Vi le Sritoe pe la Cefli

that is, on the desk of the CEO of the Loglan Institute

Welcome to the doubtless somewhat untidy web presence of Randall Holmes, qua "chief executive officer" of the Loglan Institute (the title seems excessively grand, but that is what it is, officially). I prefer la Cefli, in Loglan :-)

The Loglan Institute (TLI) is the official organization which coordinates the development of the artifical human language Loglan. The main Loglan web site is here: that is the place to look for lots of general information and resources on the language. There is a mirror of this site (not always perfect) here at Boise State.

Here is a good place to start finding out what Loglan is, Loglan I (fourth edition) by James Cooke Brown.

Here is the current public agenda of the Institute (which I wrote in 2013): Public Agenda of TLI

Here is a new agenda document (the Fall 2016 Report on the State of the Loglan Language) which is intended be essentially a complete report on the state of the language from my perspective as of Fall 2016. Note the change of date from "Fall 2015": I have added a summary of where I think things stand now. It includes a list of issues that I have worked on, an updated text of the reference grammar, a list of current proposals (including new ones), the complete PEG grammar (I am still updating annotations to it), and the trial.85 grammar. It is a substantial document. I am still working on it in Fall 2016, and have been editing the reference grammar (which is embedded in this document), making sure as best I can that it is readable and current.

There is a mailing list for people interested in Loglan. It is not an open list (due to the usual problems with spammers), but if you look here you will see how to apply to get on it.

On the rest of this page you will find my current Loglan projects and some general information about the Loglan language, its history, and its relationships with other artificial languages.

My current Loglan projects


I am currently developing a parser for Loglan, which has involved investigating and sometimes proposing modifications to all sorts of features of the language. The problem is that LIP (the old parser) is based on a now publicly available formal grammar which is provably unambiguous (as per our aims) on the level of grammar, but which is much more opaque (and demonstrably has errors) in the area of parsing individual words. It is legacy software, and I have no way to maintain it conveniently, and further it is now outdated. So I have written and am maintaining my own parser.

The parser uses PEG (Parsing Expression Grammars), a scheme for developing parsers (developed by Bryan Ford) described here. This differs from a use of a BNF grammar disambiguated using yacc which underlies LIP, and does raise questions about ambiguity (or more correctly, unintended parse) problems.

The parser has versions written in two different languages, Standard ML and Python. The time leak that I was experiencing with the Python version seems to have been fixed: it runs acceptably fast.

The ML version: Here find the PEG parser generator (written by me, updated 1/8/2017 with a change to logging to support batch processing) which I use to generate the provisional PEG parser for Loglan (written by me, updated constantly, get a new version often) implemented here (this is now the test parser initiated on 9/4/2016, latest update 1/8/2017, adds batch processing functions). Both of these are files to be run using the Moscow ML interpreter, which is free and runs on many platforms. The files are each documented at their front ends. I also have versions for Moscow ML 2.10.1 and for Poly/ML, available on request.

The Python version: Here is a Python module for parsing Loglan, (always the latest version, update regularly, latest update 11/19/2016), which calls a utility module which calls a PEG parsing Python module (get the updated version of this from January 2016 which fixes the time leak). Please notice that from 2/10/2016 on you need THREE Python files here.

You can parse Loglan utterances using my grammar in this environment. All functions are working pretty well now, but of course there may be bugs. Please tell me about any problems that you find! The slowness of the Python version up to now was a bug, and has been fixed.

An attempt at documentation: Here is a file containing an introduction to both of my Loglan parsers, intended to help you start using one. It is worth noting that the grammar will build a lot faster under Python 3 than under Python 2.7.

Here is the Loglan PEG source in Ford's exact syntax in a text format generated by the ML parser engine. I do try to keep this up to date. This might be useful if someone wants to try this with different PEG software.

I am maintaining a single version of the grammar (implemented in both languages) at this time. Alternative versions take lots of extra time!

I am again not maintaining alternative versions. This means that the parser does restrict the formation of SOV sentences (additional arguments after the first before the predicate should either be separated by gio or case tagged).

Sample texts

I set up the teaching corpus in Notebook 3 as input to the parser.

Here is a corpus of parsed Loglan sentences (run this Python file in the presence of the other two), this now contains the entire teaching corpus in NB3 modified to work with the current grammar.

Here is the corpus as a use file to run under ML; it runs in a minute or two! Here is a text log file containing the NB3 utterances and their parses (under some recent version of the parser; this will be updated now and then).

Here is my Technical Report on the now completed process of parsing the NB3 corpus. This is seriously outdated.

More sample material (these are also Python files to be run in the presence of the Python parser files): Lots of parsed examples from Loglan 1 ; Some examples of complex predicates and phonetic parses

Here is a translation of a small opening segment of the Old English poem Beowulf. I have started adding to it again in January 2016!

I am parsing the text of the Visit to Loglandia, the novel by Alex Leith which is the largest single Loglan text. It may be useful to note that my input files include comments on the revisions I had to make in the text to make it parse.

It is further worth noting that I re-did the parses of the first six installments after making updates to the parser motivated by phenomena encountered in parsing this text, and the process went much more easily and cleanly. In particular, I adapted the parser to Leith's capitalization and punctuation conventions.

The particular points that often need repair in this text are worth noting

The parsing of the Visit is complete, at least until I gather the courage to check all the GUO closures.... I do rebuild the whole Visit parse now and then, but it takes a couple of hours :-)

Dictionary Work (with Peter Hill)

Here are the current trial drafts of the English-to-Loglan and Loglan-to-English dictionaries with my latest trial words added. Here is my latest version of the database (for use with Peter Hill's dictionary program). I have been doing dictionary work recently.

Here is the Windows executable of the dictionary program (change the extension from .ex2 to .exe). Advice on how to use it will be given if requested. Please, if you save dictionaries of your own, use the file labelling procedures so they can be told from the official version(s). If you want it in some other OS, you might need to ask Peter Hill if it is convertible, or write your own.

As of 1/23/2016, these dictionaries contain my latest corrections. Here is something utterly mad, a complete parse down to letters of the all the keys in the L-to-E dictionary. If you are mad enough to look at it, be sure to read the comments at the front :-)

work on Notebook 3

Here is a version of Notebook 3, one of our founding documents, which has been scanned and OCR'ed by Gleki Arxokuna and post-OCR proofread and edited by Peter Hill. This is the unmodified original. This is a version to which I am in the process of adding comments (I will be updating this as I work through it). These are Microsoft Word documents. I am also planning to use this to add the English translations to the source file for the NB3 corpus.

Reference Grammar project

Here is a zeroth draft of a complete (in intention) reference grammar for the language, written in English (with unavoidable TLI grammatical jargon but without PEG notation). It now covers essentially all of the grammar, but still lacks full discussion of semantics, and needs more examples, motivation and pragmatics of actually using the grammar to say what we want to say. The pointer to the reference grammar document has been replaced with a pointer to the Fall 2015 report, which contains the reference grammar and which is where it will continue to be updated.

La Keugru: the Loglan Academy

The Loglan Academy is a small group which makes official decisions about updates to the formal definition of the language.

Here is a pointer to Appendix H of Loglan I, which details the past work of the Academy.

Here is the official list of proposals before the Loglan Academy (la Keugru) This agenda document for the Loglan Academy now also contains my notes on the PEG parser, which now cover the entire phonology, lexicology, and grammar in detail. This document is intention superseded by my Fall 2015 Report, but I leave it here because there may be useful material in its older annotations on the PEG grammar. It will however no longer be updated: I will henceforth upgrade the copy of the PEG and annotations in the Fall 2015 Report.

It is important to note that my PEG grammar includes features which are still under consideration by the Academy. However, it should parse most Loglan sentences a learner will produce correctly, and indeed LIP will still do this in most cases.

Institutional and historical information

The Loglan project was founded by James Cooke Brown (JCB) in about 1955: it was originally intended as a tool to test the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. To test the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in the laboratory, he needed a language which was manageably small, but nonetheless a human language, and which was extreme in some respect, so that it might be expected to have Whorfian effects. He chose to make the language extremely logical; he also chose to make it syntactically unambiguous. The aim was that the structure of a Loglan sentence can always be determined precisely, and indeed that Loglan can be parsed by a computer.

At Brown's death in 2000, Robert A McIvor was CEO of the Institute; in 2008 when McIvor retired from this role he appointed me. I am not a member of the original group that built the language, though I had some personal contact with JCB and served as the logical consultant (la Lodtua) for a while in the 1990's; I am always interested to learn more about the earlier history of the project from those who were there. The Academy which made official decisions about the development of the language had made its last ruling in 1996 and was essentially defunct until I reconstituted it in 2013.

There is a sister language, Lojban, whose main web site is here, Ido to our Esperanto. The schism between the two languages happened about 1987 and culminated, alas, in a lawsuit, hinging on the fact that JCB claimed copyright on the word "Loglan" and on the Loglan vocabulary. He lost the point about the word, and the other language as a result has (or had originally) quite similar grammar and semantics and an unintelligible vocabulary (though even the vocabulary is formally similar in important ways). The two languages have drifted apart since, but are still quite closely related. Lojban has a much larger community and more activity. I think the original language still has something to offer, and the existence of two languages may provide some opportunities as well. Whatever the situation in the past, TLI is on good terms with the LLG which steers the development of Lojban, and though we do claim that essential materials of Loglan are the intellectual property of TLI and/or of their individual authors, we make them freely available to anyone with a private interest in learning the language or experimenting with modifications of the language (including Lojbanists!). Before undertaking any other use of the materials (and certainly before making any claim that your favorite modification is a feature of TLI Loglan!), please talk to us.

Here is another related language. And here is yet another!