ZAhO as sumti tcita

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The Book describes ZAhO sumtcita as follows:

The event described in the sumti is viewed as a process, and the action of the main bridi occurs at the phase of the process which the ZAhO specifies, or at least some part of that phase. The action of the main bridi itself is seen as a point event, so that there is no issue about which phase of the main bridi is intended.

CLL, 10.12, p. 232-233

  1. Thus, broda ZAhO le nu brode can be paraphrased as broda ca le nu ZAhO brode. This interpretation works naturally for ba'o, co'i, ca'o, pu'o. (interpretation #1)
  2. However, a different interpretation is more useful with the rest, namely:
    broda ZAhO le nu brode can be paraphrased as ZAhO broda ca le nu brode, which specifies that the phase of the main bridi which the ZAhO specifies happens at the same time as the tagged bridi. Thus, co'a is a good translation for starting when..., co'u and mo'u for until..., de'a for pausing when..., di'a for resuming when..., za'o for still happening when... (i.e., it tags part of the event that happens too long.) (interpretation #2)

In essence, either interpretation will work similarly for ca'o and co'i, since they mark two events as coincident in time. However, the most natural interpretation of ba'o and pu'o (and the one used in the examples in the book) is the first interpretation, which does not make much sense for the rest of ZAhO. For example:

co'a le nu mi tadni la lojban kei mi racli pensi
#1: When I start studying Lojban, I think rationally.
#2: Starting when I study lojban, I think rationally.
le xirma cu bajra za'o le nu cirko le cutci
#1: The horse runs when it is still losing its shoe.
#2: The horse keeps on running when it loses its shoe.

On the other hand, interpretation #2 applied to ba'o and pu'o would result in them switching places:

I die in the aftermath of my living (The Book, example 10.12.6)

Interpretation #2 is initially counterintuitive, but we could probably get used to it.

mi klama le zarci pu'o le nu mi citka
The Book, example 10.12.8
#1: I go to the market before having eaten
#2: I have not yet gone/am on the verge of going to the market when I eat.

So what should be done? Use two different interpretations for ZAhO?

Stick to the book and throw out all those nice interpretations for the rest of ZAhO? Use the second interpretation for all ZAhO and get used to its effects on ba'o and pu'o? Stop using ZAhO as tags completely and rely on the paraphrases (the -atismo principle of conlangs)?

  • Adam:
    • Using ca in the paraphrases is not completely accurate, because of its aoristic properties; ca'o or co'i would be more accurate. Still, it's good not to use ZAhO as a tag when trying to define ZAhO as a tag.
  • rab.spir:
    • I find that interpretation #1 is the one which sounds reasonable in each case. The "horse" one could be phrased as le xirma cu za'o bajra ba le nu cirko le cutci without confusion. This other interpretation of ZAhO is one which is somewhat nice-sounding, but that shouldn't be a reason to ambiguate a selma'o, especially since in most cases a simple rearrangement of the sentence would convey the meaning you want.
  • xod:
    • Interpretation #2 seems to make an additional claim about the main bridi rather than fixing its location in spacetime.
      • Consider broda co'a le nunbrode co'u le nunbrodi.
      • With interpretation #1 (the standard one), this means that broda occurs, and it occurs at the start of brode and at the end of brodi.
      • With interpretation #2 (the non-standard one), this means that broda occurs, and the beginning of broda is at brode, and the end of broda is at brodi.
  • xorxes:
    • Interpretation #2 is the one I prefer because it fits with the interpretation of all other tags. In general broda <tag> <sumti> is a more elaborated form of <tag> broda, where the sumti serves to complete the meaning of the tag. It is only with weird interpretation #1 that the general rule breaks down and the tag somehow finds its way into the selbri within the tagged sumti.
      • xod:
        • To flip a cmavo to its exact opposite meaning, when so many people already have trouble memorizing how it goes, is the most egregious example of tinkering I can recount.
          • xorxes:
            • Because of that confusion I don't use pu'o and ba'o as sumtcita. It is always clearer to say ca le nu ba'o broda than the odd ba'o le nu broda, so interpretation #1 is never needed.
  • phma:
    • What does it mean to use a non-event sumti tagged by ZAhO? For example, what does mi klama la .carlyt. fe'e za'o la .painvil. mean?