James Cooke Brown Annotations by M. Randall Holmes

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The objectives of the present notebook are three. The first is to provide users of the 1975 language with a description of the present language which will allow them to become competent in Loglan once again. Once that is accomplished, I would hope these rearmed loglanists would then use the enlarged domain of modem Loglan in creative and testing ways, and communicate to The Institute their results. But there is a second objective. I have also tried to create a document that will serve as a teaching text—buttressed, as it now can be, by the two "MacTeach" (computerized flashcard) programs that have recently become available for learning primitives and affixes—but intended mainly for those who wish to learn the current language more or less from scratch. The third objective is to provide a technically complete description of the language that will serve as the easily updated reference manual we will soon need to back up the less formal and more popular publications which The Institute plans to offer to the general public when we go public again… a development of which, we trust, this notebook will be the final forerunner.

MRH: writing in 2014, I am motivated by the same purposes. The complete description of the language, as far as it goes now, at least as I would like it to be, is implicit in the PEG grammar and the dictionaries, but much more needs to be said to be able to teach it properly. I am going to read through this document and add comments reflecting changes and also comments pointing out important things said here which have not been changed and ought to be remembered.

Current Loglan has emerged over the last four or five years from the word-making, grammar-expanding, and translating activities of a very few people. Their work has enlarged the language considerably, both in vocabulary, in grammatical domain, and in usage, and is now ready to be reported out. The translating and word-making activities were outgrowths of—actually, they were deliberately undertaken engineering tests of—our more publically-conducted 1976-1982 design studies of usage, grammar, and morph­ology… the last two having been called affectionately the MacGram ("machine grammar") and the GMR ("Great Morphological Revolution") projects, respectively, while they were still underway.

MRH: it remains true that the language is the work of a small group.

But well before these various engineering projects had boosted Loglan into a new and higher state, an active corps of competent users, albeit a small one, had developed by 1978 or '79 out of our 1975 publications. To be sure, their competence was in a language—or rather, in what were sometimes highly personal extrapolations from a plan for a language—which was substantially but incompletely described in the two 1975 books, Loglan 1 and Loglan 4 & 5, and in the first four volumes of The Loglanist, 1976 through 1980, most notably in the Supplement to Loglan 1, a special issue of TL published in November 1980 which was the capstone of the first four years of public discussion. Incomplete as those earlier documentations of the language were even then, however, they are now, in addition, very badly out of date. And while there have been two subsequent special issues of The Loglanist—TL6/1 in 1983 and TL7/1 in 1984, issues designed to help people catch up with the then-current states of the language—even these two documents largely antedate the recent word-making, translating and grammar-expanding activities and so no longer tell the whole story.

Thus the first goal of the present notebook is simply to update the documentation of the language and make it whole. If that could be done well, I reckoned, then this third notebook would provide a tool with which once-competent loglanists would be able rapidly to restore their competence should they wish to do so. To serve their more sophisticated and often technical purposes, therefore, I have striven mainly to produce a description of the present language as I know it that would be as complete, as technically exact, and as conveniently cross-referenced as I have been able to make it.

MRH: it is useful to be aware in 2014 that such changes as have been made in the language even if my PEG grammar is adopted as the standard are minor in practice. The changes are nothing like the sweeping changes between L1 1975 and NB3 or L1 1989. A fluent speaker of 1989 Loglan, if such a creature existed, would be able to talk to us.

It was during the early days of writing for experts in the Spring of 1986 that the notebook acquired its second purpose. A large number of the current partisans of Loglan, I had been learning, happen to have joined the project well after the creative ferment of the late ’70’s, and so did not participate in it. Moreover, there are many current loglanists who, although “old hands” in the historical sense, had never actually mastered the old language before it disappeared again into the engineering laboratory. Both kinds of potential users of the notebook began to write me. They, too, hoped to get some mileage out of the new notebook, especially now that developmental research on the language appeared to be slowing down. For these relative newcomers, then, but also for those old hands who have been until now only onlookers, I have tried to erect a second kind of document on the substructure provided by the first. In addition to a technical description of the current language, I have tried to produce a didactically useful, amply-illustrated account of the language from the point of view of the second-language learner. I have tried, in short, to provide these two kinds of sometime students of the language with the means by which, with some personal effort, they may at last become its masters.

These two objectives have not always been easy bedfellows. As the second one began to press itself upon me last Spring I had to admit that a book that promised also to be a reference manual for one-time experts is not an ideal place in which to teach a second language to completely innocent newcomers. Even so, examples are necessary even for experts. And such newcomers as choose to consort with experts can endure an algorithm or two. So I have attempted to select the examples and illustrations in this book in such a way that they will, of themselves, constitute a gradual climb through the structure of the language, starting at ground level with the utter simplicity of its phonology, rising through morphological and lexical materials of middle difficulty, and ending with what may, I fear, be found the stratospheric intricacies of the machine grammar. It is I trust a compact account, but it does move through these several levels of intellectual difficulty. (The language itself, of course, remains refreshingly simple…as I trust the reader will soon rediscover. It is just these increasingly exact scientific descriptions of it—which have been made possible and in some sense necessary by our increasingly exact understanding of it—that sometimes border on the intricate.)

There is a third objective of which I have only recently become aware; and that is the possibility that a second edition of Notebook 3 may even now be looming. Suitably retitled, the next update of this notebook may very well be the one that accompanies the fourth edition of Loglan 1 to the marketplace. This will probably be in the Spring or Summer of 1988; for it is then that The Institute presently plans to "go public again" with the language. If these plans do indeed develop in this way, then Notebook 3 may be the first in a long series of continuously updated technical manuals, the purpose of which will be to describe in a single place the current state of the whole language. None of the specific requirements of that looming reference manual have, however, shaped the writing of the notebook…except of course for that ubiquitous canon of completeness, which has been dictated by the first objective as well.

MRH: it is my aim to create a complete technical manual for the language. I am not sure that a commentary on this existing document is the appropriate medium.

A final note, and an apology. Earlier accounts of the contents planned for Notebook 3 announced that it would include a small but exemplary vocabulary of scientific borrowings, as well as the algorithm that made them. I meant also to include the translation forays I had made into the international literature of science; for these had provided the test words in the first place and were meant, in the end, to contain them. These translation materials are not included. The latest reasonable date for the publication of this notebook—already twice delayed—was Mid-Summer 1987. I could not make the algorithm for the construction of “best scientific words”—a process that involved, as usual, a statistical analysis of the many judges’ opinions I have collected—in time to include it, and the vocabulary it was intended to make examplary, in the notebook. And to publish my translations with a non-exemplary vocabulary seemed counter-productive. I am sorry to disappoint those readers who expected to find this textual material in this notebook. Perhaps another notebook will be in order after this one has had its day. On the other hand, it seems increasingly likely that the next large task for The Institute, after the loglanists have made whatever use they wish to make of this one, will be GPA (The Institute's acronym for Going Public Again).

But even without the scientific word-list, and the translations that evoked them, the contents of Notebook 3 will, I trust, be found substantial. It not only contains the most complete description of this developing language that has ever yet been published, it is the first publication since 1975 that even purports to describe the language as a whole. I trust, therefore, that everyone who endures the long march through its lists and pages will have a reasonably good chance of learning to use, for da’s own purposes, the extraordinarily rich creative instrument that Loglan has lately become.



July 1987

MRH: I will just comment retrospectively that I have found access to this notebook very useful.

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