Alice in Lojban, the Logical Language

The Rev. Charles L. Dodgson made important contributions to both Logic and Language. He died around a century before Lojban, a logical language, was developed–, so we’ll never know what he might have thought of (as the wikipedia defines it) “a constructed, syntactically unambiguous human language based on predicate logic.” Is language inherently logical, or can words mean what we choose them to mean? Does organic language have a sort of nonsense logic to it? How would Rev. Dodgson feel about a made-up language based on logic?

This website lojban.org describes its “effort to translate Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland into lojban” as “ongoing.” They’ve placed it in the public domain, and it is downloadable in a number of formats. We are told by Michael Everson of Evertype that it will be published in the near future. I would love to hear from one of the contributers how they approached the translation of the puns and wordplay.
It’s an elegant-looking language, if it does have that certain made-up look to it. Here’s the “Lobster Quadrille”:
e’o sutra doi cakcurnu i ko ti’a zgana ua pa
xajyfi’e noi jbitrixe gi’e me mi rebla stapa
i ui a’a ro le jukni e le respa ca se ganse
gi’e denpa mi le canre i pei do ba kansa dansu
i aipei naipei aipei naipei aipei do ba dansu
i aipei naipei aipei naipei naipei do ba dansu
i do ka’enai se xanri le nu pluka co mokau
ca le nu mi’o se renro fi le xamsi i’a au
i dardukse i dardukse sei cy spuda tolselmansa
doi merlanu ki’e ku’i i mi na ba kansa dansu
i ainai einai ainai einai ainai mi ba dansu
i ainai einai ainai einai einai mi ba dansu
i na selvai le ni darno sei le pendo ze’i frati
i iasai lo drata korbi ca’a drata mlana zvati
i le ni darno le glico cu ni jibni be la frans
i ko carna doi cakcurnu i ei do ba kansa dansu
i aipei naipei aipei naipei aipei do ba dansu
i aipei naipei aipei naipei naipei do ba dansu

UPDATE: I just discovered a recording of the Lobster Quadrille in Esperanto, for comparison:

Lewis Carroll – Esperanto – Lobster Quadrille .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Comments are closed.