6.10. sumti qualifiers

The following cmavo are discussed in this section:



something referred to by



a reference to



an abstraction involving



an individual/member/component of



a set formed from



a mass formed from



a sequence formed from



something other than



the opposite of



the neutral form of



that which indeed is



elidable terminator for LAhE and NAhE+BO

Well, that's quite a list of cmavo. What are they all about?

The above cmavo and compound cmavo are called the sumti qualifiers. All of them are either single cmavo of selma'o LAhE, or else compound cmavo involving a scalar negation cmavo of selma'o NAhE immediately followed by bo of selma'o BO. Syntactically, you can prefix a sumti qualifier to any sumti and produce another simple sumti. (You may need to add the elidable terminator lu'u to show where the qualified sumti ends.)

Semantically, sumti qualifiers represent short forms of certain common special cases. Suppose you want to say I see 'The Red Pony', where The Red Pony is the title of a book. How about:

Example 6.51. 

mi viska lu le xunre cmaxirma li'u
I see [quote] the red small-horse [unquote].

But Example 6.51 doesn't work: it says that you see a piece of text The Red Pony. That might be all right if you were looking at the cover of the book, where the words The Red Pony are presumably written. (More precisely, where the words le xunre cmaxirma are written – but we may suppose the book has been translated into Lojban.)

What you really want to say is:

Example 6.52. 

mi viska le selsinxa
I see the thing-represented-by
be lu le xunre cmaxirma li'u
[quote] the red small-horse [unquote].

The x2 place of selsinxa (the x1 place of sinxa) is a sign or symbol, and the x1 place of selsinxa (the x2 place of sinxa) is the thing represented by the sign. Example 6.52 allows us to use a symbol (namely the title of a book) to represent the thing it is a symbol of (namely the book itself).

This operation turns out to be needed often enough that it's useful to be able to say:

Example 6.53. 

mi viska la'e lu le xunre cmaxirma li'u [lu'u]
I see the-referent-of [quote] the red small-horse [unquote] -.

So when la'e is prefixed to a sumti referring to a symbol, it produces a sumti referring to the referent of that symbol. (In computer jargon, la'e dereferences a pointer.)

By introducing a sumti qualifier, we correct a false sentence (Example 6.51), which too closely resembles its literal English equivalent, into a true sentence (Example 6.53), without having to change it overmuch; in particular, the structure remains the same. Most of the uses of sumti qualifiers are of this general kind.

The sumti qualifier lu'e provides the converse operation: it can be prefixed to a sumti referring to some thing to produce a sumti referring to a sign or symbol for the thing. For example,

Example 6.54. 

mi pu cusku lu'e le vi cukta
I [past] express a-symbol-for the nearby book.

I said the title of this book.

The equivalent form not using a sumti qualifier would be:

Example 6.55. 

mi pu cusku le sinxa be le vi cukta
I [past] express the symbol-for the nearby book.

which is equivalent to Example 6.54, but longer.

The other sumti qualifiers follow the same rules. The cmavo tu'a is used in forming abstractions, and is explained more fully in Section 11.11. The triplet lu'a, lu'i, and lu'o convert between individuals, sets, and masses; vu'i belongs to this group as well, but creates a sequence, which is similar to a set but has a definite order. (The set of John and Charles is the same as the set of Charles and John, but the sequences are different.) Here are some examples:

Example 6.56. 

mi troci tu'a le vorme
I try some-abstraction-about the door.

I try (to open) the door.

Example 6.56 might mean that I try to do something else involving the door; the form is deliberately vague.

Most of the following examples make use of the cmavo ri, belonging to selma'o KOhA. This cmavo means the thing last mentioned; it is equivalent to repeating the immediately previous sumti (but in its original context). It is explained in more detail in Section 7.6.

Example 6.57. 

lo'i ratcu cu barda
The-set-of rats is-large.
.iku'i lu'a ri cmalu
But some-members-of it-last-mentioned are-small.

The set of rats is large, but some of its members are small.

Example 6.58. 

lo ratcu cu cmalu .iku'i lu'i ri barda
Some rats are-small. But the-set-of them-last-mentioned is-large.

Some rats are small, but the set of rats is large.

Example 6.59. 

mi ce do girzu
I in-a-set-with you are-a-set.
.i lu'o ri gunma
The-mass-of it-last-mentioned is-a-mass.
.i vu'i ri porsi
The-sequence-of it-last-mentioned is-a-sequence

The set of you and me is a set. The mass of you and me is a mass. The sequence of you and me is a sequence.

(Yes, I know these examples are a bit silly. This set was introduced for completeness, and practical examples are as yet hard to come by.)

Finally, the four sumti qualifiers formed from a cmavo of NAhE and bo are all concerned with negation, which is discussed in detail in Chapter 15. Here are a few examples of negation sumti qualifiers:

Example 6.60. 

mi viska na'ebo le gerku
I see something-other-than the dog.

This compound, na'ebo, is the most common of the four negation sumti qualifiers. The others usually only make sense in the context of repeating, with modifications, something already referred to:

Example 6.61. 

mi nelci loi glare cidja
I like part-of-the-mass-of hot-type-of food.
.ije do nelci to'ebo ri
And you like the-opposite-of the-last-mentioned.
.ije la djein. nelci no'ebo ra
And that-named Jane likes the-neutral-value-of something-mentioned.

I like hot food, and you like cold food, and Jane likes lukewarm food.

(In Example 6.61, the sumti ra refers to some previously mentioned sumti other than that referred to by ri. We cannot use ri here, because it would signify la djein., that being the most recent sumti available to ri. See more detailed explanations in Section 7.6.)