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lojban zasni 1/2

>Suffice it to say that I think Jorge is closer to
>my way of thinking than Steven is.

As I indicated in my response to Jorge, I don't disagree in any substantial
way with Jorge's position on managing <lojban zasni>. Jorge (perhaps
seriously) proposed that all deliberations regarding formal revisions to
lojban be written in lojban, which implies that Jorge implicitly accepts
the value of a formal mechanism for overseeing the development & growth of
lojban. Or maybe he's subtly chiding those of us who are less fluent in
lojban than he is!

>Indeed, my experience is that the
>longer someone is in the community and using the language, the more they
>see the effects of changes proposed by people who come after them, and
>the more conservative they get.

Yes. Conservative is good in language design. My proposal for a lojban
academy is more conservative (that is, favoring traditional views and
values; tending to oppose change) than your mob rule approach.

>In conlangs, failure to grow is death.

And unregulated growth is cancer.

>>The decisions made now are likely to affect many people. lojbab is the
>>de facto leader of the lojban endeavor and he needs to carefully
>>consider how he will use his authority to guide the birth and
>>development of the language.
>I most certaianly have done so, and will reevaluate as necessary.

Agreed. You have repeatedly demonstrated your willingness to concede
various points (given a convincing opposing line of reasoning.) Otherwise I
wouldn't have bothered to post my proposal for a lojban academy in the
first place.

>>...I believe *some* of these issues are best resolved by
>>extensions to the language or changes to the language:  the inclusion of
>>the selmaho <xoi> and the abolition of standard positions in gismu are
>>the only two that I strongly feel require changes/extensions.
>These almost certainly will not even be considered before the 5 year

I have no problem with this. But if and's <xoi> selmaho proves to provide a
valuable and universally acclaimed feature to lojban, there ought to be a
formal means of adding it eventually. (10 years? 20 years? Fine, no

>>Second, and more importantly, there is the issue of how change is to be
>>managed in the language once it is baselined.  JCB doubtless believed he
>>had good reasons for managing change in Loglan in the manner that he
>JCB never accepted the principle of baselining, for one thing.

Balderdash. JCB published several versions of his dictionary and grammer. I
have most of the versions with ISBN codes (that is "published books") here
in my library. I just looked in my copy of the original Loglan 1. The words
are not metamorphosizing. That is what we call a "baseline."

>language was and is the embodiment of what the French Academy would like
>to happen with French.  Nothing new until approved by the Academy, but
>the Academy is always open for business.  All changes and innovations
>are null until approved from the top.

The Loglan Institute is not an academy. One person is not an academy. Even
the French Academy represents a diversity of views, albeit over a
restricted subset of speakers.

>>This approach was reportedly somewhat autocratic, to the dismay of some.
>To say the least.  It 1) doesn't work as the French Academy can testify,

Wait a second. I would hardly characterize the activity of the Acad=E9mie
=46ran=E7aise as "not working" It is one of many forces which shape the Fren=
language. It *HAS* had significant influence on the development of French.

>2) excludes skilled voices from participation - your fuzzy logic stuff
>would not even be discussed publically.  You would be obliged to write a
>full proposal, which would be judged by an Academy without public
>debate, and either accepted or rejected or adopted with modifications,
>with no interaction with you or the rest of the community.

Additional balderdash. The membership of the Acad=E9mie Fran=E7aise has
included such writers as  Pierre Corneille, Voltaire,and Victor Hugo; all
of whom introduced novel forms and content to the language. Many changes
the Acad=E9mie Fran=E7aise eventually adopted were post facto recognition of
language evolution. Formalized slang, if you will. They have had some
success stamping out "anglicization" of French by introducing new words for
things like "computer" as well. Besides, its and's proposal. I like the
idea of <xoi>, but I did not suggest it. What's your objection anyway?
Wasn't the idea of having experimental selmaho begining with X originally
your idea?

>>As I understand it, lojbab's approach is a participative leadership
>>style until the language is baselined, and then an abdication of
>>leadership, with change henceforth to be managed laissez-faire by the
>>speakers of lojban, with no formal apparatus.

No, what?

>Upon baselining, there will be a 5 year period where the ONLY
>change permitted will be of the "language exploration" variety.  If
>anything comes up that is so serious as to require formal change during
>the 5 year period, the baseline experiment will be considered a failure,
>and we will have to decide what to do then.

=46ailure? That seems like an odd point of view. I doubt that this language
will be error free and perfect at the time of its baselining. I believe
that the necessity for improvements will be inevitable, and we ought to be
thinking that way now, and plan for the eventuality.

>Undoubtedly the community
>will be considerably different than it is now, and we cannot decide now
>what we will do then.

Why not? If the idea of a lojban academy appears patently absurd in five
years, then we will abandon the notion. If we create one now we will be
able to take all the slang, experimental stuff, problems, etc. and deal
with them in a formal way as part of the baselining. This seems to me to be
a way to make the baselined language *more* stable, not less stable.

>After 5 years, I envision some kind of review of the state of the
>language and a decision to continue the baseline or not.  The procedure
>will be formal or informal as seems suitable at the time.  Almost
>certainly the LLG voting membership will be consulted at the annual
>meeting each LogFest on the status and plans for after 5 years.

A stitch in time saves nine.

>>This approach will lead to serious problems, and we will eventually have
>>to adopt some formal apparatus to deal with rebaselining the language
>>periodically, as informed by usage and future insights as to the
>>strength/weaknesses of the language.
>I am unconvinced that this will be necessary, and if we get "thousands
>of speakers", I am unconvinced it will be possible.  The French Academy
>can control all the baselines it wants, but the people speak the
>language they choose.

I was on an Air Canada flight into Montreal several years ago when the
steward forgot to announce the arrival in French. All hell broke loose.
People were screaming, "Parlez francais!" One agent provocateur was
escorted from the plane by the police! The Acad=E9mie Fran=E7aise is not mer=
an irrelevant ivory tower group which deliberates pointlessly. Francophones
feel passionately about their language, and the Acad=E9mie Fran=E7aise is a
*government sanctioned* political body created in response to the concerns
of the citizens of France, and to some extent other Francophones. It was
established by Richelieu to maintain standards of literary taste and to
establish the literary (as opposed to spoken) language Consider the term
"ordinateur" This was a construction of the academy which actually enjoys
considerable use among francophones.

>>If we could be reassurred that there will be an (eventual) opportunity
>>to rebaseline the language, perhaps those with proposed grammer changes
>>would feel less adamant about including those changes in the initial
>I cannot make such assurance, since I am not sure that I will have to
>power to fulfill such a promise.

It is not a promise. It is a policy. They are different. You and Nora are
the de facto leaders of the lojban community, and have some authority to
set policy. I am encouraging you to use your authority to back the idea of
a lojban academy.


Steven M. Belknap, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Medicine
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria

email: sbelknap@uic.edu
Voice: 309/671-3403
=46ax:   309/671-8413