7.4. Utterance pro-sumti: the di'u-series

The following cmavo are discussed in this section:




the previous utterance




an earlier utterance




a much earlier utterance




the next utterance




a later utterance




a much later utterance




this very utterance




some utterance

The cmavo of the di'u-series enable us to talk about things that have been, are being, or will be said. In English, it is normal to use this and that for this (indeed, the immediately preceding this is an example of such a usage):

Example 7.14. 

You don't like cats.

That is untrue.

Here that does not refer to something that can be pointed to, but to the preceding sentence You don't like cats. In Lojban, therefore, Example 7.14 is rendered:

Example 7.15. 

do na nelci loi mlatu
You (Not!) like the-mass-of cats
.i di'u jitfa jufra
. The-previous-utterance is-a-false sentence.

Using ta instead of di'u would cause the listener to look around to see what the speaker of the second sentence was physically pointing to.

As with ti, ta, and tu, the cmavo of the di'u-series come in threes: a close utterance, a medium-distance utterance, and a distant utterance, either in the past or in the future. It turned out to be impossible to use the i/ a/ u vowel convention of the demonstratives in Section 7.3 without causing collisions with other cmavo, and so the di'u-series has a unique i/ e/ a convention in the first vowel of the cmavo.

Most references in speech are to the past (what has already been said), so di'e, de'e, and da'e are not very useful when speaking. In writing, they are frequently handy:

Example 7.16. 

la saimn. cusku di'e
That-named Simon expresses the-following-utterance.

Simon says:

Example 7.16 would typically be followed by a quotation. Note that although presumably the quotation is of something Simon has said in the past, the quotation utterance itself would appear after Example 7.16, and so di'e is appropriate.

The remaining two cmavo, dei and do'i, refer respectively to the very utterance that the speaker is uttering, and to some vague or unspecified utterance uttered by someone at some time:

Example 7.17. 

dei jetnu jufra
This-utterance is-a-true sentence.

What I am saying (at this moment) is true.

Example 7.18. 

do'i jetnu jufra
Some-utterance is-a-true sentence.

That's true (where that is not necessarily what was just said).

The cmavo of the di'u-series have a meaning that is relative to the context. The referent of dei in the current utterance is the same as the referent of di'u in the next utterance. The term utterance is used rather than sentence because the amount of speech or written text referred to by any of these words is vague. Often, a single bridi is intended, but longer utterances may be thus referred to.

Note one very common construction with di'u and the cmavo la'e (of selma'o LAhE; see Section 6.10) which precedes a sumti and means the thing referred to by (the sumti):

Example 7.19. 

mi prami la djein. .i mi nelci la'e di'u
I love that-named Jane. And I like the-referent-of the-last-utterance.

I love Jane, and I like that.

The effect of la'e di'u in Example 7.19 is that the speaker likes, not the previous sentence, but rather the state of affairs referred to by the previous sentence, namely his loving Jane. This cmavo compound is often written as a single word: la'edi'u. It is important not to mix up di'u and la'edi'u, or the wrong meaning will generally result:

Example 7.20. 

mi prami la djein. .i mi nelci di'u
I love that-named Jane. And I like the-last-utterance.

says that the speaker likes one of his own sentences.

There are no pro-bridi corresponding to the di'u-series.