You can still find copies of A First Dictionary and Grammar of Láadan on Amazon used, but it runs about $40 currently. It’s not horrible, but it can be a bit pricey, so if you’re on the fence about picking up a copy, I’d like to share some of what the book contains.
I was pleasantly surprised when I received it, because it is such a lovely book. It has a thick, textured cream paper with brown text (which I’ve read in the past is the easiest color combination to read), and it has a lot of illustrations as well, which adds to this odd, somewhat rustic and old-fashioned feeling of the book. It’s not just a cold, unwelcoming grammar lesson book – it feels warm, somewhat mysterious, and even a bit mischievous (as there are illustrations of women doing things from practicing violin to kicking a gentleman’s butt).
The book has three main sections to it: The grammar lessons, the dictionary, and kind of a “miscellaneous” section of more grammar notes, sample translations, and lessons from a previous publication.
Unfortunately, the copy I received has a little bit of highlighting in it, but only on a few pages. (Still! Agh! I only ever mark things in pencil. *shakes fist*)
So far the lessons have been pretty straightforward and nicely formatted, but I have not gone through all of them yet. In conjunction with the Amberwind lessons (currently down, see the Lesson page on Lolehoth for backups), beginner lessons on the LaadanLanguage.org website, and the Wikipedia article, I think you can get a pretty solid understanding of the Láadan language. (I haven’t yet, but I am not done studying yet!)
The book also features an English -> Láadan, Láadan -> English dictionary, which I haven’t gone through in depth since I usually reference the dictionary list from LaadanLanguages.org. This makes up about 60 pages of the 160 page book.
After the dictionary is more grammar notes (“Rules of Grammar” and “Miscellaneous Additional Information”), as well as translations and break-downs of some songs and psalms into Láadan, which may come in really handy.
And then there are three mini-lessons that were published in something called Hot Wire. These also have break-downs and translations of short stories, with some in-depth translation notes.
This book is basically my age, as it was published March 1, 1988. (That’s 21 days before I was born. ;P), but I’m glad you can still find some used copies around.
At the moment, I have not been able to find a copy of the accompanying audio tape to purchase. The back of the book lists the same PO Box that I can find online, but I do not know whether someone has taken over the responsibility of copying and sending out the tapes, since Suzette has since passed. I am actually going to send a postcard to the address and see if I get a response regarding this. Will see! (If you want to sell me an audio tape, I’d love to buy it. I’d like to make a digital copy as well for preservation!
You can hear a sample reading from the audio tape at Lingweenie.org.
By the way, quick tip – if you want to type “á” quickly on a Windows machine, here’s what you can do:
- Hold the left ALT key, keep it pressed down.
- On your num-pad (the right-side number keys), type: 0, then 2, then 2, then 5
You can quickly type in special characters this way (although you have to memorize the code).
There are other ways to enable accents when typing, perhaps we will cover this later.
In the meantime, you can use the web accenter tool on this page, or just use these keycodes:
- á 0225
- Á 0193
- é 0233
- É 0201
- í 0237
- Í 0205
- ó 0243
- Ó 0211
- ú 0250
- Ú 0218
Seems like the worst possible time to learn Láadan, considering Suzette passed away a few months ago, and one of the two language course sites is down. The only one with Láadan sound-clips! Ho, ve!
But, I’m starting to study it. I’ve retrieved the Amberwind webpage via the Wayback Machine and I have links to the Wayback archive, as well as an archive hosted on my site (sorry, couldn’t salvage the sound-clips). I’m also trying to build a grammar reference (more for me than anything) and tools (like a quick-lookup dictionary) to make the experience easier.
Feel free to use and distribute these however you’d like!