9.4. Conversion: SE

The following cmavo are discussed in this section:



2nd place conversion



3rd place conversion



4th place conversion



5th place conversion

So far we have seen ways to move sumti around within a bridi, but the actual place structure of the selbri has always remained untouched. The conversion cmavo of selma'o SE are incorporated within the selbri itself, and produce a new selbri (called a converted selbri) with a different place structure. In particular, after the application of any SE cmavo, the number and purposes of the places remain the same, but two of them have been exchanged, the x1 place and another. Which place has been exchanged with x1 depends on the cmavo chosen. Thus, for example, when se is used, the x1 place is swapped with the x2 place.

Note that the cmavo of SE begin with consecutive consonants in alphabetical order. There is no 1st place conversion cmavo, because exchanging the x1 place with itself is a pointless maneuver.

Here are the place structures of se klama:

x1 is the destination of x2's going from x3 via x4 using x5

and te klama:

x1 is the origin and x2 the destination of x3 going via x4 using x5

and ve klama:

x1 is the route to x2 from x3 used by x4 going via x5

and xe klama:

x1 is the means in going to x2 from x3 via x4 employed by x5

Note that the place structure numbers in each case continue to be listed in the usual order, x1 to x5.

Consider the following pair of examples:

Example 9.18. 

la bastn. cu se klama mi
That-named Boston is-the-destination of-me.

Boston is my destination.

Boston is gone to by me.

Example 9.19. 

fe la bastn. cu klama fa mi
x2= that-named Boston go x1= I.

To Boston go I.

Example 9.18 and Example 9.19 mean the same thing, in the sense that there is a relationship of going with the speaker as the agent and Boston as the destination (and with unspecified origin, route, and means). Structurally, however, they are quite different. Example 9.18 has la bastn. in the x1 place and mi in the x2 place of the selbri se klama, and uses standard bridi order; Example 9.19 has mi in the x1 place and la bastn. in the x2 place of the selbri klama, and uses a non-standard order.

The most important use of conversion is in the construction of descriptions. A description is a sumti which begins with a cmavo of selma'o LA or LE, called the descriptor, and contains (in the simplest case) a selbri. We have already seen the descriptions le dargu and le karce. To this we could add:

Example 9.20. 

le klama

the go-er, the one who goes

In every case, the description is about something which fits into the x1 place of the selbri. In order to get a description of a destination (that is, something fitting the x2 place of klama), we must convert the selbri to se klama, whose x1 place is a destination. The result is

Example 9.21. 

le se klama

the destination gone to by someone

Likewise, we can create three more converted descriptions:

Example 9.22. 

le te klama

the origin of someone's going

Example 9.23. 

le ve klama

the route of someone's going

Example 9.24. 

le xe klama

the means by which someone goes

Example 9.23 does not mean the route plain and simple: that is le pluta, using a different selbri. It means a route that is used by someone for an act of klama; that is, a journey with origin and destination. A road on Mars, on which no one has traveled or is ever likely to, may be called le pluta, but it cannot be le ve klama, since there exists no one for whom it is le ve klama be fo da (the route taken in an actual journey by someone [da]).

When converting selbri that are more complex than a single brivla, it is important to realize that the scope of a SE cmavo is only the following brivla (or equivalent unit). In order to convert an entire tanru, it is necessary to enclose the tanru in keke'e brackets:

Example 9.25. 

mi se ke blanu zdani [ke'e] ti
I [2nd-conversion] ( blue house ) this-thing

The place structure of blanu zdani (blue house) is the same as that of zdani, by the rule given in Section 9.1. The place structure of zdani is:

zdani x1 is a house/nest/lair/den for inhabitant x2

The place structure of se ke blanu zdani [ke'e] is therefore:

x1 is the inhabitant of the blue house (etc.) x2

Consequently, Example 9.25 means:

I am the inhabitant of the blue house which is this thing.

Conversion applied to only part of a tanru has subtler effects which are explained in Section 5.11.

It is grammatical to convert a selbri more than once with SE; later (inner) conversions are applied before earlier (outer) ones. For example, the place structure of se te klama is achieved by exchanging the x1 and x2 place of te klama, producing:

x1 is the destination and x2 is the origin of x3 going via x4 using x5

On the other hand, te se klama has a place structure derived from swapping the x1 and x3 places of se klama:

x1 is the origin of x2's going to x3 via x4 using x5

which is quite different. However, multiple conversions like this are never necessary. Arbitrary scrambling of places can be achieved more easily and far more intelligibly with FA tags, and only a single conversion is ever needed in a description.

(Although no one has made any real use of it, it is perhaps worth noting that compound conversions of the form setese, where the first and third cmavo are the same, effectively swap the two given places while leaving the others, including x1, alone: setese (or equivalently tesete) swap the x2 and x3 places, whereas texete (or xetexe) swap the x3 and x5 places.)