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 can be almost any sequence of sounds that ends in a consonant and is followed by a pause. 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 names) 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 names 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 names 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 names 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.