Re: LANG: Lojban/AL

Dan Fabulich (
Sun, 26 Jan 1997 23:30:19 -0800

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:

> But that's precisely why I like Lojban rather than all the other
> proposed ALs: because it is so completely different from any other
> human language in its core structure and utter lack--in fact
> outright avoidance--of any recognizable human cultural artifacts.
> I think learning it as a second language (or as a first one for
> children along with a cultural one) cannot help but challenge the
> cultural assumptions that all other human languages--including
> artificial ones--are burdened with. Lojban is truly alien; it has
> no nouns, verbs, or adjectives; no assumption of speaker or default
> quantifiers/time tenses; no genders, familiar forms, or other
> silly cultural baggage.

That's certainly what it tries to achieve, but I fear that Lojban's
goal, a cultureless language, are logically impossible. It takes a
particular cultural point of view to banish all cultural points of view.
It takes a huge cultural assumption to assume that Lojban is even
"logical," from a philosophical point of view. (That's one of the
points I find appealing about pancritical rationalism.) Ultimately, as
long as logic is under debate, rationalism itself must heave under its
own cultural baggage.

> The fact that its grammar and phonology are unambiguous (though
> one can certainly express ambiguous meanings--in a precise way) is
> just icing on the cake, especially for computer/human interaction.
> Not only by voice but for things like searching hypertexts where
> Lojban words are never declined, and their function in utterances
> is always parseable.

While this is interesting, I'm not sure it's enough to make the language
useful. We can teach a computer the rules of English almost as easily
as we can teach the rules of Lojban, but that's not quite enough to get
the full meaning across.

-He who laughs last thinks slowest-