From Lognet, issue 93/2.
This issue of Lognet is going to a number of people who are not current members but who have at one time or another expressed interest in Loglan, possibly recently. We trust that this free issue of our quarterly magazine—a subscription to which is included in membership—will give you a glimpse of the kind of place that Loglandia has become these days...and of the kinds of interests and activities that are now engaging our membership. We hope that reading this slim magazine will cause you to consider supporting The Institute’s work—in some cases, once again—by renewing your membership or joining us for the first time. Another benefit of membership is a 40% discount off the price of books and software. Write for our most recent list of offerings if you haven’t seen it recently.
Regular Members still pay just $50 in dues every two years; Sustaining Members pay $100; Retired and Student Members may elect to pay just $25 every two years; and several of our wealthier members have recently formed a new category—so far unnamed—by paying dues of $200, $300 or even $400 per biennium. Pick your own level of support. The Institute wants you all and will find volunteer work for any of you who have the time to do it. Retired persons are especially welcome as “tiftua.”
Three very important new works are now being moved toward publication by our corps of volunteer workers: our “tiftua”, or “offering-workers”, as we call them. These impending publications are: (1) our aperiodic 80-page journal La Logli (LL) —whose name is a translation of the name of its predecessor,The Loglanist—now under the editorship of Kirk Sattley, a retired Massachusetts computer scientist; (2) Loglan 0: Understanding Loglan (L0), a new book by Steve Rice, a logli at the University of Alaska and one of our Academists, which will actually teach the language, even, we believe, to linguistically unsophisticated newcomers; and (3) The Loglan Online Dictionary (LOD), an electronic book about twice the length of Loglan 4&5 that has been put together over many years by a large number of Loglan tiftua under the leadership of Dr. Robert A. McIvor (“RAM”), another of our Academists. By the time you get the next issue of this magazine we expect that all three of these publications will be ready to ship.
LOD will be going out as “compressed” software on disk; we are just working out the compression licenses now. L0 will first be published serially in the early issues of LL., later, as a freestanding volume. The early issues of LL will have other things in it besides L0, among them, that long awaited “L1 Updater” by Editor Sattley. So good things are brewing on the products-and-publications front. But try to be patient with us. There isn’t a furpectua, a paid worker, on any of the teams that are making these good things for us.
The theme of this issue seems to be “usages and how they grow.” James Jennings’ article “Lo Cejnoa” is a provocative guess that the next decade is going to be dedicated to building up Loglan idiom, that is, its body of usages; Bill Gober’s column “Hu Logla Sanpa Toi?” is about some of the usages we already have, including some interesting new ones; I was going to have a brief essay on a particularly knotty usage problem, “The ‘Ago’ Problem”, but there wasn’t room for it in this issue (our lean finances still limit us to 20 pages!); and several of the letters in Lo Lerci raise usage questions.
James is right; usage is what we logli don’t have much of. It is extraordinary how long it takes to build up an adequate body of usages in a logical language. The reason is plain. We are not satisfied, as speakers of a logical language with illogical, catch-as-catch-can usages. The usage-builders and -adopters of the natural languages were not so fussy. The metaphor used by Spaniards, for example, to describe the idioms in their own language is ‘idiotismos’, which means “idiotisms”! In Loglan we have to satisfy ourselves and others that the usages we propose are not only not “idiotic,” but also not arbitrary, and both semantically transparent and logically defensible, as well. It’s the last criterion that slows us up, I fear. The kind of analysis that leads to a sound logical defense of a proposed abbreviation of a complex logical structure—which is what most good usages are—is sometimes fairly arduous...as I propose to illustrate next time in my discussion of ‘ago’. In the meantime, have a think about it. What do we mean when we say ‘It disappeared three-and-half-years ago’?
My wife Evy and I are off to Russia during the last three weeks in July and the first week in August. We will be going, first, to the Language Origins Society Meetings in St. Petersburg (ex-Leningrad), which is being hosted this year by the Russian members of our Society, and then on to Moscow and a trip on the TranSiberian Railway across that immense country to Vladivostok. In St. Petersburg I’ll be giving a paper on what I think I’ve learned about the probable course of language evolution by attempting to teach a logical language to humans for thirty years. I haven’t written this paper yet; but if it comes off, I’ll give it to Kirk for LL. (Other people who write articles or give papers that bear on L might well remember that LL is here to serve as a repository for all L-relevant work...even if first published elsewhere.)
Dr. McIvor and I, who have been editing Lo Nurvia Logla together for the last three years, have made a Mid-Year resolution: No More Translations! A translation from English, for example, puts the logli doing it in the spot of trying to figure out what the hell the original English meant; and this is often a very difficult logico-philosophico-ontological problem, the logical and metaphysical structure of English being monumentally obscure..Writing as a native Loglanist, however—that is, as a “brana logli”, as I have begun to call this mythical beast—is a rather different kind of challenge, and, philosophically, a rather sweet one. One knows what the logical-ontological apparatus of the language is (well, more or less), and one simply uses it to get the communication task done. Very often no philosophical conundrums are encountered along the way. So in composing a Loglan letter, or a story, or a skit, or a poem, one simply gets the hang of it, and out the miraculous thing comes. Such compositions—like the “Lepo Vizgoi La Loglandias” skit in LN90/1:5-6 and 90/2:15-17 by Ida Larsen and myself, and James Jennings’ plaint “Lo Logla Plipursei” in LN91/3:12.—were, I am told, downright easy to read...even if they were not so “challenging” (mainly for the writer) as a “really tough” translation might have been.
Well, RAM and I’ve decided that we’re through with that. Publishing translations has turned our recent Lo Nurvia Logla columns into technical exercises. We’re going to continue the practice of publishing “really tough translations,” but elsewhere. We’re going to put them in LL from now on, and put the original and the back-translation and the commentary in the same issue with the translation itself...rather as John Parks-Clifford and I did in the old TL . But only “native Loglanist” compositions—brana logli nursri—are going to appear in LN. (What was that? A faint hurrah? A meliu uiua rising from the ranks?) So we’re putting out a call. Compositions wanted. But only by brana logli, please, or persons willing to pretend they are. In short, don’t compose in English first and then translate it into Loglan! Try looking at your world from the Loglan perspective, and you’ll find it easier to write “brana logla,” i.e., Loglan without the philosophical conundrums of your own native English.
We need some more volunteers, especially (1) to help Kirk with LL.. The editorial work in putting out that publication is rapidly mounting in volume and so slowing down its appearance. So do we have any aspiring editors willing to be Kirk’s sub-editors for a while? Other volunteer slots that need filling are: (2) We need someone to help TLI (The Loglan Institute) with its annual accounts, our Profit &Loss and Net Worth statements each year. The Board and the Trustees need this sort of accountant’s assessment of where we are from time to time, and they haven’t been getting very good ones from me. (I keep pretty good books but I have less and less time, it appears, for accounting; and of course TLI doesn’t have enough annual revenues to hire anybody to perform this service for us.) Properly done, it could help keep us pointed in the right direction. (3) We need a San Diego-based tiftua to take over the order-filling, dues-reminding, and check-depositing end of TLI’s operations. San Diego-based because that’s where our inventory of saleable products is. Do we have any candidates for any of these three jobs?
Another tiftua slot that needs filling—in this case, refilling—is that of our Public Relations Person. Joanne Sattley was our original tiftua in that spot; but Joanne has recently found that moving house and performing other family duties—the ones that keep descending on a wife and mother—have made it impossible for her to do it well. (She will of course help the new PRP get started.) What I’d like to see this PR Person do for us is (1) build up the “human interest” dimension of LN by doing biographical sketches in it of Loglan’s people. These, when published, could be accompanied by photographs and could lead right in to PR task (2), namely putting out a glossy brochure, replete with photographs, explaining TLI, its history, functions, its several venues, but most of all, its people. This would be our first such brochure, and could be very useful for raising the confidence of inquirers who wonder who and what we are, and also for use in fund-raising ... Any takers?
The Purmaogru (“Word-Makers-Group)” is also looking for new blood. At present we consist of Steve Rice, Robert McIvor, and me (JCB), and that’s a bit “incestuous.” We need to broaden out. We need to go beyond the present group of tiftua, if possible, and plant a fresh crop of Loglan wordsmiths on the Loglandian plain. Anyone da who feels reasonably sensitive about poetry, metaphor, and semantical nuance, or who has strong feelings about how dictionary entries ought to be put together, or who feels da understands the basic ontolology of the Loglan predicate, should make daself known to us. We want to spread out; we want apprentices; we want you. At first, you’d be just that: a turcia, a work-learner; but later, if you take to the work, and the work takes to you, you can expect to become a full-fledged purmaogrudjo, a word-maker with quasi-judicial privileges.
I want specially to welcome in this issue those new logli who came into Loglandia through our April Scientific American. ad. Please write The Institute a letter for publication in Lo Lerci, one that tells us about yourself and the origin and history of your interest in L. The Clanton letter in the Lo Lerci of this issue is a good example of this. We’re still thin enough on the ground so that these written disclosures about ourselves and how we think are still the best way we have of keeping track of who we are.
The new name of the Salsman Library Fund is the Puirbuusro Cmesro (“Public-Library (Book-Depository) Fund (Money-Depository)”). The Cmesro places free copies of our books in libraries and was first announced in LN93/1:17. James Salsman, the originator of the Cmesro and its first contributor, says he welcomes suggestions from any logli who wants to tell Sai about libraries to which lei would like L1 sent. (Did you get those replacements? They’re not hard to figure out.) As for the name-change, James feels that a descriptive L name is much more in keeping with the spirit of the project than one that identifies it with him (which was my impulse, I’m afraid). The Cmesro nows has about $200 in it plus a regular monthly income ($15 a month) being provided by one of its staunchest supporters, Alan Gaynor, our New York computer-conferencing specialist. (Alan is also the logli who will be working with Prof. Reed Riner in teaching Loglan to Reed’s “Mars Colonists,” the students involved in Prof. Riner’s anthropological-engineering simulation at Northern Arizona University, through which Reed and his colleagues will be studying the problems likely to be encountered by real Mars colonists. There’ll be more on both these exciting projects as they develop.)
Anyway, your Board has responded to Salsman’s request that TLI sell books “dirt-cheaply” to the Cmesro by agreeing to provide copies of L1, plus the service of shipping them, to the Puirbuusro Cmesro at the cost of printing plus the material shipping costs, and that adds up to just under $5 a copy. The Cmesro will convey to us from time to time a list of libraries to which they wish such copies shipped. James, as Sekre of the Cmesro, is now preparing the first edition of such a list. In the meantime, he invites you, his fellow logli, to participate in this project by sending The Institute a $5 check and the name of your favorite library—it must be a genuine puirbuusro, a circulating library from which members of the public may borrow books without charge—to which you’d like L1 sent. All James requires is the identity of those donee libraries so as to avoid duplication later. If you like this idea and would like to make an even larger gesture of support for the Puirbuusro Cmesro, please do. Anything from $25 to $100, say, would be very welcome. Make your check payable to TLI with the notation that it is for the PC...or even spell it out if you feel loglandical.—JCB.