4.8. cmevla

Lojbanized names, called cmevla, are mostly used to Lojbanize names, in other words, they are used to create labels applied to things (or people) to stand for them in descriptions or in direct address. They may convey meaning in themselves, but do not necessarily do so.

Because names are often highly personal and individual, Lojban attempts to allow native language names to be used with a minimum of modification. The requirement that the Lojban speech stream be unambiguously analyzable, however, means that most names must be modified somewhat when they are Lojbanized. Here are a few examples of English names and possible Lojban equivalents:

Example 4.57. 



Example 4.58. 



Example 4.59. 



Example 4.60. 



Example 4.61. 



Example 4.62. 



(Note that y is skipped in determining the stressed syllable, so Example 4.62 is stressed on the ka.)

Example 4.63. 



Example 4.64. 



Names may have almost any form, but always end in a consonant, and are both preceded and followed by a pause. They are penultimately stressed, unless unusual stress is marked with capitalization. A name may have multiple parts; these can be expressed as multiple words each ending with a consonant and pause, or the parts may be combined into a single word. For example,

Example 4.65. 

.djan. braun.


Example 4.66. 


are both valid Lojbanizations of John Brown.

The final arbiter of the correct form of a name is the person doing the naming, although most cultures grant people the right to determine how they want their own name to be spelled and pronounced. The English name Mary can thus be Lojbanized as .meris., .maris., .meiris., .merix., or even .marys.. The last alternative is not pronounced much like its English equivalent, but may be desirable to someone who values spelling over pronunciation. The final consonant need not be an s; there must, however, be some Lojban consonant at the end.

Lojban cmevla are identifiable as word forms by the following characteristics:

  1. They must end in one or more consonants. There are no rules about how many consonants may appear in a cluster in cmevla, provided that each consonant pair (whether standing by itself, or as part of a larger cluster) is a permissible pair.

  2. They are always preceded and followed in speech by pauses, written as ..

  3. They may be stressed on any syllable; if this syllable is not the penultimate one, it must be capitalized when writing. Neither names nor words that begin sentences are capitalized in Lojban, so this is the only use of capital letters.

Cmevla meeting these criteria may be invented, Lojbanized from names in other languages, or formed by appending a consonant onto a cmavo or brivla. Some cmevla built from Lojban words are:

Example 4.67. 


the One

from the cmavo pa, with rafsi pav, meaning one

Example 4.68. 


the Sun

from the gismu solri, meaning sun

Example 4.69. 


Chief (as a title)

from the gismu ralju, meaning principal.

Example 4.70. 



from the gismu nobli, with rafsi nol, meaning noble.

To Lojbanize a name from the various natural languages, apply the following rules:

  1. Eliminate double consonants and silent letters.

  2. Add a final s or n (or some other consonant that sounds good) if the name ends in a vowel.

  3. Convert all sounds to their closest Lojban equivalents.

  4. If possible and acceptable, shift the stress to the penultimate (next-to-the-last) syllable. Use capitalization in written Lojban when it is necessary to preserve non-standard stress. Do not capitalize names otherwise.

  5. If the name contains an impermissible consonant pair, insert a vowel between the consonants: y is recommended.

There are some additional rules for Lojbanizing the scientific names (technically known as Linnaean binomials after their inventor) which are internationally applied to each species of animal or plant. Where precision is essential, these names need not be Lojbanized, but can be directly inserted into Lojban text using the cmavo la'o, explained in Section 4.1. Using this cmavo makes the already lengthy Latinized names at least four syllables longer, however, and leaves the pronunciation in doubt. The following suggestions, though incomplete, will assist in converting Linnaean binomals to valid Lojban names. They can also help to create fu'ivla based on Linnaean binomials or other words of the international scientific vocabulary. The term back vowel in the following list refers to any of the letters a, o, or u; the term front vowel correspondingly refers to any of the letters e, i, or y.

  1. Change double consonants other than cc to single consonants.

  2. Change cc before a front vowel to kc, but otherwise to k.

  3. Change c before a back vowel and final c to k.

  4. Change ng before a consonant (other than h) and final ng to n.

  5. Change x to z initially, but otherwise to ks.

  6. Change pn to n initially.

  7. Change final ie and ii to i.

  8. Make the following idiosyncratic substitutions:


    However, the diphthong substitutions should not be done if the two vowels are in two different syllables.

  9. Change h between two vowels to ' , but otherwise remove it completely. If preservation of the h seems essential, change it to x instead.

  10. Place ' between any remaining vowel pairs that do not form Lojban diphthongs.

Some further examples of Lojbanized names are:

English Mary .meris. or .meiris.
English Smith .smit.
English Jones .djonz.
English John .djan. or .jan. (American) or .djon. or .jon. (British)
English Alice .alis.
English Elise .eLIS.
English Johnson .djansn.
English William .uiliiam. or .uili'am.
English Brown .braun.
English Charles .tcarlz.
French Charles .carl.
French De Gaulle .dyGOL.
German Heinrich .xainrix.
Spanish Joaquin .xouaKIN.
Russian Svetlana .sfetlanys.
Russian Khrushchev .xrucTCOF.
Hindi Krishna .kricnas.
Polish Lech Walesa .lex. vauensas.
Spanish Don Quixote .don. kicotes. or modern Spanish: .don. kixotes. or Mexican dialect: .don. ki'otes.
Chinese Mao Zedong .maudzydun.
Japanese Fujiko .fudjikos. or .fujikos.