Scientific American article

Without qualification, refers to the article Loglan written by James Cooke Brown, and published in Scientific American in June 1960.
People who wish to read it, may find it online(external link), can borrow it from a reasonably large library, or ask TLI to send them a copy. That's how I got it. That was in 1997?, but if they have any copies left, they probably still mail them out for free to anyone who asks for them.

Notable things about the description of Loglan as given in the article

The reason that the CV templates of the Loglan words turned out the way we all know and love, is not given. It only says: "The reader is challenged to find a combination of possible word-forms that does not resolve."

The "little words" (cmavo) are unified as a class only semantically, not morphologically (phonotactically). The word classes preceding predicates (simple predicates (our gismu) and complex predicates (our lujvo)) were as follows:

  • Connectives: V (the article actually says ".V", but this is probably a typo; nothing is mentioned of obligatory pauses in front of vowel-initial words, the period isn't used in this way anywhere else in the article, and as far as I can tell, this use of the period is strictly a Lojban innovation)
  • Indicators: VV
  • Operators
    • Simple operators: CV
    • Sentential operators: CVV
    • Compound operators: CV'CV (the article consistently uses an apostrophe after a syllable to indicate stress, this is probably what is intended here)

The Loglan text that occurs in the tables in the article is written in all capitals, but the examples that occur inside the running text, is written in the SAE? orthography that is common both to natural languages that use latinate scripts, and Loglan of today. Still, there is some talk about audiovisual isomorphism, and
Loglan's "spoken punctuation" operators.

Most indicators (our attitudinals) were irrealis. In fact, there is a theoretical possibility that ALL of them were irrealis. If we entertain the possibility that even "ui" (our "ui") turns a predicate into a non-claim, that does not entail that it turns it into a claim of the opposite.

The only example of borrowing of vowel-final names, Mississippi, which becomes "lu misisipis", displays the addition of an s in the end, which is now the de facto standard of creating such names in Lojban (though not governed by any rules).

Things I don't understand about the Loglan description

  • The word nu is glossed as "un- [also passive voice of two-place predicates]". Does this mean that Loglan has or had a word that can mean both to'e and se?
    • Not quite. As I recall, the example in JCB's head was a word (damn, I wish I could remember which) whose passive was in effect a opposite. And then he generalized, as often. The mess was cleared up (by pointing to a few other words, I suppose) long before the first version of Loglan 1 was cut. The SA article is very crude: even the vocab was not yet thoroughly worked out (eternal {blanu} notwithstanding)and the selection of cmavo was heavily influenced by typesetting, for some reason.
    • Sometimes to'e and se have a similar effect in Lojban: to'e zunle = se zunle = pritu.

The original document is available at