17.12.  Acronyms

An acronym is a name constructed of lerfu. English examples are DNA , NATO , CIA . In English, some of these are spelled out (like DNA and CIA ) and others are pronounced more or less as if they were ordinary English words (like NATO ). Some acronyms fluctuate between the two pronunciations: SQL may be ess cue ell or sequel .

In Lojban, a name is often represented by one cmevla (a word that ends in a consonant and is surrounded by pauses). The easiest way to Lojbanize acronym names is to glue the lerfu words together, using ' wherever two vowels would come together (pauses are illegal in cmevla) and adding a final consonant:

Example 17.40. 

la .dyny'abub. .i la .ny'abuty'obub. .i la .cy'ibu'abub.


… .i la .sykybulyl. .i la .ibubymym. .i la .ny'ybucyc.


There is no fixed convention for assigning the final consonant. In Example 17.40 , the last consonant of the lerfu string has been replicated into final position.

Some compression can be done by leaving out bu after vowel lerfu words (except for .y.bu , wherein the bu cannot be omitted without ambiguity). Compression is moderately important because it's hard to say long cmevla without introducing an involuntary (and illegal) pause:

Example 17.41. 

la .dyny'am. .i la .ny'aty'om. .i la .cy'i'am.


… .i la .sykybulym. .i la .ibymym. .i la .ny'ybucym.


In Example 17.41 , the final consonant m stands for merko , indicating the source culture of these acronyms.

Another approach, which some may find easier to say and which is compatible with older versions of the language that did not have a ' character, is to use the consonant z instead of ' :

Example 17.42. 

la .dynyzaz. .i la .nyzatyzoz. .i la .cyzizaz.


… .i la .sykybulyz. .i la .ibymyz. .i la .nyzybucyz.


One more alternative to these lengthy cmevla is to use the lerfu string itself prefixed with me , the cmavo that makes sumti into selbri:

Example 17.43. 

la me dy ny. .abu
that-named what-pertains-to d n a

This works because la , the cmavo that normally introduces cmevla used as sumti, may also be used before a predicate to indicate that the predicate is a (meaningful) name:

Example 17.44. 

la cribe cu ciska
That-named Bear   writes.

Bear is a writer.

Example 17.44 does not of course refer to a bear ( le cribe or lo cribe ) but to something else, probably a person, named Bear . Similarly, me dy ny. .abu is a predicate which can be used as a name, producing a kind of acronym which can have pauses between the individual lerfu words.