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An alternative orthography for Lojban

NOTE:  This document is NOT an official publication of the Logical Language
Group and has not been endorsed by the LLG or its Board (to which, for my
sins, I belong).  Still less is it endorsed by any other non-profit organization
concerned with the development of logical languages.

This note proposes an alternative orthography for Lojban.  The orthography
here described is not intended to replace the existing standard orthography.
Nothing in this note is intended as a proposal for change either in Lojban's
orthography or its phonology.  The purpose of the alternative orthography
is to provide a way of writing Lojban which visually resembles the conventions
used by earlier versions of the Loglan language, including the version proposed
in the 4th edition of >Loglan 1<.

The standard Lojban orthography makes use of 23 letters of the Roman
alphabet, viz. a b c d e f g i j k l m n o p r s t u v x y z, plus the
three signs apostrophe (for a voiceless intervocalic glide roughly similar
to English /h/), comma (for a voiced intervocalic glide), and period (for
a pause or glottal stop).  Capitalization is used to represent non-penultimate
stress in names: the stressed syllable is capitalized in its entirety.

The letters i and u are used in three ways: as full vowels, in the falling
diphthongs ai ei oi au, and in the rising diphthongs ia ie ii io iu ua ue ui
uo uu.  The rising diphthongs appear only as stand-alone words and in names
and borrowings.

The letters r l m n are used as normal consonants and as syllabic consonants
(in names and borrowings only).

Double letters are never used for any purpose.


The alternative orthography makes the following substitutions.

1) The letter x is replaced in all uses by h.  It is useful to emphasize
here that this does not represent a change in pronunciation.

2) The diphthong au is replaced by ao.

3) The apostrophe, which in the standard orthography is used only between
vowels, is replaced in the following ways:

	3a) In a'a a'e a'u e'a e'e e'o e'u o'a o'e o'o o'u,
	it is dropped, producing aa ae au ea ee eo eu oa oe oo ou.

	3b) In a'i a'o e'i o'i, it is replaced by comma,
	producing a,i a,o e,i o,i.

	3c) In i'a i'e i'i i'o i'u u'a u'e u'i u'o u'u, it is
	dropped, producing ia ie ii io iu ua ue ui uo uu; except that
	when appearing stand-alone, and in names and borrowings,
	it is replaced by comma, producing i,a i,e i,i i,o i,u
	u,a u,e u,i u,o u,u.

4) Capitalization is used for the first letter of names, and for the cmavo
".i", which is written "I".

5) Periods before words are dropped.

6) Periods after words are replaced by comma.  This comma cannot be confused
with the comma of 3b and 3c, because that cannot appear at the end of a word.
However, periods at the end of names are dropped.

7) Syllabic r l m n are written rr ll mm nn, and need not be set off by

8) Other uses of comma are retained.  When doubt arises whether a comma
represents a voiced or a voiceless glide, the voiceless glide is preferred.

9) Stress is indicated by an apostrophe following the vowel of the stressed

Obviously, the alternative orthography is much more "context-sensitive"
than the standard orthography.  Two consecutive vowels in the standard
orthography always represent a diphthong; in the alternative orthography,
they may represent a diphthong, two syllables with a voiceless glide, or
two syllables with a voiced glide, depending on the particular two vowels
and on the kind of word in which they appear.  On the other hand, the
difference between syllabic and consonantal r l m n is clearly marked
in the alternative orthography.


Here is a passage of Lojban in both orthographies:

mi na certu le se zajbrnatleta .iku'i mi co'a jimpe lenu mi poi xelso cu
no'e snada tu'a le la olimpik. nunjvi pevi la tokios. .isa'unai mi nu'o zmadu
zo'epeca'aku leni snada .iti'e le mulno nizyji'a cu te zmadu mi le
gugdrkore'a kuce'o le gugdrnafganistana kuce'o le gugdrkenia kuce'o le
gugdrtrinidada kuce'o le xanto denci xaskoi gugde .iku'i mi zmadu .u'a le
gugdrlixtenctaine .i lenu go'i cu pluka nuzba .i zmadu pluka fau le nu'o nu
le gugdrlixtenctaine cu se nunjvi la olimpik.

mi na certu le se zajbrrnatleta  I kui mi coa jimpe lenu mi poi xelso cu
noe snada tua le la Olimpik nunjvi pevi la Tokios  I saunai mi nuo zmadu
zoepecaaku leni snada  I tie le mulno nizyjia cu te zmadu mi le
gugdrrkorea kuceo le gugdrrnafganistana kuceo le gugdrrkenia kuceo le
gugdrrtrinidada kuceo le xanto denci xaskoi gugde  I kui mi zmadu u,a le
gugdrrlixtenctaine  I lenu go,i cu pluka nuzba  I zmadu pluka fao le nuo nu
le gugdrrlixtenctaine cu se nunjvi la Olimpik

cowan@snark.thyrsus.com		...!uunet!cbmvax!snark!cowan
		e'osai ko sarji la lojban