(From Lognet 90/3. Used with the permission of The Loglan Institute, Inc.)

Lo Lerci (Letters)

Letters policy: Unless otherwise stated, letters sent to The Institute, JCB, RAM or the editor will be considered as offered for publication. But it would be good if the writer explicitly offers. We reserve the right to edit letters, mostly just to drop material that has to do with ordering books, etc. Sometimes a given correspondent will have several letters in the hopper, so to speak, and we will combine them into one purely for the sake of clarity.  We’d be most grateful if you’d enclose a soft copy of your letter on a disk. We can handle most word-processors and having your letters on disk will save us a lot of typing.—Ed. 



These first three letters are from Stephen Rice.  All support RAM's LN89/1 "More Declensions" proposal, the earlier one tentatatively, the more recent ones with fewer reservations.—Ed.


Dear Dr. McIvor: 

I admit I’m ambivalent about your idea of declensions (a misnomer, incidentally; you’re talking not about declensions, but about making all predicates C-final with an obligatory vowel suffix).  [Not true; the declinable predicates will only be a subset of the set of primitives, according to RAM's LN89/1 proposal.—Ed.] Your analysis of the problem is correct.  Some time ago I set up an artificial language that worked about like Loglan does in this area. I had to rework the project, and concluded that human beings need a more “intuitive” derivational system. I’m not sure that Loglan is designed for suffixes of the sort you describe; this was the major failing of my [pseud]onomatopoeia proposal. On the other hand, my proposal involved a function-changing suffix (in fact, it was more truly a declension than what you propose). Your suffixes are meaning-changing, so they may not offend the Loglan muse.

Concerning kangi and its kin: if you want to keep the -i form as a verb, change its meaning to refer to the creature bearing (and possibly rearing) its young;  cf. calf/calve. This still would be a little weird applied to mreni (raise a man), but it’s not inconceivable.  On the other hand, if you’re not afraid of a little weirdness, you could use the -u (intransitive) form to mean make a ...-like sound (bark, moo, quack, etc.).  No, I don’t have onomatopoeia on the brain; this is the way Schleyer’s Volapuk worked (and look what happened to [it]!).  Mrenu would then mean make a manly noise (whatever that is).

Where other “nouns” are concerned, the instrumental solution is the most common in the natural and artificial languages I know, though the principle is not followed consistently.  Thus, Mi cmeni could be the answer to the familiar shopping question Cash or charge?  Perhaps mitri would then be a more colloquial version of miotci, or it could be used on a menu or in a recipe to warn vegetarians:  This dish is prepared with meat.  Such people could then look for a no mitri item.... 

About the register markers: I do think it would be a good idea to allow negation.... Thus, in Japanese one refers to things within one’s own sphere with humble terms, reserving respectful speech for one’s peers and superiors. I was probably misled by the 1975 dictionary, which implied that ui-class words could be negated. [They can be; and now so can the Rice register markers.—Ed.]  I should point out, though, that these forms should not change the denotation of a word, only its connotation.  Treating bivdu no rie as though it meant the same as no nu rispe is rather like equating Dau da blanu with Lepo da blanu gu dakli. The marker reports the speaker’s (professed) attitude toward some word, and sometimes this could be reflected denotatively (hasfa no rie might be translated hovel ). (I had thought of no rie as roughly translating the Esperanto suffix -ac.)  If negation is not allowed, separate negative forms will be needed.  [Negation is now allowed.—Ed.]....

Sui loa,   Stephen L. Rice


Dear Editor:

    When I read Wes Parson’s letter in the March issue of Lognet [LN90/1:9-10], I thought an apologia for [Robert A. McIvor’s “More Declensions for Loglan?”] proposal [LN89/1:6-8] was in order (though both RAM and Rex [May] were quite eloquent in this regard [LN90/1:11])....

    To begin with, the whole idea of Loglan being an analytical language seems irrelevant to the discussion.  (Nor is it altogether new; the practice of changing a predicate’s final vowel to -y is caselike and rather resembles the function of the Hebrew “construct state”.) Anyhow, the basic idea of Wes’s letter seems to be the valid point that it is easier and more effective to go from the general to the specific than vice versa. For example, because Loglan begins with the general idea of “knowing”, it can easily narrow that meaning to accommodate the many languages which have different words for “knowing a fact” and “knowing a person”.  If it started with this same distinction, we would be hard pressed to create a general term (though this could be done by combiniong the two terms, as has been done for some other generic terms, such as tcabou for vehicle).There are two problems with this view, however. First, some general notions are less common than more specific ideas. This is why Loglan originally lacked primitive forms for parent and sibling.  They were added later because they are needed in [complexes].  [Steve used compounds here;  but in the English jargon we use to talk about Loglan, compound means compound little word. So I have replaced his compound with complex wherever the context seems to justify it. —Ed.]  The same may be true for vehicle; I think that botsu actually has this meaning in some complexes, much like English -ship.

    Second, generality varies from language to language.  Thus in hinda/i/o we are tempted to see a shadowy hinde lurking:  aren’t they the Hindu language, person, and culture?  And aren’t those all hind + something else?  In English, yes; but not in some other languages.  In Welsh, for example, we find cymraeg (kimra), cymro (kimri), and cymreig (roughly kimro)...but they’re all “Welsh” to us.  So what is generic in one language may well be specific in another.  Nevertheless, in this case a generic term could be useful, so that we wouldn’t have to coin kimrykai to discuss “Welshness”.  We should be able to be as general or as specific as we wish.  To round out the set, having added hinde and kin, perhaps we could (soi kamki) use the -u form for the homeland of the -i.  [Wouldn’t work.  Wales is a singular term logically, and kimru from its form would have to be a general one in Loglan, that is, one that applied to more than one place.  So it would have to be interpreted as predicating any of the homelands of the Welsh.—Ed.] (This would, by the merest chance, agree with the written form Cymru, Wales.  [Thus the Loglan  name of Wales, by our naming convention, would have to be Kimrus, which, like the words Cymru and Wales, is a singular term...as logic requires of us here.—Ed.]

    Another idea which typified Wes’s argument was an aversion to affixes (this is relevant because RAM’s proposal would essentially strip [some] predicates of their final vowel and require logli to use one of the five vowel suffixes). I admit that this mystifies me.  Complexes are as easy to pick out of written or spoken input as primitives.  If you want to analyze them into primitives, you have a few extra steps to contend with; but why bother?  Modifier-modified relationships are as intuitive as complexes, for the most part (though generally le preda prede means about the same thing as le prede ga preda). [Surely Steve means le prede go preda, here, the prede which predas, rather than Le prede ga preda = The prede is a preda.—Ed.] For most practical purposes, hinda, hinleu, and hinde lengu are all equally unanalyzable to a computer.

    So what does all this have to do with RAM’s proposal?  Not a lot, actually; his proposal wouldn’t really decrease the number of gener[ic] terms available.  But I think Wes believed it would.  Of course, he wouldn’t have to use the new system.  Since the meaning of the present predicate would survive (though probably in altered form), he could always use it and ignore the other forms.  This would provide the sort of [dialectical and even idiolectical] optionality which is characteristic of Loglan.

    Where RAM’s proposal is concerned, I think that something of the sort would be worthwhile.  Most isolating languages I know of indulge in functional shift, which also involves some semantic shifting as well.  In fact, this sort of behavior seems to be universal.  In inflected langauges it is done using affixes or inflections, instead of just changing a word’s function and expecting others to make the necessary semantic adjustments.  Loglan is unnatural in this respect; it has pure functional shift. There is no semantic shift available, except (to a limited extent) in complexes.  This is, as I have said, unnatural, and perhaps in an important way. We should realize that human semantic associations are not rigidly systematic.  This is the basis of one of the longest-running disputes in the international language movement, namely the one over derivational systems. Many have said that Esperanto’s method is simplistic and irrational, and in a sense it is...but it is also intuitive.  (Please note that the improved versions of Esperanto are dead or dying, while Esperanto is at least surviving.) RAM has managed to be both systematic and intuitive...a remarkable feat.  My own experimentation in this area leads me to believe that it’s possible to be too systematic in derivation, so a system that provides a feeling of anarachy might  be useful psychologically.  In any event, it would provide a short, intuitive way to solve a problem that is usually so handled in the natural languages.

    What about the problems [which adopting] the proposal would cause?  As to messing up the affix system, I doubt RAM’s proposal would do more than reduce the learnability of some affixes (considering that the present system allows dru < durzo, this doesn’t strike me as a major problem).  It would only affect CVV forms, and not all of them.  If affixes retained the place-structure of the corresponding predicates, there might be a bit of trouble, but right now they don’t seem to.

    My own major objection had been the reduced recognizability of [composite] primitives, but this same line of reasoning eliminates that problem.  In fact, no R-scores would decrease, but some should increase slightly.  The reason is that there would be five forms for every root concept.  If the final vowel of the present primitive doesn’t have any recognition value for some language, perhaps one of the other four will.  Although ‘-na’ of Hindi ‘janna’ is a suffix, a Hindi-speaker will probably remember djana a little more easily than djano.  The fact that four other unmatching forms would also exist wouldn’t matter; all that RAM’s system requires is an entry point.  Other forms would be mnemonically linked by their [common four-letter stem].  Learn one [member of the set] and you’ve essentially learned them all.

    In any event, the proposal represents a true option.  Those who don’t like it can ignore it (except that they would have to learn some new endings and would encounter it in other people’s usage). Loglan has never shrunk back from offering options to its users, so the proposal should be accepted, especially as it would make no changes in the nature of the language. In deference to those who dislike affixes (which is what Wes’s position apparently amounts to), generic forms such as hinde should [also] be adopted to grant them the option of using the language as they see fit.

                         Sui loa,    Stephen L. Rice

Dear Editor:

     I think [RAM’s “More Declensions” proposal] will correct something unnatural (in the important sense) about Loglan derivation.  All the languages I’ve ever encountered, especially the more analytic ones, have had a quick way to shift their words’ function and meaning.  In Loglan, functional shift occurs without semantic adjustments (or only minimal ones). [I assume Steve means by a “functional shift” a place-structure rearrangement by conversion. —Ed.] This is unnatural, and I don’t think it’s maintainable.  My experimentation with such systems leads me to believe that speakers would rebel against them after a while.  We also seem to need at least the appearance of anarchy; it’s like adding artwork and bric-a-brac to an otherwise spartan living area.

                          Sui loa,    Stephen L. Rice


You will have a chance to "vote" on this matter in the Questionnaire distributed with this issue. The Academy requests your opinion.

The next item is from a letter to JCB from Kathy Macedon. The writer works at a Montessori school in South Carolina and is interested in introducing Loglan into the environment of young children after she’s learned enough herself to serve as a role-model.  To do that, she’s tackling it first herself in a group of adults.—Ed.

Dear JCB:

     Three of us (Jack, myself and Sasha) have been engaged in learning Loglan since mid-March.  Three more people have joined us recently, which is why I’m ordering more books.  I haven’t gotten to use the software enough, I’m afraid, since we only have one IBM and many people are using it for word processing, etc.  I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

                                                Kathy Macedon

                                                       

This is an exciting development.  I’ve asked Kathy to keep, and get her friends to keep, good “learning logs” on the time they spend separately and together on the various kinds of Loglan learning activities.  That way we can gradually assemble the data with which to make more precise reports about the time it takes to learn Loglan.—Ed.


Dear Editor:

     I have just finished reading Loglan 1 and found it a fascinating experience, though I must confess to feelings of grammatical indigestion at times.

      May I make a number of points?

     (i)  It is pretty clear to me that Loglan cannot be learned by reading Loglan 1 as its aim is to describe, rather than teach the language.  While the MacTeach software doubtless serves the latter purpose, I feel that a textbook of some kind would be valuable to beginners such as I.  How about Teach Yourself Loglan? 

      (ii)  Having read the original Scientific American article some years ago, I found I had to unlearn some of the little words and predicates while trying to assimilate the New Loglan. E.g., gromaksensi has now become rojmaosensi.

     (iii)  I find the absence of a plural termination difficult to get used to, but I suppose that is a consequence of my European outlook on language.

     (iv)  I can’t help thinking that learning all the Loglan affixes on top of the primitive predicates must be quite a task.  (It is tempting to compare Esperanto in which I became fluent after only six months.) I find it worrying that there is often more than one affix meaning the same thing, e.g., pao and pas from pasko.

      I intend to keep up my interest in Loglan and will contact you again in the not-too-distant future.

                                Yours sincerely,

La Kiq Atkin

P.S. My attempts to make Loglan utterances must have been overheard; the other day my daughter called out:  Mi danza kupta tcati eo!  K.A.


(i) I am happy to say that just such a book is now underway.  See "Loglan 0"in my SLS in this issue.  (ii) The remarkable thing is that Reader Atkin remembered this early vocabulary from 30 years ago!  (iii) Try thinking of the Loglan predicate as the kind of noun that deer is in two deer.  That is the sense of bukcu in to bukcu.  It is as if we said *two book. In Loglan, as in some English expressions like two deer, the number-word carries the entire burden of plurality.  So it’s not so odd after all.  (iv) Although I once thought we would, I am beginning to discover that we don’t really have to learn the affixes as a separate list of items.  They seem to come along piggyback on the primitives themselves. What one seems to learn is that rojmao is an “abbreviation" of rodja madzo, just as darpao is an abbreviation of darli pasko distant-past. After a while it seems transparent that they are. Seeing complexes as abbreviations seems easy enough to do, and one doesn’t ever seem tempted to sit down and actually master the affixes themselves, that is, to learn out of context that roj means rodja and mao means madzo.  Viewed as devices variously employed in forming abbreviations, even the fact that some primitives have several affixes makes more sense. You abbreviate with one affix in one type of situation, and with another in another type...one in which the first obviously wouldn’t work at all.  Thus you use pas in pasnaodei (yesterday) and pao in darpao (ancient); and the two situations are obviously so different that you wouldn’t get a useful abbreviation by using the other affix in the pair.  We don’t know a lot yet about how Loglan affixes are learned. They haven’t been around long enough yet. But I suspect, from my own experience with them, that indirect contextual learning—piggyback learning, if you like—will prove a lot more efficient, and more natural, than what we are doing now with MacTeach 2, in which we present the affixes to be learned in an out-of-context list.  Do others have experiences to report that might bear on this interesting issue? Re your postscript, your daughter’s utterance paints a charming image, of course.  But let us hope that she also picks up from you the useful trick of dropping in argsigns (“argument signs”) here and there.  For example, a lo or a su or a ne dropped in just before that kupta tcati of hers would have turned it into an argument, as she obviously meant it to be.  But without some grammatical sign that it is, we are left with the picture of your daughter pleading with you or someone for what she inferrably regards as the privilege of becoming a “desiring cup (loving cup?) portion of tea”...a transmutation at least as difficult as turning gold into lead.  Of course an accurate translation of British May I have a cup of tea, please? would have to be a little more elaborate than Mi danza lo kupta tcati eo  (I want some cup type of tea, please).  Mi hompi ne kupta je lo tcati eo would do.  But in Loglandia Mi hompi lo tcati eo or Mi danza lo tcati eo is more often heard.  I admit that one of the more difficult things for the novice to learn about Loglan is that its predicate words do not come out of the box with nominal, adjectival, verbal, or adverbial senses already attached.  You have to actually give them these senses by marking them with little words.—Ed.


Dear Editor:

     Sorry to hear about Faith Rich.  She will be remembered fondly by all of us in Loglandia.

                                                    Ed Prentice


Dear JCB:

     I’m retired now and my eyes are no longer as good as they used to be!  Hence I don’t know how long I’ll be able to be a Lognet member.  But for now I’ve enclosed $50 for membership.

     Yes, Loglan 1 was (is) a good long read.  But I have two complaints.  The first and most serious is, there is no index!  When I get stuck somewhere and I want to find the corresponding information elsewhere in the book...ouch!!

    On page 57 there is a reference to Bodmer (1944), [but] not in the Bibliography on page 593.  I happen to know a book by Bodmer [and] Hogben (The Loom of Language), though whether it was 1944 or not, I don’t know.  [Yes; that’s the one.—Ed.]  Hogben invented Interglossa, and after he died in 1975, a few of his “disciples” renamed it ‘Glosa’...because they introduced changes they felt he would not approve; and under that name, it’s an ongoing enterprise in Richmond, Surrey, England.  Like nearly all [the international auxiliary language groups], they’re underfunded, too!

     And how do you say/write ‘Ouch!’ in Loglan?

             Very truly yours,    Bernard Berger  

[From a second letter:]  I read Loglan 1 once or twice—skimmed rather than read it—but now I’m reading it again more slowly and carefully.  But I’m finding anomolies.  Loglan grammar may be consistent, but the textbook isn’t quite!

     On page 166, footnote 35 (referenced on page 140), the reader is told to turn to Appendix B, the Fourteen Logical Connectives.  But Appendix B is nothing of the kind.  Appendix A does have some logical connectives, but no separate listing.  Well, if there is such a listing, where is it?

                 Respectfully yours,

                                      Bernard Berger

                                                

We welcome Member Berger and hope his eyes hold out for a good long time!  Let’s take up the problems he’s encountered one at a time.  First, no index.  There was meant to be; and I agree, there should have been.  What happened was that the book without the index was 599 pages. With an index it would have been around 620.  I wanted to keep it in the 500’s and had just barely made it.  A 600-page book just sounds too bulky to the skittish buyer.  So I skipped the index to avoid the image of a book that was too long for a sensible, non-gluttonous reader to buy.  I hope you will all forgive me.  The 5th Edition will have an index.  We may even issue a separate index to the 4th if you vote one in; see the enclosed Questionnaire. Frankly, I had hoped that the great detail displayed in the Table of Contents would enable readers to hop around. 

    Yes, the Bodmer reference is The Loom of Language, and it’s an error that it’s not to be found in the Bibliography.  This and all other errors that are called to my attention will get duly corrected in Lo Tsero.  Bodmer’s and Hogben’s works were both quite influential in the design of Loglan.  I’m glad to hear that Glosa still survives.  Somebody—some loglanist, perhaps?—ought to do a review of all the surviving international auxiliaries.

     And how do we say Ouch! in Loglan?  I don’t know!  We don’t have such a word yet.  Any suggestions?  Uu doesn’t quite say it; neither does Uo.  Soi puntu (using the new Rice marker; see LN90/1:14) could serve as an embellishment of a sentence, with the sense of  It pains me to say this, but....  But it seems pretty tepid as a translation of Ouch!.  Any ideas?

    In the 3rd Edition, Appendix B was indeed a paradigm of the 16 logical connectives and how they grew, but there wasn’t room for it in the 4th...for approximately the same reason that there wasn’t room for an index.  So it was eliminated, and all references to it should have been.  This stray allusion evidently escaped my computer search.  That it’s still there is another error to be corrected in Lo Tsero.  I thank Reader Berger for his still-sharp eye!—Ed


Dear Logli:

Let me introduce myself.  I retired in ’87 with 32 years experience as an Assembly Language computer programmer.  I have an avocational interest in symbolic logic (I’ve been a member of the Association for Symbolic Logic for 30 years) and advanced mathematics (I’m a member of the Mathematical Association of America).  Over the years I have self-tutored myself in mathematical subjects by translating the proofs into symbolic logic. And I feel that a logic-based language would be ideal for this purpose.

I well remember the ’60 SA article and waited a long time for anything concrete to come to fruition.  In the late ’70s or early ’80s I purchased the two Loglan volumes offered by The Institute (they are probably in the attic someplace).  I was both fascinated and disappointed by the books.  I felt that [you were] allowing too many non-logical ambiguities (or even inconsistencies) to intrude on Loglan.  My option seemed to be to take what I could from Loglan, change what I didn’t like, and develop my own Loglan argot.  But this would mean that I couldn’t converse with other loglanists.  Anyway, time pressures led to my abandoning the effort.  Now that I am retired I would like to restart the effort.

For the past month I have been studying Loglan 1, and still am somewhat disappointed.  But over the years I have become more tolerant and patient, and I feel that most conflicts can be resolved by a shift in perspective and/or emphasis.  And I can’t really knock [your] presentation since Loglan 1 has to appeal to a very wide audience.  What is lucid in one context (linguistics, say) can be nearly incomprehensible in another (e.g., logic) and vice versa.  Nevertheless, I feel that if Loglan is ever to fly, it is paramount that its underlying transformations avoid inconsistencies and minimize ambiguities.

    I don’t wish to delineate any paradigm (am I using the word exactly?) at the present time; but to give you some idea of what I have in mind I will tell you that while reading Loglan 1 the following logical terms kept popping into my mind:

“Universe of Discourse”, “Modal Theory”, “Fuzzy Logic” (the concept, not any particular implementation), “First-order Predicate Logic”, “Yentzen style system”, “Well-formed formulas”, “Axiom (Theorem) Schema”, “Antinomies”, etc.  Actually, Loglan has proved useful already.  I’ve just finished reading the latest issue of “The Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic”, and considering my difficulties with Loglan I have a better understanding of the technical perspectives of the various authors.

 To cut this letter short I have [attached] some problems that I have found with Loglan. My approach has been to first quick-read Loglan 1; now I am rereading Loglan 1 in depth noting (and sometimes resolving) problems as I go along.  Eventually, I hope to go back and formalize my understanding of Loglan in a more logical fashion.  Currently the work is proceeding very slowly (it can take days to cover a section), and I am only on the last section of Chapter IV.  As I am no Loglan expert I hope you will forgive any Loglan grammatical slips. Furthermore, you may have resolved these problems in a different fashion and I would be happy to be enlightened.  I have other problems with Loglan but most of them are contextually resolvable.

As an example, we should go back to Quine’s (actually Frege’s) exclusive definition of the descriptor le. If the speaker introduces le mrenu when the context contains none or two or more men [or objects thought by da to be men—Ed.], the auditor can reasonably ask Which man? [Ie le mrenu?]....and the answer The man I had in mind is pure sophistry.  [Or at least uninformative, because that’s what the man means; so the answer is equivalent to both of the tautologies The man is the man and The man I had in mind is the man I had in mind. But this misses the linguistical point about appearances and realities, namely that those who use descriptors in natural languages are guided by appearances.—Ed.]  On the other hand, in a casual context the auditor might assume a pronomial use referencing the last man mentioned.  But in that case the context would remain delimited to that man (and other non-man arguments) until other men-type arguments were specifically reintroduced into the context.  [Do you mean by context here universe of discourse?  Or simply this discussion?—Ed.]  This usage does retain a certain amount of ambiguity, but we don’t want our casual Loglan conversations to become too pedantic.

                                         Sincerely,

Vincent G. Sprague

                                                        

As far as referential ambiguity is concerned—uncertainties about who, exactly, we are talking about—the problem  for our loglandical logicians is to devise usages for the rest of us to follow which are simple, deft, easily learned, accurately applied in well-defined situations, and capable of successfully eliminating referential ambiguity in all or nearly all cases which can occur in those situations.  Little by little we are trying to do this.  Mr. Sprague is invited to help.  Indeed, he is a very welcome addition to our still-small team of logician-logli. I am putting him in touch with Randall Holmes, another logician and the author of the next letter.—Ed.


Dear Mr. Brown:

       I am very interested in Loglan, and generally in the project of constructing languages based on mathematical logic.... I have a Ph.D. in mathematics (SUNY....1990) with a dissertation connecting the fields of combinatory logic and Quine's set theory [in] "New Foundations".  It was actually from Professor Quine that I obtained the current address of the Institute.... An interest of mine is whether a natural [speakable?—Ed.] language could be equipped with the devices for eliminating "bound variables" found in combinatory logic/lambda-calculus or in a system such as Quine's predicate functor logic....

       [From a second letter:] I would be delighted to work with you on correct logical usage in Loglan.

Sincerely,

              M. Randall Holmes


Randall has already sent me a first draft of a paper implementing Quine's functor logic and calculus of concepts in Loglan. Presumably  it's for La Logli, and so I have sent it on to Tisra Sattley. Also, as noted, I'm putting our two logicians Randall and Vincent in touch with one another. I hope they'll be able to work out a system of "good logical usage" in Loglan and teach the rest of us. This has been a project close to my heart for years, and it's a pleasure to launch it through these two new lodmao logli.—Ed.


Dear Editor:

....Although Loglan seems to have evolved away from the structure I recall in the early Scientific American article, and I have some doubts about its acceptance as an emotion-free intermediate language, perhaps it will yet prove useful (if not so readable).

....I note your editor’s comments regarding your [being] limited to 5.25" disk format for Lognet submissions.  I have capability to read and write all common IBM formats:  5.25" 360 KB,   5.25" 1.2 MB,   3.5" 720 KB,   3.5" 1.44 MB.

If I may be of service to convert for your members who, in growing numbers, may have only 1.2 MB and 3.5" disks, let me know.  I can convert any to the 360 KB, 5.25" disk, which, I take it, is your format.... Glad to help.

                                                 Nick Stein

                                                           

The 1960 SA description was really a plan for a language, its prolegomena.  In its essentials that plan has not changed.  But the description of the modern language—no longer a mere plan—certainly has a changed appearance, and, it is possible, less immediate charm. Many were, indeed, charmed by the “stark simplicity” (as Rudolf Meijer, one of our Dutch loglanists, put it) of the 1975 language.  But this is really all to the good.  Modern Loglan is a language, no longer a mere plan for one.  And as such it has all the surface intricacy and organic character of a human tongue. But at bottom that stark structural simplicity is still there.  You have to dig a little deeper for it now; but it’s there.

     I’m puzzled by Reader Stein’s use of the phrase emotion-free.  Loglan has never been intended to be an “emotion-free” language...not even a “culture-free” one; just a culturally neutral one. A neutral culture is a not a non-culture, and an emotionally transparent language (which is what Loglan aims to be) is not an emotion-less one.

    Also, I wonder why Reader Stein feels that Loglan is “less readable” than it was?  Is it the inclusion of new sounds like h and y?  And the three irregulars, w q x?  It turns out that as soon as you consider accommodating the already internationalvocabulary of science, you need the letters ‘h y w q x’, and therefore, in a phonemic language, ways of pronouncing them. The problem is unavoidable; the particular solution we came up with may of course be bettered; but no better one has been offered.

     I want to thank New Member Stein for his generous offer of help. We’ll certainly use it when and as we need to. Meanwhile, keep on sending things to us on 5.25" disks when you have a choice.  But you can now feel free to use the newer disks and loadings when you have to; and we’ll get Nick to reload them onto 5.25"s for us when you do.—Ed.


Dear Jim:

       ....I was wondering if there is anything like children's literature [in Loglan]? Our daughter, Morgan, is 9 months old now and just beginning to be verbal. [John and I] think it would be interesting to teach her a little bit of Loglan, at least to give her a taste of the grammar. I would enjoy collaborating with someone to illustrate such a book, if none exists already. (I suppose it would need to be line drawings with half tones, as color printing is still fairly expensive.)....

Take care,

                                          Anita Lees


I've put Kathy Macedon and Anita Lees in touch with one another. Let's hope this will get yet another book-writing project going! What'll we  call this one? Loglan -1?—Ed.


Dear Loglan Institute:

   ....[You should] consider starting a Loglan bulletin board. An electronic medium might well generate the critical mass you want. Even if you don't start your own, get [our] members to spread the word on their favorite boards.  If you are not familiar with these things, believe me, they are very weird and very popular, especially here in Toronto. We have hundreds in Toronto alone catering to every imaginable special interest, including at least one Esperanto board.

Yours truly,      Steve Chapman


What a good idea! Members wanting to start a local Loglan bulletin board could upload "What Is Loglan?" for starters. If you don't have this piece, write me for a copy.—JCB