Chapter 3: The Hills Are Alive With The Sounds Of Lojban

12. Oddball Orthographies

The following notes describe ways in which Lojban has been written or could be written that differ from the standard orthography explained in the rest of this chapter. Nobody needs to read this section except people with an interest in the obscure. Technicalities are used without explanation or further apology.

There exists an alternative orthography for Lojban, which is designed to be as compatible as possible (but no more so) with the authority used in pre-Lojban versions of Loglan. The consonants undergo no change, except that “x” is replaced by “h”. The individual vowels likewise remain unchanged. However, the vowel pairs and diphthongs are changed as follows:

“ai”, “ei”, “oi”, “au” become “ai”, “ei”, “oi”, “ao”.
“ia” through “iu” and “ua” through “uu” remain unchanged.
“a'i”, “e'i”, “o'i” and “a'o” become “a,i”, “e,i”, “o,i” and “a,o”.
“i'a” through “i'u” and “u'a” through “u'u” are changed to “ia” through “iu” and “ua” through “uu” in lujvo and cmavo other than attitudinals, but become “i,a” through “i,u” and “u,a” through “u,u” in names, fu'ivla, and attitudinal cmavo.
All other vowel pairs simply drop the apostrophe.

The result of these rules is to eliminate the apostrophe altogether, replacing it with comma where necessary, and otherwise with nothing. In addition, names and the cmavo “.i” are capitalized, and irregular stress is marked with an apostrophe (now no longer used for a sound) following the stressed syllable.

Three points must be emphasized about this alternative orthography:

It is not standard, and has not been used.
It does not represent any changes to the standard Lojban phonology; it is simply a representation of the same phonology using a different written form.
It was designed to aid in a planned rapprochement between the Logical Language Group and The Loglan Institute, a group headed by James Cooke Brown. The rapprochement never took place.
There also exists a Cyrillic orthography for Lojban which was designed when the introductory Lojban brochure was translated into Russian. It uses the letters “a”, “be”, “ve”, “ge”, “de”, “e”, “zhe”, “ze”, “i”, “ka”, “el”, “em”, “en”, “o”, “pe”, “er”, “es”, “te”, “u”, “ef”, “kha”, and “sha” in the obvious ways. The Latin letter “y” is mapped onto the hard sign, as in Bulgarian. The apostrophe, comma, and period are unchanged. Diphthongs are written as vowel pairs, as in the Roman representation.

Finally, an orthography using the Tengwar of Féanor, a fictional orthography invented by J. R. R. Tolkien and described in the Appendixes to The Lord Of The Rings, has been devised for Lojban. The following mapping, which closely resembles that used for Westron, will be meaningful only to those who have read those appendixes. In brief, the tincotéma and parmatéma are used in the conventional ways; the calmatéma represents palatal consonants, and the quessetéma represents velar consonants.

t   tinco       p   parma
-   calma       k   quesse
d   ando        b   umbar
-   anga        g   ungwe
-   thule       f   formen
c   harma       x   hwesta
-   anto        v   ampa
j   anca        -   unque
n   numen       m   malta
-   noldo       -   nwalme
r   ore     u   vala
i   anna        -   vilya

The letters “vala” and “anna” are used for “u” and “i” only when those letters are used to represent glides. Of the additional letters, “r”, “l”, “s”, and “z” are written with “rómen”, “lambe”, “silme”, and “áre/“esse” respectively; the inverted forms are used as free variants.

Lojban, like Quenya, is a vowel-last language, so tehtar are read as following the tengwar on which they are placed. The conventional tehtar are used for the five regular vowels, and the under-dot for “y”. The Lojban apostrophe is represented by “halla”. There is no equivalent of the Lojban comma or period.