Loglan on Free Luna

Was wandering through Lojbanistan recently, and noticed that apparently Robert Heinlein mentioned Loglan in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, which I by chance had just picked up the 1997 Tor hardcover used, not having read it in a few years. Such a great, great book. Such a romp, and Heinlein really captures such a unique voice for some memorable characters.

Loglan actually pops up in chapter one, in the introduction of sentient computer Mike:

By then Mike had voder-vocoder circuits supplementing his read-outs, print-outs, and decision-action boxes, and could understand not only classic programming, but also Loglan and English, and could accept other languages and was doing technical translating—and reading endlessly. But in giving him instructions was safer to use Loglan. If you spoke English, results might be whimsical; multi-valued nature of English gave option circuits too much leeway. (12-13)


(Nobody taught Mike to say “please.” He started including formal null-sounds as he progressed from Loglan to English. Don’t suppose he meant them any more than people do.) (17)

Can machines feel pride? Not sure question means anything. But you’ve seen dogs with hurt feelings and Mike had several times as complex a neural network as a dog. What had made him unwilling to talk to other humans (except strictly business) was that he had been rebuffed.

They had not talked to him. Programs, yes—Mike could be programmed from several locations but programs were typed in, usually, in Loglan. Loglan is fine for syllogism, circuitry, and mathematical calculations, but lacks flavor. Useless for gossip or to whisper into girl’s ear. (18-19)

XKCD might agree, and the Lojbanist may sigh:

coi .iu.uinai


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