Lojban Wave Lessons/17

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Lojban Wave Lessons: Foreword | ← Lesson 16 | Lesson 17 | Lesson 18 →

Lesson 17: Cute assorted words

And with that, third chapter, you know a lot about Lojban sumti. After such a long time of rigorous systematic learning, what could be more fitting that this lesson where I speak about some words which I could not, or wanted not to fit into any other lessons? So here are a few small and really useful words:

The following cmavo are all elliptical words. You should already be familiar with the first.

zo'e = elliptical sumti
co'e = elliptical selbri
do'e = elliptical sumtcita
ju'a = elliptical evidential
do'i = elliptical utterance variable
ge'e = elliptical attitudinal

All of these act grammatically as a cmavo of the kind they represent, but they contain no information, and can be quite handy when you're lazy and don't need to be specific anyway. There are, however, a few things which need to be cleared up:

  • zo'e have to refer to something which is claimed to have a value. zero cars or nothing, for instance, has no value, and therefore cannot be referred to by zo'e. This is because, if it could mean nothing by zo'e, then any selbri could be identical to its negation, if one of the elided sumti were filled with a zo'e with no value.
  • ge'e does not mean that you feel no emotion, just that you feel nothing special or worth to mention at the moment. It's similar to I'm fine.. ge'e pei ask about an elliptical emotion and is a good translation for: How are you feeling?.
  • co'e is handy when needing a selbri in a construct for grammatical reasons, like in the definition of tu'a in the previous lesson.
  • ju'a does not change the truth value or subjective understanding of the bridi or anything like that. In fact, it's mostly does nothing. However, ju'a pei, What is your basis for saying that? is handy.
  • do'i is really useful. A lot of times when you refer to utterances or conversations by words like this or that, you want do'i.
  • If you fill in more sumti than a selbri has places for, the last sumti have implied do'e sumtcita in front of them.

Furthermore, there is a word, zi'o, that you can fill a sumti place with to delete it from any selbri. lo melbi be zi'o, for instance, is just Something beautiful, and does not include the usual x2 of melbi, which is the observer who judges something to be beautiful. Thus, it can mean something like Objectively beautiful. It does not state that nothing fills the sumti place which is being deleted, just that the sumti place is not being considered in the selbri. Using zi'o with a sumtcita gives weird results. Formally, they should cancel each other out. Practically, it would probably be understood as an explicit way of saying that the sumtcita does not apply, as in: mi darxi do mu'i zi'o - I hit you, with or without motivation.

Then there is the word jai. It's one of those cool, small words which are hard to grasp, but easy to work with once you know it. It has two distinct, but similar functions. Both have something to do with converting the selbri, like se does.

jai = Selbri conversion: Converts sumtcita or unspecified abstraction to x1. Use with fai
fai = Marks sumti place. Works like fa. To be used with jai.

The first grammatical construction it can make is "jai {sumtcita} {selbri}". It changes the sumti places such that the sumti place of the sumtcita becomes the selbri's x1, and the selbri's old x1 is removed, and only accessible by using fai, which works like fa. You can see it with this example:

gau = sumtcita (from gasnu) bridi has been brought about by/with active agent {sumti}'

do jai gau jundi ti fai mi. - You bring about attention to this by me. The new selbri, jai gau jundi, has the place structure of x1 brings about attention paid to x2. These are then filled by do and ti. The fai then marks the place for the old x1, the one who was paying attention, and it is filled with mi. This word can be very convenient and has tons of uses. A good example is descriptive-like sumti. One can, for instance, refer to the method of volitional action by lo jai ta'i zukte.

ta'i = sumtcita (from tadji): Bridi is done with the method of {sumti}

Can you deduce what the ordinary Lojban phrase do jai gau mo means?

Answer: What are you doing?

The other function of jai is easier to explain. It simply converts the selbri such that the sumti in the x1 gets a tu'a in front of it (ko'a jai broda = tu'a ko'a broda). In other words, it converts the selbri in a way such that it builds an elliptical abstraction from the sumti in the x1, and then fills x1 with the abstraction instead of the actual sumti. Again, the original sumti place is accessible by fai.

A very active Lojban IRC-user often says le gerku pe do jai se stidi mi, to use a random example of a sumti in x1. What's he saying?

stidi = x1 inspires/suggests x2 in/to x3

Answer: I suggest (something about) your dog.

So far you've learned how to convert bridi to selbri, selbri to sumti, and selbri into bridi, since all selbri by themselves are also bridi. You only need one last function: convert sumti to selbri. This is done with the word me. It accepts a sumti and converts it into a selbri.

me = Generic convert sumti to selbri. x1 is/are among the referents of SUMTI

When screwing a sentence up, knowing how to correct yourself is a good idea. There are three words in Lojban which you can use to delete your previous word(s)

si = deletion: Deletes last word only.
sa = deletion: Deletes back until next cmavo spoken.
su = deletion: Deletes entire discourse.

The function of these words are obvious: They delete words as if they have never been spoken. They do not work inside certain quotes (all quotes except lu...li'u), though, as that would leave it impossible to quote these words. Several si in a row deletes several words

Lojban Wave Lessons: Foreword | ← Lesson 16 | Lesson 17 | Lesson 18 →