Plan B

Another loglang, with design goals similar to those of lojban but done poorly. Elegantly mocked on the Conlang list, reproduced below. The serious information about it is stored here

Ironically (since I am the one who put this satire of it on the wiki) I actually found Lojban indirectly through Plan B. It seemed an insane language, so I wondered whether the existing loglans it refered to were any good. So I googled Loglan and found mentions of both Lojban and TLI Loglan - including a website comparing the two. Lojban, like Plan B, had all the features that had attracted me to Esperanto until I found out that Esperanto didn't have them. - mi'e. kreig.daniyl.

Searching for a snail-mail address I had mislaid, I had to revive my
mailbox and wade through 993 messages. As I did, I chanced upon
several which I must have missed. One was telling us about the
availability of a certain "Plan B" at 'Twas
like waving a red rag at a frog (a bullfrog) and I snapped at the bait

I read Plan B on the taxi ride to the city on Telecom business which,
according to Telecom, you have no business knowing about. But Plan B
is no corporate secret, so I want to tell about Plan B "Design and
Implementation of a Near-Optimal Loglan Syntax". Be warned: I'm about
to take the mickey out of Plan B from Hebrew Space. And why shouldn't
I? It reads as if the author was having us on. So it's only a mickey
for a minnie [see footnote 1]. Nevertheless, Plan B gave me a great
idea for the perfect conlang. Just bear with me as I unveil before
your amazed eyes the arcane mysteries of Plan B, you will be fully
rewarded in the end.

The Plan-B language — I'll call it Bee for short — Bee, then, has 16
er... phonemes, because sixteen is a power of two, which makes it
computationally desirable. Each phoneme has two allophones, one of
which is a vowel, or a diphthong, or the same preceded by "r", the
other a consonant. I say: jolly good idea! Indeed, it's like the
author says: "By providing both a vowel and a consonant pronunciation
for each letter, and using them alternately, we can pronounce
arbitrary strings of letters without difficulty". Brilliant. And I,
poor sod, who thought a strict CV(V) language would do it!

For instance:

English: "I like her driving my car"
Bee: "G-l tk-s ck-l mg-n g-n cc-l"
IPA: [g-rE ti:-s eik-rE mai-n ai-n eiS-rE] (S = esh, E = epsilon)

This is terrific, for it means that each word has exactly two
allomorphs, depending on how many er... phonemes precede it in
the sentence. "Ck" for instance, is either [eik] or [Si],

English: "She likes me"
Bee: "Ck-l tk-n g-l"
IPA: [Si-l ruk-ri g-rE]

The unambiguous segmentation of the spoken chain into its
discrete words, implemented oh! so very messily in Lojban,
is implemented Huffman-style in Bee. And I, poor sod, who
thought the first vowel of a word could be used to tell
how many syllables it had!

Let us now turn to the grammar of the language. It makes do
with an unlimited number of ... er... case-markers, of which
you have already encountered three: -l, -n, and -s. -l has
highest precedence, -n second highest, -s third. Armed with
the vorpal sword of that knowledge, you should be able
to disentangle the Gordian knot of the two sentences
above in even less time flat than Alexander.

No? Well, perhaps two more sentences would help:

I drive the car
G-l mg-n hb-n cc-l

I can drive a car
G-l cn-n mg-n b-n cc-l

Ha, ha! I hear you say, why "Gl cnn mgn bn ccl" if "Gl tks
ckl mgn ccl"? Shouldn't it rather be "Gl cns mgn bn ccl"?
I agree with you. It's probably a typing mistake: "s" and
"n" are rather close together on a keyboard. However:

I will drive my car to you
G-l ml-n mg-n g-n cc-l th-n j-l

So, clearly, it wasn't a typing mistake. Now where have I
put that vorpal sword again?

In conclusion, the author sums up the advantages of such a
language. I cannot resist the pleasure of quoting ckl:

Compared to existing loglans, [Bee]

  • Is much simpler.
  • Potentially allows for mechanical recognition of continuous speech.
  • Is suited to laboratory studies of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.
  • Possesses a certain elegance. (Eat your hearts out, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain and sundry!)

Well, folks, allow me to present my own loglan, beyond Bee.
So I'll call it Cee.

Cee is written in an alphabet of 26 letters: a, b, c, d, e, f... I'll
leave you to guess at the rest. Those letters are pronounced
respectively bi, ba, sha, da, fi, fa... I'll leave you guess at the
rest. That leaves us quite a few handfuls of syllables out of which we

bo as first-order precedence whatever, which we write 1
sho as second-order precedence ditto, which we write 2
do as third-order of the ilk, which we write 3
... I'll leave you to guess at the rest.

And also:

bu which we write <space> or <spaces>
shu which we write .

Now look:

English: I drive the car.
Bee: G-l mg-n hb-n cc-l
Cee: Me-1 drive-2 the-2 car-1.

(Hyphens have been inserted only for your convenience, o, gentle readers!)

English: I can drive a car.
Bee: G-l cn-n mg-n b-n cc-l
Cee: Me-1 can-2 drive-2 a-2 car-1.

I'll leave it to you to work out the pronunciation of those two Cee
sentences. Just note how that little syllable, bu (spelt <space>),
neatly and *elegantly* solves the problem of recognizing morpheme
boundaries. Cee, admittedly, is more verbose than Bee, but I'm working
on it. Now where is my copy of Dutton's Speedwords?


[Note 1] Why "minnie"? Well, we all know who Mickey and Minnie
Mouse are, don't we? And what sex they are. Yes? So, it's...
twit for twat!

Created by admin. Last Modification: Monday 22 of September, 2003 19:52:33 GMT by admin.