assumptions to convince readers of their point of view, often with deadly consequences. I intend none of the above expressions to be taken as being mine or la lojbangirz.'s opinions on the matter.)

Another problem occurs when you turn one of these words with possibly cleft structures into a simple description sumti. Is "le mulno" an action that is complete, or the actor that completed it? Is "le galfi" a modifier, or the modification process? You clearly want to be able to somehow access the actor, since he/she/it is likely to be used in a sumti.

In older versions of Loglan, there were many problem words of this sort. Jim Brown basically argued that place structures should be what is 'natural' for speakers, including all information that is needed to determine the truth conditions of the relation. Both of these place structures include the information, so he typically chose the more English-like version of the place structure. This led to all manner of subtle difficulties. Since the actor is specified in one place, then also in the event sumti, you typically will elliptically omit the actor, as well as other places.

?mi mulno le nu [mi] jukpa [le cidja]
I- complete the event-of [me] cooking [the food].
I finish cooking.
?le nu mi jukpa [le cidja] cu mulno
The event-of me cooking the food is-complete.

The second sentence is often 'shortened' in a couple of other ways in colloquial English: "I'm done cooking." and "The food is done cooking". (6b) reveals that in English we are merely condensing the abstract event in a different way, by ellipsizing a different sumti of the event bridi "my cooking the food". The result was haphazard, inconsistent place structures.

It is important to realize the historical roots of this problem, because they constrain the solutions. The choice of gismu, and indeed the grammar of Lojban itself, evolved from an earlier version of Loglan. That version did not recognize sumti-raising as a feature of the language, and tended to obscure abstractions much the way we do in English, based on Brown's concept of 'natural' place structures.

In older versions of Loglan, most words had an actor in the x1 place. When trying to express one of these bridi using the given place structures, one naturally ellipsized the first sumti of the abstract event, which was just a repetition of the actor, just as in (6a) above. However, JCB apparently did not recognize that the result was logically identical to one with the abstract actor filled in, and instead built the Loglan grammar considering an abstract with ellipsized x1 actor as a totally separate grammatical construct. This construct has no basis in logic and caused all manner of ambiguities in Loglan, ambiguities that were solved by cheating in the Loglan machine grammar.

Institute Loglan STILL has this problem, which I'll describe for those comparing the two versions (otherwise skip this and the next two paragraphs). That version uses the word "po" where Lojban uses "nu". In Jim Brown's versions of Loglan, "po" ("nu") does NOT change the nature of a bridi, as I discussed above. "le po blanu" was a simple sumti: "le (po blanu)", where "(po blanu)" is a description for of a selbri.

To get an abstract sumti, you write "lepo" as a single word, which the computer parser would then treat as a totally different selma'o (grammatical category) than "le", turning a whole bridi predication into a sumti: "lepo (ta blanu)". But a human being can't tell "lepo" from "le po" in normal speech, so Jim Brown introduced an arbitrary rule that to separate the two words, you had to pause between them - a "lexemic" pause.

Computer languages often use spaces to avoid ambiguities, and Jim Brown was in effect treating a space as a pause (there is no symbolic representation in Institute Loglan that a pause is required in "le po blanu". Finally, Brown introduced a "poge" construction to make a 'long-scope' abstraction for use with trailing arguments and logical connectives: "mi viska le poge ta blanu" is a possible construction, though one never used because it is identical to "mi viska lepo ta blanu". The web of spaces and "ge"s made a mess of the grammar description, especially since both are used in other ways in the grammar as well.

When we started Lojban, we rebuilt the grammar on our own. At first, we merely copied the existing Loglan structures. But in 1989, we started teaching the language. In what is now Lesson 3 of the draft textbook lessons, we attempted to explain Loglan abstraction. Lojbanists from before March 1989 may remember examples from that time using "*le nuke", which exactly matched "le poge"; we also had "nu" and "lenu" as distinct constructs. The widely distributed 'February 1988' machine grammar contains these fossils.

While trying to explain abstractions, we demonstrated that there was only one real construct involving "nu" and that was a bridi turned into a selbri. John Parks-Clifford (pc), noted that he and others had unsuccessfully argued for this in the 1970's with Jim Brown. pc also had discussed cleft place structures with Brown, but with no resulting change.

In 1989, both the abstraction grammar and cleft place structures issues came up separately. The abstraction problem was resolved as described above, and pc's reasoning on the cleft place structures was convincing; we changed most place structures where x1 was the actor and x2 was an event to a single place. tanru (metaphors) and lujvo (complexes) were used to access the actor. "mulgau" (mulno gasnu) is thus the actor form of "complete" in current Lojban.

But the problem is not really resolved. We missed several cleft place structures, and have discovered them intermittently while doing the place structure reviews. "galfi" was a recent discovery, with the x1 place cleft from the x4 event.

Meanwhile, in teaching Lojban, we have found that when native English speakers trying to speak Lojban guess at place structures, they presume actor forms of the words. Thus some people, (including those of us with more experience) use "mi mulno" for "I'm done", usually with humorous results when called on it. (In Lojban, "you" are presumably not "done" until the "event" represented by the word "you" is complete; i.e. when you are dead, or even later, in some religions.)

Thus the problems: how hard do we try to eliminate cleft place structures and how do we solve the natural language habit of sumti-raising while preserving Lojban's logical character?

The Solution

The solution has evolved over the last year or so in several stages. Only one grammar change is involved, and that expands capabilities rather than changes any existing constructs in the language. In developing a solution, we ended up running into multiple distracting side-issues, ranging from the place structure of "djuno", to 'indirect questions', the changes that resulted will also be listed.


In Lojban, there is no difference between 'subject' and 'object', because free rearrangement of arguments (sumti) using conversion with selma'o SE can lead to any sumti being in the first 'subject' position. The proposal thus generalizes 'sumti-raising' from subject-raising and object-raising.

Start with the English sentence:

I try the door. (1)

Without recognizing sumti-raising, we would translate this into Lojban as:

mi troci le vorme (1a)

based on the place structure of "troci"

x1 tries to do/attain x2 by x3 (1b)

which expands to:

x1 tries to bring about the event/state/ process/activity x2 by method x3 (1c)

(1c) clarifies that x2 is an abstract clause. I then view "le vorme" is a sumti-raising from one of two possible x2 abstract sentences:

mi troci lenu mi karyri'a le vorme (2)

I try the-event I open-cause the door.

mi troci lenu le vorme cu kalri (3)

I try the-event the door is-open.

(There is further possible complication in (2) in that rinka (cause), the basis of "karyri'a" would normally take an event abstraction in its x1 place, thus making the "mi" in that position a sumti-raising as well. (2) thus can be further expanded to:

mi troci lenu lenu mi lacpu/catke le vorme cu rinka leka le vorme cu kalri /lenu le vorme cu kalri

mi troci (lenu <lenu mi lacpu /catke le vorme> cu rinka
I try the-event the event I pull /push the door causes
<leka le vorme cu kalri>)
the-property-of the door open(-ness)
the door's openness.
<lenu le vorme cu kalri>)
the-event-of the door is-open
the door opening.

Clearly, much information is lost or hidden in sumti-raising - we don't know in (2) whether pushing or pulling the door is necessary (or hitting the elevator door button, for that matter). Thus there clearly is a lot of semantics hidden in "le vorme" in original sentence (1a). We want to mark this explicitly.

We want in Lojban to discourage unnecessary sumti-raising because it is logically sloppy. However, sumti-raising allows brevity and a 'natural' feel to the language. Clearly, (4a) and (4b) are too much to ask of a speaker who is thinking (1) - that she/he merely wants the door open, and it doesn't matter how.

We've thus accepted that sumti-raising must be allowed in the language. But it is most important that people recognize when they are sumti-raising, and mark it so that the listener can then allow for it, interpreting 'what the speaker really meant' as being something involving an unspecified abstraction.

We therefore will explicitly mark sumti-raising using the cmavo "tu'a", which is assigned to selma'o LAhE (thus not requiring a grammar change). LAhE is the category of 'indirect markers' that tell the listener that the sumti as spoken is only an indirect symbol for what is actually intended to fill the place.

Any time there is a sumti-raising, there is an implied abstracted bridi which is ellipsized, much as we leave out unimportant trailing places. We have assigned the cmavo "co'e" to represent such an unspecified, normally ellipsized, bridi. Thus, (1a) becomes:

mi troci tu'a le vorme

which is equivalent to

mi troci lenu le vorme cu co'e
I attempt the-event the door being/doing something.

(To be formally correct, we should use "lesu'u" to get an unspecified abstraction instead of "lenu")

By looking back at (4a) and (4b), we see that "co'e" in (5) is actually the equivalent of the English:

"being opened by my pushing/pulling it".

We will urge that when people speak Lojban, that they try to be aware of the possibility that they may be sumti-raising, and mark it with "tu'a".

Sloppy speakers, and new Lojbanists, will sometimes fail - you have a lifetime of habit to overcome. Thus a listener may choose to assume that an unmarked concrete sumti in a place that normally takes an abstraction really is intended to be a sumti-raising - choosing to understand (1) as meaning (5). If this happens too extensively, however, the logical nature of Lojban is compromised - thus we will not teach unmarked sumti-raising as valid, and will discourage it or correct it when we notice it.)

sumti-raising solves the problem of cleft place structures. It allows uncleft place structures to mimic cleft ones for user convenience. A sentence claim like:

lenu mi cinfai cu galfi le bitmu
The event-of (I paint) modifies the wall

corresponding to the place structure:

x1 (an event/action/state) modifies x2 into x3 (6)

means the same as the cleft sentence:

*mi galfi le bitmu fo lenu mi cinfai
I modify the wall by the event-of (I paint)

based on place structure:

  • x1 (an actor/agent) modifies x2 into x3 by doing/being x4 (an action/state) (6a)

But if the act of painting is irrelevant or obvious, and all you need to communicate was that it was YOU who changed the wall, then "tu'a" makes the ellipsis possible for the uncleft structure (6), and makes the resulting sentence quite brief:

tu'a mi galfi le bitmu
Something I do modifies the wall.

The consensus of Lojbanists is that uncleft place structures are logically cleaner and are more concise, hence the preferred way to go in Lojban. Thus, we are trying to identify and eliminate as many cleft place structures as possible.

We will not eliminate all of them. In some cases, the cleft structure is inherent to the meaning of the concept. The most noteworthy of these are "gasnu", "zukte", "lifri", "ckaji", and "klani".

One place structure change that has been formally adopted is the clarification that gasnu means "x1 is the actor/agent in doing event/process/activity x2". In other words, "gasnu" is inherently defined to be cleft, with the actor/ agent extracted from the action. There is no meaning to English "do" that avoids a cleft structure.

"zukte" also has a mandatory cleft structure since an action with goal requires an 'actor' to adopt that goal.

"lifri" is the corresponding (also cleft) word for a passive/patient/experiencer. "Actor/ agent", "goal", and "passive/patient/experiencer" are terms used in case theory semantics for the basic semantic roles in a sentence. It is likely that other places that correspond to such basic semantic roles may have remain cleft, if only to support continued efforts to regularize Lojban semantics.

We may find that a couple more words must have cleft structures due to the inherent mental state of an actor that must be identified to evaluate the truth of the predication.

"ckaji" and "klani" are cleft because they express the basic semantic relation of a property abstract to the thing having the property, and an amount abstract to the thing being measured.

Having mentioned "gasnu", it us worth noting that there is another way to extract an actor/ agent from an abstraction clause in an uncleft place structure. This other method is to use "gau" from selma'o BAI, which is derived from "gasnu" and is tied to that word's actor-extracting cleft place structure.

Using the above example, we can thus say:

gau mi galfi le bitmu
with-agent me (some-x1-event-unspecified) modifies the wall

This gives the same effect as sumti-raising, but is more clear as to the role of 'me' in the relationship. sumti-raising need not always involve raising an 'actor/agent'. Given that the unspecified abstract selbri is cinfai, we could easily say:

tu'a lei blanu cinta galfi le bitmu
The blue paint doing/being something (i.e. being spread) modifies the wall.

or even:

tu'a le bitmu galfi le bitmu
The wall doing/being something (i.e. having paint spread upon it) modifies the wall.

"tu'a" is thus very vague and relies on the speaker trusting that the listener will be able to determine from context what the hidden abstraction is and role the raised sumti plays (i.e. to understand what the speaker means without her/him being explicit). "gau mi" on the other hand says that I'm actually and actively doing something to bring about the relationship, and we thus would be surprised by "gau lei blanu cinta" or "gau le bitmu".

On the other hand, "gau" takes more thought than "tu'a". The reason the speaker might use "tu'a" sumti-raising is to save time and mental energy for communicating the important instead of the 'obvious'.

The "gau" form works differently from "tu'a", since it is not actually sumti-raising. The x1 place of "galfi" remains unspecified. By avoiding that difficult place in the place structure, it weakens that place structure. More importantly, use of "gau" may indicate the speaker's failure to recognize the hidden logical structure - that I am agent in a subsidiary event (the painting) rather than necessarily the agent in "galfi".

Ah, but aren't they the same thing? Probably yes, in this case. But in others, not so. The classic argument used by gun control advocates, "Guns don't kill people; people kill people", relies on just such confusion of abstraction levels.

It is thus important to understand that there is no explicitly marked link between a "gau"-added agentive place, and the ellipsized x1 sumti. In causality statements like "Guns don't kill people; people kill people", the claim about the agent of a change may be independent of the event that physically causes, motivates, justifies, or logically entails the result.

"gau"-agents are thus logically inaccurate but semantically clear about the role of the marked sumti. sumti-raising is more vague about the semantics of the "tu'a"-marked sumti, but more precise logically. The only way to be precise in both aspects is to explicitly identify the subordinate abstracted bridi.

Put still another way, BAI clearly specifies the semantic relation between the sumti and the rest of the bridi, while labelled sumti-raising clearly specifies that hidden ellipsis is present. Both methods are a kind of ellipsis, and both have a role in the language. But let it be recognized that only explicit elucidation of the hidden ellipsis gives a complete statement, just as explicit elucidation of all places in a bridi place structure makes a bridi more complete.

All sumti are created equal.

Let us suppose that you want to refer to the agent who modified the wall in a sumti, rather than in a full bridi. A mother says to her child: "whoever modified this wall (by putting paint on it) will be punished". Until this recent set of changes, there was no direct way to do this. However, in the one grammar change, introduced, we have added selma'o JAI, which only has the word "jai" in it. Following is the approved change and an example.


Official doctrine states that the sumtcita of a bridi constitute nonstandard places which are co-equal with the regular numbered places. However, there was no way to make these places the subject of a description by moving them into a numbered (specifically, the x1) place.


Add JAI+sumtcita as another variety of SE conversion. (JAI is a new selma'o.) This is usable on selbri in descriptions or main selbri, not in the other places where SE is legal (logical connectives, modals, etc.). The result is that the tcita sumti comes to occupy the x1 place, and the original x1 place is switched by the conversion to an un-numbered place which can be accessed with the cmavo "fai" (selma'o FA). All other places numbers remain unchanged as in SE conversions.

To make room for this usage, the current "fai" and "fi'e" (selma'o GOhA) are changed respectively to "nei" and "no'a". (There is more explanation of these words below.)


It is currently messy to say "the time of my going to the store"; this looks like an abstraction, but does not match any existing abstractor. It can be handled quite neatly with:

le jai ca klama be le zarci bei fai mi
the (thing which is) simultaneous-with going to the store by me.

In addition, when attempting to access a place (such as an agent) that is actually found within a abstraction sumti, one uses either explicit sumti-raising or implicit raising using a BAI modal tag. JAI-based 'modal conversions' allow description sumti access to modal tag sumti-raising, as in:

le jai gau galfi be le bitmu
The actor-in modifying the wall.


The place structure of "djuno" has been much-debated. The problem is made more difficult because English combines at least four different concepts in "to know" which are often broken out into separate words in other languages.

These are:

  • "to understand something" ("jimpe")
  • "to be familiar with something" ("it is na'e cnino to me")
  • "to know in general about something" ("I know arithmetic")
  • "to know a specific fact is true" ("I know that '2+2=4'").

The latter two can be related in a single gismu, and "djuno" represents those types of knowledge. The new place structure for "djuno" recognizes that the 'subject' of knowledge (x3) may or may not be at a broader level than the knowledge itself (x2), and that knowing a fact (x2) entails knowing it in some larger context (x3), as well as according to an epistemology (a means of knowledge, e.g. deduction, observation, authority, etc. x4)). Thus the current place structure proposal for "djuno" is:

x1 knows that abstract statement x2 (a 'truth') about subject x3 is true under epistemology x4


mi djuno zo'e lei cmaci
I know some-fact(s) unspecified about math [by some epistemology].
mi djuno ledu'u li vo sumji li re li re
I know the-assertion 4 sums 2 [and] 2 [about some subject by some epistemology]
mi djuno fo le nu la .iuklid. lojycipra
I know something about something by Euclid's logical-proof.

Indirect Questions

There are a variety of kinds of 'indirect questions', most often identifiable in English because they contain a 'question word' and imply a question that was or could be asked, but are not really questions. They often involve knowledge, hence the place structure of "djuno" figured heavily in the discussion. An English example: "I know who went to the store."

The term 'indirect question' is actually somewhat of a misnomer; all Indo-European languages overlap use of relative pronouns with question words, and all use these 'wh-words' in 'indirect questions'. Grammarians could also call them 'indirect restrictive clauses', but this would never sell.

The problem in Lojban is that we cannot translate these using a question word, or there is an ambiguity:

mi djuno le du'u ma klama le zarci
I know the statement (Who? going to the store) holds

where "ma" is asking the listener to fill in the answer. This is akin to the English - perhaps said in surprise, with emphasis as underlined:

I know who went to the store?

Loglan/Lojban must not use emphasis to distinguish such usages.

There are at least two ways of expressing these now. When the indirect question word is a form of "ma" (who, what, when, where, why, and how questions), just use sumti-raising:

mi djuno tu'a le klama be le zarci
I know [some statement about] the goer to the store, [namely, identity]

Note that the place structure for "djuno" allows us to avoid sumti-raising entirely using a 'cleft' x3 subject.

mi djuno fi le klama be le zarci
I know (something) about the goer to the store [namely, identity].

This was one justification for the x3 place.

"djuno"'s place structure does not make up for the need for "tu'a" sumti-raising with other brivla that have no 'subject' place.

When the question word is not a sumti, use the new "kau" marker (memory hook: "pau"; "kau" belongs to selma'o UI). "kau" marks the previous word as being a placeholder that identifies the selma'o of the correct value - it need not actually be that value. "kau" then indicates that the speaker, or some other person implicit in the context, knows the correct value for that place:

mi djuno le du'u la djan. klama le zarci jikau le zdani
I know the predication [John goes to the store (Connection-known) the house] holds.
I know whether John goes to the store or to the house.

If the x1 place had been "la djan.", context would imply that it is John who knows the value, and not the speaker.

You can match an English translation better sometimes using a different word in the selma'o. Using a non-question word may imply additional information not expressible with a question. The initial "kau" example captures the 'indirect question' aspect of the English "whether", but does not read very colloquially. You can insert a hypothetical 'answer' where the question word goes for a better-reading English translation:

mi djuno le du'u la djan. klama le zarci .akau le zdani
I know the predication [John goes to the store or-(correct value known) the house] holds.
I know whether John goes to the store or to the house.

You might also choose to see 'indirect questions' as restrictive relative clauses:

mi djuno tu'a zo'ekau poi klama be le zarci
I know [something about] the something unspecified (correct value known) that goes to the store, namely identity.

or even more preferably as the simpler abstract bridi:

mi djuno le du'u zo'ekau klama le zarci
I know the statement the something unspecified (correct value known) goes to the store.
I know who went/is going to the store.

You can also express 'knowing' more than one thing:

mi djuno le du'u zo'ekau klama zo'ekau
I know the statement the something unspecified (correct value known) goes to the store.
I know who went/is going where.

Another case of indirect question is the other interpretation of the English (4). This variety is more easily handled:

mi djuno tu'a le jei la djan. klama le zarci ja le zdani
I know [something about] the truth-value of John goes to the store or the house, [namely the value].
I know whether John goes to the store or to the house.

"kaunai", the negated form of "kau", will need some semantic exploration. In the above sentence, I would interpret "jikaunai" to cause the meaning:

I know that John goes to the store or to the house, but not which.

However, "kaunai" is more useful in a sentence even more 'indirect':

la .alis djica lenu mi djuno le du'u la djan. klama le zarci jikaunai le zdani
Alice wants the-event that: I know the predication [John goes to the store (Connection-unknown) the house] holds.
Alice wants me to know whether John goes to the store or to the house (I don't).

If "kau" had been used, the statement would imply that I do know. Finally, by using the discursive operator "se'inai" ("other-centered") we could twist the meaning to imply whether Alice knows.

The role of BAI

Many of these changes are tied to the use of selma'o BAI, and we were forced to re-examine what these are. Although it was not the original intent, BAI has evolved towards being an exact equivalent of the gismu which we selected as a memory hook, or as an abbreviation for a specific FIhO construct.

The original intent in creating BAI was to decide on certain useful or needed roles that could or should be useful in expanding bridi, and then to pick words for them. As a basis for this we used Jim Brown's earlier work for Loglan, coupled with some research into case theory, and the everyday, if malglico ("English-biased"), analysis of English prepositional and subordinate phrases.

Institute Loglan has TWO sets of these - case tags that are usable only to label place structure places, and 'modal relative phrases' which are used to attach non-place structure terms. There is some overlap and some commonalty between these. The two are not interchangeable - the case tags are more like our FA tags. We wanted to have the capability that Jim Brown intended for 'case tags' without the restrictions and duality. BAI was formed with the intention that every place structure place could be labelled more or less accurately with one of these. We've since decided that there can be no all-inclusive set of 'case tags' for Loglan/Lojban since there is no theoretical limit to the number of places in a bridi, and each place must have a different tag.

As a result of this evolution, some members of selma'o BAI have been dropped, and one fairly useful one has been changed to clarify its meaning and to make it still more useful. The old "ci'a" was eliminated, and "fi'e" was assigned (the old "fi'e" was moved elsewhere, as mentioned above), tying the word to "finti" ("create/invent") instead of the malglico reference in the old word to "ciska", whose keyword is "write", but refers to the "inscribe" sense of that word. Some uses of old "ci'a" are better expressed with "cu'u", also in BAI and based on "cusku":

"cu'u" refers to the "expresser", "fi'e" to the "creator". Thus (example from John Cowan, who proposed this change):

mi nelci la .apasionatas. ne fi'e la betoven.
I love the Appassionata, composed by Beethoven.
mi nelci la .apasionatas. pe cu'u la artr. rubenstain.
I love the Appassionata performed (expressed) by Artur Rubenstein.

Note the "ne" vs. "pe" contrast, reflected in the English only in whether a comma appears after "Appassionata"; there is only one Appassionata as composed, but there are many performances of which I am specifying Rubenstein's.

Loose Ends

A couple of loose ends fell out along with the above changes.

In addition to "co'e", we added the corresponding unspecified relation tag in selma'o BAI, "do'e". As with "co'e", a memory hook is "zo'e", the elliptically unspecified sumti.

"co'e" can be used as its own rafsi in compounds. Examples:

co'epre = "unspecified type of person".

This could be used in parallel and contrasting structures in lujvo, such as:

ti xaupre
This is-a-good-person.
ti xlapre
This is-a-bad-person.
ti co'epre
This is-an-unspecified-person.

le lojbo se ciska (continued)

Next, a story written by long-time Lojbanist Bob Chassell, with a couple of corrections by John Cowan, and Bob and Nora LeChevalier. But the corrections were minor. The most significant change is the incorporation of the sumti-raising changes in one sentence, which was a superb example of where such sumti-raising is needed to preserve the logical character of the language. The translation section later in this issue gives some stylistic comments that would make things clearer or perhaps more standard, but we know the language is getting somewhere when comments are on stylistics rather than communicating basic ideas. I'm reasonably sure that most anyone can understand this story with word list and only a most basic understanding of the grammar. It is thus printed double-spaced for those who wish to write translation notes as they read. (Note that "tu'a" is defined in the preceding article.)

lo zekri

fi'e la bab. tcySEL.

.i mi cadzu pagre le vorme le kumfa .i lo xadni pe le nanmu cu vreta lo loldi

.i mi viska le flecu be loi ciblu bei fo le xadni .i mi sisku loi sinxa be le zekri

.i mi viska loi kevna pe loi danti ge'u be lo sefta be lo jubme .ije mi viska lo nu loi cukta pu farlu lo kajna lo jubme e lo loldi .ije mi viska lo nu lo canko cu kalri

.i mi catlu lo plita ke bartu drudi noi lo'e prenu cadzu

.i mi cusku fi la tam. noi pulji ku'o fe <<lu pe'i le zekri prenu pu cpare le plita ke bartu drudi le canko pe le kumfa li'u>>

.i la tam. cusku <<lu ia. ie. .i ko catlu le kevna be le bitmu be'o poi ke'a trixe le pixra .i le kevna cu vasru lo tanxe .ije ri kunti zo'e li'u>>

.i la tam. cusku <<lu ju'e le tanxe pu vasru loi rupnu li'u>>

.i mi catlu le vorme pe le tanxe pe le bitmu

.i mi cusku <<lu ba'a le stela cu porpi .i .ua .ue mi facki lo za'i ge lo vorme gi lo stela na porpi li'u>>

.i mi cusku fi la tam. fe <<lu le minra pu farlu lo bitmu lo loldi gi'e pu porpi li'u>>

.i la tam. cusku <<lu pe'i le morsi nanmu pu lacpu le minra lo loldi lo bitmu .i se'o mi'o catlu lo sinxa da poi ke'a vajni lo nu sisku li'u>>

.i la tam. cusku <<lu ra'u ju'e lo prenu poi ke'a pu sazri le stela lo za'i kalri ku'o djuno fi lo tadji be lo pu'u kalri sazri le tanxe vorme li'u>>

.i mi cusku <<lu ganai tu'a le zekri prenu goi ko'a ge kalri rinka le stela tanxe ginai spofu rinka tu'a ri gi ko'a cu djuno fi lo pu'u kalri sazri le tanxe vorme .i .ua ru'a ko'a catlu le se minra be le nu kalri sazri le stela tanxe vorme sepi'o lo darno ke catlu cabra li'u>>

Versions of the Theory of Linguistic Relativity

by Robert Gorsch


The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

The "Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis," which asserts that one's native language determines in some fashion the nature of one's experience and that members of different linguistic communities will necessarily inhabit different experiential worlds, has its roots in the ideas of eighteenth-and nineteenth-century thinkers like Giambattista Vico and Wilhelm von Humboldt. [See George Steiner, After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation (London: Oxford Univ. Press, c. 1975), pp. 73ff.] The emergence of this hypothesis reflects the growing willingness of European civilization over the past couple of centuries to take other cultures and their "world-views" seriously, not only as curiosities of interest to scholars (especially anthropologists), but as evidence of the range of possible human experience. The formulation of the hypothesis, associated with the names of Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf, had to await what Noam Chomsky has called the "Boas tradition" of anthropological linguists, early-twentieth century scholars engaged in empirical studies of American Indian languages. [See Chomsky, "Linguistic Contributions to the Study of Mind: Future," rpt. in Language in Thinking: Selected Readings, ed. Parveen Adams (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973), pp. 336ff.] The hypothesis is emphatically not the a priori doctrine of linguists seduced by a philosophical tradition, but a proposal advanced by investigators who actually took the trouble to confront "alien" languages and cultures.

What does the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis claim? If it were true, what phenomena would we encounter and be equipped to explain? In a fairly recent article in the American Anthropologist (1984), Paul Kay and Willett Kempton reduce the Hypothesis to three propositions:

  • Structural differences between language systems will, in general, be paralleled by non-linguistic cognitive differences, of an unspecified sort, in the native speakers of the two languages.
  • The structure of anyone's native language strongly influences or fully determines the world-view he will acquire as he learns the language.
  • The semantic systems of different languages vary without constraint.

["What is the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis?" American Anthropologist 1984 (86), 66. Kay and Kempton's formulation is based upon the thinking of Roger Brown and, through him, Eric Lenneberg.]

As this series of propositions suggests, one can distinguish two possible sources of "Whorfian effects": (1) differences in "linguistic structure" and (2) differences in "semantics." (Strictly speaking, of course, the "semantic system" of a language, the division of experience embodied in its lexicon, is a part of its "structure." For, in linguistics, "structure" is really a synonym for "system.") Whorfians typically emphasize linguistic "structure" in a fairly limited sense. Thus, they tend to argue that the structure of one's native language will, by encouraging a particular manner of structuring one's report of experience, have the effect of shaping one's perception of the world. One will tend to note in perception, that which one's grammar asks one to report in utterance. "Structure" embodies, and imposes upon the speaker, a metaphysics.

The semantic organization of one's language will similarly shape one's experience of the world. This is the implication of Whorfian arguments that make appeal to such facts as the number of words that the Eskimos have for the English concept "snow." If one approaches the semantic system of language in a Whorfian spirit, this system will be viewed as an arbitrary segmentation of the experienced world. We divide up the continuum of experience in "culturally pertinent" ways, to use a phrase borrowed from the semiologist Umberto Eco, in accordance with our needs as members of cultural groups confronting particular physical and social environments. The lexicon of our language, by the categories it defines, affords us ways to make distinctions in the experienced world and, by its omissions, discourages other, logically possible distinctions.

In short, according to the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, one will "see" what the structure of one's language asks one to see and one will "see" -- as separate things -- what the semantic system of one's language defines as discrete semantic units.

Saussurean Sign-Theory

It is sometimes thought that the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis has been discredited and relegated to the trash-heap of intellectual history. Certainly, it is true that mainstream linguists, influenced by Noam Chomsky, tend to dismiss the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis no matter how judiciously it is reformulated. One could hardly expect any other response, since Chomskian linguists are committed almost as a matter of faith to the notion that the differences between human languages must be superficial and even trivial. If one accepts the Chomskian theory of a "universal grammar," one will be compelled to dismiss any attempt, no matter how empirical its grounds, to justify the Whorfian argument that "grammars" vary enough to affect the structure of human experience.

Whatever mainstream linguists say, the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is alive and well in the popular mind and in the academic mind -- at least outside of the discipline of linguistics. Many feminists, for example, believe that the structure of English imposes upon its speakers a patriarchal metaphysics. (English customarily subsumes the feminine under the masculine in its pronoun system, as in expressions like "To each his own.") In the disciplines customarily termed the humanities, particularly those that investigate literature and culture, versions of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis are widely taken for granted; the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, in some version, is the premise of many currently dominant methodologies.

Take for instance modern "sign-theory." Semiology or "sign-theory," popularized by structuralism and post-structuralism, embraces an equivalent of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. Some "sign-theorists" even look back to Whorf as a precursor. Modern "sign-theory," rooted in the work of the Swiss linguist Ferdinand De Saussure, posits an initial moment when the human subject enters "language" and at the same time a certain culture-bound experiential world. In first language acquisition an arbitrary system for organizing raw experience begins to be imposed upon the mind. Subjects learn how to segment experience into the units specified by the language they acquire as infants; they divide the continuum of experience into the "semantic units" that semiologists call "signifieds" -- i.e., the conceptual elements of "signs." [According to semiological theory, every "sign" consists of a "signifier" or "expression" and a "signified" or "content": every linguistic sign, for instance, unites a combination of sounds or a series of written symbols (the signifier) with a concept (the signified).]

Semiologists typically pay special attention to the array of "signifieds" posited by a linguistic community, i.e., the units into which the community divides the continuum of the experienced world, and to the network of relations by which these "signifieds" are interrelated, i.e., the system of connotative links by which units belonging to different semantic fields are linked with one another.

Thus, semiology takes for granted one of the crucial corollaries of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, namely, that in acquiring the semantic system of a language one embraces a particular "map" of experience. A semantic system divides the continuum of experience into units -- "things," "states," "processes," and so forth -- and links these units, one to another, in a web of relations of opposition and affinity. Green is, for instance, differentiated from yellow on the one hand and blue on the other: green exists as a unit in opposition to adjacent units in the same semantic field. At the same time, green is linked metaphorically, in relations of affinity, to units belonging to different semantic fields, for instance, such units as nature, life, youth, and jealousy.

In suggesting that "raw experience" -- what Whorf calls "the kaleidoscopic flux of impressions" -- is organized by the human mind after its embrace of a particular sign-system, Saussurean sign-theory simply reformulates the Whorfian Hypothesis. According to this reformulation, the lexicon of one's native language imposes a system of categories on one's experience; the lexicon imposes on the speaker an arbitrary differentiation of the continuum of experience into semantic units -- or, in the terminology of semiology, "signifieds" or "culturally pertinent units." At the same time each language imposes on the speaker a network of relations of affinity between these semantic units. This system of categories and the accompanying network of associations constitute the "map" of experience offered by each language to its native speakers.


Note on the bibliography:

In this bibliography I attempt to trace the development of the "Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis" from the early decades of the twentieth-century to the present. The items included in the bibliography range in date from 1911 to 1990. While the bibliography makes no claims to completeness, it does represent an attempt (1) to clarify the role of earlier ethnologists, including Boas and Sapir, in the formulation of what is often called simply "the Whorfian Hypothesis," (2) to chart the career of the Hypothesis from the 1940's to the 1980's, and (3) to draw attention to the kindred thinking of semiologists working in the tradition of Saussurean linguistics.

The bibliography is not alphabetical; entries are arranged by category and date.

In compiling this working bibliography I have cannibalized, without shame, the following lists of references: Wallace L. Anderson and Norman Stageberg, eds., Introductory Readings on Language (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1975), pp. 38ff.; Ben G. Blount, ed., Language, Culture, and Society: A Book of Readings (Cambridge, Mass.: Winthrop, 1974); Ralph Dumain, "Bibliography on Language and Thought," ju'i lobypli (The Logical Language Group), March, 1990, 36-38; John J. Gumperz, "Reader" for "Interactional Sociolinguistics (Anthropology 270B)," University of California, Berkeley, Fall, 1986; John Parks-Clifford, [Note], ju'i lobypli (The Logical Language Group), Dec., 1989, p. 44; and Bob LeChevalier [and Alan Munn], ju'i lobypli, March, 1991, pp. 57ff. I want to thank Bob LeChevalier and the Logical Language Group for arguing incessantly about the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis and my colleague Barbara Grant for loaning me a copy of Gumperz's "Reader."

1a. The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: Formulation

Ben G. Blount, ed., Language, Culture, and Society: A Book of Readings (Cambridge, Mass.: Winthrop, 1974).
This sourcebook includes important selections from Boas, Sapir, Whorf, and Hoijer.

Franz Boas, "Theoretical Importance of Linguistic Studies," in "Introduction" to the Handbook of American Indian Languages, F. Boas, ed., Bulletin 40, Part II, Bureau of American Ethnology (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1911). Reprinted in Blount, pp. 23-31.

Lucien Levy-Bruhl, How Natives Think (N.Y.: Knopf, 1925), pp. 139-180.

Willis D. Wallis, An Introduction to Anthropology (N.Y.: Harper and Row, 1926), pp. 416-431.

Edward Sapir, "The Unconscious Patterning of Behavior in Society," in The Unconscious: A Symposium, ed. E. S. Drummer (New York: Knopf, 1927). Reprinted in Blount, pp. 32-45.

- - - - - - , "Conceptual Categories in Primitive Languages," Science 74 (1931).

- - - - - - , "Language," Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, ed. Seligman and Johnson (New York: Macmillan, 1933). Reprinted in Blount, pp. 46-66.

Benjamin Lee Whorf, Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, ed. John B. Carroll (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1956).
The most revealing essays are, in my opinion, "Science and Linguistics" (1940) and "Languages and Logic" (1941). Another interesting essay, reprinted in Blount as well as in Carroll's selection, is "The Relation of Habitual Thought and Behavior to Language" (1939).

See also the essays "An American Indian Model of the Universe" (c. 1936), "A Linguistic Consideration of Thinking in Primitive Communities" (c. 1936), "Linguistics as an Exact Science" (1940), and "Language, Mind, and Reality" (1941).

1b. The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: Career

M. J. Herskovits, Man and His Works (N.Y.: Knopf, 1947), pp. 440-457.

Clyde Kluckhohn, "The Gift of Tongues, in Mirror for Man: A Survey of Human Behavior and Social Attitudes (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1949), Chapter VI.

John B. Carroll, The Study of Language (Cambridge, Mass., 1953), pp. 43-48.

Harry Hoijer, "The Relation of Language to Culture," in Anthropology Today, ed. A. L. Kroeber (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1953), pp. 554- 573.

Harry Hoijer, ed., Language in Culture, Comparative Studies of Cultures and Civilizations, No. 3; Memoirs of the American Anthropological Association, No. 79 (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Pr., 1954).
The proceedings of a 1953 conference on the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.

Harry Hoijer, "The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis" (1953), reprinted in Hoijer (1954) and in Blount (1974).

R. Brown, "Linguistic Determinism and Parts of Speech," Journal of Abnormal Social Psychology 55 (1957), 1-5.

R. Brown and E. Lenneberg, "Studies in Linguistic Relativity," in E. Macroby, T. H. Newcomb, and E. L. Hartley, eds., Readings in Social Psychology, 3rd edition (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1958), 9-18.

John B. Carroll and Joseph B. Casagrande, "The Function of Language Classification in Behavior," in Readings in Social Psychology (1958), 18- 31.

Paul Hanle, Language, Thought, and Culture (Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press, 1958).
Summarizing the results of a conference held at U. Mich. in 1951-2.

Roger Brown, Words and Things (N.Y.: Free Press, 1958), pp. 229-63.

J. Fishman, "A Systematization of the Whorfian Hypothesis," Behavioral Science 5 (1960), 232-39.

James Cooke Brown, "Loglan," Scientific American 202 (1960), 53-63.
Describes an effort in linguistic engineering designed to create an artificial language that would permit the Whorfian Hypothesis to be tested.

John B. Carroll, "Language and Cognition," in Language and Thought (Englewood Cliffs, N. J., 1964).
See especially 106-110 ("The linguistic-relativity thesis"), which offers a critique of the strong version of the Whorfian Hypothesis.

James Cooke Brown, Loglan I (Gainesville, Fla.: The Loglan Institute, 1966).
Brown's book was revised in 1975 and 1989.

Dell Hymes, "Two Types of Linguistic Relativity," in Sociolinguistics: Proceedings of the UCLA Sociolinguistics Conference (1964), ed. W. Bright, Janua Linguarum Series, 20 (The Hague: Mouton, 1968), 114-167.

Arnold M. Zwicky, Review of Brown's Loglan I, Language 45:2 (1969), 444-457.
See also John Cowan (1991), below.

Roger Brown, Psycholinguistics: Selected Papers (N.Y.: Free Press, 1970), pp. 235-256.

John MacNamara, "Bilingualism and Thought," Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics 1970: Bilingualism and Language Contact, ed. by James E. Alatis (Washington: Georgetown University Press, 1970), pp. 25-45.
Critical of the Whorfian Hypothesis.

Ferruccio Rossi-Landi, Ideologies of Linguistic Relativity (The Hague: Mouton, 1973).
Includes consideration of the sociological roots of the doctrine of linguistic relativity, including white guilt over the extermination of the Indians.

Noam Chomsky, Introduction to Adam Schiff, Language and Cognition (1964), tr. Olgierd Wojtasiewicz and ed. Robert S. Cohen (N. Y.: McGraw-Hill, 1973).
Critique of the Whorfian Hypothesis.

Adam Schiff, Language and Cognition (1964), tr. Olgierd Wojtasiewicz and ed. Robert S. Cohen (N. Y.: McGraw-Hill, 1973).
Historical account of linguistic theory (from the 18th century on): background to the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.

Ronald W. Langacker, "Semantic Representations and the Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis," in Foundations of Language 14 (1976), 307-357.
The author "tries to formulate the hypothesis in a non-vacuous manner, and ultimately rejects the strong version, basing himself on a distinction between primary conceptual structures and the semantic representations into which thought is coded" (R. Dumain).

Danny K. Alford, "The Demise of the Whorf Hypothesis (A Major Revision in the History of Linguistics)," Proceedings of the 4th Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistic Society, 4 (1978), 485-99.

Paul Friedrich, Language, Context, and the Imagination: Essays by Paul Friedrich, selected and introduced by A. S. Dil (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1979).
"Friedrich disagrees with Whorf's views on language and metaphysics, but accepts the strong thesis in the realm of poetic language and its relation to the imagination" (R. Dumain).

Paul Kay and Willett Kempton, "What Is the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis?" American Anthropologist 86 (1984), 65- 79.
Discusses the content of the Hypothesis and reviews empirical research that attempts to test it; reports experimental confirmation of a modified version of the Hypothesis in the area of color perception.

Frederick J. Newmeyer, The Politics of Linguistics (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1986). A history of linguistic theory that attacks the Whorfian Hypothesis as racist.

David McNeill, "Linguistic Determinism: The Whorfian Hypothesis," in Psycholinguistics: A New Approach (New York: Harper and Row, 1987), Ch. 6, pp. 173-209.

The Logical Language Group, ju'i lobypli (1988-1991).
A variety of discussions of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis from the perspective of Lojbanists: see Aug.-Sep., 1988; Dec., 1988; June-July, 1989; Nov.-Dec., 1989; March, 1990; May, 1990; August, 1990; and March, 1991.

John Cowan, "Loglan and Lojban: A Linguist's Questions and an Amateur's Answers," ju'i lobypli (March 1991), pp. 21ff.
Responding to Zwicky's review of Brown's Loglan I.

2. Semiology and the Thesis of Linguistic Relativity.

The following list by no means represents the field of semiology as a whole; I have limited myself to a handful of texts that I have found useful in the classroom.

Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics (1915), tr. Wade Baskin (New York: Philosophical Library, 1959), pp. 7-17, 65-78, and 111-122.
Seminal sections from Saussure's lectures, laying the foundations for modern sign-theory (semiology or semiotics).

Pierre Guiraud, Semiology (1975).
A reasonably good primer, introducing sign-theory and its application to various areas of human experience.

Umberto Eco, "Social Life as a Sign System," Structuralism: An Introduction, ed. David Robey, (1973), pp. 57-72. - - - - - , "How Culture Conditions the Colours We See," On Signs, ed. Marshall Blonsky (1985), pp. 157-175.
This essay and "Social Life as a Sign System" provide a useful introduction to the semiological equivalent of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.

Takao Suzuki, Words in Context: A Japanese Perspective on Language and Culture (1973), tr. Akira Miura (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1978; rev., 1984).
A richly suggestive comparison of the languages and cultures of Japanese speakers and English speakers. The book presents, and offers empirical evidence for, a theory of linguistic relativity similar in spirit to those of Whorfians and Saussurean semiologists.

John Lucy, "Whorf's View of the Linguistic Mediation of Thought," in Semiotic Mediation: Sociocultural and Psychosocial Perspectives, ed. E. Mertz and R. J. Parmentier (Orlando: Academic Press, 1985).

3. Related Studies

B. Comrie, ed., The World's Major Languages.
Descriptive text used in the design of Lojban.

Brent Berlin and Paul Kay, Basic Color Terms (Berkeley: Univ. of Calif. Press, 1968), esp. pp. 1-14.

George Steiner, After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation London: Oxford Univ. Press, c. 1975), esp. pp. 73-109: Linguistic relativism (including Whorf) vs. linguistic universalism (Chomsky).
Useful for its discussion of the philosophical tradition that lies behind the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.

Eleanor Rosch, "Classification of Real-World Objects: Origins and Representations in Cognition," MS, University of California, Berkeley, c. 1975.
Criticizes, on empirical grounds, the idea that experience is a continuum arbitrarily segmented by the mind. Available from E. Rosch, c/o Dept. of Psychology, Univ. of Calif., Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720.

George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1980).
"The authors make an important study of the metaphorical basis of language. In the final chapters they argue for an extreme relativism" (R. Dumain).

Alfred H. Bloom, The Linguistic Shaping of Thought: A Study in the Impact of Language on Thinking in China and the West (Hillsdale, N.J.: L. Erlbaum, 1981), pp. 13-36.
"The Distinctive Cognitive Legacies of English and Chinese," especially the sections "Counterfactuals in English and Chinese" and "Theoretical Extensions."

George Lakoff, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, c. 1987). How human beings segment and order their experience.

CONCLUDING NOTE: This is only a working bibliography; I welcome the assistance of other interested scholars. Please send comments, criticisms, corrections, and suggested additions and deletions, to the following address:

Robert Gorsch
Department of English
St. Mary's College
Moraga, Calif. 94575

le lojbo se ciska (continued)

Now for a lighter piece of Lojban text. The following bit is from John Cowan, and he uses "rinka" in the intended uncleft place structures manner. He noted in submitting it that he made no grammatical errors - the parser accepted it the first time. For those trying to read it, "clupe'as. xarengus." is a Lojbanization of the Linnean binomial for "herring". A translation will be found later in this issue.

pamoi xamrei ra'a lo verba

ni'o la paf. cusku lu pau mazo'o crino gi'e dandu le bitmu gi'e siclu li'u

.i la ver. cusku lu .uanai mi na djuno li'u

.i la paf. cusku lu .ui lo me la clupe'as. xarengus. finpe li'u

.i la ver. cusku lu ia ri goi ko'a na crino li'u

.i la paf. cusku lu fu'i le nu ko gasnu cu rinka le nu ko'a ba crino li'u

.i la ver. cusku lu .iasai ko'a ba'e na dandu le bitmu li'u

.i la paf. cusku lu fu'isai le nu ko gasnu cu rinka le nu ko'a ba dandu li'u

.i la ver. cusku lu iacai ko'a ba'e ba'e na siclu li'u

.i la paf. cusku lu fu'icai mi pu cusku lo jitfa li'u

On Loglan and Lojban Elidables

The following paper was written by Jeff Prothero as an answer to criticism of the use of elidable tokens in Loglan formal grammars. The argument applies to Lojban as well as to any other version of Loglan grammar, provided that the grammar abides by the defining rules of Bracket Languages (I am not sure that current Institute Loglan still abides by these defining rules - comment is sought from anyone who has such knowledge.) The reference to GU in the title is to the older Loglan RightBracket selma'o that in Lojban was changed to KU. The title is thus a bit of a pun for Lojbanists, since the 'GU' is gone from our selma'o list as well.

The GU is Gone!
Elidable Terminators in Logical Languages
Copyright (c) 1989 Jeff Prothero
Reprinted with permission from the author.

The elision of trailing terminators has been a prime problem for everyone seriously working to understand the Lo**an grammar. This paper is a first attempt to deal with this problem. The major questions to resolve:

  • When can terminators be elided?
  • When would such elision introduce ambiguity?
  • How does one recover the full syntax of a sentence containing such elisions?

The first step is to establish a simple analytical model, which exhibits the relevant problems without extraneous detail and complexity. We consider the Bracket Languages BL, defined by the following grammatical properties:

Each grammatical construct consists of a leading LeftBracket token, a trailing RightBracket token, and some number of substructures trapped between these two tokens.

Every token is either a LeftBracket or a RightBracket.

No token is both a LeftBracket and a RightBracket.

Every LeftBracket has a unique matching RightBracket.

Note that we do not require that each RightBracket have a unique matching LeftBracket.

Sample Bracket Language:

start   ->   bracket | broket | 
bracket ->   '['   ']'          
        |    '[' start ']'      
        |    '[' start start ']'
broket  ->   '<'   '>'          
        |    '<' start '>'      
        |    '<' start start '>'
mixed   ->   '{'   '>'          
        |    '{' start '>'      
        |    '{' start start '>'

This grammar specifies the infinite set of strings:

. . .

For terseness, we would like to omit some of the trailing terminators "when no ambiguity would result". The problem is to formally specify the latter constraint.

From a mathematical-linguistic point of view, dropping some of the trailing terminators corresponds to adding various strings to the above language, such as:

. . .

How do we specify the full set of strings to be added? Given such a string, how do we recover the full syntax?

I propose the following Augmentation Rule for adding the strings:

IF "a]Bc" is in the language, where:
   "a" is any sequence of tokens
   "]" is any RightBracket
   "B" is any token
   "c" is any sequence of tokens
AND IF "aB" is not a prefix of any string in the language,
THEN we add "aBc" to the language.

Given a Bracket Language BL, application of the Augmentation Rule until closure is achieved results in a new language BL' which contains BL as a subset. Let us call BL'-BL "E" (for "Elisions"). These are the strings

added to BL as a result of the Augmentation Rule.

Question 1: Does the Augmentation Rule introduce ambiguities?

Let us make the question more precise. Each e in E was derived from some parent p in BL (not BL'!) by one or more applications of the Augmentation Rule. We want to know if this derivation was unique, or if some such e has two possible parents in BL. Formally: can there exist a pair <e,p>, e in E and p in BL with p -> (via repeated Augmentation Rule) e, such that r is in (BL- p)'? If so our Augmentation Rule has introduced an ambiguity into the language by erasing an essential token, rather than merely a redundant token.

Answer 1: No such ambiguity is introduced by the Augmentation Rule.

PROOF: Let us assume that such an ambiguity exists. Then either e, or some other string along the path from p to e, has two possible legitimate parents under the Augmentation Rule. Let us call this child c, and the two possible parents p0 and p1.

Then we have:

p0 == "a]Bc" for some a,],B,c
p1 == "a>Bc" for some > != ], same a,B,c.

Now > and ] both match the same LeftBracket in "a", since p0 and p1 are both strings from our Bracket Language. But each LeftBracket has a UNIQUE matching RightBracket, by our definition of Bracket Languages, hence we must have > == ], hence p0==p1, hence no such distinct parent-pair is possible. QED.

Question 2: Is a LALR(1) parser capable of detecting such elided tokens?

Answer 2: Yes.

If "a]Bc" has been reduced to "aBc", then we must have the condition that "aB" is not a legal prefix of any string in BL. But an LALR(1) parser has a table which tells it, at any given instant, the legal set of lookahead tokens. If the current lookahead token is not in that set, there will be at most one RightBracket in the lookahead set, by a simple variant of the above argument. The parser can then insert that unique RightBracket in its input stream and continue.

How Elidables Work in Loglan/Lojban

by Bob LeChevalier

I would love it if someone could solve the problem of specifying elidability rules, but I can only do so in generalities without making specific reference to YACC's LALR(1) algorithm. Specifically, the elidables are optional if, using the YACC algorithm, a parser looking at the next token after an omitted elidable, does not find it valid. Instead it performs error processing which sticks in the elidable and this in turn moves it to a new state.

Thus in "le nanmu klama le zarci", after "nanmu" a parser will read "klama" and determine that a tanru is continuing. It reads "le", which is not legal after "klama" by any rule, and inserts "ku". It inserts "ku" and other elidable terminators based on the order of constructs; it sticks in the 'tightest bound' elidable - in this case the terminator for the first "le" construct. The result is a grammatical parse - as two sumti without a selbri.

Probably the speaker intended "le nanmu cu klama le zarci", but the parser cannot determine this, because YACC will not stick in an elidable unless it finds an invalid token.

For another example:

*le nanmu joi le ninmu

is ungrammatical (though perfectly understandable to humans) because of the '1' in LALR(1).

After "nanmu", "joi" is legal and moves the grammar to a state (using the formal grammar rule for "joikjeks") where it expects a token valid in a selbri (i.e.; it expects something like the valid:

le nanmu joi ninmu
= the hermaphrodite).

Not finding a selbri word (of which some 20 or 30 selma'o are legal in the first position by SOME rule or another), it then tries to stick in the elidables from shortest scope termination to longest. But none of these are legal in the position AFTER joi where we are looking:

*le nanmu joi ku/cu/vau/...

so the parser rejects the phrase. To non-logically join two sumti with joi under the formal grammar rule for "joikek", the "ku" cannot be elided before the "joi" and the following is grammatical:

le nanmu ku joi le ninmu
The team of the man/men joined with the woman/women

Presumably a LALR(2) (looking ahead 2 tokens) parser would be able to handle this particular elision, but Lojban is defined so as to satisfy LALR(1). There are other places that even 2 is not sufficient, but they less often involve elidables. Far more often, if you omit an elidable incorrectly, you will end up with another sentence/fragment that is valid but grammatically different. We thus recommend that where in doubt, or in noisy environments, use the added redundancy of including the elidable. We thus WANT the language to be defined so that elision is not mandatory if it is possible.

Thus, the question: "Is there always enough information for someone to decide exactly when a "cu" or some other elidable is or is not required?" can be answered: yes, it is always possible. But you must know the entire grammar to always be able to decide. With an incomplete knowledge of the grammar, you may end up incorrectly eliding, and should err when uncertain on the side of not eliding.

This is not as bad as it seems, because most problems that might arise (the "joi" problem is unusual in this regard) occur because of multiple elision. Thus in:

le nu mi klama le zarci cu xamgu

the complete specification with all elidables added is:

lenu mi klama le zarci ku vau kei ku cu xamgu

and the "cu" separator, acting as the longest scope elidable, makes a wall that forces a parser to keep sticking in all the optionals until there are none left.

If we had omitted the "cu", the parser would add in elidables only at end of text giving the non-elided equivalent:

le nu mi klama le zarci xamgu ku vau kei ku vau

It turns out that there is a valid Lojban interpretation that is not the one intended if you use any single one of those terminators besides "cu" in the place where the "cu" would go. With no "cu" and two elidables, you can get the correct interpretation with "ku ku", "vau ku", or "kei ku", but not with "ku vau", "ku kei", or "vau kei".

But the average Lojbanists need not worry about these other forms - just use the "cu" when in even the slightest doubt, and you'll do fine. There is no stigma against including in an elidable terminator unnecessarily. Because of this, you do not need to know 'the whole grammar' to speak Lojban. Only in complex nested constructs which you shouldn't be using if you don't know most of the grammar, are you likely to find situations where you might erroneously elide a terminator. Even there, by concentrating on just a few 'most-frequent errors', you will seldom make an error.

A History and Description of le'avla in Loglan and Lojban

by Bob LeChevalier

Those with 1975 dictionaries will find every chemical element was included twice, as a name, and as an 'S-prim' ("le'avla that looks like a gismu" if you are new to the project).

Though JCB disagrees, I believe it was a conversation between him and me in 1980 that led to the "3rd lineage" of borrowings (translation - the creation of a third form of brivla besides gismu and lujvo - the le'avla).

His response proposal - the birth of le'avla, was reported a month or so later in TL3/4.

At the time of GMR, JCB moved MOST of the 'S-prims' into borrowing space. The 'algorithm' for le'avla was discussed in TL6/1 (1983). JCB then launched what he called the "Sciwords" project, to massively borrow words from many fields into the language. If there were any volunteers at the time, their work was never reported because TL folded followed by Lognet a year later after the 1983-4 political squabbles.

JCB continued to work on the borrowings, and translated a few paragraphs of Scientific American (reprinted in 4th edition Loglan 1) that were heavy in scientific jargon to be borrowed. He once reported making borrowings for 50 kinds of cheese one night after reading an article on the subject. There have been some reports in recent Lognets that others have made some le'avla and that the Sciwords project finally accomplished something, but no list has been published because of the Institute's trade secret policy.

When Rebecca Bach and I visited JCB is May 86, we discussed borrowings, and specifically JCB's then current effort on remaking the element words into le'avla as a test for his attempts to devise "fast-tracks to borrowing" that would evade the mind-stretching "*slinku'i" test. They didn't. It turned out that we went through all of the elements and remade them, but found that there were few simple guidelines. (We did notice that -CVCV word-endings frequently give good le'avla, as well as that it is easier to avoid "*slinku'i" problems by making the initial consonant cluster not a permissible initial. Rebecca, a Loglan novice, proved better than either JCB or me at detecting flaws in le'avla-making, but none of us were really good at it.)

JCB at this time made clear that a standard for scientific le'avla making, unlike gismu, was visual recognition rather than aural recognition, since technical words are used in written language more than spoken language. JCB introduced borrowing-and-name-only lerfu for "W", "Q", "X", and "Y" to make visually recognizable borrowings easier. (His version of the language uses "H" where we use "x".) JCB's published examples show the priority on visual recognition of borrowings rather than aural recognition, but some rules seem to contradict this trend.

JCB also felt that the beginning of the chemical element words should reflect the international symbol - the closest thing to an international 'word' for the elements to be borrowed from. I still subscribe to this idea, though John Cowan does not. Ger- man has made non-international forms of some elements, and Chinese, with its word-forming restrictions, has non-international forms for all (but they often try to make a word that suggests the chemical symbol). The "Latinate forms" are really the English/ French forms, since those two languages have dominated the scientific publication field during the time of internationalization of science. We can't get around this 'Latinate bias', but feel that if a truly international standard exists, we should use it.

After the 1986 visit to JCB, I went home, and reworked the element words, which were left hanging. The UL2 publication was 4 months later. Other than a discussion in JCB's Notebook 3, and Loglan 1 4th edition, and ensuing responses to my criticism of the latter, there has been minimal discussion of le'avla until recently - although the culture words have been questioned by many new Lojbanists (who have generally been satisfied with my answers - again, until recently).

Four Flavors of le'avla

Here was my 1979 argument and proposal for 4 'flavors' of borrowing. In attempting to translate the song "Man of La Mancha", which as I've reported was my own first attempt to use Loglan, there was no word for "trumpet", "gauntlet", etc. Even if there had been, in the context of the song, these words convey specific cultural values that are not inherent to the musical instrument or the piece of medieval armor. I tried to make a lujvo for each, but we're obviously talking 6-7 terms - really ugly!

I had already noted that many/most of the gismu proposals being made were for plants/animals, etc. The limits on this set were effectively infinite, but gismu space wasn't. There did not seem to be any way to determine which plants or animals should get gismu.

I thus proposed to JCB a series of 4 steps to borrowing words. I still stand by these steps, though even in Lojban we haven't gotten past the third for any words yet, (and shouldn't). The element words and the culture words are the most likely candidates to be the first le'avla of the fourth step:

1. Most borrowings are little more than names, and indeed are used as sumti. Thus to use a current example, la kromium. will do for most instances of the concept "Chromium". In a rare instance where you need to use it in a selbri, you have "me la kromium."

2. When a borrowing will be frequently used as a selbri, you want to coin a word, but don't want to go through the 6 (or 8 in old Loglan) languages research effort. So you just make up a nonce word, probably borrowing from your native language word for the concept, and then OVERTLY mark it as a borrowing. The marker was to be an unassigned cmavo, probably from the then partially unused 'hV' set.

This proposal survived into the initial Lojban design. A cmavo "le'a" (no longer used for this purpose) would mark the following word as a nonce borrowing. This particular version lasted until a couple of months ago when John Cowan proposed the generalization to mark ANY nonce word usage using (instead) "za'e", now in selma'o BAhE.

This current design says that you coin a word, which must be a legal brivla (a lujvo or le'avla, though one could coin an unofficial gismu as well, in theory) and not break down into multiple words. Marking this word by preceding it with "za'e" means that you have just now coined the word, it may or may not conflict with another 'official' meaning of the wordform. This is also a solution when you want to use an existing word but are afraid that your place structure usage may be totally unlike the dictionary definition.

Though not an approved practice, you could even make le'avla in the form of gismu or lujvo if you mark them with "za'e". The permitted word-forms for le'avla are defined primarily by exclusion (it can't break down into two words, it can't be a lujvo, or a gismu, it can't fail something called the "*slinku'i" test), and coining nonce words is difficult, so this freedom is worth something for spontaneity in the use of Lojban by non-fluent speakers. I do not recommend intentionally invading lujvo space with le'avla because, even in a nonce lujvo, the listener will presumably try to take the word apart into component rafsi. But let's face it; the people making nonce le'avla will often be less than expert, and "za'e" allows a good bit of margin for error.

It turns out that our design made "za'e"-form le'avla a bit useless anyway. "za'e" will now be used more with lujvo than with borrowings because it turns out that it is virtually as easy to make step 3 le'avla as step 2 nonce forms as described next. Because step 3 forms are limited to specific fields, and the method for making them is so simple. it is not necessary to mark these with "za'e". (It is of course permitted and may be recommended that you do so if you are a using a word in a field in which you are non-expert. This is like putting quote marks around the word to show that you may be being non-standard in the technical terminology.)

3. Most of the le'avla you see nowadays are step 3 le'avla. These are names for concepts in specific semantic fields, Lojbanized into brivla-form by a most trivial process, and then marked with a classifier rafsi. Originally I proposed that classifier rafsi go on the end, making things look like lujvo: "kromium-xuki" (chromium-chemical). This is the proposal that was printed in UL2, the early version of JL from before the Institute/la lojbangirz. split. The reaction to UL2 was that people did not like the ending rafsi partly because these rafsi were CVCV form and were thus a second type of rafsi that had to be memorized. I then came up with the current design, which is described lightly in the Synopsis. John Cowan has codified the current process for step 3 le'avla, and proposed a new list of chemical element le'avla that are presumably valid by that process. (The list is too long to reprint here.)

Simply, the step 3 le'avla process is to use any standard rafsi, or even more than one like a lujvo (with some restrictions), as a classifier. You then take a Lojbanized form of the word to be borrowed, which must have:

  • a final vowel
  • no letter 'y'
  • no impermissible medial consonant pairs.

The classifier is 'glued on' with a vocalic consonant 'l', 'n', or 'r', which also conveniently makes the first consonant cluster in the word NOT a permissible initial ('m' would be acceptable except when it might form the consonant clusters "ml" or "mr"). Most of the problems in le'avla coining result from the possibility of parts of the word absorbing sounds that are supposed to be part of adjacent words, with the combination then breaking up into different words than you intend.

The most well-known (because difficult to check for) such le'avla problem is that associated with the aforementioned "*slinku'i" test - "*slinku'i" can be seen to be an invalid le'avla because if you use it with "pa": "pa slinku'i", the sound stream is ambiguous and the listener hears "paslinku'i", a valid lujvo. Since le'avla are defined so as never to cause conflict with gismu or lujvo, this form of le'avla is invalid.

The virtue of step 3, then, is that almost anyone can make nonce le'avla with minimal learning. The resulting words are known not to fail the "*slinku'i" test, they are flagged so that a listener knows he/she is hearing a le'avla, that the word is some kind of nonce word, and that it is restricted to a specific jargon field which is identified. This is often all that is needed - since someone familiar with the jargon field will recognize the borrowed portion, and someone who doesn't can ask.

Step 3 and step 4 le'avla can be used in lujvo. However they are always joined to adjacent rafsi by the hyphen syllable "iy", and NO letters are deleted from the le'avla: the "rafsi" form of a le'avla is the le'avla itself. The reason is shown by an example Nora invented while reviewing the 4th edition of Loglan 1 (1989), which had the type 4 le'avla "protoni" and "*nukli" (not valid in Lojban, hence the asterisk). Without "iy" hyphenation in le'avla-based lujvo, the le'avla compound "*protonynukli" breaks into rafsi as "pro-ton-nukli" and is thus invalid.

For easing recognition of le'avla compounds, it has become standard to surround the "iy" joints with close-commas is print, ensuring that the hyphen is treated as a separate syllable and aiding visual recognition. An example is: "djarspageti,iy,sanso" ("spaghetti sauce").

4. There are as yet no official step 4 le'avla in Lojban, although some will probably be proposed as samples when we publish the reference book in a few months. An example might include "protoni" ("proton"), as mentioned above, which breaks no rules.

These words should be made by people skilled in Lojban wordmaking, and familiar with the previous body of such words to prevent conflicts.

The words need no classifier rafsi, and may utilize any of the valid le'avla wordform space. As stated above, there is no simple algorithm for this space, and making these words correctly is a trial-and-error-aided-by-growing-experience process.

Lojban currently disallows le'avla from invading gismu space to allow type 4 words like "*nukli". This is primarily an aesthetic principle, since gismu like the culture words are in effect just such le'avla. But we call them gismu, and they gain the key advantage of gismu-form in having shorter rafsi.

(A secondary principle which necessitates that any such le'avla be made only under tightly controlled conditions, is that gismu must be prevented from what is called 'packing', being so alike in sound that noise or slight errors in pronunciation makes them easily misheard. Even with our experience in gismu making and with relatively simple rules on packing, we've needed a computer check on the gismu making process that has found many conflicts missed by this tricky test.)

We have few useful standards yet for deciding that a word deserves this privilege enough to invade gismu space, other than the class decisions that were made for culture words and "cmavo" and "lujvo" which are themselves self-borrowings from malglico Lojban tanru - "cmalu-valsi" and "pluja-valsi" for JCB's English "little words" or "LWs" and "complexes" or "Cpxs". So for a while at least, the bar against gismu-shaped le'avla will continue.

The qualification for a step 4 le'avla is that it be a word used sufficiently often, probably outside of a single field of endeavor, that it violates Zipf's law to have such a frequent word be as long as step 3 le'avla must inherently be. Step 4 le'avla are a formal alternative to having Lojban suffer the irregular Zipfean shortenings that occur in natural language - like "teevee" for "television".

With no usage history yet, we've never bothered to make standards for step 4 le'avla. Recent discussion of culture words suggests that any culture whose name acquires any significant use in Lojban will get a step 4 le'avla, giving more equality with the historical culture gismu. This will then answer most, if not all of the criticisms of the cultural gismu.

The Culture gismu Revisited: Cultural Neutrality and the gismu List

by John Cowan and Bob LeChevalier (with comments by Arthur Hyun and Bob Chassell)

The following breaks down the cultural gismu, by category. All these words end in "-o" and we attempted to draw them from the relevant language directly rather than being manufactured through the usual process of combining the six source languages. Some words fall into more than one category.

1) Lojban itself:

lojbo Lojbanic

2) The words for six source languages used in Lojban gismu-making: jungo Chinese glico English xindo Hindi spano Spanish rusko Russian xrabo Arabic

3) The words for six other widely spoken languages that were on the list of candidates for gismu-making:

bengo Bengali
fraso French
dotco German
ponjo Japanese
porto Portuguese
baxso Malay-Indonesian

(The word for Japan is from "Nippon"; legal Lojbanizations of that word starting with 'n' would not have been pronounceable by the Japanese with buffering the consonant cluster. The word for Malay-Indonesian is from their word "bahasa" for "language", because they have no word for their common heritage other than that one.)


xurdo Urdu

is the name for Hindi written in Arabic script. It is culturally unacceptable to the Moslem speakers of the language to refer to it as Hindi, although linguists classify them as the same tongue.

5) Large countries (gugde) which speak any of these 14 languages, where their names differ from the language names:

5a) glico gugde:

merko American
sralo Australian
brito British
kadno Canadian
skoto Scottish

5b) spano gugde:

gento Argentinian
mexco Mexican
xispo Hispanic (generic term)

5c) rusko gugde:

softo Soviet

(The current upheaval in the Soviet Union may affect the usefulness of this word, and may require a few new rusko gugde words for seceding states. We do not expect to make official changes before the reference book is published.)

5d) xrabo gugde:

jerxo Algerian
misro Egyptian
rakso Iraqi
jordo Jordanian
lubno Lebanese
libjo Libyan
morko Moroccan
sadjo Saudi
sirxo Syrian
filso Palestinian (include d for historical reasons and to be neutral in the ongoing cultural dispute in the Middle East

5e) baxso gugde:

bindo Indonesian
meljo Malaysian

5f) porto gugde:

brazo Brazilian
porto Portuguese

5g) xindo gugde:

kisto Pakistani
xindo India (The Hindi name for India - "Bharat" could not be used due to rafsi packing.

6) The continents of the Earth:

friko African
dzepo Antarctic
xazdo Asiatic
sralo Australian
ropno European
bemro North American
polno Polynesian/Oceanian)
ketco South American

7) A few smaller cultures with widespread historical or cultural influence:

xelso Greek
xebro Hebrew
latmo Latin
srito Sanskrit

8) semto Semitic (Judeo-Arabic) is a major language family encompassing two of the major cultures included in the list. "Indo-European" is internationally a compound word, and was not given a gismu.

9) The major religions:

budjo Buddhist
xriso Christian
xebro Hebrew
muslo Islamic
jegvo Jehovah/Yahweh(-ist) = Judeo-Christian
dadjo Tao(-ist)

(Note that the deities of these religions are NOT represented by the gismu. "la jegvon." can be the Judeo-Christian deity. Note that while the Islamic deity "Allah" is considered the same as the Judeo-Christian one, cultural reasons require "la .alax."

All cultural words have the place structure:

x1 is <adjective> in property x2

but these words are expected to be seldom-used as bare selbri. Instead, they will be used in tanru and lujvo.

The primary cultural tanru/lujvo are the obvious ones. For example:

merko rupnu meryru'u American dollar
merko fepni merfe'i American cent/penny
merko bangu merbau American English
merko kulnu merklu American culture
merko gugde mergu'e territory of American people
merko jecta merjecta territory ruled by the American government
merko natmi mernai American ethnos/ nation
merko turni mertru American government
merko ke ralju lidne merli'e American president

These will typically used as lujvo by assigning merko as a gismu, and ensuring it has a rafsi, we make it easier to do so. Such words will be shorter, and hence will satisfy the need of speakers who want/need them. We have taken the cultures that are part of Loglan/Lojban's definition as being most populous for such gismu. This is NOT for the purpose of denigrating Bulgaria, Hungary, Persia/Iran, Sweden, nor Kurdistan or Moldavia. While none of these have gismu, and hence do not have rafsi, they can be made as le'avla, and those le'avla can be used in lujvo too, but they won't be as short.

Typically, as a Type 3 le'avla, these will incorporate the second term of the above tanru as a classifier. For example, in the case of Iran (we'll presume Farsi as the logical choice for borrowing):

rupnrfarsi fepnrfarsi banrfarsi gugrfarsi kulrfarsi turnrfarsi etc.

Things only get moderately 'inequitable' when you have to make 'real' lujvo out of these le'avla. If a Persian rug is a "kulrfarsi lolgai" as a lujvo it becomes "kulrfarsi,iy,lolgai" where as an "American rug" (if it rated a lujvo) might be the shorter "merlolgai".

The set of gismu is certainly in one sense arbitrary - I can't state any external standard justifying the entire selection, and indeed we do not claim perfectly objective judgement. But I still claim that for all practical purposes the set is culturally neutral. Such a claim is always relative - there could me 'more perfect' neutrality in theory; I think we did a good job, and I do not think the list is 'slanted towards a particular culture', unless that culture is the non-existent Lojban culture.

The set of gismu were derived over 35 years. Jim Brown selected the first set based on 3 or 4 sources, including BASIC English, some studies of words that are 'biologically primitive' in that they appear to be primitive in most every language, etc. He then used the Helen Eaton study of the most frequently used concepts in 4 languages (English/German/French/Spanish). This list is of course European biased, but it is the only such comparative study across several languages for word/concept frequencies, and Helen Eaton was doing so for AL research and was presumably aware of the neutrality issue. In any case, there is reason to believe that the list is more biased in its obsolescence (being 60 years old) than it is toward a specific culture - key concepts in science and medicine are unknown in the list, while certain concepts no longer important rate highly. It is still a standard, and the only one.

Brown assumes that Zipf's law holds. Zipf noted that word length was inversely proportionate to word frequency. Since gismu were the shortest content words they should be used for the most frequent concepts. He made gismu for most of the first 1000 concepts, unless there was an obvious 2-term lujvo based on higher frequency words. He then continued to the 2000 and 3000 concept levels, and ended up with about 750 gismu.

From 1962-82 this list grew to about 950. Because there were no le'avla in the language design at that point, all of the elements were added as gismu, and many other rather idiosyncratic words like 'billiards'; if someone wrote something in Loglan and needed a word, a gismu was often the result. After the 1982 revision of the language, there was the capability for le'avla, and some of these gismu were removed, but JCB's Loglan still has a lot of historically idiosyncratic gismu which are gismu only because they had no obvious 2-4 term tanru/lujvo 20 years ago.

This is the list we inherited when we remade the list for Lojban. Among the words were culture words for the 8 source languages for Institute Loglan, (as well as separate gismu for the people and the culture) plus some idiosyncratic cultures that had been added haphazardly, including Italian, Scottish, Roman, and Amerind. We decided to regularize the set based on some external standard - the culture words we used were those for JCB's 8 languages, and the other 4 we considered for Lojban (we once planned to use 12 languages instead of 6, then cut back to 6 for several reasons). We added the religions that were primary in the source cultures, and separate words for the several countries that used the source languages. Because we had le'avla, if we could not assign a good rafsi to any recognizable form of a country's culture word, we left it out - the assignment of a short rafsi was the main justification for these words.

The point of all this is that the culture words were added according to a standard that is inherent in the history of the language and its design - thus no one really had to be an 'objective judge'. If it is accepted that our "Chicken MacNuggets" word formation algorithm is culturally neutral, being based on 6 languages, then the culture words meet the same criteria of neutrality. In addition, the words are not slanted towards one culture - if so, we would have not used the Egyptian word for Egypt, the German word for Germany, etc. Yes, we had to leave some cultures out, and some countries that have speakers of the languages we do have. But the decision was not wholly arbitrary.

The rest of the gismu were selected to complete various incomplete sets recognized by a Roget-like study of the gismu by Paul Doudna. Later, when Athelstan joined the project, we conducted two further reviews against Roget's Thesaurus looking to achieve 'completeness' in that the gismu could be used to form lujvo covering every concept in Roget. Roget is of course English-biased, but it also purports to be a comprehensive survey of the semantic word space and it is in that mode that we used the list.

In the course of doing so we recognized that the rationale for gismu has changed since JCB first started Loglan (and in his versions this is also true, though he has never so-stated). At one point Brown thought his words were in some absolute sense 'primitive', partly based on his biological primitive research. This is not the current practice in assigning gismu. gismu are in no way assumed to be the 'most basic', 'most important', or 'most' anything for one or several cultures.

We now claim ONLY that the gismu we have are sufficient, using the lujvo-making rules to make reasonable length lujvo to cover any concept that is important across cultures (reasonable I set at about 4 terms, the longest lujvo ever made and used as a 'real word' for Loglan). Words that are specific to one culture, or are part of the international vocabulary of science are relegated to le'avla.

BUT, in going to this definition of our gismu coverage, we did not claim the need to eliminate every gismu that had no obvious intercultural use. Indeed, if it was already made as a gismu, we kept it unless someone explicitly proposed its deletion accompanied by (usually) a 2-term lujvo for the concept. About 20 odd words were so deleted before the baseline. There is no intent to delete any gismu prior to the 5-year usage baseline, because the only meaningful criteria now are that would justify a deletion in the baseline period would be something like the word being impossibly vague (not likely since we have place structures for each). Arguments of usage - either potential or actual are irrelevant; that is the point of a usage baseline, to see whether they are used.

As a result of this long evolutionary process, it is clear that the list is not an arbitrary representation of one or two persons' biases. Being based on the concept of 'semantic space', with some verification of usefulness in a few cultures, the list is close to comprehensive (occasional new words will be proposed when we find a gap). The list is not angled towards a specific one or even identifiable set of cultures, except that if some culture has a truly important concept that is not shared by any of the Eaton languages, it may currently be omitted. In which case, it will likely become a gismu later when recognized. Beyond this, I do not see the claims that the Lojban list is biased in some recognizable way towards any language. It can only be claimed that it is possibly biased away from some less common languages/cultures in the most trivial sense, since we are talking about exactly one word per such culture. No doubt if any of these less common cultures develops a significant Lojban speaker base during the formative years of the language, the culture will be assigned a gismu.

The remaining element words may plausibly be biased towards English or at least toward European cultures. These were justified by their use in metaphors before we had the now clear policy against heavily figurative metaphors. Even so, there are ways to define these words based on the properties adjectivally attributed to the substance in non-technical compounds, leaving the 'chemical word' either for a lujvo (using "curve" or "xukmi") or a le'avla. Thus "nikle" is fine as is, "romge" is any highly reflective non-tarnishing metal, "navni" is an inert gas (this one change was adopted officially at LogFest), "kliru" can be used for all the halogens, (people put kliru tergu'i on their cars), etc. This eliminates the most obvious part of the bias, but more importantly allowing the words to be useful.

Arthur Hyun comments:

The point is that if anyone wishes to maintain the pretense of Lojban being "culturally neutral", then every culture is going to have to be considered the same.

Bob Chassell responds:

The consequence does not follow from the `if' clause. The predicate "culturally neutral" has several places so far unexpressed.

  • by standards: in this case, standards of mostly middle-class, American developers, sufficient to meet what they think are the needs of enough Lojban speakers and experimenters for Lojban to meet the purposes of the language;
  • to extent: as best the developers can, particularly with reference to Zipfian and other practical concerns.


Whoever has to judge what is "important" or less so will have a bias.

Bob Chassell:

Yes, indeed. So therefore, whoever judges what to include is obligated to do the best she can. Since there is little desire to give everyone his own gismu, the question is "to whom to give gismu?" If the selected gismu turn out to be sufficient for enough of those who are experimenting with and speaking Lojban, then the selection will have been OK.

Of course, the decision is not easy; to me, the best beginning is to use three criteria: population, wealth/power, frequency of occurrence in the kinds of speech the language developers anticipate for Lojban. These criteria are obviously unfair, and they have a bias; but enough Lojban speakers may be sufficiently satisfied by them for Lojban to succeed.

Arthur Hyun:

Therefore, either give up trying to claim "neutrality" or treat them all the same.

Bob Chassell:

This statement is a misunderstanding of what neutrality is about. Neutrality is not and cannot be absolute. Consider as an analogy, Swedish neutrality during WWII. At the beginning of the war, when it appeared that Germany would become the hegemonic power in Europe, Sweden cooperated more with Germany than with the Allies. (Remember: the invasion of Norway was designed to protect shipments of Swedish iron ore in coastal freighters; very likely, the Swedish mining regions would have been occupied by the Germans if the Swedes had not cooperated.) When the Allied coalition was seen to be winning, Sweden cooperated more with it, permitting, for example, people such as Niels Bohr to be flown out of Sweden by the British.

Similarly, Lojban cannot be absolutely neutral, neither as a practical matter nor as a matter of being able to define what `absolute neutrality' means. (Obviously, to me at least, `treating them all the same' is NOT neutral, but is very biased; is that not apparent to you?)

Lojban has several goals relating to cultural neutrality:

  • to serve as a vehicle for intercultural experiments;

For Lojban to be useful, this means that the undesired influences of Lojban should both be small enough for the experiments and be less than the undesired influences of alternative vehicles, such as Urdu or Esperanto.

If you are testing some group whose culture lacks a gismu, perhaps you would invent a nonce gismu; not all five-letter forms are currently used, just as not all shorter forms are assigned cmavo.

  • to serve as an international language;

For Lojban to be useful, this means that enough people must not be overly offended by Lojban's biases.

  • to serve as a test for `logical language';

This means that Lojban must be biased towards logic in some way, which biases it against languages such as English.

Another way to tackle the issue is to turn my questions around:

  • Is the current design of Lojban too culture bound for experiments relating to tense in grammar to succeed?
  • Is the current design of Lojban too culture bound for speakers in Asia, Africa, and Europe to accept? (One possibility is that Lojban's logical bias may be more significant than its other biases.)

le lojbo se ciska (continued)

And now, how about some poetry?

Michael Helsem sent me a translation of the first stanza of the Esperanto Hymn into Lojban. The original (1), and Michael's English translation (2) are given first. Then comes his Lojban translation into a limerick! He made only minor errors, none of them grammatical (e.g. the place structure of fasnu has changed, making it non-useful for his purposes. So my correction of his translation (3) is immediately after with Michael's intended English translation (4) along with what he actually said. Finally, I have a pronunciation guide for those who want to read it aloud.


La Espero

En la mondon venis nova sento,
Tra la mondo iras forta voko
per flugiloj de facila vento
nun de loko flugu gxi al loko

(2) Into the world came (a) new feeling,
through the world goes (a) strong call;
by (the) wings of (a) gentle wind,
now fly it from place to place.

(3) le cnino menjvinu goi ko'a
pu selfri le terdi ku .o'a
.i ta'i lo brife
ku leko nunjimpe
ca selbei fi role selvo'a

A new mind-view
happened on the Earth (pride!)
Like a breeze
let your understanding
thing_understood be transferred to all the voiced-ones.

A (specific) new mind-view (ko'a)
is-experienced-by the Earth (Pride!)
Having-form a breeze
Your (imperative! - Make it true!)
now is-sent to all-the-voiced_ones.


 le  cnino       menjvinu         goi ko'a              
/leh,SHNEE,noh   mehn,ZHVEE,noo   goi,KOH,hah/          
 pu  selfri      le  terdi        ku .o'a               
/poo,SEHL,free   leh,TEHR,dee     ku. OH,hah/           
 .i  ta'i       lo brife                                
/.ee,TAH,hee    loh,BREE,feh/                           
 ku  le  ko     nunjimpe                                
/koo,LEH,koh    noon,ZHEEM,peh/                         
 ca   selbei     fi  ro  le       selvo'a               
/shah,SEHL,bei   fee,ROH,leh      sehl,VOH,hah/         

But I wasn't happy with this. Not only might some Esperantists take offense at having their song of great traditional importance turned into a limerick (which in English culture is almost universally used for non-serious verse), it was not a very exact translation of the Esperanto. At Nick Nicholas's instigation, I've lately been translating a bit of poetry, so it was only natural that I tried to do this one. I was surprised to find that my result was rhythmic (though not the exact same rhythm as the original), and it was fairly easy to make it rhyme a little bit too. My new translation is given as (6), and I've added pronunciation and translation (7).


la'ede'e cu se pacna .i

le cnino selcinmo cu se lifri loi terdi
.isemu'ibo fe'eroroi vliki'a
.i .e'o ko sepi'o le mlibrife voknalci
fairbevri ru rode da'ada


The following is-hoped-for

The new thing-emotionally-felt is-experienced-by of-the-mass-of- the-Earth
Therefore motivationally, everywhere powerful-cry_out
(Petition!) (imperative!) You, usingly, mild-breeze voice-wings
distribute-carry (the earlier) it from every-something to all- other-somethings.

 le  cnino        selcinmo           cu   se  lifri       loi terdi 
/leh,SHNEE,noh    sehl,SHEEN,moh     shoo-seh,LEE,free              
 .i  se  mu'i    bo      fe'e    ro  roi     vliki'a                
/.ee-seh,MOO,hee-boh     feh-heh,ROH,roi     vlee,KEE,hah/          
 .i   .e'o        ko  se  pi'o       mlibrife             voknalci  
/.ee  .EH,hoh     koh-seh,PEE.hoh    mlee,BREE,feh                  
 fairbevri               ru  ro  de          da'a    da             
/fai-rr,BEHV,ree         roo,ROH,deh         dah,HAH,da/            

But I didn't stop there. I'd been carrying the seeds of an idea for an ode to Lojban, and this exercise got my writing urge going. Within an hour, I had written my first original Lojban poem, which can be seen to be both rhythmic and, with poetic license, rhyming. This is given as (8) with pronunciation and translation in (9).

This is the first 'original' poem I've written since 6th grade, some 25 years ago. I'm actually quite pleased with it, and with the fact that it was so easy. Maybe I'll even write more (and inflict it on the world). But one thing is for sure: if >I< can write Lojban poetry, anyone can.


doi bangu co satci joi ji'a na'e satci
do'u dunda le ko selkai co sidbo velcusku
loi terdi selvo'a noi nitcu lo nintadji
be lo nu menbenji fo loi prenu co simxu

.i doi selmenli co cfipu be le so'imei poi djica
leka jimpe do'u bevri ko le cfari lei zgatirna
.i .e'o ko cu klina selcusku gi'e jicla
le no'e farvi pe ri'a lenu seljimte loi malgerna


 doi bangu              co   satci         joi  ji'a           na'e
/doi,BAHN,goo           shoh,SAH,chee      zhoi,ZHEE,hah       nah-
 do'u    dunda          le  ko  selkai     co   sidbo              
/doh-hoo,DOON,dah       leh-koh,SEHL,kai   shoh,SEED,boh           
 loi terdi              selvo'a            noi nitcu           lo  
/loi,TEHR,dee           sehl,VOH,hah       noi,NEE,choo        loh-
 be  lo  nu             menbenji           fo  loi prenu       co  
/beh,LOH,noo            mehn,BEHN,zhee     foh-loi,PREH,noo        

O, language of-type exact mixed-with-in-addition non-exact
(something) gives your (imperative - make it true!) characteristic
of-type idea expression-mode
to of-the-mass-of-the-Earthly voiced-ones, who incidentally need
the new-method
of events-of mind-sending to of-the-mass-of-persons of-type mutual.

O, language, both exact and non-exact,
Let your characteristic mode of idea-expression
be given to the voiced ones of the earth, who need this
new method of mutually communicating between minds.

 .i  doi selmenli       co   cfipu         be  le  so'imei     poi 
/.ee-doi-sehl,MEHN,lee  shoh,SHFEE,poo     beh-leh,SOH-HI,mei      
 le  ka  jimpe          do'u    bevri      ko  le  cfari       lei 
/leh-kah,ZHEEM,peh      doh-hoo,BEH,vree   koh-leh,SHFAH,ree   lei-
 .i   .e'o              ko  cu   klina     selcusku            gi'e
/.ee  .EH,hoh           koh-shoo,KLEE,nah  sehl,SHOO,skoo      gee-
 le  no'e    farvi      pe  ri'a    le     nu  seljimte        loi 
/leh-noh-heh,FAHR,vee   peh,REE,hah-leh    noo-sehl,ZHEEM,teh  loi-

O thought-about-things of-type confusing to-the-many-some who desire
understanding-ness, (something) carries you (imperative! - make it true!)
from-the initiators to-the observing-hearers (listeners)
(Petition!) You (imperative!) be clearly-expressed-things, and stir the neutral-non-developing (stagnant) which-are-caused-by the-event-of being
limited-by Derogative-Grammar.

O ideas which confuse the many who desire understanding,
Let yourself be carried from those who initiate you to those who listen.
Please be clearly expressed, stirring the stagnation caused by the limits of (Ugh!) Grammar.

Another poem. Well, actually part of a song. The following is Mark Shoulson's first Lojban translation attempt: the beginning of the Doors' song People Are Strange.

loi prenu cu cizra .inaja do ca fange

.i loi flira cu simlu to'e melbi .inaja do ca na se kansa
.i loi ninmu cu mabla simlu      .inaja do ca na se djica
.i loi klaji cu to'e xutla       .inaja do ca badri fa'o

The English:

People are strange       / When you're a stranger;
Faces look ugly          / When you're alone.
Women seem wicked        / When you're unwanted;
Streets are uneven       / When you're down.

Bob's comments (mostly answers to questions from Mark):
A most excellent first effort! Bravo! I find little to complain about. I might have used the less literal "pluta" instead of "klaji", or even "tadji", thus conveying what I think the intent is better, but this is 'stylistics', which Lojban has none of yet. Of course, Nora found one big mistake I missed (see below).

Mark: I use 'loi' all the time. Should it be "lo'i"? Or something else?

Bob: You done good! This is about as good an English text for "loi" as there is. "lo'i" would give you a set. Sets generally are not ugly or wicked, and seldom are described as strange or uneven - but you don't want the set anyway, but the members.

Mark: I don't much care for ".inaja". I want a way to say "if but not necessarily only if". I assume there's a better way. I copied this usage from lojbab's translation of Language. [by Suzanne Vega - see JL14].

Nora: With ".inaja", what you have is "IF people are strange, THEN you are a stranger". I think you wanted ".ijanai": "People are strange, IF you are a stranger." This seems a virtually exact translation. The Lojban statement is false only when people aren't strange but you ARE a stranger. It makes no claims about what happens if you are not a stranger. (Bob: I completely missed this - which may be why I did so poorly in logic when I was in school.)

Mark: Does the use of "ca" make sense? I mean to get across the sense that faces look ugly if you're down at the time (hence the English "when").

Bob: Seems fine to me. You could also do something with one of the "under conditions" modals (selma'o BAI), used exactly in the same place you used "ca".

Mark: Should "mabla" in line 5 be "palci"? Am I using "to'e" right? Is there a better way to express these things?

Bob: Yes, "mabla" is the right word, given the English semantics. You certainly are not judging women as morally evil ("palci"). You might use "xlali", but the English use of "bitch" in such situations is most certainly "mabla", not "xlali", and I suspect that the usage here is more suggestive of such cursing. "to'e" is fine.

Mark: Should I be using the tanru I use? What would be better?

Bob: I would have omitted "simlu" in both the second and third lines, or I would have included them in all four; they are implicitly there. You could have done a couple of things to fiddle around. For example, the 2nd half of each line, rather than being ".inaja ... ca ...", could have been a subordinate clause attached to the selma'o BAI word for "under conditions":

loi prenu cu cizra va'o le nu do fange

or you can even take out the "do" - the English really just means "someone", and use the "observer" modal of BAI: loi prenu cu cizra ga'a lo fange

or you can make all four based on "simlu", which has an under conditions place and an observer. Note that "simlu" has a cleft place structure and may need changing. x1 and x2 are redundant, and a revision would be "x1 seems to be so to x2 under conditions x3". The first version following uses the current cleft structure; the second version uses the possible revised structure:

loi prenu cu simlu le ka ri cizra ku roda le nu da fange
x1      }    simlu {x2             } x3   {x4          }
le nu loi prenu cu cizra cu simlu roda le nu da fange
{x1                    }    simlu x2   {x3          }

To me these last seem very analytical, not poetic, and I prefer the "ga'a" version.

Mark: I realize that some selma'o UI words would probably belong here, but I'm not positive which to use or even if I'd want them there. There's something unsettling about the unemotionality you get without them which fits the mood of the song. Or not.

Bob: I personally think they don't belong, because the author has used the impersonal "you"/"someone". If the pronoun had been "mi", the attitudinals are vital. There are SOME attitudinals that might apply anyway, and perhaps some discursives, but there is no vital need for any.

One last poem:

Nick Nicholas's translation of a Greek poem

ko doi loi tarci na fegycrugunta mi mu'i lenu mi ru'inai sanga ca le nicte .imu'ibo le nu mi cordri kei cei broda (to .u'anairo'i doi lemi se xe'ikre toi) gi'e klama fi le zdani gi'e bacru lu'e broda

Translation: literal Lojban

Imperative you, O Stars [make-it] not that [you] angry-utter-attack [=scold] me motivated-by the-event I occasionally sing during the night. Because the-event I am pain-sad in-the heart ((Emotional loss!) O my black-haired one) and [I] come from the nest [=house] and uttered the symbol for it (the event of me being pain-sad).

.i .ai mi bacru lu'e broda ga'a loi tarci noi mipri gi'eji'a na pante (to .uinairo'i do mo'u bapli mi ti toi) ca so'ilo cacra fi le nuntirna fe'o

(Intent!) I utter the symbol for it (the event of me being pain-sad) observed by Stars who keep-secret and-additionally not protest ((Emotional unhappiness!) you are-at-the-completion-of forcing me to do this-here [presumably this poem]), during many hours, about this event-of-hearing.

Literal English from the Greek

Stars, not-imperative me you-scold that I-sing the night because I- had pain in-the heart (ach dark-diminutive-neuter my) and I-came-out and it I-said.

To-the stars future-tense I-say the pain my that not it they-witness [metaphorically, bear witness] that they-have and [also] patience (ach how me you-rendered) with the hours and they-listen.

Colloquial English from the Greek, with notes

Stars, do not scold me, that I sing in the night. (clearly an imperative. The "pou" in the original is no clearer that "that", and sorta corresponds to "va'o" or "tesau", but of course means "for singing") Because I had a pain in my heart (apostrophe: Oh, my dark-haired little one), and I came out and uttered it (the pain).

I will utter my pain to the stars, who don't betray it (present tense; the verb literally means "witness", and implies that the stars keep one's confidence) and which also have the patience (apostrophe: Oh how you've rendered me/ Oh whata bad state I am in because of you!) to listen for hours.

On Observatives

by Bob LeChevalier in response to Jim Carter

Jim Carter writes:

At the L.A. group meeting we discussed "observatives", Initially we had trouble analyzing the meaning of the bare selbri "nanmu"; we concluded that it meant "manliness is happening here", but the distinction between that and "a man", while obviously real, is hard to explain.

You are correct that this is an 'observative'.

For the benefit of those who may have old copies of The Loglanist: in TL3, Scott Layson (supported by Chuck Barton) proposed that the bare selbri be interpreted as an observative, after the natural language usage reflected in shouting "Fire" ("fagri") upon sight of smoke (as compared to the then current bare selbri as an imperative, a command). (At that time there was no clear way to declare an observative, though "le nanmu" and "da nanmu" (using current Lojban words) were considered. (For newer Lojbanists, please forgive my extensive references to old Institute Loglan in this response.)

Scott and Chuck argued that in most languages, an imperative is in some way inflected, whereas observatives are not. We researched further in designing the Lojban version and found that children first learn to speak essentially in observatives: "Mama!", "Doggy!", and occasionally in attitudinally inflected observatives: "Milk?" (".au ladru"). My invention of the imperative pro-sumti "ko" solidified the change, and this is now one of the two major identifiable differences between Institute Loglan and Lojban, that is not simply an expansion of the language or a correction of hidden syntactic ambiguity.

"nanmu" is an observative because the selbri has been atypically brought to the front of the sentence. (Indeed in this case it is the only thing in the sentence, but this is beside the point. "klama le zarci" is also an observative.) This movement, and the explicit elliptical omission of the x1 sumti (the 'subject') adds strong emphasis to the selbri as the critical new information being pointed out in expressing the sentence.

Other than this strong emphasis, "nanmu" is treated as any ellipsized sentence is, all unspecified sumti are still actually there, but are unexpressed. They thus have the implicit value of "zo'e" (something I'm not bothering to specify because it isn't important in this pragmatic context.) In the normal observative case, with a physical "subject" ellipsized as for "fagri", a more accurate specification of the sumti would be "(pointing) ta fagri"). But "ta" would cause the speaker to look at the pointer (to see what is pointing where, not look for the fire and run - in hearing the observative "karce" while standing in the street, the distraction of having to look at the pointer could be fatal.)

There thus is nothing about looking at some "manliness is happening here". That would either be the observative "nu nanmu" or "ka nanmu", which are in turn equivalent to

zo'e      [cu] {nu       <zo'e [cu]         nanmu [vau]> [kei]}
Something is-an-event-of something (else)'s being-a-man.
zo'e      [cu] {ka         <zo'e [cu]         nanmu [vau]> [kei]}
Something is-a-property-of something (else)'s being-a-man.

where different "zo'e"s can have different values. (I use "manhood" for "nu nanmu" and "manliness" for "ka nanmu"; it is not clear from Jim Carter's example which he intends.)

"A man" would be "pa nanmu", which is a shortened form of "pa lo nanmu" "One something that really is a man". This is a sumti, not a complete sentence. We rejected such a bare sumti as a version of observative, as well as "lo nanmu" and "le nanmu" for three reasons.

First, as incomplete sentences, the listener has to wait to be sure that the speaker isn't just hesitating before continuing with a selbri: "pa nanmu ...", "lo nanmu ...", "le nanmu ...". These are equivalent to the trailing-off incomplete English sentences "One man ...", "A man ..."/"Some men ...", "The man/men ...". In Lojban such incomplete sentences are defined to be grammatical, and are typically used to answer "ma" questions. The latter two English translations point out that Lojban descriptors make no singular/plural distinction.

The second reason is that the descriptors end up being the first word heard, not the selbri. Shouting "A fire!" has less impact than shouting "Fire!".

Finally, the versions with the extra cmavo have just that little bit extra grammar and semantic interpretation implicit in the extra word. Observatives are generally used in situations where people don't want to take the trouble (or in the case of children, don't know how) to construct a sentence with more elaborate grammar, and/or don't want the listener to take the time to interpret the grammar.

Jim Carter:

But we came up with a better example:

carvi         It's raining
lo carvi      Look, raindrops

The first English is a reasonable colloquial translation of its Lojban. More exact is "[Something] rains", or "Rain!" The second Lojban, a sumti, is the incomplete sentence "A raining thing/Some rain ... [is doing something]", whereas Jim's English would be expressed in Lojban as "ko catlu .i carvi [dirgo]" or "ko catlu lenu carvi [dirgo]. (The thing(s) raining need not be 'drops'. We say "lo snime cu carvi" = "The snow rains" and "loi mlatu je gerku cu carvi" = "Cats and dogs rain." - the literal statement - NOT a figure of speech.)

Predications and Identities

by Bob LeChevalier

A discussion on Lojban List eventually hinged on clarifying the differences between 'predications' and 'identities'. In his writings on Loglan, Jim Brown has long stressed this distinction, which is basic to predicate logic.

It has turned out, however, that in both the Institute's and our versions of Loglan, there is no grammatical difference between predications and identities. In Lojban, we kept the two grammatically distinct until this last spring, when John Cowan showed using his E-BNF that the distinction was illusory. Now, identity sentences look like predications and can be understood like them, and one must recognize them by the use of specific cmavo that indicate the difference.

Jim Carter observed that Lojban "binxo" (keyword "become") could be seen as a kind of identity claim, since in English, "become" is a future tense of "to be".

We must clarify that "binxo" is rather to be contrasted with "cenba" ("vary") and "galfi" ("modify"). This trio of gismu were assigned because old Loglan "cenja" ("change") which means what "binxo" does, was often used in tanru and lujvo as if it meant one of the other two words. Institute Loglan solved the problem by misusing its "madzo" for the 'transitive' "change" of "galfi"; "madzo" has the same meaning as Lojban's "zbasu" (to make/construct ... out of ...). We separated the English word "change" into its three distinct meanings.

binxo    changes into/becomes ... 
cenba    changes/varies in property ...
galfi    changes ... into ...

The keywords were chosen to maximize the distinction.

A similar problem was recognized with "gasnu" "do" last year. As noted in the discussion of cleft structures and sumti-raising above, "gasnu" is clarified to mean that x1 is the actor/agent in an event or action x2. We kept the keyword as "do" because "actor" and "agent" are much more familiar in English with meanings that have nothing to do with the Lojban "gasnu".

"du" IS an identity 'predicate', and its morphology alone flags it as different from other predicate words. It claims that the two sumti on either side are alternate and equivalent designations for the same thing. Translate it best as the mathematical "=" sign.

"du", other than in a mathematical context, has a somewhat metalinguistic effect. It equates two labels for the same thing. No other words in Lojban, other than the relativizers "po'u" and "no'u", and the assigners "goi" and "cei", have this metalinguistic effect.)

As Lojban has grown, the role of "du" in Lojban has shrunk. Most noteworthy, the practice of using "du" for self-identification as taught in draft textbook lesson 1, is now frowned on: use "mi'e. .atlstan.", or mi se cmene zo .atlstan. (if your name happens to Lojbanize as ".atlstan."). It isn't wrong, but we do not want new Lojbanists concentrating on the use of "du" early in learning the language. Otherwise we get such unacceptable statements as:

la banthas. du lo     mlatu  (1)
Bantha      =  a/some cat(s)

intending, but not saying "Bantha is a cat".

Here we have a legal/grammatical but probably false statement. "lo mlatu" is a description that can apply to a cat, or the members of any collection of cats, in the universe of discourse (possibly including the non-domesticated species). I doubt that there exists anyone that would apply the name "la banthas." to all of these cats. If we were expressing the Linnean (Latin/Greek) name for the cat family, well, maybe ...

There is a 'predication' (as opposed to 'identity') "predicate word" that is near-equivalent to "du", and that is "mintu" - "x1 is identical to x2" ("du" while etymologically tied to "dunli" is not really related due to place structure differences). There have been some probably legitimate but inconclusive debates about whether "du" and "mintu" are the same predicate. Nora and I currently feel that "mintu" can be used more broadly, as in "this plate is the same as that one", when the two are interchangeable for the intended function. "du" would not be correct in translating such a statement, since presumably "this plate" and "that one" refer to different objects.)

Predicate logic does not write identity sentences as predicates. Lojban's predicate grammar requires even an identity sentence to be phrased as a predication. As such, Lojban is a mirror image of natural languages. But the use of a cmavo in an identity sentence should alert you to the very real difference between them.

How to say it

A New Regular? Feature

We are happy to take good ideas from the Loglan Institute, and are thus instituting (!?) a new feature, where you ask how do say something which is not obvious, and more experienced Lojbanists try to answer. We prefer to see your attempts at expressing it, because 1) it means you tried and this isn't a trivial question; and 2) it helps us slant our explanation to fit your needs.

Word translations need some kind of context for them to be included in this feature. Thus, some questions from Ivan Derzhanski in his Lojban letter are not answered here.

From Coranth D'Gryphon:

I have a few English statements that I'd like the appropriate meanings for:

  1. some people (plural of person, referring to existing individuals);
  2. some people (plural of person, referring to hypothetical individuals);
  3. people (the set of all persons, treated as a lump unit);
  4. people (the set of all persons, treated as individuals);
  5. person (the set of all the things that make up a person, considered a unit).

Bob LeChevalier:

These 5 mass statements are simple, but look carefully at the quantifiers in my answer. I have put normally ellipsized quantifiers in brackets - they are needed to properly understand what is going on. Afterwards I summarize the default quantifiers for the 4 descriptors involved. Note that none of your examples involve "lo'i" or "le'i" the set descriptors. "lo'i vinji" is the set of all things that really are airplanes, and does not relate to their components.

  1. su'ore lo [ro] prenu or su'ore le [su'ore] prenu
    su'ore da poi prenu
  2. Either of the first two above for 1; "da poi ..." claims actual existence of something that meets the restrictive bridi that appears after "poi". The distinction between "lo" and "le" is that "lo" refers to things that have the relevant property, whereas "le" refers only to the speaker's intended referent which is presumed to be understood by the listener or the speaker would have given more information to restrict the referent. We have also given the two descriptors different default quantifiers, as shown in the bracketed values above.
  3. piro loi [ro] prenu
  4. ro lo [ro] prenu [ro] le ro prenu
  5. [piro] lei pa prenu

Using "loi' with "pa" after the descriptor like this would incidentally claim that there is only one person in the universe).

The big 'secret' in all of this is the default quantifiers - the numbers inside and outside of the descriptor. The inside number enumerates the set meeting the description, while the outside quantifiers selects from that set.


su'o lo ro prenu

su'o            lo              ro prenu
at-least-one of the-set-of-all- who-are persons (which set has cardinality 'all')

Compare this with: su'o lo ci mela studjez.

su'o            lo              ci mela studjez.
at-least-one of the-set-of-all- Stooges (which set has cardinality 3)

ro le su'o prenu

ro      le                                    su'o prenu
Each of the-set-of-things-that-I-describe-as  persons (which set-in-mind has cardinality at-least-1)

pisu'o loi ro prenu

pisu'o           loi              ro prenu
at-least-some of the-mass-of-all- who-are-persons (cardinality 'all')

piro lei su'o prenu

piro   lei                                                su'o prenu
all of the-massified-set-of-the-things-that-I-describe-as persons (cardinality 'at least 1')

le/lei/le'i must have at least one in the set.
lo/loi/lo'i need not have any in the set (in which case the "su'o" means "at least 0" since "ro" is also = "0").

In normal usage, all of the above implicit quantifiers are left unstated. You only put in a quantifier if it differs from the default value. The resemblance of "lo" to English indefinites is purely a result of our choice for the implicit quantifier. In JCB's Loglan the equivalent word was "lea" which had the default quantifier "ro *lea ro prenu" ("all of the set of all who really are persons") which is only useful for logically risky universal claims, whereas "lo" is useful for indefinites, where the speaker has no particular referents in mind. But "lo" is still not quite the same as English indefinites ("a" or "some" as articles). If you have even the slightest restriction on the set of persons being described and do not make the restriction explicit with poi/pe/po'u etc., the you should use "le" instead of "lo", and use explicit "su'o" to replace the implicit outside quantifier "ro": "su'o le ro prenu" ("some of all persons that I have in mind") - usually shortened to "su'o le prenu".

Dave Cortesi:
I ran off down the following dead-end alleys and would appreciate anybody's comments on how to escape them...

  • How to say: "habit" and/or "habitual".
  • How to say: "customary". tcaci = "custom"; is it enough to use the quality abstractor "ka"? Is ka tcaci = "customary"?

John Cowan:
"Habit" and "custom" are the same gismu: "tcaci". You would say "customary" by using this gismu in a tanru: "a habitual walker" = "lo tcaci cadzu". [Bob adds: You can also use "ta'e" as a tense-like inflection for "habitually".]

How to say: "cultural", "x springs from culture y". Here "ka kulnu" is clearly not adequate.

"lo se kulnu" are the people who exhibit a culture. [Bob adds: loi kulnu can be used for some portion or element of culture.]

How to say: "tilt", as in "x tilts/leans at angle y in frame z";

"salpo" = "x1 is sloped/inclined with angle x2 to horizon/frame x3"

How to say: "bias", as in "x is biased/directed/ influenced in direction y by applied force z";

I'm not sure if the physical or the metaphorical sense of "bias" is wanted here. For the latter, "se xlura" = "x1 is influenced by x2 to do or be x3 under conditions x4" seems to do the trick.

How to say: tend, as in x tends toward y (naturally, of itself)

"jinzi" = "x1 is the innate property of x2" The other portion of the tanru could be either "lakne" = "x1 is likely under conditions x2" "tarti" = "x1 behaves as x2 under condition x3" depending on context, or possibly other choices.

How to say: "thoughtless". Negation of "sanji" = "aware"? And then abstracted? How to say: "unwise". Negation of "prije" and abstracted?

No need to abstract here. Abstraction corresponds to things like "-ness" and "-ity". "lo na'e prije" = "an unwise person"; "lo na'e prije cusku" = "unwise statements". "Thoughtless" has several English meanings, I think.

Bob adds:
"ka sanji" is thus "consciousness" or "awareness". "nu prije" and "ka prije" are different interpretations of "wisdom". I would do most varieties of "thoughtless" as combinations of "claxu" = "lack" and "pensi" = "think" or "kurji" = "taking care of", or as "na'e", "no'e" and "to'e" negations of the latter two.

And here's a biggie: how do you say "idiom"? An idiom is not simply a metaphor, it's a metaphor that through constant usage has lost its metaphoric indirection and simply means what it originally suggested. (Like "red herring".)

We don't have those in Lojban. (zo'o)

A lot of possible tanru here. How about:
"se farvi smuni valsi" = "evolved_into-meaning-words"
"kulnu smuni valsi" = "cultural-meaning-words"
"tcaci smuni valsi" = "customary-meaning-words"

le lojbo se ciska - Your turn

Nick Nicholas has translated the next paragraph of the ongoing Jim Carter science fiction story, but partly due to space, and partly because of the other large translation here from Nick, we are holding that for next issue. Instead, I'm going to put some challenges to the readership (in case all this text, and Ivan's requests for tanru or lujvo, aren't enough.

I seriously want to see as many people as possible try one of the following two Lojbanic exercises. The first is merely an exercise in creative word manipulation, which any language lover can do. (You can complicate the exercise by using it as practice in lujvo-making, but this is not obligatory.) The second is a set of aphorism translation exercises that anyone can work on.

We would like feedback on these exercises, whatever you choose to do with them. Are they interesting? Which did you try to do, how well did you do, and how do you feel about your level of success compared to your expectations? Do you want exercises like this to be a regular feature of ju'i lobypli, and which exercises did you like best if space is too limited? There are a lot of aphorisms that can be translated, and a lot of concepts to explore Lojbanically.

The first exercise is a study in happiness. It all started with Nick Nicholas lecturing about "happiness":

In fact, to bring in a parenthesis, there is a massive history to the verb to be used corresponding to Happy. It alludes, of course, to the Sermon On The Mount. Now here are some distinct types of happiness:

English Esperanto Greek (Modern)
Fortunate Felicxa Eutuxhs, Eutuxismenos
Pleased (Kontenta) Euxaristhmenos
Happy Gaja Xaroumenos
Joyful Gxoja (can't think of one)
Blissful (Sengxena) Makarios (cf. Latin Beatus)

The Esperanto has 'Fortunate' because this makes the link between cause of happiness and the happiness explicit: Gxojas tiuj, kiuj... would sound like their joy was incidental to their seeing God. It would be even worse with Gajas tiuj, kiuj... which reads somewhat like "Those who have seen God are running around smiling".

But the original Greek had Makarioi, and the Latin translation has Beati. Admittedly some semantics would have been influenced by the Church's use of the term; but Oi Makarioi Nhsoi, the Isles of Bliss, the late-pagan-Greek equivalent of heaven, predates Christian theology (I think). What this implies to me is that Christ meant something along the lines of 'They will have no worries, no disquiet', not 'they will run around smiling' (Happy) or 'they will run around hurrahing' (Joyful) or 'they will say "ain't we lucky"' (Fortunate, Pleased).

Does la Lojban distinguish between these happinesses (it doesn't have to, and I've heard SapirWhorfish mumbles against such distinctions), and which would it have picked here?

Yes and no. We can distinguish between any concepts, but no one has done so yet. The "SapirWhorfish mumbles" you heard are wrong - one of the areas where Lojban may exhibit S-W effects is in the ability to make such distinctions, and the creativity that results from the free combination of ideas. In fact, I proposed a massive effort like the following way back in the first issue of JL, under the name 'complexing'. In a sense, doing this is what made me interested in Loglan enough to tackle the dictionary project (which is how I got started). (I love playing with words and their corresponding ideas, to see how they interact.)

So let's do it. Let's see how many ways there are to be happy (do happy?). I'll give some hints and guidelines, and see what our readers can come up with:

First you wander through the gismu list pulling out words related to the concept. I didn't pull the following out in order, but about 15 minutes gave me all of them. You can probably find more using your own lists. As you will see, don't be picky - let your mind play word association games.

Some key source words (I'll use the published gismu list; some places of some of these are probably going to change, but not to significantly affect this exercise - feel free to suggest changes, in fact):

Idea Place structure rafsi or lujvo
gleki x is happy about y gle gei
pluka x pleases y puk pu'a
se pluka x is pleased by y selpu'a
salci x celebrates y sal
xalbo x is levity/non-serious about y -
zdile x is amusing to y zil zdi
se zdile x is amused by y selzdi

These are 5 different basic 'kinds' of happiness. They can stand alone or modify each other:

salci gleki x is celebratingly-happy about y salgei gay/joyful
se zdile gleki x is amusedly-happy about y selzdigei one kind of enjoy, but see below.

But we needn't stop here. There are related words that are useful for specific kinds of happiness:

bebna x is foolish in y beb
cando x is idle/at rest/inactive cad
cizra x is strange/bizarre to y in z ciz
cunso x is random/chance cun cu'o
dimna x is the fate/destiny/doom of y -
se dimna x is doomed to y seldimna
fenki x is crazy/insane in doing/being y fek
jgira x has pride about y jgi
kanro x is healthy ka'o
kufra x is comfortable in environment y kuf
lifri x experiences y lif fri
lijda x is the religion of people y with tenets z lij jda
se lijda x follows religion y with tenets z seljda
mansa x is satisfied with y -
panpi x is at peace pap
pensi x thinks about y pen pei
prije x is wise/sage about y by standard/observer z pij
racli x is sane/rational -
ranxi x is ironic in that y rax
sanga x sings y to z sag
siclu x makes whistling sound y with z sil
stodi x is constant/invariant in y tod sto
tarti x behaves/conducts self as y under conditions z tat tai
tcaci x is the custom/habit of y under condition z cac tca
tinbe x obeys/follows command y by z tib
xamgu x is good for y by standard z xag xau
zabna x is the ameliorative of y zan za'a

All 24 of these can be applied as modifiers to "gleki", "selpu'a", "selzdi", "xalbo" and "salci", and in some cases each other. That gives over 120. Many will bring to mind a situation where they would be useful. Some, not all will suggest an English word equivalent (or possibly to Esperantists an Esperanto word, or to Nick, a Greek word.) All are valid tanru in Lojban. All more or less mean "happy". All can be made into lujvo. Anyone want to tackle the complete set systematically, giving us hundreds of words for the dictionary in one fell swoop? If you aren't that ambitious, try a few dozen, put together as you see fit (which may take a while) or a systematic subset (after doing this for a few minutes, you'll find you can't write them as fast as you can analyze them and put them together).

I'll give several examples:

bebna gleki x is foolishly-happy about y bebgei one kind of giddy
fenki gleki x is crazily/insanely happy about y fekygei another kind
zabna lifri x Experiences! y zanfri enjoys (my preference for this English word in most contexts)
siclu gleki x is whistlingly-happy about y (whistling z with w) silgei (think Snow White and the 7 Dwarves)
panpi kufra x is peacefully-comfortable in environment y papkufra content
panpi gleki x is peacefully-happy about y papygei serene
se lijda gleki x is religiously-believing happy about y seljdagei beatific

With the "happy" word first:

gleki panpi x is happily-at peace (happy about y) glepanpi blissful geirpanpi

Not enough? We have intensities:

carmi x is intense in y cam cai
milxe x is mild/gentle/unextreme in property y mli
mleca x is less than y in property z by amount w mec me'a
mutce x is toward the y extreme in property z mut mu'e
traji x is superlative in property y taj rai
zmadu x is more than y in property z by amount w zad zma mau
carmi gleki x is intensely-happy about y camgei implies a particularly emphatic happiness
mutce gleki x is very-happy about y mu'egle a little broader happiness than camgei, but still extreme
gleki zmadu x is happy-more than y is (about z by amount w) glemau or geizma happier
zmadu gleki x is more-happy about y (than z is by amount w) maugle or zmagei
se gleki zmadu x is happy_making-more than y (than z is by amt w) selgeimau

which can then be converted without lujvo making to:

se selgeimau x is made-happy-more by y than by z by amt w a proper and fairly exact lujvo is selkemselgei mau but the following will probably be adopted selselgeimau because any other interpretation of "selsel-" is a nullity

Finally, we can also define happiness in terms of what it is not, or what it lacks:

to'e polar opposite (c.f. Esperanto mal- ?) to'e
no'e neutral scalar negation no'e
badri x is sad/depressed about y dri
claxu x lacks/is without y cax cau
dunku x is anguished/distressed by y duk du'u
fanza x annoys/irritates/bothers y by doing/being z faz
se fanza x is annoyed by y doing/being z selfanza
fengu x is angry at y for z feg fe'u
junri x is serious about y jur
pante x protests/objects/complains to y about z by doing w -
raktu x troubles/disturbs y by z ra'u
se raktu x is troubled by y doing z selra'u
steba x feels frustration about y under conditions z seb
xanka x is nervous/anxious about y -


to'e badri x is polar-opposite of sad/depressed about y to'erdri
to'e pante x opposite-of-protests to y about z by doing w to'erpante compliments y ...
no'e pante x doesn't-protest to y about z by doing no'erpante has nothing to complain about to y is a reasonable interpretation of this as a lujvo, but there may be others
se raktu claxu x is troubled-lacking of y doing z selra'ucau a specific kind of bliss or serenity suggesting: x is blissfully unaware of y doing z

I'll close by listing some others Jim Brown had in his old dictionary, (updated to Lojban standards). I don't always agree with Brown's tanru but they may give ideas (a version of his 'English equivalent' is in parentheses):

gleki culno x is happy-full of y (x is joyful about y) geiclu
gleki xendo x is happy-kind towards y (x hearty/warm-hearted toward y) glexe'o
gleki rinka x is happy-causer of y (x cheers y up giving) gleri'a
se rinka gleki x is causedly happy about y by cause z (x is cheered up/cheerful about y cheered by z) selgleri'a

(which we can use other causals in:)

se mukti gleki x is motivatedly-happy about y by motive z selglemu'i
se krinu gleki x is justifiedly happy about y with reason z selgleki'u

or even

se nibli gleki x is logically-necessitated to be happy about y by logic z (?!) selgleni'i

Most English words will map to more than one Lojban word, because there are so many Lojban words. Thus we can make finer distinctions in our words than English can!

For those not familiar with lujvo-making rules, here's the easy version. Replace the final vowel of all but the last word with 'y', and write it as one word. Thus the 'easy' form of

'bebgei' is 'bebnygleki', and the two word versions are absolutely the same in meaning, place structure, etc.

If you want to try to shorten them, the following is a short set of rules omitting a couple of special cases that you'll rarely run into. See the Synopsis for complete rules. (For those few people who have gotten the new issue of the rafsi list, these rules are included).

Remember that the final rafsi must end in a vowel, incompatible consonant junctures between rafsi (voiced/unvoiced like "bp", same consonant like "bb", and both fricative "c, j, s, or z", and a few others - see the Synopsis or the back page of the Lojban-order gismu list) require a "y" 'hyphen' between the consonants. Also a CVV form requires 'r' as a hyphen in the first rafsi, unless immediately followed by a CCV affix (this to form the mandatory consonant cluster - use an 'n' if the following affix starts with 'r'). There are a few other rules, but if you get this far your first try without making any mistakes, I'll be more than ******* (Well - you find the word I want!!!)

Our other exercise is in translation of aphorisms. This can be a game of almost any level of difficulty or skill required, so we will provide both Lojban and English data so that it can be maximally used.

What follows are three sets of sentences:

  • The first set of sentences consists of Lojban translations of some aphorisms and other 'pithy sayings', the product of various members of the Lojban conversation group that meets here in the Washington DC area.
  • The second set of sentences are the original English versions of each of the Lojban translations, not in the same order as the Lojban sentences. This set of aphorisms is graded in difficulty from 1 (easiest) to 4 (hardest), in terms of amount of Lojban skill needed to translate them into Lojban.
  • The third set of sentences are also English aphorisms, but these have no translations. They are 'exercises'. This set of aphorisms is graded in difficulty from 1 (easiest) to 4 (hardest) as is the second set. These are estimates, since the sentences haven't been translated.

The translation section at the end of this issue has the complete set of matches between the first two sets of sentences, so that you can study them in comparison to each other. Feel free to comment on or criticize any of these translations, or try to do better yourself.

Here's what you do with these sentences:

  • The simplest exercise is to attempt to understand the first set of aphorisms, matching them up with their corresponding members of the second set.
  • Slightly more difficult is to go the other way. Attempt to translate sentences in the second set into Lojban sufficiently that you can match them to the corresponding members of the first set. You can also mix the two directions, trying some in each direction, making sure you mark sentences off so that you don't repeat yourself. Note that the Set #1 translations may not be the best possible.
  • You can attempt to fully translate the first set into English, seeing if you can figure out colloquial translations of the Lojban. You can compare your answer with the real quotation, which will help you judge your skill in reading Lojban, and our skill in communicating to you in Lojban.
  • Still braver, you can attempt to completely translate the second set of sentences into Lojban, and then compare your answer with the one that our group came up with. If you don't agree, you may still be correct - there is certainly more than one way to translate these types of sentences. If you think your version is as good or better, send it to us, and we may use yours when these are used as exercises in the Lojban textbook or samples in the first Lojban reader.
  • Finally, you can translate the third set of sentences into Lojban and send them to us. Include on a separate sheet the identifying number or complete English for each translation. The conversation group here will then attempt to back-translate your versions, which will help us learn the language. We will collectively respond to all submissions with comments and corrections of your attempts. The best translations will appear in future la lojbangirz. publications. We of course recommend working from easier aphorisms to harder ones, but work at whatever level you feel comfortable.
  • If you are studying together with at least one other Lojbanist, you can also do exactly what our group did in developing the first set. Cut individual English aphorisms into strips and put them into a box. Each person takes a slip and translates their sentence into Lojban. When all are done, say or write your results in turn, and have the other(s) try to back-translate into English - then compare with the original, and discuss the problems you experienced. We successfully did this with people of a variety of Lojban expertise at LogFest. You can do it too.

Set #1 - Pre-translated Lojban Aphorisms

Note: Two Lojban sentences below correspond to one single English in Set #2. Thus there are 20 Lojban sentences, and only 19 English ones in these two sets.

A. mi pu ricfu .ije mi pu pindi .i la'ede'u cu xagmau

B. le tordu temci morji cu traji se sinma sera'a le turni

C. le nu clira ckaklama gi'e clira ckacliva cu rinka le ka kanro joi ricfu joi prije

D. le ka terpa cu me lo pa drani se terpa

E. le banli to'e jetnu cu zmadu le jetnu le ni se krici

F. lo ka krici le cevni cu noroi mintu lo ka prami le cevni

G. mi pagbu ro le se tcidu be mi

H. lo cevni ka'enai galfi loi purci .iku'i lo circtuca ka'e go'i

I. lo no'e cevni krici cu krici le nu ri cu snuti

J. te'inai mi zmadu djica le nu zvati la Filydelfias

K. lo sidbo cu na fuzme le prenu poi krici ri

L. le clira cipni cu cpacu le curnu

M. na curmi le nu djuno roda

N. pa nunfenso pe ca lo zantemci cu fanta so nunfenso

O. fe le nu catra xaksu lo temci kei fa lo kamni nu penmi cu prane xarci

P. ro le nu kusru cu se rinka le ka ruble

Q. da poi renvi sepi'o loi balre baca'a mrobi'o sepi'o loi sodva vanju se pinxe

R. lo kumte cu simlu lo xirma poi se plafinti lo kamni

S. le verba poi terpa le manku ku'o ji le prenu poi terpa le se gusni cu bebna traji

T. no da pe le turni cu dunli se sinma lo tordu ni morji

Set #2 - Difficulty-Sorted English Originals for Set #1

1. (1) An idea isn't responsible for the people who believe in it. - Don Marquis

2. (1) The early bird gets the worm.

3. (1) I am a part of all that I have read. - John Kieran

4. (1) I've been rich and I've been poor; rich is better. - Sophie Tucker

5. (2) A camel looks like a horse that was planned by a committee. - Vogue magazine, July, 1958

6. (2) God cannot alter the past, but historians can. - Samuel Butler

7. (2) An atheist is a man who believes himself an accident. - Francis Thompson

8. (2) A stitch in time saves nine. - Benjamin Franklin

9. (2) To know all things in not permitted. - Horace

10. (2) All cruelty springs from weakness. - Seneca

11. (3) Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory. - John Kenneth Galbraith

12. (3) The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

13. (3) On the whole I'd rather be in Philadelphia. - W. C. Fields

14. (3) Faith is never identical with piety. - Karl Barth

15. (3) Early to bed and early to rise / Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

16. (3) A big lie is more plausible than truth. - Ernest Hemingway

17. (3) To kill time, a committee meeting is the perfect weapon. - Laurence J. Peter

18. (4) Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light? - Maurice Freehill

19. (4) He who lives by the sword shall perish by the champagne cocktail. - Saul Alinsky

Set #3 - No-Translations Given: Aphorisms in Difficulty Order

1. (1) A page of history is worth a volume of logic. - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

2. (1) All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions. - Leonardo da Vinci

3. (1) You can fool most of the people most of the time - P. T. Barnum

4. (1) Examine the contents, not the bottle. - The Talmud

5. (1) History is only a confused heap of facts. - Earl of Chesterfield

6. (1) I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. - Chinese proverb

7. (1) If it is not erotic, it is not interesting. - Fernando Arrabal

8. (1) Lo! Men have become the tools of their tools. - Henry David Thoreau

9. (1) Native ability without education is like a tree without fruit. - Aristippus

10. (1) Not to decide is to decide. - Harvey Cox

11. (2) A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic. - Joseph Stalin

12. (2) Art is not a thing; it is a way. - Elbert Hubbard

13. (2) Doubt is not a pleasant mental state but certainty is a ridiculous one. - Voltaire

14. (2) History is a cyclic poem written by Time upon the memories of man. - Percy Bysshe Shelley

15. (2) If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. - George Orwell

16. (2) If you scoff at language study ... how, save in terms of language, will you scoff? - Mario Pei

17. (2) If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it. - Marcus Tullius Cicero

18. (2) In war there is no substitute for victory. - Douglas MacArthur

19. (2) My father gave me these hints on speech-making: "be seated." - James Roosevelt

20. (2) Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. - Marie Curie

21. (2) No man is a failure who is enjoying life. - William Feather

22. (2) Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words. - Edgar Allan Poe

23. (2) Seeing is deceiving. It's eating that's believing. - James Thurber

24. (2) Shake and shake / The catsup bottle, / None will come, / And then a lot'll. - Richard Armour

25. (2) Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought. - Henri Bergson

26. (2) Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - George Santayana

27. (2) Those who write clearly have readers; those who write obscurely have commentators. - Albert Camus

28. (2) The thoughtless are rarely wordless.

29. (2) These Macedonians are a rude and clownish people; they call a spade a spade. - Plutarch

30. (2) The heart has its reasons which reason does not understand. - Blaise Pascal

31. (2) There is nothing permanent except change. - Heraclitus

32. (2) To be a success in business, be daring, be first, be different. - Marchant

33. (2) We are tomorrow's past. - Mary Webb

34. (2) What the country needs are a few labor-making inventions. - Arnold Glasow

35. (2) Who shall guard the guardians themselves. - Juvenal

36. (2) You'll find in no park or city / A monument to a committee. - Victoria Pasternak

37. (2) A belief is not true because it is useful. - Henri Frederic Amiel

38. (2) A person gets from a symbol the meaning he puts into it. - The United States Supreme Court

39. (2) All the fun's in how you say a thing. - Robert Frost

40. (3) Be obscure clearly. - E. B. White

41. (3) I am free of all prejudices. I hate every one equally. - W. C. Fields

42. (3) Leadership is action, not position. - Donald H. McGannon

43. (3) Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. - George Bernard Shaw

44. (3) Passions are vices or virtues to their highest powers. - Johann W. von Goethe

45. (3) Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. - Lord Acton

46. (3) The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet. - Damon Runyon

47. (3) Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. - Lewis Carroll

48. (3) The man who strikes first admits that his ideas have given out. - Chinese Proverb

49. (3) Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. - Abraham Lincoln

50. (3) The day will come when everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes. - Andy Warhol

51. (3) We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming. - Wernher von Braun

52. (3) What is honored in a country will be cultivated there. - Plato

53. (3) When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less. - Lewis Carroll

54. (3) When an idea is wanting a word can always be found to take its place. - Johann W. von Goethe

55. (4) 'Tain't what a man don't know that hurts him; it's what he knows that just ain't so! - Frank McKinney Hubbard

56. (4) A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used. - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

57. (4) Do you realize if it weren't for Edison we'd be watching TV by candlelight? - Al Boliska

58. (4) For every person wishing to teach there are thirty not wanting to be taught. - W. C. Sellar and R. Y. Yeatman

59. (4) It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards. - Lewis Carroll

60. (4) Production is not the application of tools to material, but logic to work. - Peter Drucker

61. (4) The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinion. - James Russell Lowell

62. (4) The past always looks better than it was. It's only pleasant because it isn't here. - Finley Peter Dunne

63. (4) The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. - Thomas Jefferson

64. (4) When a man has pity on all living creatures then only is he noble. - Buddha

For our untranslated Lojban text this issue, I'll share the floor with Ivan Derzhanski, who was studying in Boston when he wrote the following letter. My answer follows. Ivan wrote his text and understood mine with only level 1 materials. There ARE grammatical errors in Ivan's letter, but I was able to figure out most of what was intended, and my response corrects those errors.

coi lojbab. do'u
ni'o di'e pamoi xatra ci'a mi bau la Lojban.
   .i .oinai.o'u mi cpacu le'i pelji

ni'o mi sidju ledo nu zbasu le reno valsi
   .i ku'i baze'inai la'edi'u ne ki'u ca nu mutce cutyzu'e

ni'o .a'ocai do pu'i jimpe se mi ciska
   .i u'u na mi mutce djuno Lojban. .ije lerci .ije mi tatpi
   .i .au.a'u mi cpacu zoi <draft textbook lessons> zoi

co'omi'e .iVAN.

.ue do xamgu troci lenu cusku bau la Lojban.
.i la nik. ji'a puzi cpacu le selprina du'i xaunro'i (xamgytroci ta'unai)
.i mi jimpe ledo selsku .iku'i do milxe srera .ijeseku'ibo mi na birti le smuni be ledo vomoi jufra noi pilno le pluja ke temci cmavo .iku'i mi smadi
.i lo lojbo cmene cu nitcu lo cmene valsi tcita .iseni'ibo le do xamoi jufra cu se srera .ije do pu djica <<lu .i .u'u na[ku] mi mutce djuno la Lojban. li'u>>
.i xu do djica lenu mi ca benji le zasni tadycku kei ji lenu mi denpa ledo benji le krasi bangu selfanva terfanva
.i mi djica lenu do cmima binxo le lojbo ke skami xe mrilu po'u la lojban. list.
.ije ko benji le notci poi vasru ledo skami judri fo zoi <<.uniks. .uniks.>> .i ko cpedu bau la gliban .uu ki'u la erik. na tadni la lojban
.i mi djica lenu do mrilu lo fukpi be le do xatra joi le mi se spuda xatra le lojbo ke skami girzu po'u zoi <<.uniks. .uniks.>>
.i .u'u mi puza srera .ije ledo pamoi se mrilu cu te mrilu zoi <<.uniks. .uniks.>>
.i ko ranji lenu troci le lojbo cusku
.i co'omi'e lojbab.

[Note that the network address is no longer correct. See page 2 of this issue for the new address.]

Those letters were written in April. In July, Ivan, now back in Bulgaria, sent me a postcard and the following letter. The letter is virtually perfect, having only three minor errors that hardly affect understanding. 1) Ivan had a "zo" quote on the name, which I've replaced with lo'u/le'u quotes since there is more than one word. 2) Lojbanized names should end in a consonant, but inside 'ungrammatical Lojban text' quotes, this does not matter. 3) Ivan's original: "pa le tercfi lemi natmi beme'e zo ..." meant that his nation, and not the author, had the indicated name.

A portion of the text is embedded English. Ivan asks for help in expressing some concepts, which will be obvious in the text, even if you can't read the Lojban. Please suggest tanru or lujvo for any or all of them. If you are not confident at lujvo-making from a tanru, but feel that the concept should be expressed in a single word, put the Lojban words together separated by a hyphen. I encourage that proposed lujvo come with a plausible place structure. I'll collect the suggestions and send them to Ivan.

I note in passing that "LogFest" has the impermissible medial 'gf' which makes it a bad Lojbanized name. Maybe it is time we switch the name to Lojban since people are starting to write about it in Lojban. What do people think of "la jbosalci"?

de'e xatra tu'i la pijyta'u de'i li pa pi'e ze pi'e sopa

coi lojbab.

ni'o mi rinsa do tebe'i lemi tcadu no'u le la bulgariax. ralta'u .i .oiru'e mutce lenku .i le djacu carvi cu na sisti

ni'o mi troci ke lojbo fanva lo lisri be ci'a pa le tercfi pe lemi natmi zi'e peme'e lo'u XRISto. SMIRnenski. le'u be'o .iku'i pi su'o loi selsku cu dukse nandu mi .i mi benji lo pagbu be ri do .i .e'o ko stidi le lojbo velsku

.i zoi. problem.

  1. dedicate (a story) to (sbd.)
  2. clench one's fist; fist (n.)
  3. bribe; ransom
  4. betray
  5. tear, rend (cloth); rag (n,
  6. bend, lean over (sbd.)
  7. threat, menace (n.)
  8. rush, dash
  9. shrill, piercing (sound)

ni'o.a'o la LogFest. pe le cabnanca pu snada

co'omi'e .iVAN.

Nick Nicholas, our Australian/Greek/Esperantist Lojban star is interested in exploring Lojban stylistics. Although he has worked on learning Lojban only a few months, he has a command of the language about as good as anyone has. Perhaps too good - his writings may be beyond the capability of most readers' following. This is sad because the stylistic variation in the Lojban that he was trying to achieve is quite obvious. Equally important, it is quite interesting.

I urge everyone willing to spend a bit of time to try various portions of the text (some are more difficult than others). Feel free to liberally cheat and look back at the translation section, or perhaps just read the text with translation there. Skip around and sample the five sections, and see if you too can perceive the stylistic variation in the Lojban.

A warning with a suggestion - this is not an easy text; indeed, it goes far beyond the draft textbook lessons in use of the grammar. Do not get too hung up if you cannot figure out a word (Nick even uses a couple that are not in the published cmavo list, but are noted in the JL14 change pages, or in the discussion above on sumti-raising. I've tried to identify these and work around this problem, but may have missed something.) Try to get the gist of what is being said, and the words may become clear from context. And don't get hung up on one sentence too long - move on to the next one.

The following is translated from modern Greek. Freddy Germanos, (1934- ) is a newspaper columnist, and this is taken from a book collection of his columns for the Mesimvrin'i (Midday) paper, printed in 1967 by Galaxias publishers. The title of the book is 'To Dhis Examartein' ('Sinning Twice' - alluding to the ancient Greek saying, "Sinning twice is not [a characteristic] of a wise man". The parody is on pp. 12-13 of the 7th edition, dated March 1974, by Grigoris Publishers, 73 Solonos St., Athens. There is no copyright notice on the book.

lonu reroi pacnunzu'e cu na se ckaji lo prije

ni'oni'oni'oni'o la fredis. germaNOS. pu finti .i la kir. pu te pinxe pamo'o .i memi'a poi te prosa

ni'oni'oni'o nuzba

ni'oni'o le briju cu so'iroi se klama so'olemi pendo poi co'a se jibri zu'i po mi gi'e preti cpedu le tarmi po'e lo nuzba nu cusku

ni'o .i'a loi nuzba ne semau roda vajrai ci'elo karni nu cupra .iku'i cinri fa lo karni poi mu'i lenu ke'a pilno ku cusku le go'i .i rolo karni cu ckaji leri tadji be le nuzba nu cusku .i la'edi'u nibli lenu ra se tcidu co frili gi'a se tcidu naku

ni'o mupli lo nuzba poi mutce sampu .i lo nixli be li mu ca lepu'u kelci levo'a bolci cu farlu lo skuro poi karbi'o se kakpa lei gunka pole ta'utru

.i tarmi le ve cusku be le nuzba bei pi'o la karni be de'i roboi lo djedi be'oku (to la roldei toi) .i

<<lu di'o lo paboi te kruca be le klaji poi se cmene la .adriaNOS. vauku'o bei le klaji poi se cmene la paleologos. ku'obe'oku ko'a goi paboi lo nixli be muboi lo nanca be'oku ge'u pu se xrani ca lepu'u ko'a cu kelci da noi ke'a se tarmi lo bolci vauku'ovaukeivau .i le nu xrani vaukei cu diklo fe'eba'o va paboi le zdani be lai paleologon. benizelon. be'oku noi la kamBUroglus. pu skicu ke'a ta'i lo se ciska ku tai loka lanli vaukeivauku'ovau .i la'edi'e cu cizra zo'e lenu fasnu vaukei ne sekai leka na xlura vaukeige'uvau .i paboi lo reboi rirni be la kamBUroglus. be'oku pu binxo le speni be paboi lo reboi rirni be la kamBUroglus. be'oku poi na du vo'a ku'o soivo'avo'e se'u be'oku vi le zdani be lai varvatis. be'oku noi jibni le zdani be lai paleologon. benizelon. be'okuvauku'ovau .i le nixli ki na se ckape vau

.i ke'unai vecu'u la akROpolis. le nuzba cu ka'e ckaji loka zmadu cinri bo cfipu .i

<<lu pu zgana ne'i lo skuro lo se xrani. goi ko'a poi mebrai nixli gi'e jarco lo frili se viska jalge be lonu vlile .i ri'anai lenu le zekri lifri po'u ko'a na pujaca skicu fi lei pulji kei ca cipra fa ri lejei na'e snuti (to pupu jinvi to'ebori toi) gi'e cinse zekri .i lo kamni poi se cmima le mi karni zbasu caca'a cipra fi le tcini mu'i lenu djica co danfu fo re preti ra'u po'u di'e .i pamai xu le nixli pu cinse vlile lifri .i remai fau lenu ko'a na'eke cinse vlile lifri kei ko'a na'eke cinse vlile lifri ki'u ma

.i li'a vecu'u la cermurse [see the new gismu added this issue] sesau se basna fa loi drata tcila .i

<<lu nixli .i ko'a pe leni slabu .i ri du mu nanca .i xrani ca le purlamdei .i farlu lo skuro po la ta'utru ca lenu kelci le bolci .i ko'a ze'iba tavla palemi karnypra .i ko'a fatci xusra .i
<<lu mi farlu le skuro .i ni'ibo mi na citka ca re djedi .i besna se cfipu .i lemi mamta cu selfu seljibri .i lemi patfu cu na'e dinycpa .i ni'ibo ri roroi pantydzu

.ice ka'e zgana cusku fo la natmi nu'arki'a

<<lu lenu xrani cu se rinka lonu pimo'ale skuro cu te sabji lo gacri .i ni'inai lenu na catni se xusra cu cusku lenu fuzme fa relo gunka pe le ta'utru ge'u zi'e noi ze'u .o'onai kaurposysi'orpre .i lei pulji cu cipra lejei zasti fa loi flana'etinbe gripre noi pu zukte lo drata nu jecyselxrazei

.i romai la deimid. cfari le ni'onrai tarmi be loi nuzba

.i <<lu se tirna fa lo voksa .i se viska fa lo xance poi se desku tai loka ti'e pacna zi'epoi cpedu lenu sidju .ibabo smaji .i ?ma pu fasnu .i mi ciksi .i lo nixli pu sakli mo'ine'i lo skuro .ibazabo le nixli cu bacru
<<lu mi farlu ri'a lenu la paf. na di'i tcidu la deimid.

Nick asked for a return of "lei lojbo", Nora's comic strip. In honor of Nick's efforts, and his Esperantist background, enjoy the following page. Esperanto text was aided by David Twery.

lei lojbo by Nora LeChevalier

lei lojbo

Translations of le lojbo se ciska
lo zekri  fi'e    la bab. tcySEL.
A  crime, created by Bob Chassell

Probably just "zekri", an observative, would be better. Stand-alone sumti in Lojban suggest an answer to a "ma" question. With the "fi'e" author label, "me la'ezo zekri ..." might be still better.

.i mi cadzu     pagre        le vorme      le kumfa
   I  walkingly pass through the door into the room.

We need a word for doorway, probably as a place of "vorme". I doubt that the door itself was passed through. Bob several times uses "lo" and "le" in ways I can't quite figure out. As a reader, whenever I see "le" attached to a new description, I expect to see some restrictive relative clause that tells which one "the" door is, and which one "the" room is. When I don't, as here, I get narrative suspense, which may be the intent. But one normally expects the suspense will resolve. I have made the English translate in a literal fashion that suggests what Bob's descriptor choices would be interpreted as.

.i lo xadni pe le  nanmu cu vreta         lo loldi
   A  body  of the man      reclines upon a  floor.

"pe" is an unnaturally loose 'possessive' for this relation. Bob could have used "be" since the man could be the x2 of "xadni". Normally one thinks of a body as inalienably associated with a particular person, so "po'e" would seem more natural than "pe".

.i mi viska le  flecu   be loi ciblu bei fo       le  xadni
   I  see   the current of     Blood flowing from the body.

Bob C.'s Note: I suggest that "flecu" be given the same form as "fall":

"x1 flows to x2 ..." instead of the current: flecu fec fle flow current of/in..flowing to..from..'flush' Bob L. responds: That would be a different, and narrower meaning of "flow". This is the 'noun' version of "flow", which can include oceanic currents, etc.

.i mi sisku loi sinxa         be le                 zekri
   I  seek      Signs/Symbols of the described-as-a (alleged) crime.
.i mi viska loi kevna pe              loi danti ge'u be lo sefta   be lo jubme
   I  see       Holes associated with     Bullets    in a  surface of a  table.

Presumably the bullets made only one hole each, so "lo kevna" and "lo danti" might be better than "loi". "lo" can apply to plural things, as long as the statement is true of each separate item. can apply to plural things, as long as the statement is true of each separate item.

.ije  mi viska lo nu         loi cukta pu farlu      lo kajna    lo jubme e   lo loldi 
  And I  see   an event that     Books fell     from a  shelf to a  table and a  floor.

There is no inference permitted that this "lo loldi" is the same floor as the one that the body was on. This is one problem with "lo", which is never restricted unless explicitly so.

.ije mi viska lo nu         lo canko cu kalri
 And I  see   an event that a  window   is open.
.i mi catlu   lo plita ke bartu    drudi noi   lo'e      prenu  cadzu
   I  look at a  flat  ,  exterior roof  which a typical person walks (on it).
.i mi cusku fi la tam. noi              pulji  ku'o fe lu pe'i              le  zekri prenu   pu cpare     le  plita ke bartu    drudi   le canko   pe le kumfa  li'u
   I  say      to Tom, who-incidentally polices,       "  I think [I opine] the crime person  climbed over the flat  ,  exterior-roof to the window of the room. "
.i la tam. cusku lu ia.           ie.
      Tom  says  "  Yes (belief), I agree.
.i ko catlu   le  kevna  be le  bitmu be'o poi   ke'a trixe     le  pixra
      Look at the cavity in the wall       which it   is behind the picture.
.i le  kevna cu vasru    lo tanxe .ije  ri                   kunti zo'e                     li'u
   The cavity   contains a  box     and The last referent is empty of something unspecified."
.i la tam. cusku lu ju'e       le   tanxe   pu vasru            loi rupnu li'u
      Tom  says, "  I conclude that the box contained [full of] Money.    "

The "full of" is not implied in the Lojban. Perhaps "vasru culno" would do so.

.i mi catlu   le  vorme pe le  tanxe  pe                le  bitmu
   I  look at the door  of the box in [associated with] the wall.

Again, "vorme be le tanxe" seems better. ('Use the place structures, Luke')

.i mi cusku lu ba'a     le  stela cu porpi
   I  say   "  I expect the lock     is broken.
.i .ua         .ue        mi facki         lo  za'i     ge   lo vorme gi  lo stela na     porpi  li'u
   (Discovery! Surprise!) I  discover that the state of both a  door  and a  lock  is not broken."
.i mi cusku fi la tam. fe lu le  minra  pu   farlu lo bitmu   lo loldi gi'e pu porpi li'u
   I  say      to Tom,    "  The mirror fell from  a  wall to a  floor and  broke.   "
.i la tam. cusku lu pe'i              le  morsi nanmu pu lacpu le  minra     lo loldi      lo bitmu
      Tom  says  "  I think [I opine] the dead  man   pulled   the mirror to a  floor from a  wall.
.i se'o           mi'o          catlu      lo sinxa   da        poi  ke'a vajni            lo nu       sisku   li'u
   I have a hunch you and I are looking at a  sign of something that [it] is important for an event of seeking."

("se'o" is listed in the JL14 changes.)

.i la tam. cusku lu ra'u            ju'e       lo  prenu  poi ke'a     pu sazri le  stela             lo za'i           kalri ku'o djuno fi    lo tadji  be lo pu'u       kalri sazri     le  tanxe vorme li'u 
      Tom  said, "  Most important, I conclude the person who (he/she) operated the lock with goal of a  state-of-being open       knows about a  method of a  process of open  operating the box   door. "

I made some minor changes to Bob's original of this and the line so it would fit the place structure of "djuno" described in the sumti-raising article above.

.i mi cusku lu ganai tu'a                 le  zekri prenu goi ko'a ge   kalri rinka  le  stela tanxe
   I  said   " If    (in doing something) the thief           (x1) both open  caused the lock  box
ginai       spofu  rinka  tu'a ri ]
and did not broken causes      it (the lock box) (to be something; i.e., broken).
gi   ko'a cu djuno fi    lo pu'u       kalri sazri     le  tanxe vorme 
then he      knows about a  process of open  operating the box   door.
This is an excellent example of both forethought logical connectives (which Bob figured out how to properly do even though that textbook lesson has not yet been written), and of the necessity for sumti-raising (I added the "tu'a"s). Without marking the sumti-raising, it is especially easy to see that "spofu rinka ri" does not translate properly: "ri", the lock box is the x2 place of "rinka", an event caused.
.i .ua          ru'a        ko'a catlu     le  se minra  be le  nu       kalri sazri     le  stela tanxe vorme sepi'o     lo darno ke      catlu      cabra                 li'u 
   (discovery!) I postulate x1   looked at the reflected of the event of open  operating the lock  box   door  using tool a  far   type-of looking-at apparatus [telescope]."

Following is the translation of John Cowan's story:

pamoi xamrei ra'a lo verba
first funny-question associated-with a child

ni'o la paf. cusku <<lu pau mazo'o crino gi'e dandu le bitmu gi'e siclu li'u>>
(New subject) Dad says "What (funny!) is-green and hangs-on the wall and whistles?"

.i la ver. cusku <<lu .uanai mi na djuno li'u>>
Kid says "(Confusion!) I do-not know".

.i la paf. cusku <<lu .ui lo me la clupe'as. xarengus. finpe li'u>>
Dad says "(Happiness!) A Clupeas-harengus type-of fish [a herring]".

.i la ver. cusku <<lu .ia ri goi ko'a na crino li'u>>
Kid says "(Belief!) That-last, or it1, is-not green".

.i la paf. cusku <<lu fu'i le nu ko gasnu cu rinka le nu ko'a ba crino li'u>>
Dad says "(Easy!) The event-of you (Imperative!) acting is-the-cause-of the event-of it1 will-be green".

.i la ver. cusku <<lu .iasai ko'a ba'e na dandu le bitmu li'u>>
Kid says "(Belief-moderate!) It1 does-not hang-on the wall".

.i la paf. cusku <<lu fu'isai le nu ko gasnu cu rinka le nu ko'a ba dandu li'u>>
Dad says "(Easy-moderate!) The event-of you (Imperative!) acting is-the-cause-of the event-of it1 will hang".

.i la ver. cusku <<lu .iacai ko'a ba'e ba'e na siclu li'u>>
Kid says "(Belief-intense!) It1 does-not whistle".

.i la paf. cusku <<lu fu'icai mi pu cusku lo jitfa li'u>>
Dad says "(Easy-intense!) I (past) express a false-thing."

Matches between Set #2 and Set #1 Aphorisms

1. (1) An idea isn't responsible for the people who believe in it. - Don Marquis
K. lo sidbo cu na fuzme le prenu poi krici ri

2. (1) The early bird gets the worm.
L. le clira cipni cu cpacu le curnu

3. (1) I am a part of all that I have read. - John Kieran
G. mi pagbu ro le se tcidu be mi

4. (1) I've been rich and I've been poor; rich is better. - Sophie Tucker
A. mi pu ricfu .ije mi pu pindi .i la'ede'u cu xagmau

5. (2) A camel looks like a horse that was planned by a committee. - Vogue magazine, July, 1958
R. lo kumte cu simlu lo xirma poi se plafinti lo kamni

6. (2) God cannot alter the past, but historians can. - Samuel Butler
H. lo cevni ka'enai galfi loi purci .iku'i lo circtuca ka'e go'i

7. (2) An atheist is a man who believes himself an accident. - Francis Thompson
I. lo no'e cevni krici cu krici le nu ri cu snuti

8. (2) A stitch in time saves nine.
N. pa nunfenso pe ca lo zantemci cu fanta so nunfenso

9. (2) To know all things in not permitted. - Horace
M. na curmi le nu djuno roda

10. (2) All cruelty springs from weakness. - Seneca
P. ro le nu kusru cu se rinka le ka ruble

11. (3) Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory. - John Kenneth Galbraith
B. le tordu temci morji cu traji se sinma sera'a le turni
T. no da pe le turni cu dunli se sinma lo tordu ni morji

12. (3) The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. - Franklin Delano Roosevelt
D. le ka terpa cu me lo pa drani se terpa

13. (3) On the whole I'd rather be in Philadelphia. - W. C. Fields
J. te'inai mi zmadu djica le nu zvati la Filydelfias

14. (3) Faith is never identical with piety. - Karl Barth
F. lo ka krici le cevni cu noroi mintu lo ka prami le cevni

15. (3) Early to bed and early to rise / Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
C. le nu clira ckaklama gi'e clira ckacliva cu rinka le ka kanro joi ricfu joi prije

16. (3) A big lie is more plausible than truth. - Ernest Hemingway
E. le banli to'e jetnu cu zmadu le jetnu le ni se krici

17. (3) To kill time, a committee meeting is the perfect weapon. - Laurence J. Peter
O. fe le nu catra xaksu lo temci kei fa lo kamni nu penmi cu prane xarci

18. (4) Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light? - Maurice Freehill
S. le verba poi terpa le manku ku'o ji le prenu poi terpa le se gusni cu bebna traji

19. (4) He who lives by the sword shall perish by the champagne cocktail. - Saul Alinsky
Q. da poi renvi sepi'o loi balre baca'a mrobi'o sepi'o loi sodva vanju se pinxe

Nick's translation of a Greek newspaper

lonu reroi pacnunzu'e cu na se ckaji lo prije
ni'oni'oni'oni'o la fredis. germaNOS. pu finti
.i la kir. pu te pinxe pamo'o
.i memi'a poi te prosa ni'oni'oni'o nuzba ni'oni'o

[Title] Events of twice sinning [evil-events-of-acting] are not characteristic of the wise ones.
[Author] Freddy Germanos created.
[Section] Kir is Drunk From, Section I. We Who Write Prose.
[Article] News

le briju cu so'iroi se klama so'olemi pendo poi co'a se jibri zu'i po mi gi'e preti cpedu le tarmi po'e lo nuzba nu cusku
The office is oftentimes come-to-by several of my friends who initially are be-jobbed by that typical of us and who questioningly-request the form which is inalienable to news expressings.
To the office often come friends who are just getting started in our profession, and who ask me how to write news.

ni'o .i'a loi nuzba ne semau roda vajrai ci'elo karni nu cupra .iku'i cinri fa lo karni poi mu'i lenu ke'a pilno ku cusku le go'i .i rolo karni cu ckaji leri tadji be le nuzba nu cusku .i la'edi'u nibli lenu ra se tcidu co frili gi'a se tcidu naku
(Acceptance) News, more than all-other-somethings is superlatively-important in-system journal-producing. However, interesting is the journal which, motivated by it using, (something) expresses News [the x1 of the previous bridi]. Each journal is characterized by its method of news-expressing. This [that they are so characterized] necessitates that it [uncertain - could be the news-expressing, the method, each journal] is a read-thing of-type easy, or is a read-thing not-so.
News is of course the Alpha and Omega of journalism [Greek: public-writing]. But what's important is which paper you write it for. Each paper has its own style of writing news. This results in them being read more easily - or not at all.

Bob: "News, more than all-things, is superlatively-important." - This is highly redundant. There are alternate phrasings using the places of "traji", but the minimal change is "loi nuzba ne semau da'ada vajni" = "News, more than all-other-things, is important."
I modified one phrase, where Nick used "lo karni poi jaipi'o cusku le go'i", since the usage is not on anyone's cmavo list, and was so vague, I had trouble figuring it out WITH knowledge and the English. "jaipi'o" is the new tagged-sumti-place converter/extractor (the equivalent of a SE conversion) intended to help clarify sumti-raising. Since Nick's version elliptically omitted the "ke'a", you have to guess where it was supposed to go. I made the following transformations, which are the obvious deductions and equivalences:
"lo karni poi <jaipi'o cusku le go'i>"
"lo karni poi <ke'a jaipi'o cusku le go'i>" (inserting "ke'a" at the beginning)
"lo karni poi <pi'o ke'a cusku le go'i>" (The "jaipi'o" means that "ke'a" is the "pi'o"-tagged sumti of the selbri (which is "cusku")
"The journal which used by it [something] expresses the x1 of the previous sentence (News)".
This can possibly be interpreted to mean the colloquial English, but has more the sense of "which paper uses your writing". Clearly the emphasis in this article is on the what the writer writes and why, and the motivational implication ("mu'i") of "who you write it for" is lost. Even if Nick's original means what he wanted, the "jaipi'o" is far more opaque than the equivalent "pi'o ke'a".

ni'o mupli lo nuzba poi mutce sampu .i lo nixli be li mu ca lepu'u kelci levo'a bolci cu farlu lo skuro poi karbi'o se kakpa lei gunka pole ta'utru
Example of a news item which is much simple. A girl of age #5, simultaneous with the process of playing with x1's [her] ball, falls to a groove which open-becomingly is-dug-by workers owned by the city-government.
Let's examine a very simple news item. A girl, aged 5, while playing with her ball, falls into a trench opened by a Municipal crew.

The age place on "nixli" seems wrongly-expressed. I think more correct is "lo nixli be lo nanca mumoi", optionally omitting the "nanca".

[There follow five different reports, one upper-class in archaic prose concentrating on the famous socialites living next door to the trench, one sensationalist speculating on rape, one communist calling for a class struggle, one anti-communist hinting at Red sabotage, and Germanos' own paper claiming she fell in because her father did not buy said paper.]

.i tarmi le ve cusku be le nuzba bei pi'o la karni be de'i roboi lo djedi be'oku (to la roldei toi)
Form of the medium of expression of the news, used by the-one-called Journal Associated with Date Each-Day (The Each-day).
[Here's] how you'd write the news in the Daily.

[Bob: I changed Nick's journal title to match the style of the newspaper. Nick had originally used the parenthetical name]

{Very archaic Greek follows. I've emulated it by expanding all tanru, and lots of terminators.}

.i <<lu di'o lo paboi te kruca be le klaji poi se cmene la .adriaNOS. vauku'o bei le klaji poi se cmene la paleologos. ku'obe'oku ko'a goi paboi lo nixli be muboi lo nanca be'oku ge'u pu se xrani ca lepu'u ko'a cu kelci da noi ke'a se tarmi lo bolci vauku'ovaukeivau
"At the locus of the single crossing-point of the street which is named 'Adrianos' with the street which is named 'Paleologos', it1, defined as one girl of age 5 years was-injured, simultaneous with the process of it1 playing with something, which it has form of a ball.
"At the intersection of Adrian and Palaeologus streets a five year old maiden was injured while she did ludificate with her sphere.

.i le nu xrani vaukei cu diklo fe'eba'o va paboi le zdani be lai paleologon. benizelon. be'oku noi la kamBUroglus. pu skicu ke'a ta'i lo se ciska ku tai loka lanli vaukeivauku'ovau
The event of injury is local to beyond [something] near one of the nests of the mass called Paleologon-Benizelon, which [house] Kamburoglus described it in form inscribed, in manner analytical.
The accident occurred directly opposite the domicile of the Palaeologus-Benizelos family, about which [the house] Kambouroglou has written analytically.

.i la'edi'e cu cizra zo'e lenu fasnu vaukei ne sekai leka na xlura vaukeige'uvau
That referred by the following utterance is bizarre to unspecified one(s) in occurrence characterized-by not-influencer-ness.
By a most strange coincidence,

.i paboi lo reboi rirni be la kamBUroglus. be'oku pu binxo le speni be paboi lo reboi rirni be la kamBUroglus. be'oku poi na du vo'a ku'o soivo'avo'e se'u be'oku vi le zdani be lai varvatis. be'oku noi jibni le zdani be lai paleologon. benizelon. be'okuvauku'ovau
One of the two parents of Kamburoglus became the spouse of one of the two parents of Kamburoglus which was not = x1 [the first 'one of the two parents of Kamburoglus'], and x2 to x1 [or "vice versa"; the latter became the spouse of the former, too] at the nest of the mass called Varvatis which is near the nest of the mass called Paleologon-Benizelon
The parents of Kambouroglou were bewedded in the Varvatis domicile, which is next to the P-B domicile.

.i le nixli ki na se ckape vau li'u>>
The girl is presently not imperiled."
The maiden is out of danger."

.i ke'unai vecu'u la akROpolis. le nuzba cu ka'e ckaji loka zmadu cinri bo cfipu
Continuing, in medium the Acropolis, the news can be characterized by more interestingly-confusing.
On the other hand, in the Acropolis the news item could take on a more enigmatic character. {Note very dreadful tanru in the following.}

.i <<lu pu zgana ne'i lo skuro lo se xrani. goi ko'a poi mebrai nixli gi'e jarco lo frili se viska jalge be lonu vlile
"Observed, inside a groove, an injured, hereinafter it1, who is beautiful-mostly girlish, and displays easily-seen results of events of violence.
"There has been found wounded, in a ditch, a most beautiful maiden bearing obvious signs of abuse.

.i ri'anai lenu le zekri lifri po'u ko'a na pujaca skicu fi lei pulji kei ca cipra fa ri lejei na'e snuti (to pupu jinvi to'ebori toi) gi'e cinse zekri
Despite the-event the crime-experiencer who is it1 not before-or-now describes to the police, simultaneously testing by them [the police] the truth value of other-than-accidental (had earlier opined opposite-of-this [accidental]) and sexual-crime.
Although the victim has not yet made her statement, the police is investigating whether this was no accident, as had been thought initially, but a crime of a sexual nature.

.i lo kamni poi se cmima le mi karni zbasu caca'a cipra fi le tcini mu'i lenu djica co danfu fo re preti ra'u po'u di'e
A committee which is bemembered by our journal-makers is presently testing among the situation motivated by the event of desiring of type answers to two questions, chiefly, which follow.
A team of our editors is already investigating the matter to answer two main questions.

.i pamai xu le nixli pu cinse vlile lifri
First, Is it true that the girl was a sexually-violent-experiencer?
a) was the maiden raped?

.i remai fau lenu ko'a na'eke cinse vlile lifri kei ko'a na'eke cinse vlile lifri ki'u ma li'u>>
Second, in the event of it1 [the girl} other-than sexually-violent-experiences, it1 other-than sexually-violent-experiences justified by what?"
b) if the maiden was not raped, why was she not raped?"

.i li'a vecu'u la cermurse sesau se basna fa loi drata tcila
Clearly, in media-of-expression the-one called morning-twilight, necessarily, are-emphasized Other Details.
Of course in the Dawn other points must be emphasized. {Very folksy/dialectical Greek follows}

.i <<lu nixli .i ko'a pe leni slabu .i ri du mu nanca .i xrani ca le purlamdei .i farlu lo skuro po la ta'utru ca lenu kelci le bolci
"Girl. It1 [not defined, but obvious. This fits the style.] associated with age. Age = 5 year-intervals. Injury simultaneous with the past-adjacent-day [yesterday]. Faller to a groove owned by the-one(s)-named City-Government, simultaneous with the playing with the ball.
"A li'l girl, 5 yr old, got hurt yesterday, falling, while she was playin' with her ball, into a City ditch.

.i ko'a ze'iba tavla palemi karnypra .i ko'a fatci xusra
It1 after-the-momently talks to one of our journal-producers. It1 factually asserts.
Talking later to one of our editors, she put things straight.

There is current debate going on that may change the interpretation of "ze'iba". I left it unchanged on the basis of the published cmavo list. Whatever is eventually decided will be reflected in the in-progress paper on interpreting tenses, and in updates to the cmavo list.

.i <<lu mi farlu le skuro .i ni'ibo mi na citka ca re djedi .i besna se cfipu
"I fall to the groove. Logically-necessary because I not eat during 2 days. Brainily-confused-by.
'I fell in that ditch cause I hadn't eaten for two days. I bin dizzy.

.i lemi mamta cu selfu seljibri .i lemi patfu cu na'e dinycpa .i ni'ibo ri roroi pantydzu li'u>> li'u>>
My mother is servant bejobbed. My father other-than money-gets. Logically-necessary because he always [Nick had a complex tense here that wasn't quite right, added nothing, and seemed like more than a 5-year-old's mouthful] protest-walks.'"
My momma works as a servant. My poppa can't get a day's wages cause he's always on protest marches.'"

.ice ka'e zgana cusku fo la natmi nu'arki'a
And next (not in any order) can observing-express in-medium the National News-Crier.
While in the National Herald it could be noted that:

<<lu lenu xrani cu se rinka lonu pimo'ale skuro cu te sabji lo gacri
The event of injuring is caused by an event of too-little-of the groove being supplied with a cover.
"The accident is due to the incomplete covering of the ditch.

.i ni'inai lenu na catni se xusra cu cusku lenu fuzme fa relo gunka pe le ta'utru ge'u zi'e noi ze'u .o'onai kaurposysi'orpre
Logically despite [Note how Nick has both political extremes prone to invoking "Logic" in attacking each other. Very cute, Nick!] the event of it-being-false that [something] is-authority-asserted, [something] expresses the-event-of Responsible are two workers associated with the city-government and incidentally, for-a-long-time (Anger!) common-owner-idea-persons.
Although there has been no formal announcement, it is said that those responsible are two City workers, who are longtime communists.

Nick had omitted the "zi'e", which made the second relative clause apply to "le nu fuzme". Multiple relative clauses and other sumti modifiers attached with selma'o GOI and NOI is one place that the language can get clumsy, and you can easily make errors. So I recommend using "zi'e" to join such multiple modifiers.
Nick's lujvo for "communists" is not the best I've seen. JCB used "ownerly-common-believer". I think this is close, but backwards - this is best shown by using the inverted form of the tanru: it should be "ownership of type common", and not "common things of type owner". I prefer the similar "common-owner-believe" or better-by-massifying: "community-owner-believe". However from the standpoint of the conservatives who wrote this article, perhaps "worker-own-believer" or "public-owner-believer" might convey some of the apparent distaste for the 'lower-class' orientation. (Anyone want to work on lujvo for a variety of political and social credos? What is the linguistic difference between "Democrats" and "Republicans"?
I also think "mabla" (or "mal-", I'm sure the newspaper would use it enough to lujvo-ize it) on the front of whatever the word for "communists" would be better than the attitudinal, which seems rather to fit the style of the sensationalist tabloid. (Incidentally, I think all quoted text from supposedly 'real people' would be richer in attitudinals in all versions of the story. We use a lot of attitudinals in conversation here. This would heighten the distinction between the repertorial voice and the voice of the people being interviewed.)

.i lei pulji cu cipra lejei zasti fa loi flana'etinbe gripre noi pu zukte lo drata nu jecyselxrazei li'u>>
Police are testing the truth of existence of Law-non-obeying Group-People [massed] who acted at other events of state-injured-crime."
The police is investigating whether this is an illegal network, which has acted out other acts of sabotage in the past."

Nick should consider variations and compounds of "sisku" ("seek") or fakro'i ("discover-try") or "lanli" ("analyze") "cliro'i" ("learn-try") for "investigate", which he has translated as being the same as "test" in all versions of the story. I liked his 'conservative' translation of "sabotage" as a crime that injures the state, though I added the "sel" rafsi to make sure that no one thinks that the polity did the injuring.

.i romai la deimid. cfari le ni'onrai tarmi be loi nuzba
Finally, the-one-called Day-Middle initiates the new-most form of News.
The Midday has established a totally new style in news:

.i <<lu se tirna fa lo voksa .i se viska fa lo xance poi se desku tai loka ti'e pacna zi'epoi cpedu lenu sidju
Is-heard, a voice. Is-seen, a hand which [it?] is-shaken-by by-method a quality (I hear!) of hope and-which requests the-event-of-help.
"A voice was heard. A hand was seen floundering desperately, asking for help.

Nora suggests "slilu" for "se desku" but I'm not sure I agree. The "tai loka ti'e pacna" meant nothing to me. (What did people who tried reading this guess it meant? This kind of feedback will be helpful to Nick, and indeed to all of us, in learning to think from the listener's point of view. I welcome such comments on any other places in the text where you read something different in the Lojban than Nick or I represented in our translations. Help us learn Lojban!) I would suggest using "mutnitcu" ("much-needer") instead of "pacna" for "desperate", "seci'o" for "tai", and moving the attitudinal to show that it is the emotion expressed that is hearsay. "se desku seci'o ti'e loka mutnitcu" is "shaken-by [something] expressing-emotion (I hear!) much-need".

.ibabo smaji .i ?ma pu fasnu .i mi ciksi
And-then silence. What occurred? I explain.
And then, silence. What was happening? [I answer my own question:]

.i lo nixli pu sakli mo'ine'i lo skuro .ibazabo le nixli cu bacru <<lu mi farlu ri'a lenu la paf. na di'i tcidu la deimid. li'u>> li'u>>
A girl slid moving-to-the-inside a groove. And a bit later the girl uttered 'I fall because the-event Pop not regularly reads the Day-middle'".
A girl had slipped into a ditch. Later the girl said: 'I fell, because Dad doesn't read the Midday!'"

An awesome effort, comparable to and perhaps as germinal as Athelstan's translation of Saki's "The Open Window" (see JL10). Let's hear a round of applause for Nick, such that he might hear it Down Under.

Translation of "lei lojbo"

Nora: (Completion!) I am able to go, justified by Hope taking care of Katrina.
Friend:   (I hear!) Hope speaks Esperanto and not Lojban.
Nora: True. But Katrina, also, speaks Esperanto.
Friend:   Approval!
Hope: (in Esperanto) Takingly-pull (imperative).
Sam:  (to himself) "prEnutrEne" is-the same-as "prenu trene" (= "person-train").  (Confusion!) I don't sense that represented by this [text].
Sam:  (aloud) The station is excessively far.
Katrina:  (in Esperanto) Mystery
Sam:  (To himself): "mistEro" is-the same-as "mi stero" (= I am measured in steradians as (ellipsized amount).
Sam:  (thinking) Katrina expresses the symbol for a falsehood. This state-of-affairs is bad for Computers.
Sam:  (aloud) Users! (pejorative) (which sounds in Esperanto like "less than")
Hope: (in Esperanto) Less than what?
Till next issue. co'o.