Re: LANG: Lojban/AL

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Mon, 27 Jan 1997 16:44:16 -0800 (PST)

> My personal feeling, based on attempts to learn Loglan, and the
> experiences of others that I have read about, is that the language is hard
> if not impossible to learn and speak naturally. A more recent linguistic
> theory is Noam Chomsky's idea of universal grammar, which proposes that
> all human tongues are constrained by the wiring of the brain to a small
> subset of the potentially imaginable languages. It seems to me that
> Loglan (in at least some of its features) may be outside the range of
> what the human brain is wired to speak. In this way it can be a test
> of Chomsky's idea as well as Whorf's, and I'd say the preliminary data
> favors Chomsky.

It is already well known that /adults/ have great difficulty learning
a new grammar, and somewhat less difficulty learning new vocabulary.
I have seen no data at all to suggest that Lojban (the only variant
worth considering--Brown's "official" TLI Loglan will probably die
with him) is any different in this regard than other languages. In
fact there are no studies at all on teaching Lojban to children or to
adults, so it neither supports nor refutes Chomsky's speculation at
this point. One thing is certain though: a study that isn't done
will never prove anything.