18.11. Special mekso selbri

The following cmavo are discussed in this section:



cardinal selbri



ordinal selbri



portion selbri



probability selbri



scale selbri



make sumti into selbri



terminator for ME

Lojban possesses a special category of selbri which are based on mekso. The simplest kind of such selbri are made by suffixing a member of selma'o MOI to a number. There are five members of MOI, each of which serves to create number-based selbri with specific place structures.

The cmavo mei creates cardinal selbri. The basic place structure is:

x1 is a mass formed from the set x2 of n members, one or more of which is/are x3

A cardinal selbri interrelates a set with a given number of members, the mass formed from that set, and the individuals which make the set up. The mass argument is placed first as a matter of convenience, not logical necessity.

Some examples:

Example 18.81. 

lei mi ratcu cu cimei
Those-I-describe-as-the-mass-of my rats are-a-threesome.

My rats are three.

I have three rats.

Here, the mass of my rats is said to have three components; that is, I have three rats.

Another example, with one element this time:

Example 18.82. 

mi poi pamei cu cusku dei
I who am-an-individual express this-sentence.

In Example 18.82, mi refers to a mass, the mass consisting of me. Personal pronouns are vague between masses, sets, and individuals.

However, when the number expressed before -mei is an objective indefinite number of the kind explained in Section 18.8, a slightly different place structure is required:

x1 is a mass formed from a set x2 of n members, one or more of which is/are x3, measured relative to the set x4.

An example:

Example 18.83. 

lei ratcu poi zvati le panka
The-mass-of rats which are-in the park
cu so'umei lo'i ratcu
are-a-fewsome-with-respect-to the-set-of rats.

The rats in the park are a small number of all the rats there are.

In Example 18.83, the x2 and x3 places are vacant, and the x4 place is filled by lo'i ratcu, which (because no quantifiers are explicitly given) means the whole of the set of all those things which are rats, or simply the set of all rats.

Example 18.84. 

le'i ratcu poi zvati le panka cu se so'imei
The-set-of rats which-are in the park is-a manysome.

There are many rats in the park.

In Example 18.84, the conversion cmavo se swaps the x1 and the x2 places, so that the new x1 is the set. The x4 set is unspecified, so the implication is that the rats are many with respect to some unspecified comparison set.

More explanations about the interrelationship of sets, masses, and individuals can be found in Section 6.3.

The cmavo moi creates ordinal selbri. The place structure is:

x1 is the (n)th member of set x2 when ordered by rule x3

Some examples:

Example 18.85. 

ti pamoi le'i mi ratcu
This-one is-the-first-of the associated-with-me rats.

This is my first rat.

Example 18.86. 

ta romoi le'i mi ratcu
That is-the-allth-of the associated-with-me rats.

That is my last rat.

Example 18.87. 

mi raumoi le velskina porsi
I am-enough-th-in the movie-audience sequence

I am enough-th in the movie line.

Example 18.87 means, in the appropriate context, that my position in line is sufficiently far to the front that I will get a seat for the movie.

The cmavo si'e creates portion selbri. The place structure is:

x1 is an (n)th portion of mass x2

Some examples:

Example 18.88. 

levi sanmi cu fi'ucisi'e lei mi djedi cidja
This-here meal is-a-slash-three-portion-of my day food.

This meal is one-third of my daily food.

The cmavo cu'o creates probability selbri. The place structure is:

event x1 has probability (n) of occurring under conditions x2

The number must be between 0 and 1 inclusive. For example:

Example 18.89. 

le nu lo sicni cu sedja'o cu pimucu'o
The event of-a coin being-a-head-displayer has-probability-.5.

The cmavo va'e creates a scale selbri. The place structure is:

x1 is at scale position (n) on the scale x2

If the scale is granular rather than continuous, a form like cifi'uxa (3/6) may be used; in this case, 3/6 is not the same as 1/2, because the third position on a scale of six positions is not the same as the first position on a scale of two positions. Here is an example:

Example 18.90. 

levi rozgu cu sofi'upanova'e xunre
This-here rose is-8/10-scale red.

This rose is 8 out of 10 on the scale of redness.

This rose is very red.

When the quantifier preceding any MOI cmavo includes the subjective numbers rau, du'e, or mo'a (enough, too many, too few) then an additional place is added for by standard. For example:

Example 18.91. 

lei ratcu poi zvati le
The-mass-of rats which-are in the
panka cu du'emei fo mi
park are-too-many by-standard me.

There are too many rats in the park for me.

The extra place (which for -mei is the x4 place labeled by fo) is provided rather than using a BAI tag such as ma'i because a specification of the standard for judgment is essential to the meaning of subjective words like enough.

This place is not normally explicit when using one of the subjective numbers directly as a number. Therefore, du'e ratcu means too many rats without specifying any standard.

It is also grammatical to substitute a lerfu string for a number:

Example 18.92. 

ta ny.moi le'i mi ratcu
That is-nth-of the-set-of associated-with-me rats.

That is my nth rat.

More complex mekso cannot be placed directly in front of MOI, due to the resulting grammatical ambiguities. Instead, a somewhat artificial form of expression is required.

The cmavo me (of selma'o ME) has the function of making a sumti into a selbri. A whole me construction can have a member of MOI added to the end to create a complex mekso selbri:

Example 18.93. 

ta me li ny. su'i pa me'u moi
That is the-number n plus one -th-of
le'i mi ratcu
the-set-of associated-with-me rats.

That is my (n+1)-th rat.

Here the mekso ny. su'i pa is made into a sumti (with li) and then changed into a mekso selbri with me and me'u moi. The elidable terminator me'u is required here in order to keep the pa and the moi separate; otherwise, the parser will combine them into the compound pamoi and reject the sentence as ungrammatical.

It is perfectly possible to use non-numerical sumti after me and before a member of MOI, producing strange results indeed:

Example 18.94. 

le nu mi nolraitru cu me
The event-of me being-a-nobly-superlative-ruler
le'e snime bolci be vi la xel. cu'o
has-the-stereotypical snow type-of-ball at Hell probability.

I have a snowball's chance in Hell of being king.

Note: the elidable terminator boi is not used between a number and a member of MOI. As a result, the me'u in Example 18.93 could also be replaced by a boi, which would serve the same function of preventing the pa and moi from joining into a compound.