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gadri -- articles/descriptors

This section is currently outdated following the passing (but not the implementation) of the gadri proposal, see BPFK Section: gadri and How to use xorlo for more information.

Lojban gadri are potentially tricky at first. This is an attempt

to explain the exact differences between them all in one place.

The main interest here is the difference between the lo-family and

le-family, and to a lesser extent the differences between mass,

set, and individual; the other articles are mentioned here as well

for completeness however.

First, a list of gadri, with their implicit quantifiers:

individual mass set

named ro la su'o pisu'o lai su'o piro la'i su'o

described ro le su'o pisu'o lei su'o piro le'i su'o

idealized su'o lo ro pisu'o loi ro piro lo'i ro

ro le'e su'o the stereotypical (similar to le family)

su'o lo'e ro the typical (similar to lo family)

su'o li the number

su'o me'o the mexso

There are three main categories of articles, and three main types.

The categories are "Names" (la, lai and la'i),

"Descriptions" (le, lei and le'i), and "Idealizations"

(lo, loi, lo'i).

Names -- Articles in the la family refer to something by

name. The name need not have anything to do with what the referent

actually is, and may frequently be lojbanizations of names in other

languages (For example, the lojbanization of my name is "djorden.",

and thus I am referred to via "la djorden.").

Descriptions -- A lojban speaker uses description articles of

the le family when they are wishing to convey information about

a thing (group of things, etc) which they have in mind. The gadri

introduces a description, which need not be related to what the

thing actually is (as if the speaker could determine that anyway).

For this reason the le family of gadri are frequently compared

to the English definite article "the". I think this is misleading

because the le family is actually a bit broader than "the".

For example: when an English speaker starts a story about a man,

the first time the man appears he will be described as "a man",

and from then on as "the man". In lojban, because the speaker is

referring to a particular man she has in mind, the first appearance

would be tagged with le.

Idealizations -- The lo family of articles are easily the

most confusing to new speakers (or at least, they were to me). The

standard wording of their meaning is "that which really is", which

reflects the fact that unlike the other two main groups of articles

they do not simply describe something, they claim it truly is that

thing. However, this is not the most important difference: the

lo articles have a default implicit inner quantifier of "ro"

(all). So for example, the sumti phrase lo gerku refers to one

or more of all the things which are dogs. The dogs are referred to

indefinitely; meaning, the speaker does not have particular dogs

in mind, but is instead talking about some of all the dogs.

The confusion which can arise from this distinction is what sometimes

leads new speakers to misuse the lo family by modifying the

inner quantifiers. For example, lo re gerku does not mean "Some

of those two which really are dogs" in the way the user probably

intended. Instead, it indicates that there are only two things in

existence which really are dogs. A good general rule is that if

you are modifying the inner quantifier of a gadri in the lo

family, think twice about it, as they are rarely useful with inner

quantifiers other than "ro".

There are also three main forms for each category of gadri.

Individuals, masses, and sets. Do not confuse these with quantification

-- a mass does not mean there is necessarily more than one, and

(more importantly) an individual does not mean there is only one.

Rather, this stuff explains in what manner claims are being made about

a sumti. The differences between masses and individuals is most easily

explained with an example:

le gerku cu mrobi'o

lei gerku cu mrobi'o

The first of these says "The dog(s) became dead", meaning that each of

them died individually. The second also says that "The dog(s) became

dead", but talks about them as a mass: in order for the bridi to be

true, only one of the dogs need actually have died. A mass has the

union of qualities of all of its members. This means that it is possible

to say seemingly contradictory things using mass descriptors, such:

lei gerku cu morsi gi'e jmive

which says that "The dog(s) are dead and alive". The bridi is true

if at least one of the members of the mass is dead AND at least

one of the members is alive.

[I'll put stuff about about sets in here later, unless someone

beats me to it].

Tiki Import

Posted by 30Seconds on Tue 02 of Mar., 2010 09:28 GMT posts: 2 > Use this thread to discuss the page:: gadri

The above is not how I understand masses. "A mass has the union of qualities of all of its members" is not how it works. A mass has many properties that none of its members have, and lacks many properties that each or some of its members have. It also shares some properties with all or some of its members, but definitely not all of their properties. Examples:

le gerku cu citka pa jipci Each of the dogs eats one chicken.

lei gerku cu citka mu jipci The dogs (together) eat five chicken.

If each of five dogs eats one chicken, then it is false that the five dogs together eat one chicken. Therefore the property of each member ("eats one chicken") is not inherited by the mass.


Why isn't that covered by unioning their properties? If each of the 5 dogs ate one chicken, then mass has the qualities {ate chicken1;ate chicken2;ate chicken3;...}. lei gerku cu citka le mu jipci is just a reduction of that, no? That said, if you have a better wording for the above, feel free to change it and remove this discussion. — mi'e .djorden. Ahh, now that I re-read I see your point. The mass doesn't inheirit the quality of eating one chicken. I'll think of a better way to word it and change it, unless someone else does first. — mi'e .djorden. The traditional wording is "has the sum of the properties of its members" with the understanding that "sum" includes literal sums of numerical properties, resultants of joint activities ("the team a mass? won the game" or "the three boys carried the piano"), logical sums (disjunctions — your "unions"), and an open-ended range of other compoundings. pc