Letters policy: Unless otherwise stated, letters addressed to logli in general, to The Institute, APL, or any editor of Lognet will be considered as offered for publication. But it would be good if the writer explicitly offers. We reserve the right to edit letters, mostly just to drop material that has to do with ordering books, etc. Sometimes a given correspondent will have several letters in the hopper, so to speak, and we will combine them into one purely for the sake of clarity. If you are not on e-mail and your letter is a long one, we’d be grateful if you’d enclose a soft copy on a diskette. We can translate most word-processors into the one we use and having your letters on disk could save us a lot of typing.
From Dr. Robert McIvor, Grammarian for The Loglan Institute.
I was very saddened to hear of the death of Dr. Brown. I was privileged to have known him personally as a friend and colleague, and my deepest sympathies go to his wife and family.
I first encountered Loglan in his original Scientific American article, and, while I didn’t follow it up, I was intrigued enough to keep looking for further information, and when the first books were announced, began studying it. This led to programming some “Taste Tests” and the first attempts at a machine grammar, and, as a result being invited to visit him in San Diego in 1982. At the time, neither of us had any idea of what the other looked like, and I remember standing in front of the bus depot in San Diego holding up a Loglan publication, wondering if I was going to be chased out for soliciting! We were using some of the first personal computers, and a grammar compilation with YACC took about 45 minutes. Today compiling a considerably larger grammar takes a fraction of a second on current models.
Subsequently, we spent many mornings together working on the dictionary during two winters that I spent in a former private school that he had built himself on his Gainesville property, the memory of which I cherish deeply.
He had devoted much time in recent years to a book proposing a computer-based economic system which had the potential of eliminating involuntary unemployment, inflation, and the need of economies to have continued growth at the expense of the environment. A sketchy version of this was in his futuristic novel The Troika Incident. He had been actively engaged in recent months with potential publishers. He had also another book in mind, had nature permitted.
However, in recognition of his declining health, he took a couple of months off each year to fulfil ambitions to travel, with trips to Australia, China, Russia, around North America, and was engaged in a trip around South America at the time of his death.
He will be greatly missed.
From Wesley Parsons, TLI's President and its legal advisor:
Jim Brown was one of the warmest, most brilliant
men I have ever met.
His loss was a blow to us all. I first corresponded with him after I saw the Scientific American ad in the 1970’s, and then had the privilege of meeting and working with him on many occasions. He contributed immensely to my life.
From Dr. Emerson Mitchell, Cefli Lodtua (Chief Logician) for TLI:
I came late to the news of his death (uu) because I hadn’t seen my e-mail for a while.
I am shocked and saddened but not surprised. He knew he didn’t have a long time left, although I doubt he expected to die in Argentina!
JCB was a genius. The type of person whose original thoughts are invisible beforehand and obvious afterwards. I had the honor of active debate with him on several issues. Usually I lost. Often we had to agree to disagree. His philosophy was realism, if it isn’t physical it doesn’t exist. I am a Platonist, abstractions exist in a different sense than physical but for me they are just as real. From these opposing viewpoints we saw very different worlds, and very different uses for language.
On the very few occasions when I changed JCB’s mind, I felt flattered and proud. He was not close minded, always willing to change if shown what he considered a good reason. Coming up with such a good reason was very difficult.
I shall miss him. I shall miss our disagreements.
As a religious believer, I have hope to see him again. If that ever happens, I am sure we would both be pleased. Although he will be a bit surprised to have an afterlife.
My personal regret at his passing is aggravated by my poor talent for learning languages. I have not been able to learn to use Loglan, although I easily follow its logical structure. So I shall always be an outside admirer of the language, never a scholar in it.
Dr. Emerson Clark Mitchell
Logician (official logician of the Loglan Institute after Dr. Randall Holmes resigned.)
From Randall Holmes, a past Cefli Lodtua (Chief Logician) for TLI.
Dear fellow students of Loglan,
I was very sad to hear of the death of the founder of Loglan.
My interest in Loglan has developed in parallel with and sometimes interacted fruitfully with my professional work in mathematical logic and my amateur interests in the philosophy of mathematics and language; Dr. Brown has made a great contribution to my intellectual life. I also enjoyed meeting him on several occasions and liked him personally.
From Bob LeChevalier, Chairman of the Logical Language Group, the home of Lojban.
On behalf of The Logical Language Group, I wish to express my condolences both to the TLI community, and to his family, upon the death of Dr. James Cooke Brown.
As for myself, I am deeply saddened by Jim Brown’s death, and by the enmity that persisted between us for altogether too long.
I first met Jim Brown in 1979 when we both lived in San Diego, and established a personal friendship with him that lasted even as he moved to Florida and I to Washington DC. I was a largely inactive supporting member of TLI during the next 6 years, but worked with Jim supporting several projects including the work that became known as GMR. I was always impressed by his leadership, his personal charisma, and his commitment to the seemingly quixotic language project he led. (JCB had a statuette of Don Quixote in his working area, and I once remarked to him how he resembled the image of the Don both physically and in his lifetime work.) I was drawn into the project by JCB’s charisma and his friendship, rather than by my inherent interest in artificial languages.
Not all that many Loglanists know of the other sides of Jim Brown, science fiction writer, utopian, political activist, sailor, game inventor (he helped invent other games besides Careers, but none made it to market). In all his activities, he lived life to its fullest and gave his all. I was enriched in having a chance to see some of these other aspects of Jim Brown.
When JCB had his first life-threatening illness in 1986, he asked me to visit him, as one of the few Loglanists who was still working on the project after politics nearly destroyed the community in 1983-4. Jim’s fears of his mortality and the possible collapse of his beloved language project moved me, and I made the personal commitment to him in friendship and respect that I would work to see that his language work continue and thrive regardless of his health and life. Everything I have done since, as a Loglanist, and in starting and leading the effort we originally called “Lojban—A Realization of Loglan”, has been in dedication to fulfilling that personal commitment to JCB, as well as the added commitment to the greater Loglan community that supported my efforts to revive a then languishing project.
Unfortunately, the way I chose to do this, initially undertaken on my own while JCB was away in Europe recovering from his illness while sailing on his boat, caused him to distrust me and my motives. I regretted this distrust and for 6 years continued to offer rapprochement, even while JCB felt compelled as leader of TLI to threaten me and the budding Lojban effort legally. Once the legal issue was settled and the survival of Lojban (and thus Loglan) was assured, I have tried to be circumspect and non-critical as an observer, while you of the TLI community helped Jim Brown rebuild his own efforts. While Jim Brown never forgave me, I would like to think that my actions towards the TLI community have been in keeping with my original commitment to him. Between the two organizations, I believe that Loglan will survive and thrive as a language and as a research project. Let us ensure this, that we work together to ensure that Dr. James Cooke Brown’s legacy—his Language and his Project—prove worthy of the life and love that he gave it over the years as the Father of Loglan. I will be working towards these ends, and offer to Alex and the leadership of TLI, my cooperation in pursuit of this.
mi’e lojbab/Hue Lojbab
From John Clifford. Old issues of The Loglanist are full of Dr. Clifford's contributions, with the by-line of pc (Parks-Clifford). In recent years he has been active in the Lojban community.
The death of JCB is an emotional blow to all of us in the Loglan communities. I hope that, rather than disabling us, it will renew our commitment to bringing his project to a final definitive conclusion.
I extend my condolences to his family and also to his wider “family” of students, followers, and more remotely connected disciples in and out of the communities.
JCB’s passing forces me personally to confront the fact that I never forgave him for his actions in 1984 (as I viewed them) and that, after a rebuffed attempt in the midst of that conflict, I never sought to discuss his view of that situation until last week. In the midst of clearing my office, I came on some material from the early history of Loglan and framed a letter to JCB asking about the disposal of the material and recommending that, if he had not done so already, he write—or get a university oral history program to record—his personal history of the Loglan Project. Now that letter will go unsent and that history is probably lost forever, unfortunately. How sad to lose an opportunity to understand and more so to lose the one to be understood.
Jim Brown was a genius in many ways. In addition to Loglan, we should not forget The Troika Incident, Careers [a board game he invented and successfully marketed. Ed.], the job market (a genuine test of classical economic theory) and his essays on the origins of language. Like most geniuses, he was often impatient with more plodding folk and the need to stop and explain, to fill the gaps between the leaps of his thoughts. That we plodders did not always catch on to the way the gaps should be filled—and that our errors annoyed him mightily—cost him and his projects both money and manpower throughout his time. But we now have the leaps and a variety of fillers for the gaps and are at least that much better off and can slog on to finish a version of his plan.
From Dr. Steven Belknap, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Medicine, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria
I was sorry to hear of Dr. Brown’s death. Like Robert McIvor, I learned about Loglan from the 1960 Scientific American article, which I first read in 1968 (my father had all the old Scientific Americans, which I read avidly.) This article was my introduction to linguistics, artificial language, and predicate logic. I have the first edition of the Loglan book, and printouts of a circa 1979 word list. I would have to say that Dr. Brown’s work was, and still is, influential in how I think about thinking.
I spoke to Dr. Brown by phone on several occasions over the past ten years. I was impressed by his active mind, even at an advanced age. I was saddened by the lojban/Loglan rift. I believe that much was lost by not finding some way to mend this rift, as Dr. Brown was a remarkably creative and intelligent person.
The finest tribute to Dr. Brown would be that lojban/Loglan would survive him. The survival of his creation would best be assured by uniting the two communities. Aside from the actual predicates and connecting words, the two languages are essentially identical, as far as I can determine.
Whatever the future of the language, I am grateful to Dr. Brown for the audacious breadth of his vision and the depth of his commitment to reason and logic as a means of decreasing human misery. My condolences to his family and friends.
From Slavik Ivanov, one of our Russian logli, and at the same time our only Ossetian one. Yes, I had to get my atlas out too!
Really very sad news. “Starik” [Russian for “old man”. Ed.], as I tenderly called him in Russian, has already become to me a very close man. He really influenced my modern mind, kind of Whorfian effect, I suppose.
Dear Starik will always rest with me. I am really happy, that I witnessed that man, that I was among those, with whom he communicated.
Hue Slavik, ji le ruski logcima pe la Djimbraon.
And, answering the point in Steven Belknap's message about uniting the two logical language communities:
Yes, uniting WOULD BE... But how is it possible? The only way is to absorb one community by another, but this way is close, because example me—I will hardly relearn from the very beginning to Lojban—the same will say most of lojbanists, I think.
So, uu, our ways are parallel...
Hue Slavik, ji le ruski logcirna pe la Djimbraon.
A UK logli replied to Slavik’s message:
Where there’s a will there’s a way. For starters, the two lexicogrammars could be discrete subcomponents of a single macrogrammar, so that by choosing some appropriate lexical indicator at the start of the text one could indicate whether one were writing Loglan in classical or Lojban mode. A stage beyond that would be to define word-for-word equivalences between the Lojban and classical Loglan lexicons.
From that point on, usage would decide the eventual outcome, given the tendency of most people to emulate the language of their peers.
And from another of our Russian friends.
We have a big sorrow...
( no words )
But, that’s great so there is a lot of humans on earth, who see letters “JCB” on grave and have one right association. It is James Cooke Brown.
JCB will live in our hearts and in Loglan advances.
Andrew Nugged AKA Andrew Vashchuk.
From Mel Kanner.
I first met Jim Brown in the late 70’s when we were both residing in San Diego. My first contact with him and Loglan was as the result of reading his science fiction novel The Troika Incident. In the story, the futuristic society uses a language called Panlan. But the blurb on the book jacket called it Loglan. A short time later the Loglan Institute ran an ad in some magazine (probably Scientific American, but I forget) for the latest version of Loglan I.
Jim offered personal lessons in Loglan at that time. Three of us started and met once a week for a while at TLI, his house in San Diego. Eventually the class dwindled down to just me. The weekly meetings became social events—we played Mastermind, ran trials of his updated version of Careers (which never made it to market), and discussed his other main project, a computerized job search/matching program (also an element discussed in “Troika”).
A couple of years later I moved away from San Diego. I maintained my membership as a Loglanist, however, and corresponded with Jim from time to time. I visited with him once again in 1989 in Gainsville, FL. at his Frank Lloyd Wright style house that he built himself.
He was a remarkable man, one of the most brilliant people I have ever met. I am honored to have known him.
From John W. Kennedy:
I am new to Loglan, yet not altogether new, for when I was in 7th or 8th grade in 1961 or 1962 (same teacher, same classroom, so I cannot now remember which), I used the Scientific American article as the basis of my science project. I even wrote a letter or two to Dr. Brown, and received from him a copy of the ILR article.
Last year, when I found Loglan on-line, I realized that that experience had been one of the key periods in the growth of my mind, fixing an interest in logic and language that have continued with me throughout life. It saddens me to learn of Dr. Brown’s passing, but I am glad to have had the opportunity to exchange a few e-mails with him in the past few months. His wisdom, his energy, and his openness of mind have given us all a great gift.
John W. Kennedy
From Rex May, who draws the delightful cartoons that adorn Lognet. Some years ago he proposed a new international language based on Loglan, but with a different morphology, (Lognet 90/2 and 90/3). Rex is here replying to one of the email messages in the Loglan/Lojban discussion.
Or, maybe better yet, since total relexification seems to be in the cards, redo the vocabulary as in my suggestion of many years ago.
Redefine word-shape. cv & cvv to remain as little words, but predicates to have the shape of ncnv (excluding cv(v), of course). This involves changing n,m,r,l (plus q for the ‘ng’ phoneme) to the vowel classification, though they are not to be considered vowels in the definition of little words. Complexes will be made by simple juxtaposition (thereby doing away with allomorphs), and the inclusion of a lw (I originally suggested ‘sa’ as a separator between preds that are not meant to form complexes). If you look at a random text of Loglan, you’ll see that very few’sa’s would be necessary. Thus:
to blu sa faul = the blue bird
to blufaul = the bluebird
Of course, preds that will frequently be elements of complexes will be picked for their shortness and combinability in the first place.
And, rather than derive vocabulary by the traditional method, I recommend choosing words from languages, beginning with the largest, based on how well they fit the word-shape, as in ‘blu’ and’faul’ above. A quick look at English, Hindi, and Spanish show that a lot of vocabulary can be easily derived from just those three languages.
Finally, neither ‘loglan’ nor ‘lojban’ would fit the new word-shape, so I suggest ‘Braunlan,’ in honor of
Rex F. May
From Jorge Llambias, a lojbi who is at the same time evidently a competent logli. He is also, as he points out, Argentinian.
Ga gutra ga lepo la Jimbraon morcea vi lemi gunti. I mi Jai na noba vizka jmite. Ibuo miu lerbatmi la Loglan cao veu la Loglan. I mi mutce clika le to lengu jio Jai farfu lei.
From Jenny Brown. Although Lognet will not appear in time for either of these events, those logli who are not e-connected may be glad to hear of them.
***** A Celebration of Jim's Life *****
James Cooke Brown
July 21, 1921 - February 13, 2000
Jim was excessively creative and productive and excessively happy and enthusiastic, so we feel justified in being excessively celebratory and grief-stricken at his departure. Therefore we have planned two celebrations of his life, or wakes, if you will, one in San Diego, California, in the house he shared with Evy, and one in Gainesville, Florida, in the house he built on Newnan’s Lake.
Please join us in celebrating Jim's life:
Friday, February 25, 2000 — 6 p.m.
3009 Peters Way
San Diego, California
Saturday, March 18, 2000 — 6 p.m.
1701 NE 75th St.
or (352) 377-9935
Jim's friends and loved ones are well-scattered across the globe, so we hope that those who cannot share these celebratory and wakeful events in person will feel themselves there in spirit.
Please send remembrances, toasts, or testimonials to Jim's email address (firstname.lastname@example.org)
and/or Jenny's (email@example.com) or
mail them c/o Jenny Brown to:
1527 NE 73rd St.
Gainesville, FL 32641
Jim's many projects appear to be well cared-for financially, and we have a sufficiency of flowers, so we ask that donations in Jim's name be sent to another effort he loudly applauded, the new Labor Party in the U.S. He wrote Jenny and Joe in 1998, "I can't think of anything more important politically for this country than its developing at last a real Labor Party." Checks can be written to "Labor Party" and sent tthe address above. Those who wish their contribution to be tax-deductible can write checks to the DebsJones-Douglass Institute, the Labor Party's educational arm. More information on the Labor Party can be found at www.igc.org/lpa/
Loglanists are additionally encouraged to send a contribution in Jim's memory to:
The Loglan Institute
3009 Peters Way
San Diego, CA 92117.
Copyright © 2000 by The Loglan Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.
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