Chapter 17: As Easy As A-B-C? The Lojban Letteral System And Its Uses
An acronym is a name constructed of lerfu. English examples are “DNA”, “NATO”, “CIA”. In English, some of these are spelled out (like “DNA” and “CIA”) and others are pronounced more or less as if they were ordinary English words (like “NATO”). Some acronyms fluctuate between the two pronunciations: “SQL” may be “ess cue ell” or “sequel”.
In Lojban, a name can be almost any sequence of sounds that ends in a consonant and is followed by a pause. The easiest way to Lojbanize acronym names is to glue the lerfu words together, using “”' wherever two vowels would come together (pauses are illegal in names) and adding a final consonant:
✥12.1 la dyny'abub. .i la ny'abuty'obub. .i la cy'ibu'abub. .i la sykybulyl. .i la .ibubymym. .i la ny'ybucyc. DNA. NATO. CIA. SQL. IBM. NYC.
There is no fixed convention for assigning the final consonant. In ✥12.1, the last consonant of the lerfu string has been replicated into final position.
Some compression can be done by leaving out “bu” after vowel lerfu words (except for “.y.bu”, wherein the “bu” cannot be omitted without ambiguity). Compression is moderately important because it's hard to say long names without introducing an involuntary (and illegal) pause:
✥12.2 la dyny'am. .i la ny'aty'om. .i la cy'i'am. .i la sykybulym. .i la .ibymym. .i la ny'ybucym. DNA. NATO. CIA. SQL. IBM. NYC.
In ✥12.2, the final consonant “m” stands for “merko”, indicating the source culture of these acronyms.
Another approach, which some may find easier to say and which is compatible with older versions of the language that did not have a “”' character, is to use the consonant “z” instead of “”':
✥12.3 la dynyzaz. .i la nyzatyzoz. .i la cyzizaz. .i la sykybulyz. .i la .ibymyz. .i la nyzybucyz. DNA. NATO. CIA. SQL. IBM. NYC.
One more alternative to these lengthy names is to use the lerfu string itself prefixed with “me”, the cmavo that makes sumti into selbri:
✥12.4 la me dy ny. .abu that-named what-pertains-to “d” “n” “a”
This works because “la”, the cmavo that normally introduces names used as sumti, may also be used before a predicate to indicate that the predicate is a (meaningful) name:
✥12.5 la cribe cu ciska that-named “Bear” writes Bear is a writer
✥12.5 does not of course refer to a bear (“le cribe” or “lo cribe”) but to something else, probably a person, named “Bear”. Similarly, “me dy ny. .abu” is a predicate which can be used as a name, producing a kind of acronym which can have pauses between the individual lerfu words.