Authors have experimented with various means of typesetting Lojbanic text. This page attempts to summarize the best practices for Lojbanic typesetting, as well as reference existing examples of current practice.

Please see the discussion at Lojban typography and shorthand symbols as well. Those documents should be integrated with this page.


Punctuation added to a document is not pronounced when speaking Lojban, it is there as a visual convenient to the reader. Punctuation marks do not replace the Lojban valsi they decorate.

Question Marks

Question marks can appear surround text asking a question:

¿xu lo broda?

Since xu can appear in multiple scopes, the inverted question mark and question mark should be typeset at the same scope of xu:

¿lo broda ku xu? brode
lo broda ku ¿brode xu?


Guillemets can be used when typesetting quoted text:

«lu lo broda li'u»

If lu ... li'u is going to be typeset with guillemets, the elidable terminator li'u should always be included.

Guillemets are preferred to using single or double quotation marks, since ' is a valid character in Lojban.

Double Quotes

This example came from a thought experiment on the Lojban mailing list. It is included here to demonstrate that some typography choices have implications that aren't obvious:

zoi "Where are your Keys?"

the double quote (") could be understood to be the word {.kuot.}, satisfying the requirement that zoi's delimiters must be Lojban words. This example violates the requirement that punctuation be treated as whitespace, but is consistent with some of the (undecided) examples for digits, below. Numbers blur the distinction between what is punctuation and what isn't, just as this example does.

This example is poor style, as punctuation (other than the period, comma, and single quote) is understood to be ignored when parsing Lojban.


Parentheses can be used when typesetting parenthetical text:

(to lo broda toi)

NOTE: If you're trying to parse Lojban containing open and close parentheses using jbofihe, please note that this program ignore all text between and open and close parentheses, treating it like a comment.


Non-standard stress is marked with capital letters. Is there any special markup?


Digits (1, 2, 3, ...) are sometimes used in preference to digit words (pa, re, ci, ...).

How should we treat '.' and ',' in digits? These characters are both valid lerfu. Is it ambiguous to write "1,234.56" rather than "pa re ci vo pi mu xa"?

Time and Space

Can ':' be used to mean pi'e? What about degrees (°), minutes ('), and seconds (")?



Main article: zoi

When quoting English text, the following delimiters are commonly used:

  • .gy., representing the English language.
  • .kuot., because it sounds like the English "quote."

What stylistic recommendations are there for zoi's delimiting word?

Elidable Terminators


Document Structure

Lojban includes words dealing specifically with the structure of a document.

Parts, Chapters, Sections, Subsections

pagbu can be used to describe the start of a book part.

"Part 1" is "ni'o pa mo'o pagbu".

XXX: Numbered Chapters.

This should be a chapter example.

Numbered sections should be marked with mo'o.

"Section 1.2.3" is "ni'o pa pi pi'e re pi'e ci mo'o lo broda".

XXX: Subsections.

Can subsections leave off trailing superior section numbers?

This should be a subsection example.


ni'o always starts a paragraph, which may be indented and should always include extra vertical space between it and the previous paragraph.



Bullet Lists

Should tu'e ... tu'u be used for bullet lists?

  • tu'e lo broda tu'u
  • tu'e lo broda tu'u

Numbered Lists


Definition Lists

A Definition list (like for a dictionary) could be formatted this way:

  • lo valsi zo'u tu'e smuni tu'u



End of Text

If not omitted, "fa'o" should be typeset on its own line.



A hyphen (-) can be used to break a word across multiple lines, but this use is strongly discouraged. If you must hyphenate a word, you should XXX rather than XXX.

Non-Breaking Space

.i should never appear at the end of a line.
sumtcita and valsi in selma'o LE should have a non-breaking space between them and the next valsi. Or should they?

Created by alyn.post. Last Modification: Tuesday 01 of February, 2011 23:29:15 GMT by alyn.post.