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Michael Libres Uy

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The viability of implementing a logically constructed Language. Namely Lojban.

We are aware of how profound of an effect language has on its speakers, but we still have yet to implement a constructed language that is constructed on the basis of logic rather than history. Lojban is a language constructed on the basis of predict logic by James Cooke Brown and the Lojban institute and can be found here: http://www.lojban.org/tiki/Lojban
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Lojban has a number of features which make it unique:

Lojban is designed to be used by people in communication with each other, and possibly in the future with computers.
Lojban is designed to be culturally neutral.
Lojban has an unambiguous grammar, which is based on the principles of logic.
Lojban has phonetic spelling, and unambiguous resolution of sounds into words.
Lojban is simple compared to natural languages; it is easy to learn.
Lojban's 1300 root words can be easily combined to form a vocabulary of millions of words.
Lojban is regular; the rules of the language are without exception.
Lojban attempts to remove restrictions on creative and clear thought and communication.
Lojban has a variety of uses, ranging from the creative to the scientific, from the theoretical to the practical. and Here we will discuss the ideas of how to implement the language, the problems of doing so, and all the for and against notions regarding language in general.

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    May 14 2013: how is that better than esperanto?
    • May 14 2013: Esperanto is really meant to be an auxiliary language and not much else, to my knowledge. Consequently it is designed to make importing words easy, to be easily recognizable to speakers of Romance languages, and to have a grammar which resembles that of Romance (and to some extent Slavic) languages, with some of the awkward irregularity removed. Lojban has an entirely different set of goals; in particular it was not designed to ultimately become an auxiliary language. So I wouldn't say it's better or worse, I'd say you're comparing the wrong things. In Lojban I'd say {na'i} which is something like "I can't respond to that because it is ill-formed".
      • May 14 2013: Nice use of {na'i} (I'm proud of that one). It's not that Lojban couldn't gbe an auxlang, at least of the Interglossa sort, for science and cataloging and the like, it is just that no particular effort was made in that direction (although Brown always claimed that his predictes would be easy to learn by most human speakers -- not tested).
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        May 14 2013: you did not really answer the question. esperanto is a language built from scratch, not just a patch of existing structures. slavic languages might be an influence, but certainly not a design goal. i don't really understand what an "auxiliary language" would be, but esperanto was designed to be a language for everyone to communicate with. i see no difference in the design goals and target audience of the two. so the question is still open: why lojban over esperanto? why would it have bigger success? why should it have bigger success?
        • May 14 2013: The fact that Esperanto resembles various natural languages isn't a design goal, but it is a means to the overall design goal of serving as an auxiliary language. Since you mentioned you're not familiar with the term, an auxiliary language is a language explicitly designed for communication between individuals that don't share another common language. They are generally designed to be easier to learn than natural languages as well, so that one can easily pick up one language and then communicate with everyone else that has done the same. Languages not designed for this purpose can be said to serve as auxiliary languages without technically being auxiliary languages; for example one could argue that English does this today.

          Lojban doesn't have this in its goals. Before anything else its goal is to be grammatically unambiguous. (Technically it also needs to do so in a nontrivial way, that is, in a way so that the grammar actually tells you something about the meaning of the sentence. Otherwise it could just have a single grammatical class and then every sentence would have a trivial parse tree.) If making this work makes the language sufficiently complicated that it is never widespread, that's acceptable, if perhaps unfortunate.

          As for your last questions, it really depends what you mean by "success". If you mean widespread adoption, I can't really answer that, because I don't consider that to really be a core goal. It'd be great, but isn't really the point.
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        May 14 2013: oh, i see. so practical usability is not even a design goal of lojban? in that case, i don't get who the target audience is. for the most people, logic is not fun. for computers or science, it is still too much language like, why don't we have numbers as words? like 22 would mean "tree". it makes little difference. so it seems to be aimed to be learnable by a human, but what for?
        • May 14 2013: Well, "practical usability" depends on what you want to use it for. Loglan, Lojban's ancestor, was designed to test the Sapir Whorf Hypothesis. That required that a number of test subjects become reasonably fluent in the language over a range of topics. This goal is no longer active and the perfection of the language has become central. At the same time, to be called a language, in some evaluative sense of the term, it must be capable of dealing relatively efficiently with a range of topics and so the core group of Lojbanists also includes many who are working on translations or original texts at a variety of level and in different fields. Not that anyone is expected to learn Lojban to read these but just to show that Lojban is capable of doing what natural languages do. This includes being spoken in face to face or at least instantaneous interplay as well as writing (which cuts out numbers as words).

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