Special Characters

Lojban does not require any punctuation, but some special characters (normally used in punctuation in other languages) affect the way Lojban is pronounced.

The only one of these characters which is obligatory in Lojban is the apostrophe; in fact the apostrophe is regarded as a proper letter of Lojban. An apostrophe separates two vowels, preventing them from being pronounced together (as a diphthong); it is itself pronounced like an h. For example, ui is normally pronounced we, but u'i is oohee.

A full stop (period) is a short pause to stop words running into each other. The rules of Lojban make it easier for one word to run into another when the second word begins with a vowel; so any word starting with a vowel conventionally has a full stop placed in front of it.

Commas are rare in Lojban, but can be used to stop two vowels blurring together when you don't want to use an apostrophe (which would put a h between them). No Lojban words have commas, but they're sometimes used in writing non-Lojban names, for example pi,ER. (Pierre), as opposed to pier. (P-yerr), pi.ER. (Pee; Ehr), or pi'ER. (Piherr).

Capital letters are not normally used in Lojban. We use them in non-Lojban words (like Pierre) when the stress of a word is different from the Lojban norm. The norm is to put the stress on the last-but-one syllable; so, for example, kurmikce 'nurse' is kurMIKce, not KURmikce. The name Juliette would be written DJUli,et. if pronounced in an English way, but juLIET. if pronounced as in French.