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Be careful when using noda in the place structure of a predicate. It does not simply mean "nothing"; it means that there is nothing at all which could make the predicate true. This is important - noda implies that the predicate is false.

Some examples:

  • noda dunda do pa rupnu - if nobody gives you a dollar, then there is no giving going on, and no action occurring that could be described as dunda.
  • mi dunda noda pa rupnu - if I give nobody a dollar, I am not a giver. I am a giver-of-a-dollar-to-nobody (lo dunda be noda bei pa rupnu), but certainly not an actual giver (lo dunda).
  • mi dunda do noda - if I give you nothing, I am not a giver.

This applies to all predicates, so to take an example from camera obscura, ta kacma fi noda does not mean "That is a camera with no film". It means "There is nothing which is-the-film-of that", which applies better to a tree than a camera.

A corollary to this is that zo'e never means noda, a fact we have already encountered in the botpi discussion.

A phrase for "nothing" which keeps the predicate true is lo nomei. This means that, whatever objects fit in that place, zero of them are actually doing it. So lo kacma be fi lo nomei could describe a camera with no film, because there are things which film a camera; but it does not describe a tree, because there is nothing which films a tree.


e'o ko su'oroi ciksi tu'a le nibli be le du'u lo'u noda le'u frica lo'u lo 0mei le'u .i mi'e la xod

The critical point is that the scope of da is always the universe, while the scope of the bridi is determined by its tense, which is usually at least partly vague. So noda means "nothing in the universe, not even something outside the scope of the bridi". nomei does not have universal scope, but vague scope like any other untensed selbri; it is saying only "a group of zero things in my scope". It's a subtle point, and not explained above.

To expand a bit: If you hear mi klama lo zdani you will normally assume, unless there's a reason otherwise, that klama and zdani have the same tense; you don't usually expect it to mean mi ca ca'o klama lo ca ba'o zdani. The same holds for mi klama lo nomei; if the understood tense is ca ca'o then perhaps you do klama something at another time, merely not ca ca'o. But in mi klama noda, the noda means nothing, ever, anywhere,ze'eca fe'eroroi nomei, because da is existential. (Maybe next year I will be able to say this in Lojban.) mi'e jezrax

I'm not sure I would put it that way. mi klama noda to me means that it is not the case that I go somewhere, it has no insistence on any absolute. If I don't go now, I'm not a goer now, but I may have gone in the past, that's up to context. mi klama noda is exactly equivalent to mi klama naku su'oda, which in turn is mi na klama da. This is very similar in English: I go nowhere = I don't go anywhere. The difference with English is more noticeable with "nouns", a distinction which Lojban does not make. ta kacma noda does not mean that ta is really a kacma of some kind or another, it says that ta does not kacma anything, so is no kacma. ta kacma lo nomei is different because lo nomei is "at least one zero-some". What is a "zero-some"? I don't know for sure, it depends on context, it is in fact lo nomei be zo'e, "a zero-some of something", so there can be different zero-somes. ta kacma lo nomei says that ta does kacma at least one zero-some, so it is in fact a kacma. --xorxes

Great. We're reduced to metaphysical distinctions between the empty-set and nonexistence. (Does the nonexistence of the empty-set really exist?) But side-stepping the universal scope of da, which I also don't quite agree with, when mi klama noda, then lo'i selka'a be mi is empty; so in a sense I really did klama lo nomei. Take another shot at describing this alleged distinction. --la xod

lo nomei is admittedly a contrived concept, but it is in any case a su'o da, so clearly incompatible with no da. But no da is crystal clear, it contains a negation, it is logically equivalent to naku su'o da, so it is hard to understand how da poi broda node cu broda can be defended. It could only work if you use different implicit tenses with each broda, but that's tantamount to cheating (similar to switching implicit velju'o midsentence!). The logic of this: <<when mi klama noda, then lo'i selka'a be mi is empty; so in a sense I really did klama lo nomei >> escapes me. In what sense? If mi patfu noda, then lo'i selpatfu be mi is empty, so in a sense I really am a father? --xorxes

Sure, you're a father of zero children; a father of nothing. "Nothing" is how I render nomei, the empty-set. And no, nomei is not su'oda. Anyway, it's up to you folks to show me the difference between being a father of 0 kids, and being a non-father. --la xod

  • I ((rab.spir) am not sure that the idea of lo nomei really works, but I thought I would include it on this page because it seems more useful than zi'o. Whether or not lo nomei works, it is still clear that noda is a negation of the bridi.

For zi'o to be useful it should go beyond the trivial noda; it should mean, in this case, that the concept of fatherhood doesn't apply at all here. Mules are patfu zi'o, as well as being patfu noda. And yes, I realize that the above example says that you sired the empty-set, which, if taken obnoxiously, is just as silly as claiming responsibility for having sired any other mathematical entity. So let's not get that literal, preferring instead to interpret it in the way it was intended. I saw this attack coming and decided to stub it out pre-emptively. --la xod

  • You're just being paranoid, then, because {nomei} isn't a set. It is a group of zero somethings. The empty set would be {lu'i lo nomei}. --rab.spir
    • Hmmm... I would say that lu'i lo nomei is a set with at least one zero-some as an element. lu'i ci lo nomei is a set with three zero-somes as elements. lu'i noda is the empty set, i.e. the set with no elements. --xorxes
  • Here's another word for nothing: nonlai. This covers lo rupnu be li no, lo mitre be li no, etc. -phma

If da is already bound, noda does not have the meaning discussed above. da prami noda is true, for example. mi'e jezrax

This existential requantification earned a long discussion.

zo'o noda vamji levisu'u casnu