(From Lognet 93/4. Used with the permission of The Loglan Institute, Inc.)

Lo Lerci

(letters)


Letters policy: Unless otherwise stated, letters sent to The Institute, JCB, or any 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.  If you are not on e-mail and your letter is a long one, we’d be most grateful if you’d enclose a soft copy of your letter on a floppy disk. We can translate most word-processors and having your letters on disk will save us a lot of typing.—JCB


Dear Mr. Brown:

Your package reached Israel at a record time of a week, and I’m now deep into it.

I joined the FLEFO Forum on Compuserve, but there is no Loglan Section there. There are only two files about Lobjan [sic] in “Others” Section. Don’t you have other material online for downloading? And what is this Lobjan?

[By the way,] do you have Internet support? Either Internet addresses for Email, or even a newsgroup? While not easier to use than Compuserve, it is much cheaper (especially from distant places, such as Israel).

Dror Tirosh, Israel


I asked Kirk Sattley, TLI’s CompuServe expert and the Editor of its journal La Logli, to deal with New Member Tirosh’s problems with CS’s FLEFO Forum; and I believe that in doing so Kirk also answered T’s question about “Lobjan”, explaining that it was a mispelling of the name of a language whose developers had split off from the Loglan community in 1986 in order to make their own Loglan-like language...much as Ido was the result of a similar historical split with the early Esperantists. I also explained to T about our two Internet lists, the “Logli List” and the “Loglanists List”, and how a person can put p-self on the latter, and how whenever a new member felt m-self ready to deal with a more sophisticated level of questioning-and-answering, all m had to do was let me know that m felt m-self ready and I would put m on the Logli List. (What I am doing, of course, is exercising our new letter-variable anaphora system in English!)—JCB


Hoi James (Djeims?):

[Almost.  If you listen to English ‘James’ for the Loglan phonemes in it, you’ll discover that the final ‘s’ is /z/. So ‘Djeimz’.—JCB]

I learnt from Armando [Ramos] you had seen that my request of information about loglan some weeks ago was heared to. (Pardon my bad English.) Thank you very much.

Armando and James Jennings have been answering to my questions by e-mail, about loglan syntax, phonetics, vocabulary, and history. Now I have one question for you; it is only one but you will see that it is a big one.  Esperanto .

But wait...before my question , I want to tell you that I have been very delighted to learn about the syntax of loglan, that in the small part I have seen of it there are many things I like, such as making tense optional as in Chinese, and many things I think that everyone which ever attempts to build an artificial language (such as me since I was ten years old) should know.

Now the question: Esperanto wants to be an international auxiliary language, a tool for intercultural communication, to be known by everybody in the world in the long run. What does Loglan want to be? Perhaps an international auxiliary language that will be easier for the Chinese than Esperanto is now? Or perhaps you all have definite plans to test the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis? What are those plans? 

I think I should tell you that I am no linguist and no computer scientist, but I have a great interest for languages, and I have always thought that if I were rich I would do the same as Tolkien did, design a language from the start only by the fun of it, not with a concrete aim such as Esperantists have. So I was very surprised to learn that there were  artificial languages other than Esperanto, and I asked for information on the lists of Tolkien languages, Klingon, and Lojban too. This was the reason because of which I asked the first time; since then my interest in Loglan has deepened, but I fear that I don’t know which is the interest you loglanists have in loglan. James Jennings tells me that there are about two hundred people subscribed to the journal, and only half a dozen attempting to write texts in Loglan; so I guess that either your aim is not to make loglan widely known, or you don’t hurry.

Thanks for everything,

Jordi Mas, Spain

I think the answer is, as you put it, that we “don’t hurry”. As to what “Loglan wants to be”, our logli differ in what they, at least, want it to be. Some wish to use Loglan, or see L used, as an interface between humans and their computers. Some want to prepare the language and its people for an experimental test of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. (I’m one of those.) Some see L as a very pleasant sort of linguistic toy, even as a beautiful object to examine.and enjoy. (I confess I’m also one of those, soi crano!) Some think of L as a possible international auxiliary, a rival of Esperanto, a second language for the world. While I certainly believe that’s possible—and, in any case, it’s an exciting prospect (especially if the S-W hypothesis turns out to be true)—I also believe that it’s a long way off. I believe that before L could be offered as a serious candidate for the international second language that we are undoubtedly going to need on this planet, we logli will have to have developed a much bigger and richer body of teachable and logically defensible usages—something that is more capable of meeting the demands of everyday speech—than anything we have now. We’re working on usage now.

You see, L, being a logical language, requires “logically defensible” usages. This requires careful analysis of what we really mean when we use a compact idiom, like ‘Fire!’ or ‘Por favor’ or ‘I am waiting for a taxi’ or ‘He’s a one-legged man’. Natural language idioms don’t have to make sense; they don’t have to be defensible; all they have to be is memorable. (As you spani say, they are often “idiotismos”!) I would say that the immediate aim of The Loglan Institute, and perhaps that of most of the contemporary community of logli, is to develop that body of logically defensible usages, and a corpus of text that will llustrate their uses, as rapidly but yet as rigorously as possible.With such an objective, one cannot afford to hurry. As every craftsman knows, some tasks take loving care, and time. To hurry them is to risk spoiling the work. The construction of logically defensible usages is like that. It takes loving care and time...not to mention some fairly deep insights from time to time. We invite you to join us in this challenging work. There is much to do. And apparently there is great satisfaction for the workers who are doing it. (My own personal project is to encourage more logli to get involved in the usage-building activity than are currently involved. James is right; the number of those workers is still too small.)

—JCB