Lojban is a constructed human language created to reflect the principles of logic and avoid ambiguity.
Ambiguity is the property of language to be understood multiple different ways. In the sentence
I set the clock upon the table, the meaning of set is lexically ambiguous because it may have different definitons. The meaning of upon is syntactically ambiguous because it may apply to other words in the sentence in multiple different ways.
I set the clock upon the table.
Lojban is lexically unambiguous, meaning that each word has a distinct spelling and pronunciation. Lojban has no words which can be read in multiple different ways, like right or lead.
Every sound always corresponds to the same letter. Lojban has no words which are spelled the same but spoken differently, like there, they're, and their.
djetlage jet lag
Lojban automatically segments words based on emphasis, meaning no two sentences are spoken the same, like
she pulled along string and
she pulled a long string.
basna da emphasize something
ba snada will succeed
Lojban uses words instead of special characters like quotation marks, parenthesis, exclamation points, and emoticons. This means that anything that can be written in Lojban can also be said.
la .alis. bacru lu coi li'u Alice said “hello”
xu do taske Are you thirsty?
nelci .ui Nice :)
Lojban is syntactically unambiguous, meaning that each word can only relate to other words in one way. Lojban has no sentences which can be parsed in multiple different ways, like
I didn't come along because you asked.
mi na'e kansa do ki'u lo nu do cpedu I something other than accompany you because of your request.
mi kansa do ki'u nai lo nu do cpedu I accompany you because of something other than your request.
Lojban words are defined not only by their meaning, but by how words can be applied to them. Instead of prepositions, Lojban uses word order to determine how words are applied.
X talks/speaks to X about the subject X in the language X
mi tavla do lo badna lo jbobau I talk to you about bananas in lojban
Lojban is still semantically ambiguous, meaning that words with the same definition may refer to different things. Lojban pronouns have no case, animacy, or gender.
Lojban has no default number or tense, though number and tense may be manually specified.
xrula a flower
plipe will jump
plipe is jumping
plipe has jumped
Lojban was created to test the idea that the language we use limits our ability to think. Instead of a simple and and or, Lojban uses concepts from formal logic.
la .alis. .a la .bab. stali Alice and/or Bob stay.
la .alis. .e la .bab. stali Alice and Bob both stay.
la .alis. .o la .bab. stali Alice stays if and only if Bob does.
la .alis. .u la .bab. stali Alice stays whether or not Bob does.
la .alis. .o nai la .bab. stali Alice or Bob stay, but not both.
la .alis. na .a la .bab. stali Alice may stay if Bob does.
Lojban has over 1,200 root words which take phonemes from the most commonly spoken languages in the world, so as to be easy to learn for many people. This makes Lojban a strong candidate for an international auxiliary language.
tavla From the Chinese tán, Spanish hablar, English talk, Hindi bakavāda, Russian govoritʹ, and Arabic kalam
Root words can be used together to express more specific concepts.
cliva zifre free to leave
The Lojban vocabulary is expanded by combining these root words.
caucni emotion of lacking
mi caucni do I miss you.
Lojban can be parsed by machine grammar, and has strong potential for use on computer interfaces and as a programming language. Artificial intelligence researchers have suggested using Lojban in AI development.