quoting text in another language

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The particle zoi is a quotation mark for quoting non-Lojban text. Its syntax is zoi X. text .X., where X is a Lojban word (called the delimiting word) which is separated from the quoted text by pauses, and which is not found in the written text or spoken phoneme stream inside that quotation. It is common, but not required, to use the name of some letter, which corresponds to the Lojban name of the language being quoted:

zoi gy. John is a man .gy. cu glico jufra
“John is a man” is an English sentence.

where gy. stands for glico. Other popular choices of delimiting words are .kuot., a Lojban name which sounds like the English word quote, and the word zoi itself. Another possibility is a Lojban word suggesting the topic of the quotation.

Lojban strictly avoids any confusion between things and the names of things:

zo .bob. cmene la bob.
The-word “Bob” is-the-name-of the-one-named Bob.

zo .bab. is the word, whereas la bab. is the thing named by the word. The particle la'e and lu'e convert back and forth between references and their referents:

zo .bab. cmene la'e zo .bab.
The-word “Bob” is-the-name-of the-referent-of the-word “Bob”.
lu'e la bab. cmene la bab.
A-symbol-for Bob is-the-name-of Bob.

Last two examples mean the same. But this is different:

la bab. cu cmene la bab.
Bob is the name of Bob.

and says that Bob is both the name and the thing named, an unlikely situation. People are not names.

The particle la'o serves to mark non-Lojban names, for example the Linnaean binomial names (such as "Homo sapiens"), which are the internationally standardized names for species of animals and plants.

Internationally known names which can more easily be recognized by spelling rather than pronunciation, such as Goethe, can also appear in Lojban text with la'o:

la'o dy. Goethe .dy. cu me la'o ly. Homo sapiens .ly.
Goethe is a Homo sapiens.

Using la'o for all names rather than Lojbanizing, however, makes for very cumbersome text. A rough equivalent of la'o might be la me zoi.


Everything expressed in text should also be expressed in speech and vice versa. Therefore, there cannot be any punctuation which is not pronounced. This means that Lojban has a wide range of words to quote other words. All Lojban convert a text into a noun.

lu ... li'u quote only text that is grammatically correct. To quote any Lojban text we use lo'u ... le'u quote instead.

xu lo'u je le'u lojbo sumtcita . i je'unai
Is "je" a preposition? No.
ma xe fanva zoi gy.What's up?.gy. la .lojban.
How to translate "What's up?" to Lojban?

zo'oi quotes next word only. Next word is identified by pauses in speech or whitespace/dot in writing:

ri pu cusku zo'oi Doh! .u'i
Ha ha, he said "Doh!"

There is also the word la'oi, which forms a one-word name but unlike la even out of non-Lojban words:

la'oi Safi glico nanmu. It's his name.
Safi is an English guy. .i lu'e ri cmene ri

The word me'oi converts next word into a verb even if it's not a Lojban word. It is used to create necessary verb words on the fly or when you forget a Lojban verb:

lo xirma ca me'oi gallop
The horse gallops

General use of zo'oi, la'oi and me'oi is problematic. You should be aware that the word following zo'oi should not include a period, a glottal stop or a pause. For example, the following sentence is not correct:

mi penmi la'oi Mei Li is not correct since la'oi attaches only one word, Mei.
la'oi uli.uli zgike tutci for Uli uli is a musical instrument is not correct since la'oi takes only the first word before the dot: "uli" ("`uli`uli" is a Hawaiian musical instrument).

Borrowing from Loglan