Chapter 4: The Shape Of Words To Come: Lojban Morphology

15. Cultural and other non-algorithmic gismu

The following gismu were not made by the gismu creation algorithm. They are, in effect, coined words similar to fu'ivla. They are exceptions to the otherwise mandatory gismu creation algorithm where there was sufficient justification for such exceptions. Except for the small metric prefixes and the assignable predicates beginning with “brod-”, they all end in the letter “o”, which is otherwise a rare letter in Lojban gismu.

The following gismu represent concepts that are sufficiently unique to Lojban that they were either coined from combining forms of other gismu, or else made up out of whole cloth. These gismu are thus conceptually similar to lujvo even though they are only five letters long; however, unlike lujvo, they have rafsi assigned to them for use in building more complex lujvo. Assigning gismu to these concepts helps to keep the resulting lujvo reasonably short.

broda       1st assignable predicate
brode       2nd assignable predicate
brodi       3rd assignable predicate
brodo       4th assignable predicate
brodu       5th assignable predicate
cmavo       structure word (from “cmalu valsi”)
lojbo       Lojbanic (from “logji bangu”)
lujvo       compound word (from “pluja valsi”)
mekso       Mathematical EXpression

It is important to understand that even though “cmavo”, “lojbo”, and “lujvo” were made up from parts of other gismu, they are now full-fledged gismu used in exactly the same way as all other gismu, both in grammar and in word formation.

The following three groups of gismu represent concepts drawn from the international language of science and mathematics. They are used for concepts that are represented in most languages by a root which is recognized internationally.

Small metric prefixes (less than 1):

decti       .1/deci
centi       .01/centi   
milti       .001/milli
mikri       1E-6/micro
nanvi       1E-9/nano
picti       1E-12/pico
femti       1E-15/femto 
xatsi       1E-18/atto
zepti       1E-21/zepto
gocti       1E-24/yocto

Large metric prefixes (greater than 1):

dekto       10/deka 
xecto       100/hecto
kilto       1000/kilo   
megdo       1E6/mega    
gigdo       1E9/giga
terto       1E12/tera
petso       1E15/peta
xexso       1E18/exa
zetro       1E21/zetta
gotro       1E24/yotta

Other scientific or mathematical terms:

delno       candela 
kelvo       kelvin
molro       mole
radno       radian
sinso       sine
stero       steradian
tanjo       tangent
xampo       ampere

The gismu “sinso” and “tanjo” were only made non-algorithmically because they were identical (having been borrowed from a common source) in all the dictionaries that had translations. The other terms in this group are units in the international metric system; some metric units, however, were made by the ordinary process (usually because they are different in Chinese).

Finally, there are the cultural gismu, which are also borrowed, but by modifying a word from one particular language, instead of using the multi-lingual gismu creation algorithm. Cultural gismu are used for words that have local importance to a particular culture; other cultures or languages may have no word for the concept at all, or may borrow the word from its home culture, just as Lojban does. In such a case, the gismu algorithm, which uses weighted averages, doesn't accurately represent the frequency of usage of the individual concept. Cultural gismu are not even required to be based on the six major languages.

The six Lojban source languages:

jungo       Chinese (from “Zhong1 guo2”)
glico       English
xindo       Hindi
spano       Spanish
rusko       Russian
xrabo       Arabic

Seven other widely spoken languages that were on the list of candidates for gismu-making, but weren't used:

bengo       Bengali
porto       Portuguese
baxso       Bahasa Melayu/Bahasa Indonesia
ponjo       Japanese (from “Nippon”)
dotco       German (from “Deutsch”)
fraso       French (from “Français”)
xurdo       Urdu

(Urdu and Hindi began as the same language with different writing systems, but have now become somewhat different principally in borrowed vocabulary. Urdu-speakers were counted along with Hindi-speakers when weights were assigned for gismu-making purposes.)

Countries with a large number of speakers of any of the above languages (where the meaning of “large” is dependent on the specific language):

English: merko American brito British skoto Scottish sralo Australian kadno Canadian
Spanish: gento Argentinian mexno Mexican
Russian: softo Soviet/USSR vukro Ukrainian
Arabic: filso Palestinian jerxo Algerian jordo Jordanian libjo Libyan lubno Lebanese misro Egyptian (from “Mizraim”) morko Moroccan rakso Iraqi sadjo Saudi sirxo Syrian
Bahasa Melayu/Bahasa Indonesia: bindo Indonesian meljo Malaysian
Portuguese: brazo Brazilian
Urdu: kisto Pakistani
The continents (and oceanic regions) of the Earth:

bemro       North American (from “berti merko”)
dzipo       Antarctican (from “cadzu cipni”)
ketco       South American (from “Quechua”)
friko       African
polno       Polynesian/Oceanic
ropno       European
xazdo       Asiatic

A few smaller but historically important cultures:

latmo       Latin/Roman
srito       Sanskrit
xebro       Hebrew/Israeli
xelso       Greek (from “Hellas”)

Major world religions:

budjo       Buddhist
dadjo       Taoist
muslo       Islamic/Moslem
xriso       Christian

A few terms that cover multiple groups of the above:

jegvo       Jehovist (Judeo-Christian-Moslem)
semto       Semitic
slovo       Slavic
xispo       Hispanic (New World Spanish)