April 17, 2010
All I’ve shown you of Lojban is mainly logic: predictes, assertions… But we are not always in the mood of thinking that logical; that’s where the attitudinals enter the game.
In previous posts, I’ve talked about some kinds of words, like brivla and cmene; now is the time to talk about the other big group: cmavo. I’ve already used them; lo, le, mi… and they act as structure words. They do not need to have a particular meaning, though they modify what they have around. They can be recognized easely because (extracted from What is Lojban?):
- may be a single syllable
- never contain a consonant cluster of any type, whether or not y is counted
- end in a vowel
- need not be penultimately stressed, though they often are if they have more than one syllable
All cmavo display one of the following letter patterns, where C stands for a consonant, and V stands for a vowel:
A small group of cmavo are used to represent what we feel, in general, and in particular with what we say. This are called attitudinals (cnivla in lojban), and are can be found here. For example:
- .a’a: attentive.
- .ui: happy.
- .ue: surprise. :O
- .u’i: ammusement.
And many more…
I can use it alone, and they’ll describe how I’m feeling. For example, if I say just “.ui“, I’m happy
They are also useful combined with a bridi. If they are before the whole bridi, they’ll describe how you feel about the whole predicate. If I say:
.ui do klama
means that you’re coming (or going, or came, or going to come, or… well, you understand) and I’m happy about it.
If I put the attitudinal in the middle of a bridi, they modified the word (or valsi, in lojban) inmediatly before it. So, in the sentence:
do .ui klama
You’re coming, and I’m happy that YOU (and no other) are coming.
Combined with this attitudinals, we can use some attachments that can modify what the attitudinal means. For example, nai. This cmavo turns the last attitudinal into its opposite meaning. For example .uinai is the opposite of happiness, or sadness.
This emoticons are not there just for fun; one interesting way of learning the attitudinals is to start replacing everyday emoticons, for this new words. They claim that this attitudinals are really powerfull… so I’m going to try it and see if it’s true.
In fact, there is a page for Cniglic, that’s is a subset of Lojban. People there comment about some stuff (in English), and with attitudinals, write what they feel. You can visit here.
February 21, 2010
As the previous post had the largest and hardest part of lojban grammar, this one it’s going to have only a few sentences (bridi) as examples of what can we say.
But first, some random vocabulary I’m going to use:
- klama: x1 comes/goes to destination x2 from origin x3 via route x4 using means/vehicle x5.
- blanu: x1 is blue.
- bloti: x1 is a boat/ship/vessel [vehicle] for carrying x2, propelled by x3.
- karce: x1 is a car/automobile/truck/van (a wheeled motor vehicle) for carrying x2, propelled by x3.
klama has 5 sumti to fill, but it’s not necessary to fill them all; like in this sentence:
mi klama lo zdani
Meaning “I go (or come) to a house“. The bridi doesn’t specify which house, when this happens (if I’m going right now, or I did it in the past, or if I’ll go); it’s open for interpretation, as well as the unfilled sumti (it isn’t specified from where I’m going, which route I am taking or how I’m).
If I want to specify I’m going by car, I have to use x5, but x3 and x4 has to be left blank. I have several ways for doing this:
- mi klama lo zdani zo’e zo’e lo karce
- mi klama lo zdani fu lo karce
- lo karce ku xe te klama lo zdani mi
The first one use the word zo’e, which is used to specify the sumti is left blank. The second tags lo karce with fu, that specifies the following sumti is the fifth (fa does the same but for x1, fe for x2, and so). The third is just some sick and unnatural way (no one would say that that way — it’s just for educational reasons); te and xe modifies the selbri and switches the places of the sumti. (For more information about this, you can read the section Conversion (“se-word brivla”) in this chapter of “What is Lojban?“.)
What about giving more information of one of the sumti? There are lots of ways; I don’t know all them yet.
Imagine I’m going in a blue boat instead of a car (it would be really cool…). Then, I’d say:
mi klama lo zdani zo’e lo blanu bloti
blanu modifies bloti, making a tanru, which is formed when two or more gismu are next each other.
I don’t know what you think, but I think I’ve learned enough to “evolve“. I understand the basis of Lojban grammar, I know many words, and I can introduce myself (.i mi’e leos.). I chose a dolphin to be my new level!
February 16, 2010
I’ve just came back from San Martin de los Andes, after a few days of relax!
Learning the grammar of a language is always dreadful (sometimes even in our first language). However, Lojban seems to be easier than natural languages.
(Only for those who studied logic, like myself, in Computer Science.) Lojban is based in predicate calculus. If you don’t know it, or you don’t remember it, it’s something like this:
Suppose that we want to say: “It’s my house” . In predicate calculus, we have to create a predicate named house (or the name we want) with an arity of two (for programmers: this ones are like arguments in a function or a procedure). In this two slots, we are going to place the two elements that are related with a relationship called house; “it” and “me” (the one who owns and lives in the house):house(it,me)
The order of the elements it’s important, so we have to decide the role of the elements in each slot. In the example, the first slot refers which is the house in the relationship, and the second, who lives there.
In Lojban, the assertion can be said like:
ti zdani mi
- ti: It (or the thing I’m talking about, perhaps even pointing).
- zdani: Without getting deeper, a house.
- mi: me (pretty much the same).
zdani is the predicate (or selbri) in this sentence (or bridi), and the other two are the arguments (or sumti).
The selbri can have from 1 to 5 arguments, but they don’t need to be always filled. For each word (or gismu), each sumti has their meaning. For example, for zdani, according to the Lojban Dictionary:
zdani [zda] gismu
x1 is a nest/house/lair/den/[home] of/for x2 .
X1 and X2 are the two sumti that can be filled, as I did.
This is what I see can be complicated from this language: remember the vocabulary, and also the meaning of the arguments. Luckily, they seem to have a pattern, and it’s not necessary to know them all always:
- The first place is often the person or thing who does something or is something (in Lojban there is no grammatical difference between ‘doing’ and ‘being’).
- If someone or something has something done to them, he/she/it is usually in the second place.
- to places (destinations) nearly always come before from places (origins).
- Less-used places come towards the end. These tend to be things like ‘by standard’, ‘by means’ or ‘made of’.
(Extracted from Lojban for Beginners.)
This might be the hardest post until now, but it’s has the basis of the language. It’s not the intention to learn reading this blog, but I explain a few things to show my development, to show it’s not that hard and to help myself in the process of learning. To learn, you can read the books or ask for help in the IRC channel; they’ve been really kind with me .
February 3, 2010
As is explained in the first chapter of “Lojban for Beginners“, we have to “Lojbanise” names. It’s common to start learning how to introduce yourself in a language, so that’s what I’m going to do.
Names in lojban are called cmene (remember that c it’s pronounced like sh), and they have to follow some rules:
- End in a consonant.
- Followed by a pause (period).
- It’s not permited to have the words la, lai or doi embedded in them.
Some names can be lojbanised without any changes. Unfortunately, it’s not my case; my name (either Leo or Leonardo) ends in a vowel and my surname (Molas) contains la in it. This isn’t really nice for me to change it, but it has to be done.
Capital letters aren’t used in lojban as in English or other languages. Usually, words in lojban are stressed on the last-but-one syllable; if a non-lojbanic word (like a name) is stressed in other syllable, you can capitalize it.
So, my name won’t start as usual with a capital letter. I wonder why this little difference. I think it’s because there is no more reason to use them, but to distinguish names from other words. Nevertheless, when we speak, we can’t “hear” them. In the other hand, Lojban stablishes that names end in consonants, and are followed by a pause; we actually can hear names with this.
From all this, I think my “names” would be:
- Leo: leos.
- Leonardo: leonardos.
- Leo Molas: leos.molys.
I don’t like how molys. sounds . (The y, called “schwa”, it’s an unstressed vowel, and sounds like the a in above.)
kribacr was the first one writing a comment in this blog (thank you so much! and thanks to xorxes and stela too!), and started it with the lojbanic sentence:
coi .li,o.molas. mi’e .kribacr.
At first, I didn’t understand it, but it’s clear that my name is there, and so is his. He might have written mine “li,o” because in English it is pronounced more like a /LEE-o/, but in Spanish is /LE-o/.
According to the Lojban dictionary (you can download the pdf here), coi is “hello” and mi’e is a kind “I am”; so, if I want to introduce myself, I’d say:
– EDIT –
As many commented here, there is a new way (an unofficial one… yet) to “translate” names into lojban, without the ugly deformations.
I’ve stopped by the IRC channel (#lojban at the irc.freenode.net server — for the first time ) and I met some nice people willing to help (even myself that I’m far far far away from an “advanced” student).
As timos, lindar and xorxes commented here, starting the name with a pause (the dot “.”) solves the “la/lai/doi” problem (thanks to komfn at the IRC channel for this). Also, I can avoid putting an “s” after leo in .leos.molas. if I change the dot for a comma. As I would like to be called just Leo among friends, in Lojban I’d just be called .leos., so to keep it always that way, when I also say my family name, I would say .leos.molas. .
In conclusion, I’d like to introduce myself saying:
January 29, 2010
First of all, I’m going to explain some other things about the blog.
- As I’m self-teaching me, I’m going to show my level of understanding by a series of avatars representing my current state. That’s the funny dog in the column right there =>. I’ll be creating the future states with their correspondent avatar, as I feel I’m evolving, and put all of them in a kind of time line in the Evolution page.
- I’m trying to establish empirically how much time is needed to learn lojban and speak more or less fluidly. It’s not going to be really accurate, because I obviously have other occupations.
The timeline will start the 20th of January, as is the day I started.
- I’m and I’ll be using lots of information, texts and multimedia that I didn’t create (e.g. the funny i eat stuff dog), but that are in the public domain (e.g. Creative Commons). The authors only ask us to give them the attribution of their own work; I think it’s a more than a fair price.
I did my share in the Attributions page. The rest of the things that aren’t there, are mine.
- This blog is under Creative Commons as well, so feel free to use whatever you want however you want, as long as you say it’s mine, don’t use it for commercial purposes, and maintain the work open in the same or similar licence .
Enough… let’s get down to work.
I started reading “What is lojban?“. In the first chapter, it shows the alphabet used; Roman letters and 3 symbols, which are:
' , . a b c d e f g i j k l m n o p r s t u v x y z
“The three symbols are not punctuation.” That’s odd…
- The apostrophe represents a specific sound, similar to the English /h/.
- The period is an optional reminder to the reader, representing a mandatory pause dictated by the rules of the language. Such pauses can be of any duration, and are part of the morphology, or word formation rules, and not the grammar.
- The comma is used to indicate a syllable break within a word, generally one that is not obvious to the reader.
(This list is extracted from the book.)
Now is when we can see that this language has “phonetic spelling, and unambiguous resolution of sounds into words”.I’m not going to copy the list of letters and their spelling; you can find it in the book.
Right now, I’m having some troubles with the c, because I forget it’s actually more like a sh . The x it’s also troubling, but it’s just about punishing myself very hard when I mis-spell them .