the 17 tallest men

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Taking a preliminary stab, and using a formal (explicit) rather than informal expression:

  • .i lo nanmu pazemei poi ke'a traji leka ce'u xadni clani The 17some of men that are superlative in the property of body length

This is a property the 17 hold in common as a unit; so anything said of them has to be said of a mass. A more colloquial version then might be:

  • .i lei paze nanmu poi traji leka xadni clani The mass of 17 men who are superlative in body length

Problem is, of course, (a) when you're saying a mass is superlative, are you saying it relative to all other individuals, or other masses? (b) since the 17 are a well-defined set, you cannot allow an individual member of the mass to 'opt out' (the 17mei cannot include the 42moi), which actually sounds a lot more like a set. A set solution would be:

  • .i le'i paze nanmu poi ro lu'a ke'a zmadu ro nanmu ku poi na cmima ke'a kei leni xadni clani The set of 17 men such that all the individuals therein exceed all men not therein in body length

-- nitcion

(But sets don't seem to me to work with traji, and I think that if you have more than a singleton in the x1 of traji, they can reasonably be presumed to be ranked #1, #2, #3... -- nitcion)

Not merely presumed, because ##1-17 will collectively rank higher than any other 17mei selected from the same parent set. But the 17mei ranks superlatively not in height but in something like the property of having members that are taller than other members of the same parent set. Fatigue deters me from trying to say that in Lojban. -- And Rosta: [1] .


Michael Helsem proposes (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lojban/message/9093):

  • romoi sebi'o da'apazemoi fi leka cmalu The (last) up to (17th from the bottom) in smallness

(I think this is cheating, but it does work. Still, that should be 18th from the bottom -- nitcion)

Taking this the other way round, Jorge Llambias proposes (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lojban/message/9127):

I think we can use moi for this.
"The third tallest man" is
le cimoi be lei nanmu bei le ka clani
Then we have
  • ro le su'epazemoi be lei nanmu bei le ka clani Each of the up-to-17th tallest men.
which can eventually be shortened to

And Rosta responds (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lojban/message/9148):

I don't like that le, because I think nonveridicality should be an exception to the norm and because "the third tallest man" may or may not be specific. In English it may mean "A certain man (he is the third tallest)", i.e. specific, or "Whichever of the men is third tallest", i.e. nonspecific.
But, change it to
  • ro lo su'e pa ze moi be lei nanmu bei tu'o ka ce'u clani All of the truthful description at most 17th of the men in the ordering scheme "x is long"
and I think that you have the best translation and that it should be considered canonical.

(I don't think that's anything more than an explicit formulation of

  • ro lo clani nanmu su'epazemoi

But And is right -- this phobia of lo is overdone -- nitcion)

(Yes, it's a reformulation of Jorge's {ro le su'epazemoi be lei nanmu bei le ka clani}. -- mi'e And.)

Let me just say that I think all the proposals below are extremely silly. I assume they came from a part of the thread before xorxes pointed out that su'e exists. --rab.spir

  • Not maximally user friendly, perhaps. But it's a useful exercise to tease out the underlying logic of these things, even if we don't end up saying things that way. -- nitcion.

Bob LeChevalier proposes (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lojban/message/9106):

  • paze remna poi clamau da'apaze remna 17 men who are longer than all but 17 men

and adds:

I don't think I would use traji/clarai unless they were all equally at the extreme, though in a tanru (clarai remna) that is not necessarily required.

And Rosta responds, prodigiously (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lojban/message/9140):

I thought this was a good answer, but on closer inspection I think it doesn't work. This is because I think it means that each of the 17 people is taller than all but 17 people. But you could fix this by changing it to
  • pa ze remna poi clamau da'a su'e pa ze remna 17 men who are longer than all but at most 17 men
or
  • pa ze remna poi clamau su'o da'a pa ze remna 17 men who are longer than at least all but 17 men
The repetition of pa ze is unecessary
  • ro remna poi clamau da'a su'e pa ze remna All men who are longer than all but at most 17 men
  • ro remna poi clamau su'o da'a pa ze remna All men who are longer than at least all but 17 men
But the repetition of remna is rather unsatisfying.
So
  • ro da poi ge da da'a su'e pa ze de clamau gi ri e ra remna All x such that {x is longer than all but at most 17 y} where x and y are men
  • ro da poi ge da su'o da'a pa ze de clamau gi ri e ra remna All x such that {x is longer than at least all but 17 y} where x and y are men
Or, since the de should not be within the scope of the ge
  • ro da poi xi pa ke'a (xi pa) da'a su'e pa ze de poi xi re ke'a xi pa e ke'a xi re remna ku'o clamau ku'o All x such that x is longer than all but at most 17 y such that x and y are men --- with x and y handled through relativisation
  • ro da poi xi pa ke'a (xi pa) su'o da'a pa ze de poi xi re ke'a xi pa e ke'a xi re remna ku'o clamau ku'o All x such that x is longer than at least all but 17 y such that x and y are men --- with x and y handled through relativisation
This last pair is the best, I think.

To which nitcion adds that this use of SOV is perverse, and da clearly has scope over the relative clauses. In human-compatible Lojban this is:

  • ro da poi da clamau da'a su'e pa ze de poi da .e ke'a remna
  • ro da poi da clamau su'o da'a pa ze de poi da .e ke'a remna

And responds (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lojban/message/9188):

I said it the way I did partly because I enjoyed the opportunity to use subscripts on poi and ke'a, and partly because it's not clear which modificands of relative clauses can be referred to within the relative clause by something other than ke'a.
But, given your user-friendly version, why not go the whole hog
  • ro da poi da clamau da'a su'e pa ze de poi da .e de remna
  • ro da poi da clamau su'o da'a pa ze de poi da .e de remna

(But perhaps in Lojbanistan they would just say something like:

  • galtu nanmu .i traji leka galtu .i rezemei --and leave the connections to inference?)

As a metanote, I think this stream of responses makes it obvious that any such questions should be asked on the Lojban mailing list and then compiled onto the wiki, rather than vice versa -- nitcion


Lojban's claim to fame should be that it can find 17 different ways to attempt but fail to express this concept. What are the 17 longest sentences?

.i na co'a xusra ledu'u la lojban cu jai frili .i ganai do djica tu'a loi nalylogji bangu gi do djuno ledu'u facki ri vi makau


It seems to me a lot simpler to avoid the various problems with "le paze nanmu...", etc., and use variations of "le paze traji...". I.e., rather than "the 17 men, who are are superlative in..."; use "the 17 superlative ones, in...among men". What else could a quantifier on "le traji" mean? Seems an obvious idiom to me.

The long form would be lo paze traji be le ka xadni clani bei fo lo'i nanmu ... which could be simplified with appropriate use of lujvo and tanru (lo paze xdani clarai be fo lo'i nanmu ...)

---

An unrelated discussion in Lojban IRC pointed out the cmavo va'e, which I thought would be useful for this, as long as you can express a range of numbers. Fortunately, there's bi'i:

le pabi'ipazeva'e be leni traji leka xadni clani kei nanmu

Additionally, depending on whether the nanmu is part of the sumti or in the be clause, can determine whether they are the seventeen tallest things, which happen to be men (the above example), or the seventeen tallest entities among men:

le pabi'ipazeva'e be leni traji leka xadni clani nanmu

mi'e bancus

  • pabi'ipazeva'e is not currently grammatical, you need a pure number in front of va'e. Or, me li pabi'ipaze va'e will also parse. mi'e xorxes