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How do you say "someone feed the cat"? In other words, what's the imperative of "da gasnu lenu cidja le mlatu"?

Try translating this into another language you know. It doesn't work in French or in German -- Greg

Hey, why not? "Jemand f�ttere die Katze!" (Somebody feed the cat, which is subjunctive of "Jemand f�ttert die Katze." - Somebody feeds the cat) or also: Jemand m�ge die Katze f�ttern! (Someone may feed the cat!)

  • In idiomatic German, a closer translation would probably be more like Irgend jemand sollte mal die Katze f�ttern (i.e. "Someone should feed the cat *mal", where the "mal" has the feeling of "one of these days", only not with the time span of "days", if you see what I mean. In other words, I'd use a construction with should rather than the subjunctive. -- mi'e filip.

Romanian: Cineva s�-i dea m�ncarea pisicii! (Cineva �i d� m�ncarea pisicii.)

That's the same in Latin, Italian etc. -- mi'e .aulun.

  • You're right, I just realised a French subjunctive works too : que quelqu'un donne � manger au chat. All these (as far as my small linguistic skills can make out) mean something like mi djica lenu cidja le mlatu or mi djica lenu da gasnu lenu cidja le mlatu. Humans (being very obliging beings) will respond to that statement by feeding the cat... there is no reason why lobypre shouldn't do the same.
  • I don't see why ko gasnu cidja le mlatu wouldn't do the required job, if necessary preceded by doi rodo or doi da if there is a possibility of rodo not being sure whether they're to feed the cat collectively or to delegate.
    • doi pado ko gasnu cidja le mlatu ?
  • If I understand correctly, the problem posed here is distinguishing between "Come over here you lot" and "Would one of you lot come over here". I think the above dois or roko and su'oko should be enough.

mi'e greg

ei da gasnu le nu cidja le mlatu {.ei} doesn't refer to {da}, but to the speaker of this utterance: [jbocre: obligation!} someone makes the cat eat. --.aulun.

  • Or doi da ko gasnu lenu cidja le mlatu. ([[pne bofi'e|obligation!} someone makes the cat eat. --.aulun.
  • Or doi da ko gasnu lenu cidja le mlatu. ((pne bofi'e amusingly glosses doi da as "O! X".)
    • I think we need a way to make commands without reassigning do - because you might forget that do is no longer the person you are talking to. I proposed xu'a on the list once as similar to xu but meaning not is it so but make it be so. I now feel that with doi being usable for many such things, and bai for a lot of the rest, it does not deserve an XV(')V (as opposed to a CV(')V(')V), which I think should mean only important things like xei. I don't know what to propose now, but having one would be nice. - mi'e. .kreig.daniyl.
      • If you're using an attitudinal, I don't see anything wrong with ei.
  • This isn't a "someone"-statement, really; try- .e'u pa le donpre cu mlatu cidjydunda...
    • e'u does not make a command. I'd say ei comes closer to this use than anything, when it is used to mean "It should be so that...", and Craig's xu'a might also fit this purpose. ((Rant: e'o and e'u are not commands) That sentence means something like "One of you, I suggest, feeds the cat." (And the problem with this is?) That someone feed the cat is a command.

gau ko le mlatu cu citka

Something like: make-yourself-an-active-agent-by-whom the cat eats This semantically is nothing else than {ko gasnu lenu le mlatu cu citka} and doesn't solve the "problem" that the English, German etc. terms do not address to someone in 2nd person! but use subjunctive means (Long live the king!, God bless America!, Thy kingdom come!.../Lang lebe der K�nig!, Gott segne Amerika! Dein Reich komme!/Vive le roi=Que le roi vive etc.) although in English the subjunctive forms are no longer different, hence, the grammatical function known only by convention (except in special cases like sanctified be Thy name). IMHO, these phrases grammatically are no real imperatives but just semantically (commands, wishes expressed etc.). But - in the cat's case :) - there might be an appropriate solution in Lojban, i.e. addressing to an undefined/unquantified "you" (2nd person):

su'oko gasnu lenu le mlatu cu citka or gau su'oko le mlatu cu citka

But this - of course - won't work with those examples in brackets which still are something like: .a'oaucai le nolraitru cu jmive ze'uku! -- .aulun.


xu lu le misro be le natmi cu bajra li'u se smuni lu ko'a cu misro le natmi .i ko'a cu bajra li'u


Hope this not being too off topic, but I realized that in quite some conlangs (I dealt with) the conditional/subjunctive tense seems to be pretty neglected - also in elaborated Lojban (you remember our discussions on "possible worlds")! Now I came across Tolkien's Sindarin obviously suffering from the same defect:

A translation of the "Pater Noster" (by R. Derzinski) is addressing the L-rd in vocative form as

�darem (a adar - O Father - doi patfu).

Then the wish "sanctificetur nomen tuum" is expressed as aer ess l�n aen , for which the heavily discussed aen (passive voice or/and "may it be"???) is used to express the wish; (it's the same, then, with fiat voluntas tua - iest l�n aen).

But then: �rdh l�n tolo(!!) for "adveniat regnum tuum", which is pretty clever, yet, linguistically unsatisfactory or most probably even wrong. The problem being that tolo is regarded as an imperative of "to come" (tol-), so the author is clever enough to addressing to a 2nd pers. sing. (which, of course, has to be regnum tuum/ardh l�n) by putting it into a vocative form (a ardh > �rdh)! The new problem that now appears is that the addressee all of a sudden is split in two within one phrase (�rdh l�n), i.e. �rdh and �dar - the latter still being referred to by l�n (rev. "your"). In Lojban this might be expressed by something like {i. cliva fale se turni be ko}, but I doubt that the above by-pass of "�rdh l�n tolo" (O Empire of yours, come!).

So I'd imagine it simply could be "ardh l�n dolo (Your empire should/may/is to come!).

Is it really attested that the form here simply called imperative always has to address to 2nd person (sing.)??? It might also address a 2nd p. plural - and any other person too (3rd and even 1st, sing. or plur.). In Lojban infact it is 2nd pers. (sing. or plur.), yet my thought being that this Sindarin form called "imperative" is identical with the infinitive (and not just equal in form)! I do not assume that these equal forms - e.g. gwanna- > gwanno/gwanno (to leave/Leave! - ) are just accidentally.

In many languages, the infinitive is used to express a very common/unspecific wish/desire/command or what have you. (e.g. in German: "Trinken!" for "Drink/Have a drink!", "Please, give me to drink!", "Let us drink!" etc.)*

(BTW, in Italian, the - negated - infinitiv has shaped out as a 2nd p. sing. imperative, e.g. "Non mi lasciare!" (Don't leave me! ko na cliva mi), but: "Non mi lasci!" (polite form i.e. 3rd p. s.) or "Lasciami! (2nd. p. s.). But also: "Non fumare!" (Don't smoke!/No smoking! - addressed to a general audience). This doesn't seem to be possible in Lojban: *{na damva'u}, but {roko na damva'u}.

I v�r v�d aen! M�d i v�r aen! (The cat may eat!) - from: "b�r" (cat), "m�d-" (eat)

Adan anno aes na(m) m�r! Adan anno aes am m�r! Adan anno aes i v�r! (Somebody/a human ought to give food to the cat!) - from: "adan/edain" (man/men), "anna-" (give), "aes" (food).

The construction with "adan" goes along the line "az ember" in Hungarian, or German impersonal "man"). In Lojban, maybe: {pako dunda lo citka le mlatu}.

(Please feel free to remove this posting or to put it somewhere else.) -- mi'e .aulun.


* This sounds like baby-talk to me... the speech of a toddler whose speech is at the stage where its sentences consist only of one word. Or, if used by an adult, rude -- if someone give me a glass and said "Hier -- trinken!", I'd feel treated like a prisoner in a POW camp or something.

This is correct, yet does it change the linguistical fact a bit? These forms (BTW, also possible in Lojban - as stated somewhere in the Book!) derive from restrictions of speech, be it due to the speakers intellectual limits or outer circumstances: e.g. "Feuer!!!" (Fire) or "Aufpassen!!!" (uttered in the very moment one is watching somebody stepping before a incoming train). That's the way language has developed.

BTW, the above opinion on Sindarin (so-called) "imperative" meanwhile seems to be accepted, since Helge K. Fauskanger too has changed his Sindarin grammar so far, stating that "imperative" is referring to 'all persons'.