ELG. Subjunctives, imaginary situations

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Subjunctives. Imaginative and factitive te sumti types.

Introduction. fau and da'i

In this lesson we'll talk about subjunctive worlds. Let me explain what it means.

The first basic word in this section is.

da'i (UI3). The clause containing this particle describes an imaginary, not real event. Expresses subjunctive mood (in linguistics terms)

The opposite word for it is:

da'inai. The clause containing this particle describes an actual, real, not an imaginary event. Expresses indicative mood (in linguistics terms)

Constructs with da'i are usually translated to English with so called auxiliary verbs such as can/could, will/would, may/might, should and must. Clauses with da'i in English are said to be in subjunctive mood.

The second basic word that we'll deal with in this lesson is fanbu.

fanbu = x1 is a situation / time / place / "internal world" / event / circumstances / conditions (by default this world/this time/this place/this reality) in which x2 actually takes place
lo nu mi ca ciska cu se fanbu
The event of me writing now is actually taking place.

This verb covers some situation, imaginary or real. Sometimes such situation happens during some time in some place. You might notice that this powerful word fanbu in some ways resembles Einstein's concept of unity between time and space. Well, actually in the Quechua language a similar concept of pacha (roughly translated as a world) has existed for at least hundreds of years. However, our fanbu can cover even imaginary situations.

fanbu covers such verbs as fasnu, vanbi (hence its similarity to those two), tcini, cabna, selzvati, munje but it has a more generalized meaning.

The verb fanbu describes events or situations taking place in a described world.

fanbu is very useful when joining two events within one without raising any causal relation like in the following sentence: "By banging his gavel and standing up, the judge declared the trial adjourned".

We'll use one short and very useful preposition here:

fau = in the event/situation/world of ...
fau = fi'o fanbu

Often it's more convenient to use this preposition fau instead of the full verb fanbu.

We might want to combine those two words with each other. That's how we get several scenarios.

Let's discuss them all.

da'i and fau in main and in embedded clauses

da'i broda fau da describes events taking place not in da, i.e. not in our fanbu. In other words we create an imaginary world and talk about it.
broda fau da'i da talks about probabilities of events in da - the fanbu we previously created in our speech and now describe. We don't create any new worlds here.

We can omit da'i in such sentences making them more vague and short.

Omitting da'i doesn't add factuality to the clauses where it is absent.

You should add da'inai only to explicitly state factuality.

da'i broda. Imagination

Let's compare the following sentences:

a) da'i mi pavyseljirna
I could be a unicorn.
b) da'inai mi pavyseljirna
I am a unicorn.
c) mi pavyseljirna
I am a unicorn.

In the sentence a) the event is imagined.

The word da'inai from sentence b) explicitly states that the event is not imagined by anyone and therefore takes place in this world.

The meaning of the sentence c) would be clear from it's context.

da'i broda fau lo nu broda

da'i mi gleki fau lo nu mi ponse lo megdo rupnu
I am happy in-an-imaginary-world-in-which I have one million dollars.
I would/could be happy if I had one million dollars.
I would/could be happy in a world where I had one million dollars.
I imagine myself being happy and having one million dollars.

Here the event inside fau is equally imagined together with mi gleki. And here is the reverse example:

da'inai mi gleki fau lo nu mi ponse lo megdo rupnu
Having one million dollars I am happy.

broda fau da'i da. Probabilities

The following constructs can be used.

  1. broda fau da'i da = x1 is possible; x1 may/can possibly happen.
  2. broda fau da'i ro da= x1 is certain; x1 would necessarily happen.
  3. broda fau da'i so'e da = x1 is probable; x1 will probably/is likely to happen.
  4. broda fau da'i so'o da = x1 is remotely probable; x1 could/might happen.
  5. broda fau da'i so'u da = x1 is not likely, probably not.
  6. broda fau da'i no da = x1 is not possible.

As you can the difference between these is the number of fanbu we take into account.

Suppose you come home and hear someone scratching. You can say one of the following sentences (we'll omit da'i for brevity):

fau da ti mlatu.
This might be/possibly is a cat. It is possible that this is a cat.
(You keep several animals at home. So it might be your cat scratching but you are not sure).
fau ro da ti mlatu.
this must be/certainly is the cat.
(You have a cat and such noise can be produced by only one object, that cat).
fau so'e da ti mlatu.
This should be/probably is the cat.
(If you have a dog then it can also produce such sounds but your dog usually doesn't do that so the cat is more likely).
fau so'u da ti mlatu.
It is not probable that this is the cat.
fau no da ti mlatu
This can't be the cat. This must be not the cat. It is impossible that this is the cat.

Of course we can rephrase any of those sentences as e.g.

da fanbu lo nu ti mlatu
The state of this being-a-cat is possible.

Double negation

Sometimes it's necessary to use double negation. Let's show how this works using examples from English and Chinese.

The structure 非...不可 (fēi … bùkě) is one of the most commonly used in Mandarin Chinese. It means "must"/"absolutely must"/"need to." 非 means "not"/"no" and 不可 means "not possible". It's literally translated as "not not possible."

mi na'e cfifa'i ra fau no da
我非批评她不可。
wǒ fēi pīpíng tā bùkě
I can't not to criticize her.
I absolutely must criticize her.
mi'a na'e tadni fau no da
我们非学习不可。
wǒmen fēi xuéxí bùkě
We must study.

broda fau da'i PA nu brode

Here is a story. A tourist lady glances smilingly at another tourist lady, already seated, as she passes down the aisle. The seated tourist lady says
- Oh! Have I taken your seat?
- No. And if you had, it wouldn't have mattered!

The last sentence in Lojban would be na go'i i fau da'i lo nu do go'i na vajni Here we have a speaker displaying publicly a feature of a privately imagined world. The amazing thing is that we all trust the speaker of this graceful sentence to "know" the causal laws by which she runs events in her own imaginary world, and so we trust her report of this causal linkage! We trust her, in short, to know herself so well that she can speak "truly" of an imaginary situation in which she has probably never found herself before!

Here are other examples.

fau da'i ronu mi megdo rupnu ponse vau mi ricfu
If I have a million dollars, I'm necessarily rich.
fau da'i su'o nu lo trene cu spofu vau mi jai lerci
If the train breaks down, I could be late.
If the train breaks down (or: had broken down), I could be late (= it could happen that I am late).
In some possible world in which the train breaks down, I am late.
fau da'i su'o nu do mi jibni vau mi do darxi
Were you (ever) to come near me, it's possible that I'd hit you.

broda PU da'i PA nu brode

As said earlier fanbu is a more general verb compared to cabna. Therefore instead of fau we can use tenses described in earlier chapters like pu, ca, ba or (in verb form) purci, cabna, balvi and combine them with da'i.

mi gleki ca da'i su'o nu mi ponse lo megdo rupnu
I might be happy when I have one million dollars
fau da'i ro nu do mi ba jibni vau mi do darxi
If you come near me, I will hit you.
ba nu fau da'i da la toriz cu jinga fo lo ba co'e
Come what may, the Tories will win the next election.
fau da'i su'o nu do mi ba jibni vau mi do darxi
If you ever come near me, it's possible that I'll hit you.
fau da'i da la toriz ba jinga fo lo ba co'e
The Tories could win the next election.
Some more examples to show the power of fau da'i
fau da'i da la toriz cu jinga fo lo ba co'e
The Tories could have won the next election
fau da'i ro da ro nanmu cu prenu
Men are necessarily people.
In every possible world, every man is a person
fau da'i ronu lo trene cu spofu vau mi jai lerci
If the train breaks down (or: had broken down), I would be late
In every possible world in which the train breaks down, I am late
fau da'i ronu do mi jibni vau mi do darxi
Were you (ever) to come near me, I would hit you.
Whenever you come near me, I would hit you.
fau da'i ro da la toriz cu jinga fo lo ba co'e
It's impossible that the Tories could have failed to win the next election.

da'i broda fau da'i lo nu brode. Imagination and probabilities

We can also describe an alternative imagined world using da'i in the main clause and talk about possible events in it using fau da'i. Thus we get full subjunctive claims.

da'i mi gleki fau da'i su'o nu mi ponse lo megdo rupnu.
I might (possibly) be happy if I had one million dollars.
da'i mi gleki fau da'i so'e nu mi ponse lo megdo rupnu.
I should (probably) be happy if I had one million dollars.
da'i mi gleki fau da'i ro nu mi ponse lo megdo rupnu.
I would (certainly) be happy if I had one million dollars.

We don't have to combine da'i with fau da'i all the time. We do that when we want maximum clarity giving the subjunctive world this optional second dimension.

Likelihood of possibilities

When we want to specify the pro- or counterfactuality of our subjunctive worlds we use such clauses as but it'll never happen or which is impossible or and that's quite possible.

Let's show how we can express them.

da'i mi gleki fau lonu mi ponse lo megdo rupnu i da'inai go'i fau da'i noda
I would be happy if I had one million dollars, which (the event of me having one million dollars) is not possible.

As usual go'i copies the previous verb phrase but doesn't copy da'i or any other particle of class UI or sei clause. Then da'inai is used in this copied phrase. This da'inai refers to the current non-imagined world. And a new fau da'i clause is added thus stating that the imaginary event of me having one million dollars is not possible inside this world.

da'i mi gleki fau lonu mi ponse lo megdo rupnu i da'inai go'i fau da'i su'o me'i so'e da
I would be happy if I had one million dollars, which (the event of me having one million dollars) is possible but not likely.
da'i mi gleki fau lonu mi ponse lo megdo rupnu i da'inai go'i fau da'i so'e me'i ro da
I would be happy if I had one million dollars, which (the event of me having one million dollars) is likely but not certain.

And this is how we can create contradictions. Let's use our example with morsi.

mi na'e pacna lo nu do morsi
I don't hope you die (and you didn't yet!)
mi na'e pacna lo nu do morsi i me ri da'inai
I don't hope you die (but yet, you do!)

Advanced management of fau and da'i

Some parts of a verb phrase can refer to imaginary objects, others to non-imagined objects. In such cases we mark different parts of the phrase with da'i or da'inai where needed.

  1. da'inai lo panzi be ra cu bilma
    His kids are ill (it is known he has kids and it is known they are ill).
  2. lo da'inai panzi be ra cu bilma fau da'i da
    Maybe his kids are ill (i.e., it is known that he has kids but it is not known whether they are ill).
  3. di bilma fau ro nu di da'inai panzi be ra
    His kids'll be ill OR If he has kids, they are ill (i.e., it is unknown whether he has kids, but if he does, they are certainly ill).
  4. di bilma fau su'o nu di da'inai panzi be ra
    Maybe his kids are ill (i.e., it is unknown if he has kids but if he does, they may be ill).
  5. di bilma fau ro nu di da'i panzi be ra
    His kids would be (would have been) ill (i.e., if he had kids they would be ill, but he doesn't).
  6. di bilma fau su'o nu di da'i panzi be ra
    His kids might've been ill (if he had kids, but he doesn't, so we'll never know).
  7. lo panzi be ra cu bilma fau ro da
    His kids are (must be) ill (i.e., as implied by some other fact such as his staying home from work).
  8. lo panzi be ra cu bilma fau da
    His kids may be ill (i.e., as implied by some other fact such as his staying home from work).

Global subjunctivity

Subjunctivity can be implied in many other places. When you say

lo'e cinfo cu fengu
Typical lion is angry.

you don't state that it is angry now. Actually you are not talking about any given lion but about some typical, i.e. imaginary one. Similarly,

mi vedli lo ka pu bajra
I remember myself running.

talks about past events that are retained only in your memory.

In some languages future tense is equivalent to subjunctive mood. This makes sense as future events can usually only be predicted, i.e. imagined.

The words metfo and pevna (and the interjection pe'a) describe events and objects as having imagined properties.

Words with da'i copied from the clause into arguments

Another example showing that da'i is implied in many abstraction places of verbs.

mi catlu lo nu do morsi
I watch you die (and you really do die, else how could I watch it?)

The second place of the verb catlu copies the value of da'i/da'i nai from the main clause.

So when you have da'i nai stated or implied by context in the main clause (mi catlu) it is also present inside lo nu do morsi. But e.g. explicitly adding da'i into the inner clause leads to no effect. It can't override da'i in the main clause.

Words with static da'i in arguments

Other verbs can have some places with da'i implied (and not copied from external verb phrase). Some of them can be completely defined using fanbu and da'i. Here are some of them with glosses.

  • EXPECT
kanpe = x1 expects/looks for the occurrence of x2 (da'i-event), expected likelihood x3 (0-1, default li so'a, i.e. near 1); x1 subjectively evaluates the likelihood of x2 (event) to be x3.
x1 x2 x3 kanpe = ga'a x1 x2 da'i se fanbu me x3 da
mi kanpe lo nu do ba jinga vau li so'e
I expect with a high probability that you will win.
You'll probably win.
kanpe describes possible events in our fanbu from the viewpoint of it's creator or user.
mi kanpe lo nu mi cortu fau ro nu lo rokci cu farlu lo tuple be mi
I know for a fact that if a rock lands on my foot, it will hurt.
  • POSSIBLE
cumki = x1 (da'i-event/state/property) is possible under conditions x2; x1 may/might occur; x1 is a maybe.
x1 x2 cumki = x1 da'i se fanbu su'o x2
x1 cumki = fa zi'o fe x1 fi li su'o kanpe
  • PROBABLE
lakne = x1 (da'i-event/state/property) is probable/likely under conditions x2.
x1 x2 lakne = x1 da'i se fanbu so'e x2
x1 lakne = fa zi'o fe x1 fi li so'e kanpe
  • WOULD BE
vudbi = x1 (da'i-event/state/property) must occur under conditions x2; x1 can't not to occur; x1 is a must; it's impossible that it wouldn't x1 under conditions x2; it would would necessarily x1 under x2; it is not the case that it is possible that it is not the case that x1 happens under conditions x2
x1 vudbi = x1 da'i se fanbu ro x2
Technically vudbi = naku naku cumki. naku...naku creates a negation scope only between the two naku.
  • DESIRE
djica = x1 wants x2 (da'i-event)
mi djica lo ka vitke fi la .paris.
I would rather visit Paris. I want to visit Paris.
Indeed, what we desire is always in our imaginary world.
  • HOPE
pacna = x1 hopes for x2 (da'i-event) with likelihood x3 (by default liso'a i.e. close to 1)
pacna has the same place structure as kanpe, but in addition to a vague, may be even impartial expectation, it has the meaning of "hope". In fact pacna is something like kanpe je djica.
  • INTEND
te mukti = x1 is motivated to bring about result/goal/objective x2 (da'i-abstraction) by x3 (motive, abstraction).
mi te mukti lo ka vitke fi la .paris.
I will visit Paris. I intend to/I'm gonna visit Paris.
mi te mukti vitke fi la .paris.
I'm visiting Paris intentionally.
  • CAPABLE
kakne = x1 can/is able to do x2 (ka, da'i-abstraction).
mi pu kakne lo ka gunka
I could work. I was able to work.
  • SHOULD
te javni = x1 should/ought to do x2 (da'i-abstraction) under rule x3.
mi te javni lo ka gunka
I should work.
  • Don't have to, Needn't, Don't need to, Lack (absence) of obligation
na te javni
  • NEED, NECESSITY
nitcu
  • HAVE TO, OBLIGATION
bilga = x1 must/is obliged to do x2 (da'i-abstraction) under conditions x3.
mi bilga lo ka gunka
I must work. I have to work.
  • ALLOW
curmi = x1 allows/permits x2 (da'i-abstraction)
  • FORBID
tolcru = x1 forbids/prohibits x2 (da'i-abstraction)
  • ADVISE
stidi
  • BE SURE
birti = x1 is certain/sure/positive/convinced that x2 (da'i-abstraction) is true
  • DOUBT
senpi = x1 doubts that x2 (da'i-abstraction) is true.
senpi = nalbirti
  • IMAGINARY
xanri = x1 (da'i-abstraction) is imagined by x2
mi se xanri lo nu mi pavyseljirna.
I imagine myself being a unicorn.
I could be a unicorn.

Words with static da'inai in arguments

Other verbs can have da'inai implied in one of it's arguments.

  • SURPRISE
spaji = x1 (da'inai-abstraction) surprises/startles/is unexpected [and generally sudden] to x2.