Lojban Wave Lessons/2

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Lojban Wave Lessons: Foreword | ← Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 →

Lesson 2: Skipping around with FA and zo'e

Most selbri have from one to five sumti places, but some have more. Here is a selbri with four sumti places:

vecnu = x1 sells x2 to x3 for price x4

If I want to say I sell this, it would be too much to have to fill the sumti places x3 and x4, which specify who I sell the thing to, and for what price. Luckily, I don't need to. sumti places can be filled with zo'e. zo'e indicates to us that the value of the sumti place is unspecified because it's unimportant or can be determined from context.

zo'e = something; fills a sumti place with something, but does not state what.

So to say I sell to you, I could say

mi vecnu zo'e do zo'e
I sell something to you for some price.

How would you say: That's a home (for somebody)?

Answer: ti zdani zo'e

How about (someone) gives this to (someone)?

Answer: zo'e dunda ti zo'e

Still, filling out three zo'e just to say that a thing is being sold takes time. Therefore you don't need to write all the zo'e in a bridi. The rule simply is that if you leave out any sumti, they will be considered as if they contained zo'e. If the bridi begins with a selbri, the x1 is presumed to be omitted and it becomes zo'e.

Try it out. What's Lojban for I sell?

Answer: mi vecnu

And what does zdani mi mean?

Answer: Something is a home of me or just I have a home.

As mentioned earlier, the form doesn't have to be {x1 sumti} {selbri} {x2 sumti} {x3 sumti} (ect.) In fact, you can place the selbri anywhere you want, just not at the beginning of the bridi. If you do that, the x1 is considered left out and filled with zo'e instead. So the following three jufra are all the exactly same bridi:

  • mi dunda ti do
  • mi ti dunda do
  • mi ti do dunda

Sometimes this is used for poetic effect. You sell yourself could be do do vecnu, which sounds better than do vecnu do. Or it can be used for clarity if the selbri is very long and therefore better be left at the end of the bridi.

There are also several ways to play around with the order of the sumti inside the bridi. The easiest one is by using the words fa, fe, fi, fo and fu.

fa = Tags the following sumti as filling x1
fe = Tags the following sumti as filling x2
fi = Tags the following sumti as filling x3
fo = Tags the following sumti as filling x4
fu = Tags the following sumti as filling x5

Notice that the vowels are the five vowels in the Lojban alphabet in order. Using one of these words marks that the next sumti will fill the x1, x2, x3, x4 and x5 respectively. The next sumti after that will be presumed to fill a slot one greater than the previous. To use an example:

dunda fa do fe ti doGiving by you of this thing to you. fa marks the x1, the giver, which is you. fe marks the thing being given, the x2. Sumti counting then continues from fe, meaning that the last sumti fills x3, the object receiving.

Attempt to translate the following three sentences:

mi vecnu fo ti fe do

Answer: I sell, for the price of this, you. or I sell you for the price of this (probably pointing to a bunch of money)

zdani fe ti

Answer: This has a home. Here, the fe is redundant.

vecnu zo'e mi ti fa do

Answer: You sell something to me for this price

Lojban Wave Lessons: Foreword | ← Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 →