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Think Again, Lojbab

Subject:     Think Again, Lojbab
Sent:        10/22/95 9:13 AM

la lojbab spuda mi di'e
> I strongly suspect that the lack of elegance and beauty
> that And sees in the rafsi system is far more basic than
> the level that you are seeing "ugly".

iga'inai ie lemi se zgana sera'a la lojban cu condi seme'a do'i cu'u la
and  iku'i go'i na'e krinu ledo du'ejgi tolbanzu danfu

I observe in passing that I must criticize "your" language on a public
mailing list before I get any kind of response from you.  I sent you my
Mini-Lesson Exercise for correction on September 6th, as the Web
materials advised me to do, but that has received no response.  IMO you
should recognize newbies like me as potential customers for Lojban
learning materials, & potential advocates for Lojban itself, & treat us
with more attentive courtesy.

> All this weasel-wording aside, I'm going to respond to your
> specific ideas.
> > The rafsi suffer from several very serious defects & problems.
> > Here is a partial list, with only a few examples of each:
> >
> > * cmavo & rafsi identical in form
> >    but unrelated in meaning:
> >     da'a (all except), da'a => damba (fight);
> >      mo'i (space motion), mo'i => morji (remember).
> >
> > (That was the only problem I'd recognized before, & I'd
> > underestimated its seriousness.  It's really a form of
> > homophone ambiguity -- & Lojban is supposed to be free of
> > such ambiguity.)
> This is not an ambiguity at all, much less one of homophones.

Oh yes it is.

> That is because cmavo are words, and rafsi are not.  The cmavo
> cannot be used as combining forms into lujvo, and the rafsi cannot
> be used EXCEPT as combining forms.

Duh!  Hello?  Ever heard of compound cmavo?  Of course you have; you
certainly embraced their invention, & probably invented them yourself.

We can't use cmavo "as combining forms into lujvo," but we can use them
as combining forms.  Since many (295 by my current estimate) are
pronounced just like rafsi combining forms with completely different
meanings, that spells HOMOPHONE AMBIGUITY, or "homophone affix ambiguity"
if that makes you feel better.  The problem is aggravated by the fact
that _some_ cmavo are pronounced just like rafsi with identical meanings.
 It isn't as bad as English, with its in-side vs. in-flammable vs.
in-effective.  But it is ambiguity, & it is homophonic.

Incidentally, given my prior postings (some all-Lojban, with nonce-lujvo)
to this mailing list, your insinuation that I didn't know what rafsi are
used for, with those pseudo-helpful hyphens around the rafsi da'a, is
exactly what I mean by du'ejgi tolbanzu.  Since compound cmavo are
Lojbanic, we could just as easily demand hyphens around the cmavo da'a.

> The only issue is one of learnability, and the tradeoff that
> was made 2 years ago was that the problems in learnability of
> "illogical" rafsi were small, and in any case no worse than
> the cost of relearning for people who already had used and
> learned some of the original rafsi.

Why put scare-quotes around the word illogical?

You know, my mistake was to infer from your Web materials that you
actually wanted new people to learn the language.  "Oh, we could have
made it easier to learn for tens of thousands of people, but that
would've upset a few score conlangers who might've had to relearn some
rafsi."  This kind of attitude may well doom le logji bangu to
unnecessary obscurity.

Lojban is IMO far superior to, say, Esperanto or Laadan _as a language_.
But the Esperanto language _community_ is warm & welcoming.  Even lesbian
separatists interested in Laadan have given me a warmer welcome than you,
with your dig about my criticisms not measuring up to And's.  (How could
they?  He's had much longer to develop his critique, hasn't he?  & I only
developed mine out of an exchange with him.)

> > In fact, I found so many rafsi problems that I now favor
> > scrapping the whole rafsi-lujvo system & starting over.  At the
> > very least, we should discard those 295 rafsi, each of which is
> > identical in form to some cmavo but unrelated to it in meaning.
> > Would you folks agree with that?
> Given your example of problems that you find with the system, it
> seems likely that whatyou object to is NOT the rafsi system itself,
> but the methods of rafsi assignment - a far less basic issue (albeit
> one not open to change these days).

Well, I gave more than one example.  & I said "rafsi-lujvo system" (not
"rafsi system") because if you scrap 295 rafsi (or "rafsi assignments") I
don't see how the lujvo could go unchanged.  Can you?

> As to whether people are satisfied by the status quo - in general
> the "old-timers" are satisfied.

Must take some heavy-handed social conditioning to get them to stop
seeing the obvious, eh?

> New people tend to be dissatisfied when they run into something
> that seems illogical.

Does that surprise you?  Remember, Lojban (like Loglan before it) is
frequently subtitled "the logical language."  This claim naturally
arouses an expectation that the language be logical.  Think of it as a
truth in advertising question -- a function of the customer service ethic.

> Sometimes the concerns are valid; in many cases it is a problem
> that we have not considered, or considered only cursorily.  But
> for the most part, such problems are in semantics and not in the
> basic language design, which is sound.

Are the rafsi assignments part of the basic language design or not?

If they are, then the design is unsound.  But I don't think they are; I
prefer to agree with you that the basic design is sound.  Even brilliant.

If the rafsi assignments are not part of the basic design, I'd prefer
that the rafsi-lujvo system be scrapped, or at a minimum changed to
eliminate the 295 instances of homophone ambiguity.

> Indeed, even minor changes are difficult, except in some very
> small areas.  We are very close to the 5 year baseline, wherein
> the language will be frozen as to prescription for 5 years or
> more (informal and experimental usages will perhaps be developed,
> but they will by intention not be officially recognized during a
> baseline).

All the more reason to eliminate the homophones now, before the language
is baselined.  You'd better hurry!

> A far more minor effort at making the rafsi attune to usage went
> through 2 years ago, and it took the commitment that the rafsi
> list would be baselined to get support for that. Several people
> were involved in that effort, and concerns such as yours were
> discussed as part of the debate.

So they were discussed, were they?  Too bad they weren't addressed.  &
yes, of course the language should be baselined, but not while
potentially serious defects remain.

> > * cmavo & rafsi identical in meaning
> >   but different in form:
> >    da'a (all except), daz => da'a (all except);
> >     mo'i (space motion), mov => mo'i (space motion).
> > (As you can see, the same forms & meanings are sometimes involved
> > in both type 1 & type 2 defects.  What a mess!  You'd think that,
> > if the cmavo da'a really needed a rafsi, it could have one identical
> > to itself, but no!  It has daz instead, while the rafsi da'a belongs
> > to the gismu damba.  Logical?  Not!)
> Actually quite logical based on considerations of language.  That
> someone MIGHT weant to make a lujvo involving "all-except" justifies
> giving it a rafsi.  But with few exceptions, the cmavo that COULD be
> used in lujvo are in fact seldom used.  manwhile, as you point out
> in other points, there are plenty of words that ARE usable in lujvo,
> and of them, at least one - damba - is permitted under the rafsi
> selection rules to have the rafsi form "da'a".  So the tradeoff on
> this particular rafsi somes down to: will "damba" be desired for use
> in lujvo more or less often than the cmavo "da'a".  Since only one
> of the two can have that particular rafsi, and neither has a logical
> (mch less rule-permitted) basis for having any other word-final
> short -rafsi form, then only one of the two concepts will get such
> a rafsi.
> In actualy debate and usage, damba WAS used more, so damba got the
> rafsi.

That's a fine response.  I see now that you're right in saying damba had
a greater claim on the rafsi da'a -- _if_ gismu are permitted to have
CV'V type rafsi, which of course they are under the current design.   But
you've answered only the second part of a parenthetical comment.  What
about the first part?  Look again:

> > The rafsi suffer from several very serious defects & problems.
> > Here is a partial list, with only a few examples of each:
> >
> >   1
> > * cmavo & rafsi identical in form
> >    but unrelated in meaning:
> >     da'a (all except), da'a => damba (fight);
> >      mo'i (space motion), mo'i => morji (remember).
> >
> >   2
> > * cmavo & rafsi identical in meaning
> >    but different in form:
> >     da'a (all except), daz => da'a (all except);
> >      mo'i (space motion), mov => mo'i (space motion).
> >
> > (As you can see, the same forms & meanings are sometimes involved
> > in both type 1 & type 2 defects.  What a mess!

You've said (& I readily admit) that the rafsi selection rules permit all
this.  The question is:  should the rules be changed?

> > * gismu whose meanings ought to be "affixable"
> >    but which lack rafsi:
> >     matra (motor); vidni (video); risna (heart).
> >
> > (There are, by my current estimate, some 238 gismu which lack
> > rafsi; but not all of them have meanings which ought to be
> > "affixable.")
> At this point, we see one fundamentalgap in your understanding.
> EVERY gismu has at least one word-final rafsi, and at least one
> non-word-final rafsi.  These are not listed in tables because
> they are implicit in the gismu word-form themselves.  The rafsi
> for "matra" are "matr-y-" and "-matra" respectively.

Oh come now, don't be obtuse.  I may not know much Lojban, but I read the
Web materials well before my first posting to the Lojban mailing list
("coi za'e jboterymri") on 9/17/95.  Your speculation about a
"fundamentalgap" in my understanding is, at least in this instance,

Sure, there's a broad _de jure_ definition of rafsi that includes the
gismu themselves.  To quote the Web materials:  "A gismu has at least two
combining forms, known as rafsi.  One is the gismu itself; one is the
gismu with the final vowel deleted."

However, there's a more restrictive _de facto_ definition of rafsi,
namely, "a member of the rafsi list."  The gismu themselves are not
included in this definition, which corresponds to the "shorter rafsi"
described in the Web materials:  "Certain gismu have additional, shorter
rafsi assigned. Up to three of these shorter rafsi may be assigned to a
gismu....  Short rafsi use only certain combinations of letters from the
gismu, and are of the forms CCV, CVC, and CVV or CV'V."

In my discussion of rafsi problems, I was using the narrow _de facto_
definition.  (I daresay others have done so in their discussions as well.
 After all, if one wants to talk about gismu, one can use the word
"gismu."  If one wants to talk about rafsi, it seems convenient to use
the word "rafsi," instead of saying, "all rafsi which are not also gismu
or gismu with the final vowel deleted.")  You might have inferred my
usage from context, or from the rafsi examples I gave, which were all
from the rafsi list, & which all followed the CVC, CCV, CVV or CV'V
pattern.  But you preferred to imagine a "fundamentalgap" in my
understanding, apparently so that you could evade the point I was making.

That's the sort of thing I mean by du'ejgi tolbanzu.  You know, Lojbab, I
think you might benefit from a study of the customer service ethic in the
business world.  In my workplace, words like "catalog" & "newsletter"
have technical meanings, known to the staff.  But, when a customer uses
those words, the staff cannot assume that the customer is, or should be,
using them according to our definitions.  Instead, the customer service
ethic demands that we attend to the customer with open ears, open eyes &
open mind, using context & conversation to determine what the customer
means by the words s/he is using.  That way, if the customer asks for a
catalog, we can give hi/r what s/he wants, not necessarily what we refer
to as a catalog.  Thus we fulfill hi/r request, without trying to make
hi/r linguistic behavior conform to ours.

Let me rephrase my point, & perhaps you will address it more reasonably
this time, adopting a sort of customer service ethic to catch my meaning,
instead of focusing inappropriately on technical definitions.

> > * gismu whose meanings ought to be "affixable"
> >    but which lack short rafsi; that is, which lack
> >     abbreviated combining forms such as those found
> >      in the rafsi list.  Such gismu include:
> >       matra (motor); vidni (video); risna (heart).
> >
> > (There are, by my current estimate, some 238 gismu which lack
> > short rafsi; that is, which lack abbreviated combining forms
> > on the CVC, CCV, CVV or CV'V pattern; but not all of them have
> > meanings which require contracted affixation, "depending on
> > frequency of usage of the gismu in building complex concepts.")

Are you with me?  I'm saying that gismu such as matra (motor), vidni
(video) & risna (heart) ought to have short rafsi, because I expect them
to be used frequently in building complex concepts.

You yourself stated:

> That someone MIGHT weant to make a lujvo involving "all-
> except" justifies giving it [the cmavo da'a] a rafsi.

Well, a lot of these gismu deserve the same privilege.

> >   4
> > * gismu whose meanings need not be "affixable"
> >    but which do have rafsi:
> >     smo => smoka (sock); bik => bikla (whip);
> >      rig => rigni (disgusting).
> And this point at least makes me supsicious of another under-
> standing that is missing.

Again & again, you assume the problem is with my comprehension.  In this
case, you insinuate that cultural differences are something I'd never
considered or come across.  If that were true, I would indeed be unique
among conlang enthusiasts, since every single one of them knows that
cultures differ.

> On what basis are you saying that these gismu have meanings
> that need not be affixable, whereas the ones in point 3 "ought"
> to ba affixable.  That you can think of a lujvo for one, and
> cannot think of a lujvo for the other is not a very strong
> criterion - you are a single individual, and an English native
> speaker.  Perhaps someone from a different language background
> or culture would feel just the opposite of you and would not
> see any reason for a lujvo for risna, and plenty of reason for
> bikla.

Oh, I get it!  It's only my Anglo-American cultural background that makes
me want short words for motorcycle, videogame & cardiogram!  People in
Germany, Madagascar, Korea & Ecuador will never experience motorcades,
videotapes or cardiovascular diseases, so they will never need to talk
about them!  How much simpler everything is, now that you have enlightened

No one besides us wacky Americans would ever need succinct compounds for
math test (cmaci, mathematics, no short rafsi), flyswatter (sfani, fly,
no short rafsi), cousin's child (tamne, cousin, no short rafsi),
hour-long (cacra, hour, no short rafsi), tin can (tinci, tin, no short
rafsi; lante, can, no short rafsi), high tide (ctaru, tide, no short
rafsi), car seat (karce, car, no short rafsi), salt pan (silna, salt, no
short rafsi), cardiopulmonary (risna, heart, no short rafsi; fepri, lung,
no short rafsi), flagpole (lanci, flag, no short rafsi)....  Such things
will always be so rare, so amazingly culture-specific that we can either
use long words to describe them, or else not describe them at all!

> NO analysis of word meanings can provide a culture-free basis
> for deciding which of two words needs a rafsi more than another.

If "NO" analysis can provide a culture-free basis for rafsi assignment
decisions, why berate me for failing to provide such a basis in _my_

> The only practical basis is to look at actual usage and proposed
> usages and see which forms competing for a single rafsi ARE most
> useful.

What sort of "actual usage"?  Lojban usage?  How numerous & culturally
diverse are Lojban speakers & authors?  I very much doubt that there has
been enough Lojban usage for secure statistical significance in terms of
estimating the "rafsi potential" of each gismu.

Panlinguistic usage?  That would make more sense, since every language is
a potential source of words & phrases requiring Lojban translation; but I
doubt that panlinguistic usage has been analyzed & compiled adequately
for "rafsi potential" estimation.

A more "practical basis" IMO would be to let every gismu have at least
one or two short rafsi.  That would save us the bother of compiling &
analyzing panlinguistic usage data & trying to estimate every gismu's
rafsi potential therefrom.

> Thus, under the current design, the only short forms permissible
> to "vidni" are "vid-", "vin-", and "-vi'i".  You would thus have
> to argue that vidni would be substantially more usefully assigned
> toone of these rafsi than the current holder of those assignments.

No, I wouldn't have to argue that, because I favor scrapping part of the
"current design," namely, the whole rafsi-lujvo system.  Following the
rafsi assignment rules is what produced the very defects I'm complaining
about.  So it's unhelpful to tell me what my argument would have to be if
I were following those same rules.

> The existing rafsi assignments were made on the basis of actual
> usage and proposed usages, and even 2 years ago it would have
> taken SEVERAL more lujvo based on vidni to get it to displace one
> of the others.

So what were the usages "and proposed usages" of smoka, bikla & rigni,
which won them the privilege of economical combining forms?

I mentioned vidni as an example, nothing more.  However, if I were to
argue in the manner you specify, I'd say, let vidni have the rafsi vid.
It's mnemonic.  True, the form is CVC, but vidni may not need a
word-final rafsi.  (Other than itself, I mean.)  Right now, the rafsi vid
belongs to the gismu vindu (poison).  On phonetic grounds, vidni would
seem to have the stronger claim on vid, compared with vindu.  That aside,
it's a tough choice; the concept of poison can fit into many compounds,
just as the concept of video can.  I'd hate for vindu to lack a CVC
rafsi, but I question whether vid is the one it has to have.

> Specifically a CVC form rafsi coming from a gismu of form
> C1V1C2C3V2 can use  C1V1C2 or C1V1C3
> and one of form
> C1C2V1C3V2 can use C1V1C2 or C2V1C3

So vindu can have vin or vid.  I'd give it vin; but vin belongs to jvinu
(view).  Well, the jvinu concept relates to a basic sensory modality; I
think jvinu merits all the rafsi it can get.  If I take vin away from
jvinu & assign it to vindu, then I'll want jvinu to have jin.  But djine
(ring) has jin -- & no other short rafsi.  So if jvinu gets jin, I have
to decide whether djine goes without, or takes din (or some non-CVC short
rafsi) instead.  I tend to favor giving djine a non-CVC form.  But by
this time it is surely apparent why I feel that scrapping & redoing the
whole rafsi-lujvo system would be preferable to this sort of case-by-case
by-the-rule-book tinkering.

> >   5
> > * gismu whose meanings ought to be "suffixable"
> >    but which have only non-suffixable CVC rafsi:
> >     meb => mebri (brow); run => rutni (artifact);
> >      tab => tabno (carbon).
> This is dealt with by the same argument.  But I am particularly
> curious about one.  In what way is "mebri" particularly
> appropriate to ahve a final-position rafsi, while smoka does not
> justify any rafsi at all.  (notwithstanding the fact that mebri
> does have the non-shortened "suffix" form "-mebri".

First, I'm willing to grant smoka one or two short rafsi iff the more
essential gismu don't have to go without.

Second, by asking about mebri you're really asking what I mean by
essential.  I haven't really tried to construct a systematic criterion,
but it seems obvious to me that facial features are of central
importance.  In a great variety of interpersonal negotiations, from
recognition to conversation, from breast-feeding to courtroom testimony,
humans study one another's facial features intently.  Focus tracking
experiments show that, when people look at pictures, their eyes quickly
locate any faces in the pictures & return to those faces often.  Our
tendency to seek facial features in our field of vision is so strong that
we often perceive human faces in views which are vague, blurry, random
&/or inanimate -- the Cydonia "Face" on Mars being a classic example.

I opine therefore that facial features, including eyebrows, merit
economical expression -- if not monosyllabic morphemes then, at worst,
two-syllable compounds.  At three syllables, kalmebri (eyebrow) is
excessively & uncomfortably long, especially if it's to be part of a
larger whole, such as kalmebri pinsi (eyebrow pencil), kalmebri lafti
(eyebrow raising) or kalmebri kerfa (eyebrow hair).  True, for eyebrow
hair we can say kalmebkre; but kre is antimnemonic as a rafsi for kerfa
-- antimnemonic rafsi being one of several rafsi problems I didn't get
around to mentioning in my original seven-point posting.

> >   6
> > * rafsi with parallel forms but which are derived
> >    from dissimilar valsi:
> >     cme => cmene (name); zme => guzme (melon);
> >      gu'a => gunka (work); bu'a => bruna (brother).
> ... It happens that in 6 you tried mixing CCVCV gismu with CVCCV
> gismu, ...

No I didn't, Lojbab.  I took rafsi with parallel forms (cme || zme, gu'a
|| bu'a) & looked to see which valsi (whether gismu or cmavo) they were
derived from.  I'm not responsible for the fact that the rafsi in these
examples (& many more) were derived from dissimilar gismu.  It's bizarre
that you are trying to shift the blame for this onto me.  What is this, a
sort of newbie hazing ritual?  I didn't invent the language, nor did I
design the gismu-to-rafsi contraction algorithms.

In fact, my point 6 doesn't even concern gismu-to-rafsi contraction.  It
concerns rafsi-to-valsi expansion.  If that expansion were logical, then
rafsi with parallel forms would expand to similar valsi in a consistent
manner.  For instance, all CCV rafsi with the form fricative+ nasal+
vowel (like cme & zme) would expand in the same way.  So, if cme were
"short for" cmene, then sna would be "short for" snada (succeed) instead
of sance (sound), jmi would be "short for" jmifa (shoal/reef) rather than
jimpe (understand) & so forth.

(Alternatively, if jmi were "short for" jimpe, then cme would be "short
for" a gismu starting with cem, zme would be "short for" a gismu starting
with zem, etcetera.  But I find the jmi = jim equation to be antimnemonic
& unnecessarily counterintuitive, just like the kre = ker of kerfa.)

> ... and of course at the surface ALL such gismu will appear to
> be of "dissimilar" forms.  Why should either of the two forms
> take precedence for assignment of a CVC rafsi?

Who said anything about CVC rafsi?  Who said anything about which gismu
form should "take precedence" in rafsi assignment?  You're attacking
arguments that no one was making.  My point 6 simply observes that
there's no way to take a rafsi in Lojban & figure out which valsi it is
"short for," even if you have all the gismu & cmavo memorized, because
rafsi-to-valsi expansion in the current language design is inconsistent &

> >   7
> > * gismu with parallel forms but which are contracted
> >    into dissimilar rafsi:
> >     cabna (now) <= cab; zabna (favorable) <= zan, za'a;
> >      senci (sneeze) <= sec; denci (tooth) <= den, de'i.
> You are taking a very narrow view of "similar" and "dissimilar".

I identified seven types of defect or problem in the rafsi-lujvo system.
I gave only a few examples of each type.  I find it amazing & somewhat
offensive that, just from my choice of examples, you would jump to
conclusions concerning the breadth of my views on similarity.  Come on!
My examples had only to illustrate the problems I was discussing; nothing
else was required of them, as far as I knew.  I didn't perceive any need
to select examples in such a way that my concept of similarity could be
psychoanalyzed from them.

> Your cases in 7 differ only by one letter in the initial
> position.  Fine.  But how about "carna" and "cabra" which
> similarly differ only by one letter from "cabna"  Do you
> consider them to be just as "parallel"?

I consider them to be a straw man chasing a red herring.  If
gismu-to-rafsi contraction -- the subject of point 7 -- were logical,
then gismu with parallel forms would contract to similar short rafsi in a
consistent manner.  Unfortunately, that is not the case, as my examples
demonstrated quite well.  I took parallel gismu (cabna || zabna; senci ||
denci) & looked to see which short rafsi were derived from them.  The
results I found were not parallel.

> But it turns out that one of these - "cabra" has a CCV form
> possible - "bra", while the other two do not.  Thus among those
> three, they really AREN'T exactly parallel in structure.

Fine -- but I didn't mention cabra or carna.  I didn't question whether
cabna & carna had CCV forms possible.  I simply observed that there's no
way to take a gismu in Lojban & figure out what rafsi it's contracted
into, even if you have all the gismu memorized, because rafsi assignment
in the current language design is inconsistent & illogical.

> AS to whether the language design is "elegant", that appears to
> be a subjective decision.

Sure, but not all subjective assessments are equally persuasive.  Some
are as if written with the True Quill.  Most of the Lojban language
design _is_ elegant; we cannot reach that conclusion unless we reach it
subjectively, but if we denied it we'd be flat wrong.  The bridi grammar,
the phonology, the gismu assembled from six widely spoken source
languages, the cmavo arranged in their various selma'o:  for the most
part, you could practically define what logical elegance is by what
Lojban does.  But the rafsi-lujvo system does not achieve the same
excellence of capability & economy.

> I think that the rafsi system IS elegant, because I value
> compromises, and am also aware of the flaws with many alternatives.
> But explaining the "whys" of each design decision to each new person
> isn't really practical.

If a design decision is mistaken, the challenge is to correct it, not
necessarily to explain the "whys" of it.

> Someday, we'll have to write a book saying why each design element
> came to be the way it was, and people could decide for themselves.

Yes, I hope you will write such a book.  But don't forget that the
readers of a book are the author's customers, deserving of good customer

> But even to do this, someone considering the elegance of the design
> has to bear in mind that all decisions must be made in context.  In
> any design effort you make some basic decisions first, and these will
> constrain all other decisions.  The fine points of assigning rafsi to
> meanings is a relative "small" decision, that does NOT affect the
> fundamental principles of the language design, ...

That is precisely why you should be willing to adjust the rafsi system:
you can do so without changing the fundamental design principles.

> ...and hence must be constrained by those fundamental princioples.

I agree that the final rafsi-lujvo system should be so constrained.

> Within those constraints, I contend that the current tradeoff is quite
> elegant, and furthermore, close to optimal.

You can contend this only by evading instead of facing the criticisms
which have been made.

> Not everyone agrees with me on this.  But no one has proposed any
> alternatives that even come close to meeting the many criteria that
> are applicable, ...

If no one else is willing to undertake the repair work, then you should
do so yourself, Lojbab.  Who is better qualified?

> ... and even if they seemed to do so, we would be unlikely to consider
> the idea seriously because of the lateness in the design phase.

What a copout.  Think again, Lojbab.

la xorxes cusku di'e
> Here is one possible idea:
> Define as rafsi all syllables of the form CCV, CCVN, and KVN, where
> CC is any of the 48 permissible initials, N is one of l,m,n,r and K
> is any of the other 13 Lojban consonants.
> There are 240+960+260 = 1460 such syllables, enough to cover all gismu.
> (If those were not enough, the 3380 KVKN are available. They just don't
> make very nice lujvo.)
> Make gismu from those by adding any CV at the end of the CCV and KVN
> forms, or a single vowel at the end of the CCVN forms. (Not necessarily
> the same vowel or CV for all. The choice may be arbitrary or follow
> some rule, classifying words in some way.)
> All the gismu so obtained are morphologically like the ones we have.
> The rafsi for each is unique and automatically obtainable from the
> gismu, and what is even better, no additional 'r's or 'y's are ever
> needed, and the rafsi are always one-syllable, except when in final
> position. Lujvo are trivially decomposed because each syllable
> always corresponds to a different rafsi.
> What criterion would this idea have failed to meet?
> Jorge

Unless I misunderstand it, this suggestion would entail revising or
replacing the gismu list.  Because I admire the existing gismu, I'd
prefer not to go that far.  Also, I'd argue against adding an extra
syllable to every CCVN & KVN rafsi that happens to come in word-final
position.  But Jorge's suggestion does have its merits:  a monosyllabic
rafsi for every gismu; logical rafsi-to-gismu expansion; logical
gismu-to-rafsi contraction....  Perhaps a modified version would be just
what we need.

co'o mi'e mark,l