(Part of the Loglan Web pages)



Presented to the Faculty

of the University of Alaska Fairbanks

in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements

for the Degree of



Stephen L. Rice, B.A.

(C) Copyright 1994 Stephen L. Rice and the Loglan Institute, Inc.

Fairbanks, Alaska

May 1994


Loglan is a language designed to help test Whorf's hypothesis that language shapes thought. Specifically, Loglan should encourage more creative and logical thought in its users. Such future users will need a readable textbook of the language; that is the purpose of the present work.


Table of Contents
Questions about Loglan
The Format of this Book
The Loglan Alphabet
Word Classes

Lesson 1: Fill in the Blank

Lopo Lengu Klimao: Predicates, arguments, inflectors, questions and answers

Lesson 2: Command Performances

Lopo Lengu Klimao: Commands, attitude indicators, modification, more about inflectors, gu, conversion

Lesson 3: Getting into Arguments

Lopo Lengu Klimao: Description with le, letter variables, discursive modifiers, possessives, quotation
Lopo Purmao: Complexes and djifoa
Lo Nurvia Logla:

Lesson 4: Identity Without Crisis

Lopo Lengu Klimao: Names and identification
Lopo Purmao: CCV djifoa; -pli, -dru, -flo
Lo Nurvia Logla: Vi le ckela

Lesson 5: Modifying Your Position

Lopo Lengu Klimao: More about modification, ci, specified description with je/jue, grouping with ge, inversion with go, predifying with me
Lopo Purmao: CVV djifoa; comparative complexes with -mou/-mro and -ciu
Lo Nurvia Logla: La Betis, he

Lesson 6: Making Connections

Lopo Lengu Klimao: Connectives (eks)
Lopo Purmao: CVC djifoa, hyphenation; nun-/nur-, fur-, jur-
Lo Nurvia Logla: Le tcidaa cirhea

Lesson 7: Improving Your Connections

Lopo Lengu Klimao: More about connectives (sheks, eesheks, and keks)
Lopo Purmao: Ethnic predicates
Lo Nurvia Logla: Vi le mekso resra

Lesson 8: Mass Productions

Lopo Lengu Klimao: Mass description with lo; ze

Lopo Purmao: Complexes versus modification
Lo Nurvia Logla: La Betis, telfyduo

Lesson 9: Abstract Art

Lopo Lengu Klimao: Abstraction with po, pu, and zo; indirect discourse
Lopo Purmao: Using versus doing: -pli, -duo; behaving versus acting:-biu, -kao
Lo Nurvia Logla: Eo peudja la Betis

Lesson 10: Anything for the Cause

Lopo Lengu Klimao: Causal connectives, modal operators, comparative connectives
Lopo Purmao: change of state with -mao, -cko, and -cea
Lo Nurvia Logla: Le kenti je la Betis

Lesson 11: Abstract Arguments

Lopo Lengu Klimao: Letter-writing, register markers, still more about inflectors, da variables, abstract descriptors, inexact quotation
Lopo Purmao: cooperative action with bat-, kin-, and -kii
Lo Nurvia Logla: Le lerci pe la Fum Makinos

Lesson 12: The Numbers Racket

Lopo Lengu Klimao: Numbers, measurement, arithmetic
Lopo Purmao: number djifoa, multiplicative predicates
Lo Nurvia Logla: Nepo ditca lo konmathe

Lesson 13:Fuzzy Figures

Lopo Lengu Klimao: Inexact quantities with ra and sa words, number predicates with -ra and -ri, telling time
Lopo Purmao: predicates for months and for days of the week
Lo Nurvia Logla: Vi le tursia pe la Betis

Lesson 14:Just Say No

Lopo Lengu Klimao: Using no with non-designating variables
Lopo Purmao: Negative djifoa: nor-, buf-, -cle, and -pozfa
Lo Nurvia Logla: Peu la Karl, ce la Adris

Lesson 15: Broadening Your Scope

Lopo Lengu Klimao: Conversion and non-designating variables, definitions, goi
Lopo Purmao: devices with -mai, -pae, and -rie
Lo Nurvia Logla: Hu Sitfa la Loglandias

Lesson 16: Dealing with Relatives

Lopo Lengu Klimao: Relative constructions with ji/ja, jie/jae, and jio/jao; more about conversion; changing word order; borrowing with sao and lao
Lopo Purmao: discover and experiencing with -dui/duv- and -spe; helping with -hea
Lo Nurvia Logla: Fao, la Loglan, he

Lo Nurvia Logla: English Translations
Loglan-English Vocabulary
English-Loglan Vocabulary
Affix List
For Further Study


I gratefully acknowledge the technical assistance and support of the Loglan community, especially Dr. James Cooke Brown, its founder.

The guidance of my advisors and of other professors at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has also proved invaluable; I particularly wish to thank professors G. Burns Cooper and John Murray for their comments.

In addition, I must acknowledge the support of the various people who have furthered my interest in languages and in writing, including my parents, my late grandmother, and Mr. Richard Korvola.

The ultimate acknowledgement, of course, goes to God, who created all of the above, whether they know it or not, and who provided every other resource as well.

Lo buksatci (Introduction)

Pa lo Cirpai: Peu la Loglan, ze levi bukcu (Before the Lessons: About Loglan and this book)

Ri Kenti je la Loglan (Questions About Loglan)

If you've never heard of Loglan, especially if you just picked this book up out of curiosity, you will want to know what Loglan is, what it's like, and why you would benefit from learning it.

La Loglan, He? (What is Loglan?)

An Experimental Language. Professor James Cooke Brown, a social psychologist with strong interests in anthropology and philosophy, began Loglan in the late 1950s to test the idea that language influences the way we look at the world -- our "world view." Loglan's world view is based on symbolic logic (`Loglan' comes from logical language), though it also welcomes other systems of thought.

A Human Language. Many people think that Loglan is a computer language. Its grammar has been programmed into some popular home computers (Macintosh and PC-compatible); and teaching programs also exist, but Loglan is a human language: you can speak and write it.

A Designed Language. Unlike other constructed languages, such as Esperanto, Loglan has been engineered based on linguistic data and tests. It was designed for ease of learning as well as for logic, so even if you have trouble learning languages, Loglan probably won't prove difficult.

Hu Nu Katli la Loglan? (What is Loglan Like?)

Loglan is an isolating language, much like English. That means that once you've learned a word, you don't have to worry about changing its form. Even in English, you have to remember to add `-ed' to a verb to make it refer to the past, and '-s ' to nouns to make them plural. In Loglan, you won't have to do that. Also, some English verbs and nouns have irregular forms. There are no irregular forms in Loglan.

English VerbsLoglanEnglish NounsLoglan
walk dzoru (a) thingne bekti
walked pa dzoru thingsro bekti
see vizka (a) childne nilboi
saw pa vizka childrenro nilboi

Its pronunciation. is extremely regular.. All Loglan words are pronounced as they're spelled. Loglan letters are pronounced like English letters except for the vowels, which are pronounced as in father, bet, machine, code, and rune. The accent is almost always on the nexttolast syllable - DZO-ru (DZOH-roo, NIL-boi (NEEL-boy) -and is marked when it isn't: Pari's pa-RIS (pah-REES).

Loglan's vocabulary helps you learn. You can tell by looking at a word whether it gives grammatical information (as pa, ne, and ro do in the preceding example), or whether it refers to a complete concept (as dzoru, vizka, bekti, and nilboi do), or names an individual (as la Loglan names Loglan, la Pari's names Paris, and la Stiv names me). There are several rules of thumb which you'll find useful for remembering the grammar words, such as the fact that all descriptors (words like English `the') begin with l. The basic concept-words, on the other hand, are derived by blending words from a number of languages, including English. While dzoru will probably be unfamiliar to you (it's based on Chinese and Japanese), seeing `work' in tURKa, `go' in GOdzi, and `visible' in VIZka shouldn't be difficult.

Loglan utterances are uniquely resolvable. This means that once you learn a few rules, you can figure out where words begin and end. If you talk to another Loglanist, you will miss a few words here and there, but you should be able to hear all of the individual words. In other languages, the words you know usually wind up buried in a flood of unknown noises; at least in Loglan, you stand a good chance of picking out the familiar material. This book concentrates on "understanding Loglan," that is, on appreciating its fundamental, everyday concepts. For this reason, although I'll give the basics of resolution, I won't go into all the fine points. Instead, I'll cover as much as you're likely to need for ordinary conversation.

Loglan appeals to intuition as well as to logic. Many people admire the artistry of Chinese and Japanese words, which are based on intuitively understood metaphorical images. Unfortunately, the writing systems and the number of words and roots which sound alike prevent most students from actively enjoying these words and their construction. Loglan has the same richness of metaphor, and is considerably easier to learn. So if you like "earth-edge" (telbie) for 'horizon', or "smoke-breather" (smarue) for 'smoker', you'll probably feel at home with Loglan's vocabulary.

Loglan requires you to say what you mean. This means making distinctions which are optional or non-existent in English. For example, if you say, La Djan, corta namci (`John is a short name'), you will be taken to mean that someone named `John' is a short name. The more usual meaning of the English sentence is Liu Djan, corta namci (`[The word] "John" is a short name'). Learning to think about what you mean is one of the desirable effects of learning Loglan, even though it will slow you down at first.

Moihu Mi Selfau? (Why Should I Bother?)

The number of Loglan-speakers is quite small. You won't go on a trip to Loglandias (the fabled Loglandic homeland) anytime soon, though some futurists have proposed Loglan as the language of the Martian colonies, whenever they appear. (In fact, most logli, or Loglan-speakers, use electronic mail to "talk" to each other. An essay in this book, Hu Sitfa La Loglandias? (`Where is Loglandia?'), addresses the computerized nature of Loglan and its speakers.) Its body of literature is also small, mostly short stories and poems, some original, some translated. So why bother to learn Loglan? Because more than any other constructed language -- and for that matter, more than most natural languages -- Loglan has something for everybody.

Language study usually appeals only to linguists, travellers, and those with an artistic or poetic bent. Loglan does too, but it also has something to offer logically and scientifically inclined people: training in precise, logical thought. Beyond this, some feel that Loglan may prove useful for communicating with computers. Indeed, about a third of all Loglanists are involved in computer science; most of them are researching artificial intelligence and related subjects.

What about people who like to travel? What if you're looking for an education? Loglan represents not just a new country, but a new world: It will turn your present universe upside-down. It should also enable you to experience other world views more directly. Whether you're a teacher or a student, it seems a trip worth taking.

For writers and poets the appeal is even more obvious: Loglan represents a blank slate, waiting for pioneers to create new kinds of literature, to coin new words and metaphors. Its combination of the logical and the intuitive will challenge the artistic soul.

Why bother? Why indeed? But if you want to explore a new world, or better to appreciate your old one -- if you are willing to try, or at least to have a look -- read on.

Le Danci je levi bukcu (The Format of this book)

Each lesson begins with Lo Mipli Steti ('Example Sentences'), which introduces the main topic. These sentences will sometimes form a dialog, though often I'll use simple sentences to demonstrate a feature more efficiently. Literal translations should help you understand new concepts and constructions. After you've had time to get used to new material, though, it will be translated by shorter, more natural wording, so you can concentrate on the next subject. Most sentences will contain one or more hypertext references. These refer to the notes in the next section which explain the grammatical and logical questions the sentences bring up. Lopo Lengu Klimao ('Language Explanations') tells how the sentences work and gives you a chance to produce some sentences of your own. In each lesson after the third, two other sections appear. Lopo Purmao ('Word-making') helps enlarge your vocabulary. Then Lo Nurvia Logla ('Visible Loglan') provides a more detailed sample of the language, followed by Lo Kenti ('Questions') about the reading. Finally, every lesson ends with a summary of the grammar and Lopo Notlensea Cirduo ('Translation Exercises').

Lo Mipli Steti will introduce mostly grammatical features and Little Words; Lopo Purmao and Lo Nurvia Logla will concentrate on vocabulary. There are two reasons for this. First, you will be able to focus on learning one type of thing (grammar or vocabulary) at a time. Second, if you're primarily interested in understanding the concepts, not in learning the language, you should be able to keep track of the ideas without mastering much vocabulary. (This is a shallow approach, but one I'm well aware some will take. If you must learn only a bit of Loglan, learn it well; if you misrepresent Loglan, you may interfere with its experimental goals.) When you finish a section, review it to make sure you've mastered the points it presents.

Lopo Brecea (Preparation)

The following material is an overview of Loglan pronunciation and word classes. Don't try to memorize it all now; just leave a bookmark here and re-read this from time to time.

Lopo Soncue (Pronunciation)


b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, z are pronounced as in English.

This leaves c, j, q, x to be explained:

c is like English sh in 'sheep' (`Sheep' would be written cip in Loglan; 'ch' as in 'cheap' is spelled tc: tcip.)

j as in English 'measure' (mejr). (English 'j' in 'jelly' is spelled dj: djeli.)

The remaining two sounds occur rarely, and then only in letter-words and in names:

q as English 'th' in 'theory' (qiri) (NOT as in 'the')

x as 'ch' in Scottish 'loch' (lox) and German 'Bach' (Bax)

x is a throatclearing sound produced by positioning your mouth for a 'k', then making a strong 'h'sound instead. About the only place you'll encounter this sound and its letter is in the word Xaiykre ('X-ray'), pronounced XAI-y-kre (GHIGH-uh-kreh).

There are no silent letters. H is always pronounced separately; ch, ph, sh, and th represent two sounds each, as in English 'wash-house' (uachaos), 'mop-head' (maphed), 'mis-hear' (mishir), and 'sweetheart' (suithart); g and s are always pronounced as in 'go' (go) and 'say' (sei), never as in 'gem' (djem) and 'rose' (roz). Ng is pronounced as in 'finger' (fingr), that is, as an 'ng'-sound followed by a normal 'g'.


a as in 'watt' (uat) or preferably as in Spanish 'casa' (kasa)
e as in 'bet'(bet)
i as in 'machine'(macin) (before vowels, may be pronounced as 'y' in 'yard' (iard))
o as in 'code'(kod)
u as in 'rune' (run) (before vowels, may be pronounced as 'w' in 'way' (uei))
y as in 'sofa' (sofy) or 'but' (byt)

The following sound, like q and x, above, is rare and restricted to names:

w as in French 'une' (Position your mouth to make a u, then make an i instead.)

These are pure or continental vowels: don't put a 'y' sound after e and i, or a 'w' after o and u. Cut the vowels short to begin with, stopping before you add the glides ('y' and 'w') which are characteristics of English. The one exception is that e before a vowel will have a 'y' glide: mea (as in 'mea culpa') is pronounced 'may-ah'.

When l, m, n, and r aren't next to a vowel (that is, when they're between consonants or after a consonant at the end of a word) and when they are doubled, they are pronounced vocalically, as in English 'bottle' (botl), 'bottom' (batm), 'button'> (bytn), and 'carver' (karvr). An example of a doubled letter would be the rr in retrroviri ('retrovirus'), pronounced re-trr-o-VI-ri (re-trr-oh-VEE-ree)
. Without doubling, this would be pronounced re-tro-VI-ri (re-tro-VEE-ree) and would be a phrase re troviri, not a word.


There are four vowel-pairs that are normally pronounced together as single syllables:

ai as in 'aisle' (ail)
ei as in 'eight' (eit)
oi as in 'noise' (noiz)
ao as 'ou' in 'house' (haos) or as in 'Mao' (Mao)

All other vowel combinations are pronounced separately, except for i- and u-groups, where i and u may be pronounced as 'y' and 'w', but need not be. Be especially careful in pronouncing double vowels not to put a break between them: saa should be pronounced SA-a or sa-A, not *SA.a or *sa.A, where the dot represents a brief cessation of sound (the asterisk means that these forms are ungrammatical). You must accent the first or second vowel of a double-vowel pair, but try to let the vowels glide together without interruption. It's like stretching a syllable in a song by giving it two beats instead of one.

If you want to break a diphthong into two separate sounds, put a comma without spaces around it between the vowels when writing them in text. The name 'Lois', for example, would be written Lo,is in Loglan (Without this comma the oi in Lois would be pronounced oy and the name would rhyme with 'Joyce'.).

Le Logla Nurlea (The Loglan Alphabet)

It's more important to know the alphabet in Loglan than it is in most languages. This is because letter-words are frequently used as pronouns. But the names of the letters are easy to remember.

For Lowercase Letters:

Consonants add -ei: bei, cei, dei (b, c, d)
Vowels add -si: asi, esi, isi (a, e, i)

For Uppercase Letters:

Consonants add -ai: Bai, Cai, Xai (B, C, X;remember Xaiykre?)
Vowels add -ma: Ama, Ema, Ima (A, E, I)

Note that upper- and lowercase letter-words are different in Loglan.

Lo Purda Klesi (Word Classes)

There are three types of words in Loglan: Little Words, Predicates, and Names.

Little Words provide grammatical information: number, tense, etc. The English equivalents are numbers, pronouns, conjunctions, and some prepositions and adverbs. Simple Little Words consist of one or two vowels (e ('and'); ei ('Is it true that...?')) or a consonant followed by one or two vowels (mi ('I'); nia ('while/during')).

Compound Little Words (levi 'this' and anoi 'if') are simply strings of Simple Little Words (le + vi and a + noi) that are treated by Loglan grammar as if they were single words, much as 'nevertheless' is treated in English.

You can accent either Compound or Simple Little Words on any syllable. But if you stress the last syllable of a Little Word right before a predicate, you have to pause before that predicate. Thus, if you stress the last syllable in levi in saying levi bukcu 'this book', you must pause between the two words: le-VI . BUK-cu. (le-VEE . BOOK-shoo). This pause is not shown in text but it is shown by a period (full-stop) in the pronunciation guides.

You can always pick out Little Words in another Loglanist's speech because they end in a vowel and have no consonant clusters (see Predicates, below).

Predicates are one kind of content-words; (Names are another). Predicates refer to a complete concept, and are roughly like the nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs of English. All predicate words contain at least one consonant cluster (two or more consonants placed together, as st, bl, and nd), end in a vowel, and are accented on the next-to-last syllable. Examples: LO-gla is the pronunciation of logla ('referring to the Loglan language'), bre-CE-a is how brecea ('get ready') is pronounced, and at-HO-mi is how the Loglan word 'atom' is pronounced. (The h was inserted in 'atom' to create a consonant cluster.) Sometimes -y- (pronounced 'uh' ) is inserted between consonants to make them easier to hear correctly, as in ficyjanto 'goes fishing for_'.: fi-cy-JAN-to (fee-shuh-ZHAN-toh). (Try saying that without the -y-!) Y is always used to make double consonants audible (as in mekykiu 'is an eye-doctor treating _ for _ with _')'. In any case, -y- is a short, grunted sound and doesn't count as a regular vowel, so the syllable containing it is always unaccented. Thus mekykiu is pronounced either me-ky-kiu (MEH-kuh-kyoo) or me-ky-ki-u (meh-kuh-KEE-oo), depending on what you do with the i. The consonant clusters in these two words are cj (ficyjanto) and kk (mekykiu): separating them with -y- doesn't keep them from being considered adjacent; it just makes them easier to pronounce.

You can always tell when you hear a predicate word in speech because it will begin with a consonant cluster (brecea), with a syllable which ends in a consonant (athomi, mekykiu), or with a consonant followed by one or two vowels and a consonant cluster (LOgla, saadja). (The correct way to divide a word with a medial cluster such as logla or athomi into syllables is to ask whether that cluster could begin a word or not: gl could, th couldn't. If they could, put them in the same syllable: LO-gla; if they couldn't, put them in different syllables: at-HO-mi..) Note that y can be ignored when you're resolving words. In more advanced Loglan, you will encounter Little Words prefixed to predicates with y, as in guypli (GU-y-pli) (someone who uses gu instead of pauses)..

In any event, the predicate word will end on the syllable after the stressed one. This is why you have to pause between a stressed little word and a predicate. Not pausing between levi and brecea when -vi is stressed produces *le-VI-bre-CE-a; and this would be heard as le *vibre cea. With a pause the string le-VI . bre-CE-a resolves correctly, and means Levi brecea 'This one who is getting ready'. (The asterisk [*] marks an ungrammatical expression or a non-existent word.) If a leading little word is not stressed, there is no problem. Thus le-vi-bre-CE-a resolves uniquely as Levi brecea.

(Knowing that levi is one word, not two, is a trivial matter: le forms compounds with most little words. However, there is no difference in meaning; between levi and le vi; writing them together is just one of those habits which writers impose on their language. The number of such writing rules is small, and we'll get around to all of them eventually.)

The basic predicate words (primitives) of Loglan have five letters, and are like brudi ('brother') or matma ('mother'). They are always CCVCV or CVCCV in shape, where C is a consonant and V is a vowel. These words are derived from English and other languages, so most of the time you'll find something you can recognize in each new primitive.

Names are just that: names of particular people, places, and things. Many names are borrowed from other languages; some are created on the spot within Loglan. Names end in a consonant, and are always followed by a pause in speech or either a comma or the end of a sentence in writing. If a name ends in a vowel ('Joe'), add -s (Djos). Examples: Djan ('John'), Anas ('Anna').

Names usually are accented on the next-to-last syllable, just like predicate words. If you want to place the accent elsewhere, you may do so, but when writing the name, place an apostrophe after the accented vowel or an acute accent over the vowel, as in Ua'cintyn/Uácintyn ('Washington'), Pari's/París('Paris'). This last name would be pronounced in the French way (parí), but since all names must end in a consonant, we add an -s. Note also Romas ('Rome') and Mari,as ('Maria' -- the comma prevents this from becoming 'Marya' by separating the i and the a). Loglan follows the person's or area's own pronunciation as much as possible.

When someone pauses after a consonant in Loglan, it means you've just heard a name go by. More helpfully, names are always preceded by la, hoi, hue, or a pause. Predicates may be used as names, but if so, they always follow la or hoi, and end with a pause, so you shouldn't have trouble picking them out.

Lopo Taksai (Pause)

There are five rules governing when you have to pause in Loglan speech or use a comma in writing Loglan:

1. You must pause after a name: La Djein, bi le kicmu ('Jane is the doctor'). You can write such sentences either with a comma -- as I've just done -- or without one: La Djein bi le kicmu . But you must pause after the name -- la-DJEIN . bi-le-KIC-mu -- no matter how you write it.

In the first five lessons of this book, I'll put commas after all names. But then, starting with Lesson 6, I'll omit them; by that time you'll know that a pause is obligatory after each name and you won't have to be reminded..

2. You must pause between a stressed little word and a following predicate: Levi bukcu ('This book') le-VI . BUK-cu and levi te bukcu ('These three books') le-vi-TE . BUK-cu. This pause is not normally written.

3. You must pause before certain conjunctions: Ridle, e cirna ('Read and learn'} RID-le . e-CIR-na (REED-leh . eh-SHEER-nah). (I'll explain this construction later, when it will actually make sense.) This pause is always expressed by a comma in text.

4. You should pause briefly before all words that begin with vowels: la Erik (la.E-rik) and ra athomi (ra.at-HO-mi). This briefest of pauses is called a '"stop'", and is represented by a '"close period'" in the pronunciation guides. Stops are never represented by punctuation marks in text.

5. You should also pause briefly between the terms of a serial name: La Djan Pol Djonz (la-djan.pol.DJONZ) and Hoi Ditca Braon! hoi-DI-tca.BRAON) 'O Teacher Brown!'. These within-names pauses are very short and never written out in text.

Last Updated:Friday, October 4, 1996