Lojban: More About It

I want to thank Arika Okrent for her book "In the Land of Invented Languages" and her chapters on Lojban. Not only does she do a nice job summarizing the history of it, she also presents the "theory" behind it - how Lojban is based on a structure that is similar to function calls in computer code, built on the idea that language can express equations, or at least information about our world and perceptions in an equation-like form that precisely maps the relationships of objects.

Pp.198-252 in Arika's book gave me exactly the overview I was looking for about Lojban. One of the coolest thing I learned was about how Lojban enthusiasts enthusiastically embrace the task of improving Lojban with nifty features as they are discovered in other languages. Arika gives the example of how using evidential markers (indicating how the speaker knows his statement is true) for each sentence caused a stir of excited activity as Lojban core fans jumped into configuring that ability into Lojban. They were even so polite as to ask Suzette Haden Elgin, the creator of Láadan, if it was okay with her that they did so. She was okay with it.

I also like the way Arika talks about language creating culture - even if unintended (Lojban has a goal of being as culture-nuetral as possible). The Lojban culture is growing richer every passing year. I wonder how much of a language's success, adoption and "liveliness" is directly due to the cultural development in that language. A neat concept to ponder; a sort of tangent from the Worfian Hypothesis, eh?

o - o - o

So, kudos and thanks for writing "In the Land of Invented Languages," Arika. Great research and data. I recommend it to fans of language and linguists, both professional and hobbyists. Oh, and thanks for the list of 500 created languages, both in the book and on the book web site!

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