8.5. Non-veridical relative clauses: voi



non-veridical relative clause introducer

There is another member of selma'o NOI which serves to introduce a third kind of relative clause: voi. Relative clauses introduced by voi are restrictive, like those introduced by poi. However, there is a fundamental difference between poi and voi relative clauses. A poi relative clause is said to be veridical, in the same sense that a description using lo or loi is: it is essential to the interpretation that the bridi actually be true. For example:

Example 8.43. 

le gerku poi blabi cu klama
The dog which is-white   goes.

it must actually be true that the dog is white, or the sentence constitutes a miscommunication. If there is a white dog and a brown dog, and the speaker uses le gerku poi blabi to refer to the brown dog, then the listener will not understand correctly. However,

Example 8.44. 

le gerku voi blabi cu klama
The dog which-I-describe-as white   goes.

puts the listener on notice that the dog in question may not actually meet objective standards (whatever they are) for being white: only the speaker can say exactly what is meant by the term. In this way, voi is like le; the speaker's intention determines the meaning.

As a result, the following two sentences

Example 8.45. 

le nanmu cu ninmu
That-which-I-describe-as a-man   is-a-woman.

The guy is actually a gal.

Example 8.46. 

ti voi nanmu cu ninmu
This-thing which-I-describe-as a-man   is-a-woman.

mean essentially the same thing (except that Example 8.46 involves pointing thanks to the use of ti, whereas Example 8.45 doesn't), and neither one is self-contradictory: it is perfectly all right to describe something as a man (although perhaps confusing to the listener) even if it actually is a woman.