flipping principle

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The flipping principle is a strategy for semi-systematically deriving an interpretation for tanru and for lujvo. Broadly speaking, one forms a tanru from a full sentence by flipping the sentence. To illustrate, consider these examples.

  • .i mi na'e birti lo du'u xu kau mi se curmi lo rirni lo ka ce'u jo'u lo pendo cu .i'izva ("I'm not sure whether my parents will let me hang out with friends.") flips to .i mi pendo .i'izva rirni bo selcru na'e birti
  • .i mi troci lo ka di'i tsazenzu'e ("I try to work out regularly.") flips to .i mi tsazenzu'e be di'i troci
  • .i mi'o simxu lo ka ce'u ce'u kansa lo ka kinzga ("We are watching a movie together.") flips to .i mi'o kinzga kansa simxu

Notice that in each example, one obtains a tanru by reversing the order of the brivla.

The flipping principle is only _semi-systematic_, as arbitrary tanru cannot be interpreted effectively with them. Indeed many seltau that fill the role of proper adjectives do not flip but instead are connected via je in the expansion.

Interpretation of lujvo

{jvajvo} (regular lujvo) are defined according to the flipping principle. In order to interpret a jvajvo, one must expand it to a tanru and unflip it. The fully expanded form of a regular lujvo (or tanru) is called is gismu deep structure. ({lujvo place structure} by {la .nitciion.} coins this term.) Consider the rafsi -ze'a- from zenba = "x1 increases in aspect / property x2 by amount x3". We can take various lujvo defined with this affix and interpret them according to the flipping principle.

1. .i mi tsaze'a.i mi tsali zenba.i mi zenba lo ka tsali. 2. .i do finze'a.i do finti zenba.i do zenba lo ka finti 2. .i mi jbocreze'a.i mi jbocre zenba.i mi zenba lo ka jbocre

Let's analyze these examples in more detail. The first is the most straightforward, since there's a fairly natural sense in which one "increases in strength". That is, strength naturally seems like something that can be compared and increase.

The second example is less obvious. What does it mean to "increase in creating"? Perhaps the full interpretation is do zenba lo ka finti xo kau da, "you increase-in creating how-many? X", i.e. "you create more". Or perhaps it means to create more often? This is an example of what the flipping principle does not tell you. It suggests in broad strokes the interpretation of a tanru, but it is not a fully systematic way to derive the meaning of a tanru or lujvo. In the case of a lujvo, such instances should be documented in the dictionary to clarify the meaning. However, the documented interpretation should be an instance of the general interpretation given by the flipping principle. That is, one should use the flipping principle to construct a definition skeleton of which some additional semantic gaps are filled in by the addition of more information to the definition.

The third example illustrates that sometimes one shouldn't expand all the way. jbocre is already a word in common usage on its own, so it can be natural to preserve it as is in the expansion. Of course -cre-final lujvo also have a systematic interpretation, so one can expand all the way here to arrive at .i mi zenba lo ka certu lo ka lojbo as a possible interpretation.