(From Lognet 93/2)
First off, I have an apology to make. In my previous column, I mentioned that I was unaware of interconnectivity between CompuServe and some of the other electronic services. James Jennings kindly illustrated to me the error of my information. Apparently interconnectivity is making more and more inroads every day. He demonstrated connectivity between America Online and CIS and told me of a likely Prodigy/CIS link to be announced in the near future. So, for those of you on other services, find out how to access CIS or the Internet and we can all be in electronic touch even if we are not all on the same service. My apologies to any I may have offended and thank you Mr. Jennings for that graciously offered correction.
On the computer forefront, this has been an interesting year already, and we are only in the first half! The Byte January 1993 issue will be of interest to some of our readers; the major topic for that issue is Machine Translation. There are several articles and a resource guide. The articles, on pages 152 through 185, cover the major aspects of the field and include an overview, a more detailed description, a nice examination of ambiguity in language (a subject near and dear to our loglandic hearts) and reviews of various packages available for DOS and Macintosh machines. One of the techniques being used in translation by computer is to create an ‘interlingua’ that carries the major internal representations of the grammar and syntax, sound familiar? Conspicuously absent was any reference to Loglan in its potential role as a common interlingua. We might consider bringing this to their attention.
There is a product review in the Byte February 1993 issue, pages 219 through 220, that is also probably of interest to our readers. The product in question is Multi-Lingual Scholar, version 4.01. This is a DOS-based word processor with support for multiple alphabets and up to 63 different languages. Up to ten of those different languages may be in any one document and up to 16 different fonts on one page. Japanese and Chinese are not yet supported; because they use so many ideographs, they require more than 8-bits per character to represent them all. The projection is that these will be included in later versions. A Macintosh version is scheduled for release late 1993 and a Windows version is scheduled for early 1993. I do not know how many of our readers subscribe to Byte, so I thought it would be a good idea to bring this product into view. This product is expensive at $695 for the basic five alphabets (Roman, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek and Cyrillic), additional fonts $50 and up, but it would seem to be ideal for the language work that many of us do, and it would be a shame if it went unnoticed. Contact: Gamma Productions, Inc., 710 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 609, Santa Monica CA 90401. (310) 394-8622. End of commercial.
Now, looking ahead, I see many fun things that we can do with our wonderful language. Steve Rice is progressing with his Loglan Zero, the beginner’s guide to learning Loglan, and has been coming up with an electronic version of the correspondence course for those who wish to study at home and who would rather access computers than stamp and mail their homework in an envelope. Bill Gober has begun to give us a native text in the format of the hard-boiled detective story and, I must say, he has found the seamier side of Loglandia...everyone knows that Iosef’s bar is in the rough part of town! In particular, I appreciate the manner in which he has interwoven the English and the Loglan texts. This is masterful work, Bill, keep it up! John Ross has done some really fine work in translating English poetry into Loglan; RAM did a great job on an old limerick awhile back; and James Jennings did that really nice “See Spot Run”. Randall’s handling of the matters logical seems to be masterful (I’m not sure as I only follow about one concept in five). All in all, you folks are an incredibly talented bunch and I look forward to meeting all of you sooner or later in person.
I know that some of you will be attending the 51st World Science Fiction Convention in San Francisco over Labor Day week; I have been agitating for a panel on Loglan as part of the program and may actually succeed in this endeavor. More later as it develops. We must get together there and hoist a tankard to La Babel, the best known tavern in all of Loglandia.
Well, this is all I have for now. Get on to the rest of the issue and tell us of any and all experiences you’ve had using Loglan or thinking about using Loglan. We are all strangers to this new language (I’ll bet very few of us are dreaming in Loglan, yet) and it is great fun to share these experiences.