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Ethnic Gismu, Learning Lojban
I have been subscribed to lojban list for a couple of months,
and this is my first message. Since I just began studying some
lojban, I'll only make some (perhaps) silly remarks.
First, I browsed the gismu list, and I noticed that ethnic-related
terms are somwtimes puzzling. For instance, no gismu (nor lujvo,
as far as I could see) is avaible to express 'Italian' and related
concepts, while you can find words for 'Greek' or 'Palestinian'. Which
are the inclusion criteria? In other cases, the terms seem to have
been chosen with some carelessness (is it an English word?): e.g.,
kisto means both 'Pakistani' and 'Pashto', while pashto-speakers are
a minority in Pakistan, with no special relationship with the Urdu-
speaking majority (Pashto is mainly spoken in Afghanistan, where
second language is a variety of Persian - Dari -rather than Urdu).
Second, I just began using the Logflash program. I think it is really
useful for an absolute begineer like me. I first accepted the proposed
New Word mode, which is anyway too indulgent with the learner (I was
credited to know more than one hundred gismu, while I just possessed
a dozen words or so). Gaining mode seems really more effective.
It's incredible how more difficult is to remember lojban equivalents
of English words than the other way round. In many cases, only con-
sonants are clearly remembered. I personally tend to forget final
vowels, perhaps as a reflect of my Italian-speaking habits (since
final vowels are not functional in Lojban; I noticed a similar prob-
lem in learning some Swahili). Another strange phenomenon is the
tendence to apply some kind of vocalic harmony in reconstructing words:
e.g., I tend to change voksa into voksu, perhaps because some tendance
to have vowels of the same type is really at work.
I hope not to have been too boring (I dare not think how this
sentence could be translated in lojban).