me lu ju'i lobypli li'u 16 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 15 moi.
Next issue: me lu ju'i lobypli li'u 17 moi.

Number 16 - May-June 1992
Copyright 1992, 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.


JUNE 26-28 AND AUGUST 14-17, 1992


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.

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.

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.

Page count this issue: 48 + 40 enclosures = 88 ($8.80 North America, $10.56 elsewhere). Press run for this issue of ju'i lobypli: 265. We now have about 726 people receiving our publications, 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 30 May 1992. 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   
C - Active Supporter                            1 - Word Lists and     
Language Description ($15)                      (followed by           
expiration issue #)                                                    
D - Lojban Student                              2 - Language Design    
Information ($10)                               * indicates            
subscription prepaid                                                   
E - Lojban Practitioner                         3 - Draft Teaching     
Materials ($30)  LK LK Subscription ($5/yr)                            
                                                R  Review Copy (no     
                                                UP Automatic Updates   

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 is converting to a full subscription basis, starting with the next issue (JL17). Please read the section on subscriptions for details.

It's been a while since last issue, as we attempted to get our finances back on an even keel. Our financial health plan is taking effect, and we expect future issues of JL to resume quarterly appearance (if you are a subscriber, of course). (I also want to apologize to people who have had to wait an excessively long time for materials ordered during the last 6 months. Hopefully the order backlog will have been corrected when you get this issue.)

As will usually be the case, this issue contains much 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.

We continue to be flooded with Lojban text from several writers, and some of this material will be found in this issue.

Several pieces in this issue relate to Lojban and computer applications, and our first research proposal is reprinted.

The main body of this issue will be short, because we are including two long enclosures: a major paper by John Cowan on Lojban tense structures, and a major revision/improvement of the Diagrammed Summary of Lojban Grammar Forms, which is becoming the mainstay of our introductory materials. Some of the material originally prepared for this issue, including about 10 pages of discussion of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, will be delayed until JL17 (which, having this extra preparation done, is much more likely to come out on time!)

                          Table of Contents                        
Brief Glossary of Lojban Terms                                ---3 
  Subscriptions and Finances                                  ---3 
  Athelstan Injured                                           ---4 
  Language Education                                          ---5 
  Electronic Distribution                                     ---5 
  Logfest 92                                                  ---7 
  Language Development Status                                 ---8 
  Status of Products                                          --12 
  Schedule                                                    --19 
  Using the Language                                          --19 
  Research Using Lojban                                       --20 
  International News/Publicity                                --21 
  News From the Institute                                     --21 
le lojbo se ciska                         --22, 25, 31, 35, 37, 41 
Text of the Court of Appeals Decision                         --23 
lei lojbo                                                     --26 
la lojbangirz.'s First Research Proposal                      --27 
DLT - Esperanto-based Machine Translation                     --34 
A Lojbanic Cultural Allegory                                  --36 
Morphology Algorithm                                          --39 
Translations of le lojbo se ciska                             --42 
Next Issue                                                    --46 
Sample Pages from Forthcoming Dictionary                      --46 

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" to: listserv@cuvmb.

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.

'PLS' - The Planned Languages Server, a no-charge computer-network-accessed distribution center for materials on Lojban (and other artificial languages).

Brief Glossary of Lojban

Terms Following are definitions of frequently used Lojban terms. More complete explanations of the following are in the Overview of Lojban.

cmavo - Lojban structure words

gismu - Lojban root words; currently 1337;

rafsi - affix combining forms for the gismu;

lujvo - compound words built from rafsi;

le'avla - words borrowed from other languages;

brivla - Lojban predicate words, consisting of gismu, lujvo. and le'avla.

tanru - Lojban metaphors, the most productive and creative expression form of the language;

sumti - the arguments of a logical predicate;

selbri - Lojban predicates which indicate a relation among one or more sumti. A selbri is most often a brivla or tanru; formerly called "kunbri" in error;

bridi - Lojban predications, the basic grammatical structure of the language; a bridi expresses a complete relationship: the selbri expresses the relation and the sumti express the various things being related;

selma'o - grammatical categories of Lojban words; the basis of the unambiguous formal grammar of the language. Traditionally and erroneously called "lexeme" in the Loglan community. These categories typically have a name derived from one word in that grammatical category; the name is all capitals, except that an apostrophe is replaced by a small letter 'h'.


Subscriptions and Finances

This may be your last issue of ju'i lobypli.

We are converting JL to a subscription basis. This is the last issue sent to those not explicitly requesting (and in most cases paying for) a subscription.

At this point some 65 people have returned forms requesting a subscription. Perhaps half of these have sufficient balances to cover their subscription price.

Our new special fund for 'scholarship subscriptions' will not allow us to support more than a few people on a non-paying basis, and these free subscriptions will be reserved for those who are actively working in the language, but cannot pay (mostly international supporters).

So here's where things stand:

  • For US and Canadian subscribers, the subscription price will be US$28 for 4 issues (hopefully 1 year - but our commitment will be for a number of issues rather than a date, just in case). For those in other countries, the subscription price will be US$35 for 4 issues.
  • If you have not returned a subscription form, and have a negative balance worse than $-10 after deducting for JL16 (this issue), your mailing label will have a "JL 16" on it indicating that your 'subscription' expires with the current issue. We must receive a signed subscription request form and enough money to cover the subscription price AND at least 1/2 of your negative balance. If you cannot afford this amount, you may request scholarship assistance on the subscription form, but you will be lowest priority for such subscriptions unless you are a very active volunteer. Contributing some of the amount required will raise your priority considerably.
  • If you have not returned a subscription form, and have between $-10 and $10 in your balance after deducting for JL16 (this issue), your mailing label will have a "JL 16" on it indicating that your 'subscription' expires with the current issue. We must receive a signed subscription request form and enough money to cover the subscription price. If you cannot afford this amount, you may request scholarship assistance on the subscription form. Contributing some of the amount required will raise your priority considerably.
  • If you have not returned a subscription form, and have more than $10 in your balance after deducting for JL16 (this issue), your mailing label will have a number between "JL 17" and "JL 20" on it indicating that your subscription expires with the indicated issue. Your balance will be deducted at a rate of $10 per issue (substantially above the subscription price for US and Canada recipients, less so for overseas recipients), for up to 4 issues, until your balance drops below $10, or until we receive a form and/or other instructions from you. You will be given the lower-priced 4-issue subscription rate when we receive your signed subscription request form (and preferably enough money to raise your balance above the subscription minimum). If you cannot afford the subscription amount, you may request scholarship assistance on the subscription form. You will receive highest priority after the most active volunteers to gain such assistance to fill out your balance to a 4-issue subscription.
  • If you have returned a subscription form and have more than $10 in your balance after deducting for JL16 (this issue), your mailing label will have a number between "JL 17" and "JL 20" on it; your subscription expires with the indicated issue. You have either been given a full four-issue subscription (if there is enough in your balance to cover the price), or a partial-year subscription prorated to your balance amount ($7/issue for US/Canada). The subscription price has been deducted from your balance, and an "*" on the mailing label indicates that your subscription has been paid. You need do nothing to continue receiving JL; we will notify you by direct mail prior to your last subscription issue for renewal.
  • If you have returned a subscription form and have less than $10 in your balance after deducting for JL16 (this issue), and you sent at least $40 in balance contributions between 1 Dec. 1991 and 15 April 1992, your mailing label will have "JL 20" on it. You have been given a full four-issue subscription. The subscription price has been deducted from your balance, and an "*" on the mailing label indicates that your subscription has been paid. You need do nothing to continue receiving JL; we will notify you prior to your last subscription issue for renewal.
  • If you have returned a subscription form and have less than $10 in your balance after deducting for JL16 (this issue), and you have sent less than $40 in balance contributions since 1 December 1991, your mailing label will have a number between "JL 17" and "JL 19" on it indicating that your subscription expires with the indicated issue. You been given a part-year subscription. We have deducted the cost of this issue from your contribution (if any), and determined your prorated subscription period based on 1/2 of the remaining contribution (if any), with a minimum of 1 issue. The amount of the subscription has been deducted from your balance, and an "*" on the mailing label indicates that your subscription has been paid. You need do nothing to continue receiving JL; we will notify you prior to your last subscription issue for renewal. However, we ask that you contribute to bring your balance positive if possible.
  • If you have returned a subscription form and asked for scholarship support for your subscription: we have not yet decided who will get such support, but given the above policy, you will at least receive JL17.
  • If you are an overseas recipient of JL, then you are slated to receive at least through "JL 17" since you have received no chance to send in a subscription request form until now. Your balance will be charged $10 for JL17 if we have not received a form prior to that issue.
  • When you stop receiving JL after the subscription expiration issue, you will automatically be switched to a subscription to the newsletter le lojbo karni (LK - subscription price of around $5 per year). We expect to cull the LK mailing list after the next fund-raising mailer, dropping those people with balances less than $-30.

We haven't yet received enough subscription forms to justify applying for a 2nd class postage (though we are close). The highest subscription price has been selected because we'll have to pay 1st class/air mail postage rates for at least one issue, as well as at least $275 to obtain the 2nd class permit (about $4 for each subscriber) that will allow us to save postage costs thereafter.

Final financial results from last year - Our 1991 income totalled $14,462.59, with expenses of $14,746.31, for a net loss on the year of about $300. Of that amount $10,725.73 was donations (around $6000 of this was from Lojbab and Nora). In total, only $3700 was contributed toward balances from over 850 people on our mailing list. Only through our end-of-year fund-raiser did we even do this well. We received $2500 during the last 20 days of December, much of it as a result of the fund-raising drive, reducing us from a deficit of over $2000 for the year that might have crippled us.

At the end of 1991, we owed about $5800 in legal fees on the trademark battle, which we're repaying at $500 per month. This is taking every penny that Lojbab, Nora and Jeff Prothero, who are financing the legal fees, can contribute. We must count on the rest of you to keep the organization going financially.

Status this year - So far in 1992, we're losing money. Up to now, against some $2500 in income, we've spent around $2800; JL16 and LK16 will cost another $1200, and we have over $1500 precommitted towards future JL subscriptions. Thus, we expect to need another fund-raising drive within a couple of months. I hope to tie such a fund-raiser to the announcement of the first Lojban book. But please don't wait until then. Contribute now! We don't know yet how we will finance book publication, which will cost several thousand dollars.

Our Numbers - Support for Lojban continues to grow at an outstanding rate; we lose few people (mostly people who move and forget to tell us their new address), while averaging 1 new person every 2-3 days for the last year.

Following are our numbers by level of interest and subscription, as of this publication (numbers in parentheses include multiple persons per address):

Level E - Practitioner (people who have actually produced Lojban text, are actively working with the language, and receiving materials from us) - 13 (17)
Level D - Lojban Student - 95 (113)
Level C - Active Observer - 139 (149)
Level B - Inactive Observer - 627 (663)
JL16 subscribers - 241 (272)
JL17 subscribers - 114 (130)
JL subscription request returned - 66 (72)
Prepaid beyond JL17 - 55 (61)
LK subscribers
Total active mailing list 897 (965)

Athelstan Injured

Our efforts on Lojban here in the Washington DC area were dealt a severe blow at the end of February. Athelstan, one of la lojbangirz.'s Directors, received a head injury in an auto accident, causing severe brain damage. He was in a coma for over 2 weeks, but has made good progress since. Early in April, he was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital, where he is slowly regaining memory and living skills; he is expected to remain in the hospital until at least mid-July. Regaining his full abilities is uncertain, and doing so will take many more months, if not years.

Athelstan was one of the most skilled of Lojbanists, and a major participant in our weekly conversation sessions here in the DC area. We have had to change from conversation sessions to teaching, reading, and translations sessions; the 3 remaining conversation-skilled people (Nora, Lojbab, and Sylvia Rutiser) are not enough 'critical mass' to keep conversations lively and interesting.

We've also lost Athelstan's contribution to the endless work that is being done around here. Athelstan had written up his oft-taught mini-lesson in text form, and was in the middle of revising it for publication when the accident occurred. I may be able to finish it, but not quickly - too much else to do. Athelstan was also one of the principal reviewers of ju'i lobypli and other la lojbangirz. publications that I and others write; we can only hope that the quality of our products is sustained without his excellent efforts at catching typos and more serious technical errors.

The good news is that it appears that the damage has not destroyed Athelstan's capacity for language, nor his interest in Lojban. In mid-April, he responded to my "coi. .atlstan." with a hearty "coi." in return. At the end of our otherwise English-language visit, I asked him if he remembered how to say goodbye; with only minimal hesitation, he came back with a confident "co'o."

Given my close friendship with Athelstan, I have had to undertake commitments in helping his family and other friends support his recovery; this has taken a fair amount of time away from Lojban, though I now seem to be back in control of my schedule. Indeed, the incentive of knowing how fragile our effort is while so few of us know the details of the language seems to have remotivated me to get the community of Lojbanists who are expert in the language up to a self-sustaining level. Even amidst tragedy, there can be growth and progress.

Language Education

DC Class - Even before Athelstan's accident, we needed to build up the activity of the local Lojban community. Now, local teaching activities are even more vital. As such, starting in June, we'll be trying to organize a new Lojban class here in the Washington DC area. The class will probably meet in Fairfax VA (although a Rockville MD location is also being considered), on a weekly basis starting near the end of June and last throughout the summer. A principal goal will be to raise the students' skill level so that they can confidently participate in in-language activities in the August LogFest, and be able to continue in Lojban conversation sessions or translation activities after the class ends.

Needless to say, if you will be in the DC area this summer, and are interested in participating in such a class, please contact me at the masthead address or telephone, or via electronic mail per page 2.

Other education efforts - Most of our education efforts in the last several months have been through electronic mail on the computer networks. I've been able to delegate much of this teaching effort out to other Lojbanists who are active on Lojban List, and the numbers and competency of those attempting to write on Lojban List has continued to grow with each passing month.

The network has also served as a testing ground for new teaching materials. Athelstan's draft text version of his mini-lesson (see below) was tried out by about 2 dozen people who returned comments and answers to exercises. These will be lead to a significantly revised and improved version for publication.

Similarly, a draft of the Diagrammed Examples paper enclosed with this issue has been extensively distributed on the networks (as well as to many new mail order Lojbanists) during the last 6 months. French-Australian linguist Jacques Guy finally culminated this review with some enormously detailed comments, leading to the major revision and expansion included with this issue.

Even before this final version, the Diagrammed Examples, with explanatory text, has proved in recent months to be the most significant learning aid to new Lojbanists actually attempting to learn to use the language. Several Lojbanists used only this paper and word lists (that were generally obtained by electronic distribution per the next section), to self-teach themselves to the level of being able to translate Lojban text written by more experienced Lojbanists. Then, with a few such efforts to give them experience, we have seen these Lojbanists start to write in Lojban, making relatively few and minor errors given the lack of a full teaching text. (Those who have study the draft textbook and/or used LogFlash have done still better, but the effectiveness of this relatively brief description has astounded several of us to the point of motivating this new version.)

Electronic Distribution

What is available and how - The electronic distribution policy announced last issue has been implemented, more-or-less. We have been unable to place JL and LK back-issues and a few other longer materials on the Planned Languages Server - our primary electronic distribution point. We have also been unable to implement the file verification program that we intended because of incompatibilities between computer systems that causes such techniques to fail.

In spite of this, there is now a lot of material available electronically, including most of the now public domain language definition materials like word lists and formal grammars. I've been told that some of this material has been transferred to Compuserve, and I'm hoping that more will be moved to that network, as well as to Genie and other public computer networks. (Let us know if you do so, and what stuff you are posting where, so we can report accurately to the community as to what is available).

Following is a list of all materials (and their filenames) available on the Planned Languages Server as of this publication date, and instructions for obtaining them from the Server.

This is an updated version of the file posted to the PLS entitled "readme" which includes an annotated and categorized index to all files on the list.

Following the "readme" file is an abbreviated set of instructions for obtaining files from the server. Send the one line message 'help' to:

to get the full help listing. While you can put multiple requests in a file, my experience has been that if there is any error on any command, the entire set is disregarded. I would therefore suggest getting 1 file at a time until you are sure what you are doing.

"gismu.lst" is the official, public domain baseline that many Lojbanists already possess in printed form. It has 40-character definitions of the Lojban gismu, and has been relatively unchanged for a few years now. Only minor corrections have been put into the posted file, and the 20 new words adopted last year were never added.

"logdata.raw" is a preliminary version of the new gismu list baseline. I intend the new baseline to take effect shortly after the publication of JL16, hopefully within a month. I would recommend using the current "logdata.raw" file, and ignoring the "gismu.lst" file, UNLESS it is vital to you to be using a public domain version. We won't object to any copying of the still copyrighted draft as long as the copyright notice and the notice that it is a draft stays intact with the file. To all intents and purposes, the old 40-character file is obsolete. I would recommend that any new text be written using the "logdata.raw" place structures. (All text in this issue probably presumes this newer version.)

Questions on any file? Contact Bob LeChevalier at the masthead address or via:

See the file "epolicy.txt" for a more complete explanation of la lojbangirz. electronic distribution policy. We ask that users of these files consider donating money for the support of The Logical Language Group, Inc. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and such donations are tax-deductible in the US, to the extent they exceed the price of things we send you. While it costs us little for you to get a copy of the files on this archive, the network is not free. la lojbangirz. spent some $2000 during 1991 on network access, supporting Lojban List, this archive, and responding to people like you. We do not make a profit on our printed materials, so it is your donations that will allow us to continue to serve the network community of Lojbanists and people curious about Lojban.

The files listed following are the official postings of The Logical Language Group, Inc. on this server. All other postings should be considered unsanctioned, and possibly incorrect.

Language design materials are explicitly listed here and in the documents themselves as being in the public domain. All other documents are copyrighted under the same heading listed above for this document.

Note on file names. All file names ending with ".unf" may contain lines up to about 120 characters long. Original documents published by la lojbangirz. are formatted using longer than 80 character lines, and this wider line-length was determined to give a more readable text when that formatting was removed. File names ending with ".txt" are generally under 80 characters in width. Other file name extensions have no implication.

Many files are compressed using a rather simplistic program that tabifies every 8 characters INCLUDING A SINGLE SPACE IN A 0 MOD 8 POSITION. We have since learned that some tab expanders will take a TAB in a 0 mod 8 position and expand it to 9 spaces instead of 1. This could cause you problems, which hopefully this notice will help you correct if it affects you. We consider this a failed experiment: when we next send data to PLS for uploading we will send files without the tab compression, but this may be a few months.

The PLS has very limited disk space. la lojbangirz. has convinced Mark and Jerry to post much of the material we sent them, but they do not have room for all of it. In particular, back issues of JL and LK, and a LOT of Lojban text could not be posted. I want to see some or all of this material available, if only on a limited time basis. Therefore, in about 3 months, I will be asking Mark and Jerry to tell me the rates of access for Lojban directory files. Seldom accessed files may be deleted to allow us to make room for new stuff, as listed at the end of this document. So please don't delay too long if you want to get a copy of a file listed here.

File Name Bytes Date Description
Control documents
readme 7668 01-09-92 A version of this index.
epolicy.txt 2912 10-09-91 The la lojbangirz. Electronic Distribution Policy
orderfrm.unf 9497 10-14-91 Current la lojbangirz. Product List & Order Form; Include Paper Postal Address on any order, please.
Language Design Materials and Drafts
grammar.28 64552 10-11-91 Baselined Lojban Grammar - YACC version; Public Domain. Without explanatory text included in printed versions.
bnf.28 7872 10-11-91 EBNF form of the Baselined Lojban Grammar. Not verified. Public domain.
pronounc.unf 9718 10-14-91 Pronunciation guide. Public domain.
gismu.lst 88717 01-09-92 Baselined gismu list. Public domain. Expected to be superseded soon by a modified version of "logdata.raw", which will the be renamed "gismu.lst"
logdata.raw 115603 01-09-92 Lojban gismu (root word) draft update >80 characters wide
roget.lst 40612 10-14-91 gismu sorted by Roget category. Draft.
logdata3.cma 88312 10-14-91 Lojban cmavo (structure word) list. Public domain. cmavo order >80 characters wide
logdata3.lex 88312 10-14-91 Lojban cmavo (structure word) list. Public domain. selma'o (grammar category) order >80 characters wide
lehavla.alg 2326 10-14-91 Draft proposal for borrowing words.
Introductory Materials in Suggested Order
loglan.txt 8598 10-14-91 Introduction and history for those familiar with other Loglan versions
brochure.eng 62820 10-14-91 Basic Lojban Brochure - formatted for electronic distribution
postbroc.txt 28312 10-14-91 An edited version of brochure.eng abbreviated so as to be more suitable for electronic transmission.
minilsne.txt 30917 10-16-91 Draft introductory Draft Lojban mini-lesson. Return answers to la lojbangirz. for correction.
overview.unf 63143 10-14-91 Overview of the language and intro. to specialized terminology
diagexam.unf 10851 10-09-91 Diagrammed Examples of Lojban Text (the original version of the one in JL16 - the new version will replace this file shortly, and is a much longer file)
Teaching Materials and Detailed Discussion
useoldl1.txt 15233 10-14-91 How to use 1975 Loglan 1 to study Lojban (partially correct for 1989 version)
newrafsi.unf 77773 10-14-91 List of Lojban rafsi (combining forms) and how to make compounds (lujvo).
negation.unf 127903 10-14-91 Negation in Lojban. Many examples.
scrabble.unf 6098 10-14-91 Suggested game rules based on Lojban letter frequencies
Why Lojban?
whylojb.txt 198651 10-14-91 General discussion on 'Why Lojban?' extracted from ju'i lobypli, Includes JCB on Sapir Whorf. Many contributors.
mactrans.txt 12681 10-14-91 Lojban and machine translation by Patrick Juola
moody.txt 18972 10-14-91 Lojban and other planned languages by Todd Moody
lojb_esp.txt 180734 10-14-91 Lojban and Esperanto - JL discussions including comments from Donald Harlow and Lojban's 'Answer' to the '16 Rules'
lojling.txt 18942 10-14-91 Lojban's relevance to linguistics and linguistics research
reply.txt 38747 10-14-91 1991 Reply to Arnold Zwicky's 1969 "Language" Review of Loglan 1
netdisc.txt 178912 10-14-91 Extracted Network Discussions of Lojban and Sapir-Whorf - mostly 8-9/90
Lojban Text
lordpray.unf 7781 10-14-91 Lojban Paternoster, updated to current language. A prosaic version.
Other materials
l1longrv.txt 70543 6-08-91 unpublished draft review - Loglan 1


The following unofficial files are known to be in the lojban directory of the Planned Languages Server:

brochure.french 49403 05-11-90 A French translation of a somewhat earlier version of the Lojban brochure.
Description 2334 01-09-92 The official PLS description file of all files in the Lojban directory. Not as detailed or as accurate as this file. 815 06-24-91 An obsolete version of this file that should soon be deleted
Index 1280 01-03-92 The file list you get in response to the command "index lojban"
lojbroch.e-o.tex 69755 09-12-91 The draft Esperanto translation of the Lojban brochure in brochure.eng Comments and suggestions welcome.
metflidjimao-vedsia 23871 12-19-90
welding-shop 27415 12-19-90 Jim Carter's 1984 Loglan short story and English translation - not Lojban compatible nor consistent with the current TLI language, it is still one of the longest Loglan texts written originally in Loglan rather than in translation.

Forthcoming Material we hope to post this year

  • 6 Draft Textbook Lessons - updated to 1992 language
  • New Draft Textbook Lesson 1
  • Esperanto Translation of Lojban Brochure - Official Release (the unofficial "lojbroch.e-o.tex" above is a draft version of this release)
  • Glossary of Lojban/linguistic terminology
  • Lojban and Sapir-Whorf Bibliography
  • Lojban and Prolog demonstration example from JL16
  • Lojban gismu etymologies
  • Rebaselined gismu list
  • Revisions to the Lojban mini-lesson
  • the JL16 version of the Diagrammed Summary of Lojban
  • Synopsis of Lojban Orthography, Phonology, Morphology - updated to 1992
  • tense paper - introduction to Lojban tense structures
  • attitudinal paper - updated to 1992
  • logical connectives paper - introduction to logical and nonlogical connectives
  • MEX paper - Lojban expression of mathematical text
  • lerfu paper - expressing alphabets and special symbols in Lojban
  • (papers are planned to cover other aspects of the Lojban grammar and will also be posted as available)
  • All published Lojban text; Not updated to current language. Mostly translated & with commentary. Probably with some kind of difficulty and quality grading to help you choose appropriate materials.

Abbreviated instructions for the PLS server

To make the archive server do something you should send an electronic mail message to:

Use a null subject line. The body of the message should consist of one command per line. The case of the text does not matter. Note, however, that the server runs on a UNIX system, and thus, for filenames, the case DOES matter, so be sure the files you request are properly capitalized.

You can find out what files are available with the command "index lojban".

path <mail-path>

"Path" is used to override the mail path that the archive server chooses from the header of your mail message. You should use this whenever you know that the return address of your message will not be useful to the archive server. The archive server only knows about domain style address.

e.g. path

send <archive> <file..>

"Send" mails to you the files in the specified archive. All of the files that you request will be sent to you archived together possibly encoded and split up into messages that are small enough to be mailed. You may have as many "sends" in the body of your mail message as you wish.

e.g. send lojban logdata.raw

By default, files that are mailable are simply stuck together with the text "cut here" between files and; non-mailable files are archived via Unix "tar". Non-mailable files must be converted to something mailable. By default this is done with "uuencode". Some large or long-lined Lojban files may be considered non-mailable, and you will need to run the companion program "uudecode" which will decode a message that was encrypted using "uuencode". This is a standard Unix command; Unix users should see your system administrator if you don't know how to do this. On MS-DOS machines, there are a variety of utility versions of the decoding tool; we have no information about other computer system versions.

Logfest 92

Because of Athelstan's injury and other schedule problems, we have delayed LogFest 92, la lojbangirz.'s annual meeting and gathering of Lojbanists until August. The planned date for this gathering here in Fairfax VA, is August 14-17, 1992. If you're interested in coming, and especially if you will be travelling from out-of-town, please let us know. As usual, we can accommodate several out-of-town visitors as sleeping-bag guests here at Bob and Nora's house. You can get here via subway from all major transportation services into Washington DC, and you're unlikely to need a rental car. Thus, it's a cheap weekend of Lojban fun - we ask only that attendees donate around $25-$40 or whatever to cover food costs for the weekend.

Originally, LogFest was planned for the last weekend in June (June 26-28, 1992). Because some people already made plans to come in from out-of-town, we will dedicate that weekend to Lojban activities as well, and others are invited to come, too, making in effect a second LogFest this summer. This first gathering in June will be informal; since there will be no formal meeting, there should be plenty of time for a variety of Lojban activities, especially activities for new people who want to get started in learning the language. Let us know if you are planning to come, so we can make plans.

Language Development Status

The language has been quite stable in the last several months. With the breakup of the USSR, we have added cultural gismu for "Ukrainian" and "Slavic". There have been a few cmavo additions, and one or two deletions in connection with work by John Cowan on papers describing the Lojban tense system, mathematical language, and representation of foreign alphabets.

Far more significant has been those papers themselves, which have greatly refined the specificity of the language definition in three areas that have not been much used by people trying to use Lojban. John is continuing to work on papers, which, added to (updated versions of) the negation and attitudinal papers that were done before he started, will eventually amount to a complete and detailed description of the language.

People have been justifiably frustrated by the continuing delay in textbook and dictionary publication. However, this state should not stop most people from being able to learn and use Lojban. Indeed, with the possible exception of Esperanto (and only then because so much has been written about it in 100 years), it can safely be said that Lojban is by far the most thoroughly defined artificial language that has ever existed. And we continue to refine that definition - not so much because people need such details to learn the language, but because linguists and computer researchers seeking to use Lojban for applications need as much detail as possible to plan research activities.

The final development activities of significance are those that are tied to preparation of the first Lojban book, which is a proto-dictionary and reference book. Preparing this book has required a complete and detailed review of the gismu list place structures, trying to make them as clear and detailed as possible, given limited space. There also were some place structure changes needed as a result of the 'sumti-raising' change discussed last issue, and also as a result of other design decisions made over the last few years. We also wanted to add in multiple English synonyms where applicable, so that the English side of the resulting dictionary will no longer be limited to the sometimes-inaccurate unique English keywords that the gismu list currently is based on. In a few cases, actual usage has pointed up a need for change, either because the place structure was too vaguely defined for use, or because the sumti values that were required for some place structure places were too difficult to specify for 'real' language use. As a result, there are a lot of little changes to the working draft versions of the gismu list. The final draft is expected to go out for review within a couple of weeks after this issue is mailed (over 1100 of the 1400 Lojban entries were completed and verified at this writing). After a few weeks for that review, the first book will be assembled and published.

Weekend Meeting

We finally knew for sure that the design of the language was solidified after an all-weekend meeting that took place January 18-20, 1992. John Cowan came to town, and several of us met, settling nearly all open design questions. Following is a more thorough report on that meeting, what happened, and what design decisions took place. Attendees included Bob LeChevalier (lojbab), John Cowan, Nora LeChevalier, Athelstan, and Sylvia Rutiser, with pc joining in by phone a couple of times.

The original agenda included:

  • A 2nd review of papers on the Lojban tense system and MEX (mathematical expressions) system, with the intent of having them ready, if possible, for publication with JL16.
  • Nora and John have been working on a formal statement of the Lojban morphology algorithm, and some issues needed resolution and decision.
  • Deciding on all open cmavo questions, to allow a baseline of that list.
  • Reviewing all open comments on the place structures and definitions of gismu
  • Review of the progress in switching JL over to a subscription basis and the current fundraising drive
  • Preliminary decisions on book publishing
  • Determining a policy on efforts by Dave Cortesi, Bob Chassell, and others to put together Lojban reference books.
  • Including John in a Lojban conversation session (he has never before been able to participate in one, since no one else in the NYC area seems to be actively studying).

John arrived late Friday night, and we started the weekend right by talking till 4 AM. Athelstan arrived about 2 AM to join the party. Most of Saturday was spent socializing and discussing business matters, and various minor issues, and reviewing the tense paper. Saturday night, we again quit late, around 5 AM this time, with everyone rising in time to be fully awake for the Lojban conversation session. That ended up starting late, but the 5 of us participated in fairly lively discussion for about 2 hours. John had no real trouble following what was said, and throwing his own comments in. We then talked in English for about an hour until Sylvia and Athelstan had to leave.

After dinner, we started on place structures, and kept going until 5 AM again. We resumed around 11 AM, and kept cranking till 5 AM Tues. morning. Athelstan was there for all of Monday's discussions, Nora lasted until 10:30 PM, since she had to work on Tuesday. There was a long conversation with pc in the afternoon to resolve issues that he needed a voice/vote in. Monday evening, we took a break from the x1's and x2's of place structures to work on the x's and y's of MEX.

On Tuesday, John and I woke around 11 AM, and kept talking till I dropped him at the bus station around 1 PM. Whew! Everything accomplished.

Now here is the summary of effects:


The grammar is of course baselined and frozen until we make updates and republish it in the Lojban books. Because we want the books to reflect the grammar after the books are done, we do our writing based on that next revision of the grammar. There are now 15 minor changes planned for that revision, all but 4 being extensions to the language. When we write and publish materials in JL, they should be in accordance with the current baseline. Next- baseline grammar changes will only be used in the unlikely circumstance that something needs to be phrased using a construct that is now illegal, but which would be allowed under the new grammar. Because we want people to stick with the current baseline, we are not going to distribute or talk much more about the next one until it is ready for adoption (at the time of publication of the first book), but people who have an early need for the information can request it. I will summarize the changes in store so people know what is going on:

  1. correction of a precedence error, so that EK+KE and GIhEK+KE bind more tightly than other connective structures;
  2. adding JEK+BO to parallel BO connective structures for other logical connectives;
  3. permitting free modifiers in several new places;
  4. adding selma'o ZEI to support a morphology algorithm change (see below);
  5. permitting "GEK sentence GI observative";
  6. in the current baseline grammar, it is impossible to use a PA+MAI free-modifier after a number even though it is apparently grammatically legal: the number will absorb the added PA values because there is no implicit "BOI" at the end of these numbers. The problem was fixed by reworking the rules specifying how free modifiers attach to numbers so that BOI can be added to separate them.
  7. after long analysis, the relative-modifier logical connective selma'o ZIhE was determined not to be especially useful as a logical connective, and the group has been stripped down to the single word "zi'e", which now simply indicates the attachment of multiple relative modifiers to a single sumti. The multiple logical connective grammar rules that were present for ZIhE were stripped down to a single rule supporting simple connection;
  8. allowing I+BO-initial sentences at the beginning of text;
  9. allowing NAI at the beginning of text;
  10. allowing any kind of JOI non-logical connectives to be used in forethought, in parallel with forethought causal connectives: JOI GI construct GI construct;
  11. POhO, which has been required at the end of incomplete sentences, will be eliminated; POhO was added at one point due to problems found in some versions of YACC (including the one we were using) that caused a parser to falsely declare an ambiguity in such incomplete sentences. POhO has been shown to no longer be necessary;
  12. NIhE, one of the converters used to integrate MEX with the rest of the grammar, now permits an entire complex selbri construct to be converted;
  13. NAhE is disallowed in forethought 'termsets'. The rule permitting it had been erroneously generated from a similar structure. Contrary negation of a termset is not defined in the negation paper.
  14. Multiple I and/or I+BO are permitted at the beginning of text (a benefit primarily for those who stutter);
  15. Allow SE conversions of abstract and negated selbri without KE/KEhE parentheses.

If that list doesn't make a lot of sense, don't worry about it. These truly are abstruse 'little' changes in the grammar that are unlikely to affect anyone's conversation and writing very much, if at all.


John and Nora have resolved all open issues regarding the morphology algorithm, and it is included in JL16 for final review before publication in the reference book. Problems included strings of vowels and lujvo involving le'avla. Since the morphology is baselined, technically any change is a baseline change, but all changes being considered are in areas not well-defined in the existing informal 'Synopsis' that describes the morphology. Highlights (again, these are post-book baseline features.):

  • Adding selma'o ZEI, with only cmavo "zei", will eliminate various other schemes of making lujvo using le'avla, all of which involved either tricky stress/- pronunciation problems or had potential breakdowns of a nature similar to the 'Tosmabru test' used in regular lujvo. The result would have been rules so unintuitively complicated as to make them impractical to use on-the-fly, when most such compounds will be made. ZEI is processed in advance of lexer rules (as is BU for lerfu and ZO, LOhU, ZOI, SI, SA, and SU) as part of the metalinguistic grammar. It causes one word immediately before it and one word immediately after it to be considered joined into a single construct equivalent to a BRIVLA. With the exception of some of those metalinguistic cmavo just listed, any Lojban word can be so joined to any other, allowing lujvo to be based on cmavo that have no rafsi, as well as le'avla. Many-part le'avla lujvo will have a ZEI between each pair of terms. Regular gismu and lujvo may also be used as terms in a ZEI lujvo.
  • cmavo space is now recognized to include certain structures with 0 or 1 consonant, followed by more than two vowels, with apostrophe used between every pair (except when diphthongs occur). Thus "zo'o'o'o" could be a legal cmavo (with an obvious meaning of a more intense humor?) These will not be considered for defined use, but are added to the experimental cmavo space. The grammar will treat all experimental and undefined cmavo as if they were members of UI.
  • When one word ends in a vowel, and the following begins with one, a pause, and not a glide, must be used to pronounce them. This confirms the original design decision. Actual usage has been that some UI members have not been separated from each other and other vowels by pauses, and this was determined to be too difficult for the resolver to handle, so it remains forbidden. An example is ".ua.ui" which has been pronounced "/wah,wee/", but must be pronounced as "/wah.wee/". An example showing the problems that can result is ".ui.iu", which if pronounced without a pause is indistinguishable from ".ui,u".
  • Names will be permitted to have "la", "lai", and "doi" in them WHEN PRECEDED BY A CONSONANT. This means that the 'd' or 'l' must be the at-least-2nd in a consonant cluster such that the preceding letter and the d/l form a permissible cluster, or are initial at the beginning of a word. This means that a name "zdoil." or "jdoil." is legal, and every consonant except another "l" is permitted before "la" and "lai". Thus while "*nort.kerolainas." remains illegal, it can easily be changed to "nort.kerlainas.". This will then allow a certain erroneous comic strip to be corrected, by naming the cat "mlat.", "*lat." remaining illegal. It also corrects the embarrassment that the other English name of the language - "loglan." - has been an illegal name in "lojban."
  • Names are formally restricted from having impermissible medial consonant clusters in them. The most significant effect of this is to require the name "*djeimz." to be changed, since "mz" is not a permissible medial. "djeimyz." is acceptable.


The following cmavo changes are made. Note that one the cmavo, "zei", has grammar contingent upon the next baseline. It will be in the next draft of the cmavo list anyway, even though the current grammar will not handle it.

zei ZEI lujvo glue joins preceding and following word into a lujvo
ne'o VUhU factorial reassigned from "zei" to make room for above
bu'u FAhA coincident with space/time tense equivalent of CA
be'a FAHA north of from "berti"
ne'u FAhA south of from "snanu"
du'a FAhA east of from "stuna"
vu'a FAhA west of parallel with "du'a"

(these are added for compatibility with languages/cultures that use a fixed reference frame for directions instead of a speaker-based one. A secondary if trivial advantage is that a Lojban wind-vane is more interesting, instead of having the letters B-S-S-S for the four cardinal points.)

voi NOI descriptive clause non-veridical restrictive clause used to form complicated le- like descriptions using "ke'a"

This is in a way similar to "goi"/GOI, but used with clauses (bridi) on the right. It defines a sumti on the left as being the thing the speaker has in mind which fills "ke'a" in the clause. Nick Nicholas asked for this in connection with an alternate approach to sumti-raising that he prefers to "tu'a". Example:

ko'a voi lenu ke'a cisma cu pluka mi cu zutse
The it1 whose smiling pleases me sits.
The one whose smile pleases me is sitting down.
to'a BY lower case shift reassigne d from current "voi"; from "tordu"
ma'e BAI of material used to add a material to a bridi more specific than the existing "seta'i"; from "marji"
de'a ZAhO pausitive event contour for a temporary halt and ensuing pause in a process; from "denpa"
di'a ZAhO resumptive even t contour for resumption of a paused process


mi de'a citka ca lenu la noras. tavla
I pausitively eat while Nora talks.
I stop eating while Nora talks.
vu'i LUhI the sequence converts other sumti types to sequences, even if the order is vague
va'u BAI benefited by indication of a beneficiary when formulated as "seva'u" = "for the benefit of"; from "xamgu" (replaces a useful function of the word "du'a", deleted last year as an English-biased member of BAI)
bi'u BAhE de-emphasize next the reverse of "ba'e" which emphasizes the next word - added in emulation of a similar function word in the Mongolian language Dagur
ce'a LAU font shift change of selma'o; indicates that the following character specifies a new font (e.g. italic, block print, or manuscript). Supersedes old "ce'a" and "pe'e" which were too limited; the latter is now unassigned.

(In addition, the grammar changes described above also freed up po'o, zi'a, zi'i, zi'o, and zi'u.)

remaining unassigned (27):

bi'a bi'e bu'o (bo'a bo'e bo'i bo'o bo'u) ce'e ce'u ci'a do'i ja'u ju'e mi'i na'a ne'e pe'e po'o re'u te'i va'e vu'o zi'a zi'i zi'o zi'u


The following two gismu are proposed for addition to the baselined list, and will be adopted pending no objection:

vukro vuk vu'o Ukrainian x1 pertains to the Ukrainian language/- culture/nation in aspect x2
slovo lov Slavic x1 pertains to Slavic languages/culture/- ethnos in aspect x2
(lovle'u Cyrillic x1 is a letter of Cyrillic alphabet symbolizing x2)

These have been reviewed by Ivan Derzhanski, as our only active native-Slavic Lojbanist. The breakup of the Soviet Union, has made Ukraine a large country with a Russian speaker base, one with a Slavic language of its own and a nationalistic interest in being clearly distinct from Russia and the ex-Soviet Union. (The definition of "softo" is being broadened to cover the old Russian empire and the new Commonwealth, but remains tied to the keyword 'Soviet' because there really is no other distinct word.) Our standards for cultural gismu clearly put Ukraine in the group that should have a gismu. (The other republics, except Russia itself, will be covered with le'avla.)

With two Slavic peoples represented, the family name also requires a gismu (as "semto" exists to cover Hebrew and Arabic commonalties). As shown, this gismu will also be used to generate a lujvo for "Cyrillic", a better choice than "rusko" or "softo" for making a lujvo for that concept, anyway.

Keyword changes

The following constitute baseline changes, even though there is no significant change of meaning. They will be considered adopted unless there is objection.

All metric prefixes currently have keywords of the form:

megdo     10E6

It has been pointed out that this does not conform to most exponential notations. The keywords will be globally changed to use "1" instead of "10" giving:

megdo     1E6

The following are being changed to make them consistent with other culture words by referring to the culture rather than to the defining element of the culture.

budjo Buddhist x1 pertains to the Buddhist culture/- religion/nation in aspect x2
dadjo Taoist x1 pertains to the Taoist culture/religion/nation in aspect x2
jegvo Jehovist x1 pertains to culture/religion of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic deity in aspect x2
xriso Christian x1 pertains to the Christian culture/- religion/nation in aspect x2

The change in keyword of "mukti" to "motive", part of the last baseline change, did not get into the Planned Languages Server file for some reason, along with appropriate definition wording changes. Some copies of LogFlash were distributed with this change omitted.


"du" will be added to the list as a result of being assigned the rafsi "dub" and "du'o". "selci" is being given "sle" from "selfu", which in turn will be given "sef" from "sefta". (Since the January meeting, we have compiled a list of all lujvo used thus far in Lojban text. This will be used to generate a more accurate tuning of the rafsi assignments to reflect expected usage. A few additional rafsi changes are likely to result, and will appear in the completed book.

Place structures

We cannot list all of the place structure changes and definition changes being made for the new baselined list. Based on decisions at the weekend meeting, about 20% of the words will have some change from the draft "logdata.raw" list posted to the PLS and distributed to advance recipients of the new LogFlash (We were BUSY!). Most of these are minor and clarifying. (The complete review that Bob is doing while typing in these changes has resulted in many more minor changes, mostly clarifications in wording).

Some general notes:

  • Bob Chassell proposed a large set of synonyms be listed; these are being added to the definition field to make computer searches of the list easier. These synonyms will also show up in the dictionary as additional English entries.
  • A clarification of sets and masses and sequences and their roles as place holders in bridi caused many changes in wording. All places where these have been identified as likely placeholders have been examined and will be identified if space permits.
  • Several 'properties' gismu which are generally considered subjective, have gained a 'by standard' place. The standard may only the personal one of the observer, whatever that may be. Colors are NOT included in this change.
  • More care is being taken with 'under conditions' places. In many cases, an 'under conditions' place may be appropriate to some event/state within a single place of a bridi, rather than applying to the main bridi itself.
  • The use of "du'u" abstractions is clearly distinguished in place structures dealing with truths. Some places dealing with knowledge and truth have been cleft paralleling the "djuno" place structure change in JL15.
  • All known cleft place structures have been reviewed, with more than half eliminated by putting an event clause in x1. A few, such as "simlu", are remaining cleft, but are worded so as to suggest "ka" property abstractions instead of events in the cleft abstraction place.

The following are particularly significant changes in meaning. Since there is no keyword change, these are not considered relevant to the baseline; place structures have never been frozen. The wording is abbreviated and approximate, and there may be further changes before the list is finally frozen. For now, however, this will clarify the meanings of many words, and should give a good idea as to the nature of the most major changes being made.

balvi x1 is in the future of/- later than/after x2 in time (ONLY; cf. lidne)
bilni x1 is military/- regimented/strongly organized/prepared by system x2 for purpose x3
caxno (paralleling condi below)
cfari x1 (nu) commences/- begins/initiates/starts (intransitive) [no change, but cf. sisti)
cimde x1 is a dimension of space/object x2 according to rules/model x3
clupa x1 is a loop/circuit in/of material x2 defined by (set of points) x3
cmavo x1 is a structure word having grammar exemplified by word x2 with meaning function x3 in language x4
condi x1 is deep in extent in x2 (ka) at locus x3 away from observation point x4 by standard x5
cpare x1 climbs/clambers/- crawls/creeps on surface x2 in direction x3 using x4 (tools, limbs)
danfu x1 is the answer/- response to question x2
dargu x1 is a road with route x2
fancu x1 is a function/single- value mapping from domain x2 to range x3 defined by rules x4
fasnu x1 is an event that happens/occurs
flalu x1 is a law specifying x2 (nu) for community x3 (mass) under conditions x4 by law-giver x5
funca x1 (nu) is determined by the luck/fortune of/for x2
gasnu x1 is agent in event x2; x1 'does' x2
gradu x1 (magnitude) is a unit/degree of/on scale/- reference standard x2 (idea/- si'o) measuring x3 (ka)
gunma x1 is a mass/team/is together, of components x2 considered jointly
jbini x1 is between/among set of boundaries x2 in x3 (ka)
jdika x1 is decreased/reduced in x2 (ka) by amount x3 (no change but cf. zenba)
kancu x1 counts the number in set x2 to be x3 (ni/number) in units x4
karli x1 is a collar surrounding x2 of material x3
krefu x1 is a recurrence/- repetition of x2 (nu) for the x3th (ni/number) time; x1 happens again
kusru x1 (person) is cruel/- mean to x2
lacpu x1 pulls/tugs/drags x2 by handle at locus x3
lafti x1 lifts/applies lift to x2 at locus x3
lidne x1 leads/precedes x2 in sequence x3
naxle (paralleling dargu above)
pajni x1 judges/is a judge determining/deciding matter x2 (ka/ni/jei abstraction) (estimate/evaluate)
panra x1 is parallel to x2 in property/pattern x3 by standard/geometry x4
pikta x1 is a ticket entitling x2 to privilege/entitlement x3 (nu) under conditions x4
platu x1 plans/designs/plots plan/plot/arrangement x2 for state/process x3
porsi x1 (sequence) is sequenced/ordered by comparison/rules x2 on set (unordered) x3
prami (paralleling xebni below)
prina x1 (agent) prints x2 on x3 using tool x4
purci (paralleling balvi above)
ritli x1 is a rite/ceremony/- ritual/is formal(legal) for purpose x2 under custom x3, under rules/form x4
selci x1 is a cell/atom/- molecule/unit of x2; x1 is an indivisible basic subunit of x2 (cf. English 'atom')
simlu x1 appears to have property x2 to x3 under conditions x4
sirji x1 is straight/direct/- line segment/interval between x2 and x3
sisti x1 (agent) ceases/- stops/halts doing/being x2 (cf. cfari WHICH IS DIFFERENT)
skiji x1 is a ski/skid/skate/- runner for surface x2 (for) supporting skier/skater/sled/- cargo x3
suksa x1 (nu) is sudden/abrupt at stage/achievement x2 in process x3; x1 (ka) suddenly changes at point x2 over interval x3
talsa x1 (person) challenges x2 in x3 (ka)
trene x1 is a train (segmented-vehicle) of cars/- units (mass/sequence) in system/railroad/of owners x3
trina x1 attracts/lures x2 (person/action) with x3 (ka)
venfu x1 (person(s)) takes revenge on/retaliates against x2 (person(s)) for wrong x3 (nu) with vengeance x4 (nu)
vorme x1 is a door/gate between x2 and x3 of/in/- through structure x4
xamsi x1 is an ocean/sea/- gulf/atmosphere of planet x2 of fluid x3
xanri x1 (si'o) exists in the imagination of/is imagined by/is imaginary/unreal to x2
xebni x1 hates x2 (object/- abstract)
xendo (paralleling kusru above)
xlura x1 (agent) influences x2 into action/event/state x3 by influence/threat/lure x4 (cf. trina)
xrani x1 (nu) injures/harms/- damages victim x2 in property x3 resulting in injury x4 (za'i/ka)
zarci x1 is a market/store/- exchange/marketplace selling x2 operated by x3/with participants x3 (mass agent)
zenba x1 is increased/- augmented in x2 (ka/ni) by amount x3 (parallels with jdika)
zukte x1 is an 'entity' employing means x2 for/towards end/purpose/goal x3

John Cowan writes the following as further explanation of the set/mass/sequence/individuals changes:

One of the aims of the place structure review was to examine all the place structures that were labeled "(plural/set)" to see whether an actual set was wanted, or merely one or more individuals. In addition, sometimes a mass seemed to be the right thing. The new place structures which Lojbab is typing up will contain a good deal of clarification.

Essentially, a true set is required if the relationship does not hold of each member but only of the totality. For example, "kampu", "cnano", and "fadni" are all relationships between a set and one of its members (or a property thereof). If I am typical of ("cnano") the set of persons, that doesn't mean that the relation "typical-of" holds between me and every individual person -- indeed, the idea of one person being typical of another makes no sense.

On the other hand, we decided that "casnu" should have a mass, rather than either a set or plural individuals, in its x1 place. People may "casnu", or participate in a discussion, even though not all of them say anything.

In many cases, "(plural/set)" came up where "between" or "among" was involved. Most of these we tried to reword to avoid the problem, which often resulted from excess generality. Thus a wall now separates exactly two things, and a door connects exactly two. (A wall may separate multiple pairs of things - my house from yours, my property from yours, Country 1 from Country 2 - all at once, but the relationship is still pairwise.)

In addition, the phrase "ordered set" was changed throughout to "sequence", and the place structure of "porsi" is now something like "x1 is a sequence of the members of set x2 ordered by rules x3". Sequences do not have the same level of support in Lojban as individuals, masses, and sets; however, we have long had the non-logical connective "ce'o" which constructs them item by item. In addition, we added "vu'i", a converter of selma'o LUhI, transforming a set into a sequence, as well as individuals into a sequence-in-extension.

It now seems that "fa'u", the non-logical connective for "respectively", may be taken to generate a sequence-in-extension, thus:

mi fa'u do se cmene zo djan. fa'u zo lojbab.
(I respectively-with you) are- benamed ("John" respectively-with "Lojbab").

Using ".e" logical connection will not do, as that would claim that each of us is named both "John" and "Lojbab".

Status of Products

We have a lot of products in the works, and a few of them are done or nearly done. More significantly perhaps, several new products have been identified, and are in progress and in some cases near completion. The variety of Lojban products continues to multiply as new people get involved in its development.

One is of course the Diagrammed Summary of Lojban Grammar, included as an insert in this issue. This will form the major language explanatory text about the language for our introductory package. The Overview will be recast to talk mostly about the ideas of the language and not the grammar, and a glossary will be added. Eventually, this package will be assembled into one of our several book publications. Now for the other products:

Mini-Lesson - Athelstan set the material of his "Lojban Mini-Lesson", an hour-long presentation, down in text last summer and fall before his accident. We distributed draft copies electronically (the draft is available on the PLS - see above), and some two dozen people from 6 different countries have tried it and sent comments. Alas the revision effort was only partially done when the accident occurred, so the mini-lesson, planned for this issue and at one time an excuse for its delay, isn't yet ready.

People have in general found the mini-lesson to be a very good introduction to the language, as they found Athelstan's oral presentation similarly useful. Alas, on paper it takes a good deal more than an hour to work through. People have generally said that there are too many exercises and too few examples. A few of the examples and explanations are perhaps too oriented to English-native speakers, but we haven't figured a good way to correct that.

Given the accident, it is likely that I (Bob) will have to finish the revision, and it will thus not be ready until JL17 or even JL18. The revised mini-lesson will also form part of the introductory package.

LogFlash - We have released the new version of LogFlash described in the last several issues. Both LogFlash 1 (gismu) and LogFlash 3 (cmavo) are being successfully used by several people.

For those who want to learn rafsi, the older combined LogFlash 1/2 will continue to be available (LogFlash 2 teaches rafsi) until a new version is created - a new version of LogFlash 2 will be more difficult to develop than the other programs because the type of testing used in lessons is more diverse. The lujvo-making program will also be incorporated into the next revision of LogFlash 2. The priority of this revision depends primarily on people being interested in obtaining it - if you are ready to start using this program, or expect that you will be within 6 months, let us know and Nora will put more effort into this upgrade. The files for the old version are not being updated, hence several newly-added rafsi assignments and the couple of changes that have been made are not reflected in this old version. This has not proven to be a significant limitation.

There are two 'problems' with the current release, neither of which prevents effective use. The first is that we've had no time to rewrite the user documentation. There are now an enormously increased number of user-selectable features in LogFlash, and documentation is needed to intelligently choose among them. You can experiment or ask - most of these functions are self-explanatory as to how they work, and playing around is not damaging to your learning effectiveness (though it can be time consuming given the number of options). However, explaining when and why each option is intended to be used takes a bit of work. Luckily, Nora has made the program effectively self-channelled - the default option at each menu choice progresses you through fairly optimal usage. I'd like to promise the documentation soon, but I'll have to admit that it keeps getting shoved off for other priorities. When more people start buying the program, we will of course put high priority on completing the support documentation, and it will be available free-of-charge to those of you who have done without until then.

The other 'problem' is that because of the above-mentioned revision of the gismu list, especially affecting place structures, the version of the list we are giving out at any particular time is subject to changes. These changes don't generally affect the learning process since place structures are provided for information purposes only, but since the lists being distributed are unofficial, people receiving them need to be fore-warned. Again, we will make updated files available to those who purchase copies now, probably at the time the first book is released.

The instability of the word files affects LogFlash 3 a bit more significantly because we are more freely changing words and keywords, as well as making a small number of additions and deletions to the cmavo list. The changes being made are typically minor, however, enough that we can finally feel comfortable in recommending that people use LogFlash 3 without too much fear of having to do a lot of relearning due to changes.

MacLojFlash - Both versions of LogFlash for the Apple MacIntosh are being updated for the new data files. Each version already had some of the features now incorporated into the original MS-DOS version, and will probably add new ones to keep the different versions roughly comparable in capabilities. The Hypercard Mac version by Dave Cortesi is being upgraded to Hypercard II; Richard Kennaway's original MAC version doesn't use Hypercard, is somewhat faster, but does not have voice synthesis of the words, and supports both the gismu and cmavo lists in one program. Richard's program is basically ready, awaiting only reasonably final word files. (Our difficulties in supporting the Mac continue, and we aren't going to release incremental in-progress Mac versions of the word-lists as we are doing with the original program.) The Mac programs are liable to be cheaper than the MS-DOS versions, partly because of the lower quality of support that we have been able to provide.

Serious Volunteers Sought for LogFlash Research - The new version of LogFlash (MS-DOS version only) is instrumented for research into how well people learn Lojban words. This finally allows testing of the 'word recognition scores' that were the basis of Loglan/Lojban word-making ever since the project started in the 1950s, as well as formally verifying the effectiveness of the LogFlash technique.

We are looking for volunteers to use LogFlash in learning the Lojban vocabulary. At this point we have no constraint on who can volunteer, as long as you can state more or less honestly that you don't yet know much of the Lojban gismu vocabulary. Later on, we will have to add restrictions to ensure that our statistics are valid, but for now we are looking for patterns in the learning of individuals.

We have no funding for this experiment - we can't pay anyone to participate. You will even have to buy the copy of LogFlash that you use to learn the words, because we need the money to stay in business right now. What we can promise is that someone who volunteers AND STICKS WITH THE EXPERIMENT ENOUGH TO GIVE US USEFUL RESULTS will be credited afterwards for the price of LogFlash and any other Lojban teaching materials you buy to study while participating in the experiment. We'll also give priority (subject to our limited funds) for volunteers who need financial assistance to obtain Lojban materials.

This isn't a lot to offer for a commitment of 3-7 hours a week for 4-8 months (probably 100-150 hours total, about the same as the homework time for a typical college class), but the work isn't hard, and you will be doing it anyway if you are planning on learning the language. We need is people who will use LogFlash more or less daily for at least 1/2 hour a day (preferably an hour - learning may go 3 times as fast or better, at this more intense study rate; you learn quicker, and the experiment is shorter and more likely to show expected results.)

Other teaching products - We have contacted two firms that commercially produce language learning materials and gotten interest in assisting the Lojban project from each of them. One produces software that teaches you words and structures as you read a story or stories in Lojban (not a simplified text - you would learn to read most any Lojban text you come across). The other, International Learning Corporation, produces a series of materials called "The Learnables (tm)", which are books of cartoons and pictures associated with extensive tapes. These materials are used effectively in college classes.

Both products have been recommended to us by more than one Lojbanist. Both organizations have indicated that they would be willing to license us to develop Lojban versions of their products at no cost to us other than the effort of developing the materials. The resulting materials should be extremely effective in teaching Lojban and offer the confidence of having been used effectively with other languages. The down-side of these materials is that they will probably be more expensive than our self-developed materials (for existing languages, the software package costs around $100 plus a small amount per story, while The Learnables costs around $45 for a book and 6 tapes, with 4 beginning and 4 advanced books covering the typical language - we can't promise to be able to sell Lojban materials for any less than the prices these organizations charge for other languages).

These are significant opportunities to get awareness of Lojban out to a much larger audience, but we cannot justify the time to produce the materials unless there is some significant interest in the community in buying and using the resulting products. So we need to hear from you if you think you would buy the materials.

Interlinear Glosser (and Parser) - This new project of Nora's stems from four unrelated problems. Because of the massive volume of Lojban text now being produced, Nora and I can no longer read and check it all - our own command of the language is not thorough enough for us to quickly check words and place structures, much less to comment the results thoroughly.

People writing Lojban text tend to make word choice errors (e.g. lujvo-making errors, misspellings), and find it hard to catch these errors before 'inflicting' them on others. A simple computerized spelling checker cannot fully solve this (even if you can build a dictionary file easily) because nearly all possible cmavo and lujvo word-forms are plausibly valid words.

In addition, people using the Lojban parser to check their work have found the outputs to be hard to use in an odd way. When there is an error, the parser tells you (approximately) where the error occurred, and you know where to look. If it finds no errors, the rather lengthy fully-parenthesized output contains complete grammatical structure information. Unfortunately, a lot of simple errors, including misspellings (noted above) and omitted terminators can lead to grammatically perfect text that means something quite different from what you intended. Reading the parser output to find such errors requires great care, as well as a certain sense of what types of errors to look for. It isn't being done too well, and people have found errors in text that seemed perfectly valid, even to the parser, when read carefully. (Though this might seem to be a threat to Lojban's viability as a understandable and logical language, the types of errors that are occurring seem to be of the types that fluent speakers wouldn't often make.)

Finally, one of the easiest first steps towards the computer applications for which Lojban is especially suitable is a Lojban-to-English translator. Nora has long been interested in producing a simple form of such a translator, both for study of the problems of machine translation, and as an effective teaching tool. She first did a rudimentary translator, handling a subset of the grammar of single Loglan sentences, on a tiny TRS-80 home computer back in 1981. Updating this program to use with Lojban has been difficult, because the varieties of sentences that are typical for Lojban are much more numerous than for earlier Loglan versions.

A few months ago, we discovered a free-ware program called "Shoebox" (Summer Institute of Linguistics) that produces interlinear glosses from one language to another, using a simple word look-up technique and a specially designed word database. Mark Shoulson and others have set up this program to produce quite pretty glosses for Lojban text, but the translation is rather difficult to read, even when you know Lojban grammar - the words that are substituted are the keywords of our word-lists, which are not intended necessarily to be good translations; there is no provision for lujvo compounds, even though they are quite regular; several cmavo have no valid English gloss because they serve purely grammatical roles; and finally, Lojban's predicate grammar means that you need to analyze the grammatical situation to know whether to interpret the English equivalent of a Lojban word as a noun, a verb, and adjective, or an adverb - Shoebox is not sufficiently tailored to Loglan/Lojban's unique regularities to take advantage of them to produce a readable output.

Inspired by this, Nora started designing a grammar-smart interlinear glosser. Carl Burke has aided with some good design ideas, and the project is well underway. Indeed, the program already produces better glosses than the comparable Shoebox versions, even without many 'grammar smarts', because it recognizes Lojban word types, disassembles lujvo, recognizes numbers as a unit, and other simple Lojban-specific functions. It processes outputs from John Cowan's Lojban parser, separating a long text into separate sentences and other logical chunks for easier reading, and optionally retaining or deleting the structure bracketing and inserted elidable marker words that the parser provides in its output. We also have developed a 'dictionary' suited for this program.

If there is demand, we can make the program available fairly shortly in its in-development form bundled with the parser (which it requires). We'll set a tentative price of $50 for the combination, partly because the program is incomplete; the final program may be more expensive. John Cowan's parser by itself is available for $25 (and may be available for some UNIX machines as well as MS-DOS). People who are writing a LOT of Lojban text, and sending it to us or posting it onto Lojban List, can probably convince us to provide a test version of either or both for free (especially if you cannot afford to pay for it) - we'd rather have you be checking your text before we get it rather than be doing it ourselves. The user documentation and support on these programs will be quite limited until the glosser is completed.

We are making these programs available primarily because some people are already finding them useful, not because we believe they are optimal products yet - if you are working often with the language, the program limitations will not much hinder their usefulness. Also, frankly, we need people to contribute more for our support, and having new products to sell gives you something for your money besides the good feeling of contributing to keeping this project alive.

The Cowan Papers, or "The Lojban Textbook Effort Grows Up" - 3 1/2 years ago (October 1988) I started to write a technical description and reference for Lojban. 40 pages and the first descriptive cmavo list were completed. Reviewers at that point basically told me that the text was not working - most people did not know the language well enough to use a reference that presumed basic knowledge of the grammar. The format was very poor as a teaching text. The result was the recommendation that I write a Lojban textbook.

From January through June 1989, I wrote 6+ draft chapters of such a textbook while teaching the first Lojban class. About 150 people have gotten those lessons now, and a couple of dozen of these have studied the language well enough to write fairly effectively in the language. These draft lessons remain available and are the most thorough teaching materials we have for those trying to learn the language.

Alas, the draft lessons, though they've 'aged well', remain incomplete. I stopped writing when we realized that the basic structure of the course was not working in the way we intended and it was getting harder and harder to write lessons that built constructively on what had gone before. The completed textbook would be over 1000 pages, and simply wasn't good enough to justify that much effort.

I started a new draft in 1990, but it got only to page 50. Throughout 1990 and 1991, as others learned the language, the advances in teaching technique outstripped my writing ability. Indeed, under the able leadership of Nick Nicholas, the last year has shown a truly outstanding increase in the sophistication of our knowledge of Lojban expression, its style, and its semantics. But that evolution, and the dozens of little tiny changes in the corners of the language were stresses that hurt my confidence that I was teaching the language appropriately to the ways it is coming to be used. I've also spent too much time dealing with our unending financial problems and simply coordinating the rapid expansion of our organization.

The reference materials of the language continued to evolve as well, and, although the language itself is quite stable, our published descriptions of the language have edged towards obsolescence. The gismu list place structures were too short and vague, but the words themselves were quite stable, as were the rafsi affixes. The cmavo list was nearly as stable, but incessant little changes in the grammar coupled with major advances of our knowledge of how to communicate in Lojban have made a simple list of cmavo inadequate. The YACC-based formal grammar has similarly been quite stable; there were little changes and we had to update the baseline a year later, and a new baseline will take place when the first book comes out (though the number of grammar change proposals in the second baseline year have been less than half of those in the first year).

Since every example in the textbook must be accurate and consistent with the reference lists, the more examples I've put into the text, the shakier the result has become. Simply checking every example in the existing 6 chapters requires hours of work - the new textbook has several times as many examples for each key grammar point.

In addition, the YACC grammar is not too well understood by those who aren't used to that type of grammar definition. There are a lot of trees, with no sense of the forest. The shorter EBNF form of the grammar is better for some people, but it is still formalized and difficult for non-computer people. An especial lack is a series of examples showing all the various structures of the grammar, and discussing why they were present.

This lack of examples was a big hang-up in textbook writing, as well. I spent endless time trying to concoct meaningful examples of sentences that exemplified the points I was trying to make, which were limited in vocabulary, but still interesting. This is NOT my strong skill. Still, the 50 pages of the new draft textbook has dozens of examples and even more exercises.

When John Cowan first became involved in Lojban, 2 years ago, his first promised goal was the rather ambitious one of writing an example sentence for every gismu. He then decided instead to write one sentence for every cmavo, covering every variety of grammatical usage.

A nice ideal, but far too ambitious, as John found out. Some cmavo are permitted in a variety of usages but aren't pragmatically useful in most of them - at least not in a way that we English speakers can easily recognize. For example, it seems rather odd to contemplate the mathematical number "pi" treated like all other numbers and used as a digit, or to enumerate objects or events: "pi events of Mary going to the store" is irrational in more than one sense of the word.

John's continuing work with the grammar has made him even more expert in its details than I am. He has performed the modifications to the YACC grammar for all the little changes of the last two years. In developing that expertise, he learned how thoroughly the language is defined, while how little of that design is yet set down on paper. He set to remedy this problem in the context of his previous goal, choosing to write a "selma'o catalog" that would list all the grammatical components of the language, giving explanations and examples of the use of each of them. Maybe he wouldn't find one example for every word in every grammatical context, but at least there would be an example of each such grammatical form, and the result would show how the rules of the grammar interacted in actual usage (as opposed to the arcane formulae of the YACC grammar).

John spent several months on the selma'o catalog, and created a very nice document that a few people have used effectively to learn about the language structures. The document has remained a draft, though, for several reasons. Basically, though, John realized that his goal remained far beyond what he was capable of writing. I'm going to exaggerate the negatives to make the reasons clear - as I said, the document proved quite useful and informative for the limited audience of reviewers who already knew a bit about the language. Everyone who read it, including me, learned a lot from John's explanations.

The draft selma'o catalog is a couple of hundred paragraphs, with a couple of hundred cross-references; but the latter is not nearly enough. It turns out that so many of the structures are redundant to each other that it is difficult to write about individual word categories without referring to what is said elsewhere, or without repeating the same thing many times over. John also had to make use of so many technical jargon terms that a explanatory glossary was going to be needed that was fully as large as the catalog text, in order for the catalog to be understood by a beginner. Finally, because John wrote the catalog from start to end, it reads fairly well as a textual explanation of the selma'o.

However, as a catalog reference work not intended to be read from start to finish, the document failed. Individual entries are hard to understand - even with all the cross-references, too much of the text presumes that the reader has read and understood what comes 'before it' in the catalog. The result is like a dictionary wherein you must know and understand almost every word in the 'A' section before trying to understand the 'B' words, while 'C' requires knowledge of both 'A' and 'B', etc.

Finally, although John created over a hundred example sentences for the selma'o catalog, this is not nearly enough to exemplify the entire Lojban grammar.

The selma'o catalog will appear in print, probably in the first book to be published (see below). However, it needs to be integrated with other materials in that book, which will take a bit of work. It unfortunately cannot serve the purpose John originally set out for it - to exemplify the variety of cmavo and their usages in the grammar.

To accomplish the latter, John has undertaken and made excellent progress on a new approach. He has divided the grammar of Lojban into some 15 topics. There will be a paper on each topic, covering the cmavo used in the portion of the grammar that addresses that topic. A half dozen of these papers are done or nearly complete.

The topics are not an even division of the grammar - some topics can be covered in very few pages, while others need a lot of explanation and examples. On the average, the topics are being covered to at least the level of detail as the "On Lojban Negation" paper, which was published a couple of years ago with JL and is now distributed with "Package 3" for active language students. (John's writing in these new papers seems to me to be much more readable then my own in the negation paper.) Each paper has dozens of examples; in some of them, over a hundred examples may be found.

The most important of the papers completed thus far is the tense paper included with this issue. One of the most thoroughly analyzed and designed aspects of Lojban, as distinguished from earlier versions of Loglan, the tense system benefits from pc's expertise in tense logic and its expression in the languages of the world.

I've said that the Lojban tense system is overdesigned - it allows the entire variety of tense-related expressions used by any of the world's languages, without particularly favoring any one approach. But each natural language has evolved a highly specialized and often idiomatic approach to expressing tense. The English speaker tackling Russian or Greek or Irish, all Indo-European languages, must learn elaborate tense systems involving perfective tenses that work entirely unlike those of English. Making the matter even worse, most English speakers are ill-educated as to the complexity of the tense structures of their own language, and the subtleties of nuance implicit in various forms of expression. As a result, a major failing people have in learning foreign languages is that they are unable to grasp the new ways of relating time and space embodied in the foreign language, and speak in a very stilted dialect that is difficult for natives to understand. (Most artificial languages have little or no thought put into their tense system, and probably never achieve the subtleties of meaning conveyed by natural language tenses.)

The tense paper included in this issue will likely stretch your mind to envision new relationships in time and space as expressed in language, relationships that are not easily conveyed in English, if at all.

For example, at the moment I am writing this, I say that "I am writing JL16". But since JL16 is not yet published, it doesn't yet exist while I write it (except as a figment of my imagination). In Lojban, we can make this clear by stating that I am writing the inchoative JL16.

Another example, long my favorite, was coined by pc. Suppose X has a dog which he hits in punishment whenever it chews X's clothes. Indeed, he hits it so long that it sustains lasting injury, though a trip to the vet remedies much of this damage. Now suppose over a period of time, X continues this cruel behavior, the dog's condition deteriorates, and it dies. In English, we might say that "X kept on: kept on hitting the dog too long, too long." But without the long-winded explanation, you would almost certainly consider that sentence both ungrammatical and nonsense, when it is neither. (And there is no way to clearly punctuate the sentence, either, as I just found out.) Lojban expresses this situation easily.

Now think of one of those cartoons where the main character drives a motorboat across the lake, then continues up on shore and across the land. This situation is expressed in Lojban using a tense quite similar to that of the last example: the character kept on driving the motorboat too far 'on' the lake.

There are all manner of other tense structures permitted in Lojban, some of which have no parallel in natural language. Lojban's tenses are symmetrical with respect to time - you can talk about future events in as elaborate detail as you can talk about past ones, whereas some natural languages (including English) have only a very degenerate grammar for talking about things to come.

Will people find Lojban's tense grammar enabling? Or will its many unusual forms never find use, and fall by the wayside. We'll only come to know after people have a chance to learn from a thorough explanation of the tense system, such as John has now provided us.

Here is a list of the papers currently planned, and their status:

  • morphology, phonology, and orthography (written and published, needs stylistic rewrite to match later papers);
  • negation (written and published, needs minor update and reworking to be stylistically consistent with later papers);
  • attitudinals/metalinguistics (written and published, needs major rewrite adding many examples);
  • tense (written and published with this issue);
  • MEX: mathematical expressions (written and internally reviewed - to be published with JL17);
  • logical connectives (written and in internal review);
  • text structure (written and in internal review);
  • lerfu (written and in internal review);

Not yet written (though in some cases planned in considerable detail) are:

  • abstraction;
  • logical quantification;
  • sumti structures - anaphora, descriptions, names, quotes, numbers;
  • places and place structures;
  • selbri structures;
  • tanru making;
  • anaphora;
  • elidable terminators;

John will write most of these papers. I (Lojbab) will probably do a couple of them, possibly including the major rewrite of the attitudinal paper, a lesser rewrite of the negation paper, and writing some or all of the papers on tanru, elidables, and abstraction. These papers will probably take another year to be completed, reviewed, and integrated for publishing, but the resulting book will be a detailed explanation of all aspects of the Lojban grammar (called a 'reference grammar' by linguists).

These papers will be an invaluable resource in creating examples and exercises to enrich the long-delayed Lojban textbook. Teaching of the intermediate and advanced aspects of the language that were not covered in the 6 draft lessons already written will be especially helped.

As I went to describe John's papers, and the role that they fit in the documentation of the Lojban design, I realized that these collected papers will be nothing other than the Lojban technical description that I started back in 1988, before the textbook was conceived.

We have come full circle. In a year, when the papers are complete and published, Lojban will be well-documented, and the language and its community will be much the richer for it.

Bob and Nora Studying Russian - Nora and I have started an intensive study of Russian. We are trying to adopt one or more young children from Russia, and will have to travel to that country, deal with children who have likely started to understand or even to speak Russian, and also to teach those children about their heritage as they grow up. (Yes, we also plan to teach our kids Lojban.)

What does this have to do with Lojban?

Our learning efforts started in April, and have already had a significant effect on the future textbook. Our situation in learning Russian is not too unlike the typical Lojbanist who wants to learn Lojban - we want to very quickly acquire as much competency in the language as we can, but have minimal opportunity to take formal classes or interact with native speakers.

We've spent a good chunk of money on textbooks, tapes, and other learning aids; we've adapted LogFlash to the study of Russian vocabulary (surprisingly easy due to Nora's excellent program design foresight, even though Russian uses a keyboard and alphabet rather different from what normally appears on your computer screen).

Only a month into the effort, I'm learning what methods work for rapid self-teaching, and which do not.

When Nora and I learned Loglan/- Lojban, we acquired it slowly, over several years, without prepared materials to work from, and our level of skill until the last couple of years did not approach a useful level. Our experience was unlike what the new Lojbanist faces in trying to learn the language, and even more strongly different from the way we hope Lojbanists will learn the language in the future after the books and other materials are complete.

However, our experience in studying Russian from prepared materials in a short time will more closely approximate the typical Lojbanist's situation.

What have we learned? We need many more examples and exercises - each of the books we are using gives dozens of very simple exercises for each point taught, several exercises requiring use of each vocabulary word to be added to the learner's 'active' vocabulary, and an incremental approach that adds new grammar features quickly (at least at our study pace) but only one at a time. We have also found that tapes are useful and indeed important to giving students confidence that they can actually speak the language, as they copy what is being said. Tape exercises give practice in listening to the language, as well as correction of the errors and other problems that creep into the self-teaching student's pronunciation.

I am also getting specifically helpful samples of style: how much explanation is appropriate and useful, and what type of wording is clearest. Indeed, some specific Russian pronunciation explanations will prove quite useful in explaining similar points about Lojban.

I've spent a lot of thought on the textbook writing problem, and sent out a questionnaire to potential Lojban students on the computer networks. The problems I've had in writing the textbook have included a lack of time, too many things to do, instability in the details of the language, and low morale. But the real problem was that I was trying to write a textbook with no real understanding of what a language textbook needs to contain.

I've spent a lot of time over the last 5 years examining language textbooks, their structure, and teaching techniques. I've read over a dozen books on standard and unorthodox language teaching methodologies and on textbook writing for both commonly studied languages and for little-known languages for which native speaker materials are hard to acquire.

(You would be surprised how little agreement there is on teaching methodologies among language teaching professionals. Simply speaking, there is no methodology that has proven to work effectively for the wide variety of student backgrounds and goals. The best materials are those for learning English, but English-speaking natives like me cannot look at these materials and truly understand the methods being used, and how they might relate to designing materials for other languages - the best materials are quite unlike the ones native speakers study in English grammar class.)

This reading means that I actually understand the techniques being used by the Russian textbook writers as they use them on me (the best Russian textbooks on the market were written in Russia by professionals there, and then translated and adapted for English-speaking audiences). I can see which techniques work well with a self-teaching student, and which would need two or more people, or even a class, to be effective.

It is no big surprise that the techniques that work best on me are quite similar to the LogFlash flash card technique. It IS significant, both to me, and potentially to people who design materials for other languages, how valuable an understanding of WHY I am doing an exercise helps me do that exercise better - I concentrate on what is important, and don't worry about the rest (I can tell this benefit because I can see the problems that Nora is having, not having had this background in language teaching theory.)

It turns out that this new information will not affect the textbook writing I've done thus far. We decided a long time ago to totally rewrite the materials in the draft 6 lessons in the new textbook, which will have a different organization, as well as a different style. The draft lessons, updated to the current language with minimal stylistic changes, will still be put out as a book later this year, because we can get it done quickly and because people have proven able to learn from the book.

The rewritten textbook has been stalled near the end of Chapter 1 for over a year - partly from lack of time, more recently from reduced priority. Chapter 1 is an overview of the entire language, a big-picture summary that attempts to get across the fundamental differences between Lojban and other languages in hopes that when we turn to a detailed, incremental buildup of language skills in succeeding chapters, people will have a framework to build upon. (It is rather difficult to properly teach about Lojban sentence features without knowing that Lojban sentences themselves are conceptually unlike English sentences.) It will take little work to adapt Lesson 1 for this new approach, but I now, finally, have some idea how to write Lesson 2 - which has been a significant hindrance on my writing.

Book Plans - Last issue, I expected that we would have one or two books completed by the end of the year, those books being composed of updated versions of already published materials.

Surprising few people, the books haven't yet happened. The distractions of the financial situation hurt both morale and concrete progress. More important, the documents that we intended to incorporate into book form have lots of elusive little inconsistencies which are taking a long time to resolve and document so that we don't introduce new errors as we correct the old. The January weekend meeting discussed above led to a lot of changes in the gismu list place structures, and all other documents have to be reconciled with those changes. A lot of progress has been made, though, and I can surely state that, except for the time I'm taking to produce this JL issue, la lojbangirz. is decidedly in a book-producing mode.

The number of books planned has increased as we produce the two originally identified. Here's the current plan:

Textbook - The existing draft textbook lessons will be updated to the current language and minor changes put in to reflect specific difficulties that people had with an explanation. This revision will take time, but isn't too difficult. Some added tutorial materials, dealing with topics not covered in the 6 lessons that are important to new Lojbanists will be appended, and the first chapter of the new draft textbook will serve as an overview at the beginning.

Thereafter, work will commence on writing the 'real' textbook, using some of the ideas I've learned from teaching the language since the first draft textbook was started in 1989, as well as from our learning Russian, as described above. This writing may take a year or two, so that the revised draft textbook is what there will be until then. The full textbook may run to 2 volumes - I haven't yet seen a textbook that gives conversational fluency in a language in even two books.

Lojban, while simpler than most languages, still has a large vocabulary to learn. There is a minimum amount of vocabulary that must be mastered to converse fluently in any language. We have had little success in convincing people to get that head start on the vocabulary needed to make textbook learning flow smoothly. The draft lessons averaged 100 new words per lesson, and people in the first class did not do enough self-study of this vocabulary to have the vocabulary keep up with their grammar learning. The answer is smaller, shorter lessons, and some additional work on vocabulary teaching and drilling techniques. But language textbooks seem to set a target of around 1000-1200 words for a typical textbook, and this is only enough for rudimentary communication in most languages, including Lojban. Thus we will need 2 books to get people to active use vocabularies of 2000+ words, which is almost certainly the minimum needed for any real comfort in communicating.

Of course people using LogFlash can get to that 2000 word level much more quickly, and without a book, since the gismu and cmavo in LogFlash 3 together amount to around 2000 words, and most of these have some use in conversation and writing.

Reference Book/Dictionary - Originally the dictionary was going to come after the textbook. This has changed. As indicated last issue, we decided to assemble the various draft reference materials into a single book replacing our motley collection of printed handouts and reference lists with a single cheaper volume that is also up-to-date.

Because we need up-to-date references in order to revise the draft textbook, we decided last year that this book was to come first. It has turned out that producing it was not a simple assembly of old documents because bringing those documents into consistency with the current language has taken a lot of time. However, the added time has provided insights that will make the new document better than originally expected. The revised gismu list, for example, now typically has 2 or more English glosses for each Lojban word, and the English order list will be much more useful for those looking up words. We've had side projects going on regarding Lojbanization of names, and are even starting to assemble some of the lujvo used in Lojban text so far into lists (there have been over 2000 such lujvo actually used in Lojban text, which can be added to some 5000 proposed words that are on paper and computer disk from earlier Loglan work). I expect that the slow production process will allow me enough time to put a non-trivial sampling of these into the book. The resulting lists will be less thoroughly checked and standard than the well-analyzed gismu and cmavo lists, but the reference book is now looking more like the dictionary that people really want to see.

It won't be the dictionary I WANT to produce, but it will have more to it than most first dictionaries of artificial languages, and will serve as a good start.

I have been calling this book the 'proto-dictionary'.

The proto-dictionary will also have the formal grammar in both YACC and BNF forms, a glossary of Lojban and technical/linguistic jargon that often appears in discussion of Lojban, the morphology rules, and other useful reference material. I plan to include a form of the selma'o catalog started by John Cowan (described above).

A more complete dictionary will be built after this one is done, but it again will take a couple of years - I've always known this was a big project for one person, and without funding for more than myself to work on it, it will take a lot of time.

Nora has found a purse-sized gismu list that I prepared for her as an experiment to be very useful. therefore, we are considering putting out a tiny pocket version of the protodictionary with word lists only. If you think such a book would be useful enough for you to buy in addition to the full protodictionary, let us know - the market for this book will determine whether it is produced in this generation of Lojban materials, rather than waiting until there are more Lojbanists to buy it.

Grammar Description - John Cowan's papers, described above, along with the ones I have written and will write in the future, will form the third basic Lojban book.

Introduction to Lojban - The cost to us of our introductory package is quite high, and only some 10-20% of the people who ask for information send us payment. By assembling the introductory package into a small book, we can get better postal rates for mailing it, as well as reducing our printing costs. The savings is only a few hundred dollars a year, but every little bit helps, and a lower price might encourage more to pay.

Lojban Phrase Book - We started doing a phrase book for LogFest last year, and a few dozen pages of materials have been assembled. The concept is similar to the standard 'Berlitz' phrase-books for travellers, recognizing that the phrases a Lojbanist needs are not quite the same as those that a traveller to a foreign country would want.

Lojban Reader - We are still talking about this book, though it will likely be delayed because the other books are more important and the market for a reader is still small. The amount of Lojban text that has been written or translated is now enormous. However, checking the translations are slow and inefficient; even small changes in the language require a rechecking. We are also hoping that more Lojbanists will start writing new things in the language rather than translating. Most things people wish to translate are covered by copyright, and tracking down of permissions to reproduce such translations commercially is something we haven't figured out how to do efficiently (along with the fact that we might have to pay royalties).


We may not be too good lately at meeting our schedules, being too dependent on both time and money that are not under our control, but having a schedule helps us keep priorities straight, and helps you know what he are doing to bring the language to you.

Here are the current plans:

(June 92)

LogFest 92A

Diagrammed Examples of Lojban Sentences
Tense Paper

Electronic postings to PLS:
Diagrammed Examples of Lojban Sentences
Tense Paper
Mex Paper
lerfu Paper draft
Text Structure Paper draft
Logical Connectives Paper draft
Revised cmavo list

(August 92)

LogFest 92B - Annual Meeting

Lojban Mini-Lesson
Mex Paper
What is Lojban - la lojban. mo Brochure (Esperanto version)

Electronic postings to PLS.:
lerfu Paper
Text Structure Paper
What is Lojban - la lojban. mo Brochure (Esperanto version) - updated
A comparison of Lojban and 1989 Institute Loglan (Cowan)
Glossary of Lojban/linguistic terminology

(September 92) 

Lojban Reference Materials/- Proto-Dictionary
Lojban Pocket Dictionary

Hypercard LogFlash/Mac - (Revised and New versions)

(November 92) 

Lojban Learning Materials (Book)

Electronic postings to PLS.:
Revised Draft Lessons 1-6
Negation paper (updated)
Attitudinal Paper (updated)
Synopsis of Lojban Orthography, Phonology, and Morphology (updated)

(Dec 92)

Lojban Parser (PC and some UNIX versions)
Lojban Parser/Glosser
Logflash 2 - rafsi (Revision 7)

Unscheduled But Planned 

Lojban Textbook
Lojban Dictionary
Lojban Reader
Lojban Phrase Book

Printed and Electronic:
Lojban gismu Etymologies

Lojban Adventure Game

Using the Language

The most heartening development of the last several months has been the spread of regular and active Lojban work to several people outside of the DC area. These people, primarily in contact with each other through the computer networks, are doing a variety of translations and other writings, games, and discussions. The activities being undertaken often rely on advanced Lojban skills. That people are able to do these activities without direction or instruction from those of us who did the language design proves that the language has now been defined well enough that it is no longer totally dependent on Nora, pc, John Cowan and myself for survival.

Even more significantly, the people participating in these activities come from a variety of language backgrounds. Ivan Derzhanski, in Scotland, is native Bulgarian. Nick Nicholas, in Australia, is native Greek/English. Colin Fine, in the UK, of course uses British English, while Mark Shoulson uses American English (though he does most of his translating to Lojban from Hebrew). A new Lojbanist, Veijo Vilva is Finnish.

Lojban Conversation Group - Before Athelstan's accident in February, the Lojban conversation group here in DC passed its first anniversary of regular weekly conversation sessions in Lojban. Without Athelstan, we have shifted to non-conversation activities such as translations to and from Lojban of simple texts, while teaching new Lojbanist David Young enough of the language that he can comfortably participate in conversation. As described above, we expect to merge the conversation group into a new Lojban class here in the DC area that will swell our numbers of conversant speakers.

On the Net - Lojban List has remained steady at around 60-80 members, though the last few weeks have shown a new group of people joining in. While most of the subscribers to this list are 'lurkers' in net terminology (they read what's posted but seldom contribute), the number who contribute to discussions has grown to a couple of dozen.

The intensity of discussion varies. Earlier this year, the list was averaging a dozen messages a day, some of considerable length. Lately, things have been quiet, with only one or two messages a day.

The technical level of discussions has increased. Indeed, we've had a little problem in that new subscribers who haven't received our materials tend to be a bit lost in the details of the fairly advanced discussions, and very little is posted for beginning Lojbanists. I keep urging beginners to post questions, but few participate.

Phone Game - The old party game called variously "the phone game" or "whisper down the line" has found a new incarnation in Lojban. Originally started by Jack Bennetto, this game is just completing its 3rd 'round'. Lojbanists are each given a message, originally in English. They translate it into Lojban and pass it to the next person, who translates it back to English, then the next back to Lojban, etc. until the message has gone full circle. The requirement is to translate about two lines once a week, so the time commitment is rather small.

Participants in the latest 5 message round include Ivan Derzhanski, Sylvia Rutiser, Mark Shoulson, Colin Fine, and Nora LeChevalier, with Nick Nicholas coordinating things and assembling the results.

At the end of the game, Nick collects comments from everyone on the obvious and not-so-obvious errors that creep into the translations, and they are posted to Lojban List. Two sample messages from the 2nd round, with post-game commentary, appear in le lojbo se ciska below. People participating in the game learn much from trying to find ways to rephrase what they receive. Nick is hoping to increase the number of participants in the next round.

Translations and other Writings - The volume of Lojban text, mostly translations, continues to grow. So does the diversity of translators and sources. Nick Nicholas is still by far the leading translator into Lojban, with about 10 new efforts of length comparable to that in JL15 since that issue was published. Some of these translations are from Greek, both ancient and modern, some are from Esperanto, and even a couple from English. Nick has also completed translating the text of the original 'Adventure' computer game, known as 'Colossal Cave' (badbarda kevna), and we hope to have a Lojban version of this game available by the end of the year.

Ivan Derzhanski has translated two stories from Bulgarian into Lojban. One of these will probably appear in the next issue, unless we get the final review done in time for this issue's deadline. Ivan has been complimented for his 'natural' Lojban use that is very easy to read.

Mark Shoulson has translated sections of Genesis from the original Hebrew, as well as some traditional Hebrew songs. Colin Fine has translated the fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea", and several songs, including one of his own. John Cowan has translated a short tale from Hakka, a rural Chinese dialect. Veijo Vilva and And Rosta have each translated haiku poetry, and Lojbab translated a Gilbert and Sullivan song. Jamie Bechtel revised his translation of an Ursula Leguin science fiction story, which we will print if we can get copyright release. And of course the DC group has done a variety of translations, mostly of simple texts from the 19th century schoolbooks called "McGuffy's Readers".

Michael Helsem recently sent a new poem written in Lojban, after several months of inactivity while relocating to Seattle. Thus far he's the only one emphasizing original writing in Lojban.

Discussions - Lojban List has had discussions on innumerable topics, and space is forcing us to leave most of these out of this issue. These discussions have been very helpful in resolving some of the issues that come up as we clean up the loose ends in the language documentation. Some of the discussions are excerpted in this issue, and more will appear in later issues, but we can hardly start to include the volume of material appearing on Lojban List.

Linguist List - John Cowan and Lojbab have also been active in "Linguist List", a mailing list for professional linguists who are conducting research. Our activity has earned us, and Lojban, name recognition in this critical community, and we have garnered considerable respect for Lojban's potential value in linguistics research (see research news below).

Conlang - A third mailing list exists for people interested in constructed languages in general as opposed to Lojban or some other particular language. Many of the participants are people inventing their own languages, often for fun or for use in fiction. Lojbanists contribute frequently on this forum, and we have gained several new supporters as a result.

Research Using Lojban

As we have gained respect in the linguistics community, a few linguists have offered ideas for how Lojban would be useful in their work. I'll highlight three key contacts.

Alexis Manaster-Ramer - Alexis is a noted linguist at Wayne State University in Michigan. He is active in a variety of linguistics arenas, and leads in international relations with the Russian linguistics community, computational linguistics, and historical linguistics (he has a forthcoming paper that will be the first in-depth technical review by American linguists of the 'Nostratic' theory of language evolution, which has been much-discussed in the popular press.

Alexis has suggested that Lojban may be well-suited for use in semantic analysis of differing natural languages. Specifically, if you have, for example, a word in Polish, and a word in English, they might be translated into two separate words in Lojban, but then using some of Lojban's features to serve as a metalanguage for talking about the relationships between the meanings. He says that linguists often make nonsensical claims/errors because in dealing with glosses of words from other languages, they often forget that the gloss is not necessarily identical in meaning.

(He cites as an example a guy who did his thesis demonstrating that English "if" was not a logical connection by examining how translations of "if" s sentences into Tagalog were not logical connectives because the word used in Tagalog definitely doesn't ever act like such a connective. Alexis notes that this argument is silly - the Tagalog word was not necessarily identical in meaning to the English word, even if it WAS used in translation. Ideally you want to never assume that two words in different language map to exactly the same semantic space.

Another example, from Polish (which is Alexis' native language). 'Orange' in its Polish incarnation is not as primary a color as it is in English. Even though the archetype orange may be similar or identical in the two languages, the word for the concept covers a narrower band in Polish, so some things English calls 'orange' Alexis sees as a flavor of yellow and more rarely as red. Lojban has the capability, independent of the vaguely defined Lojban narju, to add words glinarju and polskrnarju for the two source language "oranges". Having different words, a Lojban-using analyst wouldn't assume them to be identical in meaning, and would perhaps also have the metalanguage capability through adding BAI places and the like, to clearly distinguish the meanings and the transformations needed to relate the two. Each word would have an archetype and a range in both hue and saturation - the limits between orange and other colors being different in Polish than in English.

Alexis thus sees in Lojban the basis for a general or universal semantic theory after the concept that none other than Whorf had (Whorf apparently thought that gestalt psychology could serve as the basis of an independent universal semantic theory). Lojban's cultural independence (whether neutral or not, it is relatively independent of other cultures through the need to reformulate and reanalyze virtually every concept for both syntactic and semantic place structure values when you translate into Lojban), and its extensibility allow for a lot of power in semantic analysis.

While the goal is some kind of universal semantic analysis capability, just the ability to use Lojban to tackle small problems, like the color words, or Nootka sentence words or 57 Inuit words for snow, would be a boon to linguists doing their work. The longer term goal need not even be dealt with at first.

It is interesting that an opportunity like this comes up in semantics, the area where we have done the least work in Lojban, and yet the lack of work done is not a handicap for the research Alexis has in mind.

For the technically minded, linguist David Elworthy attempted to reformulate my description in more formal terms. In some ways his version seems more clear than my presentation. David writes:

We are considering lexical translation between two languages lg1 and lg2. Such a translation will only rarely be an isomorphism, in the sense that the words (or whatever) in the language will have identical meanings; most of the time we have a homomorphism, i.e. in going from lg1 to lg2 we discard some of the meaning and add in some extra bits of meaning. The problem is that linguists and others who work with translations forget that they are using a homomorphism and treat it as an isomorphism: hence the "if" in English and Tagalog example. The picture of what happens at the moment is thus:

lg1 -----------------> lg2

(using h for the homomorphism).

The proposal is to use a three stage process: lg1 to the nearest object (word, phrase) in Lojban, some object in Lojban to lg2, and something to link the two Lojban objects, i.e.:

lg1 ----> Lojban ----> Lojban ---- > lg2
     h1           h2           h3

such that composing the three homomorphisms h1, h2 and h3 gives you h.

The suggestion is that Lojban is a good tool for this because we can produce objects for the middle stages which have a very precise meaning (so we get h1 and h3 right), and furthermore that these meanings can be reduced to members of a small collection of primitive objects joined with well-defined connective. Hence we should be able to get h2. So we have reduced h to simpler terms, and so we can get a more precise understanding of the original translation.

When I started to write this I was trying to work out why I felt skeptical about it, and I think I now find that I am less skeptical than I thought! The major difficulty is in h1 and h3. To know whether you have got these right, i.e. found or constructed the right Lojban objects, you have to make reference to something outside the languages involved, and this might just mean that you have replaced the need to do this once (in h) with a need to do it twice (h1 and h3). But perhaps this is really the aim: to reduce one hard problem to two easier ones.

Ivan notes further that Lojban may be most helpful where it is important to forget about cultural concepts or about the Indo-Europeanish concept of parts of speech. He also mentions family relationship words and tenses as fruitful areas of investigation.

Anyone interested in actively keeping abreast of this research project should let us know. If you have access to the computer nets, this is helpful, since that is likely where most discussion will take place as we attempt to focus this into a more formal research proposal. We will of course keep people generally aware of how this develops in JL.

Ivan Derzhanski - Ivan is pursuing his own research interests at the University of Edinburgh. He plans to use Lojban significantly in his research. Among other activities, Ivan has written and submitted a paper addressing the variety of modification strategies that languages use in tanru (modifier/- modificand pairings). He includes some Lojban examples.

Alan Libert - Alan is a linguist at McGill University in Canada. In April he gave a presentation at the International Linguistics Association meeting in Washington DC, which I attended. Alan's paper was on the use of artificial languages, especially those (like Lojban) which do not attempt to copy the structures of some other language or group of languages (a priori languages) to research in language universals. He hypothesizes that those who invent languages will unconsciously incorporate true universals in their language design even when they are trying to depart from their native language constraints.

His initial efforts, dealing with the well-known analyses of word order in languages, were inconclusive. However, we noted in discussion of the paper that such 'obvious' features of language design are too well-known and hence likely to be an intentional choice on the part of the language inventor. For example, the recently publicized "Klingon" language used in the Star Trek movies was explicitly invented to have Object before Subject order, a rare feature found only in a few Amazon-region languages.

International News/Publicity

There is not much news in these areas that isn't already covered elsewhere. With active Lojbanists now scattered around the world (indeed, while our mailing list is heavily concentrated in the US, the people actually learning and using the language seem exceptionally spread out), news about Lojban is often 'international'.

In the publicity arena, we have had some useful international developments. The major international Esperanto monthly Monato had a short article mentioning Lojban and giving our mail and computer addresses. A couple of dozen have responded, almost all from outside the US, and we hope to encourage this development into a further spurt of international Lojban use.

The second development is Nora and my eventual trip to Russia as part of our adopting a child. The nature of that process is such that we will not be able to do much lead planning of the trip, but I certainly intend to take advantage of our visit to promote Lojban in that country, noted for its diverse ethnic and linguistic heritage. (I'm hoping to have a Russian translation of the Lojban brochure and perhaps other materials before leaving).

There is a good possibility that la lojbangirz. will lose its capability to accept credit card orders/contributions, which we started primarily for the benefit of non-US supporters. We are now paying US$15/month minimum and no annual fee; this will rise in October to US$50 per year and US$25/month minimum. We will be paying more in fees most months than we gain in income from credit cards. Unless we find a new, cheaper avenue for processing credit cards, this service will have to be dropped. We will still be able to process non-US denominated cheques using Thomas Cook, for a US$3.50 fee. If you are planning a credit card contribution, though, I recommend that you do so before summer ends.

News From the Institute

The Loglan Institute (TLI) continues to survive, though this remains fairly invisible on the forums that we see. Since our last issue, two more issues of Lognet have appeared. Each contains a short piece of Loglan text, and discussions of various technical issues. Lognet seems to look like some of our early JL issues, only much smaller.

Most entertaining is how users of the TLI version are discovering many of the improvements we made in creating Lojban 5 years ago, or have added since. Indeed, almost every change reported in TLI Loglan was already part of Lojban. Given the wide overlap between TLI supporters and readers of this publication and our computer net discussions, there may be a reason for this.

JCB has been especially invisible the last several months. Having moved TLI to San Diego when he relocated there last summer, JCB has apparently spent the time since last November preparing and sailing his yacht from Florida around to his new home.

TLI Legal Appeal Rejected - As reported last issue, TLI appealed the US Patent and Trademark Office ruling in our favor that 'Loglan' was not a valid trademark for TLI's "dictionaries and grammars" because it is a generic name for a language and not an indication that the source of those products is TLI. This ruling, the result of a long dispute between us and TLI, would allow us to use 'Loglan' freely in our promotion of our materials, especially in attempting to reach the people who have heard of Loglan through the 1960 Scientific American article, Heinlein's reference in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and other such instances that predate or are otherwise unrelated to TLI and its products. The legal battle was started in 1988 after TLI threatened legal action over our use of the term 'Loglan' in JL in ways they did not approve.

Oral arguments on the appeal were held on 7 November 1991, before three judges of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Bill Herbert of Staas and Halsey argued for la lojbangirz., while Wesley Parsons argued for TLI. JCB was present in the courtroom, as were Athelstan and myself.

Oral arguments lasted only about a half hour; then a long wait for the decision, which was finally issued on 28 April. The decision was clearly and strongly in our favor, and makes further likelihood that our position will be refuted quite remote. Mr. Parsons has filed a request for rehearing, as is often done, but the appeals court rarely grants such requests.

The Circuit Court of Appeals is normally the court of last resort for trademark and other intellectual property cases. The only higher court is the U. S. Supreme Court, and they take perhaps one such case every several years; the grounds for such a Supreme Court appeal have to typically require some particular controversy, a significant constitutional issue, or disagreement between lower courts (which cannot happen in trademark cases, since there is now only one appeals court that handles trademark issues). These grounds are going to be particularly difficult to find in the Loglan decision. A Supreme Court case is also quite expensive to file for such a low chance of success, and with this appeal decision, the courts have started requiring TLI to pay some of our costs in refuting their appeals.

In discussing the appeal in Lognet, JCB made statements suggesting that he was confident of victory and that it was just a matter of time until this occurred. As a result of these statements, our attorney has urged that we publish the Appeals decision in full so that there is no question that TLI's case has little on which to stand. We are doing so below, omitting only legal case citations that wouldn't mean much except to lawyers (we'll supply a copy of the decision, and of the original trademark cancellation decision to those wanting these details, at reproduction cost).

One more settlement attempt rejected - While we continue to defend our right to use the term "Loglan" in promoting the language, we have continued, whenever avenues present themselves, to pursue more productive resolutions of our disputes with TLI. Discovering on short notice that JCB was coming to Washington to attend the hearing, we initiated contact through our attorneys to set up a mediated discussion of differences leading to a resolution of those differences. When TLI seemed to show interest, we hurriedly drafted a lengthy proposal to serve as an agenda for such a meeting, indicating several options that could be pursued. However, TLI quickly rejected the proposal/agenda without comment, and indicated that they found no basis for mutual discussions. Thus, even though JCB and I were in the same courtroom in November, at his choice no meeting occurred.

le lojbo se ciska

Excerpt from the 2nd Round of the Phone Game

Here is the first of two sample sentences from the phone game played on the computer nets. This one communicated very well. Commentary courtesy of Nick Nicholas.

The original phrase was:

Hot?! Man, it was so hot, if you cracked an egg on the sidewalk, it'd fry in ten seconds flat! Honest!

Mark Shoulson translated this as:

xu pu glare paunai .i leni glare zo'u lenu karpo'i da'i lo sovda vi lo dzuklaji cu rinka lenu ra bazi binxo lo se jukpa ba'o lo snidu be li pano sa'e .i ba'ucu'i
(Was it hot? (This is not a question). For the amount of heat, (something) open-breaking (suppose) into an egg (pieces) at a walk-street causes that it (the egg pieces) become a cooked-thing after 10 seconds (exactly!). (Accuracy!))

Mark justified not explicitly flagging exaggeration by saying: A little strange, in that the speaker claims not to be exaggerating, but then that's the most common form of exaggeration. It hardly seems likely to expect Lojban speakers to be honest with their attitudinals and lose the power their hyperbole. Then again, we can assume that the sentence really is true, so that's okay.

The main blunder is with the place structure of porpi: it has x1 breaking into pieces x2, not agent x1 breaking x2 into pieces x3 (this is popygau or some variant of popri'a). I like prenexes too, but I would put leni glare into an explicit BAI place (ki'u...).

What I was in fact looking for is the translation of "so hot that..." suggested by Lojbab in a past JL: ".i glare seja'e lenu co'eli'o". Are we sure that, if the breaking of the egg is hypothetical, that its effect (it's being cooked) is also hypothetical; ie. the Lojban doesn't necessarily imply "If you were to break the egg, it will ca'a cook"? I suppose so.

One may debate whether Mark's translation was good Lojban (personally, I think it was). In any case, it was excellent English :), as Colin's translation shows:

WAS IT HOT! The heat - if you cracked an egg on the pavement it would be cooked in ten seconds, no more, really!

(I don't have any comment to make: this is the first almostfully successful message relay in this game).

Sylvia came up with:

.u'e glare .ije da'i lo sovda cu selporpi di'o le dagysfe seri'a seljukpa snidu ja'e li su'e pa no
((Wonder!) Heat. And (suppose) an egg is broken at the locus of the road-surface causing (that: {lenu} omitted) (something) is- cooked lasting- -(some)-seconds result the number at most 10.)

This has me a bit worried. The place of da'i in the sentence can be argued about, but the seljukpa snidu ja'e sequence doesn't make much sense to me. Well it does, but it circuitous. What's happening is: "it's a being-cooked lasting-n-seconds thing" which makes sense, sorta, but you're waiting to find out what n is, and instead of n being the second place (seljukpa snidu li su'epano), it shows up as a ja'e place: "resulting in the number 10". Now this could mean "it's an n-second cook ending up being 10 seconds" (cf.: it's a ten-second wait) which is fine, but it in fact ends up as "it's an n-second cook resulting in the number ten." In Lojban, of course, it's easier to deduce from the second phrase that the first was meant. I would still, however, regard this use of ja'e as anomalous, and dangerously vague.

None the less, the meaning is still retrievable, and there hasn't been any significant distortion, as in other sentences.

[Another phone game extract will be found below.]

Text of the Court of Appeals Decision

As stated above, this is the text of the decision by the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in TLI's appeal of our successful petition for cancellation of TLI's registered trademark for 'Loglan'. The text is printed verbatim, except for asterisks in brackets substituting for multitudinous legal citations that mean little to the average reader.

Cancellation No. 18,026

DECIDED: April 28, 1992

Before PLAGER, Circuit Judge, SKELTON, Senior Circuit Judge, and LOURIE, Circuit Judge.

LOURIE, Circuit Judge.

The Loglan Institute, Inc. (Institute), appeals the final decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (Board) in Cancellation No. 18,026 (February 4, 1991). The Board granted The Logical Language Group, Inc.'s (Language Group) motion for summary judgement, holding that the Institute's mark, LOGLAN, is generic and ordered the registration cancelled. We affirm.


In 1955, Dr. James Brown invented a "logical language" which was designed to test the theory that natural languages limit human thought. It has been described by Dr. Brown as "symbolic logic made speakable" which "derives its word-stock impartially from the eight most widely spoken natural languages and so is culturally and politically neutral as well as suitable for cross-cultural linguistic experimentation." Dr. Brown coined the word "Loglan" (derived from logical language) to designate the new language. He first used the term Loglan in a publication in 1956; several years later, in 1962, he formed the Institute to promote the development and use of Loglan. On August 17,1987, the Institute applied for registration of Loglan as a mark for "Dictionaries and Grammars." The registration issued on April 12, 1988.

Apparently unhappy with the Institute's progress in developing the language, a member of the Institute left and in November 1988 founded the Language Group. In February 1989, the Language Group published a newsletter regarding the progress of its logical language. In the newsletter, several references were made to Loglan, prompting the Institute to threaten the Language Group with a trademark infringement suit.

On May 23, 1989, the Language Group petitioned the Board to cancel the Institute's registration of the mark Loglan, alleging that Loglan is merely a contraction of, or generic name for a logical language. The Language group also contended that the application for registration had been fraudulently made, or, if a trademark ever existed for Loglan, the mark had been abandoned. After both parties moved for summary judgment, the Board granted the Language Group's motion and ordered cancellation on the ground that Loglan is "a generic designation identifying a language rather than a trademark to indicate the source of goods." Additionally, the Board found that the application had not been fraudulently made and that the abandonment issue was moot. The Board refused to consider the affirmative defenses raised by the Institute, stating that some were not within the Board's jurisdiction and others were not good defenses against a charge of genericness. The Institute argues here that the Board erred in holding that Loglan was a generic term and in refusing to consider the affirmative defenses.


A. Summary Judgment

The requirements for granting summary judgment in a trademark cancellation proceeding are the same as in any other case, viz., that there be no genuine issue of material fact and the movant be entitled to judgment as a matter of law. [*]. We review the propriety of summary judgment de novo. [*]

The parties agree that the factual issues underlying genericness are undisputed. Though genericness itself has been categorized as a question of fact [*], the parties have each moved for summary judgment on that question. The Board considered the lengthy affidavits and numerous exhibits each party submitted in support of its motion, and concluded that Loglan was generic. Our review requires us to determine whether, based on the evidence of record, the Board was correct in that conclusion. After examining the record, we do not believe the Board erred in concluding that the Language Group was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

B. Genericness

The Lanham Act provides for the cancellation of a mark which is or has become the generic name for goods or services [*]. While a trademark registration has a presumption of validity, in a cancellation proceeding that presumption may be rebutted by evidence from the party seeking cancellation [*]. Before the Board, the Language Group presented numerous pieces of evidence to show that Loglan is used generically to designate a logical language.

The parties do not dispute that if Loglan is used generically to designate a language, the term cannot properly be registered as a trademark for "dictionaries and grammars" any more than English can be registered for a dictionary. That Loglan is not as well known as English is immaterial. Because a language is not "goods" or "services" under the Act [*], a name originated for a new language is inherently not registrable for the language. By the same token, a generic name of a language alone cannot function as a trademark to indicate origin of a dictionary describing that language. Thus, our determination hinges on whether the Board was correct in concluding that the term Loglan is, "a generic designation identifying a language."

The Institute argues that the relevant public does not perceive Loglan as generic, but rather sees it as indicating a single source of the language. The public's perception is the primary consideration in a determination of genericness [*].

The Institute concedes that the relevant public is "the small group of persons who have written about the language or have been involved in the invented language research effort as well as those to whom the Loglan language has been or is being marketed." The Institute's definition of "relevant public" is consistent with this court's reading of the term as encompassing both "actual [and] potential purchasers of ... goods or services." [*]. Evidence of what the relevant public understands the term to mean may come from direct consumer testimony, surveys, dictionary listings, newspapers, and other publication [*]. Although in many situation a survey is desirable to establish the public's perception, given the limited size of the relevant group here, the numerous examples submitted by the parties are sufficient to determine how the relevant group perceives the term Loglan.

The evidence indicates the Dr. Brown himself has used the term Loglan only in a generic sense. For example, in 1984, Brown stated to the Institute's membership:

I'm insisting on moving in the right direction for Loglan whether this means losing control of the institute I founded or not... Your can always write me if you still want to talk to me about Loglan, or to help me in putting it to use. As a private person I shall always be available to my old Loglandian friends... Loglan may not suffer very much... Health permitting I'll still write those couple of books. Perhaps with my example others will too.

His encouragement for others to write Loglan books or books in Loglan negates the claim now asserted of proprietary rights in Loglan.

Also, the Institute published a book, entitled "Loglan (1): A Logical Language." Included in the 1989 version is the statement

In my English idiolect, as in Loglan and French, words like "loglanist", "loglandic" and "loglandical" are general terms like "cat" and "dog" (i.e., common nouns or adjectives) and therefore uncapitalized, whereas words like "Loglan" and "Loglandia" are singular terms (words with single designata, like "John" or "Greenland") and therefore capitalized. Both Loglan and French are more fastidious about such logical matters than Standard English.

As he stated, Loglan is a name for a language like French or English. Based on all this evidence, the Board had adequate basis to conclude that both Brown and the Institute adopted the term Loglan as the generic name of a language.

The Institute argues that no one else has used the term Loglan in a generic fashion and that by capitalizing Loglan in its newsletter, the Language Group itself treats the term in a non-generic manner. We disagree. Capitalization is the correct form for the name of a language, e.g., English, French, or German [*]; this it is compatible with generic use. Moreover, the Language Group's own logical language, "Lojban", is referred to as a type of Loglan. The Language Group refers to "[Brown's] version of 'Loglan'" and states that "Lojban is indeed a Loglan."

In addition to generic use of the term Loglan by the Institute and the Language Group, others have so used the term. Numerous letters have been written to the Language Group inquiring about Loglan, requesting to be maintained on its Loglan mailing lists, and even inquiring about the status of the Loglan language being developed by the Language Group. The fact that the "consuming public" would write to someone other than the Institute regarding the Loglan language indicates that third parties understand Loglan to be a generic term; this understanding did not arise only from actions of the Language Group. Rather, the Language Group and the public merely followed the generic usage of the Institute.

C. Equitable Defenses

As part of its answer, the Institute alleged various affirmative defenses, including the equitable defenses of unclean hands, estoppel, fraud, acquiescence, and waiver. The Board found that the unclean hands, fraud and estoppel defenses were based on allegation of trade secret theft and infringement and therefore were not within the jurisdiction of the Board. Further, the Board stated that the equitable defense of acquiescence was not valid against the claim that the mark was generic. We affirm.

Application of these defenses must be considered in light of the clear purposes of the Trademark Act that a registered mark may be cancelled at any time on the ground that it is generic [*], and also in light of the Board's discretionary power to apply the defenses.

To support the defenses of unclean hands, estoppel, and fraud, the Institute pleaded that the Language Group "wrongfully acquired the trade secrets of the [Institute]..., and has converted and used such trade secrets to [Language Group]'s benefit... [and that the Language Group] wrongfully used the mark 'Loglan' in interstate commerce..., thereby infringing on [the Institute's] trademark." As pleaded, these defenses are essentially claims of trademark infringement and unfair competition premised on the Institute's assertion of trademark rights in Loglan. The Institute also alleges that after it demanded that the Language Group stop using its "mark," the latter acquiesced and ceased using Loglan to designate its logical language.

The Lanham Act specifically provides that "[i]n all inter partes proceedings equitable principles of laches, estoppel, and acquiescence, where applicable may be considered and applied" [*]. While the Board must consider such defenses, we determine that it properly exercised its discretion in not allowing the defenses to prevail here. As the Board stated, these defenses cannot override the controlling fact that Loglan is the generic name for a language and that it cannot therefore be a trademark for dictionaries. The Board did not err in declining to apply the defenses, as the public interest in a cancellation proceeding to rid the register of a generic mark transcends them. The Board may have erred in stating that it lacked jurisdiction over the defenses, but that error was harmless under the circumstances.

We, of course, do not rule on whether the Institute may have an action against the Language Group on any matters of unfair competition. The record here simply show that the term Loglan has never been a trademark, but rather entered the public domain as a generic name from the time of its inception.


The decision of the Board is therefore


le lojbo se ciska (cont.)

Back when I was writing the draft textbook lessons, Nora was busily inventing examples for me. I never finished writing draft Lesson 7, but Nora had plenty of examples. Here are those examples, without the textual explanation that was never finished. As with most of Nora's examples, they stand quite well on their own, anyway. The primary topics are abstraction, logical connection, and the mathematical selbri words.

Examples of bridi logical connection

mi dansu gi'e sanga
I dance and sing.

.i lenu mi dansu gi'e sanga cu nibli lenu mi dansu
(The event that I dance and sing) logically necessitates (the event that I dance).
My dancing and singing necessarily implies my dancing.

.i lenu mi dansu gi'e sanga cu nibli lenu mi sanga
(The event that I dance and sing) logically necessitates (the event that I sing).
My dancing and singing necessarily implies my singing.

do limna gi'a bajra
You swim or run.

.i la'edi'u goi ko'a cu na nibli lenu do limna
The event of the last sentence (ko'a) doesn't logically necessitate (the event of you swimming).
This doesn't necessarily imply that you swim.

.i ko'a cu na nibli lenu do bajra
It doesn't logically necessitate (the event of you running).
It also doesn't necessarily imply that you run.

mi djica lenu sipna gi'a citka
I desire (the event of sleeping or eating).
I want to sleep or eat.

.i do djica lenu sipna ku gi'a citka
I desire the event of sleeping, or eat.
I either want to sleep, or I eat.

ti berti ta gi'o se snanu ta
This is north of that if-and-only- if be-southed by that.
This is north of that if-and-only- if that is south of it.

.i ti ta berti gi'o se snanu
This, of that, is north if-and- only-if be-southed.

ro da jetnu gi'o na jitfa
All-somethings are true if-and- only-if not false

ro da jetnu gi'onai jitfa
All-somethings are true exclusive- or false.
All-somethings are true or false (but not both).
All-somethings are true if-and- only-if not false.

ko gasnu gi'o se minde
(Imperative!) You! do if-and-only- if as-commanded.
(Imperative!) You! Do equivalently-to as-commanded.
Do as you are told, and ONLY as you are told!

le bloti cu marce gi'u spofu
The boat is a vehicle, whether-or- not broken.

le ka prane cu se troci gi'u se kakne
The quality of perfection is attempted, whether-or-not within-the-ability.

ti vinji nagi'a vofli
This is-an-airplane Not! or flies.
This is-an-airplane only-if (it) flies.
If this is an airplane, then it flies.

mi klama le lalxu nagi'a limna
I go-to the lake Not!, or swim/am- a-swimmer.
I go to the lake only if a swimmer.
If I go to the lake, then I'm a swimmer

ti blaci nagi'a ralci .i ti ralci gi'anai blaci
This is glass Not!, or delicate. And this is delicate or not: glass.
This is glass only-if delicate. And this is delicate if glass.

do kakne lenu cilre ku gi'anai troci
You are able at (the event-of- learning) or not: trying.
You are able to learn if (you) try.

Examples of sumti Logical Connection

la rik. .e la .alis. cu klama le cilre nu penmi
Rick and Alice go-to the learner- (event-of-meeting).
Rick and Alice go to class.

mi ba cuxna le xunre .a le xekri .i mi ba na cuxna le xunre .e le xekri
I will choose the red or the black. And I will not choose the red and the black.

.iseni'ibo mi ba cuxna le xunre .onai le xekri
Therefore-logically I will choose the red exclusive-or the black.
Therefore I will choose the red or the black, but not both.

mi djica loi ladru .anai loi ckafi .i mi na nelci loi na ladru ckafi
I want Milk, or not: Coffee. And I not: fond-of not: Milky- coffee.
I want milk, if coffee. I'm not fond of things that aren't milked-coffee.

do ba viska la rik. .o la .alis. ni'i lenu la rik. ba kansa la .alis.
You will see Rick if-and-only-if Alice, logically-because (the event of Rick will be-with Alice.)
You will see Rick when Alice, because Rick will be with Alice.

la djos. na.a la rut. ba zvati mu'i lenu ri nelci ra
(Joe Not! or Ruth) will be present-at, motivated by (the event of the latter is fond of the former).
Joe, only-if Ruth, will be present, because she is fond of him.
If Joe (will be present) then Ruth will be present, because she is fond of him.

lenu ti jubme gi'e bunre cu nibli lenu ti jubme .e lenu ti bunre
(The event of this is-a-table and is-brown) logically necessitates (the event that this is-a-table) and (the event that this is- brown).
That this is a table and brown logically necessitates that this is a table AND that this is brown.

More examples below.

la lojbangirz.'s First Research Proposal

Following is the text of our first research proposal, a preliminary project description made to the US defense agency DARPA last August. DARPA is the major funding organization for natural language processing within the US government. Our proposal was rejected as being unlikely to win funding at this time; we obtained no other information. The competition drew dozens of proposals, and ours was probably weeded out as being particularly high risk or likely to need too much of the very limited money available for 'seed projects'. The project description is very brief, in accordance with the constraints of the Request for Proposal, but should give some idea of how we envision approach- ing the use of Lojban in natural language processing. We welcome, and indeed strongly encourage, comments on how we can improve this proposal, and also commit to support as best we can others that wish to submit research proposals to DARPA and other funding sources.

Lojban Natural Language Processing
Submitted to: DARPA/SISTO,
Arlington VA 22203-1714 In
Response To: BAA 91-15, by:
The Logical Language Group, Inc.
2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax, VA 22031- 1303
Technical/Administrative Point of Contact: Robert LeChevalier, 703-385-0273
19 July 1991

Mr. Charles L. Wayne, DARPA/SISTO
Virginia Square Plaza
3701 N. Fairfax Drive
Arlington VA 22203-1714

Subject: The Logical Language Group, Inc., Response to BAA 91-15

Dear Mr. Wayne:

The Logical Language Group, Inc. (LLG) is pleased to respond to BAA 91-15 for innovative research in linguistics and natural language processing (NLP). We propose research and development towards a prototype NLP system based on Lojban, a human-speakable, syntactically unambiguous predicate language.

Lojban's design has numerous possibilities for enormous impact on the processing of natural languages. LLG proposes a research approach, using Lojban as both tool and target language, that maximizes the applicability of our results to potential DOD applications, and advances the state of the art by making Lojban available to other NLP efforts.

Research into NLP applications of Lojban suits DARPA's mission, and is the type of research sought under this BAA. The BAA is well-timed for LLG; we are now ready to undertake such research, having just completed the prototype Lojban parser after years of research. Meanwhile, our novel approach makes obtaining traditional funding for this next step in Lojban NLP research difficult. Applying Lojban to NLP is beyond the scope of our current all-volunteer effort, though such application has been a long-term research goal.

LLG is proud of its efforts to date. What we have accomplished without funding speaks for itself, and we've demonstrated an ability to deliver a product on a very tight budget. Several key personnel, including myself, are experienced in military systems development and familiar with the standards and practices expected. LLG has access to personnel with NLP experience and with demonstrated skill at producing complete, working systems within schedule and budget constraints.

I will be managing the overall project and will technically lead several tasks, closely monitoring the others. I am confident that the results of this promising effort will contribute substantially to the state of the art in natural language processing.

Very truly yours,
Robert LeChevalier, President
The Logical Language Group, Inc.

Section 1 - Innovative Claims

Lojban, an artificial human-speakable (and hence 'natural') language with an unambiguous syntax based on predicate logic, has several potential applications in natural language processing (NLP). No prior attempt has been made to design such a language and apply it to NLP. The Logical Language Group, Inc. (LLG) has unique expertise in Lojban's design and applications; its corps of volunteers will multiply efforts by funded researchers.

LLG plans to research and implement an NLP system that processes Lojban, but which also uses Lojban as a tool for NLP. Using a highly regular yet 'natural' language reduces the difficulty of NLP processing, resulting in a faster, more accurate NLP system.

Specific applications for a Lojban NLP system include: using Lojban as an interface control medium for NLP engineers to more easily and accurately input knowledge and dictionary information into an NLP system; using Lojban as a systems requirements and design language and using NLP deduction to detect and query system design flaws; and partially translating mass text from English or other languages into an unambiguous Lojban interlingua, using NLP to intelligently select text and speech for detailed human analysis.

Using Lojban in such systems offers the unique potential for the system to understandably explain decisions, interacting with analysts in 'natural' language (not requiring intermediary engineers or programmers) to heuristically evolve better criteria. Lojban allows natural expression in such interactions while enforcing non-ambiguity in the input, simplifying NLP implementation.

While being used to develop such practical NLP systems, Lojban can be viewed as a simplified linguistic 'model' of a natural language, providing insights that will enhance development of other-language NLP systems.

LLG's proposes proving our concept in a relatively small effort that provides further innovative benefits that can be applied to other NLP efforts:

  1. Lojban's analytical semantics allows LLG to research semantic regularities in word structures of a language, such as the compound morphemes of Chinese (similar to Lojban's compounds), seeking patterns that will allow rapid expansion of the data base. LLG will investigate a variety of texts, and both English and non-English words and word-forms, in building its data base.
  2. Because of Lojban's unambiguous syntax, a Lojban parser is much simpler and faster than parsers for other human languages. LLG will produce a fast, portable parser for Lojban.
  3. Lojban's simple, unambiguous isomorphism between spoken and written forms make Lojban speech recognition at least an order of magnitude easier than for other human languages, allowing faster, higher accuracy real time processing. LLG will implement a module for its parser that converts phoneme and stress data, derivable from a digital signal processor, into parsed text.
  4. LLG will prove its NLP concept in a restricted, much-researched application: designing and implementing a NLP text-to-data-base module to serve as a front-end for the dictionary data base; in this case, however, the interface module will use the data base it interfaces with. The module will be expandable, by adding a knowledge engine and interactive heuristics, into the complete control interface for NLP engineers or text analysts described above.
  5. A Lojban-interlingua machine translator modelled after the Netherlands DLT effort would offer advantages over that system due to Lojban's unambiguous syntax and special structures for metalinguistics and discursive comments, tense and modality, and speaker attitude and emotion. LLG will build a Lojban-to-English translator based on its parser, which will ease verification of inputs via the data base interface just mentioned.

Section 2 - Deliverables

LLG will produce the following formal deliverables, subject to funding of the corresponding tasks. Implementations of more advanced applications described in Section 1 are options partially dependent on initial results. Formal delivery of software produced during the research effort is also an option.

Task 1 - Lojban Dictionary Data Base

a) A Lojban dictionary data base will contain all root concepts and selected supplementary data sets supporting specific NLP applications.

b) A technical report will describe the dictionary data base design, and the nature of the concepts included. LLG will report on patterns found in the analysis that provide insight into the process of NLP, or that suggest methods of accelerating or automating the building of dictionaries.

Task 2 - Lojban Parser

a) A technical report will document the design of the Lojban parser, and the formal grammar of Lojban as implemented therein.

Task 3 - Lojban Speech-Recognition Stub

a) A technical report will document the design of a Lojban speech recognition stub for the Lojban parser, and the Lojban morphology algorithm. LLG will report on analysis of identified issues that affect the practical implementation of speech recognition of Lojban.

Task 4 - Parsed-Text-to-Data-Base NLP

a) A technical report will document the design of the data base interface module. LLG will discuss problems encountered, and conclusions regarding the practicality of Lojban as an input language for NLP control interfaces. LLG will identify other NLP systems found to have commonalties allowing a Lojban control interface processor to be integrated with those systems, thus reducing the effort of incorporating Lojban into practical applications.

Task 5 - Lojban-to-English Translator

a) A technical report will document the design of the Lojban-to-English translator. LLG will describe conventions used, and identify prospects for producing refined English translations as an enhancement.

Task 6 - Final Technical Report

a) A technical report will summarize the research completed as an integrated effort. LLG will report conclusions regarding the practicality of Lojban's use in NLP of other languages as well as the capability for NLP of Lojban text, and suggest options for further research.

Task 7 - Cost and Management Reports

a) Formal progress reports will be submitted every 2 months.

b) Formal cost reports will be submitted every 2 months.

Section 3 - Schedule and Milestones

Deliverables are marked with an asterisk.

Task 1 - Start - 0 Months after start of contract (MAC)

  • Preliminary data base design - 1 MAC
  • 1337 Lojban root predicates in data base - 4 MAC
  • 4000 commonly used predicates in data base - 14 MAC
  • 1000 new predicates from American newspaper text - 16 MAC
  • 1000 new predicates from foreign English-language newspaper text - 18 MAC
  • 1000 new predicates from selected Chinese or other-language text - 22 MAC
  • *Task 1 technical report: Preliminary - 15 MAC, Final - 23 MAC
  • *Data base delivery - 24 MAC

Task 2 - Start - 0 MAC

  • Enhancement of existing parser for error reporting - 2 MAC
  • Enhancement of speed of parser - 4 MAC
  • Enhanced output reporting for parser - 6 MAC
  • Investigation of error-detection/correction techniques for parser - 8 MAC
  • Parser user's manual and high-level design document - 9 MAC
  • *Task 2 technical report - 10 MAC

Task 3 - Start - 9 MAC

  • Lojban morphology algorithm - 10 MAC
  • Implementation of speech recognition front-end stub - 12 MAC
  • Front-end stub high-level design document - 13 MAC
  • *Task 3 technical report - 14 MAC

Task 4 - Start - 4 MAC

  • Implementation of data base interface NLP processor - 16 MAC
  • Data base interface high-level design document - 17 MAC
  • *Task 4 technical report - 18 MAC

Task 5 - Start - 12 MAC

  • Lojban-to-English translator - 22 MAC
  • Translator users manual and high-level design document - 23 MAC
  • *Task 5 technical report - 24 MAC

Task 6

  • *Final technical report - 24 MAC

Task 7

  • Weekly or bi-weekly informal reports will be prepared, as desired by the contracting organization.
  • *Progress reports - 2 MAC, 4 MAC, 6 MAC, 8 MAC, 10 MAC, 12 MAC, 14 MAC, 16 MAC, 18 MAC, 20 MAC, 22 MAC, 24 MAC
  • *Cost reports - 2 MAC, 4 MAC, 6 MAC, 8 MAC, 10 MAC, 12 MAC, 14 MAC, 16 MAC, 18 MAC, 20 MAC, 22 MAC, 24 MAC

LLG also plans to publish articles regarding its work in technical journals to enhance Lojban's credibility as a language, a research tool, and a tool for NLP, and to validate LLG's NLP approach with other researchers. Articles warranted by project accomplishments will be incorporated in the schedule so as not to interfere with project milestones.

Section 4 - Proprietary Claims

No proprietary claims are expected to interfere in the use of results of this research. However, specific known claims that might affect such applications indirectly are identified herein.

A founding principle of The Logical Language Group, Inc. is that all Lojban language design information that it produces is placed directly in the public domain. This principle has motivated our volunteer force and is vital to our integrity as an organization. For this effort, language design information includes the dictionary data, as opposed to the actual dictionary data base produced in Task 1, the Lojban morphology algorithm produced for Task 3, and any modified version of the Lojban formal grammar produced in support of any task. This claim should not affect the ability to use the results of this research, and indeed guarantees that potential use of Lojban will not be impeded by any proprietary claims on language design information.

Archives, working documents, and software produced by The Logical Language Group, Inc., or its volunteers, and publications of The Logical Language Group, Inc., not released into the public domain, and not produced directly on time charged to the Government, and including all such documents and software started prior to the start of funded tasking, are the property of The Logical Language Group, Inc., or the individual or collective authors. Since this claim does not cover language design information, no effect on use of the results of this research is anticipated.

Rights in certain prolegomena of the current Lojban language are generally held as copyrights on published and unpublished material. Such materials, sometimes associated with the names 'Loglan', and/or 'The Loglan Project', are owned by Dr. James Cooke Brown, by The Loglan Institute, Inc., by The Logical Language Group, Inc., by Linker Systems, Inc., or possibly by other parties unnamed or unknown. Lojban is a version of the Loglan language invented as part of the Loglan Project by Dr. Brown and others, including all key personnel on this project. None of these materials should be necessary for use of the results of this research, but LLG acknowledges the owners' rights.

The Logical Language Group, Inc. intends itself to use the results of this research, reserving the right to produce, distribute, and/or sell to the public, derivative works based on any of the tasks performed as part of this project. These derivative works will incorporate LLG's specialized experience with Lojban. Rights to those works will be owned by LLG and/or the authors of those works. This claim should not affect the ability of others to use the results of this research.

Section 5 - Technical Rationale

Two points regarding LLG's approach to NLP must be emphasized: Uniqueness - Among artificial languages, Loglan is unique in being designed principally as a tool of research in linguistics. The Lojban reimplementation has incorporated recent gains in comparative linguistics, and NLP research. Professionalism - The Lojban effort led by LLG, though staffed by volunteers, differs from other artificial language efforts in its professional approach, and in having linguists, computer scientists, and systems engineers as leaders.

The approach described in Section 1 takes advantage of our resources, builds on recent accomplishments in Lojban development, and moves directly to show Lojban's relevance and viability for NLP. The following addresses the five implementation tasks identified in that section.

1. Dictionary Data Base Development and Related Research - The first step in the research effort is development of a Lojban dictionary data base. A language dictionary is vital to study and use of that language by non-native speakers - and Lojban obviously lacks native speakers. Thus, for this and other Lojban-related efforts, LLG needs to develop a high quality dictionary. Our approach develops this dictionary in the form of a data base suitable to NLP activities, later adding modules to interface with this system.

Thousands of words have been generated during the Loglan project. This data must be filtered and often modified for use; definitions must be specific and conform to Lojban's predicate structure, and distinctions relevant to NLP must be codified. Unlike preparing a data base for a natural language, such work is language prescription and not description; it drives usage instead of following it as the rules of a computer language drive that language's use. Consistent filtering by experts in the language will lead to an extensive, semantically regular vocabulary, incorporated in the NLP data base.

As part of this review process, LLG expects to discover semantic patterns in both Lojban words and the source-language words that represent the Lojban concepts. In addition, while building the dictionary data base, LLG will analyze texts particularly relevant to DARPA's mission. LLG will extract concepts from those texts, expressing them as new Lojban words, while identifying additional semantic patterns. Texts will include scientific and technical texts, American and foreign English-language newspaper text, and vocabulary from foreign language dictionaries or text. LLG plans to emphasize Chinese vocabulary, from which we expect to find particularly interesting semantic patterns. LLG will also use volunteer linguists to study additional texts in Russian, Spanish, German, French, and/or Arabic. LLG seeks limited funding to support particularly promising studies by such linguists.

2. Lojban Parser Enhancement - After fifteen years of volunteer efforts at formalizing Loglan/- Lojban grammar, LLG recently completed a parser for the complete Lojban grammar, based on a YACC LALR(1) formal grammar specification. This formal grammar is the first complete specification of the grammar of any human-speakable language. Extensive testing has found no limits to Lojban's expressive ability over the total range of human linguistic activity.

The completed parser is a prototype. LLG must refine it, checking Lojban text against the formal grammar, performing basic error detection, correction, and reporting, and passing completely analyzed text structures to application software. The parser must be optimized for speed. Previous experience suggests that current processing times (1 minute for a 4K-byte text with a 386/25MHz) can be easily reduced by a factor of 4.

3. Lojban Speech Recognition Parser Module - Lojban is audiovisually isomorphic, allowing phonemes and stress from a speech stream to resolve into a unique string of words. This design was specifically intended to ease speech recognition (SR) processing. Application of this design to SR requires specialized equipment, and is not part of the initial effort. However, implementing a front-end to the parser that turns phoneme and stress data into unambiguous parsed text will both verify Lojban's design and justify later efforts to implement a Lojban SR system.

4. Lojban Data Base Interface/- NLP Prototype - Processing Lojban text through NLP is a useful research end in itself; LLG has determined that certain applications described in Section 1 offer pragmatic benefits. Meanwhile, the Lojban NLP system, by avoiding the ambiguities of naturally-evolved human languages, will offer insights that aid in bypassing the difficulties of processing those ambiguities.

LLG will capitalize on Lojban's unambiguous predicate grammar and its similarities to PROLOG, to establish Lojban as a control language usable in NLP systems for efficient entry and analysis of data. This activity is a miniature of the NLP problem as a whole, and a highly regular one. Users are aware of system limitations and skilled at expressing concepts in restricted computer languages, and are thus likely to avoid usages that make NLP difficult.

LLG expects to show that Lojban is itself suitable for internal processing of NLP data, reducing the front-end processing of Lojban inputs to a minimum. LLG will study NLP systems based on predicate computer languages to determine if this approach is viable. LLG will incorporate results of this study in its NLP effort.

Developing an NLP interface module supporting the Lojban dictionary data base ties the entire research effort together, simultaneously:

  • implementing and demonstrating NLP of that restricted subset of Lojban that is useful to such dictionary input;
  • demonstrating an application where Lojban is useful as an input language for use by NLP processors;
  • enabling more rapid input and analysis of dictionary data, including automated techniques identified by LLG based on its analyses.

Aspects of Lojban minimize the use of idiom and other difficult expressions in the language, and help clarify queries to the user when difficult expression occurs. Lojban's distinct metalinguistic and discursive forms, analytical tense and modality, and expressions of speaker attitudes toward the discourse, all help make Lojban a clear, concise means of expressing data for NLP use.

The data base interface module, while modeled on similar prior work, is the most ambitious task in the research program. LLG plans to work for maximum functionality of this processor, but to monitor the scope of the effort, deferring aspects for later efforts rather than risk not completing other portions of the research effort.

5. Lojban-to-English Translation Module - A Lojban-to-rough-English translator is less risky to develop. A translator developed for an earlier version of Loglan produced understandable results, but was not based on a full-language parser. The translation module will be well-integrated into the total research effort, being used to check data base interface module processing and to verify Lojban text used to input dictionary data. It will use the dictionary data base itself, easing verification of that data, and provide a window into the system for those not skilled in Lojban. LLG will investigate techniques to improve translation quality, and research whether this translator could serve as the basis of a machine translation system similar to the Netherlands DLT project based on Esperanto.

Section 6 - Previous Accomplishments

The Logical Language Group was founded in 1987 to develop what it calls "Lojban - A Realization of Loglan". LLG incorporated in November, 1989, and was approved by the IRS in 1990 as a non-profit educational/scientific organization tax-exempt under I. R. C. 501(c)(3). Prior to that time, other versions of the language called 'Loglan' were produced in an evolutionary effort led by Dr. James Cooke Brown. Brown first conceived of Loglan and started work on the language as early as 1955. The original purpose of Loglan was as a test vehicle for linguistics research, especially into the concept known as the 'Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis'.

Early work in the language was devoted to word-making and developing the morphology and predicate structure of the language. The best-known prolegomenon of the language, written by Brown, was published in the June, 1960 Scientific American. From 1962-64, research was funded under an NIMH linguistics grant to produce a Loglan dictionary and teaching materials. Brown published early editions of these materials from 1965-69. Almost all work on Loglan and Lojban since 1964 has been performed by volunteers; progress has been correspondingly slow.

The Loglan Institute (TLI) incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1974; it published a printed dictionary and language description in 1975.

Most of the early work on the language was done without computers, although Brown developed the first dictionaries using punched-card sorting techniques. Brown 'verified' his language grammar as 'unambiguous' using manual techniques developed by linguists. In the 1970s, computer science caught up with Loglan, and people started to see its potential for use in NLP. Funding for NLP research couldn't be arranged, but the prospect has inspired volunteers from the computer sciences since then.

In 1976-77, Sheldon Linker first proposed using the Bell Labs program 'YACC' to develop an LALR(1) formal grammar of the language, thus formally verified to be unambiguous. Work by Linker and later by others proceeded slowly, as much of the language grammar was reinvented from 1976- 81. Finally, a complete trial corpus of sentences was accurately parsed.

In 1981, Nora Tansky LeChevalier developed a Loglan random sentence generator and a Loglan-to-English translator for a subset of the Loglan grammar. The translator used the full 4000-word dictionary. Despite primitive equipment, the translator produced understandable English.

From 1981 through 1984, the Loglan grammar and vocabulary continued to evolve. After a political dispute within TLI, though, most volunteers became inactive; little progress occurred from 1984-86. Bob LeChevalier then set about revitalizing the community. This proved to require setting up a community of volunteers separate from TLI; this community became LLG.

In creating Lojban, LLG analyzed and rebuilt the entire vocabulary of Loglan, and redeveloped the formal YACC grammar. These efforts went much faster than original efforts due to intense volunteer work, better management of volunteers, and better knowledge of the language. LLG baselined the Lojban root vocabulary in 1988, and the YACC grammar in August 1990, and just re-baselined the grammar in June 1991, while documenting other aspects of the language, and training the first speakers of Lojban. The community interested in Lojban now exceeds 800, and includes many AI and NLP researchers, several dozen supporters outside the U.S., and dozens of active language students. LLG supports a quarterly journal, a newsletter, an Internet-based mailing list, local study groups, an annual gathering, and weekly conversation sessions at its primary office.

Section 7 - Key Personnel

All technical personnel on this project will work under consulting agreements with LLG, either directly or as employees of Linker Systems, Inc. (LSI). LLG is capable of staffing several additional positions with highly qualified programmers, linguists, and engineers, many of whom have experience in AI and NLP applications. The key people listed below are the core team that will lead efforts based on their knowledge and understanding of both Lojban and our research approach.

Robert LeChevalier, President and Director, LLG - 60% time during year 1 and 50% during year 2. He will work on project management (Task 7), expertise in Lojban, dictionary data base work for Task 1, documentation and technical reports for all tasks (Task 6), and task leadership for Task 1, 6, and 7. Mr. LeChevalier also will manage a large corps of volunteers who will contribute to the dictionary data base work at no cost to the Government. Mr. LeChevalier's unfunded time will be as a volunteer worker for LLG doing work not covered under funded tasks. This work includes editing and publishing the journal and newsletter and writing a Lojban textbook.

Athelstan, Director, LLG - 100% over the life of the project, working primarily on the dictionary data base (Task 1), and providing expertise in Lojban for volunteer workers.

Jeffrey Taylor, Voting Member, LLG - 100% over the life of the project, subject to funding of Tasks 2, 3, 4, and 5. Less than 25% participation in the 2nd year if Tasks 4 and 5 are not funded. Mr. Taylor will lead the effort for Tasks 2 and 3 and 5. Either he or Sheldon Linker of LSI will lead Task 4.

Sheldon Linker, Vice President, LSI - Up to 100% during Tasks 4 and 5. Mr. Linker will share leadership of Task 4, and consult in overall system design and data base design.

John Parks-Clifford, Vice President and Director, LLG - intermittent up to 30% working on all tasks over the life of the project, primarily as a linguistics and NLP consultant and expert on Lojban, but also leading production of technical papers. Dr. Parks-Clifford is an Associate Professor of Logic and Philosophy at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

Section 8 - Qualifications of Key Personnel

Robert LeChevalier, President and Director, LLG - Mr. LeChevalier has worked on the Loglan project since 1980, and very actively since early 1986. He led the rebirth of Loglan as Lojban in 1987, and co-founded LLG. He has led all tasks associated with the redevelopment of the language, and is the most skilled speaker and writer of Lojban. He has been working full-time on Lojban since May 1988.

Mr. LeChevalier was a programmer from 1974-81, then a systems engineer and systems requirements analyst from 1981 to the present. Mr. LeChevalier worked for Syscon Corp. from 1975-84, and SDC/Unisys Corp. from 1984-88. He worked on Navy systems development and design, and finally as SETA engineer leading tasks supporting the Air Force on the GLCM program until the program ended. He is expert in systems documentation, complex systems requirements analysis, operator-machine interface, configuration management, and quality assurance. He has a BS in Astrophysics, and is knowledgeable in comparative linguistics.

Mr. LeChevalier also will work on unfunded Lojban activities, and may seek additional grants or contracts. No proposals are pending or specifically planned.

Athelstan, Director, LLG - Athelstan has worked on Lojban since 1988, specializing in lexicon development, teaching, and translation. He is knowledgeable in comparative linguistics, and is a translator of Ancient Greek, Latin, Anglo-Saxon, and Old Norse. He is working on degrees in Mathematics and Linguistics.

Jeffrey Taylor, Voting Member, LLG - Mr. Taylor has worked on Loglan since 1982, and is a co-founder of LLG. His Masters thesis included developing an SLR1 parser for Loglan. He served on the Loglan 'Word-Makers Council' in 1986-87, becoming skilled in the lexicon. In 1988-89 he helped redevelop the Lojban formal grammar and wrote a preliminary parser as a test vehicle for that grammar. In 1989, he wrote a preliminary dictionary of the Lojban structure word lexicon.

Mr. Taylor has 17 years experience in programming, specializing in compiler and parser development and later in task and project management, and including extensive work in developing military systems. He has an BSEE and an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of California, Davis.

Sheldon Linker, Vice President, LSI - Mr. Linker has worked on Loglan since 1975. He led initial efforts to develop a YACC grammar for Loglan from 1975-80, and has been less active in Loglan and Lojban since then. He has 20 years experience as a programmer and software developer, including NLP experience. If his time is not fully funded, Mr. Linker will be employed by LSI on efforts unrelated to this effort.

John Parks-Clifford, Vice President and Director, LLG - Dr. Parks-Clifford has worked on Loglan since 1975. He edited the Loglan journal 'The Loglanist' from 1975-84, and was President of the Loglan Institute, Inc., from 1982-84. He is generally acknowledged as second only to founder J. C. Brown in expertise on earlier versions of Loglan, with several man-years total volunteer effort. He was co-founder of LLG, and consultant on all aspects of the language redesign. His degrees include BA Philosophy, MA Linguistics from UCLA, with field work in India, and a PhD Philosophy from UCLA. He worked directly in NLP with Rand Corp. in the 1960s, and now works in tense logic and logic education. Dr. Parks-Clifford is an Associate Professor of Logic and Philosophy at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

le lojbo se ciska (cont.)

In keeping with the above proposal, here is a demonstration of Lojban's potential in the computer processing field. Some of the technical details will be of interest only to computer programmers and logicians, but the Lojban in the following is a human language, not a computer language.

But it also happens that, as cited in the proposal above, Lojban is so thoroughly defined as to be a logical equivalent of Prolog, a computer language that is one of those most frequently used in artificial intelligence and natural language processing. To demonstrate this, John Cowan prepared a couple of examples. The first is an implementation, in a Lojban "computer language" subset, of a complete Prolog algorithm. Then John goes the other direction - from a Lojban translation of a complex English language 'logic problem' into a Prolog equivalent - showing the applicability of Lojban both as an intermediate to computer program expression as well as logical analysis. John:

Except for the universal quantification at the beginning of each Lojban sentence (which is there because Prolog variables are implicitly quantified universally), the Prolog and the Lojban are formally equivalent. Of course, Lojban is far richer than Prolog -- it is a complete human language, which Prolog surely is not.

The following algorithm, expressed in Lojban, describes how to sort a list of numbers (or anything comparable with "zmadu" and "mleca") into least-first order using Hoare's quicksort algorithm. It is a direct translation of a Prolog equivalent, except that the arguments have been re-ordered to bring results to the beginning, in conformity with Lojbanic conventions.

ni'o roda zo'u: 
    da poirvelmi'a la nil. da
  .i roda rode rodi rodixire zo'u: de ce'o dixire poirvelmi'a de ce'o di da
    .inaja dixire poirvelmi'a di da

ni'o roda rodaxipa rodaxire rode rodi zo'u:
    de ce'o daxipa daxire skamrpartiti de di ce'o da
    .ijanai de mleca di
      .ijebo daxipa daxire skamrpartiti di da
  .i roda rodaxipa rodaxire rode rodi zo'u:
    daxipa de ce'o daxire skamrpartiti de di ce'o da
    .ijanai de zmadu di
      .ijebo daxipa daxire skamrpartiti di da
  .i roda zo'u:
    la nil. la nil. skamrpartiti da la nil. 

ni'o la nil. poirja'e la nil.
  .i roda rodaxipa rodaxire rode rodexipa rodexire rodi zo'u:
    de poirja'e di ce'o da
    .ijanai daxipa daxire skamrpartiti di da
      .ijebo dexipa poirja'e daxipa
      .ijebo dexire poirja'e daxire
      .ijebo de poirvelmi'a dexipa di ce'o dexire

pau? li ci ce'o li pa ce'o li vo ce'o li pa ce'o li mu poirvelmi'a ma?
li ci ce'o li pa ce'o li vo ce'o
li pa ce'o li mu poirvelmi'a
li pa ce'o li pa ce'o li ci ce'o li vo ce'o li mu

The 'program' consists of definitions of the following 3 functions, which use the place structures as indicated:

poirvelmi'a: x1 is the result of appending x2 to x3

skamrpartiti: x1 and x2 are a partition on pivot x3 of list x4
[For non-technical people, this means that a list of values is divided into to sub-lists (greater and lesser) based on comparison with a single value (the pivot). A complicated lujvo based on "fendi" could perhaps have been used instead of this borrowing: x1 and x2 of this function correspond to the x3 of fendi (joined together by a non-logical connective in the latter case), x3 corresponds to the x4 of fendi, and x4 to the x2 of fendi]

poirja'e: x1 is the result of ordering x2

la nil. is the name of the null list.

Thus a translation of the first function is:

ni'o roda zo'u:
For all-X,

  da poirvelmi'a la nil. da
  X is-the-result-of-joining that- named "nil" and X.

  .i roda rode rodi rodixire zo'u:
  For all-X, all-Y, all-Z, all-U:

    de ce'o dixire poirvelmi'a de ce'o di da
    Y ordered-with U is-the- result-of-joining (Y ordered- with Z and X.

    .inaja dixire poirvelmi'a di da
    only-if U is-the-result-of- joining Z and X. 
append(X, nil, X).
append([Y | U], [Y | Z], X) :-
append(U, Z, X).

Translation of the other two functions is left as an 'exercise'. The last two lines of the Lojban ask the correct sort order of a list of numbers, and present the correct sorted answer.

Prolog is effectively a subset of Lojban, using many of the same concepts and terminology. The following English word problem, from John F. Sowa of IBM, neatly illustrates the process that can make Lojban machine-intelligible.

Sowa's original English: Washable allergenic things are washed. Nonwashable allergenic things are vacuumed. Everything that is gray and fuzzy is allergenic. Shirts, socks, pajamas, dogs, and llamas are washable. Lamps, sofas, cats, and computers are nonwashable. Following are my gray, fuzzy possessions: my pajamas, my sofa, my cat Thothmes, and my llama Mil-licent.

... [D]etermine which of my possessions are washed and which vacuumed.

A free Lojban translation of the English:

ni'o ro lu'ircumki je bilmrsalergeni cu jaurselylumci

.i ro nalylu'icumki je bilmrsalergeni cu sakcyselylumci

.i ro grusi je sulpo'e cu bilmrsalergeni

.i ro creka .e ro smoka .e ro siptaxfu .e ro gerku .e ro tcokumte cu lu'ircumki

.i ro tergu'imi'i .e ro sfofa .e ro mlatu .e ro skami cu nalylu'icumki

.i lemi siptaxfu .e lemi sfofa .e la totmes. poi mlatu .e la milisent. poi tcokumte cu grusi je sulpo'e je selponse be mi

.i ro ma jaurselylumci

.i ro ma sakcyselylumci

Literal rendering of the Lojban:

All wash-possible and sick- allergenic things are water-be- washed.

All non-wash-possible and sick- allergenic things are suck-be- washed.

All gray and wool-possessing things are sick-allergenic.

All shirts and all socks and all sleep-garments and all dogs and all South-American-camels are wash-possible.

All illumination-source-machines and all sofas and all cats and all computers are non-wash- possible.

My sleep-garment and my sofa and Thothmes who is-a-cat and Millicent who is-a-South- American-camel are gray and wool-possessing and possessed by me.

All what-things are-water-be- washed?

All what-things are-suck-be- washed?

Formalized Lojban suitable for Prolog conversion:

ni'o roda zo'u:
    da jaurselylumci
    .ijanai da lu'ircumki
      .ijebo da bilmrsalergeni
ni'o roda zo'u:
    da sakcyselylumci
    .ijanai da nalylu'icumki
      .ijebo da bilmrsalergeni 
ni'o roda zo'u:
    da bilmrsalergeni
    .ijanai da grusi
      .ijebo da sulpo'e 
ni'o roda zo'u:
    da lu'ircumki
    .ijanai da creka
  .i roda zo'u:
    da lu'ircumki
    .ijanai da smoka
  .i roda zo'u:
    da lu'ircumki
    .ijanai da siptaxfu
  .i roda zo'u:
    da lu'ircumki
    .ijanai da gerku
  .i roda zo'u:
    da lu'ircumki
    .ijanai da tcokumte 
ni'o roda zo'u:
    da nalylu'icumki
    .ijanai da tergu'imi'i
  .i roda zo'u:
    da nalylu'icumki
    .ijanai da sfofa
  .i roda zo'u:
    da nalylu'icumki
    .ijanai da mlatu
  .i roda zo'u:
    da nalylu'icumki
    .ijanai da skami
ni'o mi ponse le siptaxfu
  .i le siptaxfu cu siptaxfu
  .i le siptaxfu cu grusi
  .i le siptaxfu cu sulpo'e
ni'o mi ponse le sfofa
  .i le sfofa cu sfofa
  .i le sfofa cu grusi
  .i le sfofa cu sulpo'e
ni'o mi ponse la totmes.
  .i la totmes. cu mlatu
  .i la totmes. cu grusi
  .i la totmes cu sulpo'e
ni'o mi ponse la milisent.
  .i la milisent. cu tcokumte
  .i la milisent. cu grusi
  .i la milisent. cu sulpo'e 

ni'oni'o ma? jaurselylumci
  .i le siptaxfu cu jaurselylumci re'i
  .i la milisent. jaurselylumci re'i
ni'o ma? sakcyselylumci
  .i le sfofa cu sakcyselylumci re'i
  .i la totmes. cu sakcyselylumci re'i

Literal translation of the formalized Lojban:

[New-topic] For-all x:
    x is-water-be-washed
    if (x is-wash-possible 
      and x is-allergenic).
[New-topic] For-all x:
    x is-suck-be-washed
    if (x is-non-wash-possible 
      and x is-allergenic).
[New-topic] For-all x
    x is-allergenic
    if (x is-gray 
      and x is-wool-possessing)
[New-topic] For-all x:
    x is-wash-possible
    if x is-a-shirt.
  For-all x:
    x is-wash-possible
    if x is-a-sock.
  For-all x:
    x is-wash-possible
    if x is-a-sleep-garment.
  For-all x:
    x is-wash-possible
    if x is-a-dog.
  For-all x:
    x is-wash-possible
    if x is-a-South-American- camel.
[New-topic] For-all x:
    x is-non-wash-possible
    if x is-an-illumination-source- machine.
  For-all x:
    x is-non-wash-possible
    if x is-a-sofa.
  For-all x:
    x is-non-wash-possible
    if x is-a-cat.
  For-all x:
    x is-non-wash-possible
    if x is-a-computer.
[New-topic] I possess that- described-as-a sleep-garment.
  That-described-as-a sleep- garment is-a-sleep-garment.
  That-described-as-a sleep- garment is-gray.
  That-described-as-a sleep- garment is-wool-possessing.
[New-topic] I possess that- described-as-a sofa.
  That-described-as-a sofa is-a- sofa.
  That-described-as-a sofa is- gray.
  That-described-as-a sofa is- wool-possessing. [New-topic] I possess that-called Thothmes.
  That-called Thothmes is-a-cat.
  That-called Thothmes is-gray.
  That-called Thothmes is-wool- possessing. 
[New-topic] I possess that-called Millicent.
  That-called Millicent is a South-American-camel.
  That-called Millicent is-gray.
  That-called Millicent is-wool- possessing.

[Entirely-new-topic] What is- water-be-washed?
  That-described-as-a sleep- garment is-water-be-washed. [Ready-to-receive]
  That-called Millicent is-water- be-washed. 
[New-topic] What is-suck-be- washed?
  That-described-as-a sofa is- suck-be-washed [Ready-to-receive]
  That-called Thothmes is-suck-be- washed 

Sowa's original (English-based) Prolog, converted from IBM to Edinburgh syntax:

washed(X) :- washable(X), allergenic(X). 

vacuumed(X) :- nonwashable(X), 

allergenic(X). allergenic(X) :- gray(X), fuzzy(X).

washable(X) :- shirt(X).
washable(X) :- sock(X).
washable(X) :- pajama(X).
washable(X) :- dog(X).
washable(X) :- llama(X).
nonwashable(X) :- lamp(X).

nonwashable(X) :- sofa(X).
nonwashable(X) :- cat(X).
nonwashable(X) :- computer(X).

possess(me, pj1). 
possess(me, sf1). 
possess(me, thothmes). 
possess(me, millicent). 

?- washed(X)


DLT - Esperanto-based Machine Translation

As our last item on the topic of computer natural language processing, we reprint a short report on the status of the Distributed Language Translator (DLT) project in the Netherlands. Dan Maxwell, who writes this, has been on the project staff. DLT is the machine translation system cited in the proposal above (see page 30) which uses a modified Esperanto as its interlingua.

Dan Maxwell,, responds to the following:

By the way, with all this discussion of interlinguas for computer translation, it might be interesting to hear from Dan Maxwell why BSO chose Esperanto for their DLT project and not Loglan (which already had two decades behind it at the time) or some other conlang, of which there are quite a number, or even one developed specifically for the purpose. Why they would choose a conlang instead of an ethnic language seems more readily apparent.

The decision to use Esperanto was made by the creator of DLT, Toon Witkam, back in 1979. As far as I know, he never seriously considered another conlang, taking Esperanto as a given fundamental property of the project, although at the time he was not a speaker of Esperanto. He probably knew little or nothing about other possibilities, and maybe it never occurred to him to look into this.

He is no longer with the former DLT group, but is still on the BSO payroll. I can find out how to contact him in BSO if anyone is interested.

Lojban seems to have certain theoretical advantages over Esperanto as an interlingua. On the other hand, Esperanto has been more tested in practice (well, as a language for humans at least) and had a larger pool of speakers to draw the people in the project from.

Hmm. Maybe the advantages and disadvantages of Esperanto compared to Lojban are the same as the advantages and disadvantages of English compared to Esperanto. Comments invited.

Several people sent me questions about DLT. So instead of writing individual responses, I decided to write a general one for all conlangers.

The use of Esperanto does not solve all problems involved in machine translation - I hope that we never claimed it would - but does reduce some of them and provide an interesting framework for attempting to solve others. Even though our modified Esperanto was, we think, structurally unambiguous, this only gives us a way of representing alternative meanings (both lexical and structural) in the source language (This was English in our prototype), not of choosing among them.

In order to choose among them, we devised a module called SWESIL (Semantic Word Expert System In the Inter-Lingua), which made use of a probability-based algorithm drawing on a knowledge bank about semantic relatedness in Esperanto. This is described in some detail (c. 250 pages) in Working with Analogical Semantics: Disambiguation techniques in DLT, 1989, by Victor Sadler, Foris Publications, Box 5904, Dordrecht, Netherlands. It is number 5 of the DLT series.

You can also get a less detailed (30 pages) and less expensive summary of the entire project in: Distributed Language Translation: A Multilingual Machine Translation Project, 1990., available from: Indiana University Linguistics Club, 720 Atwater St., Bloomington, IN 47401. You can get it from the above address for a few dollars.

For Esperantists, there will be a paper by me called "Perkomputila Tradukado: la revo kaj la realo" published in the series Oficialaj Esperanto-Dokumentoj coming out in a few months. This deals more generally with the problems of machine translation and is aimed at a wider (Esperanto) public than just linguists. But also the one from Indiana is fairly nontechnical.

SWESIL was implemented on a limited scale in our prototype (first version 1987, second version 1988). We felt that it achieved what were in principle reasonable results for the amount of money and manpower expended. But our prototype, like most prototypes, needed to be redesigned and expanded. Unfortunately, we never got a chance to test this, because our funding ran out. We had a sixyear grant from the Dutch government (matched by our company), but this ended in mid-1990. We had hoped to find an industrial partner to continue the funding of the project by then, but our search was unsuccessful. We are still keeping our eyes open, but are not actively searching.

The modifications to Esperanto in the early planning stages (early 1980s) were relatively radical, but perhaps about 80% of them were eliminated after the project started for real. This all happened before I joined the project in 1986. The move back toward normal Esperanto was done mainly for a practical reason: we needed the support of the Esperanto community. That is, we needed Esperantists to work in the project, and this would be made more difficult by changes which hindered their understanding of the language.

The most important remaining modifications were: dividers between the morphemes within a word; e.g., "util'ig'ebl'a" instead of "utiligebla", and extra spaces to distinguish between the readings of sentences like "I ate the fish on the table" and "old men and women".

Outside of these we had various lexical innovations like "antaw ke" (the subordinating conjunction "before") instead of "antaw ol". "kaw" in place of "kaj" (and) if the coordinated objects have the same referent, as in "my friend and companion". Compound tenses written as one word ("trink'ont'is"= "was about to drink" instead of "estis trinkonta"). Many of these minor modifications are in fact used by some Esperantists. A complete description of these is available on paper in Esperanto, but not in English.

le lojbo se ciska (cont.)

More of Nora's examples from the incomplete draft lessons.

Examples of numerical predicates

2 + 2 = 4 3 + 3 = 6 4 + 4 = 7

ti cimei sumji
This is a three-some sum.
.i le cimoi sumji cu na drani
And the three-th sum is not: correct.
.i le pamoi remei sumji cu drani
And the one-th two-some sums are correct.

do bimoi le liste be le cpedu le se detri be lenu cpedu
You are two-th in the list of the requestors, ordered by date of the event of requesting.
You are the second one to ask, in date order.
.i la rik. so'imoi
And Rick is the many-th.
.i .uu mi romoi
And (Pity!) I am the all-th (the last).
.i lo romoi ba pamoi
And the all-th will-be one-th. (The last shall be first.)

le cutci remei cu barda
The shoe two-some is large.
The pair of shoes is large.
.i le se remei be le'i cutci cu barda
And the members of the two-some of the set of shoes are large.
.i le se remei poi jadni le cutci cu barda
And the members of the two-some which adorn the shoes are large.
(The two things ornamenting the shoes are large.)
.i le se remei poi ponse le cutci noi se vomei cu barda
And the members of the two-some that possess the shoes, which are members of a four-some, are large.
The two owners of the shoes (of which there are four), are large.

vi le gusta
At the restaurant:
A: do xomei
You are a how-many-some?
How many in your party?
B: mi vomei
We are a four-some.

ko poi romoi cu ganlygau le vorme
(Imperative!) You the all-th one!, closed-do the door.

ti soso pivovo ce'isi'e curve
This is-99.44%-portion pure

ti botpi le plise pipasi'e jisra
This is-a-bottle of the apple-.1- portion juice.
This bottle of juice is 10% apple juice.

lenu carvi cu pizemu cu'o
The event of rain is .75- probability.

Examples of the less well-known abstractors

mi pu nelci lesi'o mulri'a le bangu .enai lepu'u mulri'a le bangu
I was fond of the idea of completing the language, and- not: the process of completing the language. [Ed. note - this accurately reflects Nora's views on the drawn-out completion of Loglan/Lojban.]

la fred. na nelci lezu'o limna
Fred is not: fond-of the activity of swimming

leli'i terpa cu rinka lenu morsi
The experience of being-afraid causes the event of being-dead.
Fear causes death.

leli'i cortu le na zasti tuple cu cizra
The experience of feeling-pain in the not: existing-leg is strange. [The experience abstractor was proposed by a Lojbanist who has lost a leg, noting that such amputees feel such 'phantom pains' in the non- existent leg. "li'i" provides a way to talk about such personal experiences that may be otherwise distinct from 'reality'.

lemu'e prane roda cu na cumki
The achievement-point of perfection in everything is not: possible.

do viska mi va'o lemu'e mi snada
You see me in-environment the achievement point of my being successful.
You see me at the point of success.

da pu dicra leza'i do sipna
Something interrupted the state of you being asleep.
Something interrupted your sleep.

A more complex example

mi ba logji cipra le za'i nelci la rik. .e la .alis.
I will logically-prove the state of fondness for Rick and Alice.

.i pamo'o xu la rik. nelci la .alis.
Section 1 - Is-it-true? Rick is fond of Alice.

  .i pamai roda na.a la rik. cu nelci la .alis.
  1. Everyone1 Not!, or Rick, is fond of Alice.
  1. If everyone, then Rick, is fond of Alice.
  .ije remai la fred. cu nelci la .alis.
  And 2. Fred is fond of Alice.
  .ije cimai di'u cu nibli le za'i de nelci la .alis.
  And 3. The last sentence logically necessitates the state of someone2 being fond of Alice.
  .ije .ua leza'i la rik. cu nelci la .alis. cu se nibli
  And (Discovery!) The state of Rick being fond of Alice is logically necessary.
  [Ed. note. Needless to say, this proof is logically flawed..]
.i remo'o xu la .alis. nelci la rik.
2nd section is-it-true? alice is fond of rick.

  .i pamai la .alis. cu nelci rodi poi nelci ri
  1. alice is fond of everyone3 who is-fond-of her.
  .ije remai la rik. cu nelci la .alis. ni'i le pamoi mu'e cipra
  And 2. rick is fond of alice logically-necessitated by the first achievement of proof.
  .ije .ua la .alis. cu nelci la rik ni'i le puvi jufra remei
  And (discovery!) alice is fond of rick logically necessitated by the previous-here sentence two-some.

.i la rik la .alis. cu nelci gi'e .ui se nelci 
rick, of alice, is fond and (happiness!) is-be-fonded-by.
rick is fond of alice and vice versa. 

A Lojbanic Cultural Allegory

For a lighter touch, comes the following, assembled by Nick Nicholas from computer net messages. The metaphors suggested by the allegory given have caught on among the most skilled Lojbanists, those referred to in the discussion. These include Nick Nicholas, Ivan Derzhanski, Bob Lechevalier, John Cowan, Colin Fine, Mark Shoulson. Other names referenced in the text are Zamenhof, inventor of Esperanto, Jim Brown, Founder of the Loglan project, Schleyer, inventor of Volapk, and Jim Carter, who I addition to supporting Lojban, has developed his predicate language. Bruce Gilson, has similar spurred a recent effort on the net to invent a 'predicate language without place structures'.

The following very interesting exchange happened on conlang list:

by Don Harlow <>:

Bear with me for a moment. Much of the conlang discussion I've seen over thirty years - this includes not only a month and a half of the conlang list, but also the Hardins' "International Language Review," various magazines published by proponents of various language projects, etc. - makes me think of a group of would-be rock-climbers clustered at the foot of El Capitan, a 1000-meter sheer wall on the north side of Yosemite Valley, who are arguing among themselves about the proper technique for starting their climb to the top. Two or three have actually tried to start; a couple got three meters off the ground and then fell back, bruising their glutei maximi (gluteos maximos, but I don't want to offend anybody by using an accusative ending) in the process, and one has actually attained the twenty meter level, is gritting his teeth in sheer determination, and glumly contemplates the 980 meters ahead of him. Meanwhile, the only thing the ones on the ground seem able to agree on is that the guy at twenty meters up bought his equipment at a fire sale and learned his climbing technique in a sandbox. They may be right; this is, after all, his first climb, too, just as it is theirs. One of them even shouts at him that if he had any consideration, he'd rapelle back to the ground and make way for some competent climbers.

(I should add that there's a gang of apes at the top who, every now and then when they see someone actually climbing, will kick a 100 kg. rock down at him to try to n knock him off. They own the top of the cliff, and don't want you to forget it. If you doubt this, read Ulrich Lins's La dan<gera lingvo, all 500+ pages of it.)

As to proper climbing technique, the main question on which they cannot agree is this: is the best tool with which to start our climb a three-legged stool, a kitchen chair, or a Sears & Roebuck folding metal stepladder?

Stools, chairs and stepladders all have their places in climbing - getting that book off the top shelf, cleaning out the rain gutters, getting to the faucet when you're three years old. But they're out of place at the foot of El Capitan. In other words, the climbers are asking the wrong question.

Similarly, if you're a scientific, experimental, literary, or simply curious conlanger, questions about linguistic structure, vocabulary sources, etc. are all important and valid ones. Not only that, they're fun to argue (if you don't make the mistake of taking them too seriously). But if you're a "global" conlanger - a proponent of some particular conlang, or even of just any old conlang, as a global interlanguage, they are ultimately irrelevant, or at best only marginally relevant. Yeah, that stepladder's the best of the three - it'll get you two meters off the ground, and leave you a mere 998 meters to go, using techniques that have nothing whatsoever to do with stools, chairs or stepladders.


Incidentally, that guy's still twenty meters up and climbing; he learned early to use pitons. And he's a lot more worried about those apes at the top than he is about you. Maybe you can pass him while he's sleeping. Maybe he'll fall off when he tries to sling a hammock. Maybe the apes will hit him with a rock. Maybe, once you actually start climbing, they'll hit you with a rock!

by Nick Nicholas <>:

Don, a very good response there. Just a couple of clarifications.

Not everyone is going rock-climbing up the wall you talk about. Some see the apes abseiling down, for instance, and aren't that fussed. Sure, the apes tend to collide with each other. but they do tend to cover a lot of ground.

A few members of the El Zamenhofo climbing team, on the other hand (schismatics led by Il Silferissimo), and more than half the Lojbo Jimbobs (not to mention a fair few types clothed in elvish gear) aren't as fussed about the wall as the others. They've found a few relatively shallow pits, and are usually happy to jump in and out of them. The Jimbobs like somersaulting in their soft sandpit. The Silferistas go around performing home improvement operations on their somewhat deeper pit, taking advantage of the fact that their pit has been boot camp for the Zamenhofos for a long time. Some of the stones hurled by the apes have landed in this pit; some even think that lends the pit atmosphere.

I don't know how valid the analogy is; as for me, I receive mail at both pits, and am usually not that distressed about the niches the mainstream Zamenhofos, yonder-ways, are carving into the face of the wall with their penknives.

Ugh. I don't do this analogy thing as well as you, Don :) In any case; it is not true that all the subscribers of conlang eat, drink, and sleep the wall. Me, I'm finding my sandpit a lot of fun. So does Ivan derJimbob, Mark Joulsonbob, and Colin Jinebob. Bob LeJimbob doesn't hang around our particular sandpit these days, but he isn't really at the wall you're at, either. He's found himself a 500 meter wall, and he's got rungs, but he's still waiting for the hammers. As to whether your shouted instruction, from your wall across the sandpits to his, will help him (and those in the sandpit), time will tell. (That and, as you say, the skeleton of the "Schleyer ist Herrgot" team-member you passed by in 1895).

I really should lay offa them drugs. Apologies to anyone who has felt offended by this very confused analogy.

by John Cowan <>:

Nickbob writes:

Me, I'm finding my sandpit a lot of fun. So does Ivan derJimbob, Mark Joulsonbob, and Colin Jinebob. Bob LeJimbob doesn't hang around our particular sandpit these days, but he isn't really at the wall you're at, either. He's found himself a 500 meter wall, and he's got rungs, but he's still waiting for the hammers.

John McJohnbob, who always seems (inexplicably) to get left out of these lists, is squatting in the bottom of the sandpit, feverishly re-reading his three-foot shelf of climbing documentation (poorly bound, unindexed, and typeset entirely in mono-spaced Flyspeck 3). In the other hand, he holds a much-marked-up list of needed equipment. "Let's see: rope, hammers, pitons, crampons, tampons, clamp-ons, spit, chewing gum....", he mutters.

And then we mustn't forget Carter Jimbob, who sits at the side of the pit with his back to the rest of the Jimbobs (he does look over his shoulder occasionally). He is engaged in digging out a small but deep excavation with his bare hands, and is sometimes heard to wonder why he can't seem to keep the sand from falling back in so fast. Next to him are Bruce Jilsonbob and his merry men, who are doing the same with their larger but much shallower hole. The sand is falling back into their hole as well, but they are digging so fast they haven't really noticed yet.

There is a rumor among the Jimbobs that somewhere in the pit, or perhaps in a different pit of the same size and shape (this question being hotly debated among the Jimbobs) there still exists the legendary First Digger, Jim- brownbob. But whereas the First Digger was formerly notorious for the volume of his voice, audible at every part of the pit, those who claim to have spoken with him in recent years say that he has become much subdued and hard to hear, and even (in one of his rare public appearances) completely inaudible. (The title of "First Digger" signifies only that in meetings of the Jimbobs, he digs first.)

And so on....

Nick responds:

John McJohnbob, who always seems (inexplicably) to get left out of these lists...

Yeah, it is strange that I keep doing this, isn't it? Hm. If the conlangistanis will pardon the Lojban politics, part of the reason is that you seem to be the only person around writing up shopping lists for climbing equipment (and toy shovels). In that respect, you are, I daresay, a tad above the sandpit. After all, when I tell Mum all the great friends I made at kindergarten today, the Teacher doesn't spring to mind, any more than does the School Principal. Perhaps he should. Especially as Teach is no stranger to the sandpit games, the latest of which involved Beowulf :). [Editor's note - John Cowan recently translated a small piece of Beowulf into Lojban]

My hats off, though, for a brilliant sandpit tale, which deserves to get into a JL or three.

[Signed] Nick, splashing sand far and wide, currently running a game in which a circle of people pour the same cupful of sand into each other's hands (the phone game).

John Cowan responds to Nick's comments about his 'Jimbob name' and kindergarten:

John McJohnbob writes:

(By the way, John, why the "Mc"?)

Is simple. "Cowan" is an Irish name, "Mac Eoin", where "Eoin" (pronounced roughly "Owen") is the earlier Irish form of "John". So I am John, son of John.

After all, when I tell Mum all the great friends I made at kindergarten today, the Teacher doesn't spring to mind, any more than does the School Principal. Perhaps he should. Especially as Teach is no stranger to the sandpit games...

That's what you say. When my four-year-old daughter actually went to kindergarten, the first friend she mentioned was the teacher. (I should mention that this is one-a-dem progressive places wherein Teach is known as "Julie" instead of "Ms. Kirkpatrick.")

le lojbo se ciska (cont.)

Now here is Nick's summary of a second 'phone game' message, one that did not pass as clearly from person to person. Note that the group is fairly tolerant of Lojban grammar errors, which is after all one reason why errors in 'transmission' can occur in the phone game. Since this is a game, it is desirable that some errors occur - that is how the participants (and you who read this) learn what is important in Lojban translation, which after all is a science in its early infancy. Here's Nick:

The second phrase to go through the phone game was:

As Prince once said, sweetheart, (if I remember correctly) "If I was your girlfriend, would you still tell me all those things only girlfriends talk about".

Sylvia handled it as:

doi titselprami cu'u la .prins ju'ocu'i xu do cusku roda poi selcasnu no de poi na fetypendo ku'o ku'o mi noi da'i fetypendo do
(Oh sweet-beloved, (this sentence is expressed by Prince (uncertain) (was it?)) you express everything which is discussed by none other than a female friend to me who is (suppose) a girlfriend of you.)

The "noi da'i fetypendo" is an excellent compression of the English. By the way, fetpendo is quite alright. The fault creeps in with the form of quotation used. Does the "xu" tie with the whole sentence (as intended) or only with the name Prince? (Actually, both make sense.) More importantly, is the "do" of the phrase the "do" Prince spoke to, or the person I'm speaking to? I tend to favour the latter: the "cu'u la prins." is a tagged-on part of the sentence, and shouldn't, I feel, alter the referent of "do". And finally, is "doi titselprami" included in the quote or not? I see no reason why it shouldn't be included. The result thus comes out (assume I am talking to Kate, and Prince was talking to Cat):

I think Prince said this:

Sweetheart, do you, Kate...

as opposed to:

I think Prince said this:

"Sweetheart, do you, Cat..."

but not I think (others may disagree):

I think Prince said this, sweetheart Kate: "Do you, Cat..."

This is critical. The conclusion, regrettably, is that "cu'u" is not the safest way of quoting in a sentence, unless the whole sentence is quoted - including "doi" (about UI I'm not sure), AND I still think "do" outside quotes (even with a "cu'u" tag) stills refers to your addressee, not the quotee's.

Colin comments:

I think it's deeper - though in a way simpler - than your argument. "cu'u la prins" is an adjunct not of the jufra, still less the selcu'u, but strictly of the bridi. We have a selbri "cusku" relating several sumti: "do", "roda li'o" and "mi" ... AND "la prins."

You express all that ... to me who ... as said by Prince.

I started off writing this comment thinking that you were basically right, and the Lojban did not work, but having written the above, I think it does, and is very clever indeed (once the "xu" is moved to the proper place). It is NOT a literal translation, but it works for me. The basic bridi is saying "Do you tell me all the things, supposing ..." so the "cu'u" phrase adds "As prince said, I think, ..." I think your vocative stuff is missing the point: "cu'u" cannot be asserting that anything in particular was actually said by Prince, since (except in the construction "pecu'u" etc.) there isn't anything there to be the quotation.

(Nick gripes that that's pretty much what he was saying :)

I notice that the translation omits "still".

Adds Mark:

The original sentence is pretty convoluted to start with. Might have worked better with "doi titselprami la prins. ju'ocu'ipei cusku lu xu do cusku... li'u", that is, use lu/li'u to scope the quote. Hence the problem with the "xu" getting attached to Prince. Something is sorta strange about "roda poi selcasnu no de poi na fetypendo", but something in me likes it. It's not literally what the original had, but I didn't misunderstand it, and it's elegant and logical. I'm a little unsure about "titselprami"; I'd think that attaching figurative qualities such as "sweet" to a person would be cultural. I mean, is your sweetheart literally sweet? To the taste? I'd feel better with a culture-flag ("ku'u"?) or "pe'a" or "zabna" or their rafsi somewhere in there to clear things up. Or even drop it entirely. 'Course, then subsequent people wouldn't think "Sweetheart" where they did now, but remember we have the advantage of all having good colloquial command of English.

Something about "cu'u": It's a BAI, so it attaches to the selbri, and thus in some sense I see it as attaching to the x1.

[Lojbab: No! A bridi is not necessarily a claim about x1 in particular among the sumti, but about all of the sumti. The only special role of x1 in the language comes from its accessibility to "le" for making description sumti.] My translation probably didn't use this logic, but consider it a moment. "mi klama cu'u la bab." This doesn't mean "Bob says, "I'm coming". It means "I am-a-goer with-expressor 'bob'", so "mi" is the speaker (I guess I'm agreeing with you here, Nick). I really don't know exactly what the semantics of this sentence would be, since "going" doesn't make too much sense with an "expressor" place; barely more than it would make with a "chocolate" place (fi'o cakla). I don't think I trust "cu'u" in this particular sentence (the one I just said and the Prince sentence).

Oh, and grammatically the "xu" had to attach to "la prins.", the way things were written.)

[Lojbab notes that the intent with "cu'u" is to be used to quote either directly or indirectly. Quote marks would indeed delimit a direct quote most accurately, in which case you must have "cu'usa'a" to indicate that the 'said by' isn't part of the quote proper. Thus the tradeoff is whether, in the original, the quote is merely an accurate direct quote, or whether the intent is, as for most English speakers who quote famous sayings in analogy to their own lives, that the meanings of referenced 'variables' be adapted to the analogy. As an indirect quote, an expressor place makes plenty of sense. "mi klama cu'u la bab." means "Bob says that I went", not "Bob says 'I went'" An indirect quote is usually intended to reflect fairly accurately what the speaker actually said without trying for literal quotation. "du'o" is a more vague source attribution that is available, meaning 'according to'; it would typically be used when reporting (in paraphrase) the information content of the source material.]

Mark was in two minds between:

Sweetheart, was it Prince who said you'd tell me everything that only girlfriends talk about, if I were your girlfriend?


'Sweetheart,' said Prince, 'Would you tell me everything discussed by only girlfriends if I were your girlfriend?'


The first alternative points out the fact that the referent of "do" is still the addressee. It is, I feel, the more natural interpretation of the Lojban text. It has the question hanging on the identity of Prince rather than the whole statement; again, this is what the Lojban text implies. "doi titselprami" refers to the addressee as does "do".

The second alternative has Mark trying to guess what was really meant: namely, that "cu'u" was an attempt at literal quoting. Unfortunately, you can't have the "ju'ocu'i" tying to the name Prince and the "xu" to the main sentence; thus the "Prince, I think" is lost. Furthermore, the "doi titselprami" is assumed to be part of what Prince is saying. Apart from that, it's an accurate guess, but Mark felt it more honest to rely on the text given, and chose the first alternative, which Colin translated as:

doi selprami la prins. xu du le cusku be ledu'u do ba cusku fi mi fe ro te tavla befi da na.a lo pendyfetsi va'o mi do pendyfetsi da'i
Beloved, was Prince the one who expressed the sentence: you will tell me all the things talked about by X only if a girlfriend does, in the environment of me, in the medium of you, undefined argument: girlfriend (suppose).

The main error is the omission of "va'o lenu". "da na.a lo pendyfetsi", surprisingly to me after a half-minute's truth-table, works well; but I don't know if it's that intuitable. I don't think the "be ledu'u" 'quoted' sentence is that elegant as a whole (the nesting and reordering seem unnecessary), but the meaning is conveyed, though the "ba" seems to me misleading.

Colin comments:

As often, there's a tension between precision and elegance. "la prins xu cusku ledu'u" might have done, but seemed to lose the force of "Was it Prince who". I tend to use "fi mi fe role ..." to get a light sumti before a heavy one even when the original doesn't have that order.

Correcting the omission: we started with:

As Prince once said, sweetheart, (if I remember correctly) "If I was your girlfriend, would you still tell me all those things only girlfriends talk about".

and ended up with:

Beloved, was it Prince who said that you would tell me everything talked about by people only if they're girlfriends, supposing that I was your girlfriend?

Close-ish, but not quite.

Morphology Algorithm

Internal Revision 4.1, 8 June 1992

The following will become the official baseline algorithm for resolution of Lojban text into individual words from sounds, stress, and pause. As such, it is the ultimate standard of Lojban's unambiguous resolvability, which may make Lojban speech recognition by computers more possible than for other languages. While the algorithm looks very complicated, almost all of it is resolving special cases, and performing what error detection and correction may be possible.

We have a string representing the speech stream, marked with stress and pauses. We want to break it up into words.

  1. First, break at all pauses (cannot pause in the middle of a word).
  2. Then, pick the first piece that has not been uniquely resolved.
    1. The first thing is to deal with some constructs which are required to end with a pause:
      1. Names:
        1. If the last letter of the piece is a consonant, we have a name. A name must have a pause before it UNLESS it is immediately preceded by a /la/, /lai/, /la'i/ or /doi/ as a marker, and it cannot contain any of these markers unless the marker is immediately preceded by a consonant. So, look backwards from the end of the piece for any of the allowed markers. If we don't find one (e.g. /jonz/), then the whole piece has been resolved as a name.
        2. If you do find such a marker, then check what immediately precedes it. If there is nothing (e.g. /ladjAn/), or if a vowel precedes (e.g. /mivIskaladjAn./, break off the marker as a resolved piece (/la/), and what follows it is also a resolved piece, a name (/djAn/), leaving us with whatever preceded the marker, if anything, as still unresolved (/mivIska/).
        3. If what precedes the marker is a consonant (e.g. /karoslAInas/) then ignore the marker and continue looking backwards. This exception is allowed because /karos/ with no following pause cannot represent a separate word.
      2. ".y.", the hesitation:
        If the piece consists solely of /y/, then it resolves as the hesitation word (which is required to be surrounded by pauses).
      3. Some lerfu words: specifically, the last lerfu word of a string if it ends in a "y" (e.g. /abubycydy/ or /y'y/) must be followed by a pause:
        1. If the "y" is preceded by a consonant, break off the consonant+"y" as a resolved lerfu word (e.g. /abubycydy/ gives /abubycy/ unresolved, and /dy/ resolved as a lerfu word). Continue breaking off any Cy pieces as lerfu words if they're there (e.g. unresolved /abubycy/ gives unresolved /abuby/ + resolved /cy/; then /abuby/ gives unresolved /abu/ plus resolved /by/).
          Note that the Cy-type lerfu words will NEVER come before the other lerfu word pieces in a breath-group - the "abu" and "y'y" types - since they begin with vowels, they MUST be preceded by pauses; and Cy followed by anything but another Cy must be followed by a pause (because "y" is used as glue in lujvo, it could cause resolvability problems if not separate; e.g. /micybusmAbru/ would not uniquely resolve).
        2. If the "y" is preceded by "V'" (e.g. /y'y/, break before the "V", and the "V'y" is resolved as a lerfu word.
        3. If the "y" is preceded by an "i" or "u" ("iy" and "uy" are reserved) the piece cannot be resolved. d) If the "y" is preceded by a vowel (V) other than "i" or "u", the piece is in error and cannot be further resolved.
    2. Next, see if the piece is composed entirely of cmavo.
      1. Check the piece to see if there are any consonant clusters (a consonant cluster is of one of the forms CC or CyC). If there are none, break up the piece before each consonant, resolving each piece as a cmavo (e.g. /alenumibaca'a/ breaks into the cmavo /a/ + /le/ + /nu/ + /mi/ + /ba/ + /ca'a/). If there are no consonants, the piece is a single cmavo. In either case, the piece is completely resolved.
    3. Now we have a piece which we are sure contains a brivla (a gismu, a lujvo or a le'avla). We know that a brivla must have a consonant cluster (CC or CyC) within the 1st five letters (ignoring apostrophes in the count), and must have penultimate stress (ignoring "y" syllables, which are not allowed to be stressed).
      1. First, let's check for a potential error (a form which shouldn't arise):
        1. If the piece contains no stress, but has a consonant cluster (CC or CyC), it is in error. The consonant cluster indicates it contains a brivla (gismu, lujvo or le'avla), which requires penultimate stress. The only place this MIGHT validly occur is inside a zoi-quote (and therefore need not be resolved at all).
        2. However, if stress information is not available, assume the brivla ends at the end of the piece. (This rule gives the right behavior with canonical written Lojban, where spaces separate all words except for some cmavo compounds and stress is normally not marked.)
      2. Next, let's find the end of the first brivla in the piece:
        1. Find the first consonant cluster (CC or CyC) and then the first stress after it (the brivla is expected to end after the syllable following the stress, ignoring "y" syllables). If the stress is on a diphthong, treat the entire diphthong as stressed (So that "find the next vowel" will not get just the second half of the diphthong).
        2. If there is no vowel in the piece after the stress, it can't be a penultimate stress, so the piece is in error (unresolvable). This is also true if "y" is the only vowel after the stress (e.g. */stAsy/ is not a valid breath-group).
        3. If the NEXT vowel following the stress (skipping over "y"'s ) is immediately followed by "'V" (as in /mlAtyci'a/), then the syllable following the stress cannot be the last syllable of a word (since the 'V cannot begin the next word). Ordinarily we would count this as an error, but let's instead assume that this was a secondary stress and ignore the fact that there is some stress on it. Go find the next stress to use as THE penultimate stress for this brivla (e.g. in /mlAtyci'abrIjuti/, assume the penultimate stress is "I", not "A").
        4. Having eliminated all the potential problems with finding the end, let's cut the piece after the end of the brivla:
          Find the first vowel (not counting "y") after the stress. If it is part of a diphthong, break after the diphthong; otherwise, break after the vowel itself.
      3. Now let's find the beginning of the brivla in the front part of the piece we just broke off:
        1. First, break off as many obvious cmavo pieces off the front as we can:
          1. If there is no consonant cluster (CC or CyC) in the first 5 letters (ignoring apostrophes in the count), then, if the piece starts with a vowel, break off before the first consonant (e.g. /alekArce/ becomes /a/ = cmavo) + /lekArce/ = unresolved), otherwise break off before the second consonant (e.g. /vilekArce/ becomes /vi/ = cmavo + /lekArce/ = unresolved). The front piece is then resolved as a cmavo.
          2. Repeat the above as many times as we can (so, /lekArce/ becomes /le/ = cmavo + /kArce/ = unresolved. Since /kArce/ has a consonant cluster in the first five letters, we can't go any further).
          3. If the piece we have left starts with a vowel, find the first consonant. If the first consonant is part of a consonant cluster (only CC-form this time), and this consonant cluster is NOT a valid initial cluster, then we can resolve the entire piece as a le'avla (e.g. /antipAsto/); otherwise (if the first consonant is NOT part of a consonant cluster, or the consonant cluster IS a valid initial cluster), break off before the first consonant as a cmavo (e.g. /a'ofArlu/ becomes /a'o/ = cmavo + /fArlu/ = unresolved; or, /aismAcu/ becomes /ai/ = cmavo + /smAcu/ = unresolved).
        2. What's left begins with a consonant and has a consonant cluster (CC or CyC) in the first 5 letters. The whole thing may be a brivla, or there may be (at most) one consonant-initial cmavo in front. Here are the possibilities for the start of the piece, and their resolutions:
          1. CC... :
            Resolve whole thing as a brivla (a gismu, lujvo, or le'avla).
          2. CyC... :
            Invalid form. Unresolvable.
          3. CVVCC... :
            (Note: stressing a cmavo on the final syllable before a brivla is not allowed.)
            1. If there is no stress on the VV and the CC is a valid initial cluster, then break off the CVV, and resolve it as a cmavo; the remaining piece can then be resolved as a brivla (see "CC....", above). For example, /leiprEnu/ becomes /lei/ = cmavo + /prEnu/ = brivla.
            2. Otherwise (i.e. there IS a stress on the VV, or the first consonant cluster is not a valid initial cluster), resolve the whole thing as a brivla (e.g. /cAItro/ = brivla)
          4. CV'VCC... :
            (Note: stressing a cmavo on the final syllable before a brivla is not allowed.)
            1. If there is no stress on the final vowel of the V'V) and the CC is a valid initial cluster, then break off the CV'V, and resolve it as a cmavo; the remaining piece can then be resolved as a brivla (see "CC....", above). For example, /so'iprEnu/ becomes /so'i/ = cmavo + /prEnu/ = brivla.
            2. Otherwise (i.e. there is a stress on the final vowel of the V'V, or the first consonant cluster is not a valid initial cluster), resolve the whole thing as a brivla (e.g. /cA'Itro/ = brivla)
          5. CVCC... (This is the hard one. Is the front CV a separate word?):
            1. If the whole piece is CVCCV, then the whole thing resolves as a gismu.
            2. If the CC is not a valid initial cluster, then the whole piece can be resolved as a brivla (gismu, lujvo, or le'avla). For example, /selfArlu/.
            3. If there is a "y", we need to look at the sub-piece up to the first "y":
              1. If the sub-piece consists entirely of CVC's repeating (at least 2 needed: e.g. /cacric/), and all the CC's of the sub-piece are valid initial clusters, then resolve the initial CV as a cmavo, and the rest of the whole piece is a brivla (a lujvo or le'avla).
              2. Otherwise, if the sub-piece can be broken down into a valid lujvo "front" in front and any number (including zero) of valid lujvo "middles" thereafter, resolve the whole piece as a brivla.
                1. Valid fronts (we've eliminated all but those starting with CV): CVC CVCC
                2. Valid middles: CVV CV'V CVC CCV CCVC CVCC
              3. Otherwise, the front CV should be resolved as a cmavo, and the remaining piece is resolved as a brivla (a lujvo or le'avla)
            4. If there is no "y":
              1. If the piece consists of CVC's repeating (at least 2 needed) up to a final CV (e.g. /cacricfu/), and all the CC's of the sub-piece are valid initial clusters, then resolve the initial CV as a cmavo, and the rest of the piece is a brivla (a lujvo).
              2. Otherwise, if the piece can be broken down into a valid lujvo "front" in front and any number (including zero) of valid lujvo "middles" followed by a valid lujvo "end", then resolve the whole piece as a brivla (a lujvo).
                1. Valid fronts (we've eliminated all but those starting with CV): CVC CVCC
                2. Valid middles: CVV CV'V CVC CCV CCVC CVCC c> Valid ends: CVV CV'V CCV CCVCV CVCCV
              3. Otherwise, the front CV should be resolved as a cmavo, and the remaining piece is resolved as a brivla (a le'avla).

le lojbo se ciska (cont.)

It's time for our feature texts of this issue.

The real test of an artificial language is how well it can convey ideas from a variety of cultures and languages. This issue, we present tales translated directly from two languages that few Lojbanists know.

The first several texts are 6 of the moralistic tales of the classical Greek fabulist Aesop, translated from the Ancient Greek by Nick Nicholas. The first thing you will undoubtedly note is how brief the stories are, as originally written. This makes each story a pleasant little chunk of Lojban to translate, and since you will likely find the stories at least a little familiar, you should be able to work through the occasionally difficult result of Nick's efforts at matching the Greek syntax and style.

You will need a complete cmavo list, including the changes reported in JL14 and JL15, to completely succeed with these texts, though most of the text will be understandable without all of the updates handy.

Here's Aesop:

me lo fetcinfo .e lo lorxu
.i lo fetcinfo noi se ckasu lo lorxu lenu ra roroi se jbena lo pamei cu bacru <<lu go'i lo pamei noi ku'i cinfo li'u>>
ni'o xe ctuca fi ledu'u loni xamgu cu .ei se merli fi lo klani na.e leni srana loka vrude

me lo resprtestudine .e lo cicractu
.i lo resprtestudine kuce lo cicractu leni sutra cu dabysnu .isemu'ibo le go'i noi tugni jdice tu'a le detri .eji'a le stuzi cu ba sepli bajra simjvi .i le zu'u cicractu noi ki'u leke'a rarna ka sutra cu na'eke se mukti jundi lenu bajra ku'o ca'o lenu vreta te'e le dargu cu sipna .i le zu'unai resprtestudine. noi sanji leke'a ka masno na sisti lenu bajra .ije seki'ubo le go'i noi bajra zo'a le cicractu noi sipna cu mo'u klama le co'e pe lenu cnemu fi lenu jinga
ni'o tu'a le selsku cu xe ctuca fi ledu'u le rarna se ckaji poi se na'eke se mukti jundi ku'o lenu troci cu so'eroi se tervlimau

me lo lorxu .e lo vanjba
.i lo lorxu noi xagji ku'o ca lenu viska loi vanjba gunma noi dandu lo tricu cu djica lenu cpacu ra gi'eku'i naka'e cpacu .i le go'i ca lenu cliva cu cusku fi vo'a fe <<lu lei jbari cu slari li'u>>
ni'o si'a so'i prenu poi naka'e xagmaugau lei cuntu ki'u loka ruble cu pantypai le tcini

me lo danlrkankre .e lo mamta be ri
.i <<lu ko na na'emo'ica'u cadzu seisa'a lo danlrkankre le mamta cu se tavla .iji'a le cilmo rokci leko xadni mlana na te mosra li'u>> .i ke'unai le danlrkankre cu bacru <<lu doi mamta ko noi ca ctuca cu mo'ica'u cadzu .ija'ebo mi fau lenu viska do cu smizu'e li'u>>
ni'o xe ctuca fi ledu'u lei pajni cusku cu .eiro'a vrude tarti je cadzu sa'enai cei bu'a .iba'ojenaipubo .ei ri cu ctuca fo lenu bu'a

me lo cinkrkikada .e loi manti
.i ze'aca loi dunra lei maxri noi se prucimri'a ku'o loi manti goi ko'a cu se sudgau .ike'unai lo cinkrkikada. goi ko'u noi xagji cu cpedu loi cidja ko'a .i lei manti cu crusku fi ko'u fe <<lu ki'u ma? ca le crisa do si'anai na jmaji loi cidja li'u>> .i ko'u bacru <<lu mi pu gunka nagi'eku'i zgike sanga li'u>> .i ko'a noi ca cmila cu bacru <<lu do sanga ze'aca le crisa .ije .uunai ko ca le dunra cu dansu li'u>>
ni'o tu'a le lisri cu xelctu fi ledu'u xamgu fa lenu gunka jundi roda kei fi lenu badri najenai selckape

me lo cipnrkorvo .e lo lorxu
.i lo cipnrkorvo noi ba'o kavbu lo rectu cu ca'o zutse lo tricu .i lo lorxu noi viska ra gi'e djica lenu cpacu le rectu cu sanli gi'e zanru skicu le cipnrkorvo. ri lo dratra bo selxadni joi melbi gi'eji'a bacru lu'e ledu'u ge ra nu'o turni .ei lei cipni gi le da'i nu ra cu se voksa lo xamgu cu nibli lenu pu'i turni .i le cipnrkorvo noi djica lenu jarco fi le lorxu fe lenu pu'i se voksa lo xamgu cu renro le rectu gi'e cladu krixa .i le lorxu cu bajrykla gi'e bacru ba'o lenu kavbu le rectu kei <<lu doi cipnrkorvo noda fau le da'i nu do se menli lo xamgu cu fanta lenu do turni roda li'u>>
ni'o le prenu poi bebna ku'o le se cusku cu pilno se xamgu

The next piece is a little tougher, since the story is unfamiliar to most readers, as is the Chinese culture from which the story comes. The text is John Cowan's translation of a short tale from Hakka Chinese.

Hakka is a rural dialect spoken in inland Southeast China. As shown in the translation section, Hakka Chinese has a different tonal structure, and the text has many roots quite unlike that of standard Mandarin Chinese. Indeed, John had to go to great lengths to find suitable informants who could explain subtle points of Hakka semantics, since John, of course, doesn't know Hakka Chinese either.

John deserves a lot of credit, indeed! I like his philosophy that good translation, especially of cultural ideas, requires translation from the original. Thus, he did not use an available colloquial English translation of the story, choosing instead to work from the English and Mandarin glosses found below in the translation section (asking lots of questions of knowledgeable informants, when appropriate).

Here is John's text. Enjoy!

ni'oni'o di'e se tcita <<lu le bruna cu kenkakpa sepi'o lo cnadakfu .ije le mamta cu pensi selraktu li'u>>

.i tu'e

la .asun. jo'u la .aniis. bruna remei .i la .asun. jbena le purci mamta .ije la .aniis. jbena le cabna mamta .i le cabna mamta goi ko'a cu to'e lanxe tarti .i ci'o ko'a le jbebersa be ko'a cu dirba .i ro bu'a zo'u: la .aniis. cu djica lenu bu'a .inaja bu'a .i la .asun. te cinmo to'ebo la'edi'u .i la .asun. goi ko'e citka nalculno gi'e dasni nalglare .iji'a so'iroi darxi ko'e .i le cabna mamta ta'e plafinti lenu catra la .asun.

.i paroikiku le cabna mamta cu cuxna re so'etsi .i pa so'etsi cu nalseljukpa .ije pa so'etsi cu seljukpa .i dunda le seljukpa la .asun. .ije dunda le nalseljukpa
la .aniis. .i cusku
<<lu re ko cu mo'ine'i klama le kevna poi betfu le barda tricu .i ko pilno loi cilmo dertu lo tagji gacri be le so'etsi .i ko poi leke'a so'etsi cu pamoi derjbe cu pamoi zdaxru li'u>>

.i ba lenu dzukla fo pimu le dargu kei la .aniis. zgana lenu le le bruna ku so'etsi noi badmau cu farlu
.ibazibo fo le bruna cu canja .i bazuku le la .asun. so'etsi cu pamoi derjbe .i ko'e morji le se cusku be le mamta .isemu'ibo ko'e pamoi zdaxru .i le mamta cu zgana lenu le jbebersa be ko'a na xruti .i na kurji lejei ko'a jmive .i sutra sutra bajrykla mu'i lenu facki lejei la .asun. lidne da

.i lo cmana cevni cu makfa tisna le tricu kevna loi dertu .i le cabna mamta ba cusku fi la asun. fe
<<lu ko cuxna lo cnadakfu gi'e klama fa'ertisna le tricu kevna li'u>>

.i ca lenu kenkalri noda nenri .i pa cipni goi ko'i cu vofli cliva gi'ecabo klaku cusku zoi <<.xakkas go1 zy3 cok8 cok8 oi1 zy3 pak8 sok8 .xakkas.>> no'u <<lu le bruna cu kenkakpa sepi'o lo cnadakfu .ije le mamta cu pensi selraktu li'u>>
.i vofli ze'abaku .i ti'e ca'o ro crisa ko'i rolnicte sanli le tricu forca gi'e cusku zoi <<.xakkas. go1 zy3 cok8 cok8 oi1 zy3 pak8 sok8 .xakkas.>> .i cusku pu'o lenu le molko'a cu ciblu vikmi


Translations of le lojbo se ciska

Translation of lei lojbo

Katrina: mi xatra be la .alis. ciska bau la lojban. .i .e'o ko sidju lenu fanva
I (letter-to-Alice)-write in- language Lojban. (Petition!) You! (Imperative!) assist the- event of translating.
I've written a letter to Alice in Lojban. Please help me translate it (to English).

Sam: .ui .oinai
(Happiness! Pleasure!)
I'd be happy to! My pleasure!

Katrina: <<lu xu? la teris. cu se pluka le cukta poi ri te dunda fi mi li'u>>
"Is it true? Terry is-pleased with the book(s) which he/she was given by me?
Did Terry like the book(s) I gave him/her?

Sam: pamai: ma? te kancu le cukta
Firstly, what-value? is-the- counted-value of the books.
First: How many books are there? [to know whether to translate "cukta" as singular or plural].

Katrina: li ci .i ku'i mi na jimpe le mukti be lenu do terpreti .oi
Three. However, I not: understand le motive of the event of your asking. (Complaint!)
Three. But I don't understand why you ask such an irrelevant question!

Sam: le'onai mi troci lenu sidju (Defensive!)
I try to assist.
I'm only trying to help!

Katrina: .o'ocu'i .e'o ko go'i .e'u
(Mere tolerance!) (Petition!) You! (Imperative!) do-the-previous. (Suggestion!)
Grrr! Then DO so, for Pete's sake!

Sam: ta'onai la teris. cinse ma?
(Returning to main point!) Terry exhibits sexuality/sexual- orientation of-what-kind?
OK. Getting on with it, what gender is Terry? [to determine the gender of the pronoun translating "ri".]

Katrina: .i'anai se'inai .i ka'u do bilga lenu na terpreti de'u .a'unai
(Blame! Other-directed!) (I know culturally!) You are-obliged to the-event-of not: asking the recent utterance. (Repulsion!)
Arrgh! You aren't supposed to ask such disgusting questions!

Katrina: ju'i mamta la sam. cusku lo cinse preti .i'enaicai
Attention, Mother! Sam expressed a sexual question (Strong disapproval!)
Hey Mom!!! Sam just asked me a dirty question!

[Needless to say, Nora was playing around with the problems of machine translation between language, while also trying to show how fluent speakers might use the Lojban attitudinals to very expressively communicate feelings that don't record too accurately on paper. We hope everyone enjoyed!]

Translation of Aesop

me lo fetcinfo .e lo lorxu
Pertaining to a lioness and a fox.

.i lo fetcinfo noi se ckasu lo lorxu lenu ra roroi se jbena lo pamei cu bacru <<lu go'i lo pamei noi ku'i cinfo li'u>>
A lioness, who incidentally is mocked by a fox about the event of giving birth to a singleton, utters "Yes, I did (give birth) to a singleton, which incidentally, however, is a lion".

ni'o xe ctuca fi ledu'u loni xamgu cu .ei se merli fi lo klani na.e leni srana loka vrude
Teaching-method for the fact that the amount of goodness is (Obligation!) measured in units a quantity Not! and (but) in amount of pertaining to qualities of virtue.

Lioness and Fox. A Lioness being mocked by a fox on always giving birth to one, said "One, but a lion."
That the good should not be measured in quantity, but in its relation to virtue.

The only difficulty in this last story is the "go'i" within the quotes, which technically should not refer to text outside the quote (which the lioness couldn't have 'heard' to refer back to). This is poetic license of a type that makes sense, though, since she is responding to ridicule that might indeed have used the presumed relation "gave birth to a singleton".

me lo resprtestudine .e lo cicractu
Pertaining to a tortoise and a hare (wild-rabbit).

.i lo resprtestudine kuce lo cicractu leni sutra cu dabysnu .isemu'ibo le go'i noi tugni jdice tu'a le detri .eji'a le stuzi cu ba sepli bajra simjvi .i le zu'u cicractu noi ki'u leke'a rarna ka sutra cu na'eke se mukti jundi lenu bajra ku'o ca'o lenu vreta te'e le dargu cu sipna .i le zu'unai resprtestudine. noi sanji leke'a ka masno na sisti lenu bajra .ije seki'ubo le go'i noi bajra zo'a le cicractu noi sipna cu mo'u klama le co'e pe lenu cnemu fi lenu jinga
A tortoise, a hare, about the amount of swiftness, do combatively-discuss. Motivationally therefore they, who incidentally agreeingly decide (something about) the date and- also the site, do afterwards separately-runningly mutually- compete. The, on-the-one-hand, hare, who incidentally justified by his natural quality of swiftness other-than motivatedly attends-to the event of running, during the reclining alongside the road, sleeps. The, on-the-other- hand, tortoise, who incidentally is conscious of his quality of slowness, not: ceases the event of running. And justifiably therefore he (the tortoise), who incidentally runs past the hare, who incidentally sleeps, completitively comes to the [thing] pertaining-to the event of rewarding for the event of winning.

ni'o tu'a le selsku cu xe ctuca fi ledu'u le rarna se ckaji poi se na'eke se mukti jundi ku'o lenu troci cu so'eroi se tervlimau
The expression being something (told) is a teaching method for the fact that the natural characteristics which are other- than motivatedly attended-to, by the event of trying, is usually as-conditions-of-having-power,-is- exceeded.

Tortoise and Hare. A tortoise and a hare argued on their speed. So, having agreed on the date and the place, they ran raced apart. The hare, on the one hand, who because of its natural speed did not take pains with its running, having lied down by the road slept. The tortoise, on the other hand, being aware of its slowness, did not stop running. And thus it, running past the sleeping hare, arrived at the trophy of victory.

The word shows that natural quality which has not had pains taken over it is often overpowered by effort.

me lo lorxu .e lo vanjba
Pertaining to a fox and a/some grape(s).

.i lo lorxu noi xagji ku'o ca lenu viska loi vanjba gunma noi dandu lo tricu cu djica lenu cpacu ra gi'eku'i naka'e cpacu .i le go'i ca lenu cliva cu cusku fi vo'a fe <<lu lei jbari cu slari li'u>>
A fox, who incidentally hungers, simultaneous with the event of seeing of the mass of Grape Masses, which incidentally hang from a/some tree(s), desires the event of getting of-them (the Masses and-but not: is-innately- capable-of getting. He (the fox), simultaneously with the event of leaving, expresses to him(self) "The mass of berries are sour".

ni'o si'a so'i prenu poi naka'e xagmaugau lei cuntu ki'u loka ruble cu pantypai le tcini
Similarly, many persons who not: are-innately-capable of good-more- bringing- about (improving) affairs justified by qualities of weakness, protestingly-judge (blame) the situation.

Fox and grape bunch. A hungry fox, upon seeing bunches of grapes hanging from some trellis, wished to obtain them and could not. Removing itself it said to itself: They are sour.

Thus too some people unable to improve things because of weakness blame the times.

me lo danlrkankre .e lo mamta be ri
Pertaining to a crab and a mother-of-it.

.i <<lu ko na na'emo'ica'u cadzu seisa'a lo danlrkankre le mamta cu se tavla .iji'a le cilmo rokci leko xadni mlana na te mosra li'u>> .i ke'unai le danlrkankre cu bacru <<lu doi mamta ko noi ca ctuca cu mo'ica'u cadzu .ija'ebo mi fau lenu viska do cu smizu'e li'u>>
"You! (Imperative!) not: other- than-forward-movingly walk [A crab, by the mother is talked-to]. Also, the moist rock, by Your! (Imperative!) body-side not: is rubbed" Continuing, the crab utters "O Mother!, You! (Imperative!), who incidentally now teach forward-movingly walk. Resultingly, I on-the-event-of the event of seeing you, similarly- act-with-purpose."

ni'o xe ctuca fi ledu'u lei pajni cusku cu .eiro'a vrude tarti je cadzu sa'enai cei bu'a .iba'ojenaipubo .ei ri cu ctuca fo lenu bu'a
Teaching method for the fact that the-mass-of judgemental- expressors (critics) do (Obligation-social!) virtuously behave and walk (loosely- speaking), which is equivalent to some-relation1. Aftermathly-and- not-previously (Obligation!) they (the mass of judges teach about the event of it-relation1.

Crab and Mother. Not to walk crooked, a crab was told by its mother, nor to rub its sides on the wet stone. And it said: "Mother, you who teach walk straight, and watching you I will imitate."

That it is meet for the critical to live and walk straight, and then to teach the same.

me lo cinkrkikada .e loi manti
Pertaining to a cicada and of- the-mass-of Ants.

.i ze'aca loi dunra lei maxri noi se prucimri'a ku'o loi manti goi ko'a cu se sudgau .ike'unai lo cinkrkikada. goi ko'u noi xagji cu cpedu loi cidja ko'a .i lei manti cu crusku fi ko'u fe <<lu ki'u ma? ca le crisa do si'anai na jmaji loi cidja li'u>> .i ko'u bacru <<lu mi pu gunka nagi'eku'i zgike sanga li'u>> .i ko'a noi ca cmila cu bacru <<lu do sanga ze'aca le crisa .ije .uunai ko ca le dunra cu dansu li'u>>
For-a-medium-time-interval- during Winters, the mass of wheat, which incidentally was previously- moistened, by some-of-the-mass-of Ants (them1) is dryly-brought- about. Continuing, a cicada (it5), who incidentally hungers, requests of-the-mass-of Food of them1. This-mass-of ants ut- teringly-expresses to it5 "Justified by what? simultaneous with the summer you dissimilarly not: gather of the mass of Food?" It5 utters "I worked Not! and-but musically-sang." They1, who incidentally simultaneously with this (statement) laugh, utter "You sing for-a-medium-time-interval- during the summer. And (Cruelty!) You! (Imperative!), simultaneous with the winter, dance."

ni'o tu'a le lisri cu xelctu fi ledu'u xamgu fa lenu gunka jundi roda kei fi lenu badri najenai selckape
The expression being something (told) is a teaching method for the fact that [it] is-good, that the event of workingly attending to all-things, by standard-of- goodness the event of being-sad Not! and not: being-endangered.

Cicada and Ants. At the time of winter the ants dried the moistened grain. And a cicada hungering asked them for food. And the ants said to it: "For what reason in the summer did you not gather food as well?" And it said "I wasn't working, but I sang musically." And they having laughed said "But if you at the time of the summer sang [The Greek actually says "played the flute"], dance in the winter."

The myth shows that it is not meet that one should neglect any thing, so that s/he may not be saddened and imperiled.

me lo cipnrkorvo .e lo lorxu
Pertaining to a crow and a fox.

.i lo cipnrkorvo noi ba'o kavbu lo rectu cu ca'o zutse lo tricu .i lo lorxu noi viska ra gi'e djica lenu cpacu le rectu cu sanli gi'e zanru skicu le cipnrkorvo. ri lo dratra bo selxadni joi melbi gi'eji'a bacru lu'e ledu'u ge ra nu'o turni .ei lei cipni gi le da'i nu ra cu se voksa lo xamgu cu nibli lenu pu'i turni .i le cipnrkorvo noi djica lenu jarco fi le lorxu fe lenu pu'i se voksa lo xamgu cu renro le rectu gi'e cladu krixa .i le lorxu cu bajrykla gi'e bacru ba'o lenu kavbu le rectu kei <<lu doi cipnrkorvo noda fau le da'i nu do se menli lo xamgu cu fanta lenu do turni roda li'u>>
A crow, who incidentally in-the- aftermath-of capturing some meat, is-in-the-middle of sitting-on a tree. A fox, who incidentally sees it (vague - probably the meat, but possibly the crow) and desires the event of getting the meat, stands and approving describes the crow to it (the crow) as a <correct-form be-bodied mixed-with beautiful> thing and- also utters the-symbol-for the fact that both it (the crow) is- capable-of-but-hasn't governed (Obligation!) the mass of birds, and the (Supposing-that!) event of it (the crow) was be-voiced by the good-thing logically-necessarily- entails the event of actually governing. The crow, who incidentally desires the event of showing to the fox of the event of actually being be-voiced by the good-thing, throws the meat and loudly cries-out. The fox runningly-goes-to and utters in- the-aftermath-of capturing the meat "O Crow!, Nothing, in-the- event-of the (Supposing!) event of you are be-minded by the good- thing, prevents the event of you governing everything."

ni'o le prenu poi bebna ku'o le se cusku cu pilno se xamgu
For the person who is foolish, the expression is usingly-being- good.

Crow and Fox. A crow having snatched some meat sat on some tree. And a fox seeing it and wishing to obtain the meat, having stood praised it as well- proportioned and beautiful, also saying that it should indeed be king of the birds, and that this would have happened, if he had a voice. And it wishing to show it that it also had a voice, having thrown off the meat shouted loudly. And it having run to it and having snatched the meat said: "O Crow, and if you had brains too, nothing would be lacking for you to be king of everything."

The word is opportune for a foolish man.

The Hakka Translation

Title: "Brother Bored With A Chisel, Mother Worried In Vain"
Source: Yuan Jiahua et al., Hanyu fangyan gaiyao [An Outline of the Chinese Dialects], quoted in S. Robert Ramsey, The Languages of China. [This latter is a much recommended non-technical book for those interested in learning about Chinese.]
Translation by: John Cowan

Standard Chinese (Mandarin - Pinyin Romanization)

The Hakka is transcribed as follows:

  • initials are as in Pinyin;
  • rhyme vowels are as in IPA, except that "y" is schwa;
  • "un" is "u"+"n", not equivalent to "uen".Hakka tones 7 (high) and 8 (low) are associated with syllables ending in "-p", "-t", or "-k".

The Standard Chinese version (in Pinyin) is a cross between a literal translation and a list of etymological correspondences. A dash (---) represents a Hakka morpheme for which no Standard equivalent could be found.

English-1 is a list of English words roughly corresponding to the Hakka morphemes, not a translation.

English-2 is a literal translation of the Lojban.

I wish to gratefully acknowledge the invaluable assistance of the following:

Lojbab (Lojban reviewer), Nora LeChevalier (Lojban reviewer), Jim Carter and Alice (Wang2 Yi3) Carter (Mandarin informants), Hua T. Lin (Hakka informant).

Of course, the responsibility for any errors or infelicities remaining is solely mine.

ni'oni'o di'e se tcita
[Totally new topic] The following is labelled

<<lu le bruna cu kenkakpa sepi'o lo cnadakfu .ije le mamta cu pensi selraktu li'u>>
Go1 zy3 cok8 cok8, oi1 zy3 pak8 sok8
ge1 zi3 zao2 zao2, mu3 zi3 bai2 -- -
brother chisel bore mother waste thoughts
"The brother hole-digs with-tool a spade-knife. And the mother is thinkingly-betroubled."

.i tu'e
Start of utterance-block

.i la .asun. jo'u la .aniis. bruna remei
A1 sun4 tung2 a1 nyi4 he4 liong3 hiung1 ti4.
A1 shun4 tong2 a1 yi4 xi4 liang3 xiong1 di4.
Asun with Anyi be two brothers.
Asun in-common-with Anyi are-a brotherly twosome.

.i la .asun. jbena le purci mamta .ije la .aniis. jbena le cabna mamta
A1 sun4 he4 cien2 oi1 giung1 ge4, a1 nyi4 he4 heu4 oi1 giung1 ge4.
A1 shun4 xi4 qian2 mu3 sung4 de, a1 yi4 xi4 hou4 mu3 sung4 de.
Asun be before-mother bear 's Anyi be stepmother bear 's
Asun is-born-to the past mother. And Anyi is-born-to the present mother.

.i le cabna mamta goi ko'a cu to'e lanxe tarti
Heu4 oi1 zo4 nyin2 m2 gung1 tao4,
Hou4 mu3 zuo4 ren2 bu4 gong1 dao4, stepmother behavior not just
The present mother (she1) opposite-of in-equilibrium-ly behaves.

.i ci'o ko'a le jbebersa be ko'a cu dirba
ci1 ga1 ge4 cin1 sen1 zy3 ciu4 kon4 zo4 bao3 bi4,
zi4 jia1 de qin1 sheng1 zi3 jiu4 kan4 zuo4 bao3 bei4,
oneself 's one's own son then regard-as treasure
According-to her1, the birth-son of her1 is-dear.

.i ro bu'a zo'u: la .aniis. cu djica lenu bu'a .inaja bu'a
a1 nyi4 oi4 mak7 ge4 ciu4 mak7 ge4,
a1 yi4 ai4 --- de jiu4 --- de,
Anyi want something then something
For-all <predicate> [If] Anyi desires the event-of <the predicate> then <the predicate>.

.i la .asun. te cinmo to'ebo la'edi'u
dui4 a1 sun4 sim1 gon1 ciu4 m2 he4 an3 yong4.
dui4 a1 shun4 xin1 gan1 jiu4 bu4 xi4 yi1 yang4.
toward Asun feelings then not be this-way
About Asun is-felt the-opposite-of the-referent-of-the-previous- sentence.

.i la .asun. goi ko'e citka nalculno gi'e dasni nalglare .iji'a so'iroi darxi ko'e
A1 sun4 syt8 m2 bao3, cok7 m2 sao1 han2 sy2 song2 da3 gi2.
A1 shun4 shi2 bu4 bao3, zhao2 bu4 --- hai2 shi2 chang2 da3 ta4.
Asun eat not full wear not warm also often hit him
Asun (he2) is-eater-ly non-full and is-wearerly non-warm. Also often hits him2.

.i le cabna mamta ta'e plafinti lenu catra la .asun.
Heu4 oi1 cung3 siong3 hoi4 si3 a1 sun4.
Hou4 mu3 zong2 xiang3 hai4 si3 a1 shun4.
stepmother always think murder Asun
The present mother habitually plan-creates the event-of killing of-Asun.

.i paroikiku le cabna mamta cu cuxna re so'etsi
Yu1 it7 bai3, heu4 oi1 na1 liong3 zak8 vong2 teu4,
You3 yi1 ze4, hou4 mu3 na1 liang3 zhi1 huang2 dou4,
exist one time stepmother take two seed soybeans
One time [sticky] the present mother chooses two soya-seeds.

.i pa so'etsi cu nalseljukpa .ije pa so'etsi cu seljukpa
it7 zak8 sang1 ge4, it7 zak8 suk8 ge4,
yi1 ge sheng1 de, yi1 ge shu2 de,
one seed raw 's one seed cooked 's
One soya-seed is-non-cooked. And one soya-seed is-cooked.

.i dunda le seljukpa la .asun. .ije dunda le nalseljukpa la .aniis.
suk8 ge4 bun1 a1 sun4, sang1 ge4 bun1 a1 nyi4,
shu2 de fen1 a1 shun4, sheng1 de fen1 a1 yi4,
cooked 's give Asun raw 's give Anyi
Gives the cooked to-Asun. Gives the non-cooked to-Anyi.

.i cusku <<lu re ko cu mo'ine'i klama le kevna poi betfu le barda tricu
vong3 gi2 liong3 ge4 nyin2 do4 tai4 su4 lung1 du3 li3 ki4,
ciao4 ta4 liang3 de ren2 dao4 da4 shu4 long2 du3 li3 qu4,
tell them two thing person to big tree hole belly inside go
Expresses "Two of You! [imperative] inwardly go-to the cavity that bellies the big tree. .i ko pilno loi cilmo dertu lo tagji gacri be le so'etsi

vong2 teu4 yung4 nai2 tun2 gin3 ki4,
huang2 dou4 yong4 ni2 --- jin3 qu4,
soybean use mud cover tight go
You! [imperative] use of-a-mass-of Wet dirt as-a snug cover for the soya-seed.

.i ko poi leke'a so'etsi cu pamoi derjbe cu pamoi zdaxru li'u>>
kon4 man3 nyin2 ge4 sien1 bao4 nga2, ciu4 man3 nyin2 sien1 zon3 vuk7 ha1.
kan4 --- ren2 de xian1 bao4 ya2, jiu4 --- ren2 xian1 zhuan3 wu1 xia4.
see who 's first sprout then who first return home
You! [imperative] such-that your soya-seed first is-dirt-born, shall firstly home-return."

.i ba lenu dzukla fo pimu le dargu kei la .aniis. zgana lenu le le bruna ku so'etsi noi badmau cu farlu
Hang2 do4 ban4 lu4, a1 nyi4 kon4 do3 gia1 go1 ge4 teu4 zy3 go4 tai4,
Xing2 dao4 ban4 lu4, a1 yi4 kan4 dao3 ta4 ge1 de dou4 zi3 guo4 da4,
walk to half road Anyi see fall his brother 's bean pass big
After the event-of walkingly-going by-route half-of the road, Anyi observes the event-of the brother's soya-seed, which-in- cidentally-is bigger, falling.

.ibazibo fo le bruna cu canja
ciu4 tung2 gia1 go1 gao4.
jiu4 tong2 ta4 ge1 ta4.
then with his brother trade
Then-shortly-after, with the brother, exchanges.

.i bazuku le la .asun. so'etsi cu pamoi derjbe
Go4 e2 ho3 giu3, a1 sun4 ge4 teu4 zy3 sien1 bao4 nga2,
Guo4 la4 hao3 jiu3, a1 shun4 de dou4 zi3 xian1 bao4 ya2,
pass -ed really long Asun 's bean first sprout
[future] [long time] Asun's soya- seed is-first from-dirt-born.

.i ko'e morji le se cusku be le mamta .isemu'ibo ko'e pamoi zdaxru
gi2 ciu4 zao4 gia1 me1 ge4 fa4 sien1 zon3 vuk7 ha1 ki4 e2.
ta4 jiu4 zhao4 ta4 mu3 de hua4 xian1 zhuan3 wu1 xia4 qu4 la4.
he then reflect his mother 's speech first return home go -ed
He2 remembers the expressed-thing by the mother. Motivated-by- that, he2 firstly-home-returns.

.i le mamta cu zgana lenu le jbebersa be ko'a na xruti
Gia1 me1 kon4 do3 ci1 ga1 ge4 cin1 sen1 zy3 mo2 zon3 loi2,
Ta4 mu3 kan4 dao3 zi4 jia1 de qin1 sheng1 zi3 mei2 zhuan3 lai2,
his mother see fall oneself 's one's own son not return come
The mother observes the event-of the birth-son of her1 not return.

.i na kurji lejei ko'a jmive .i sutra sutra bajrykla mu'i lenu facki
ciu4 miang4 nga1 m2 mai4 e2, giak8 giak8 zeu3 ki4 kon4.
jiu4 ming4 ye bu4 ai4 le, guai4 guai4 zou3 qu4 kan4.
then life even not want -ed quick quick run go see
Not taking-care-of the truth- value-of her living. Swiftly- swift runningly-goes with-motive the event-of discovering

lejei la .asun. lidne da
Mang2 di1 zy4 a1 sun4 cut7 loi2 heu4,
--- zhi1 zi4 a1 shun4 chu1 lai2 hou4,
where know from Asun emerge come after
the truth-value-of Asun preceding someone.

.i lo cmana cevni cu makfa tisna le tricu kevna loi dertu
san1 syn2 tu3 ti4 sy3 e2 fap7, su4 lung1 set7 bet8 e2.
shan1 shen2 tu3 di4 shi3 le fa3, shu4 long2 sai1 diao4 le.
mountain god earth use -ed magic tree hole fill-in away -ed
A mountain god magically stuffed the tree hole with-a-mass-of dirt.

.i le cabna mamta ba cusku fi la asun. fe <<lu ko cuxna lo cnadakfu gi'e klama fa'ertisna le tricu kevna li'u>>
Heu4 oi1 ciu4 vong3 a1 sun4 na1 it7 ba3 cok8 zy3 ki4 cok8 kai1 su4 lung1 loi2,
Hou4 mu3 jiu4 ciao4 a1 shun4 na2 yi1 ba3 zao2 zi3 qu4 zao2 kai1 shu4 long2 lai2,
stepmother then tell Asun take one-handle chisel go bore open tree hole come
The present mother [future] expresses to Asun "You [imperative] choose a spade- knife and goingly reverse-stuff the tree hole."

.i ca lenu kenkalri noda nenri
mang2 di1 cok8 kai1 loi2 mak7 ge4 ya1 mo2.
--- zhi1 zao2 kai1 lai2 --- de ye3 mei2.
where know bore open come something even not-exist
Simultaneous-with the event-of hole-opening, nothing is-within.

.i pa cipni goi ko'i cu vofli cliva gi'ecabo klaku cusku
Zong3 yu1 it7 zak7 diao1 zy3 bi1 cut7 loi2, giao4 den3,
Zong3 you3 yi1 zhi1 niao3 zi3 fei1 chu1 lai2, jiao4 zo1,
assemble exist one head bird fly emerge come call -ing
One bird [it3] flyingly leaves and-then weepingly expresses

zoi <<.xakkas go1 zy3 cok8 cok8 oi1 zy3 pak8 sok8 .xakkas.>> no'u <<lu le bruna cu kenkakpa sepi'o lo cnadakfu .ije le mamta cu pensi selraktu li'u>>
"Go1 zy3 cok8 cok8, oi1 zy3 pak8 sok8!"
"Ge1 zi3 zao2 zao2, mu3 zi3 bai2 - --!"
brother chisel bore mother waste thoughts
the-expression "go1 zy3 cok8 cok8 o1 zy3 pak8 sok8" which- incidentally-is "the brother hole-digs with-tool a spade- knife. And the mother is think- betroubled."

.i vofli ze'abaku
bi1 do4 ban4 tien1 ki4 e2.
fei1 dao4 ban4 tian1 qu4 le.
fly to half day go -ed
A-flyer [for-a-medium interval] [into the future].

.i ti'e ca'o ro crisa ko'i rolnicte sanli le tricu forca
Tang1 gong3 mi1 nyian2 ge4 ha4 gi2, gi2 ya4 ya4 a1 diao4 den3 su4 va1 hong4,
Ting1 jiang3 mei3 nian2 de xia4 ji4, ta4 ye4 ye4 --- diao4 zo1 shu4 cha4 shang4,
hear say each year 's summer he night night even drop -ing tree crotch top
[I hear!] During all summers it3 each-nightly stands-on the tree fork

gi'e cusku zoi <<.xakkas. go1 zy3 cok8 cok8 oi1 zy3 pak8 sok8 .xakkas.>>
giao4 den3, "Go1 zy3 cok8 cok8, oi1 zy3 pak8 sok8!"
jiao4 zo1, "Ge1 zi3 zao2 zao2, mu3 zi3 bai2 ---!"
call -ing brother chisel bore mother waste thoughts
and expresses "go1 zy3 cok8 cok8 o1 zy3 pak8 sok8".

.i cusku pu'o lenu le molko'a cu ciblu vikmi
oi4 giao4 dao4 zoi4 gok7 teu2 cut7 hiat8 zang4 m2 giao4.
ai4 jiao4 dao4 zui3 jiao3 tou2 chu1 xue3 zai4 bu4 jiao4.
want call until mouth corner bleed finally not call
Expresses up-until the event-of the mouth-corner blood ex- creting.


Next Issue

Next issue (for those who have sent in your subscription forms and money at least), includes a lengthy discussion of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and related aspects of linguistic research from the point of view of several linguists. We also plan to publish John Cowan's paper on Lojban expression of mathematical expressions (MEX), a story translated from Bulgarian by Ivan Derzhanski, as well as more of Nick Nicholas's extensive work.

Sample Page from Forthcoming Proto-Dictionary

I wanted to give the community some feeling that we actually are getting somewhere on the long-promised books. The best way I know to do this is to show you. The following page is the first section of the gismu list, starting with the letter 'B' as it has been expanded and formatted for the dictionary. While this is still a draft, it should give a good idea of our intentions. We of course would like comments on whether the print size is adequate, as well as the explanations (there is some limit to what we can do to improve the latter without delaying publication, but I still would like to know what people think).

The larger margins on the back page reflect the actual dimensions of the pages of the book (standard 5.5" x 8" trade paperback).

  bacru                                   92                                  berti
                              B            bakri
                                            chalk -   x1  is  a
                     bacru                  quantity       of/-
                      utter -   x1 utters   contains/is made of
                      verbally/says/-       chalk  from  source
                      phonates   (vocally   x2 in form x3
                      makes  sound)   x2;  baktu
                      (cf. krixa, cusku);   bucket -   x1  is a
                      rafsi: cru            bucket/pail/can/-
                     badna                  deep, solid,  wide-
                      banana -   x1  is a   topped container of
                      banana/plantain       contents  x2,  made
                      (fruit)          of   of   material   x3;
                      species/breed x2      (cf. botpi,  patxu,
                     badri                  tansi)
                      sad -   x1 is sad/-  balji
                      depressed/dejected    bulb -    x1  is  a
                      about  x2;   rafsi:   bulb (body-part) of
                      dri                   plant/species   x2;
                     bajra                  (metaphor: rounded,
                      run -   x1  runs on   bulgy; (cf. punli);
                      surface  x2   using   rafsi:         baj;
                      limbs x3  with gait   cognate: 'bulge'
                      x4                   balni
                     bakfu                  balcony -   x1 is a
                      bundle -   x1  is a   balcony/overhang/-
                      bundle/package        ledge/shelf      of
                      (shape/form)   con-   building/structure
                      taining   x2,    of   x2; (cf. kajna)
                      surrounding          balre
                      material        x3;   blade -   x1  is  a
                      cognate: 'pack'       blade   of   tool/-
                     bakni                  weapon   x2;   (cf.
                      bovine -   x1  is a   dakfu); rafsi: ba'e
                      cow/cattle/kine/-    balvi
                      ox/(bull)/(steer)     future -   x1 is in
                      (beef-producer/-      the future of/later
                      bovine)          of   than/after  x2   in
                      species/breed   x2;   time  (only);  (cf.
                      rafsi:         bak;   lidne); rafsi:  bav
                      cognate: 'ox'

  bacru                                   93                                  berti
                      ba'i;      cognate:  banxa
                      'later'               bank -    x1  is  a
                     bancu                  bank at location x2
                      beyond   -       x1   owned  by   x3  for
                      exceeds/is   beyond   banking function(s)
                      x2 in  property  x3   x4 (event);  rafsi:
                      (ka);  (cf.  dukse,   bax
                      ragve)               banzu
                     bandu                  suffice   -      x1
                      defend   -       x1   suffices/is
                      (event)   defends/-   enough/sufficient
                      protects         x2   for   purpose    x2
                      (object/state) from   under    conditions
                      threat/peril/-        x3;   (cf.   dukse,
                      potential        x3   claxu,      nitcu);
                      (event);  x1  wards   rafsi: baz
                      x3; rafsi: ba'u      bapli
                     banfi                  force -   x1 (force
                      amphibian -   x1 is   -   ka)    forces/-
                      an   amphibian   of   compels event x2 to
                      species/breed x2      occur;    x1    de-
                     bangu                  termines   property
                      language -   x1  is   x2   to   manifest;
                      a/the    language/-   (cf. jitro,  rinka,
                      dialect          of   krinu,      zukte);
                      people(s)       x2;   rafsi:   bap   bai;
                      rafsi: ban bau        cognate: 'compel'
                     banli                 barda
                      great  -     x1  is   big -   x1 is big/-
                      great/grand      in   large in property/-
                      property x2 (ka) by   dimension(s)     x2
                      standard  x3;  (cf.   (ka)  as   compared
                      barda,  nobli,   se   with  standard/norm
                      sinma,      pluja);   x3;  (cf.   banli);
                      rafsi:  bal;   cog-   rafsi:  bad;   cog-
                      nate: 'grand'         nate: 'large'
                     banro                 bargu
                      grow -   x1 grows/-   arch -  x1 arches/-
                      expands   into   x2   curves   over    x2
                      from    x3;    (cf.   (made of x3); x1 is
                      farvi); rafsi: bar    an arch over/around

  bacru                                   94                                  berti
                      x2 of  material x3;   pose  x3,  made  of
                      rafsi: bag            material x4
                     barja                 bavmi
                      bar  -    x1  is  a   barley -   x1  is a
                      tavern/bar/pub   at   quantity of  barley
                      x2  serving  x3  to   (grain)          of
                      audience/patrons      species/strain x2
                      x4; (cf. gusta)      baxso
                     barna                  Malay-Indonesian  -
                      mark -    x1(s)  is   x1 reflects  Malay-
                      a/are mark/marks on   Indonesian   common
                      x2 of  material x3;   language/culture in
                      rafsi: ba'a           aspect   x2;   (cf.
                     bartu                  meljo,      bindo);
                      out -  x1 is on the   rafsi:  ba'o;  cog-
                      outside   of   x2/-   nate: 'Bahasa'
                      exterior   to   x2;  bebna
                      rafsi: bat            foolish -    x1  is
                     basna                  foolish/silly    in
                      emphasize  -     x1   event/action/-
                      emphasizes/gives      property  (ka)  x2;
                      emphasis/stress  to   x1   is   a   boob;
                      x2 by  [action] x3;   rafsi:         beb;
                      cognate: 'accent'     cognate: 'boob'
                     basti                 bemro
                      replace   -      x1   North  American   -
                      replaces/-            x1  reflects  North
                      substitutes for  x2   American  culture/-
                      in circumstance x3;   nationality/-
                      rafsi:         bas;   geography in aspect
                      cognate:              x2; rafsi: bem
                      'substitute'         bende
                     batci                  crew -    x1  is  a
                      bite -  x1 bites x2   crew/team/gang/-
                      on/at  x3;   rafsi:   squad/band/or-
                      bac                   chestra of  persons
                     batke                  x2   directed/led/-
                      button -   x1  is a   conducted by direc-
                      button/knob/-         tor/leader/con-
                      (handle)     on/for   ductor x3 organized
                      item x2,  with pur-   for   purpose   x4;

  bacru                                   95                                  berti
                      rafsi:  bed   be'e;
                      cognate: 'band'
                      Bengali   -      x1
                      reflects    Bengali
                      guage in aspect x2;
                      rafsi: beg be'o
                      transfer  -      x1
                      transmits   x2   to
                      receiver  x3   from
                      x4 via means/medium
                      x5;  (cf.   muvdu);
                      possibly "sharing";
                      no       (complete)
                      alienation     from
                      origin is implied);
                      rafsi:   bej   bei;
                      cognate: 'send'
                      son -   x1 is a son
                      of  mother/father/-
                      parents   x2   (not
                      biological); rafsi:
                      north -   x1  is to
                      the  north/northern
                      side   (right-hand-
                      rule  pole)  of  x2
                      according to frame-
                      of-reference    x3;
                      rafsi: ber

  besna                                   96                                  brodo
                     besna                  ports  ordered   as
                      brain -   x1 is a/-   well); rafsi: biz
                      the  brain   (body-  bidju
                      part)    of     x2;   bead -    x1  is  a
                      (metaphor:            bead/pebble
                      intelligence,  men-   (shape/form)     of
                      tal       control);   material x2
                      rafsi: bes           bifce
                     betfu                  bee  -    x1  is  a
                      abdomen -    x1  is   bee/wasp/hornet  of
                      a/the     abdomen/-   species/breed   x2;
                      belly/lower   trunk   rafsi: bic
                      (body-part) of  x2;  bikla
                      (metaphor:            whip -   x1 whips/-
                      midsection);   (cf.   lashes  (a   sudden
                      canti); rafsi:  bef   violent    motion);
                      be'u;      cognate:   rafsi:         bik;
                      'belly'               cognate:     'beat,
                     betri                  lash'
                      tragedy -   x1 is a  bilga
                      tragedy/disaster/-    obliged -    x1  is
                      tragic   for    x2;   bound/obliged  to/-
                      rafsi:         bet;   has  the   duty  to
                      cognate: 'tragic'     do/be   x2    in/by
                     bevri                  standard/-
                      carry   -        x1   agreement/frame x3;
                      carries/hauls/bears   x1  must   do   x2;
                      cargo x2 to x3 from   rafsi: big
                      x4  over  path  x5;  bilma
                      rafsi:  bev   be'i;   ill -   x1 is ill/-
                      cognate: 'bear'       sick/diseased  with
                     bi                     symptoms  x2   from
                      8 -   digit/number:   disease x3;  rafsi:
                      8  (digit);  rafsi:   bi'a
                      biv                  bilni
                     bi'i interval      -   military -   x1  is
                      non-logical           military/-
                      connective:     un-   regimented/is
                      ordered    interval   strongly      orga-
                      between (rafsi sup-   nized/prepared   by
                                            system    x2    for

  besna                                   97                                  brodo
                      purpose x3;  rafsi:   positive that x2 is
                      bil                   true; rafsi: bit
                     bindo                 bisli
                      Indonesian  -    x1   ice  -    x1  is  a
                      reflects Indonesian   quantity of/is made
                      culture/national-     of/contains     ice
                      ity/language     in   (frozen crystal) of
                      aspect  x2;  rafsi:   composition/-
                      bid                   material x2; rafsi:
                     binra                  bis
                      insure   -       x1  bitmu
                      insures x2 (person)   wall -    x1  is  a
                      against x3  (event)   wall/fence
                      for     fee      x4   separating  x2  and
                      providing             x3 (unordered) of/-
                      benefit(s)       x5   in  structure   x4;
                      (event)               rafsi: bim bi'u
                     binxo                 blabi
                      become   -       x1   white  -     x1  is
                      becomes/changes       white/very-light
                      into    x2    under   colored      (color
                      conditions x3; (cf.   adjective);  rafsi:
                      cenba,      galfi);   lab
                      rafsi: bix bi'o      blaci
                     birje                  glass -   x1  is  a
                      beer -   x1 is made   quantity of/is made
                      of/contains/is    a   of/contains   glass
                      amount  of   beer/-   of composition x2
                      ale/brew     brewed  blanu
                      from x2               blue -   x1 is blue
                     birka                  (color  adjective);
                      arm -   x1 is a/the   rafsi: bla
                      arm (body-part)  of  bliku
                      x2;      (metaphor:   block -   x1  is  a
                      branch         with   block  (at-least-2-
                      strength;       cf.   dimensional shape/-
                      jimca); rafsi: bir    form)  of  material
                     birti                  x2,  dimensionality
                      certain -    x1  is   x3; rafsi: bli
                      certain/sure/-       bloti
                                            boat -    x1  is  a

  besna                                   98                                  brodo
                      boat/ship (vehicle)   box bo'o;  cognate:
                      for  carrying   x2;   'foil'
                      rafsi: lot blo lo'i  boxna
                     bo                     wave -    x1  is  a
                      short scope  link -   wave (periodic pat-
                      short scope joiner;   tern) in medium x2,
                      attaches  two   ad-   wave-form x3, wave-
                      jacent  words  into   length          x4,
                      single unit; causes   frequency       x5;
                      right  grouping  in   rafsi: bon bo'a
                      tanru; rafsi: bor    bradi
                     bolci                  enemy -   x1  is an
                      ball -    x1  is  a   enemy/opponent/-
                      ball/sphere/orb/-     adversary of  x2 in
                      globe  (shape/form)   struggle  x3;  (cf.
                      of material  x2; x1   damba,       jamna,
                      is   a    spherical   darlu);    cognate:
                      object   (made   of   'adversary'
                      x2); rafsi: bol boi  bratu
                     bongu                  hail  -     x1   is
                      bone -  x1 is a/the   hail/sleet/freezing
                      bone (body-part) of   rain/solid
                      x2;      (metaphor:   precipitation    of
                      calcium);    rafsi:   material/-
                      bog bo'u              composition     x2;
                     botpi                  (cf. carvi, snime);
                      bottle -   x1  is a   this  is  the  sub-
                      bottle/jar/urn/-      stance, not the act
                      closable  container   or  manner  of  its
                      for  x2,   made  of   falling,  which  is
                      material  x3   with   carvi
                      lid    x4;     (cf.  brazo
                      baktu); rafsi:  bot   Brazilian  -     x1
                      bo'i                  reflects  Brazilian
                     boxfo                  culture/-
                      sheet -   x1  is  a   nationality/-
                      sheet/foil/blanket    language in  aspect
                      (2-dimensional        x2; rafsi: raz
                      shape/form flexible  bredi
                      in 3 dimensions) of   ready  -     x1  is
                      material x2; rafsi:   ready/prepared  for

  besna                                   99                                  brodo
                      x2 (event);  rafsi:   assignable variable
                      red re'i              predicate
                     bridi                  brodi
                      predicate  -     x1   predicate var  3  -
                      (du'u)     is     a   x1   is   the   3rd
                      predicate             assignable variable
                      relationship   with   predicate
                      relation  x2  among  brodo
                      arguments             predicate var  4  -
                      (sequence/set)  x3;   x1   is   the   4th
                      rafsi: bri            assignable variable
                     brife                  predicate
                      breeze -   x1  is a  brodu
                      breeze/wind/gale      predicate var  5  -
                      from  direction  x2   x1   is   the   5th
                      with   speed    x3;   assignable variable
                      rafsi: bif bi'e       predicate
                     briju                 bruna
                      office -   x1 is an   brother -    x1  is
                      office/workplace of   brother        of/-
                      worker x2  at loca-   fraternal to  x2 by
                      tion   x3;   rafsi:   bond/tie/standard/-
                      bij;       cognate:   parent(s) x3;  (not
                      'bureau'              necessarily
                     brito                  biological); rafsi:
                      British   -      x1   bun bu'a
                      reflects  British/-  bu'a some selbri 1 -
                      United Kingdom cul-   logically
                      ture/nationality in   quantified
                      aspect   x2;   (cf.   predicate variable:
                      glico,       skoto,   some   selbri    1;
                      merko); rafsi: rit    rafsi: bul
                     broda                 budjo
                      predicate var  1  -   Buddhist  -      x1
                      x1   is   the   1st   pertains   to   the
                      assignable variable   Buddhist  culture/-
                      predicate             religion/ethnos  in
                     brode                  aspect  x2;  rafsi:
                      predicate var  2  -   buj bu'o
                      x1   is   the   2nd  bukpu
                                            cloth -   x1  is an

 besna                                   100                                  brodo
                      amount  of  cloth/-  bunre
                      fabric  of   type/-   brown  -     x1  is
                      material x2; rafsi:   brown/tan    (color
                      buk bu'u              adjective);  rafsi:
                     bumru                  bur bu'e
                      fog  -      x1   is  burcu
                      foggy/misty/covered   brush -   x1  is  a
                      by  a  fog/mist  of   brush  for  purpose
                      liquid  x2;  rafsi:   x2   (event)   with
                      bum                   bristles  x3;  (cf.
                     bunda                  komcu); rafsi:  buc
                      pound -   x1  is x2   bru
                      local        weight  burna
                      unit(s)       (non-   embarrassed -    x1
                      metric)    (default   is    embarrassed/-
                      1),   x3   subunits   disconcerted/flus-
                      (e.g.      ounces),   tered/ill-at-ease
                      standard x4; rafsi:   about/under
                      bud                   conditions x2