me lu ju'i lobypli li'u 5 moi
Ju'i Lobypli Number 5 - May 1988
Published by: The Logical Language Group Bob LeChevalier, President 2904 Beau Lane Fairfax VA 22031 (703) 385-0273 Attend LOGFEST 88 - June 10-13, 1988 See Below for Details
This newsletter is a publication by and for people interested in the development of a 'logical language', based on concepts described an article by Dr. James Cooke Brown in Scientific American, June 1960, and in later publications written by Dr. Brown and others. Many, but not all, of these publications were published by The Loglan Institute, Inc. of Gainesville, Florida. The Logical Language Group is not connected with the Loglan Institute, Inc., and no publication of this organization is, or purports to be, approved by Dr. Brown or The Loglan Institute, Inc. Dr. Brown has expressly disapproved of this publication effort.
As he is the original inventor of the concepts being used, we have a standing policy to allow Dr. Brown to respond in these pages to any issues raised therein. He has not chosen to do so until now. His two letters speak for themselves, and so are printed exactly as received. I ask that ALL READERS PLEASE READ DR. BROWN'S ATTACHED LETTERS. We have disagreements with Dr. Brown, both in point of fact and in opinion. Our response will be found in the back pages, in keeping with our desire to remove legal and political maneuvering from being the main focus of our effort.
Your editor is Bob LeChevalier. As organizer of the newly named Logical Language Group (which we intend to incorporate as a non-profit corporation), I have been leading the efforts of several dozen of you to complete and publish this year a stable, baselined version of the language which directly realizes the concepts put forth by Dr. Brown and others and developed over the last 35 years (under a different language name). The current version of the language is called Lojban to clearly distinguish it from earlier versions and to base the language name on words from within the language.
This newsletter is going to over 330 people in about a dozen countries. The newsletter is distributed for free. Donations are requested in order to cover our publication costs. You also may maintain a balance from which we will deduct our publication costs. Details on this may be found below. The Logical Language Group is seeking tax-exempt status from the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization, which will enable your donations to be tax-deductible.
CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE
- LOGFEST 88
- What Do They Mean?: Technical and Lojban Terms Used in this Issue
- Lojban Status: Primitives (gismu), 'Little Words' (cmavo), Grammar, Textbook and Teaching Aids, MEX, Revised Schedule
- New Publications
- Revised Plans for Lojban Classes
- McLean High School Lojban Club
- Report on LogFlash
- TECHNICAL AND TEACHING MATERIAL ABOUT LOJBAN:
- On the Lojban Predicate (bridi)
- Lojban in Translation - Several Expressions and a Song
- Lojban Numbers
- How to Use Your Old L1 and L4/5 books
- Current Development Issues: Lojban Attitudinals, A New Scheme for 'Borrowings' (na'evla)
- We Want Your Inputs! - Flash Cards, Lojban Pen Pals, APA
- Orders, Organizational, and Financial News: Revised Fiscal Statement, Proposed Budget, The Order Fiasco and Revised Plans, The Balance System and Understanding Your Mailing Label, Revised Price List
- Response to Dr. Brown's Letters
- The Contributors' List
- Map to Logfest 88
- Dr. Brown's Response to Ju'i Lobypli Number 4
- Revised Lojban Brochure
Space and time considerations prevent us from including any letters to the editor this time, others than Dr. Brown's response. We also had wanted to include some of the lively discussions that have taken place on the CLBB during the past couple of months. Maybe next time. For those of you who tried it early on when participation was low, try again. There is considerably more discussion.
The FORTH bulletin board apparently has been taken down temporarily. When I hear that it is up again, I will let you know.
For those who have had trouble with uploading and downloading onto CLBB, there is a second BBS run by Lawrence Kesteloot which has copies of the LogFlash programs. This BBS is called the AMRAD board. See Lawrence's messages on CLBB for more information.
'Capital Loglan Bulletin Board' (CLBB) Available to all in the Logical Language Community Local to Virginia/DC Area : (703) 391-8873 (1200 Baud - login as 'loglan') 'PC Pursuitable', Lojban Data and Shareware File Upload and Download Provided Courtesy of Joel Shprentz Your Editor checks this Board about twice weekly. Send messages to the Editor via UseNet/ARPAnet/UUCP using the SYSOP's address: firstname.lastname@example.org
LOGFEST 88 - June 10-13, 1988
Our third annual mini-convention for the logical language community will be held again at my house in the Washington DC suburbs. We are again expecting people from all over the country. We moved the date earlier in the year when local humidity isn't yet so high; more people can now sleep comfortably, either indoors or outdoors.
What will LogFest 88 be like? If the previous two are good examples, it will be both fun and educational. We expect most of last years attendees to return, and perhaps double their number (or more). We are in fact hoping to hear from enough of you that we can reserve space at a nearby school for Saturday, which has been the peak attendance day. Discussions will be at all technical levels. We expect to have sessions on the following:
Novices' Workshops: Lojban Community Review Pronunciation and Baseline Decisions: Introductory Grammar Pronunciation Some Basic Vocabulary Morphology gismu word set Computer-Aided Tutorials with LogFlash and Other Programs Lojban Community Inputs and Discussion: Group Workshop on Lojban gismu place structures Translation preliminary cmavo list, attitudinals preliminary grammar Computer Synthesis of Lojban Speech lujvo-making algorithm computer-aided-instruction Group Conversation Workshop in Lojban other teaching materials na'evla practices
Organizational Meeting: The Logical Language Group, Inc. Discussions of Other Issues Subject to Attendees' Interests
We will have our two computers in use, and Art Wieners is bringing his UNIX-based multi-tasking computer (which has ports that can hook onto several terminals if we can get some of the local Lojbanists to bring some for the weekend).
An ambitious plan. We won't have time to do everything we want to do. But this looks like the first LogFest where there will be a few people able to spontaneously converse in the language.
This is also your chance to meet those people who you've only read about, that are making logical language a reality: pc (John Parks- Clifford), Chuck Barton, and Jeff Taylor are among our expected attendees. The conversation will be lively - that we can guarantee.
Meals will likely be obtained from local restaurants with take-out service. There is plenty of choice. We had cold cut platters last year as well. We have tents and a couple of spare sleeping bags, for those who don't have any. We also have floor space and blankets. Hotels are a couple of miles away. I am directly on a Metro subway line, and right off the freeway near the Washington DC beltway, so the place is easy to get to. Union Station (Amtrak) and National Airport have Metro stops as well. If you come in at Dulles airport, there is bus service to the nearest Metro station, you can rent a car, or possibly we can pick you up. We can also support visiting families on a space-available basis, if you let us know in advance. (pc expects to bring his 11-year old daughter Sara.) Since we are on the Metro, families can conveniently sightsee downtown (or learn about Lojban!)
Let us know your plans - by letter or phone call - so we can plan for you.
What Do They Mean?: Technical and Lojban Terms Used in this Issue
These are brief definitions. The synopsis of phonology and morphology gives more detailed explanations. Since these words are relatively unknown and not used in literature prior to this year, I have put their closest equivalent from that literature in italics.
bridi - Lojban predicates (with arguments included). These convey the basic claim of a Lojban sentence. A simple sentence consists of a single central bridi. The bridi is a kunbridi with sumti attached which give the specifics of the claim. Each sumti in turn may be composed of subordinate clauses with their own bridi; usually these are simple kunbridi. The basic sentence syntax in normal form is:
sumti - central kunbridi - sumti - sumti - sumti ... In this structure, the central kunbridi corresponds to the English verb, and the sumti to the attached noun and prepositional phrases. There are other orders and structures possible.
cmavo - Little Words (LWs). The structure words, usually only one to three letters long, which convey the organization (syntax) of Lojban utterances.
gismu - Individual primitive root words that are the most common non-structural concepts. These are the basic ridvla. They are used individually, or combined in tanru. They are also used to build compound ridvla: lujvo. These are of three types: xregi'u (C-Prims), lobgi'u (L-Prims) and klogi'u (N-Prims). Most are xregi'u, which were built algorithmically from six common languages.
kunbridi - Bare bridi without arguments attached; these may be individual ridvla, or strings of multiple ridvla combined in various ways.
lerfu - Letterals, or symbols for the letters of the alphabet, now conceptually expanded in Lojban to include all non-numerical symbols that have no defined Lojban cmavo.
lujvo - Complexes (Cpxs). ridvla that are formed as compounds of gismu, each representing a particular tanru. Whereas tanru can be ambiguous, there will be a specific meaning assigned to each lujvo and specific place structures for associated sumti.
MEX - Mathematical expressions and their Lojban grammar; a longstanding problem. In Lojban: mekso.
minmi - Names that have been Lojbanized into a proper word form.
morphology - The rules of proper word formation, which are rigidly defined for Lojban.
na'evla - Borrowings (L-Prims). Specialized terms, often technical, that are taken from other languages and Lojbanized into an acceptable word form.
parse - The determination of the syntax of a string of text or symbols.
rafsi - These are affixes, combining forms of gismu and common cmavo that each serve to represent a single word. They are assembled together by specific rules to form lujvo, which can in turn be broken down uniquely into the represented components. Those components then indicate a tanru that may suggest the meaning of the lujvo, making new lujvo comparatively easy to learn.
ridvla - Predicate words. The basic components of Lojban semantics, found in kunbridi. ridvla in a sense can be said to subsume several English parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions, depending on how they are used in the sentence. ridvla are both singular and plural unless specifically quantified.
sumti - The arguments of a bridi. Each sumti is related in a specific way to the ridvla in the kunbridi to which they are attached, and to the other sumti that are attached. The most important of these sumti are defined to exist in a particular order for each ridvla, and there are rules to determine which set is used.
syntactically unambiguous - The existence of a single correct word grouping (parse) for a given word order. In proving Lojban unambiguous with YACC, we must further be able to do so by a set of technical rules called 'LALR(1)', which basically means that the language groups from the left, and that it is possible to parse the language taking one word at a time from the left.
syntax - The structure and word order of a language, independent of the meanings of words. Similar to 'grammar' in meaning.
tanru - Metaphors that are made by combining ridvla in various ways to create new, more complex, or more specific meanings. Lojban tanru are ambiguous in meaning, with the capability to expand upon and define that meaning more clearly to an arbitrary degree. However the syntax - the order and grouping of the ridvla and cmavo that make up the tanru is rigidly and unambiguously defined.
YACC - A computer software program written by Bell Labs (AT&T) that is used to generate parsing programs for computerized text. It also serves to verify that the syntax rules specified for these programs are unambiguous according to 'LALR(1)' rules.
In response to your orders, we have sent out some 150 copies of the Lojban gismu list in various sorted orders. We have not had much feedback on the words. Tommy Whitlock, who helped make them, would like to eliminate some of them. I also have gotten comments from pc, and have a list of proposed words that the Word Makers' Council generated while working with a previous version of the language. Some of these have already been made into gismu. Others are better suited to be made as na'evla, given our set of Lojban gismu.
All comments will be reviewed at LogFest and decisions made, after which the gismu list will be frozen indefinitely to ensure that people have a chance to learn a stable list of words. We actually expect very few changes, but all of you are welcomed, indeed urged, to submit comments prior to LogFest.
'Little Words' (cmavo)
The cmavo list has not faired so well. We were forced to completely redo the list to ensure that there was no question of independent creative effort from Dr. Brown. In addition, there have been dozens of proposals over the years since the 1974-5 language, some good and some bad, that have never received a formal decision. We are attempting to include all proposals that are consistent with each other and with the grammar that is being developed. Where possible, we are allowing multiple proposals to remain in the language to let usage determine the 'best' one(s). We are also trying to systematize words even more than in previous versions, but this has proven difficult.
One major proposal was made by Scott Layson and Chuck Barton several years ago. It required redoing the number words to make them more understandable in 'noisy' environments. In redoing the whole list, this was finally possible. However, the decisions for the ten digits greatly constrained the other cmavo decisions. We wanted to have easily recognized patterns for as many as possible.
Another major change is that the lerfu, or words used to express letters of the alphabet and symbols, have been moved out of the 'little word space', allowing much more room, and higher recognition ability for the cmavo in their place.
In general, we are trying to build the new cmavo so as to suggest the gismu which is closest in meaning. For example, the three 'time' tenses for past, present, and future, are pu, ca, and ba, from the Lojban gismu: purci (past/before), cabna (now/simultaneous with), and balvi (future/after). We believe that this is preferable to the pattern of the old words which were probably chosen because they suggested the English words 'past', 'now', and 'future', a pattern that is not consistent with cultural neutrality.
In some cases, we were even able to use a rafsi which represents a gismu in lujvo compounds to be a cmavo of similar meaning. For example, ki'e is the rafsi for ckire (grateful), and also means 'Thank you'.
We will discuss another major area of change, the attitudinal indicators later in this newsletter.
A first draft list of cmavo was circulated to a half dozen reviewers; only pc gave comments, though he made up for everyone else. It has taken several months (and perhaps 8 hours on the telephone) to redo the list in its current form. pc - an expert on tense logic and other areas in philosophy - was concerned to ensure that the understandings of his field are incorporated in the cmavo set. Unfortunately, with no training in philosophy myself, I was a bit dense in interpreting his comments, and in deriving adequate solutions to the problems he raised.
I intend to have a new draft set of cmavo for LogFest. It exists right now in scribbled notes on three old copies. I'm sure that there will be considerable discussion at LogFest of the new ideas we've included. Then, after we've verified that the new concepts are compatible with the grammar (see below), we will publish a list for all of you to groan over. We intend to have this list available with the next issue of JL, and will send it to all with positive balances. Six months later, it too will be frozen. (We'll also put it up on CLBB.)
I had hoped to pass the buck on grammar development off to others, leaving me to handle a few less headaches. It didn't work. We needed people with time, compatible computers, and similar software and computer language experience to be able to produce results quick enough for our schedule, and we don't have them. I also found that there were numerous issues that we wanted to cover in the rewritten grammar that required me to write extensively. Time at the computer to generate text has been my shortest supply, so it didn't get done. In addition, the discussions with pc on cmavo were generating many new ideas to try to check in the grammar.
The result is that I needed a grammar worker locally to work with YACC, and get together as needed with me. My local volunteers have been silent lately. When grammar became the critical path in the schedule, I started working on it myself.
YACCing is surprisingly easy, at least with a grammar as simple as that for Lojban. I had some suggestions from Jeff Prothero, who developed the original version of the existing machine grammar as well as the recent 'Public Domain Loglan Parser (PLOP)'. I also got direct (by telephone) assistance from Jeff Taylor, who developed a parser for the language as part of his master's thesis work several years ago. Jeff T. also YACCed an initial 'thought experiment' grammar that I wrote up last November to test some ideas, then walked me through the process of removing ambiguities. Nora also has been helpful, using the experience she gained while writing translation programs from the language to English (it's nice having such expertise so close at hand).
In short, I started with a set of 40 odd rules covering perhaps 15% of the language on May 7th. At this writing on May 14th, I'm up to 135 rules which parse unambiguously and which cover just under half the language. If not for this newsletter and our trip to Europe, I would be sure of a complete trial grammar by LogFest. I'm not promising, but I am hopeful. Jeff Taylor, meanwhile, is working on a Parser/PreParser shell that will drive the resulting YACCed grammar, and hopes to have it ready for LogFest as well.
With luck, we will have a usable, if not final, grammar to go out with the next JL, along with that list of cmavo I just mentioned. We have yet to add in several new features and to test my MEX grammar concept, so this also may be too ambitious. But we are certain enough that the grammar will not be changing significantly, that we are including some first translation works in this issue. Some of the new grammar and cmavo ideas will be evident to anyone familiar with the earlier language versions.
Textbook and Teaching Aids
It had been our goal to have more teaching aids by now, and especially by LogFest. We haven't been able to meet this goal, although progress is being made. Nora has had very little time to work on further versions of LogFlash for teaching rafsi, lujvo, place structures, and grammar. These programs became lower priority when the cmavo and grammar became the critical path. Other factors, described below, further interfered. As a result, teaching materials are our most serious backlog, and will probably remain so until around July.
We have gotten some work done on the textbook. Since, I've never written a language text before, I am using a textbook in language textbook writing that was published by the U.S. State Department. Their approach involves a fair amount of front end work before the first lessons are written, but apparently leads to a professional quality product that is well suited for adults learning a language that is not widely spoken, such as is true for Lojban. We first defined you - our audience - in terms that allow us to keep this in mind when putting in detail and emphasis. I then made a list of concepts to be taught, and then organized them into an outline. That outline will be used to write a synopsis of the whole language, similar to the abbreviated one found in the beginning of the old L4/L5 dictionary. We will then expand upon this synopsis with examples and exercises, then organize the material as the skeleton of the textbook in an order providing progressive level of detail and plenty of review and detailed explanation of difficult concepts.
This will take time, and may delay the initial publication by several months. The final completion should be less affected: once we start writing, I believe that the lessons will be generated relatively quickly. I feel that there has been too little effort put into doing a good textbook in the interest of getting a quick one. We do expect to have the synopsis out before the textbook. It will serve to define the language for us and for you, and give people something to start learning from while we produce the high quality product needed to make Lojban successful.
On an unrelated note, we have had requests from a number of you who do not have computers for a greater emphasis on printed rather than computerized material. The textbook will eventually provide this. More immediately, however, we have determined that it is practical to issue a new set of flash cards, along with a revised manual learning procedure that equates to the LogFlash algorithm. These will be issued after the gismu list is baselined, and will include the most common cmavo that are unlikely to change. Low volume will make these more expensive, so we need a good idea of how many can be distributed before going to press. There will undoubtedly be changes in the place structures of several gismu, but it would be better to include the current proposal than none at all. After all, the main purpose of the flash cards is to teach the gismu, and not their detailed semantics. The circumstance amounts to planned obsolescence. We can't remedy this, except to offer a discount to buyers of a first set when a revision appears, probably about a year later. It does enable you without computers to start on the language with a proven effective teaching aid and methodology.
The cost of these flash cards is dependent on the number interested, since we must print on card stock. We will take orders now. We will produce them, probably in July, and ask people to send money if they do not have an established balance. Given the response level that we have had to previous products, the flash cards may run as high as $20, which is the same price we are asking for LogFlash. Let us know of your interest.
The biggest incomplete chunk of the language for several years has been MEX, the grammar of mathematical expressions. Dr. Brown has said that MEX would have to wait for a later version of the language. We found this unacceptable - a solution must be found, even if not optimal, in order to say that we have a complete language. MEX is also highly relevant to a potential practical application for Lojban: the formal verification of computer programs.
I went back to zero and tried to examine the goal of MEX. Each of the last two LogFests allowed me to broach ideas which were appropriately shot down. Last August, I finally wrote something down which summarized my ideas. It never got typed up, though, as we were going full speed on the gismu rebuilding effort.
In November, I tried to describe a grammar approach which incorporated my MEX concept. This was the 'thought experiment' grammar described above. pc made some pointed comments, and Jeff Taylor finally ran it through YACC last month, which indicated some flaws. They were solvable, but the results we obtained suggested that we need to formally define the rest of the grammar before we can formalize the MEX grammar to mesh smoothly with the main grammar. This is not looking difficult; time will prove us right or wrong. Our most likely problem is in some internal tables in the YACC version we are using, which may not hold all the pieces we need.
The new concept of MEX will look very similar in structure to the Lojban bridi-based sentence, but will be more self-referential (recursive) due to the nature of mathematics.
This plan gets changed as often as our name used to be. At least we have a plan, and we are slowly checking off the milestones, even if usually a bit late. I'm starting to get a better feel for what can be accomplished in a given amount of time, so the schedule is slowly getting more realistic. I still believe that you will be able to meaningfully begin learning the language this year, wherever you are. Those who have already started with LogFlash, and are learning the gismu should expect that we will keep up with you in producing teaching materials to follow up on your new vocabulary. Knowing the bulk of the gismu is vital to learning Lojban, especially until we have the dictionary complete, which will be quite a while yet.
Be aware that we are responsive to your needs. One reason the schedule changes is so that we can give you what you need and are ready for. If more of you let us know that you are making progress with LogFlash 1, we will put higher priority on LogFlash 2 and later versions. If we hear that many of you are trying to learn the gismu without LogFlash due to a lack of computer resources, we will accelerate producing flash cards and prepare some trial lessons that can allow you to build on those words. Unless you let us know that you are working with some facet of the language, we cannot help you.
This schedule allows for two significant events that could not be planned for. First is the threat of legal action by Dr. Brown that has greatly distracted me from doing useful work. I must presume that this threat will require additional resources.
Second, I was recently laid off. While this tightens our budget and makes Lojban publications more dependent on all of you contributing, it does at least temporarily bolster our capability to meet the schedules that we write. I am not likely to have a new job before July. If I remain unemployed for long, Lojban will significantly benefit from my time, and these schedules will start moving forward instead of backwards. Unfortunately, as most of us know, it is hard to operate a full scale research project and organize a new business while holding a full-time job. Nora and I have effectively been trying this, and have been unable to get enough committed time from other people to get rid of the schedule overload. We will gladly take volunteers.
|May 1988||Ju'i Lobypli Issue 5 - the newsletter for the logical language community|
YACCing of trial grammar
visit to England, meet with British Lojbanists
|June 1988||preparation of lists of structure words (cmavo)|
cmavo list proposal completed
trial formal grammar redefinition complete
LogFlash 1 available for UNIX and MacIntosh
Logfest 88 - a celebration of Lojban, meeting in the Washington DC area 11-12 June
final baseline of primitive list
outline of Lojban synopsis complete
incorporation of The Logical Language Group
|July 1988||writing of Lojban synopsis|
final revisions of cmavo proposal
non-computerized flash cards available
prepare outline of Lojban textbook
|August 1988||Ju'i Lobypli Issue # 6 publication|
cmavo list published
trial grammar published for comment
Lojban grammar synopsis complete
LogFlash 2 available for IBM PC and compatibles
|September 1988||completion of formal grammar disambiguity verification|
first two Lojban textbook lessons complete
additional textbook lessons completed at two per month
start of Lojban class in the DC area
|October 1988||outline design of remaining textbook lessons complete|
LogFlash 3 is published
|November 1988||publication of Loglan parser based on latest grammar|
Ju'i Lobypli Issue # 7 published
preparation of cassette tape and new version of LogFlash 1 supporting it
|December 1988||republication of LogFlash 1|
draft textbook lessons that are completed are published for other classes
Boston-area Lojban class starts, other areas if interest demands it
preliminary textbook word list available
|January 1989||publication of LogFlash 4|
Evecon 89 convention in the DC area - we intend significant Lojban activities, including a short video about the language.
|February 1989||publication of a draft Lojban reader – accumulated translations to Lojban from various sources|
Ju'i Lobypli #8 published
|March 1989||baseline of Lojban grammar|
draft publication of complete textbook for 6 month
|May 1989||Ju'i Lobypli #9 published|
publication of LogFlash 5
|June 1989||LogFest 89|
first Lojban materials in non-English language (probably French and/or German)
|September 1989||baseline of Lojban textbook for publication|
|November 1989||textbook and reader publication|
final republication of LogFlash series with cassettes
|December 1989||preliminary Lojban-English dictionary and reference manual|
|June 1990||review publication of Lojban dictionary|
|December 1990||final publication of dictionary. Lojban baseline complete|
As announced in the last issue, we published the Lojban phonology and morphology synopsis. We also revised and republished the lujvo-making algorithm, although we were unable to add examples as we had wanted. A set of examples was to be included in this issue, but we ran out of space. Maybe next issue.. Note that these publications did occur on schedule, although we had to let other things slide. This newsletter is also going out on schedule, about 3 months after the last one. We hope that our pattern of regularly publishing useful materials in and about the language will inspire you to contribute time and/or money, and most of all to make the significant intellectual investment that is learning and using Lojban. We have no doubt that you will find it rewarding.
Revised Plans for Lojban Classes
Because we are behind in producing teaching materials, we haven't started the DC area Lojban class yet. We have some 60 DC-area Lojbanists who may be interested in the class - several of you so indicated on the registration forms. Most of the DC-area people, however, either do not have computers, or at least have not let me know that they are working with LogFlash (which can be downloaded from the CLBB bulletin board). I have about a half dozen who seem to be making serious efforts, and the rest are just watching and waiting. I have received a strong impression that you would rather wait until we have good teaching materials than to 'wing it', by holding classes with ad hoc materials.
While we have widespread interest, it appears not to be deep enough to justify the change our priorities to get the DC class started sooner. The same is true for Boston, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco area, each of which have 20 to 40 people who have shown some interest. Boston has the best potential to get an early class. There appears to be interest, but no one has stepped forward to organize the group. I need single points-of-contact for groups in other cities, in order to keep costs down; we intend to provide phone support for classes during the trial period when we are testing teaching materials. There is a possibility that Chuck Barton will be able to help in this capacity in the fall. He is a long-time member of the community, as well as a skilled linguist and teacher of languages.
We will be discussing the teaching materials problem at LogFest. We also intend some novice workshops on Saturday morning, which may become the first couple of lessons in the textbooks, which would speed up our ability to start a local class. I may also have an informal 'class' this summer, without materials, for those locals willing to do the extra work needed to learn without these materials. They can then assist in creating teaching aids and materials for a more formal class.
If I remain unemployed, we may find ourselves able to start a class sooner than fall. What I need most is some clear indication from you, the potential students, as to what you want. Let's hear from you all.
(I also want to note that I have received a high percentage response from Denver/Boulder/Cheyenne, Seattle, Houston, and Portland. While these areas have fewer Lojbanists than the above areas, I know that many of you there are interested in a class. If you want to get together and start learning the language, I will do what I can to support you.)
McLean High School Lojban Club
The most exhilarating feeling I get from working with Lojban comes when I detect true enthusiasm for the language in others. I recently gained this feeling when some new names showed up on the CLBB bulletin board. Harry Pierson is a local high school student that heard about Lojban at Evecon last year. He recruited Lawrence Kesteloot, and a couple of others, and suddenly we had the McLean High School Lojban Club (MHSLC).
Believe me! These guys are enthusiastic about Lojban. Suddenly, I had several messages per week on the CLBB. Lawrence, who operates another bulletin board (see below), started posing tough translation problems for me. He then edited my responses, which may be found below in the translation section. He thus gains credit for changing my emphasis to teaching more by example than by detailed explanation. Harry, meanwhile, borrowed one of our copies of L1, and caused us to generate the information on using the old books that is found below.
Both of them have taken some of Nora's old programs, and are working to convert them to Turbo Pascal, where they can be updated to fit the new words and grammar. Lawrence is especially interested in developing a Lojban translator, and Harry has expressed interest in the old concept of a Lojban 'compiler'.
It is neat to see new people take off like they have with the language. I have heard less from their other friends in MHSLC, but I am hoping that Harry and Lawrence will set an enthusiastic example for them, and indeed for all of you. Certainly, they can testify that working with Lojban is exciting. And they have inspired me into new excitement, as well. Even now, as we wrestle with bringing Lojban to my generation from that of the project's founder, I can see that there is interest and excitement that will ensure that I and others can pass Lojban on to the next generation.
Report on LogFlash
The most significant activity and progress of the last few months has been in working with LogFlash, especially with the already completed LogFlash 1 that teaches the gismu. Some 35 people ordered and received copies of LogFlash 1 for the IBM PC version. I have about 15 orders for several other computers, and have people working on porting the program to each of them.
Richard Kennaway, in England, has made the most significant progress. He has sent screen printing for his revision for the MacIntosh. He is actually completely rewriting the program to take advantage of the Mac's icon and mouse orientation, and the stuff he's generating looks fantastic. Nora and I will meet him when we visit England this month, and I hope to have a report, or even a diskette, to show off at LogFest. (Then all I need is a local Lojbanist with a MacIntosh that they are willing to bring over here to LogFest. Anyone out there?) STOPPRESS: I received a report from Richard on publication day that the program is working. We will see it next week in England. The MAC for LogFest is now a higher priority. Any help?.
I also know of people working on Apple II, Atari ST, AMIGA, and UNIX C portings. I have received no status from any of them. In some cases, we have 2 or 3 volunteers independently working. Given external time conflicts, not all will finish, but I suspect that we will have versions for several machines to report next issue.
How is it working? We have received no reports of software problems, nor have we had any here in several months. Nora, Tommy, and I have all used it and gone through the gismu several times. pc and Jeff Taylor also have reported going through the entire set of words. I believe pc is at the 70% proficiency level. Tommy had to stop due to insufficient time a couple of months ago, but Nora reached 90% proficiency, and I got almost to perfection with 99% correct (10 errors in 1272 words tested in two 1-hour periods on two days). I then undertook a test of how well the program actually taught me the gismu. I have taken two months without any lessons, and minimal work with the vocabulary. I just restarted last week, and found that I was still at 85% average retention the first time through. I am averaging 96% on the second time through, so far.
LogFlash 1 works, and teaches even an abysmal linguist like me the vocabulary. Since the gismu vocabulary is so important to the language, I hope that those of you who can use LogFlash will be doing so. Even with the delay in other teaching materials, I've shown that you won't be wasting your time. Keep me informed of your progress, and LogFlash 2 will be waiting for you when you are ready to learn the rafsi.
TECHNICAL AND TEACHING MATERIAL ABOUT LOJBAN
I now am going to turn to technical matters, instead of news. People want to know about Lojban, not just that we are working on it. The next several sections will explain things about the language, hopefully conveying the image that the language is nearly complete, and fairly stable.
On the Lojban Predicate (bridi)
The nature of Lojban bridi is one of the most difficult features about the language to teach. There are several reasons for this, and I will try to describe this nature. If you report that this discussion is helpful, it will be used in the textbook, so I need feedback.
The Lojban concept of bridi is based on the 'predicate' of predicate logic, which is the logic you may have studied in school. In predicate logic, all statements about the world are true, false, or indeterminate. (In a recent development called 'fuzzy logic', truth is represented as '1' and falsehood as '0', and statements may have truth values between 0 and 1. This complication will not be discussed here, although we have designed support for fuzzy logic into Lojban.)
Much of predicate logic is defined so as to allow definitive ways of determining whether a statement is true or false. Lojban bridi follow these rules, and the grammar which communicates them implements these rules. Any Lojban statement may thus be interpreted as a single or compound predicate of this variety. Each predicate is represented as a bridi.
bridi follow the structure of logical predicates in another way. A predicate is defined as having a fixed set of 'arguments', each of which relates to the predicate, and to each other in some way. Thus the English sentence "The storekeeper sold the toy to the child for $5.00" could be represented as a predicate:
sold (storekeeper, toy, child, $5.00)
This might further be expressed in symbolic notation as S(s,t,c,5). The statement has the same logical structure as "The real estate agent sold the house to me for $100000". The common structure can then be represented in symbols as Sx1x2x3x4, where x1 is someone who sold something, x2 is what is sold, x3 is the buyer, and x4 is the price. Some logicians prefer to show the symbols in a way that matches the English grammar by putting x1 before the predicate S: x1Sx2x3x4. This structure, called 'infix notation' causes the first argument to appear like the subject of the sentence, the second argument as the direct object, and the other two arguments as indirect objects.
Lojban grammar is built on this version of predicate logic notation, although there are ways to express Lojban bridi in many other notational equivalents. Corresponding to the arguments are Lojban sumti, and the main predicate concept is known as a kunbridi. A normal Lojban bridi is thus expressed as:
sumti kunbridi sumti sumti sumti
if the kunbridi is defined as having 4 sumti.
In Lojban a kunbridi may be expressed as one word, known as a ridvla, or as a series of ridvla that modify each other, a combination known as a tanru. A tanru may also have structure words, cmavo, to indicate internal structure.
A major point about predicates is that they can represent verbs like 'sold', nouns like 'table', adjectives like 'blue', or adverbs like 'quickly'. The grammar and the logic is independent of what part of speech is represented. Typically a noun expression will have fewer arguments defined for it than a verb, because the noun is more concrete a concept - you need fewer variables to indicate the relationships between a table and other objects around it, than you do to interrelate the components of an act of selling. Different predicates may thus have different numbers of arguments. Similarly Lojban kunbridi or their component ridvla have differing numbers of sumti.
It becomes useful, in turning predicate logic into a language, to recognize the semantic implications of a kunbridi representing either a noun, a verb, or an adjective. We have words in English that act like this: x1 is a cradle for baby x2, or x1 cradles x2. Having recognized this similarity, we can then make the natural metaphor of 'cradling the basket in your arms'. We have recognized intuitively that to 'hold in the manner of a cradle' is the same as to 'be a cradle', and that what is contained in the 'cradle' is irrelevant to whether it is a cradle or not.
When you get used to thinking like this, it becomes easy, to realize that if you sit on a table, then the table is 'chairing you'. You also learn that adjectives can be thought of as nouns or verbs: if something is blue, then it is 'a blue thing' which is 'blueing' at you and the rest of the universe. When you can think like this about a wide variety of nouns, verbs, and adjectives, you will have mastered a vital concept behind Lojban semantics. le blanu is a blue object that blues at you. le vecnu is a salesperson who sells something to someone for some price; it expresses both the verb 'to sell', and to the salesperson at the same time, even though the thing sold, the buyer, and the price, are not given. It also is clear that selling something once to someone for some price makes one a 'seller' or 'salesperson' in essence.
A critical feature of an actual language as spoken is that ideas are often left unsaid. The logician, with his fixed argument structures for the predicates, can easily recognize that which is unsaid - for example the missing arguments in 'She sold the car' are the buyer and the price. The person who makes such a statement is either being intentionally vague by not specifying the known arguments, or assumes that the listener knows the values of the missing arguments, or the speaker doesn't know them, or possibly just considers them to be unimportant to the 'claim' being made in the statement. After all, if there exists some buyer, and some price under which the statement is true, then 'She sold the car' is a true statement. Leaving out argument information, whether intentional or not, is called 'ellipsis' (which is enshrined in the name for the three dots that often stand for such omitted information '...' - ellipses).
Other times, a speaker may wish to add information not expressed in the predicate 'place' structure. 'She sold the car on Sunday' adds a time that the sale occurred. Actually, most sales have a point in time where the 'sale' occurs - but that point may be an interval. (When you sell a house, the sale lasts from an agreement to sell until the 'closing' several months later.) One can choose to define the predicate 'sale' to always include a time argument, or one can decide that the time of sale is not essential to the nature of it being a sale. In the latter case, one adds incidental information which is important to the claim with what is called a 'modal phrase', which in English is usually a prepositional phrase.
Interestingly, in English and other natural languages, a modal phrase looks just like many of the other arguments. It is merely the definition of the predicate that dictates whether an argument is inherently part of the statement, or must be considered a modal phrase.
Prepositions, when used to attach modal phrases, are called modal operators. A modal operator usually will have additional words to clearly indicate the relationship between the phrase and the rest of the predicate. 'on Sunday' has no additional words - English speakers know that in this context, 'on' means 'at time/date'. A logician would thus express the modal phrase as 'at time/date Sunday'.
In Lojban, like other natural languages, you can leave out 'arguments' or sumti, or you can add in modal phrases. The Lojban grammar treats modal phrases and sumti equivalently. A modal phrase has identical grammar as a sumti, but has a mandatory 'modal operator' to clearly indicate the relationship between the phrase and the bridi.
A last point to note is that arguments in predicates may themselves contain predicates. In 'The man sold the car', clearly 'car' is also a predicate, as is 'man'. These predicates may have their own arguments attached: 'The (seller of the car) came'.
Generally, predicates found in arguments appear as noun phrases. In Lojban, a noun phrase is often expressed by attaching the cmavo 'le', and le turns a bridi into a sumti. Semantically, the sumti that results refers to the first argument of the predicate represented by the bridi. Lojban has cmavo which act to switch the order of sumti in a bridi. These 'conversion operators' allow any argument to appear in the first position and so be turned into a sumti with le. Thus, in le te vecnu, 'te' switches the first and third arguments, causing the sumti to refer to the buyer, and not the seller.
Another cmavo "fo'i" allows you to turn any bridi (with or without attached sumti) into a modal operator. We've defined plenty of modal operators, but there will always be one more that would be useful. In this way, a bridi can become the equivalent of an English preposition.
I hope the above is reasonably clear. Nora has written more on some aspects of this, with her own examples, and I'll turn the 'page' over to her. Let us know which explanations are clear, and which examples are more useful.
Nouns, Verbs and Adjectives - Who Needs Them?
by Nora LeChevalier
As anyone who has discussed Lojban with me knows, I am fond of thinking of blanu (blue) in "ti blanu" (this is blue) as an active verb. I think of something sitting there "blue-ing" out at the world - emitting (or reflecting) certain wave-lengths of light. This was my way of getting insight into how Lojban manages to treat English nouns, verbs and adjectives as all equivalent.
Similarly, one can think of an English noun, for example "house" (xasfa) in a more verb-ish manner just I did with "blue". "ti xasfa" can be thought of as "this is acting as a house (for something)". So "le tanxe ca xasfa le gerku" makes perfect sense: "the box is acting as a house for the dog".
There's a neat and easy way to get a sumti (which functions like a noun) out of any Lojban ridvla, regardless of the implicit "part-of- speech" it is assumed to be in English. ridvla like "xasfa" have implicit places: (something) is a house of (someone/some thing). When we refer to "le xasfa" we mean "the house" or "the thing which is acting as a house for (someone)". This is exactly what would be filled in the first place of "xasfa". Similarly, "le culgo" [culgo means "(someone) goes (to somewhere) (from somewhere)"] refers to something which would go in the first place of "culgo": the one who goes, or the "go-er". Also, "le blanu" [blanu means "(something) is blue"] refers to that something which is blue: the blue thing.
It's a bit harder to explain all the types functioning as adjectives, because in Lojban the modifier/modified relationship (making a tanru) is deliberately left vague or ambiguous semantically; if you want to be specific, you have to use a different mode of expression. Two possible meanings of "le blanu xasfa" (the blue house) are "the house which is blue" and "the house belonging to a blue thing". The former interpretation is more common in this sentence. Similarly, "le gerku xasfa" ("the dog house") could be "the house which is a dog" or "the house belonging to the dog". The latter interpretation is more common here. "le culgo xasfa" (literally "the go house") could be "the house which is a go-er" (equivalent to "the house which goes) or "the house belonging to a go-er". You can decide which of these interpretations is more plausible.
Lojban in Translation - Several Expressions and a Song
Over several months, I've occasionally had reason to translate a sentence or two into Lojban, and I've saved a couple that seemed interesting. Lawrence Kesteloot of the MHSLC made a collection of translations that I put on the CLBB, and edited them into a file. I've added some more clarifying remarks and the file is reproduced below. I also translated Occam's Razor, and the popular song 'Una Paloma Blanca'. These are provided with somewhat less extensive notes. The song was chosen because Lojban tends to have more syllables than the corresponding English. It is thus better to choose songs from languages such as Spanish and Italian for direct translation, since these also share this trait with Lojban.
LOJBAN Quicky-Look-up-Sheet --------------------------- Assembled by Lawrence Kesteloot ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Example #1: English: "See Spot run." Explanation of English: We are telling someone to do something - this is an imperative. The thing to do is "see". That which is to be seen is "Spot running". Step by step: kanvi = x1 sees x2 ko kanvi = see, imperatively (telling someone to see something). The person that is communicated to is implicitly x1. bajra = x3 runs via route x4. la Spat = Spot (la means we are talking about a name) (See pronunciation guide for explanation of the change from 'Spot' to 'Spat') la Spat bajra = Spot runs. A pause is required after Spot, since it is a name. "La Spat" is being substituted for x3; x4 is being left unspecified. le nuke la Spat bajra = the event of Spot running. "event of" abstractions are going to be common occurrences in translation. This turns the bridi "la Spat bajra" into a sumti that can fill in for x2, above. Note "ke" is not really required here, but is a good habit until you are familiar with the grammar. "nu" grabs only the next ridvla, "nuke" an entire bridi. Lojban: ko kanvi le nuke la Spat bajra /ko KANvi le nuke la spat (pause) BAZHra/ ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Example #2: English: "Support Lojban!" Explanation of English: We are asking the public to support this language. It is a plea, not a command. In English, it could be understood as either ("Support Lojban NOW!", or "Please support Lojban!", or even "Let's support Lojban!"). Step by step: e'o = attitudinal meaning "Please" e'osai = /e-ho-sai/ - sai changes it into "Please!" (Stronger) sarji = x1 supports x2. ko sarji = imperative; x1 is implicitly the person communicated to. lojban = Lojban (no need to capitalize) la lojban = lojban is a name. Remember to pause. Substitute this for x2. Lojban: e'osai ko sarji la lojban /e-ho-sai ko SARzhi la LOZHban/ ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Example #3: English: "Keep using Lojban", "Continue the mass of events of lojbanic expressing" Explanation of English: This is a suggestion (Lets!) Step by step: e'a = attitudinal meaning "Lets" e'asai = "sai" changes it into "Lets!" (Stronger) ranji = x1 continues x2. ko ranji = imperative; substitutes person communicated-to for x1. lo nuke = the act of (see example #1) lojbo = Lojbanic (culture, language, etc) cusku = express Lojban: e'asai ko ranji lo nuke lojbo cusku /e-ha-sai ko RANzhi lo nuke LOZHbo SHUsku/ ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Example #4: English: "We serve you better." Explanation of English: There are some ambiguities here. Who is we? Who is you? Step by Step: First, translate it word by word: xamgu = x1 is good zmadu = x2 is more than x3 in aspect x4 (forms the word "mau" used below) selfu = x5 serves x6. (we) xamgu zmadu selfu (you) = "good type of moreness, type of serving", The part left of the comma modifies the right. This is a tanru (metaphor). In this form, only x5 and x6 are applicable arguments (sumti), although there are ways of expressing x3 and x4 if needed. (we) xamgu selfu (you) mau = "we good-serve you, so much more than ...". "mau" is derived from "zmadu," so the meaning is very close to the first version. "mau" is a modal operator, acting like a preposition or adverb in English, adding an extra argument (of type x3) onto the bridi "...xamgu selfu...". (Remember that predicates, also called 'bridi', have a specific number of arguments which need not always be two like in this case.) You will note that I translated it leaving the trailer of the "prepositional phrase" blank. The Lojban does not express what is being compared against as the reference. The filler is basically "that something which I have in mind to put in here I am not saying", which is as ambiguous as the slogan we started with. *** Lojban makes ambiguity more explicit. *** Pronouns: do = you (one listener only) do'o = you and others (plural) dozi = you and others in a small area doza = you and others in a medium area dozu = you and others in a large area. "doza" means, "All those in the receiving area who might hear this," and is therefore probably what is meant in the English sentence. mi'a = I and others, but not including you mizu = I and a large number of people. These two are different, and either could be taken. "mizu" is better, since it is what was probably meant in the English sentence. Lojban: mizu xamgu selfu doza mau /mizu KHAMgu SELfu doza mau/
Quicky Grammar Lookup --------------------- (By alphabetical order of Lojban words) Small words (like two-letter words) are called cmavo da - "da xxx" == "something is/does xxx" (used to be "ba") e'a - Makes it a suggestion (Lets!). This is an attitudinal (showing attitude) - See example #3 e'o - Makes it a petition (Please!). This is an attitudinal - See example #2 ke - Causes certain cmavo to be made "long scope". ko - Put in front to make imperative (command). "ko xxx" == "(you) do xxx" - See example number 1 (Make sure to leave off the first argument when forming the imperative) la - Defines a name (such as Lojban or Spot or Bob) - See example #1 and #2. Names are always followed, and sometimes preceded, by a pause 'la xxx' can be interpreted as "that which I am thinking of which is named xxx". le - Means 'that which I am thinking of as being ...'. lo - means 'each/any of those which actually are being ...'. This effectively claims that something actually "is being ...", whereas "le" doesn't. (For example, a woman dressed up as a man could be spoken about as "the man is a woman" using "le nanmu" for "the man"; "lo nanmu" would not be valid since the one you are thinking about isn't actually a man.) The old language version 'lo' is now (pending finalization) either 'lei' or 'loi'. These are the 'massified' equivalents of 'le' and 'lo'. (There also is a massified term for 'la' now, that wasn't in the old language, and a fourth series "le'o" is the individual and "li'o" the massified term, which means "that which exhibits some property of ...". Massified is best defined by example: "The water" is "individual" = 'le djacu'. "Water is blue" talks about water as a mass and is 'lei djacu'. Since water in a muddy river isn't blue, "loi djacu" is not true (since the mass of all actual water isn't blue). There are a lot of subtleties though. They'll probably come out in translations. nu or nuke - Put in front to say "the act of" or "the event of". "le nuke xxx" == "the event of xxx" - See example number 1 and "ke", above. sai - From (tsali == strong) - See example #2 and #3. When after an attitudinal, indicates a strong attitude. The entire series is "cai" (intense), "sai" (strong), "ru'e" (weak), "cu'e" (ambivalent). An unmodified attitudinal could be anywhere between "cai" and "cu'e" in strength. The user is not being specific and isn't required to. (Negative expressions of attitudinals are made by attaching "nai" to the attitudinal, and then optionally one of the other four).
Quicky Pronunciation Lookup ---------------------------- x - unvoiced velar fricative, the back 'ch' in German 'ich', in Russian 'Khrushchev', in Scottish 'Loch (Ness)'. c - English 'sh' tc - English 'tsh' /t sh/ = /ch/ j - 'zh' as in 'measure' dj - /d zh/ like the English 'j' ' - (apostrophe) joining sound between two vowels in a separate, to keep them part of the same word. Pronounce it as a short, breathy /h/, as in 'oh hello' run together, which in Lojban would be written "o'elo". The apostrophe does appear in lujvo (complexes), which may have vowel pairs. lujvo are composed of pieces called rafsi (affixes) which uniquely represent the gismu (primitives). The rafsi for each gismu are the three (possibly plus an apostrophe) letter words that appear next to the gismu on a LogFlash screen. All the other letters are pretty much as they are in English. NOTE ON PRONUNCIATION OF "SPOT" IN EXAMPLE #2: "Spot" becomes "Spat" in Lojban because Lojban is totally phonetic spelling. The Lojban letter 'a' is pronounced like in Spanish 'casa', which is similar to the 'a' in 'father'. Lojban 'o' is a very pure "long o", like the one in Spanish 'como', which is not quite like the one in 'joke'. (English vowels are sloppy, the 'o' in joke slips down into a 'u' at the end, which is not allowed in Lojban). You can say for yourself, and find out what "Spot" pronounced Lojbanically sounds like. Not like English. People usually would prefer their names to sound like they are used to (and definitely animals), so we try to Lojbanize names as close in sound to the original as possible. This, of course can lead to many spellings of the same English name, as it is pronounced differently indifferent places.
Occam's Razor roda poi vemspaci ro'aroi ganai sampyrai gi xagrai /roda poi vemSPAci roharoi ganai SAMpuhrai gi KHAgrai/ (Long spaces are phrasing pauses and are not mandatory.) roda poi vemspaci = All somethings which are explanations ro = all (formerly 'ra') da = free variable x1 (formerly 'ba') poi = which is (indicates an identifying subordinate clause) vemspaci = explanation (from ve spaci; ve is the fourth conversion operator, exchanging the fourth sumti explanation with the first sumti explainer in spaci [x1 explains x2 to x3 as x4] ro'aroi = nearly always: a 'tense' ro'a = nearly all: a number -roi = extensional suffix, converts a number into an "extensional" (counting) tense such as 'once', 'always', 'never'. This tense concept is a new addition to Lojban, not found in previous versions. ganai sampyrai gi xagrai = if simplest then best: a kunbridi for which roda poi vemspaci is the first sumti. ganai ... gi ... = forethought logical connective meaning 'if ... then ...', where in this case '...' is a kunbridi. The result is a compound kunbridi. In the previous language version, this was 'kanoi ... ki ...'. sampyrai = simplest, from tanru 'sampu traji', which literally translates as 'simple-superlative' xagrai = best, from tanru 'xamgu traji', literally 'good-superlative'
Chorus from Una Paloma Blanca (A White Dove) copyright holder unknown Lines are given in order: Actual song line Lojban translation Lojban pronunciation guide Literal English translation of Lojban Una Paloma Blanca i pa blabi papcirni /i pa BLAbi papCIRni/ one which is a white peace-bird I'm just a bird in the sky .i mi cirni vizu le tsani /i mi CIRni vizu le TSAni/ I am being a bird here in this large region of the sky. Una paloma blanca .i pa blabi papcirni /i pa BLAbi papCIRni/ One which is a white peace-bird. Over the mountains I fly .i ja'u lei cmana mi vofli /i zhahu lei SHMAna mi VOfli/ Above the mass of mountains (which I have in mind), I fly. No one can take my freedom away .i noda na'erkakne le ka zifre po mi /i noda naherKAKne le ka ZIfre po mi/ No something is taker-able of the quality of being free which belongs to me.
I believe you will find this translation sing-able to the tune of the popular song.
As described above, the old number words were so close together that in a 'noisy' environment, they could not be distinguished. Examples of where this could be a problem include air traffic control radio communications, where even English numbers and letters are doctored to make them clearly understood. In redeveloping the Lojban number words, we have ensured that we get maximum separation between the words. The new numbers are:
1 pa 6 xa 2 re 7 ze 3 ci 8 bi 4 to 9 so 5 mu 0 no
With the exception of '0', the final vowels rotate in 'aeiou' order. As with earlier versions of the language, digits of larger numbers are read off. The decimal point is still pi. Thus 625.3 is xaremupici.
We received two independent comments requesting that we make Lojban more culturally neutral by not mandating base 10. We have added six digits to allow up to base 16 to be represented in Lojban. Using the letters A thru F as is done in English is not desirable, so we have provisionally assigned cmavo, which are in alphabetical order to make learning easier:
A dei D jau B foi E lau C gai F vai
There is still some bias towards base 10. The 10 basic digits have rafsi assigned, thus making lujvo that are based on numerical tanru shorter. We could not make this provision for the other six digits, and still provide good coverage for the large data base of tanru already waiting to be made into lujvo. There are, after all, few existing metaphors which are based on numbers between 11 and 16, except for 12. Of the cmavo we propose, only foi is unassigned as a rafsi. We could sacrifice the alphabetical order to make foi be 'C', which would be equivalent to 'dozen', for use in tanru. Opinions?
We have eliminated old cmavo for double and triple zeros. Large and small numbers will be expressed using some representation in scientific exponential notation. This expression is part of the MEX grammar, and thus has not yet been defined.
How to Use Your Old L1 and L4/5 Books
Many of you who bought L1 (the 1975 description of the language by Dr. James Cooke Brown which is now obsolete) or L4/5 (the 1975 dictionary, compiled by Dr. Brown from his and others' work, mostly under an NIH grant in the early 1960's), have asked whether these are still of any value in learning Lojban. They can be, especially L1, at least until we publish the new textbook and dictionary. L4/5 is obsolete in that nearly every word is no longer the correct word. However, there is a lot of hard work put into the tanru and place structures of the ridvla that are given. If you are working on a translation and cannot think of a good tanru to use, look the English word up and use the discussion given in both halves of the dictionary for Dr. Brown's old word to help you choose your tanru.
Nora wrote the following for the MHSLC, who borrowed one of our copies of L1 in order to be more prepared for LogFest:
This is a general guide to using L1 to help learn Lojban. Much of the grammar is the same; changes will be listed here. Comments are given on what you can or should skip, assuming that at this point you want a reasonable overview of the grammar, but not an absolutely thorough coverage. The book is out-of-print, although you might find copies in a library; there was a microfilmed 1969 edition of this book printed and published by Xerox University Microfilms (Ann Arbor, Michigan, catalogue number S-398) which may be found in some libraries. It is possible that they will still print copies from the microfilm, but they are expensive. The microfilm copy is not identical to the version Nora discusses, but should track fairly closely. The chapter numbers are off by one so Section 4.5 in the discussion below is 5.5 in the microfilm version.
Old language version words - in italics: gudbi. Lojban words - in bold: xamgu.
Chapter 1 is one of the best descriptions of why the language was originally developed, and why it might be interesting. It also describes how the language is considered a 'logical' language, as well as ways in which no language can truly be considered logical.
You might as well skip chapter 2; it covers pronunciation and word forms, which are explained in the new Synopsis of Lojban Phonology and Morphology.
OK in general, but the place structure of blanu has changed. It now just means "is blue"; there is a separate word (blanymau, which is a lujvo 'compound') having the meaning "is bluer than". The examples given here will apply for that word.
OK in general, but the specific number of places for some examples have changed.
The "timeless" tense has been dropped. If you don't put in a tense it either continues a tense that was previously set up with a special indicator (you don't have to worry about this now), or it just means you haven't specified which one you have in mind (which is perfectly OK in Lojban). So, skip all but the first paragraph or two in this section. Well - the last paragraph is okay, too.
On page 49, the next-to-last paragraph ("Notice..."): There is now a way to apply nu (Lojban se) to more than the "naked pred", (nuke - see the discussion below when you get to Section 4.11), but I suggest you don't worry about it for now.
Also, again, the "time-free" translations are not necessarily correct (page 51, items 17-20).
OK. cmalo nirli ge ckela may be grammatical now, but still redundant, as he says.
Item 7: The word go (Lojban ko) now creates an automatic break in the modification order, so:
da nirli ckela go cmalo = da cmalo ge nirli ckela (It is a girls' school which is small = It is a small type of girls'-school)
Because of the above, skip items 8-10. They are no longer correct.
Item 9: The translation is incorrect (at least, now it is). Da no fa nu crina a fa metlo means "It will neither be rained on nor be wet". Or, as a more literal translation (and showing better that no has a scope covering the whole rest of the sentence), "It will not be the case that it will either be rained on or be wet".
Items 11-12: gi is gone, and gu (Lojban ku) has been changed around a lot.
#11 da gi vedji gudbi ce sadji farfu is no longer correct; it should be da cui vedji gudbi ce sadji farfu.
#12: da gudbi ce vedji sadji gu farfu should be da gudbi ce vedji ci sadji farfu (or, da gudbi ge vedji sadji gue farfu). The ci (Lojban bo) closely links the vedji and the sadji; (the ge-gue (Lojban ke and kei) combination acts somewhat like parentheses, saying that vedji sadji should be taken as a unit.
Skip this section. zea has been removed. ze and its several new relatives can be used to mix both sumti (arguments) and bridi (predicates).
Note again that the "timeless tense" no longer exists; so, you can skip items 8-9.
Sections 4.3 & 4.4
OK in general, but current words for pronouns may differ as to what's really covered and exactly how they are used. For example, there are several equivalents for the da series, some of which do not work as defined in the text. (Even Dr. Brown seldom followed the rules given here for counting.)
Item 2: In Lojban, the imperative must be marked. Djan gotso would be Djan ko culgo. Instead, the "observative" is unmarked. This is what you use when, for example, you call someone's attention to the book on the table by pointing and saying "Book!".
Item 4: Again, as in section 3.13, the ge is implied when go is used, so it is not needed. The sentence should be: le nirli ckela go bilti ce cmalo.
Minor variation here. po (Lojban nu) originally had a long scope, taking in everything to the end of the sentence unless specifically ended by a gu. This is no longer the case. Instead, po only applies to the single word following it if that word is a single ridvla; if po is followed by a sumti (the equivalent of a noun phrase), it is taken to be long scope - after all, it has to cover at least up to the next ridvla in any case since it is not defined as applying to sumti. To make a long scope when po is followed by a ridvla, you need a grammar word to make it so; in Lojban, you would use nu ke (also often written as one word, nuke). Of course, if there is only one word following the po, the two forms are equivalent.
Item 5: This is not correct. It should be lemi me da gudbi letu me da. me turns the pronoun da into something which the le can take (that is, it becomes the equivalent of a ridvla, which is the normal object for a le to take). le (still le in Lojban) cannot precede a sumti form without converting it with me. (There are minor exceptions for possessives; don't worry about them yet.)
Item 3: As in section 4.14, me is needed: le me leva mrenu gu botcu.
Number words are now penultimately stressed (next-to-last syllable) like ridvla. To separate one number word from the next, you'd have to pause, as you do in English.
Jim gets obscure at about item 9. I suggest you skip it. You can read it, but don't worry if you don't understand; I didn't on first reading.
Complex topic, and he doesn't seem to give any simple examples. I suggest you read the explanation before item 1, maybe glance at #1, and skip the rest.
Well, if you do read it anyway, keep in mind that the ki...ke... phrasing has been changed to ke...ki... so that you know up front what kind of link you're being expected to do. Similarly, ki...kanoi... becomes ka...kinoi (the noi piece does not move if it refers to the second piece), and ki...noka... becomes kanoi...ki... (it does move if it refers to the first piece). (Convert the words to Lojban by replacing 'k' by 'g' in the cmavo, and by replacing no, noi, and nu by na, nai, and se, respectively.
The negator for a sumti ("argument") is ni (no in Lojban), which is the same thing as "zero" ("He goes to zero Romes.", in effect).
The negator for a bridi ("predicate") is no (na in Lojban).
Items 5 to end: Skip! These are really confusing, and some are probably wrong. Jim seems to have trouble being consistent in this area.
Items 6-7: As mentioned in section 4.5 comments, the imperative needs a ko marker.
Items 1-3: Lojban uses ki'a after the item being asked "which" about, so:
da ki'a pa donsu de (or, completely in Lojban: ko'a ki'a pu dunda ko'e).
da pa donsu de ki'a (or, Lojban: ko'a pu dunda ko'e ki'a).
In general, Lojban uses ki'a after a word to ask for clarification, no matter what type of word it is. If you are specifically asking for the identity of the person/thing, you can use the construction ko'a goi ma ("[the variable label] ko'a is assigned to what thing/person?"); see the general explanation of ma, below. Other questions (as in item 3 in this section) are done differently; they are based on what type of word you want the answerer to fill in. If the answerer is to fill in a ridvla or possibly a bridi, you use mo: ko'a mo stuci = "He is what- kind-of teacher?", or mi mo = "I am doing/being what?". If the answerer is expected to fill in a sumti, you use ma: ma stuci = "who/what is a teacher?", or (as in subject (v)), ca ma = "At what [time]?".
As in section 5.7, when asking time/place questions you use vi ma ("At what [place]") and ca ma ("At what [time]?").
The rules for attachment of the time/location phrase to a portion of a sentence has changed. mi pa durzo de na la Ven now has the na la Ven applying to the whole sentence. If you want the phrase to be specifically attached to a sumti ("argument"), you must show this with ji (in Lojban, ne or pe, with some differences between these that parallel jia and jio in Section 5.8, respectively):
mi pa durzo de ji na la Ven (Lojban: mi pu pilno ko'a pe ca la Son).
As mentioned for section 5.6, ma is used to ask questions when what is wanted is a sumti, so ie da gotso is ma culgo in Lojban.
As mentioned for section 4.23, the ki...ka... type of construction has been turned around to be ka...ki...; similarly, the ki...Ica...noka... would be kanoi...Ica...ki..., etc.
Skip item 13 to the end of the section; this is far too complex.
As mentioned for section 4.24, negation of sumti is done with ni (Lojban no), while negation of bridi is done with no (Lojban na).
Skip items 7 to the end of the section; very complex.
If you don't want to see the topic beaten to death, you can give up at about page 215.
As mentioned for section 5.6, most of these questions would be asked with ma rather that ie or ie da.
Of course, skip #14. I don't intend even to look at it for validity.
Skip Chapter 6 & on, which are only interesting from a historical perspective. You are now done.
The following is Nora's list of cmavo which she made to accompany the above text. These are the latest proposals, and are the most commonly used cmavo. They are among the most stable on the list, and certainly should by usable with the old L1 until we come out with a more complete list (which will have some additional explanation for each word). The English translations given are those that Nora used in her old translation program.
L1 Lojban coarse English L1 Lojban coarse English word cmavo translation word cmavo translation I i . TU do YOU, YOUR BA da SOMETHING UA uo THERE! BE de SOMETHING UE ue WELL! BO di SOMETHING UI ui GOOD! BU [removed] SOMETHING UO o'o WHAT! DA ri/ko'a IT, ITS UU uu WHAT A SHAME! DE ra/ko'e IT, ITS VA va NEAR, THERE DI ru/ko'i IT, ITS VE so 9, NINE DO ru/ko'o IT, ITS VI vi AT, HERE DU ru/ko'u IT, ITS VO bi 8, EIGHT EI pei ? VU vu AT A DISTANCE, YONDER FA ba AFTER, FUTURE FE mu 5, FIVE FO to 4, FOUR FU te BEA mu'u gai FOR EXAMPLE GA cu BEU cu'i POSSIBLY GU ku , CIA si'a SIMILARLY IA ie cai CERTAINLY CIU du'i AS MUCH AS IE mo/ki'a WHAT/WHICH COA to'u IN SHORT IE DA ma WHAT/WHICH DAU la'e PROBABLY II ie ru'e POSSIBLY DIA ra'i ON BEHALF OF IO ie sai PROBABLY DIU ti'a IN DETAIL IU ie cu'e WHO KNOWS? DOU ru'a BY HYPOTHESIS JE be DUO ru'e BY THE METHOD OF JU ve FOI su'u AND VICE VERSA LA la GEA te'i IN PARTICULAR LE le THE JOE [removed] LI li ' JUE bei LO lei/loi SOME KAE ra'a CONCERNING LU li'u ' KAU kau IN GENERAL MI mi ME, MY KIA li'i CLEARLY, OBVIOUSLY NA ca DURING, PRESENT KUO [removed] USUALLY NE pa 1, ONE LAU ra'e ANYWAY NI no 0, ZERO LIA ta'i LIKE NO na NO, NOT LUI pu'a FOR NU se MOU mau/rai SO MUCH MORE THAN PA pu BEFORE, PAST NAU ni'o NOW PE po OF NEA ra'u PRIMARILY, CHIEFLY PO nu/nuke THE STATE/EVENT OF NEU sau/va'u WHEN, UNDER CONDITIONS PU ka THE PROPERTY/QUALITY OF NIE lu'a LOOSELY SPEAKING RA ro ALL PAE ri'i ETC RE ro'e MOST PIE pa'a AS WELL AS RI ro'o SEVERAL POU ku'i HOWEVER RO ro'i MANY RAE fa'o IN CONCLUSION RU rau ENOUGH RUI cei ACCORDING TO SE ze 7, SEVEN SAU pa'o FROM SO xa 6, SIX SEA si'u WITH THE HELP OF TA ta THAT SIE ba'i INSTEAD OF TE ci 3, THREE SUI ji'a ALSO TI ti THIS TIE pi'o WITH, USING TO re 2, TWO VOI ba'u SKIPPING DETAILS
Current Development Issues
These are issues likely to be discussed at LogFest, and are introduced so that those with some background in the language can think about them a little before coming.
The system of attitudinal indicators (the VV-form cmavo) is being redone to greatly expand the number of attitudes that can be indicated. Also, each attitude can be expressed in varying degrees of strength (as the old 'oV' series did for the obligation attitudes), or can be negated. Some examples occur in the translations above, but I won't give a complete exposition until decisions are finalized.
A New Scheme for 'Borrowings' (na'evla)
A long-standing problem has been the construction of the multitudinous technical words and specialized nouns that have made English the repository of over 3 million words. I made a proposal back in issue number 2, which did not get a lot of feedback at LogFest 86. There was some vague unhappiness because it describes a whole new set of rafsi that must be used to build na'evla, and which could be ambiguous, simply from lack of complete definition. For those who read that proposal, the new proposal will be easy to understand. Just reverse everything. At the beginning of any borrowing will be a categorizer, which will be a standard rafsi (or possibly a lujvo). This will be glued onto the 'borrowing' portion of the word in such a way as to not fail the 'Slinkui' test. (See The Loglanist, 6/1 for a discussion of this fairly ill-defined test; it must be clarified into an algorithm.) Nora, who proposed this, and I have coined several ad hoc na'evla in casual conversation, so it seems to be workable and natural.
We Want Your Inputs! - Flash Cards, Lojban Pen Pals, APA
Any time we do a questionnaire, we discover later that we asked the wrong questions. Of course, we also come up with new ones all the time. I'm not going to inflict another questionnaire on you (yet), however. We do read them and listen carefully, but I know that I hate to fill them out. So we will rely on those of you who choose to write or who come to LogFest to speak for the rest of you. The following are issues we need some opinions on:
A. FLASH CARDS
Many of you do not have computers, or your computers can't run LogFlash as it currently exists. Or you want to be able to learn the words without sitting at a terminal. The LogFlash algorithm was originally described for Dr. Brown as a way of learning the words with printed flash cards. After the gismu are baselined at LogFlash, we certainly can have cards printed if there is demand. I say printed; we cannot efficiently produce them except by sending them to a professional printer who can cut card stock into individual cards after printing, and who can print on both sides of cardstock. The setup for printing can be expensive, so we need a number of orders to spread out this initial cost. The more orders we receive, the cheaper will be the price.
Since the place structures are not going to be baselined for a while, that data on the cards will eventually be partly wrong; the basic information: the gismu and English key words will remain correct. We have to presume, though, that any copies not sold in the first year or so may never be sold, since we will eventually have to redo the cards with updated place structures. That will be at least a year from now, after people have used the language enough to find place structure problems.
If only a couple of you order flash cards, the price would be outrageous. If we get 10 or more, I believe the price will be less than $20 for a set. If we get 50 or more, the price may be less than $10 for a set. So I need to know:
1. Are you interested in flash cards at any price?
2. What is the maximum price you would be willing to pay for them?
I am asking for no money now, but will certainly take it (and apply it to your balances). We will get an estimate. If we can meet your criteria, we will get them made and probably send them out around 2-3 months from now.
B. LOJBAN PEN PALS
This idea has been suggested as a way for those of you who have little time to spend on Lojban can maximize your reward. I can't possibly give good responses to everyone who sends me letters, as I found out in the last few months. (This doesn't mean that I don't read or appreciate them, though.) If you write to other Lojbanists, you can more likely get responses quickly. When you learn more of the language, you can start writing in Lojban. Your correspondent can then critique your vocabulary and grammar, and will in turn send you letters that you can examine. This, of course, is the only effective way those of you who have no nearby Lojbanists can learn and practice the language.
You can send copies to me if you wish (or to others, like pc, who know the language better). We will read them, not necessarily to respond, but to get a feel for what people are learning and what people are having trouble with.
3. Are you interested in having a Lojban pen pal to write to?
4. If so, please give some idea of what you would like to write about, or possibly what level of skill you have with the old or new languages. We will try to match up people with common interests.
5. Or would you rather have just anyone, or someone in as close a geographical area to you as possible?
C. LOJBAN SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS (SIGS)
This newsletter started as an attempt to organize SIGS in local areas having high concentrations of Lojbanists. Only one such group, the Portland group, ever made a meaningful attempt to do so, though there have been stirrings in Boston, San Francisco, and LA. The main problem is that I have to identify a local person willing to serve as a central contact. This person can either be an active organizer who canvasses the local group, or someone who waits for enough telephone calls and calls a meeting at his/her house or some other convenient spot. I can also go one step further and send name and address information to everyone in a SIG area, and let each of you take whatever responsibility you choose.
We can support a SIG better than individuals. If you collect questions from several of you into one letter, I can answer them in one letter which you can copy and distribute. You also might be able to answer each others questions and thus reduce the number I need to respond to. Of course, you also get the face to face (or telephone) stimulation of dealing with others as interested in Lojban as you are. This stimulation is why I'm working on the language. Nora, Tommy, and others around here have kept be going when I got depressed at the politics I've been forced to deal with, and they urged (drafted?) me to lead the effort to build the Lojban version to finally end the politics and give all of you (and us) a language.
In addition, an organized SIG is the only way you can have a class. A class may consist of as few as two of you working together, but it does require more than one. We will be designing part of the textbook for such classes, with more than two required for some exercises.
The following are metro areas or geographical groupings in our current mailing list, and numbers of people in each:
METRO AREA GROUPINGS BY STATE STATES WITH NO METRO AREA GROUPINGS California: 63 Alabama 1 SF/SJ 30 Alaska 1 North 4 Arizona 2 East Bay 8 Arkansas 1 SF&Penins 7 Georgia 1 San Jose 8 Iowa 1 S. Cruz 3 Indiana 2 LA 20 Kansas 2 90x Zip 11 Louisiana 2 91x Zip 5 Maine 1 92x Zip 4 Nebraska 1 San Diego 11 New Hampshire 3 Other 2 New Mexico 2 Colorado 8 Nevada 1 Denver/Boulder 7 Ohio 2 Cheyenne WY 1 Oklahoma 1 DC Metro/MD/VA 70 Puerto Rico 1 DC 4 South Carolina 2 VA suburb 36 Tennessee 1 MD suburb 20 Utah 1 (Baltimore) 4 Vermont 1 (other VA) 6 Wisconsin 3 Delaware 3 West Virginia 1 Florida 9 Gainesville 6 FOREIGN COUNTRIES Illinois(Chicago) 5 Australia 2 Massachusetts 26 Canada 20 01x Zip 15 Alberta 1 02x Zip 11 BC 1 Michigan 6 Manitoba 1 Detroit 2 Ontario 8 Ann Arbor 2 Nepean 2 Lansing 2 Toronto 4 Minnesota(M/SP) 3 other 2 Missouri 6 Saskatchewan 1 St. Louis 5 Denmark 1 N.Carol.(Raleigh) 6 England 9 New Jersey 7 Finland 1 07x Zip 4 France 1 08x Zip 3 W. Germany 2 New York 13 Netherlands 1 NYC 10 Mexico 1 Oregon(Portland) 7 South Africa 1 Pennsylvania 10 Sweden 1 Philadelphia 5 Switzerland 1 Pittsburgh 3 Texas 10 Austin 2 Dallas/Ft Worth 1 Houston 4 Washington(Seattle) 8
6. Are you interested in participating in a SIG in your area?
7. Would you be willing to serve as a passive organizer? An active canvasser?
8. Do you object to having your name and address sent to someone else who wants to organize actively? Your phone number?
9. Should I send a list of names and addresses (and phone numbers?) to all potential members of your SIG, rather than trying to identify a center person.
10. If you have no local people to form a SIG, are you interested in being a part of a "SIG of the whole" set up for those like you. Most activities would be conducted by mail, so this is just an elaboration of the pen pal idea above, but might have a different flavor.
D. Amateur Publishing Association (APA)
There are hundreds of small newspapers/magazines published by small groups affiliated with the Amateur Publishing Association. Members of these groups contribute material to a center person who then collates the stuff and sends it out, typically 3-6 times a year. The contributors may be required to send copies enough for everyone in the group, or may pay a small fee for the center person to copy everything. Generally, the only other fee is for postage costs. Everyone is expected to contribute something every once in a while; the amount may range from one up to dozens of pages. One correspondent suggested that we form an APA for Lojbanists who wish to write in or about the language. This is similar in concept to the 'SIG of the whole' that I just mentioned, but has some specifics attached.
This newsletter doesn't really qualify. I do most of the writing (and need to) and I do not want to limit my circulation except by the limits of finances and your interest. I also don't have time to do the organizing; the center person doesn't have a lot to do, but this would be one thing too many.
11. Are you interested in finding out more about this concept, or in participating in a Lojban APA?
12. Are you willing to be or assist a center person for a Lojban APA?
E. HOW ARE WE DOING?
13. What do you like and dislike about Ju'i Lobypli? What changes or new features would you like to see?
14. Are you willing to write something for publication?
15. We have used three font sizes in this issue besides the headlines. We have primarily used larger 10 point for text and smaller 8 point type for tables. 8 point type allows us up to 20% more per page, which can cut our printing costs. Can you tell the difference? Which do you prefer?
16. We have had one request for binder margins on our publications. This can be done, but cuts the content per page, and is a little more work to set up. Would this feature be valuable to you? Would you prefer that we print on three-hole punched paper?
Orders, Organizational, and Financial News
Every organization has business to attend to, and this newsletter will serve partially as the house organ for The Logical Language Group. I feel that since we are supported entirely by your contributions (or else my pocketbook suffers), we should be accountable to you for what we do with that money. Since I am currently jobless (Nora is working, though), our finances have gotten tighter; I am thus especially conscious of keeping you pleased enough to keep contributing.
We will hold an organizational meeting for the group at LogFest, wherein a charter and initial bylaws will be approved. Any attendee may participate; this will be a side event and not the major activity of the gathering. I will then take this to a lawyer who will check it over for proprieties, and handle the paperwork to get us incorporated as a non-profit corporation in Virginia. This will take place probably around the beginning of July, and cost around $100.
We will then file for 501(c)(3) non-profit status with the IRS, which will allow your contributions (and ours) to be tax-deductible, and will exempt us from income taxes for the organization (not that we expect to generate enough income to pay any). This apparently can take as long as 6 months, so don't count on it yet. However, they may allow contributions received after incorporation to be deductible, even if they are before the approval. We will keep records, and notify all contributors of any tax-deductible contributions.
Since contributions for which you receive goods are not deductible, we must keep donation moneys separate from balances. As such, we need you to clearly indicate when you wish money to be considered a donation, and not intended to apply to your balance. On your request, we will refund any remainder of your contributed balance money; that money is in effect a loan. (Donated money that gets IRS credit cannot be such a loan.) To prevent the conflict of interest that Dr. Brown has had, Nora and I will make the bulk of our financial support as donations, not as a loan. Finances of the organization will be kept clearly separate from our own.
Most of you who have sent money have not clearly indicated whether the money is for your balance or is a donation. We therefore have assumed that it is balance money. If your balance is sufficiently high, we will be pleased to transfer some to the donation pile. Please let us know.
By the way, the name was selected after careful thought. We are committed to supporting the entire logical language community, not just a limited membership, or just signatories to legal agreements. We are committed to completing the last 35 years' research and spreading a single stable language as a result of that effort. The chosen name reflects this intent, and has a couple of nice side features. Translated into Lojban, it becomes la lojbangrup, which is an easy to learn cognate that makes clear the association with Lojban. We will start using this name in this publication next issue.
Otherwise, the organization and charter will not specifically mention Lojban, especially given that there is a dispute over language names in general. We consider Lojban to be the name of the specific version currently being produced, with the old name as the generic term for the project and all versions of the language.
Welcome to la lojbangrup!
Revised Fiscal Statement
Last issue, I put in an approximation of our finances for the last couple of years. These were estimates that we have firmed up as part of our incorporation effort. Since we do not have good records for what we spent supporting Tommy during the gismu development effort, that is no longer included. I have brought the data up to date of this writing.
A key feature is that we have received responses with contributions from 41 of you since JL4 (about 60 people overall). These contributions totalled $1585.75, or an average of almost $40.00 apiece, primarily due to 4 contributions over $100. This is a much better response than for previous issues; at this rate, we can have a net of $6000 in contributions this year. However, it still represents less than 1 in 5 of you. This means that those who are contributing are each having to support four others, which is not fair. If you feel that the material we publish is interesting, please contribute at least the cost of your publications. See the discussion of the balance system below and the price list to determine that amount. If you can match that with an equivalent gift, we will be a much healthier organization.
1986 Contributions 525.00 UL1 169.62 UL2 189.21 Telephone 834.64 other 123.95 ______ _______ Net Income 525.00 Net Expenses 1317.42 Net Loss (792.42) ______ 525.00 1987 Contributions 1005.00 HL3 488.21 Evecon/GPA 350.65 LogFest 87 388.41 telephone 1056.71 books 332.04 office supplies213.76 software 194.80 other 3.88 _______ _______ Net Income 1005.00 Net Expenses 3028.52 Net Loss (2023.52) _______ 1005.00 1988(Jan 1 - May 15) Contributions: pre-JL4 190.01 JL4 796.38 post-JL4 1585.75 office supplies423.53 other pubs. 695.77 50% matching 86 262.50 telephone 488.23 50% matching 87 520.00 50% matching 88 95.00 25% matching 88 396.43 _______ _______ Total Income 3049.69 Total Expenses 2403.91 Net Gain 645.78 _______ 3049.69 Summary 1986-May 15, 1988 1986 Loss (792.42) 1987 Loss (2023.52) 1988 Gain 645.78 _________ (2170.16) The net loss is made up from contributions. The current balance debt is $771.54.
The above shows what we've spent. We are budgeting for the period May 15 to December 31, and then for next year. We are estimating 10% growth in subscribers each 3 months between JL issues, which is the minimum that we've achieved so far. All other figures are extrapolations of current numbers.
1988 (May 15 - Dec 31) Contributions 4555.00 Bulk Rate Permit 50.00 matching 180.00 Incorporation 100.00 JL5 600.00 JL6 660.00 JL7 725.00 office supplies 1200.00 other publications 1500.00 telephone 1200.00 other (10%) 724.00 _______ _______ Net Income 4735.00 Net expenses 7929.00 Net Loss (3196.00) _________ 4735.00 Net for entire year: Net Loss (2550.52)
As you can see, we will be losing our shirts if we don't get a higher balance/donation response rate from you. We need about double the current response rate to cover expenses this year (and our debts will grow due to increased balances, unless a lot of this is gifts). To publish final materials in 1989 will be a much larger expense; we need to know that we will have real buyers of these materials.
For 1989, I am estimating sales of 300 textbooks, in addition to contributions at the rate listed for 1988.
1989 Contributions 9590.00 JL8 800.00 Textbook Sales 12000.00 JL9 880.00 JL10 970.00 JL11 1070.00 Textbook pub10000.00 Other pubs 2500.00 Office supp 2000.00 Telephone 1800.00 Other (10%) 2002.00 ________ ________ Net Income 21590.00 Net Expenses 22022.00 Net Loss (432.00) ________ 21590.00
This budget presumes that we will set the textbook price at a level to make us come out reasonably close to even. It does not include costs for classes, advertising and miscellaneous other items that we should expend in order to have Lojban be a success. Those costs will only be covered if we do better than this budget in income.
The Order Fiasco and Revised Plans
We received some 75 questionnaires in response to JL4. We also had previous responses from Evecon, from phone calls, etc. As a result, we had some 150 orders to fill. It seemed that every order was different, and I felt a need to respond with a brief note to about 100 of these. As a result, in January and February I spent 4 weeks producing JL4. In March and April, I spent 4 weeks filling orders. I recently discovered that about 5 orders did not get sent. I'm including those people's material in this mailing.
What we ended up with was similar to the Publish on Demand (POD) system that 'The Loglanist' used for volume 2. This is labor- intensive, and labor is even shorter than money. It failed then, and it failed for us. As a result, we will have to make some changes.
We will treat certain high-priced items, like LogFlash, separately. They will still be 'POD'. Otherwise, we will basically have two levels of 'sendings'. The lower level will consist of just the newsletter, and those things of general interest that we put in appendices. We will send this to everyone on our list, regardless of your balance; we reserve the right to drop anyone who has a negative balance, but will not do so until we can't afford otherwise. You are our 'investment' in the future of Lojban.
The higher level will include things like the Synopsis, the cmavo list, etc. These will be teaching materials and give meaningful technical information. They also will tend to be longer than appendices, so our production costs are too high to send them to everyone. We will send these to you only if your balance is sufficient, or if you are actively working as a volunteer in some capacity. The latter will receive 'volunteer credits' from the gifts account. We will be attempting to write these materials for the non- linguist layman that is our typical audience. We need feedback from you if these materials are not what you want.
Due to our time constraints, we cannot generally accept orders for selected items for individuals. If this proves unsatisfactory, we may add an intermediate level for people who want teaching materials only when they are in a more final form. We do, however, encourage you to freely make and distribute copies to others. Thus, one person in an area can obtain everything, and then make copies for others. (We also will fill bulk orders and let you do the distributing.)
Please bear with us while we learn how to make this organization work for you on its shoestring budget. Your suggestions are welcome.
The Balance System and Understanding Your Mailing Label
We have computerized our records to some extent, although there are still some bugs. As a result, we can now automatically generate balance data, and update it fairly easily. You will see the result on your mailing labels. A typical balance line will look like:
C 50.00 -D 10.00 -S 21.25 =B 18.75
This says that we have $50.00 in Contributions from you, including matching funds and volunteer credits. You have Donated $10.00 of this as a gift not to be repaid. We have Sent you $21.25 in materials, resulting in a net Balance for you of $18.75. We have tried to be fairly generous with volunteer credits for people who did things for us over the past couple of years. What has been done is in some cases without price; we wouldn't be doing this without you.
Note that we commit to refunding to you on request only that money that you've actually sent us. Matching funds and volunteer credits are merely our way of thanking you by ensuring that you keep getting material even if your balance runs low.
We are starting to deduct the price of the newsletter as of this issue. Thus, many of you will show a negative balance if you haven't sent us money. We will be happy to accept your contributions to remedy this.
NOTE: We will shortly be obtaining a 3rd class bulk rate permit, and most of our mailing will be done under this permit. We thus cannot get address updates automatically, as we have been. The post office may also not forward this material for you unless you guarantee postage. We should be mailing something to everyone every few months, so IF YOU MOVE, YOU NEED TO LET US KNOW THE NEW ADDRESS. We will try to check and weed our mailing list every year by sending postcards first class to anyone we haven't heard from.
Revised Price List
Our costs last time proved higher than expected. We forgot to allow for staples, mailing envelopes, etc. The Post Office also caught us with their rate increase. We charged your balance with the new prices, which were never more than the 25% that we added to match your contribution. The following is our revised price list. The materials are shown grouped as we would have sent them under our current balance and order system. If you request the higher level of publications and have not received material from us before, we will send you the back items that are asterisked.
For those who received some of the items listed and want others: we will fill your individual orders received by July 1. We cannot do this except for those people who we sent orders to before.
These prices are what we charged you last time. They are only estimates for any future mailing. If we mail to you under our bulk rate permit, for example, the prices will be substantially cheaper. But we have never done bulk rate before, and cannot estimate postage costs. The prices shown will probably be valid if we send the materials First Class. Foreign recipients should add some amount for international postage.
Base level: Pages Price UL1 44 $5.20 UL2 38 4.50 HL3 34 4.20 JL4 40 2.90 while they last 5.00 after we run out, and must reprint JL5 (estimated) 54 3.75 for this and any extra copies now 6.00 after we run out, and must reprint Teaching Material Level: Answers to HL3 Questions 34 $4.20 GMR Synopsis 24 $3.10 no longer available *Synopsis of Lojban Phonology and Morphology 31 $2.50 subsidized by us a bit *lujvo-making algorithm 9 $1.25 *gismu lists Lojban order 22 $1.85 English order 22 $1.85 Grouped by type and Difficulty 23 $1.85 LogFlash manual 15 $1.35
Thus, anyone who sends a contribution who has not received an order will be sent the Synopsis, the three gismu lists, and the lujvo-making algorithm. These would result in a balance charge of $9.30 at the listed prices.
Special Orders Only: LogFlash for IBM PC, diskette and printed manual $20.00 (We included the Synopsis and printed gismu lists in this price in the last mailing, but cannot afford to do so any more.) Some people also received PLOP either from me or from Jeff Prothero. If I sent it to you, then I deducted $20.00, though many received it free due to volunteer credits. I will not be distributing PLOP again until it has been updated for the current language. Those who were charged for this copy will receive the update free.
All of the above materials may be copied and distributed freely. Our publications and software are generally copyrighted, with unrestricted permission to freely copy and distribute any publication or program as long as you include any copyright notices, and do not charge for the product. Any derivative works must subscribe to this license.
Response to Dr. Brown's Letters
I have verified that Dr. Brown, on behalf of The Loglan Institute, Inc. of Gainesville, Florida has indeed registered the name 'Loglan' as a trademark for their line of 'Dictionaries and Grammars'. I have obtained a copy of his application. It makes no mention of the following germane facts:
- The name has been used as a descriptive term for a language and for a research project for almost 35 years. There are places where it has been used fictionally with no specific association with any particular language. Dr. Brown and others have used 'Loglan' as an adjective, and has modified it into 'Loglandic', 'Loglandia', Loglanized', and other such terms that emphasize its descriptive nature. 'Loglan' has not generally been used to refer to the Institute's Dictionary, which is generally referred to even by Dr. Brown as 'L4/5'. That dictionary even defines the name as referring to the language or to elements of the language. If a 'grammar' can said to have been published by the Institute, it is contained in several places, called by Dr. Brown and the community 'L1', 'MacGram', Notebook 1 or NB1, NB3, or Trial.nn where nn is a number.
- More than half of this period preceded the existence of The Loglan Institute, Inc. The application makes statements that under trademark regulations are interpreted as meaning that THAT organization has used the mark since before 1960, which is impossible.
- Descriptive terms cannot be registered unless they clearly associate solely with the registrant. Dr. Brown is not himself The Loglan Institute, Inc., and the name of the language is far more strongly associated with him than with the organization. In any case, your letters over the last 2 years have clearly indicated that, while there is no confusion between my efforts and the Institute's, you consider me a valid purveyor of materials pertaining to the language.
- Others, including myself, James Carter, several college students and professors, the late science fiction author Robert Heinlein, author Robert Rimmer, Dave Cortesi, and Dr. Brown himself, have used the name 'Loglan' in publications independently from The Loglan Institute,Inc. The name also floats freely on computer networks like UseNet, occasionally associated with Dr. Brown's name, but seldom with that of the Institute. The Institute has made no objection to these practices, and in some cases encouraged them. Failure to vigorously defend a trademark against all violations tends to invalidates it. Of course, since some of these 'violations' occurred before The Loglan Institute, Inc. was incorporated, this was impossible.
- Dr. Brown states (under threat of penalty of law) that he knew of no one other than The Loglan Institute, Inc. that had a right to use 'Loglan' for commercial purposes. On the contrary, Dr. Brown clearly knows of others with such rights. Dr. Brown has stated recently that he himself still holds copyrights for materials published before 1975. He also claimed in the election of 1984 that if he resigned from the Institute, he might still write books about the language. This would be counter to his current claim. Scientific American and Xerox University Microfilms also hold copyright on some materials, in addition to all those mentioned above and every author who contributed material to The Loglanist.
- Although urged several times during the 1982-1984 period by the Board of Directors of The Loglan Institute to make efforts to obtain copyright and trademark protection for the language and the name 'Loglan', Dr. Brown did not do so. Indeed, at one point, he exercised his veto power as CEO to prevent this from becoming the policy of the Institute, and refused to follow the passed motion by the Board charging him to do so. At another point, he used the fact that all Loglan Institute funds were in his personal bank account to veto the expenditure of money to investigate the legal rights of the Institute.
- On at least two occasions, Dr. Brown has clearly put the language into the public domain. Once was in the introduction to Loglan 3, before The Loglan Institute, Inc. existed, in which he exhorts the reader to "please feel free to make it your own. Invent in it freely ... you are free to change them in way that seems fitting to you". He later stated "But Loglan is also your language. And you are free to build new words of your own. We ask only that from time to time you communicate with the Loglan Institute as you do this, so that your inventions too can become part of newly published lists." In his letter which was labelled 'Welcome to Loglandia' to those of you who responded to Dave Cortesi's article in Dr. Dobb's Journal in 1982, Dr. Brown stated "From 1955 to 1975, the design of Loglan has been more or less the private domain of its inventor. But from 1975 onward, with the publication of the two books, and especially with the founding of The Loglanist in September 1976, Loglan became the intellectual property of all whose minds live at least partly in Loglandia."
The above seven points are but a portion of the evidence contained in some 14 pounds of documents which I have assembled into a brief on the subject. This material is being reviewed by others. I have selected, but not yet retained, a team of lawyers who are expert in intellectual property law, to whom we will submit this brief; they will then advise us of our legal options. If they so advise, I and others will submit a 'Petition for Cancellation' with this evidence, and Dr. Brown will have to work very hard to avoid severe legal penalties. We have no doubt that the trademark will be cancelled. The decision as to whether there will be a legal challenge is not up to me in any case; at least one person has said that he will file the cancellation petition regardless of my participation.
I have urged since I started this effort that Loglan not become a legal issue. Dr. Brown has chosen to go to the lawyers; he will find that this has been an expensive decision beyond any monetary considerations. No one is sadder about this than I. In the letter of mine that Dr. Brown refers to in his second letter, I told him that the Institute should not throw legal stones while living in a glass house. He has ignored that advice.
The Loglan language cannot stand to have a legal cloud hanging (literally) over its name. You have a moral right to the language and to that name for it, and so do I. We have this right by Dr. Brown's statements. (Certainly, our implementation of Lojban has followed the dictates of the Loglan 3 quote to the letter. We await Dr. Brown following through on his end and publishing our lists of words.)
Now to Dr. Brown's letters. You have received several newsletters from me. I have scrupulously tried to ensure that there is no confusion between me and the Institute by front page statements in each issue. In this issue, except in this essay, the word 'Loglan' is used only in quotations from others, such as in the name 'Capital Loglan Bulletin Board', or in the 'Public Domain Loglan Parser'. Dr. Brown has not, of course, complained of any others violating his 'trademark' except me. In my publications after April 12, I either eliminated the word 'Loglan', or added a trademark notice as required by law. I have also abided by his demand that all who received JL4 receive notice of his claim of trademark. I have of my own volition abided fully with the law and with his demands, without negotiating any agreement from him. He has no cause for complaint.
While the Patent and Trademark Office will decide on the legal issues, you are the jury that really matters to me. I and The Logical Language Group stand for your right to use 'Loglan' the language, to work on 'Loglan' the logical language research project, and to believe in 'Loglan' the dream. You will have that right, even if we never again use 'the Gainesville word' (as pc calls it) as the name of the language. This would be difficult, as you have no doubt observed, but we've demonstrated that it is possible in this issue. Of course, the whole world knows the language by the other name from Scientific American, from Heinlein, Rimmer, UseNet, and other sources. Neither we, nor Dr. Brown with all the lawyers in the world, can stop this. To avoid using the name, we may have to educate each of these people about Dr. Brown's perfidy; this will certainly impede Loglan/Lojban's acceptance. Dr. Brown cannot win either. The existence of Lojban raises too many questions; we have made clear intellectual improvements over the earlier language that he must answer for, and he also must answer for his attempts to impede the intellectual freedom of those he has let down after years of support.
I will not require any of you to make a choice. If a legal battle is fought, I will make every effort to ensure that The Logical Language Group stays clear. I will not use any of your money contributed for Lojban for legal matters other than the incorporation and other such endeavors that clearly and directly advance Lojban. This is because you did contributed the money for that latter purpose, and you did not ask me to fight this battle.
If you choose, especially if you feel that I have in any way misled you as to my relationship with The Loglan Institute, Inc., you may obtain a refund of any contributions you made. You may also decide not to choose: to continue to support both of our efforts.
If you feel my cause is valid, you may choose to take action that will assist me, and possibly yourself. I am not urging any of these actions. Rather, I am posing them as ideas that you may wish to consider acting upon.
- You may have a balance with The Loglan Institute, Inc. If so, you may request a full refund of that balance, adjusted for inflation for each year since you contributed the money. This adjustment was approved by the Board of the Institute at Dr. Brown's suggestion, and he publicly announced the policy. If Dr. Brown fails to do so promptly, you may choose to file claims against him for mail order violations.
- You may have ordered either NB3 or MacTeach and sent money, and have not received them (whether or not you signed the Aficianado Agreement). If so, you may choose to file claims against him for mail fraud and mail order violations. Dr. Brown made a mail offering and accepted your money, thus making a contract. He did not fulfill that contract within the standard mail order period, and in your case has not done so yet, some two years later. The Aficianado Agreement is an attempt to change that contract after the fact, and you are not obliged to accept it.
- You made any contribution to The Loglan Institute, Inc. in and above dues and balances. If so, you may request a full refund of that contribution. Article 10 in the Bylaws of the Institute require Dr. Brown to specifically emphasize to potential donors that Article 9 prohibits spending more than 10% of the income in any year of the Institute on administrative costs, including legal fees. He was further obliged to encourage you to make your donation contingent upon The Institute abiding by the 10% restriction. He did not do so, and thus apparently committed fraud in accepting your donations. (The Institute has probably violated Article 9 every year, and especially in the last couple by raising the trademark issue.) (Incidentally, those donations and any balance money never went directly for Loglan, by the way. By Dr. Brown's statements in Board memos, they were deposited in Dr. Brown's bank account 'in repayment of his loan', which is why his recent statements that the Institute is very poor are true. He did later spend some or all of this money from his account on Loglan, presumably after gaining interest on your money before it was spent. Clearly, Dr. Brown's loan has taken priority over your balance loans, and over spending your money to support Loglan, contrary to his recent statements in LogNet. A non-profit corporation may not be operated for the financial benefit of one of its officers.)
- You may have heard about Loglan through either the microfilm printings, or received the 'Welcome to Loglandia' letter and spent money and or time learning Loglan in the belief that you had the right to use the language freely. If so, you may choose to file a claim against Dr. Brown for fraud in his attempt to claim otherwise. He has certainly damaged you and your interests. Even if you heard about Loglan in some other way, you may still have a valid claim if you can justify your belief in your right to free use.
- You may have contributed intellectually to Loglan by writing articles for The Loglanist, by volunteering for research efforts, by inventing words or composing materials over which The Loglan Institute, Inc. is now claiming intellectual property rights. With a few possible exceptions, you have signed no agreements turning over your rights to The Loglan Institute, Inc. You may choose to protest vigorously this appropriation. Failing appropriate resolution, you may choose to file a claim against Dr. Brown and the Institute.
- You may not like legal action any more than I do. If so, you may choose to write to Dr. Brown a letter informing him of the damage he has caused you. You may demand that he take immediate action to remedy this damage or face legal consequences. You have his letters to me as your model. Dr. Brown, of course, may find his own medicine a bit too bitter to take.
- I admit that all of the above ideas are raised in my self-interest. Actions which put Dr. Brown on the offensive, forcing him to spend time and money other than in harassing me, will benefit any legal undertaking. It may also cause Dr. Brown to reconsider, and to apply his resources more productively, perhaps even by helping us make the language effort he started come to fruition. I might also be able to apply more of my limited resources towards completing Lojban.
- I am myself considering some or all of the above actions, based on my status as a Member of The Loglan Institute, Inc. Past and present members may wish to participate in individual or joint claims against Dr. Brown for various documented improprieties in Institute operations under his management. If you so wish to participate, you may contact me for further details.
Regardless of what your decision is, you can write to Dr. Brown or me of your opinion. I certainly am willing to hear it; I cannot say that it will influence Dr. Brown.
Except for brief reports on the results of actions taken, I intend this to be the end to my discussion of intellectual property rights regarding Loglan, as well as to my discussions of the faults of Dr. Brown or of The Loglan Institute, Inc. Regardless of the results of this issue, Lojban will proceed. It will be defined and frozen, and The Logical Language Institute will fulfill its purpose. You will have a 'Loglan' to use, which by any other name will be better than what has come before.
Dr. James Cooke Brown will continue to be credited for his paternal contribution to the language. I still respect the man and his genius that made Loglan possible. Jim does not believe me, but my undertaking this endeavor was totally out of friendship and respect for him and his ideals. When Jim was ill in the Spring of 1986, and asked me to visit him, I did so. After a weekend of inspired worked together, I swore to myself to make sure that Loglan got the chance to gain the intellectual respect that it deserved, and to live on beyond the man who brought the language to life.
I will fulfill that oath, even as Jim himself tries to kill his creation.
Thank you all for your forbearance of this essay.
The Contributors' List
Now, to end this newsletter on a more upbeat note, let me list the dozens of contributors who have aided us since the last issue. Due to space considerations, I cannot list each contribution, whether money, volunteer work, or advice and suggestions on how to solve various problems. It is all of you that makes Lojban possible, and worth all the work we are putting into it. Let this list be our brief word of thanks to each of you.
Brooke Albert, Athelstan, John Atkins, Rebecca Bach, Bruce Baker, Chuck Barton, Tom Birchmire, Vincent Burch, Gary Burgess, Albert Cage, Donna Camp, James Carter, Bob Chassell, Dan Cheek, Harry Chesley, Dave Cortesi, Ida Ruth Davis, Ken Dickey, Bill Dorion, David Ellis, Mr. & Mrs. Robert Ernst, Jim Gillogly, Marc Glasser, William Good, Michael Grubb, Rick Harman, Hans Havermann, Glen Haydon, Dean Hickerson, Fred Hills, Arthur Hlavaty, John Hodges, Bob Jenner, Mel Kanner, Richard Kennaway, Lawrence Kesteloot, Frank LaFontaine, Steve Ladd, Doug Landauer, Nora LeChevalier, Nancy Lebovitz, Bill Lee, John and Anita Lees, Brad Lowry, Richard Mann, Brian Marin, Preston Maxwell, Robert McIvor, Ben McLeod, Malcolm Mumme, John Negus, Paul Francis O'Sullivan, Mike Parish, John Parks-Clifford, Dan Parmenter, Harry Pierson, Kim Pizer, Jeff Prothero, Robert Radcliffe, Milton Raymond, Paul and Grelia Reiber, Michael Rhodes, Faith Rich, Bill Rudow, Karl Sackett, Rick Sakamoto, Joel Shprentz, Donald Simpson, Arthur Tansky, Ron Tansky, Jonathan Tite, Marianne Turlington, Claude Van Horn, Jack Waugh, Mark Alden Weiss, Steve Wheeler, Tommy Whitlock, Derreth Wieman, Art Wieners, Christina Willrich, Jim Wilson, S. Woolsey, James Yorke.
Special Thanks are offered to Mike Gunderloy, editor of Factsheet Five. Mike's quarterly newsletter reviews hundreds of other small newsletters (as well as music and movies) and serves as a focal point for information exchange. Not a Lojbanist before receiving it, he just named JL4 "Publishers' Choice" and gave us a great review. Factsheet Five can be ordered from Mike at : 6 Arizona Ave., Renssellaer NY 12144-4502. This latest issue reviewing us was #26 and costs $2.00.
Even with over 80 names there, I'm sure I missed someone, and I have not listed everyone who has participated in CLBB. Please accept my apologies for the omission, and my appreciation for your participation.