Lojban Wave Lessons/5

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Lojban Wave Lessons: Foreword | ← Lesson 4 | Lesson 5 | Lesson 6 →

Lesson 5: Reordering places with SE

Before we venture into the territory of more complex constructs, you should learn another mechanism for reordering the sumti of a selbri. This, as we will show, is very useful for making description-like sumti (the kind of sumti with lo).

Consider the sentence I eat a gift, which might be appropriate if that gift is an apple. To translate this, it would seem natural to look up a selbri meaning gift before continuing. However, if one looks carefully at the definition of dunda, x1 gives x2 to x3, one realizes that the x2 of dunda is something given – a gift.

So, to express that sentence, we can't say mi citka lo dunda ku, because lo dunda ku would be the x1 of dunda, which is a donor of a gift. Cannibalism aside, we don't want to say that. What we want is a way to extract the x2 of a selbri.

This is one example where it is useful to use the word se. What se does is to modify a selbri such that the x1 and x2 of that selbri trade places. The construct of se + selbri is on its own considered one selbri. Let's try with an ordinary sentence:

ti se fanva mi = mi fanva ti
This is translated by me (= I translate this). [literally]
fanva = x1 translates x2 to language x3 from language x4 with result of translation x5

Often, but not always, bridi with se-constructs are translated to sentences with the passive voice, since the x1 is often the object taking action.

se has its own family of words. All of them swap a different place with the x1.

se swap x1 and x2
te swap x1 and x3
ve swap x1 and x4
xe swap x1 and x5

Note that s, t, v, and x are consecutive consonants in the Lojban alphabet.

So: Using this knowledge, what would ti xe fanva ti mean?

Answer: This is a translation of this (or fanva ti fu ti)

se and its family can of course be combined with fa and its family. The result can be very confusing indeed, if you wish to make it so:

klama = x1 travels/goes to x2 from x3 via x4 using x5 as transportation device

fo lo zdani ku te klama fe do ti fa mi = mi te klama do ti lo zdani ku and since te exchanges x1 and x3: = ti klama do mi lo zdani ku = This travels to you from me via a home.

Of course, no one would make such a sentence except to confuse people, or cruelly to test their understanding of Lojban grammar.

And thus, we have come to the point where we can say I eat a gift.. Simply exchange the sumti places of dunda to get the gift to be x1, then extract this new x1 with lo...ku. So, how would you say it?

One (possible) answer: mi citka lo se dunda ku

This shows one of the many uses for se and its family.

Lojban Wave Lessons: Foreword | ← Lesson 4 | Lesson 5 | Lesson 6 →