5.10. selbri based on sumti: me

The following cmavo are discussed in this section:



changes sumti to simple selbri



terminator for me

A sumti can be made into a simple selbri by preceding it with me (of selma'o ME) and following it with the elidable terminator me'u (of selma'o MEhU). This makes a selbri with the place structure

x1 is one of the referents of [the sumti]

which is true of the thing, or things, that are the referents of the sumti, and not of anything else. For example, consider the sumti

Example 5.98. 

le ci nolraitru
the three noblest-governors

the three kings

If these are understood to be the Three Kings of Christian tradition, who arrive every year on January 6, then we may say:

Example 5.99. 

la BALtazar. cu me le ci nolraitru
That-named Balthazar is-one-of-the-referents-of the three kings.

Balthazar is one of the three kings.

and likewise

Example 5.100. 

la kaspar. cu me le ci nolraitru

Caspar is one of the three kings.


Example 5.101. 

la melxi,or. cu me le ci nolraitru

Melchior is one of the three kings.

If the sumti refers to a single object, then the effect of me is much like that of du:

Example 5.102. 

do du la djan.
You are-identical-with that-named John.

You are John.

means the same as

Example 5.103. 

do me la djan.
You are-the-referent-of that-named John.

You are John.

It is common to use me selbri, especially those based on name sumti using la, as seltau. For example:

Example 5.104. 

ta me lai kraislr. [me'u] karce
That (is-a-referent-of the-mass-named Chrysler ) car.

That is a Chrysler car.

The elidable terminator me'u can usually be omitted. It is absolutely required only if the me selbri is being used in an indefinite description (a type of sumti explained in Section 6.8), and if the indefinite description is followed by a relative clause (explained in Chapter 8) or a sumti logical connective (explained in Section 14.6). Without a me'u, the relative clause or logical connective would appear to belong to the sumti embedded in the me expression. Here is a contrasting pair of sentences:

Example 5.105. 

re me le ci nolraitru .e la djan. [me'u] cu blabi

Two of the group the three kings and John are white.

Example 5.106. 

re me le ci nolraitru me'u .e la djan. cu blabi

Two of the three kings, and John, are white.

In Example 5.105 the me selbri covers the three kings plus John, and the indefinite description picks out two of them that are said to be white: we cannot say which two. In Example 5.106, though, the me selbri covers only the three kings: two of them are said to be white, and so is John.

Finally, here is another example requiring me'u:

Example 5.107. 

ta me la'e le se cusku be do me'u cukta
That is-a-(what-you-said) type-of book.

That is the kind of book you were talking about.

There are other sentences where either me'u or some other elidable terminator must be expressed:

Example 5.108. 

le me le ci nolraitru [ku] me'u nunsalci
the (the three kings) type-of-event-of-celebrating

the Three Kings celebration

requires either ku or me'u to be explicit, and (as with be'o in Section 5.7) the me'u leaves no doubt which cmavo it is paired with.