19.9. Quotations: LU, LIhU, LOhU, LEhU

The following cmavo are discussed in this section:



begin quotation



end quotation



begin error quotation



end error quotation

Grammatically, quotations are very simple in Lojban: all of them are sumti, and they all mean something like the piece of text here quoted:

Example 19.43. 

mi pu cusku lu mi'e .djan. [li'u]
I [past] express [quote] I-am John [unquote]

I said, I'm John.

But in fact there are four different flavors of quotation in the language, involving six cmavo of six different selma'o. This being the case, quotation deserves some elaboration.

The simplest kind of quotation, exhibited in Example 19.43, uses the cmavo lu (of selma'o LU) as the opening quotation mark, and the cmavo li'u (of selma'o LIhU) as the closing quotation mark. The text between lu and li'u must be a valid, parseable Lojban text. If the quotation is ungrammatical, so is the surrounding expression. The cmavo li'u is technically an elidable terminator, but it's almost never possible to elide it except at the end of text.

The cmavo lo'u (of selma'o LOhU) and le'u (of selma'o LEhU) are used to surround a quotation that is not necessarily grammatical Lojban. However, the text must consist of morphologically correct Lojban words (as defined in Chapter 4), so that the le'u can be picked out reliably. The words need not be meaningful, but they must be recognizable as cmavo, brivla, or cmene. Quotation with lo'u is essential to quoting ungrammatical Lojban for teaching in the language, the equivalent of the * that is used in English to mark such errors:

Example 19.44. 

lo'u mi du do du la djan. le'u
[quote] mi du do du la djan. [unquote]
na tergerna la lojban.
is-not a-grammatical-structure in Lojban.

Example 19.44 is grammatical even though the embedded quotation is not. Similarly, lo'u quotation can quote fragments of a text which themselves do not constitute grammatical utterances:

Example 19.45. 

lu le mlatu cu viska le finpe li'u zo'u
[quote] le mlatu cu viska le finpe [unquote] :
lo'u viska le le'u cu selbasti
[quote] viska le [unquote] is-replaced-by
.ei lo'u viska lo le'u
[obligation!] [quote] viska lo [unquote].

In the sentence le mlatu viska le finpe, viska le should be replaced by viska lo.

Note the topic-comment formulation (Section 19.4) and the indicator applying to the selbri only (Section 19.8). Neither viska le nor viska lo is a valid Lojban utterance, and both require lo'u quotation.

Additionally, pro-sumti or pro-bridi in the quoting sentence can refer to words appearing in the quoted sentence when luli'u is used, but not when lo'u ... le'u is used:

Example 19.46. 

la tcarlis. cusku lu le ninmu cu morsi li'u
Charlie says [quote] the woman is-dead [unquote].
.iku'i ri jmive
However, the-last-mentioned is-alive.

Charlie says The woman is dead, but she is alive.

In Example 19.46, ri is a pro-sumti which refers to the most recent previous sumti, namely le ninmu. Compare:

Example 19.47. 

la tcarlis. cusku lo'u le ninmu cu morsi le'u
Charlie says [quote] le ninmu cu morsi [unquote].
.iku'i ri jmive
However, the-last-mentioned is-alive.

Charlie says le ninmu cu morsi, but he is alive.

In Example 19.47, ri cannot refer to the referent of the alleged sumti le ninmu, because le ninmu cu morsi is a mere uninterpreted sequence of Lojban words. Instead, ri ends up referring to the referent of the sumti la tcarlis., and so it is Charlie who is alive.

The metalinguistic erasers si, sa, and su, discussed in Section 19.13, do not operate in text between lo'u and le'u. Since the first le'u terminates a lo'u quotation, it is not directly possible to have a lo'u quotation within another lo'u quotation. However, it is possible for a le'u to occur within a lo'u ... le'u quotation by preceding it with the cmavo zo, discussed in Section 19.10. Note that le'u is not an elidable terminator; it is required.