Lojban Wave Lessons/3

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Lojban Wave Lessons: Foreword | ← Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 | Lesson 4 →

Lesson 3: tanru and lo

In this lesson, you will become familiar with the concept of a tanru. A tanru is formed when a selbri is put in front of another selbri, modifying its meaning. A tanru is itself a selbri, and can combine with other selbri or tanru to form more complex tanru. Thus zdani vecnu is a tanru, as well as pelxu zdani vecnu, which is made from the tanru pelxu zdani and the single brivla word vecnu. To understand the concept of tanru, consider the English noun combination lemon tree. If you didn't know what a lemon tree was, but had heard about both lemons and trees, you would not be able to deduce what a lemon tree was. Perhaps a lemon-colored tree, or a tree shaped like a lemon, or a tree whose bark tastes like lemon. The only things you could know for sure would be that it would be a tree, and it would be lemon-like in some way.

A tanru is closely analogous to this. It cannot be said exactly what a zdani vecnu is, but it can be said that it is definitely a vecnu, and that it's zdani-like in some way. And it could be zdani-like in any way. In theory, no matter how silly or absurd the connection to zdani was, it could still truly be a zdani vecnu. However, it must actually be a vecnu in the ordinary sense in order for the tanru to apply. You could gloss zdani vecnu as home seller, or even better but worse sounding a home-type-of seller. The place structure of a tanru is always that of the rightmost selbri. It's also said that the left selbri modifies the right selbri.

"Really?", you'd ask, skeptically, "It doesn't matter how silly the connection to the left word in a tanru is, it's still true? So I could call all sellers for zdani vecnu and then make up some silly excuse why I think it's zdani-like?"

Well yes, but then you'd be a dick. Or at least you'd be intentionally misleading. In general, you should use a tanru when it's obvious how the left word relates to the right.

Attempt to translate the following: ti pelxu zdani do

Answer: That is a yellow home for you Again, we don't know in which way it's yellow. Probably it's painted yellow, but we don't know for sure.

mi vecnu dunda

Answer: I sell-like give. What can that mean? No idea. It certainly doesn't mean that you sold something, since, by definition of dunda, there can be no payment involved. It has to be a giveaway, but be sell-like in some aspect.

And now for something completely different. What if I wanted to say I sold to a German?

dotco = x1 is German/reflects German culture in aspect x2

I can't say mi vecnu zo'e dotco because that would leave two selbri in a bridi, which is not permitted. I could say mi dotco vecnu but that would be unnecessary vague - I could sell in a German way. Likewise, if I want to say I am friends with an American, what should I say?

pendo = x1 is a friend of x2
merko = x1 is American/reflect US culture in aspect x2

Again, the obvious would be to say mi pendo merko, but that would form a tanru, meaning I am friend-like American, which is wrong. What we really want to is to take the selbri merko and transform it into a sumti so it can be used in the selbri pendo. This is done by the two words lo and ku.

lo = generic begin convert selbri to sumti word. Extracts x1 of selbri to use as sumti.
ku = end convert selbri to sumti process.

You simply place a selbri between these two words, and it takes anything that can fill the x1 of that selbri and turns it into a sumti.

So for instance, the things that can fill zdani's x1 are only things which are homes of somebody. So lo zdani ku means a home or some homes for somebody. Similarly, if I say that something is pelxu, it means it's yellow. So lo pelxu ku refers to something yellow.

Now you have the necessary grammar to be able to say I am friends with an American. How?

Answer: mi pendo lo merko ku

There is a good reason why the ku is necessary. Try to translate A German sells this to me

Answer: lo dotco ku vecnu ti mi If you leave out the ku, you do not get a bridi, but simply three sumti. Since lo…ku cannot convert bridi, the ti is forced outside the sumti, the lo-construct is forced to close and it simply becomes the three sumti of lo dotco vecnu {ku}, ti and mi.

You always have to be careful with jufra like lo zdani ku pelxu. If the ku is left out the conversion process does not end, and it simply becomes one sumti, made from the tanru zdani pelxu and then converted with lo.

Lojban Wave Lessons: Foreword | ← Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 | Lesson 4 →