By now you should know what this series of articles is about. Another month, another roundup of community activity on IRC (including Telegram and Slack), the mailing list, Reddit, Facebook and Twitter. I’m not going to beat around the bush and immediately cut to the chase:
May 2017 was one of those months that made me worry that life-sustaining measures would have to be taken, that’s how dead Lojbanistan seemed for long stretches that month. Of course, that makes my job a lot easier, since there’s less material I need to cover… but that isn’t exactly the idea behind these articles. Maybe I should lower my expectations some more, or I will continue to be disappointed time and time again. I do not know how you feel about this. I received zero comments on last month’s article and the reactions elsewhere were rather limited. To be quite candid with you, there are a handful of key people in this community that are of paramount importance to Lojban’s survival, because they are the only ones who know the language’s intricacies well enough. If those people disappeared, so would their knowledge and understanding of Lojban and there would be nobody left to carry on that knowledge. There needs to be a new generation of Lojbanists, new experts who can carry on the torch. Dabbling in Lojban is fine, but I’m still waiting for even a single person to reach that critical level. The community is currently depending on something like three people. For all we know, one or more of them might disappear from one day to the next. This has happened plently of times before; people who seemed to be committed to Lojban leave and find other things to do. If you want Lojban to stay around and to have a chance of growing, you cannot rely on a handful of people to carry the entire community, even though carrying the community is precisely what they have been doing for a long time. I think many people don’t realize this.
Now, with that out of the way, let us now proceed to the coverage of last month’s activity.
‘The Lojban I Speak’
… is the name of a write-up by la lalxu, and as the title would lead you to expect, it describes the author’s ideolect or dialect of Lojban. It received a lot of upvotes on the Lojban subreddit (much more than last month’s roundup), despite the fact that it contains a lot of what has traditionally been termed experimental grammar. Either people no longer mind that sort of thing, or they simply like la lalxu (both options seem likely – my guess is that the conjunction is true).
I am very happy that la lalxu is with us. People like them make it worth sticking around even when the language itself seems to be in a bit of a slump, and this is ultimately what being a community is about.
Yet another set of country brivla
No, not country music related brivla. I’m talking about brivla for country names. This new set was created by la lalxu. It is based on 2-letter ISO codes and uses the culture rafsi -goi-, which was originally proposed by la selckiku (in 2015 or so). This rafsi and la lalxu‘s list are just another approach to the idea of getting rid of cultural gismu, a movement which has gained a bit of traction over the last year, as evidenced by the word inglico replacing the gismu glico in more and more people’s Lojban. Other examples are fransezo for ‘French’ and belgiko (I’ve also seen beljiko) for ‘Belgian’. I think it is finally happening. If you are wondering why cultural gismu are unpopular, here are three reasons I like to give:
- Cultural gismu violate cultural neutrality. The gismu are privileged words because they have rafsi and because they are the core non-cmavo vocabulary. To assign gismu and rafsi to some cultures and not to others is to violate cultural neutrality.
- The cultural gismu often don’t actually sound like the names of those cultures.
- What a huge waste of gismu space.
Aesop’s ‘Androcles and the Lion’
This is the first of two translations la jelca crafted this month. It’s written in an easy-to-understand style, and that is my favorite style (but please stop saying mu’i when you mean te zu’e).
Translating Aesop’s fables is quite a popular choice among Lojbanists. There’s a fairly large library of Aesop translations.
‘Antarctica is getting greener’
If you’d like to read something more science-y, check out this sciencemag.org article Ilmen translated. It’s not very long, but all the more technical.
Aesop’s ‘Greed and Jealousy’
This is the second translation by la jelca. Read it.
la gleki found a bunch of forgotten cheatsheets by mining the wiki. For your convenience, I will list them here as well:
- The sounds of Lojban letters
- The Lojban alphabet
- Table of discourse indicators, version 1, version 2.
- Spacetime cmavo, part 1
- Spacetime cmavo, part 2
- Lojban attitudinals, evidentials and discursives
- The Periodic Table of pro-sumti and pro-bridi
A learner’s translation of Ferdinand the Bull
Finally, la bremenli posted the release version of their translation of Ferdinand the Bull with audio. It’s been a while since we’ve gotten anything with audio, but audio is so important for language learning! la bremenli‘s reading is, as they say, “at a relaxed pace” and I agree; these should be appropriate for beginners. They also use an insteresting style, where they put the .i at the end of a sentence, rather than at the beginning of the next. What’s really cool is that it also comes with an interleaved recording that alternates between English and Lojban, like an audio parallel-text. This is similar to what la selckiku sometimes does during Mumble voice chats when a beginner is present.
May 2017 IRC top 10
As always we wrap things up with the IRC top 10. Don’t be shocked by low numbers, I told you what kind of month it was.
Nobody reached 1000 lines. It is nice to see grynk and jelca up there, though. If you are wondering why my number is so low, it’s because I’ve been putting all of my energy and focus into Toaq, the constructed language I’ve been working on (I’m really hoping I can publish it next month!).
Maybe you understand my reaction now, looking at those numbers. June has got to be better.
Have a nice June!