possessive sumti

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The pattern {lo SUMTI SELBRI [ku]} is quite useful, but can also cause confusion for nintadni, especially when they first encounter it e.g. on IRC. I (no'u la durka) asserted that it isn't so hard to explain, and others (no'u la gleki) challenged me to prove it. So here we are.

(Note: I will use {lo} throughout. This also applies to {le}, but not {li} or {la}.)

The simplest sumti construction is {lo SELBRI [ku]}, for example, {lo pendo} = "the friend". (The terminator {ku} may or may not be needed, depending on what comes next in the sentence.) This you should know already, if you're reading this page.

If you'll bear with me for a moment, a simple bridi might be something like {mi pendo do} = "I am your friend". This you should also know already.


Now for the confusing bit. What can the bridi {lo mi pendo cu banli} possibly mean? Or even {lo mi pendo do tavla}?? It looks like I've stuffed a bridi into a sumti, and that can't possibly be grammatical! But it is, as soon as you recognize the {lo SUMTI SELBRI [ku]} pattern.

What we have here is {lo mi pendo}, where {mi} is the sumti and {pendo} is the selbri. The pattern is just a shortcut for {lo SELBRI pe SUMTI}. This translation is mechanical. When you find {lo SUMTI SELBRI [ku]}, you can always expand it to {lo SELBRI pe SUMTI}.

But what does it mean? The semantics are possession:

   pe GOI
       restrictive relative phrase marker: which is associated with ...;
       loosest associative/possessive.

So, {lo mi pendo} expands to {lo pendo pe mi}, which means "the friend which is associated with me", or more commonly "my friend". That's it! That's the point of this page.

A very important note is that this is not a bridi embedded into a sumti (we call them abstractions). {lo mi pendo} does not mean "that I am a friend" or "the event of me being a friend" or anything similar. To actually embed a bridi into a sumti, you must use an abstractor (of selma'o NU). The first one you will learn is {nu}, the event abstractor. {lo nu mi pendo do} means "the event of me being your friend". It is very important to differentiate {lo SUMTI SELBRI [ku]} (possessive) from {lo NU BRIDI [kei] [ku]} (abstraction).

The pattern can be extended to put any sumti in place of {mi}, for example {lo ko'a pendo} = "{ko'a}'s friend" or {lo lo tcadu ku ckule} = "the town's school", but as you can see already, it gets unwieldy with longer sumti. The most common use is with sumti of selma'o KOhA.

Armed with this we can easily translate the first sentence {lo mi pendo cu banli} = {lo pendo pe mi cu banli} = "My friend is great". Translating the second sentence {lo mi pendo do tavla} is left as an exercise for the reader. (Hint: use an automatic parser if you are still confused.)