(From Lognet 92/3. Used with the permission of The Loglan Institute, Inc.)
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. We’d be most grateful if you’d enclose a soft copy of your letter on a disk. We can translate most word-processors and having your letters on disk will save us a lot of typing.—Tisra
We have space for only one letter this time. The one we've chosen is from a man who is reading Loglan from prison. People who were in the office when his original inquiry arrived put up a pool to get him started.—JCB
I am a convert! I would like to start a fund to donate copies of Loglan 1 to public and university libraries. Please advise [me] as to your opinion of this [proposal] and [the] mechanics involved. I hope other members will be able to help in such an effort. [This is a truly great idea. The Board is meeting on this right now to figure out a special rock-bottom price to give what we’re going to call the Salsman Fund for its gift books. The Institute will of course contribute the labor of order-filling.—JCB]
... Is there a more complete (even if informal) errata [list] for Loglan 1 than that provided for the front- and back-matter? [Uu no. I’ve been keeping a folder of people’s reports to me of their L1 errata discoveries, but nobody has put it all together. Do I see the eager face of yet another tiftua, soi crano?—JCB]
Also, send relevant non-disclosure forms required for [a] source [code] license [for] LIP. [Actually, what we send out first to inquirers like Mr. Salsman is the formal grammar which is loaded in the current LIP.—JCB] My friends at Carnegie-Mellon’s Center for Machine Translation and I are quite anxious to put together a simple conversational system [for Loglan] and it is quite clear that it will be much easier [to build] than those that already exist in English....
... I have a burning question that can’t wait ... : How do we [translate] spatial “transitive” prepositions? For example, (a) The car went through the tunnel, [and] (b) The arrow flew over the target. [We often incorporate the notion expressed prepositionally in English as part of some Loglan predicate. For example, tcegoi from tceru godzi = “penetrate-go” and can be translated ‘goes through’; similarly tovfle is from tovru fleti and could mean either ‘over-flies’ or ‘flies over’. See Bill Gober on these kinds of prepositional problems in LN92/2:4-6.—JCB] Well, I hope you get the gist. I’m not sure whether to use a case-tag somehow, via plus a predicate of some sort, or just some [complex] (of “affixed”) predicates. Help! [It’s nearly always best to explore the third route first.—JCB]
... Are there predicates or [complexes] for ‘top’ and ‘bottom’? [There are, and they cover several senses of each. As the new, and much expanded, “Loglan Online Dictionary” will show us all very shortly, there are four senses of ‘top’ (or E phrases that use ‘top’): ganpai (the top, peak, summit or high-part of something), ganspali (the top side or surface of something), kuvga (the lid, cover, or “top” of something), and tovnea (to be on top of something). ‘Bottom’ has three renderings: basni (base), conpai (a deep part or bottom of something), and dampai (a low part or bottom of something). Take your pick.—JCB]
... The [Loglan] topics that most interest me are as follows:
1. Semantic primitives in relation to Roget’s Thesaurus (1911 outline).
2. Context-preserved indexing and abstracting of Loglan texts given LIP output.
3. Part-Whole Relations (see “A Taxonomy of Part-Whole Relations” Cognitive Science, Vol. 11 (1987) pp. 417-44).
4. The expression of spatial transitions (e.g., ‘through’, ‘under’ — as in ‘went under’, etc.).
5. The possibility of a Turing test or Loebner prize in Loglan and the resulting “cultural neutrality”.
6. Ensuring the financial success of TLI so that the Loglan tools can be offered to researchers through the public domain.
I have two things related to (6):
First, my next order will contain a sizeable donation to the “library fund” to place books in public and college libraries. I will try to find a specialist in the American Library Association that can help us distribute Loglan 1 most effectively and cost-efficiently.
Second, as a researcher I am having trouble understanding certain clauses in your standard legal agreement. As a member of the Free Software Foundation and the League for Programming Freedom, the second paragraph of [the non-disclosure agreement] seems positively Draconian to me. [To explain the Institute’s position on “trade-secret sharing”, and also to expand a bit on this blunt paragraph in our letter of agreement, I sent Mr. Salsman a copy of LN90/1:16-17 on “Trade Secrets Sharing”. This apparently did the trick.—JCB] I am still planning to sign, as I believe that the Institute’s goals are to place only limited restrictions on all Loglan materials once the financial success [of TLI] is assured. Please let me know, whether I am correctly stating TLI policy here.
[Mr. Salsman is correct. TLI’s business strategy is to earn enough money through our commercial operations, including licensing our language-developing software but more importantly by publishing books, cassettes, and software and giving workshops, until we are able to hire a group of paid employees and give them a chance to demonstrate that they are capable of sustaining the language and serving the Loglan community (the logli) in ways that promise to nourish the growth of both. When and if that happens, the survival of TLI as the custodian of the Loglan language and the publisher of its books and software will probably be assured through its unique historical relationship to the language; and there will then be little reason to preserve TLI’s ownership of such intellectual properties as trade secrets, trademarks, and copyrights. But that’s for the future, Mr. Salsman. Right now we’re still struggling to fund the advertising to sell our books, to put out our several publications—LL, LN, the new L-Zero and the new Online Dictionary, nearly all of which we are accomplishing through the splendid work of numerous unpaid volunteers—but we’re still fragile enough financially, in fact so small in membership and revenues, that even the calling in of a few outstanding loans—which none of our creditors plans to do, soi garti—would blow us away. In fact, from an ordinary business point of view, we’ve already been blow away! We’re a small non-profit business that long ago failed but refused to go away. It is the slenderness of the financial thread that supports us that also persuades us that we need to exploit every legal advantage we still have, as the owners of the Loglan intellectual properties, over whatever competitors why might turn out to have (and believe it or not, we have one) until TLI has well and truly established itself as an institution, in the service of which at least a few good people can make their happy livings we hope for the rest of their lives. Anyone who can give us good, practical ideas for doing that will find most welcome listeners on the two Loglan Boards, the Directors and the Trustees.—JCB]
... I have been quite busy at work, but things will be easing off soon. When I send [my formal letter to Lo Lerci] [This one has been put together from snippets.—JCB], I will include an ASCII copy on 3.5" MS.DOS diskette.
I do have an e-mail address [in Pennsylvania] but I have no modem [here] in West Virginia! This sorry state of affairs is bound to change soon. ... In the meantime ... I have to use PC’s at work or the local college just to run LIP and MacTeach. [New Member Salsman bought, as is happening more and more frequently these days, “everything we have”.—JCB] As you can imagine, I have not been learning as fast as if I had been able to run MacTeach in a private environment where I could make plenty of “funny noises” without disturbing others.
... The Loebner competition (a cash-prize Turing test) was last night in Boston. [We don’t have the actual date of ‘last night’, but perhaps Mr. Salsman will favor us with another letter containing more details about this competition.—Tisra] I am planning to use transcripts from the competition to show how using Loglan instead of English would make the competition “fairer” and more interesting, at least to those interested in the same sorts of philosophical questions that Turing was when he designed the test.
My own PC and modem are in the Chicago area at the moment. I will send e-mail as soon as I can.
Ea lo piplo [ga] pismi da,
James P. Salsman