zoi

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zoi quotes a non-Lojban phrase.

zoi, one of two words in selma'o ZOI (the other being la'o).

zoi is one of the Magic Words.

zoi can be a really useful quoting mechanism when you don't know the proper Lojban word for something. la'e zoi gy. foo .gy can stand in for the concept represented by foo.

Choice of delimiter for zoi

The choice of delimiter for zoi is both a stylist and informational choice. The only requirement is that it not a word that appears in the quoted text. The following delimiters can be used to communicate specific intent: <tab> .fanva. This zoi quote is a translation of some preceding material. .glic. A variation of .gy. .gy. This zoi quote is quoting English text. .kliz. This zoi delimiter suggests the user is quoting Klingon. Klingon writing has no k or z, and Klingon speech has nothing confusable for z. As well, .kliz. is reminiscent of the language name. .url. This zoi quote is quoting a url. .xlali. This guard word suggests (but does not require that) the speaker doesn't like the quotation. .xy. A good guard word for English as the letter combination is rare and it is a non-English phoneme. It may sound like "uh huh," however. </tab> A long text should really use a long and unlikely word as a delimiter, to remove the possibility of it appearing in the text. You are limited to using Lojban words as your delimiter in zoi. Punctuation, like "" or <> are not valid lojban words. If you use punctuation in a zoi quote, you may be understood, you won't be speaking proper Lojban.

Interaction with other Magic Words

For every magic word, the interaction with all other magic words is defined. This table covers all interactions of zoi+word, where word is any of the magic words, both alone and within their own grammatical contexts. <tab> bu zoi bu [ungrammatical] zoi binds bu as the first delimiter, but does not find a second delimiter. zoi bu bu any-string zoi binds with the first bu as the first delimiter, and the second bu as the second delimiter, creating an empty quote. zoi broda bu broda bu BY pseudo-word zoi binds with the first broda as the first delimiter, quotes the first bu, and binds with the second broda as the second delimiter. The zoi pseudo-word is then turned into a letteral by the second bu. *controversial zoi bu bu bu BY pseudo-word zoi binds with the first bu as the first delimiter, and binds with the second bu as the second delimiter. The zoi pseudo-word is then turned into a letteral by the third bu. *controversial zoi broda bu broda any-string zoi binds with the first broda as the first delimiter, quotes the bu, and binds with the second broda as the second delimiter. fa'o zoi fa'o [ungrammatical] zoi binds fa'o as the first delimiter, but does not find a second delimiter to bind. zoi fa'o fa'o any-string zoi binds with the first fa'o as the first delimiter, and the second fa'o as the second delimiter, creating an empty quote. lo'u zoi lo'u [ungrammatical] zoi binds lo'u as the first delimiter, but does not find a second delimiter to bind. zoi lo'u lo'u any-string zoi binds with the first lo'u as the first delimiter, and the second lo'u as the second delimiter, creating an empty quote. le'u zoi le'u [ungrammatical] zoi binds le'u as the first delimiter, but does not find a second delimiter to bind. zoi le'u le'u any-string zoi binds with the first le'u as the first delimiter, and the second le'u as the second delimiter, creating an empty quote. sa zoi sa [ungrammatical] zoi binds sa as the first delimiter, but does not find a second delimiter to bind. zoi sa sa any-string zoi binds with the first sa as the first delimiter, and the second sa as the second delimiter, creating an empty quote. si zoi si [ungrammatical] zoi binds si as the first delimiter, but does not find a second delimiter to bind. zoi si si any-string zoi binds with the first si as the first delimiter, and the second si as the second delimiter, creating an empty quote. su zoi su [ungrammatical] zoi binds su as the first delimiter, but does not find a second delimiter to bind. zoi su su any-string zoi binds with the first su as the first delimiter, and the second su as the second delimiter, creating an empty quote. zei zoi zei [ungrammatical] zoi binds zei as the first delimiter, but does not find a second delimiter to bind. zoi zei zei any-string zoi binds with the first zei as the first delimiter, and the second zei as the second delimiter, creating an empty quote. zo zoi zo [ungrammatical] zoi binds zo as the first delimiter, but does not find a second delimiter to bind. zoi zo zo any-string zoi binds with the first zo as the first delimiter, and the second zo as the second delimiter, creating an empty quote. zoi zoi [ungrammatical] zoi does not find a delimiter to bind. zoi zoi [ungrammatical] the first zoi binds with the second zoi as the first delimiter, but does not find a second delimiter to bind. zoi zoi zoi any-string the first zoi binds with the second zoi as the first delimiter, and the third zo as the second delimiter, creating an empty quote.   </tab>

Questions about interaction with other Magic Words

Q: Can sa erase an incompletely or improperly quoted zoi?

A: sa cannot erase an improperly quoted zoi (i.e., zoi .gy. sa broda). The sa is considered to be a word quoted by zoi even in cases where the zoi pseudo-word is not constructed. This prevents ambigious situations like {zoi broda sa broda}.

Q: Can su erase an incompletely or improperly quoted zoi?

A: su cannot erase an improperly quoted zoi, just like sa cannot. A zoi must be closed before su will be considered to have erased it. This prevents ambigious situations like zoi su broda su

Issues

zoi (and la'o) can't quote whitespace and periods unambigously

This issue was brought up by Wuzzy on the mailing list. Here's the content of the e-mail:

Quoting with ZOI can be ambigious. I point out the flaws and show

how the Reference Grammar does not help here. Then I propose a change—or more precisely: a clarification—to the grammar which hopefully fixes the flaws.

Full text:
I noticed that you run into trouble when your ZOI quote has trailing
or leading whitespace, or trailing or leading periods. Also you run
into trouble if you want to decode a ZOI quote because you can't tell
if the text truly has trailing/leading whitespace/periods or not.

Just for extra clarity: In this e-mail I will make use of the so-called
logical quotation style so you know exactly what I'm talking about and
because the British quotation style is just damn awful.
Logical quotation style is basically this: All characters which are
between the quotation marks are quoted. No magic! ;-)
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quotation_mark#Punctuation>

Let's go!
Just look at this:
What does “zoi gy..gy” quote?
I could think of these answers:
(1) “” (empty string (string = sequence of characters))
(2) “..” (two periods)
(3) “.” (one period)

All three answers seem plausible to me. Remember: according to the
Reference Grammar, all periods are optional:
“Technically, the period is an optional reminder to the reader of a
mandatory pause that is dictated by the rules of the language;
because these rules are unambiguous, a missing period can be inferred
from otherwise correct text. Periods are included only as an aid to
the reader.”—Reference Grammar, chapter 3, section 3.

(1) would be true if both periods are considered to be part of the
delimeter, therefore, they are part of the Lojban text and not of the
quoted text.
(2) would be true if the “pause periods” of Lojban have
been ommitted. Therefore, the periods must be part of the quoted text.
(3) is a weird case which could be true if one of the “pause periods”
has been ommited, but not the other one. Therefore, there is one period
left which is therefore part of the quoted text.

All three possibilities are plausible to me under the rules. But
under these rules, I can't tell which is the correct one.

There is another problem, with whitespace:
“zoi gy gy” = “” or “ ”?

Here are more examples (look closely at spaces and periods):
“zoi gy. .gy” = “ ”, “”, “. ”, “.”, “. ”?
“zoi gy.Peter Smith.gy” = “Peter Smith”, “.Peter Smith”, “Peter Smith.”,
                          “.Peter Smith.”?
“zoi gy. Peter Smith .gy” = “Peter Smith”, “ Peter Smith”,
                            “Peter Smith ”, “ Peter Smith ”?
                            With or without periods?
“zoi gy.pdf.gy” = “pdf”, “.pdf”, “.pdf.”, “pdf.”?
“zoi gy..pdf.gy” = “pdf”, “.pdf”, “.pdf.”, “pdf.”, “..pdf” or even
                   “..pdf.”?

Now here comes the real problem:
The Reference Grammar does NOT have an answer,
so any of these answers I suggested could be true.

Here is what the grammar chapter of the Reference Grammar says:
“a. If the Lojban word ‘zoi' (selma'o ZOI) is identified, take the
following Lojban word (which should be end delimited with a pause for
separation from the following non-Lojban text) as an opening delimiter.
Treat all text following that delimiter, until that delimiter recurs
after a pause, as grammatically a single token (labelled ‘anything_699'
in this grammar). There is no need for processing within this text
except as necessary to find the closing delimiter.”
This text does not explicitly state wheather to write down the periods.
I only know all periods are optional, leading to the situation
I pointed out before (pun intended).
The section on ZO and ZOI is of no help either.

The point I want to make here is that the Reference Grammar does NOT say
which possiblity to choose. So please don't argue about what you think
would be the correct choice here. There is no correct choice, the
Reference Grammer does not define these borderline cases at all. Which
means: It is impossible to reliably quote any string with whitespace or
a period at the beginning or end.

Since the Reference Grammar is disappointing me here, there must be a
clear definition for these cases.

I therefore suggest the following rule changes to be applied to the
Reference Grammar:
- Written Lojban:
  - periods are MANDATORY at the following places: Right after the
    opening delimeter word and right before the closing delimeter word.
    The mandatory period is considered part of the delimeter.
  - The period of the opening and closing delimeter may not be merged
    into one period.
  And just to be sure:
  - The quote starts after the period of the opening delimeter.
  - The quote ends before the period of the closing delimeter.
  - Everything, even whitespace between those two periods is considered
    quoted.
- Spoken Lojban:
  - The sound of the delimeter word may not appear in the quoted text,
    no matter if there's a glottal stop before or after it.

Here are some valid and invalid examples under these proposed rules:
“zoi gy..gy”			= “”. The opening delmeter is “gy.”,
                                the closing delimeter is “.gy”.
“zoi gy.gy”			is an error! 2nd delimeter missing
“zoi gygy”			is an error! 1st delimeter missing
“zoi gy. .gy”			= “ ”
“zoi gy..pdf.gy”		= “.pdf”
“zoi gy.pdf.gy”		= “pdf”
“zoi gy.Peter Smith.gy.”	= “Peter Smith”
“zoi gy.Peter Smith.gy”	= “Peter Smith” (note the period
				AFTER the closing delimeter is still
				optional)
“zoi gy.Wuzzy eats Pizza..gy.”	= “Wuzzy eats Pizza.”
“zoi gy. Peter Smith .gy.” 	= “ Peter Smith ”
“zoi lo..lo.lo”		= “” followed by an article
“zoi gy...gy”			= “.”
“zoi gy. . .gy”		= “ . ”
“zoi gy.....gy”		= “...”

Here are some borderline cases:
“zoi gy.gy.gy” violates the spoken Lojban rule iff the 2nd
               “gy” has the sound of Lojban's “gy”.
“zoi gy.gy.gy” is valid and is “gy” iff the 2nd “gy” has NOT the sound
               of Lojban's “gy”.
“zoi gy.gyrations.gy”: same as previous ones.

Note the last three cases are borderline cases and should be used with
care. The pronounciation of the quoted text must be known for this to
work. While these may be valid, at best such borderline cases are
avoided by choosing another delimeter. Because you aren't going to
tortue the recipient, aren't you? ;-)

That's it.
I have made some research and it seems nobody has pointed out these
problems before. Anyhow, this looks like serious trouble and
certainly must be fixed.
It is embarrassing that I am able to quote more precisely with English
than with Lojban. ;-) ;-) ;-)

See Also

  • zo for quoting a single Lojban word.
  • la'o for quoting a non-Lojban name.