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Lojban is a constructed language that avoids ambiguity and reflects the principles of logic.

Lexical Ambiguity

In Lojban, every word has a unique meaning, spelling, and pronunciation. No two sentences are read or spoken the same way.

No knowledge of the vocabulary is required to read a text aloud or to transcribe speech back to writing without any loss of the text content.

Pronunciation

Sounds may only refer to a single character. Letters correspond to the International Phonetic Alphabet system of phonetic notation.

cutci shoe

karce car

fonxa phone

racli rational

kurfa square

rufsu rough

zoi gy dres gy dress

zoi gy mejr gy measure

zoi gy kamy gy comma

zoi gy lax gy loch

In natural languages, like English, the same text may refer to different sounds, or to different meanings.

lead (heavy metal element)

lead (to direct or conduct)

Speech Segmentation

The space between words is made explicit by putting stress on the second-to-last syllable of any word.

basna da emphasize

ba snada will succeed

In natural languages, segmentation may be ambiguous and must be assumed from context.

pull a long string

pull along string

Punctuation

Instead of special characters or emoticons, spoken words are used to denote case, punctuation, or the emotional content of sentences.

xu do dansu did you dance?

ui zgike music 😄

In natural languages, punctuation must be inferred by intonation.

tell me your name

tell me "your name"

Syntactic Ambiguity

Sentence structure is defined by formal grammar, making Lojban more easily describable by mathematical logic and computer science than other languages.

Automatic parsing of text can be done easily by machines, while natural language processing is more computationally complex.

Individuals with speech impairments may have less difficulty communicating when not dependent on melodic or rhythmic aspects of speech to resolve ambiguity.

Predicate Words

The vocabulary contains predicate words which define the placement order and relationship of terms to which they are applied. This is unlike natural languages where preposition such as 'to' and 'from' would be used.

mi klama lo briju I go to work

mi klama lo zdani lo briju I go home from work

Prepositions can cause ambiguity in natural languages.

I see a man with my glasses (I see using my glasses)

I see a man with my glasses (a man wearing my glasses)

Logical Connectives

Where natural languages use simple conjunctions like 'and', and 'or', Lojban takes concepts from formal logic to expand the expressiveness of language.

do .a mi citka lo nanba you and/or I eat bread

mi .o do citka lo nanba I eat bread if-and-only-if you do

Conjunctions can cause ambiguity in natural languages.

bacon or eggs and toast (toast, and either bacon or eggs)

bacon or eggs and toast (bacon, and either toast or eggs)

Lojban is a constructed, syntactically unambiguous human language.

mi na'e dansu ki'u lo zgike I didn't dance, because of the music

mi dansu ki'u nai lo zgike I danced, not because of the music

Natural languages may be ambiguous because the structure of sentences have multiple valid interpretations.

I don't speak English because it's ambiguous. (I don't, because it is)

I don't speak English because it's ambiguous. (I do, not because it is)

The Lojban community has translated texts, recorded rap songs, and are still exploring the possibilities of this unique constructed language.

co'o See you!