(Originally appeared in Lognet 90/2)
Letters policy: Unless otherwise stated, letters sent to The Institute, JCB, or any of our editors 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 to save space. We'd be most grateful if you'd enclose a disk with a soft copy of your letter on it. We can handle most disks and word-processors, and having your words on disk will save us a lot of typing.—Ed.
....I have now completed a first pass through the new Loglan 1 and am full of wonder and admiration. The whole language feels rounded-out and coherent, and the ingenious new features “fill much-needed gaps” (in the words of the old malapropism). The new form for complexes is brilliant. I’m especially intrigued by the case tags, which I predict will gradually increase in frequency of use and become the standard way of clarifying the structure of complex assertions.
As to “how easy a read” the book is. I’d say your exceptional ability to express complicated ideas clearly has made the book as easy to read as the material allows. This is especially true in your explanations of quantification: After reading up to the semicolon in the paragraph that begins on line 4 of page 339,1 muttered to myself ‘but... well, wait a minute ...’, then went on to read ‘though there is a curious figure-ground phenomenon here that allows one to persuade oneself, fleetingly, of the equivalence of the two sentences.’ What a splendid description of a very hard-to-articulate mental event!
Having gotten once through the book, I’ve started reading my way through all the numbers of The Loglanist and other mailings that have accumulated during my hiatus, and it’s fascinating to watch the ideas that are going to be in the book start to bubble up. The construction of complexes from accredited affixes is well begun, but case tags haven’t appeared yet, and the Lojban schism is still in the future. (Shades of the Ido affair!) In any case, judging from these last two numbers of Lognet, you’ve done a fine job of leading the effort while keeping the enthusiastic collaboration of a number of very bright people. I hope someone is keeping notes to write a history for coming generations....
It would be great if you could manage to get on a computer net, as mentioned in Lognet 90/1. BIX is probably your best bet. I trust you were told in Phoenix about the messages concerning Loglan that appeared in the on-line CONTACT conference, [that] Loglan was/will be the official language of the “Mars colony”? BIX has a flat-rate fee structure (the fee is not based on connect time or on the speed of the connection), which most of the others don’t....
CompuServe is a larger system than BIX, and does have a Foreign Language Forum (FLEFO). This has an Esperanto section and an “Others” section; this latter section’s data library contains a fIle from the Lojbanians. The whole area seems inactive. If you can point me at an appropriate document—perhaps a “Going Public Again” announcement—on the order of 2-10,000 bytes, I’d be glad to upload it there. [I’m sending Kirk the most recent “What is Loglan?” essay, something which I send out to new inquirers and which everybody who has become a member since Jan 90 has therefore seen, but which he hadn't. I hope it serves this purpose.—JCB]
Prodigy also has a flat-rate system, and the lowest rates. It’s designed for beginners and tends to induce teeth-gritting in people who use “real” computer networks (you get an advertisement at the bottom of each new screen). It does have interest-group conferences, repeatedly with precensorship of messages, but I don’t know whether there’s anything particularly appropriate to this stage of Loglan popularization. I will look around some more before giving up our free trial subscription.
There is also GEnie, second to CompuServe in number of subscribers, and somewhat cheaper, but I know nothing else about it....
I’m looking forward to getting up to present time in my reading, to playing with the grammar, and acquiring some real facility in using Loglan.
With warm regards,
I thank Kirk Sattley for his encomia and good wishes. Kirk is a computer scientist from the New England area who’s been with us since the 1975 GP (“Going Public”) explosion, but who's had no time to actually learn Loglan until just recently, when he retired. Apparently Loglan is going to be fairly high on his list of retirement activities. Great! We look forward to hearing from him often...also to meeting him, at last, at some future Logfest.
Apart from its encouraging account of how one of our members is learning Loglan, Kirk’s letter touches on a couple of points on which I’ll eventually comment. First, there’re the historical ripples still emanating from the Esperanto-Ido split (I allude to Kirk’s “Shades of the Ido affair”). I discuss some aspects of this in my September SLS. Second, there’s Kirk’s discussion of our networking options. I agree; it’s important that we get on some computer net fairly soon. From The Institute’s point of view, the most urgent reason is to accommodate our overseas members. We're working on it but don’t have the connection set up yet. I'd appreciate any help in making some sort of connection...preferably a free one!—JCB
Copyright © 1990 by The Loglan Institute. All rights reserved.
Thanks to Mike S. for proofreading the OCR files for this article.