Increasingly, as programming becomes a national past-time, and the human interface with the machine produces, ever greater information processing yet less time to enjoy the fruits of our “labour saving devices” while our unmediated communications amongst each other erodes and begins to play a secondary role to the communication which is now mediated online and via computers. there arise various problems in expressing ourselves, which persist in our daily lives and which cannot be ignored.
Firstly, machines do not cope with all the qualities that make human language what it is – human commmunication is the result of an organic world in which the inate logic of syntactical structures are not immediately obvious. We do not all speak like we think, or think like we speak. Furthermore, we are often wrong, deploy private logic, non-general semantics and create irrational categories based upon first hand experience, not official text-books or dictionaries.
The inevitable clash arises. Suppose one expresses the desire to frag somebody. Next thing you are being locked up for wanting to “kill a process”.*
( *I have a brother who did exactly that, and still believes the world is one large teenage paint-ball game)
Enter Lojban, an attempt to create an entirely logical language
Lojban is a carefully constructed spoken language designed in the hope of removing a large portion of the ambiguity from human communication. It was made well-known by a Scientific American article and references in science fiction Lojban has been built over five decades by dozens of workers and hundreds of supporters.
Lojban has a number of features which make it unique:
- Lojban is designed to be used by people in communication with each other, and possibly in the future with computers.
- Lojban is designed to be culturally neutral.
- Lojban has an unambiguous grammar, which is based on the principles of logic.
- Lojban has phonetic spelling, and unambiguous resolution of sounds into words.
- Lojban is simple compared to natural languages; it is easy to learn.
- Lojban’s 1300 root words can be easily combined to form a vocabulary of millions of words.
- Lojban is regular; the rules of the language are without exception.
- Lojban attempts to remove restrictions on creative and clear thought and communication.
- Lojban has a variety of uses, ranging from the creative to the scientific, from the theoretical to the practical.
Lojban software in Ubuntu
jbofihe — A Lojban parser
This is available in Debian simply by installing the jbofihe package through apt-get. Ubuntu users might first need to enable universe. Google knows how.
lojban-common – Lojban word-lists
This package installs the standard Lojban word lists into /usr/share/lojban-common. It’s available about the same way as jbofihe above.
camxes — A better Lojban parser, written in Java
This package isn’t yet available from Debian/Ubuntu.
However, it is available via apt.
Then apt-get update and install away.
Note: That apt-repository is signed by Ted Reed’s GnuPG key. You may get warnings about it.
In order to tell apt that you trust Ted, do the following: gpg –recv-key D18C1C64 –keyserver wwwkeys.pgp.net gpg -a –export D18C1C64 | sudo apt-key add -