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(Ilmen: As it seems this isn't clearly specified in the CLL, here is an explanation.)

As you know it, when one or several slots of the place structure of a selbri are left empty, they are implicitely filled with {zo'e}. However, some gismu don't seem to comply with this rule, namely those with a default value for one of their arguments.

Here is a couple of examples:

fagri (fire) — x1 is a fire/flame in fuel x2 burning-in/reacting-with oxidizer x3 (default air/oxygen)

nanca (year) — x1 is x2 years in duration (default is 1 year) by standard x3; (adjective:) x1 is annual

Proposed interpretation

• When a place with a default value isn't explicitely filled, it is implicitely filled with the default value.

• When a place without default value isn't explicitely filled, it is implicitely filled with {zo'e}.

• When a place with a default value is explicitly filled with {zo'e} or any other sumti, the default value does not apply.

Thus, in {ti fagri}, fagri3 is filled with the default value "air/oxygen", whereas in {ti fagri fi zo'e}, fagri3 is effectively unspecified.