Puzzle 4

John Baez

Q: What is the following sentence about?

"Such a brivla, built from the rafsi for the component gismu and cmavo, is called a lujvo."

A: The grammar of an artificial language called Lojban, deliberately designed to be phonetic, logical, and culturally neutral. Work on this language was begun by James Cooke Brown in 1955. He originally called the language "Loglan", for "logical language".

A "brivla" is a predicate in Lojban. A "cmavo" is a structure word, the equivalent of an article, conjunction, preposition, number, or punctuation mark. A "gismu" is a primitive brivla; gismu and cmavo these can be put together to form "lujvo", or compound brivla. When a gismu or cmavo appears as part of a lujvo it can appear in various forms which are called "rafsi"; for example, its final vowel can be deleted.


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