Difference between revisions of "la karda"

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(→‎Temporal Distance: Change 'ba' to 'pu' to fit the translations)
m (→‎Evidential Cmavo: Replaced "xabju" with "zdani" in the "I expect Rose is at the house" example.)
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   "I observe that you are very hungry."
   "I observe that you are very hungry."
   i ba'a la rozgu ku zvati lo xabju ku
   i ba'a la rozgu ku zvati lo zdani ku
   "I expect Rose is at the house."
   "I expect Rose is at the house."

Revision as of 12:00, 3 May 2016


This is a distilled overview of the Lojban language.

Major concepts of the language are introduced by saying as much with as little as possible.

That is to say:

  • For each concept the most crucial aspects are presented
  • However, some details may be glossed over or simplified
  • Some details are only mentioned or explained by their mere appearance in example sentences. Look carefully!

Finally, some aspects of Lojban are omitted entirely!

However incomplete - the goal of the following is to present, in the most immediate and expedient manner possible, a *conceptualization* of the language. Lojban is characterized in many ways from being "logical" and "unambiguous" to "culturally neutral". The characterization that this text aims to reveal is that Lojban is both rational (it makes sense) and regular (it always works the same).

From this rationality and regularity comes a simplicity that makes Lojban easier to learn than anyone really ever expects it to be at first.


   If you take the following passages at reading speed you will likely find
   yourself lost in the forest very quickly. Each tiny section is a conceptual
   neutronium diamond. The slower you go, the better time you'll have at absorbing
   what it is trying to tell you.
   In the end, if you're confused use that as inspiration to dig deeper and you'll
   be fine!


Parts of Language

In Language there are three major parts:

 nouns: the things we talk about
 verbs: tell us what the nouns do
 sentences: says something using nouns and verbs

Types of Words

Lojban only has two kinds of words:

 particles: short words that perform grammar functions
 verbs: tell us what nouns do

What about Nouns?

What about nouns?!

 Hold that thought.

Standard Form

Every sentence follows the form:

 i x1 VERB x2 x3 xN

"i" separates multiple sentences the first noun appears before the verb additional nouns follow the verb.

Verbs Say What Nouns Do

Verbs tell us what the nouns do:

 dunda: x1 donates gift x2 to beneficiary x3
 [donor] dunda [gift] [benefactor]
   x1    verb     x2       x3

Simple Pro-nouns

Some particles act like pro-nouns:

 mi - me, the speaker
 do - you, the listener
 ti - this, something nearby

Verbs and Nouns

You can put nouns in place and the verb says what they do:

   mi    dunda   ti        do
 [donor]   │   [gift] [beneficiary]
   x1    verb     x2       x3
 "I give this to you."

Rearranging Nouns

Putting the nouns into different places changes what they do:

   do*   dunda   ti        mi*
 [donor]   │   [gift] [beneficiary]
   x1    verb     x2       x3
 "You give this to me."

Converting Verbs to Nouns

The particles "lo" and "ku" convert verbs to nouns from the x1 role:

 Pattern: lo VERB ku => NOUN from x1
    dunda: x1 donates gift x2 to beneficiary x3
 lo dunda ku <== [donor] dunda [gift] [benefactor]
 ─────┬─────       ├──────┼──────┼────────┤
     noun         x1    verb     x2       x3

"lo dunda ku" creates a noun-description which refers to "a donor"

   mi    dunda   ti    lo dunda ku
 [donor]   │   [gift] [beneficiary]
   x1    verb     x2       x3
 "I gave this to a donor."

Complex Sentences

Using multiple verbs, complex sentences can be formed:

 mlatu: x1 is a cat
 pinxe: x1 drinks beverage x2
 ladru: x1 is milk
 lo mlatu ku   pinxe   lo ladru ku
  [drinker]      │     [beverage]
     x1        verb        x2
     "A cat drinks some milk."

The Drama of Language

You can think of the example in 1:10 as being a stage-play, directed by the Verb and starring the Nouns.

 Breakfast Time, a play by Pinxe!

The Verb Director tells us what Roles are available and What Happens:

 Pinxe says, "x1 drinks beverage x2"
 Story Outline: [drinker] pinxe [beverage]
   1. A Drinker drinks!
   2. A Beverage is imbibed!
   The lead Drinker       : lo mlatu ku (mlatu's x1 - "a cat")
   The supporting Beverage: lo ladru ku (ladru's x1 - "some milk")
   lo mlatu ku   pinxe   lo ladru ku    <= actors in the play
    [drinker]      │     [beverage]     <= roles in the play
      role1    director    role2
       "A cat drinks some milk."

Rearranging Verbs

The particles of the SE family rearrange verbs:

 Pattern: SE VERB => VERB'

The roles of the x1 and xN nouns, what they do, is swapped in the new modified verb:

 klama: x1 travels to destination x2 from origin x3 via route x4 in vehicle x5
            | X1          | VERB     | X2          | X3        | X4        | X5        |
            | traveler    | klama    | destination | origin    | route     | vehicle   |
   x1◄ ►x2  | destination | se klama | traveler    | origin    | route     | vehicle   |
   x1◄ ►x3  | origin      | te klama | destination | traveler  | route     | vehicle   |
   x1◄ ►x4  | route       | ve klama | destination | origin    | traveler  | vehicle   |
   x1◄ ►x5  | vehicle     | xe klama | destination | origin    | route     | traveler  |
 se klama: to destination x1, traveler x2 goes from origin x3 via route x4 in vehicle x5
 and so on..

SE In Action

These SE modified verbs are useful both in making nouns and as the main verb of sentences:

 fraxu: x1 forgives x2 for x3
 vecnu: x1 sells x2 to buyer x3 for price x4
 dakfu: x1 is a knife
 lo se fraxu ku  te vecnu   lo dakfu ku
    [buyer]         |        [goods]
      "The forgiven buys a knife."
 friti: x1 offers x2 to x3
 xamgu: x1 is beneficial to x2
 ginka: x1 is an encampment of x2
 lo se friti ku  xamgu   lo se ginka ku
   [benefit]       |      [beneficiary]
  "The offering is good for the campers."

FA Labels

The FA family of particles allows for breaking the default noun ordering of sentences without modifying the verb:

 Pattern: FA NOUN => NOUN'
 fa : x1   Each particle from the FA family
 fe : x2   simply specifies what the following
 fi : x3   noun is doing in the sentence. In
 fo : x4   other words which role from the verb
 fu : x5   it fills.

This allows you put all of the nouns after the verb:

 dunda fa mi ti do - "I donate this to you"

Or skip some places entirely:

 mi dunda fi do - "I donate to you"

Counting resumes from any FA particle:

 fe ti dunda fa mi do - "I donate this to you"
 ──┬──       ──┬── ─┐
  x2          x1   x3

Cmavo and Brivla

Lojban has names for the two kinds of words that make up its dictionary:

 "cmavo" - mi, ti, do, lo, ku
    - small word that performs a grammatical function
    - categorized into families
 "brivla" : dunda, klama, mlatu, ladru
    - a word that produces a grammatical verb
    - has a definition with 1 or more noun roles

Selbri Sumti and Bridi

It also has names for the different parts of speech that come to life in lojban sentences:

 "selbri" - the verb phrases central to sentences and nouns
 "sumti" - the noun phrases that take on semantic roles
 "bridi" - the combination of a selbri and its sumti
   <> - selbri verb
   [] - sumti noun
   {} - bridi statement

Notice how selbri verb phrases appear throughout:

 lo <se <jdice>> ku <nandu> lo <sonci> ku

Sumti nouns are placed around the root selbri:

 [lo se jdice ku] nandu [lo sonci ku]

And the whole structure, a selbri with its sumti, is a bridi:

 {lo se jdice ku nandu lo sonci ku}


By combining multiple consecutive independent selbri you can create a "tanru" which is a compound-selbri verb:

 mi <<djica> <citka>> lo <plise> ku
 "I want-eat an apple."
 Two brivla "cidja" and "dunda" come together below to create a compound-selbri inside a sumti:
       Simple Selbri
 lo <<cidja> <dunda>> ku <prami> lo <prenu> ku
       Selbri Tanru
 "The food-donor loves people."
 But what is the definition of a composite-selbri or "tanru"?
 Tanru are metaphorical, so their full meaning is ambiguous. However, basic structure of the
 definition is that of the *right most* selbri component:
 gleki : x1 is happy about x2
 cadzu : x1 walks on surface x2
 gleki cadzu : x1 happy-walks on surface x2
 What does "happy-walk" really mean? Only the speaker knows for sure!


Proper Nouns

Proper nouns are created by using "la" instead of "lo":

 mi prami lo rozgu ku
          ──       ──
 "I love roses."
 mi prami la rozgu ku
          ──       ──
 "I love Rose."
 Names are sumti just like any other.


Introducing one's own self is done with the cmavo "mi'e":

 Pattern: mi'e NAME
 mi'e la rozgu ku
 "I'm Rose."


Greeting another person is done with the cmavo "coi":

 Pattern: coi SUMTI
 coi la rozgu ku
 "Hello, Rose."
 coi lo tadni ku
 "Hello, Student"
 coi do
 "Hello, you."
 Or just, "coi"


Farewells are offered with the cmavo "co'o":

 Pattern: co'o SUMTI
 co'o la rozgu ku
 "Goodbye, Rose."

Requesting Attention

Requests for attention are made with the cmavo "doi":

 Pattern: doi SUMTI
 doi la rozgu ku
 "Hey, Rose."

Yes No Questions

"Yes or No" questions can be asked by using the "xu" cmavo:

 i xu do citka lo plise ku
 "Did you eat an apple?"

Notice that even though the sentence is now a question rather than a statement the overall structure hasn't changed.

The "xu" is placed after the sentence separator "i" so as to apply to the whole sentence equally. By placing "xu" after a specific word emphasis can be placed on it:

 i do citka lo xu plise ku
 "Was it an apple you ate?""

Yes No Answers

"Yes" and "No" answers can be supplied with the following replies:

 In the affirmative, "go'i" is used:
   Q: xu do citka lo plise ku
   A: go'i
 The denial is supplied by: na go'i

Sumti Questions

Sumti specific questions can be asked by using the "ma" cmavo in place of the sumti in question.

 do citka ma
 "What did you eat?"
 ma catra ma
 ──       ──
 "Who killed who?"

Selbri Questions

Selbri specific questions can be asked by using the "mo" cmavo in place of the selbri in question.

 mo fa mi do ti
 "What are we doing with this?"
 do mo
 "You are/doing what?"
 do mo fengu mi
 "What kind of angry are you at me?"

Attitude Questions

A special kind of question using the cmavo "pei" asks the listener to share their feelings or disposition about some topic:

 i pei mi cliva
 "How do you feel about me leaving?"

"pei" is another word which can direct its emphasis by way of right-attachment:

 i mi jukpa lo jipci ku pei
 "How do you feel that its chicken that I cook.

Attitude Cmavo

In addition to making an explicit statement about one's self, an answer to "pei" can be given with cmavo from the UI Family of "attitudinals".

 ui - "I'm happy"
 a'o - "I hope"
 i'e - "I approve"

There are many attitudinals and they all express, in one way or another some aspect of the speaker's disposition about the speech the attitudinal is appears in.

 i ui do prami mi
 "You love me, and I'm happy about it."
 i a'o do snada
 "I'm hopeful you succeed."

Like many other cmavo, UI attitudinals give emphasis to the part of speech they attach to:

 do pinxe lo birje ku e'u
 "I suggest beer to be what you drink."

Attitude Ranges

Attitudinals have an inherent "range" or "intensity spectrum" which can be altered from the default.

Without any modifier you get the default attitude. However, "nai" and other cmavo can affect the sense of the UI cmavo:

 ui cai     - "I'm happy as possible"
 ui sai     - "I'm very happy"
 ui         - "I'm happy"
 ui ru'e    - "I'm kinda/sorta happy"
 ui cu'i    - "I'm neutral in my happiness"
 ui nai     - "I'm unhappy"
 ui nai sai - "I'm very unhappy"

and so on...

Evidential Cmavo

A sub-family of the attitudinals, the UI2 Evidentials, express an epistemological claim. In other words, how the speaker came to know or state whatever it is they are saying:

 i ti'e do nelci mi
 "I hear rumored that you like me."
 i pe'i lo plise ku xamgu
 "It is my opinion that apples are beneficial."
 i za'a do mutce xagji
 "I observe that you are very hungry."
 i ba'a la rozgu ku zvati lo zdani ku
 "I expect Rose is at the house."

Discursive Cmavo

Another sub-family of the attitudinals, the UI3 "discursives" express the point or purpose of a part of or a whole statement.

 i do citka lo titla ku po'o
 "You only eat sweets."
 i ji'a mi nitcu lo jdini ku
 "Also, I need money."
 i si'a mi terpa lo jukni ku
 "Similarly, I'm afraid of spiders."
 i ku'i lo jenmi ku daspo
 "However, armys are destructive."


Having a sense of humor is key to any conversation:


 i xo'o lo se platu ku banli
 "Oh jeeze, great plan."
 i xo'o nai lo skaci ku melbi
 "Seriously, that skirt is beautiful."


 i zo'o se ckaji do
 "Ho! Typical you."
 i zo'o nai mi nelci lo cutci
 "I do like these shoes..."


 i u'i xu do mulno
 "Haha, are you done yet?"
 i u'i nai xu do mulno
 "Yea.. are you done yet?"

Changing the Subject

If things get tense you can always change the subject with "ta'o":

 i ta'o do klama ma
 "By the way, where are you going?"

You can also return to a previous topic by adding "nai":

 i ta'o nai mi'o casnu ma
 "Returning, what were we discussing?"

Requests and Commands

Ultimately if things go completely sour you may have to request your interlocutor to leave:

 i e'o do cliva
 "Please, you leave."

Or if they have been particularly offensive you might demand it!

 i ko cliva
 "I implore you to leave."
 Any command is possible by using "ko" in place of the normal "do".


Saying "and" and "or"

To make statements about different sumti at the same time the connective cmavo "je" can be used:

 Pattern: SUMTI je SUMTI => SUMTI'
 i mi nelci [lo plise ku] je [lo perli ku]
 "I like apples and pears."

Similarly, "ja" can be used for "or":

 i ko cuxna [lo dakfu ku] ja [lo mruli ku]
 "Pick the knife or the spear"


To group multiple sumti together to say that they do something together, "jo'u" can be used:

 Pattern: SUMTI jo'u SUMTI => SUMTI'
 i [mi] jo'u [do] bevri lo pipno
 "You and I carry the piano"
 i mi se catra [lo fagri ku] jo'u [lo bisli ku]
 "I was killed by fire and ice."


To associate one sumti with another by way of ownership the cmavo "po" is used:

 Pattern: SUMTI po SUMTI => SUMTI'
 i [lo karce ku] po [mi] cu spofu
 "My car is broken."
 i ko cpacu [lo ckiku ku] po [do]
 "Go get your keys."


For a weaker association than ownership you can use "pe":

 Pattern: SUMTI pe SUMTI => SUMTI'
 i mi vasxu [lo vacri ku] pe [do]
 "I'm breathing your air."
 i ko zutse [lo stizu ku] pe [mi]
 "Sit in my chair."


To specify how many of a sumti there are, a number can be placed before the sumti:

 Pattern: PA SUMTI => SUMTI'
  no  pa  re  ci  vo  mu  xa  ze  bi  so
   0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9
 i mi viska mu [lo bakni ku]
 "I see 5 cows."
 i mi se raktu so so [lo nabmi ku]
 "I am troubled by 99 problems."

Subjective Numbers

Other kinds of "subjective numbers" exist too which are pretty handy:

 i xu do citka du'e [lo plise ku]
 "Did you eat too many apples?"
 so'u lo plise ku    - "a few apples"
 so'o lo plise ku    - "several apples"
 so'i lo plise ku    - "many apples"
 so'e lo plise ku    - "most of the apples"
   ro lo plise ku    - "all the apples"
  rau lo plise ku    - "enough apples"
 mo'a lo plise ku    - "not enough apples"
 da'a ci lo plise ku - "all but three apples"


Negation and Affirmation

Most selbri manipulation is performed via prefix cmavo. For example negation is done with "na":

 Pattern: NA SELBRI => SELBRI'
 i mi <na <xagji>>
 "I'm not hungry"
 On the flip-side you can say something is certain:
 i mi <ja'a <xagji>>
 "I am definitely hungry"

Scaling Relevance

Other cmavo have related effects which specify how strongly the selbri is applied:

 i mi <no'e <xagji>>
 "I'm not really that hungry."
 i mi <to'e <xagji>>
 "I'm full!"
 i mi <na'i <xagji>>
 "It is not even a question of my hunger."

Saying "and" and "or"

Similarly to sumti, selbri can be joined with the very same connective words:

 i mi <<tatpi> je <xagji>>
 "I'm tired and hungry"
 i mi'o e'u <<citka> ja <cliva>>.
 "We should eat or leave."


While Lojban bridi don't have any implicit tense, selbri can be modified to have such tense:

 mi <pu <visku>> do
 "I saw you."
 mi <ca <viska>> do
 "I see you."
 mi <ba <viska>> do
 "I will see you."

Temporal Distance

In addition to direction, temporal distance can also be provided:

 mi <pu zi <viska>> do
 "I just saw you!"
 mi <pu za <viska>> do
 "I saw you a while ago."
 mi <pu zu <viska>> do
 "It has been a long while since I've seen you."


Selbri can also be modified in terms of spatial proximity:

 mi <vi <viska>> do
 "I saw you right here!"
 mi <va <viska>> do
 "I saw you nearby."
 mi <vu <viska>> do
 "I saw you elsewhere."


Using the "be" cmavo, selbri can be "pre-injected" with a sumti removing a sumti place from the definition:

 Pattern: SELBRI be SUMTI => SELBRI'
 dunda : x1 donates gift x2 to beneficiary x3
 dunda be lo plise ku : x1 donates apples to beneficiary x2

By default "be" injects a sumti into the x2 place of a selbri, but the FA family can be used to specify which place should be filled:

 vecnu be fi lo jecta ku : x1 sells x2 to the state

Additionally, multiple sumti places may be filled, separated by "bei"

 vecnu be lo xarci ku bei lo jecta ku : x1 sells weapons to the state

Preloaded Sumti

Its important to note that with "be" a new selbri is formed even though it incorporates a sumti into it:

 ┌──────new selbri──────────┐
 <<vecnu>  be  [lo xarci ku]> = x1 sells weapons to x2
     │               │
 base selbri   injected sumti

This is a little strange when used as the main verb of a sentence:

    (who)         (sells guns)       (the state)
     ma     <vecnu be lo xarci ku>   lo jecta ku
   [seller]             │              [buyer]

Since [lo xarci ku] could just have been provided as x2 to a normal <vecnu>. The "be" seems unneeded here.

However, this is very useful for creating interesting sumti!

              ┌───preloaded selbri─────┐
 mi tavla [lo <<vecnu> be [lo xarci ku]> ku]
 "I talk to the seller of weapons.
 ko na lebna [lo <<sidbo> be fi [mi]> ku]
 "Don't you take ideas of mine."

This is far more explicit than using "pe" or "po".



Similar to the transformation of Selbri into Sumti the same can be done for whole Bridi into Selbri with the help of "du'u" and "kei":

 Pattern: du'u BRIDI kei => SELBRI

The definition of such a selbri is something like:

 x1 is the fact represented by the inner Bridi
 ┌───fact selbri────┐
 du'u do prami mi kei =  x1 is the fact that: you love me
      inner bridi

With the addition of "lo" and "ku", the selbri is transformed into sumti allowing one to talk about the fact inside:

 [lo <du'u {do prami mi} kei> ku] = "the fact that you love me"

These nested fact sumti can be used as any other:

              ┌───fact selbri────┐
 mi djuno [lo du'u do prami mi kei ku]
                  inner bridi
 "I know that you love me."



Relative Phrases