5.11. Conversion of simple selbri

Conversion is the process of changing a selbri so that its places appear in a different order. This is not the same as labeling the sumti with the cmavo of FA, as mentioned in Section 5.7, and then rearranging the order in which the sumti are spoken or written. Conversion transforms the selbri into a distinct, though closely related, selbri with renumbered places.

In Lojban, conversion is accomplished by placing a cmavo of selma'o SE before the selbri:

Example 5.109. 

mi prami do

I love you.

is equivalent in meaning to:

Example 5.110. 

do se prami mi
You [swap x1 and x2] love me.

You are loved by me.

Conversion is fully explained in Section 9.4. For the purposes of this chapter, the important point about conversion is that it applies only to the following simple selbri. When trying to convert a tanru, therefore, it is necessary to be careful! Consider Example 5.111:

Example 5.111. 

la .alis. cu cadzu klama le zarci
That-named Alice is-a-walker type-of-goer-to the market.
That-named Alice walkingly goes-to the market.

Alice walks to the market.

To convert this sentence so that le zarci is in the x1 place, one correct way is:

Example 5.112. 

le zarci cu se
The market is-a-[swap x1/x2]
The market
ke cadzu klama [ke'e] la .alis.
( walker type-of-goer-to ) that-named Alice.
is-walkingly gone-to-by that-named Alice.

The keke'e brackets cause the entire tanru to be converted by the se, which would otherwise convert only cadzu, leading to:

Example 5.113. 

le zarci cu se cadzu
The market (is-a-[swap x1/x2] walker)
The market is-a-walking-surface
klama la .alis.
type-of-goer-to that-named Alice.
type-of-goer-to that-named Alice.

whatever that might mean. An alternative approach, since the place structure of cadzu klama is that of klama alone, is to convert only the latter:

Example 5.114. 

le zarci cu cadzu se klama la .alis.
The market walkingly is-gone-to-by that-named Alice.

But the tanru in Example 5.114 may or may not have the same meaning as that in Example 5.111; in particular, because cadzu is not converted, there is a suggestion that although Alice is the goer, the market is the walker. With a different sumti as x1, this seemingly odd interpretation might make considerable sense:

Example 5.115. 

la djan. cu cadzu se klama la .alis
That-named John walkingly is-gone-to-by that-named Alice

suggests that Alice is going to John, who is a moving target.

There is an alternative type of conversion, using the cmavo jai of selma'o JAI optionally followed by a modal or tense construction. Grammatically, such a combination behaves exactly like conversion using SE. More details can be found in Section 9.12.