What is Lojban: Description & Links

From the introductory book, "What is Lojban?":

Lojban (/LOZH-bahn/) is a constructed language. Originally called ‘Loglan’ by project founder Dr. James Cooke Brown, who started the language development in 1955, the goals for the language were first described in the article Loglan in Scientific American, June 1960. Made well-known by that article and by occasional references in science fiction and computer publications, Loglan/Lojban has been built over four decades by dozens of workers and hundreds of supporters, led since 1987 by The Logical Language Group.

There are many artificial languages, but Loglan/Lojban has been engineered to make it unique in several ways. The following are the main features of Lojban:

  • 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 grammar is based on the principles of logic.
  • Lojban has an unambiguous grammar.
  • Lojban has phonetic spelling, and sounds can be divided into words
    in only one way.
  • Lojban is simple compared to natural languages; it is easy to learn.
  • Lojban’s 1350 root words can be easily combined to form a
    vocabulary of millions of words.
  • Lojban is regular; the rules of the language don’t have exceptions.
  • Lojban attempts to remove restrictions on creative and clear
    thought and communication.
  • Lojban has a variety of uses, ranging from creative to scientific,
    from theoretical to practical.

Check out some of the YouTube videos with search term of Lojban - some speaking Lojban, some teaching Lojban, some talking about Lojban. One even is even in Esperanto talking about Lojban!

The Lojban MOO wasn't working when I tried it, but maybe it'll be back soon. What a terrific and fun way to practice a language! (UPDATE Aug 2012: The Lojban MOO is dead.)

As you'd expect from an "engineered" language in the modern world, there are free downloadable books, courses and more to learn Lojban.

And there is much more to explore on the Lojban website.

ARJ's Lojban pages offer some critique and notes from the mailing list and various scattered documents. He has a page on how to swear in Lojban, which talks about the attitudinals in Lojban among other concepts.

o - o - o

Whenever a new language enthusiast decides to dive head-first into the wonderful hobby of linguistics, often one of the first dreams they have is creating or designing a language that is regular, efficient and yet meaningful for conveying concepts and actions. Lojban was created and has been grown and evolved by language enthusiasts with just these kinds of things in mind. It is still under debate whether they achieved their aims - just as it is with any language.

Creating a language is a lot of work, and it a great learning journey. I'd always encourage people to jump in and work on creating their own language just for the amazing and pragmatic linguistic things they learn. So I'm not saying give up on that and just use Lojban instead. But learning Lojban would certainly be a boon to you in designing your own languages.