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Thanks to everyone for your very illuminating comments & criticisms
concerning my "Rafsi Repair Proposal."  It seems clear that this effort
can aptly be described by the phrase, "too little, too late."
Accordingly, rather than extending or defending my proposal, I'm dropping
it.  I do feel an urge to re-explain some of its features, but it's an
urge I'll _try_ to resist.  Fact is, I don't want to work out the various
phono tables, etc., which would be required to extend the proposal, when
it has so few (if any) advantages (& those subtle or controversial) over
the existing system.

la and cusku di'e
> I don't see the point of these proposals. The rafsi are baselined, so
> these proposals have no practical purpose.

In Isaac Asimov's novel _The Gods Themselves_, two different human men
have to present the same problem to their fellow citizens.  The first man
presents the problem without offering a solution.  As a result, people
refuse to believe that the problem exists, or else refuse to recognize
its importance; they maintain a state of group denial.  The second man
presents the problem & also offers a solution.  Everyone then recognizes
the problem & embraces the solution.

When I presented my seven-pointed critique of the rafsi-lujvo system
(&/or rafsi assignments) in Lojban, you-all told me that similar
critiques had been presented before.  Yet the rafsi were baselined
without addressing the points of criticism.  Many of you didn't (& don't)
believe that these points represent real problems.  I wondered whether
you-all would still feel that way (& support the baselining) if presented
with the sketch of a possible partial solution.  So I presented one.

Surprise!  You-all still support the baseline.  I conclude that your
opinions & observations are not, after all, based on "Gods Themselvesian"
group denial.

> But we are also interested in how lojban might have been under ideal
> conditions, so I was interested in what you would suggest.

My proposal was not intended to be so theoretically ambitious.

> But then, if it were possible to redo baselined stuff, then why stop
> at changing rafsi, ...

When I was a kid I studied the violin.  Violins have no frets on their
fingerboards, which makes playing them out of tune all too easy.  Other
things, such as bowing errors, can mess up the sound in other ways.  I
became very sensitive to messed-up sounds; I would physically cringe &
shudder when I heard them.  This eventually made practice intolerable,
since my own playing would frequently elicit my cringe response!

I no longer play the violin, & that cringe response has become a subtle,
inner experience: more of a twinge, now, than a cringe.  But, cringe or
twinge, I must tell you that, the more I practice using the Lojbanic
lujvo & rafsi, the more I feel that same response.

The rest of Lojban seems wonderful.  It may not be ideal, or
theoretically perfect, but it certainly seems harmonious.  Feeling no
aversion response, I had no strong motivation to change any of the rest.
But my gut feeling insisted that the rafsi needed fixing.  As to what,
exactly, is wrong with them, maybe my analysis has been shallow,
misguided or incomplete.  But the twinge in the gut remains.  That
twinge, more than anything, was the "point" of my "Rafsi Repair Proposal."

la and cusku di'e
> ... then why stop at changing rafsi, when more radical changes would
> effect so much the greater improvement?

la kris cusku di'e
> A more thorough change that eliminated the distinction between rafsi
> and gismu, or made one absolutely predictable from the other, would be
> more defendable, because that really is a serious learning hurdle IMO.
> But then we're talking about a whole new language, really.

la lojbab cusku di'e
> If I were interested in developing my own conlang, I would have almost
> no idea where to start, and whatever I did would be derivative of JCB's
> because I like so many of his ideas, and have few new ones of my own.

I'm no prophet, but I expect that most of the really interesting conlangs
of the next 30 years or so will probably be based on Lojban, or on the
Lojban-Loglan tradition.  Maybe a few will grow out of some other
approach, like trying to integrate Putonghua Chinese with English.  But,
in general, I expect that worthwhile efforts will employ some variation
of the Lo??an anatomy.

> I have things that I would do over if it were back in 1987, (or better,
> if we were starting over today, because remaking the gismu would take
> a fraction of the time today that it took then due to the increased
> computer power, and the algorith I would like to use would be far more
> compute intensive).

What algorithm would you like to use, Lojbab, "if we were starting over

Your remark about access to computional power reminds me somehow of
Joseph Greenberg's gigantic lexical comparison tables, which he & his
colleagues take as data for processes of statistical inference concerning
prehistoric protolanguages.  How reliable is the use of this method to
reconstruct lost protos & portray linguistic evolution?  I'm not sure.
But I've often wondered if employing the same method to assemble a
conlang lexicon might be amusing.  Imagine.  Instead of six or eight or
ten gismu source languages, you could have hundreds!  Of course, then,
for any given language, few gismu (at best) would be mnemonic.

> ....  I would improve the rafsi assignments simply by being more
> discriminatory about how we selected the gismu - by using more of the
> alphabet, we would have had fewer collisions, and less need for
> kerfa->kre style rafsi and more of tye mnemonic ones.

Yes, my "Rafsi Repair Proposal" ran into that same roadblock of
alphabetic distribution, o shortage & so forth.

la and cusku di'e
> It's complicated a bit by how one counts syllables; I think it would
> be less biased to count letters instead, since we all agree that
> {zbasu} has 5 letters, even if we don't agree how many syllables or
> phonemes it has.

True, another issue with the existing gismu is that syllable boundaries
are not always clear.  I tried to clarify that somewhat, by dividing the
CVCCV gismu into CVCC,V & CVC,CV & CV,CCV categories; but my success was
minimal.  Meanwhile, I shied away from redoing the gismu, because that
would seem tantamount to the creation of another language, & because I
_like_ the existing gismu -- despite their resistance to syllabic

la and spuda la djan di'e
> > This [a proposal by la and] involves throwing overboard the current
> > gismu-assignment system with its effort to be mnemonic in six
> > languages proportional to their number of speakers, of course.  That
> > principle is actually far older ... than the rafsi principle.
> The policy needn't be thrown overboard ... [but] the traditional
> etymological method is not that useful - after all, very few gismu bear
> any mnemonically useful resemblance to their English counterparts - and
> since the algorithm itself was only ever rough-and-ready, and never
> perfected, its role should not be overplayed.

An important reason why Esperanto was so much more successful than
Volapuk at recruiting learners is that Esperanto uses words which are
mnemonic in many European languages -- with the occasional tidbit of
Arabic or Japanese.  Lojban, like Loglan before it, uses the same
principle on a global scale.  Hypothetically, that would give both Lojban
& Loglan (or any globally sourced conlang) the potential to be more
trans-culturally successful at recruitment than Esperanto.

I've studied at least the phonology & a little vocabulary of Spanish,
Russian, Arabic & Putonghua Chinese, besides my native English.  With
that background, I perceive the Lojbanic gismu as quite euphonious.  I
haven't fully tested how mnemonically useful the etymological derivation
is for me.  But it accounts for much of Lojban's aesthetic appeal.

I'll admit, however, that algorithmic etymological derivation is a rather
inefficient way to use an array of lexical possibilities.  A more
phonologically systematic & symmetrical approach to word formation would
pervade any given lexical space much more efficiently.  But at what cost?

la and cusku di'e
> But then, ... why stop at changing rafsi, when more radical changes
> would effect so much the greater improvement?
> Put another way, I can understand proposals to tinker with non-
> baselined stuff, and I can understand descriptions of how lojban
> should be if we could redo it all over again, but I can't understand
> proposals to tinker with baselined stuff.

Fair enough.  How would you redo Lojban if we could do it all over again?
 I'm trying now to track the various proposals being made.

co'o mi'e mark,l