la karda

From Lojban
Jump to navigation Jump to search


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. The slower you go, the better luck
   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!

Special Thanks

A number of people have contributed to the creation of this document in various ways:

A general thanks goes to the entire IRC community, since it is the largest driver of Lojban's on-going promotion and evolution.

Thanks goes to la selpa'i ku who's article on ZAhO was the inspiration for the section on "Understanding Time" and has made a number of corrections to errors in this document as well as helping along my own study of Lojban. And of course their many contributions to the language itself.

Additional thanks to those who have contributed minor corrections:

la ilmen, la cirko, la kalmari, la gleki, la tsani, la lalxu

Core Grammar

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

Nouns can be put in the places 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

The previous example can be thought of as a kind of 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 putting 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, a tanru or compound-selbri verb can be created:

 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 ju'i:

 Pattern: ju'i SUMTI
 ju'i la rozgu ku
 "Hey, Rose."

If multiple listeners paying attention you can address them individually with doi:

 Pattern: doi SUMTI
 doi la mirli ku ko mipri
 "Keep it secret, Moose"

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?"

To answer sumti questions simply state what fills the missing place:

 lo plise ku

Or restate the question with the places filled in:

 do catra mi

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".

Sumti Manipulation

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]] 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 the sentence applies to, 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 [vo do] pinxe lo ladru ku
 "Four of you drink milk."

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"

Selbri Manipulation

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!"

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 <viska>> 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."


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

 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, 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

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

Note that be forms a new selbri even though it incorporates a sumti:

 ┌──────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]

lo xarci ku could just have been provided as x2 to a normal vecnu. The be appears unnessecary. 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

Adding lo and ku, the selbri is transformed into a 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."


Where du'u gets at the truth of a matter, nu can emphasize the time and location in which a bridi takes place:

 Pattern: nu BRIDI kei => SELBRI

The definition of such a selbri is something like:

 x1 is the event described by the inner Bridi
 ┌──fact selbri───┐
 nu do speni mi kei =  x1 is the event of: you are married to me
    inner bridi

Just like with du'u these nu selbri can be turned into sumti with lo and ku:

 [lo <nu {do speni mi} kei> ku] = "the event of our marriage"

And can be incorporated into larger sentences:

              ┌──fact selbri───┐
 mi djica [lo nu do speni mi kei ku]
                 inner bridi
 "I desire our marriage."


A third word, ka can also create a selbri from a bridi much like du'u and nu:

 Pattern: ka BRIDI kei => SELBRI

The bridi must contain at least one ce'u sumti:

              ┌───────property selbri────────┐
 mi cnici [lo ka ce'u citka lo titnanba ku kei ku]
                        inner bridi

The ce'u has no meaning of its own. The selbri that receives the property specifies what it refers to. In this case, it is cnici taking the property as its x2.

The definition of cnici is:

 x1 is orderly/neat/ordered in property x2

And so it is the x1, or mi, who is orderly in the eating of cookies.

 mi cnici [lo ka ce'u citka lo titnanba ku kei ku]
     bound sumti
 "I am orderly in the eating of cookies."

The ce'u can appear anywhere in the inner bridi:

 do cinmo [lo ka la mam ku vajni ce'u kei ku]
            bound sumti
 "You feel the emotion of Mother being important to you."

Some selbri words make comparative statements:

 zmadu: x1 is more than x2 in property x3
 do zmadu mi [lo ka ce'u citka lo titnanba ku kei ku]
                           inner bridi
 do citka lo titnanba ku "is more than" mi citka lo titnanba ku
 "You are more than me in the eating of cookies."
 "You eat more cookies than me."

Numerous property relations exist within the Lojban lexicon.

Relative Phrases

Additional information about a sumti can be provided by attaching a bridi to it with noi:

 Pattern: SUMTI noi BRIDI ku'o => SUMTI'

Similarly to the properties created with ka, noi bridi have a stand-in word ke'a:

 ko penmi la rozgu ku noi mi prami ke'a ku'o
                           inner bridi
 Meet Rose, who I love.

The noi bridi is attached to la rozgu ku and so it is her to whom ke'a refers to.

If the information is not merely incidental but nessecary to discern which thing is being talking about poi can be used instead:

 ko penmi lo bruna ku poi mi prami ke'a ku'o
                           inner bridi
 Meet the brother I love (compared to whichever I don't.)

Understanding Time

The basic tenses pu, ca and ba were covered previously but there is a bit more to say about time.

Basic Tenses

The tense for stating something is currently happening is ca:

 mi ca citka
 "I am currently eating."

Another way of stating this (which will be helpful later) is:

 "The present coincides with my eating."
    Past       Now       Future

How about the other tenses?

 mi pu pensi
 "I was thinking."
 "The past coincides with my thinking."
    Past       Now       Future
 do ba jimpe
 "You will understand."
 "The future coincides with your understanding."
    Past       Now       Future

Event Contours

All events have a "temporal extent" or lifetime. It is often useful to describe the various events "within" an event. The ZAhO family of tenses can be used for accessing them:

                                                      ╎ pu'o:  before
pu'o      ═══════════╣  ╠════════════       ba'o      ╎ co'a:  the outset
        co'a      de'a  di'a       co'u               ╎ de'a:  break
                                                      ╎ di'a:  resumption
          └───────────┬─────────────┘                 ╎ co'u:  finish
                    co'i                              ╎ ba'o:  after
                                                      ╎ co'i:  for the duration

Like basic tenses, they modify a selbri to create a new one:

 mi <co'a <citka>> lo plise ku
 "I'm starting to eat an apple."
 mi pacna lo nu <co'u <carvi>> kei ku
 "I wish for it to finish raining."
 ko <de'a <tadni>>
 "Take a break from studying."
 mi <pu'o <sipna>>
 "Its before my bedtime."
 mi <ba'o <prami>> do
 "My loving you has passed.""

Tensed Contours

If no basic tense is provided, ca or present-tense is assumed:

 mi <ca <co'a <citka>> lo plise ku
     ──  ────
 "I'm starting to eat an apple"
 "The present coincides with the start of my apple eating."
    Past       Now       Future

But how do the ZAhO contours interact with different CA tenses?

 mi <pu <pu'o <sipna>>>
     ──  ────
 "It was before my bedtime."
 "The past coincides with the runup to my bedtime."
     ┊ ╠═══╣
    Past       Now       Future
 mi <ba <ba'o <prami>>> do
     ──  ────
 "My loving you will have passed."
 "The future coincides with the aftermath of our love."
                    ╠═══╣  ┊
    Past       Now       Future


Additional sumti places can be added to a bridi by importing them with fi'o:

 Pattern: fi'o SELBRI SUMTI => SUMTI

The x1 place of the specified selbri is added to the bridi and filled with the specified sumti:

                        ┌────────fi'o clause───────┐
 mi citka lo titnanba ku fi'o <jukpa> [la rozgu ku]
 "I'm eating the cookies baked by Rose"

Stage Additions

This can be understood in terms of the stage-play metaphor used before. fi'o terms act as assistant directors adding additional roles:

        mi    citka  lo titnanba ku  fi'o jukpa   la rozgu ku      <= actors in the play
     [eater]    │       [meal]           │           [cook]        <= roles in the play
        ├───────┼──────────┤             ├─────────────┤
      role1  director    role2     asst. director  jukpa-role

SE Prepositions

Any selbri is compatible and that includes ones modified by SE:

 lo cinfo ku kalte fi'o se pilno lo kanla ku
 "The lion hunts with its eyes."
 lo kalte ku cizda'u fi'o te jvinu lo se citka ku
 "The hunter is a monster from the perspective of the meal."

Spatial Prepositions

Some useful selbri for prepositions stating where the bridi takes place:

  selbri    │ gloss
  se zvati  │ located at
  se jibni  │ located near
  se nenri  │ located in
  te ragve  │ across from
  se gapru  │ above
  se cpana  │ ontop of
  se cnita  │ underneath
  se sruri  │ surrounding

Temporal Prepositions

A few selbri useful for prepositions denoting when a bridi takes place:

  selbri    │ gloss
  tcika     │ at time
  detri     │ on date
  balvi     │ before
  cabna     │ during
  purci     │ after

Causal Prepositions

Some selbri useful for propositions explaining how a bridi came about:

  selbri    │ gloss
  mukti     │ motivated by
  rinka     │ caused by
  krinu     │ justified by
  jalge     │ with result

BAI Prepositions

A small number of cmavo in the BAI family can be used for specifying useful prepositions as a shortcut:

 Pattern: BAI SUMTI => SUMTI

Just like fi'o prepositions each cmavo from the BAI family encodes a particular sumti place:

  selbri    │ BAI    │ gloss
  mukti     │ mu'i   │ motivated by
  rinka     │ ri'a   │ caused by
  krinu     │ ki'u   │ justified by
  jalge     │ ja'e   │ with result
  vanbi     │ va'o   │ under conditions
  gasnu     │ gau    │ performed by
  tadji     │ ta'i   │ with approach
  catni     │ ca'i   │ by authority
  cusku     │ cu'u   │ said by
  se pilno  │ sepi'o │ using tool

These can result in slightly more terse prepositional clauses:

                  ┌─────BAI clause─────┐
 lo cinfo ku kalte sepi'o [lo kanla ku]
 "The lion hunts with its eyes."

Miscellaneous additions

Indirect questions

The word kau in a fact "defuses" a preceding question word, and focuses that whole fact on the would-be answer.

                          ┌────indirect question───┐
 la krili ku kucli lo du'u ma kau finti lo pemci ku kei ku
 "Crystal is curious as to who invented the poem."
                 ┌──indirect question─┐
 mi djuno lo du'u do cliva mu'i ma kau kei ku
 "I know why you left."
                    ┌─indirect question─┐
 mi na morji lo du'u xu kau  misno kagni kei ku
 "I don't remember whether or not it was a famous company."
                    ┌──indirect question──┐
 mi na jimpe lo du'u lo nabmi ku mo kau mi kei ku
 "I don't understand what the issue has to do with me."

(If we don't add kau, the whole sentence is simply a complex question asking what fills ma, as before:)

 la krili ku kucli lo du'u ma finti lo pemci ku kei ku.
 "Who is it that Crystal is curious about them inventing the poem?"

Elliptical words

A couple of the classes of words we've handled have an "elliptical" member, with carry an intentionally unspecified meaning.

Using one of these means: "I assume the listener will know what I mean, so I don't have to specify exactly."

Think of words like "you-know-what", "thingy", et cetera.

  word    │ type   │ gloss
  zo'e    │ SUMTI  │ unspecified argument (equivalent to not filling a place)
  co'e    │ SELBRI │ unspecified relation
  do'e    │ BAI    │ unspecified preposition
  ge'e    │ UI     │ unspecified emotion

These words are very useful when you don't know exactly which word to use, but it doesn't matter.

 mi ba cusku zo'e la rozgu ku
 "I'll tell Rose."  (unspecified x2)
 .au do co'e
 "I want you to."  (unspecified predicate)
 ciska do'e lo latmo lerfu ku
 "Write (in/with/…) Latin characters."
 ge'e mi cliva
 "Eh, I'm leaving."  (unspecified emotion)

Some event involving…

There is also a word, tu'a, for building facts, events, or properties that involve a sumti in some unspecified manner.

 Pattern: tu'a SUMTI => SUMTI

(Essentially, tu'a SUMTI is short for lo (du'u/nu/ka) SUMTI co'e kei ku.)

 steba: x1 is frustrated about x2 (fact/event).
 mi steba lo nu stodi gunka lo jibri ku ja'e lo mabla ku kei ku
 "I'm frustrated by steadily working my job with crappy results."
 mi steba tu'a lo jibri ku
 "I'm frustrated about my job."
 lerci: x1 (event) happens late by x2's standards.
 lo nu lo trene ku darca lo tcana ku kei ku lerci
 "The train arriving at the station happens late."
 tu'a lo trene ku lerci
 "The train is late."

Sumti raising

Let's take a closer look at the last example.

In Lojban, we can't say something like lo trene ku lerci. The only thing that can be late is some event in time, and a train is not an event!

So, we use tu'a to "wrap" lo trene ku in an abstraction. (Doing this is sometimes called sumti raising.)

There is another word to help us do the same thing, namely jai.

 Pattern: jai SELBRI => SELBRI

Instead of wrapping a sumti, it modifies a selbri's meaning to have a "wrapped" x1. These two are equivalent:

         x1   jai SELBRI   x2 x3 x4 …
 ≡ (tu'a x1)      SELBRI   x2 x3 x4 …

This becomes more useful once we combine it with lo.

 nabmi      = x1 (nu) poses a problem to x2.
 jai nabmi  = x1 (thing) is problematic to x2; as in, something abstract involving x1 is a problem to x2.
 lo nabmi ku      = a problem (event).
 lo jai nabmi ku  = something problematic (any type).

Dropping terminators

Those kus and keis are really starting to stack up. You can often omit them. For example at the end of a bridi:

   mi troci lo nu darxi lo bolci ku kei ku
 → mi troci lo nu darxi lo bolci
   "I try to hit the ball."

Or at the end of an inner bridi:

        ┌───inner bridi───┐
   lo nu ponse lo fonxa ku kei ku xlali lo verba ku
 → lo nu ponse lo fonxa    kei ku xlali lo verba
   "Owning a phone is bad for kids."

You can drop ku if it is followed by a neighboring sumti in the current bridi:

   mi canja lo jemna ku lo solji ku do
 → mi canja lo jemna    lo solji    do
   "I trade gems in return for gold with you."

There are other cases where it's possible, but they're not as clear-cut.