From Lognet, issue 90/1.
Our Move to California: My wife Evy and I and The Institute—and our dog Cimr (guess where that name came from!)—are off to California on 15 August, probably right after this issue goes to press. The Institute's new address and phone number will be:
The Loglan Institute
3009 Peters Way
San Diego, CA 92117
(Web Editor’s Note: This information is out of date.)
Evy and I are looking forward to being Californians again, and I, to being within easy visiting reach of our many West Coast logli. At the same time, we'll be leaving many good friends and colleagues behind. But I personally plan to return to Gainesville at least once a year for the Annual Meeting of the Loglan Trustees and other pleasant duties.
Steve Rice's Gatefold: Steve Rice has composed a marvelous "gatefold" poster—an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of colored paper with both ends folded in and meeting at the center—which announces the availability of Loglan to all and sundry, and gives a brilliant short description of the language. The Institute will publish as many copies of this clever little poster as our members wish to distribute. It's an ideal way to put announcements on college bulletin boards, for example, or in the many other public gathering places around campus. Or at work, for that matter, if there are bulletin boards available to you there. You may even wish to include these little posters in your correspondence. Write The Institute for as many copies as you think you can use. There'll be no charge.
A New Officer/Director: The Trustees are pleased to announce their election of a new officer and director of The Institute. He is Wesley R. Parsons, an attorney practicing commercial law in Miami, Florida, who has been a loglanist ever since his student days. (See Wes's brief account of himself in LN89/1:9.) Wes has been helping The Institute formulate its business policies and solve its legal problems on a pro bono basis (i.e., "for the good of the community") ever since 1988. Most recently, he has helped it defend itself against an effort being made by the Logical Language Group—the official name of the Lojban group—to have The Institute's trademark 'Loglan' cancelled; see "The Trademark Suit" below. In addition to expressing our heartfelt thanks to Wes for helping defend The Institute, The Trustees have recently appointed him Vice President and General Counsel as well as electing him a member of our Board of Directors.
Let me take this occasion to wish Wes a long and happy career as an officer and director of the Loglan Institute. We are both the richer and the safer for his participation in our community life.
The Trademark Suit: The Lojban people launched their suit against us in May 1989, presumably to get the right to call their own language 'Loglan'. From the preposterous grounds on which they petitioned the Trademark Board to cancel our trademark, this legal action at first seemed to be more an harrassment designed to strain our resources than a suit meant to be won. As such, it may have backfired. By the most unexpected good fortune we have been able to defend our trademark—which means our exclusive right to use the name 'Loglan' on our products—with the help of a pro bono lawyer (see above) while they have had to pay their expensive Washington attorney every step of the way.
We lost round one but we mean to win round two. While we cannot comment directly on the proceedings, we can say that we are confident that we'll prevail. Their suit is a time-waster once based on the premise that The Institute either couldn't (because of poverty) or wouldn't (for ethical or temperamental reasons) be able to respond to their attack. They were wrong. Responding has consumed a good deal of Wes's and my time, no doubt about that...time that we could have spent more fruitfully on Loglandia. But time is all it's cost us. Our long legal battle should be over next winter. Stay tuned.
That Worldwide SA Ad: There's good news on this front! An older sibling and former benefactor of Loglan, namely, CAREERS, is back in town, and has proved able to bankroll the rest of Loglan's worldwide SA ad, indeed to give TLI back the whole of the $6,000 it repaid me last spring, which were the modest proceeds of its first year of GPA-ing. TLI will now be free to use these earnings to mount various growth-stimulating campaigns.
Our Continuing Unprompted Growth: Even without advertising, we've been growing. We acquired seven new members since LN91/2 went out...as well as an equal number of other bookbuyers. Where these newcomers are coming from, I just don't know. Our last paid ad was in January 1990. (That's not quite true; Wes helped TLI buy a short classified ad in the American Bar Association's journal last spring. But no Wes-shaped clone turned up in our ranks as a consequence...worse luck!) So what's keeping us growing? Computer networking? Are you old members proselytizing? Or what? Tell us, please, you new members. Lo Lerci is just waiting to publish your story of how you got caught in our mysterious net.
Jim Smith To Be Our Stand-In Publisher: Part of our move to San Diego will be bringing my sailboat Odysseus around from the Atlantic to the Pacific. I had my 70th birthday this summer; so the sooner I get at this pleasant task, the better. (There's a Chinese saying I apparently live by: "Start each day as if you were going to live forever; end it as if you were going to die tomorrow.") So I'll be sailing Odysseus around during the hurricane-free season of 1991-92. That's from December 1991 through May of '92. It probably won't take that long; but since it might, I'll start early...probably in early December.
Clearly I won't be available to see to the production and distribution of LN92/1 before I leave—it should go out sometime in January—and I probably won't have sailed into San Diego Bay in time to put out LN92/2 in April. So Editor Jim Smith has agreed to wear my Publisher's hat for these two issues. He and I will put out LN91/4 together from California, probably sometime in October.
A New Columnist: I invited Bill Gober to take on our new "How to Say It" column, and he accepted. The first problem I gave him was how to say 'How do you say this in Loglan?' in Loglan; and his answer is the title of our new column.
Keep him busy, Logli! They say that there's no better way to learn something than to try to teach it. So try to teach Bill Gober as much Loglan as you can by asking him as many questions as you can think of.
Still-NeededVolunteers: Talking of Bill, Jim, Wes and Steve, as I've done so freely in this issue, (not to mention Randall, Rex and Bob McIvor) reminds me of just how blessed we are with volunteer workers these days. This, perhaps, is the chief fruit of our GPA so far: the many fine people who have turned out to be willing to work for the language. But I'm afraid we still need a couple more! Let me describe their still-imagined features just in case some new logli will find daself mirrored in one of these images:
A Businessperson. The Institute needs someone good with figures, who would first be a volunteer but later a paid employee, to take over the business end of TLI: the order-filling, the bookkeeping, the check-writing and depositing, and ultimately all the managerial roles I play now. It would be ideal if this person lived in San Diego so da could come to 3009 Peters Way from time to time and see how we do things, and little by little take over from us. But we could also try to make it work for someone at a distance.
A Publicist. The Institute also needs a publicist, someone who can keep da's ear to the ground and think up ways of weaving Loglan into history. Da could write to people in the news, try to make news with our logli, and do all those other mysterious things—mysterious to me, at least—that public relations people seem to know how to do. This person needn't be anywhere near San Diego, but we do need his or her talents badly. Have I shaken one out of the tree?
A Proposal-Writer/Fundraiser. The Institute also needs a person—preferably well-connected among the rich and famous—who can talk or write to potential donors and/or foundation principals on our behalf, and at least find out who might be interested in supporting the Loglan enterprise "from on high". Surely there must be some. But smoking one out will take much more time and skill than I, at least, have to spend on this problem. I'm sure potential donors exist. But so far, at least, they might as well be living on Mars!
Lojban: "A Ghost of Ido"? Several people, including the Editor of La Logli, (see LN90/2:18), have remarked that the Loglan-Lojban split has a "ghostly resemblance" to the Esperanto-Ido split 80 years ago. It is true that Ido was a 1907 offshoot of Esperanto—the very word means 'offspring' in Esperanto—just as Lojban is a 1987 offshoot of Loglan. And just as Esperanto and Ido were major and minor versions of the same kind of constructed language, so Lojban seems to be a minor manifestation of the “logical language” theme first worked out in Loglan . So the parallel between Ido and Lojban seems apt so far.
But not long ago I studied the history of Esperanto with a view to learning something from it that might prove useful to me in my dealings with the Lojban people, and I found that there were very few features of the Esperanto-Ido split that were in any way similar to the Loglan-Lojban one. Substantial reforms of Esperanto had been proposed by the proto-Idists, reforms which Dr. Zamenhof, the inventor of Esperanto, didn’t like and wouldn’t go along with; and he was backed by the vast majority of Esperantists. Also, the mainstream Esperantists apparently didn’t approve of the Idists’ style of behind-the-scenes maneuvering, which was apparently something less than honorable. So, unsuccessful, the would-be reformers split off, executed their plan for a new language anyway, and named the result ‘Ido’. In short, the Ido split was precipitated by intellectual differences between reformers and the founder.
In contrast, there were no substantial intellectual differences between me and the proto-Lojbanists. As everybody knows, I am open to change, perhaps too open. For years every potential reformer of the language has gotten my ear; and if da's ideas were good, they've been adopted. We now manage the change process through the Keugru; but even before 1985, when the Keugru was adopted, I and other senior logli performed its function informally. Had the Esperantists had such an institution, the Ido split might not have occurred.
Some minor structural differences between Lojban and Loglan were later to emerge, of course, as after schism the two languages were to develop independently. But in general the Lojbanists have been respectful of the parent language; and except where they have been forced to diverge from it by legal restrictions—for example, they were obliged to develop a whole new vocabulary for Lojban because the Loglan word-lists were copyrighted and not available to them—they have copied it faithfully...some might even say "slavishly". As some observers have put it (perhaps unkindly) there is not much of interest in Lojban that has not been copied from Loglan. In short, the Lojban people do not seem to have been either reformers or great innovators.
What, then, did motivate the Lojbanists? Their original motive for leaving seems almost petty now. In 1986 Bob LeChevalier and Nora Tansky, who are now married and the leaders of the Lojban group, developed a Loglan teaching program, using materials provided by me, which naturally they wanted to see published. TLI offered them its usual publishing agreement; they turned it down, saying that they wanted to market their program themselves and that TLI had no right to withhold its copyrighted word-lists from them. They argued that Loglan was, "like French," in the public domain; and so free to anyone to exploit commercially...or at least it should be. Frustrated in his efforts to persaude TLI of the wisdom of this argument, Bob LeChevalier then launched a public campaign to get his point across. But that campaign also failed, and the LeChevaliers left TLI. As they had acquired supporters while campaigning, their leaving amounted to schism.
Thus the rock on which the followers of Loglan split in 1987 was not about the language at all, but about the control of TLI's business policies. The LeChevaliers wanted to change those policies, presumably to accommodate their own entrepreneurial interests; and they used the threat of schism to try to make us do so.
I don't know if you have been observing human behavior recently, but threats seldom work on human beings. They failed again this time. So in August 1987, after some fairly strenuous efforts by some saintly old hands to heal the breach with the LeChevaliers, the Lojbanists—for that was what they soon came to be called—and the supporters of original Loglan went their separate ways. That is why we have two logical languages on this planet rather than one.
I don't know if there is much to be learned from this sad little story; but clearly it would have been wiser for TLI to publish its copyright policies more widely and frequently than we did in those days. (Before the LeChevaliers, we tended to keep such matters in the boardroom.) You may have noticed that we do so now. We tell everybody who comes aboard how we share our "intellectual property" with our authors and inventors, and even what legal arrangements we are prepared to make with other companies. This precludes surprise; and surprised is what the LeChevaliers seemed to be when they "discovered" that Loglan was not in the public domain.
But life goes on. The Logical Language Group continues to behave as if TLI were their natural enemies, people they feel they must ceaselessly attack, perhaps even destroy, in order to survive. We do not feel that way about them. We do continue to resist the “Balkanization” of our language: that is, its break-up into as many mutually unintelligible dialects as “there are ways to spell its name” (as someone put it). For that, of course, is what the LeChevalier policy would have led to...already has led to in some degree.
I believe it is fair to say that we are succeeding.