What are pro-sumti and pro-bridi? What are they for? Speakers of Lojban, like speakers of other languages, require mechanisms of abbreviation. If every time we referred to something, we had to express a complete description of it, life would be too short to say what we have to say. An English with no pronouns might look something like this: 1.

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The final arbiter of the correct form of a name is the person doing the naming, although most cultures grant people the right to determine how they want their own name to be spelled and pronounced. The last alternative is not pronounced much like its English equivalent, but may be desirable to someone who values spelling over pronunciation.

These minor restrictions are due to the fact that all Lojban cmene embedded in a speech stream will be preceded by one of these words or by a pause. With one of these words embedded, the cmene might break up into valid Lojban words followed by a shorter cmene. Lojban cmene are identifiable as word forms by the following characteristics: 1 They must end in one or more consonants.

There are no rules about how many consonants may appear in a cluster in cmene, provided that each consonant pair whether standing by itself, or as part of a larger cluster is a permissible pair. Neither names nor words that begin sentences are capitalized in Lojban, so this is the only use of capital letters.

Some cmene built from Lojban words are: 8. To Lojbanize a name from the various natural languages, apply the following rules: 1 Eliminate double consonants and silent letters. Use commas and capitalization in written Lojban when it is necessary to preserve non-standard syllabication or stress.

Do not capitalize names otherwise. If these combinations are present, they must be converted to something else. Using this cmavo makes the already lengthy Latinized names at least four syllables longer, however, and leaves the pronunciation in doubt.

The following suggestions, though incomplete, will assist in converting Linnaean binomals to valid Lojban names. American or djon. Summarized in one place, here are the rules for inserting pauses between Lojban words: 1 Any two words may have a pause between them; it is always illegal to pause in the middle of a word, because that breaks up the word into two words.

Necessarily, all such words are cmene. However, the situation triggering this rule rarely occurs. In this case, the first word must be either a cmavo or a cmene with unusual stress which already ends with a pause, of course. How to embed non-Lojban text is explained in Chapter Considerations for making lujvo Given a tanru which expresses an idea to be used frequently, it can be turned into a lujvo by following the lujvo-making algorithm which is given in Section In building a lujvo, the first step is to replace each gismu with a rafsi that uniquely represents that gismu.

These rafsi are then attached together by fixed rules that allow the resulting compound to be recognized as a single word and to be analyzed in only one way. There are three other complications; only one is serious.

The first is that there is usually more than one rafsi that can be used for each gismu. The one to be used is simply whichever one sounds or looks best to the speaker or writer. There are usually many valid combinations of possible rafsi.

They all are equally valid, and all of them mean exactly the same thing. The scoring algorithm given in Section 12 is used to choose the standard form of the lujvo the version which would be entered into a dictionary. The second complication is the serious one.

Remember that a tanru is ambiguous it has several possible meanings. A lujvo, or at least one that would be put into the dictionary, has just a single meaning. Like a gismu, a lujvo is a predicate which encompasses one area of the semantic universe, with one set of places. Hopefully the meaning chosen is the most useful of the possible semantic spaces.

A possible source of linguistic drift in Lojban is that as Lojbanic society evolves, the concept that seems the most useful one may change. You must also be aware of the possibility of some prior meaning of a new lujvo, especially if you are writing for posterity. If a lujvo is invented which involves the same tanru as one that is in the dictionary, and is assigned a different meaning or even just a different place structure , linguistic drift results.

Every natural language does it. But in communication, when you use a meaning different from the dictionary definition, someone else may use the dictionary and therefore misunderstand you. The essential nature of human communication is that if the listener understands, then all is well. Let this be the ultimate guideline for choosing meanings and place structures for invented lujvo. The third complication is also simple, but tends to scare new Lojbanists with its implications.

The shortest words are those which are used more; the longest ones are used less. Conversely, commonly used concepts will be tend to be abbreviated. In English, we have abbreviations and acronyms and jargon, all of which represent complex ideas that are used often by small groups of people, so they shortened them to convey more information more rapidly.

A given lujvo still has exactly one meaning and place structure. It is just that more than one tanru is competing for the same lujvo. Someone has to use judgment in deciding which one meaning is to be chosen over the others.

If the lujvo made by a shorter form of tanru is in use, or is likely to be useful for another meaning, the decider then retains one or more of the cmavo, preferably ones that set this meaning apart from the shorter form meaning that is used or anticipated.

As a rule, therefore, the shorter lujvo will be used for a more general concept, possibly even instead of a more frequent word. If both words are needed, the simpler one should be shorter. It is easier to add a cmavo to clarify the meaning of the more complex term than it is to find a good alternate tanru for the simpler term. And of course, we have to consider the listener. On hearing an unknown word, the listener will decompose it and get a tanru that makes no sense or the wrong sense for the context.

If the listener realizes that the grouping operators may have been dropped out, he or she may try alternate groupings, or try inserting an abstraction operator if that seems plausible. The grouping of tanru is explained in Chapter 5 ; abstraction is explained in Chapter Plausibility is the key to learning new ideas and to evaluating unfamiliar lujvo. The lujvo-making algorithm The following is the current algorithm for generating Lojban lujvo given a known tanru and a complete list of gismu and their assigned rafsi.

The algorithm was designed by Bob LeChevalier and Dr. James Cooke Brown for computer program implementation. Given a tanru that is to be made into a lujvo: 1 Choose a 3-letter or 4-letter rafsi for each of the gismu and cmavo in the tanru except the last.

It is illegal to add a hyphen at a place that is not required by this algorithm. Right-to-left tests are recommended, for reasons discussed below. This will always appear between rafsi. If not, the word will not break up, and no further hyphens are needed. It is not the only possible algorithm, but it usually gives a choice that people find preferable.

The algorithm may be changed in the future. The lowest-scoring variant will usually be the dictionary form of the lujvo. In previous versions, it was the highest-scoring variant. This should be rare. Note that the algorithm essentially encodes a hierarchy of priorities: short words are preferred counting apostrophes as half a letter , then words with fewer hyphens, words with more pleasing rafsi this judgment is subjective , and finally words with more vowels are chosen.

Each decision principle is applied in turn if the ones before it have failed to choose; it is possible that a lower-ranked principle might dominate a higher-ranked one if it is ten times better than the alternative. Here are some lujvo with their scores not necessarily the lowest scoring forms for these lujvo, nor even necessarily sensible lujvo : We will use a brute-force application of the algorithm in Section 12 , using every possible rafsi.

Its L score is 6, its A score is 0, its H score is 0, its R score is 12, and its V score is 3, for a final score of The other forms have scores of , , , , and respectively. We will omit the long rafsi from the process, since lujvo containing long rafsi are almost never preferred by the scoring algorithm when there are short rafsi available. The resulting 12 lujvo possibilities are: loj-ban-gri loj-bau-gri loj-bang-gri logj-ban-gri logj-bau-gri logj-bang-gri loj-ban-girzu loj-bau-girzu loj-bang-girzu logj-ban-girzu logj-bau-girzu logj-bang-girzu and the 12 name possibilities are: loj-ban-gir.

After hyphenation, we have: lojbangri lojbaugri lojbangygri logjybangri logjybaugri logjybangygri lojbangirzu lojbaugirzu lojbangygirzu logjybangirzu logjybaugirzu logjybangygirzu lojbangir. The gismu were created through the following process: 1 At least one word was found in each of the six source languages Chinese, English, Hindi, Spanish, Russian, Arabic corresponding to the proposed gismu. Furthermore, morphological endings were dropped.

The same mapping rules were applied to all six languages for the sake of consistency. The matches were scored as follows: 2a If three or more letters were the same in the proposed gismu and the source-language word, and appeared in the same order, the score was equal to the number of letters that were the same. Intervening letters, if any, did not matter. Letters in reversed order got no score. Second-language speakers were reckoned at half their actual numbers. The weights were chosen to sum to 1.

The sum of the weighted scores was the total score for the proposed gismu form. Obviously, being identical with an existing gismu constitutes a conflict. In addition, a proposed gismu that was identical to an existing gismu except for the final vowel was considered a conflict, since two such gismu would have identical 4-letter rafsi. Sometimes a lower-scoring form was used to provide a better rafsi.

The language weights used to make most of the gismu were as follows: Chinese 0. A few gismu were made much later using updated weights: Chinese 0. Cultural and other non-algorithmic gismu The following gismu were not made by the gismu creation algorithm. They are exceptions to the otherwise mandatory gismu creation algorithm where there was sufficient justification for such exceptions.

The following gismu represent concepts that are sufficiently unique to Lojban that they were either coined from combining forms of other gismu, or else made up out of whole cloth. These gismu are thus conceptually similar to lujvo even though they are only five letters long; however, unlike lujvo, they have rafsi assigned to them for use in building more complex lujvo.

Assigning gismu to these concepts helps to keep the resulting lujvo reasonably short. The following three groups of gismu represent concepts drawn from the international language of science and mathematics.


The Lojban Reference Grammar

Chapter 21 Formal Grammars The following two listings constitute the formal grammar of Lojban. The first version is written in the YACC language, which is used to describe parsers, and has been used to create a parser for Lojban texts. This parser is available from the Logical Language Group. In case of discrepancies, the YACC version is official. The YACC machine grammar presented here is an amalgam of those steps, concatenated so as to allow YACC to verify the syntactic ambiguity of the grammar. YACC is used to generate a parser for a portion of the grammar, which is LALR1 the type of grammar that YACC is designed to identify and process successfully , but most of the rest of the grammar must be parsed using some language-coded processing.

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The truth functions have the special characteristic that the truth value that is, the truth or falsehood of the results depends only on the truth value of the component sentences. For example, 1. This chapter is mostly concerned with explaining the forms and uses of the Lojban logical connectives. This point will be made clear in particular cases as needed. The other English meanings are supported by different Lojban connective constructs. The Lojban connectives form a system as the title of this chapter suggests , regular and predictable, whereas natural-language connectives are rather less systematic and therefore less predictable.

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