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Causes and implications

gasnu — to make something do something

lo canko cu kalri
The window is open.
ko gasnu lo nu lo canko cu kalri
Open the window!
gasnu = agent x1 causes event x2 to happen
gau = agentive preposition (to make someone do something)

Such verbs as to open (something), to move can be rephrased as to make something open, to make something move and therefore we don't need to learn extra verbs for every such meaning. Instead we use an additional verb gasnu all the time.

Its corresponding preposition is gau:

gau ko lo canko cu kalri
Open the window!
e'o gau do lo canko cu kalri
Please open the window.
gau = fi'o gasnu = transitive preposition

The third option is to use separate words:

mi kargau lo canko
I open a window.
kargau = to open (something)

jalge - result ("because of ...", "why?")

ma se jalge lo nu carvi
What gives the rise to the raining?

- se ja'e ma carvi - lo nu lo dilnu cu klaku
- Why is it raining? - Because the clouds are crying.
jalge = event x1 is the result or outcome of event x2
se jalge = event x1 give rise to the event x2
se ja'e = fi'o se jalge = because of ...
se ja'e ma = why?

Therefore is the reverse word compared to because:

  • se ja'e = because
  • ja'e = therefore
lo dilnu cu klaku ja'e lo nu lo dargu cu cilmo
Skies are crying resulting in the road being wet.
lo dilnu cu klaku i ja'e bo lo dargu cu cilmo
Skies are crying. Therefore the road is wet.

nibli — logical implication

- ma nibli lo nu nicte - lo nu lo solri na te gusni
- What logically entails that it is night? - The sun not shining.
- ni'i ma nicte - lo nu lo solri na te gusni
- Why is it night? - Because the sun is not shining.
lo solri na te gusni i se ni'i bo nicte
The sun is not shining. Therefore, it's night.
nibli = x1 logically necessitates/entails/implies x2 under rules x3
ni'i = fi'o nibli = logically because of ...
seni'i = with the logical consequence that ..., logically therefore
gusni = x1 is light falling down on x2 from source x3
te gusni = x1 is the source of light x3 falling onto x2

This is another type of why. Here we can't use jalge as we are talking not about a result but about logical implication. The fact that it is night just logically follows from the sun not shining.

Verbs more precise than jalge

Here are other frequent verbs for causes with their corresponding prepositions:

krinu = event x1 is a justification or reason for event x2
ki'u = because (due to explanation …)
mukti = x1 is a motive for the event x2 caused by agent x3
mu'i = because (of motive …)

Notice that se ja'e is the only verb that has se. It means that the order of it's places is reversed compared to the other verbs.

Let's try to replace jalge with other verbs in our examples.

rinka — physical causation

lo nu lo dilnu cu klaku cu rinka lo nu lo dargu cu cilmo
The clouds' crying is making it rain.
The-event the cloud weep physically-cause the event rain. [literally]
lo dargu cu cilmo ri'a lo nu lo dilnu cu klaku
rinka = x1 causes effect x2 under conditions x3
ri'a = because (of physical or mechanical cause…)

Here we are asking for a physical explanation. rinka and ri'a only deal with physical causes. Compare:

la .salis. cu darxi do ri'a lo nu do lacpu lo kerfa
Sally hits you with-physical-cause you pull the hair. [literally]

This is nonsense, since it means that little Joey pulling Sally's hair physically caused her to hit him, which would only be true if Joey had pulled her hair so hard that she had fallen on top of him, perhaps.

In this case either we use a more vague se ja'e or another preposition that we'll study just now.

mukti — motivation

In the hair-pulling case, what we have is not two events which are physically connected, like clouds and rain, but three events:

  1. Joey pulls Sally's hair.
  2. Sally decides, as a result of this, to hit Joey.
  3. Sally hits Joey.

For the sake of convenience, English misses out the second event and says Sally hit Joey because he pulled her hair. However, this is not only vague but, some would say, psychologically dangerous. People do not generally react to stimuli automatically, but as a result of motivation, and confusing complex responses with simple physical causation may lead us to believe that we have no control over our emotions or even our actions. Whether or not we believe in free will at a metaphysical level, it is useful to distinguish between physical reactions and responses which have a cognitive/emotional element. Not surprisingly, then, Lojban has a separate verb for motivation:

mukti = x1 (action, event) motivates/is a motive/incentive for action/event x2, per volition of x3

We can therefore say

lo nu do lacpu lo kerfa be ra cu mukti lo nu la .salis. cu darxi do [vau la .salis]
You pulling Sally's hair motivated her to hit you.
the-event you pull the hair [related-to Sally] motivates the-event Sally hit you [through the volition of Sally] [literally]

As we can see, the third place is nearly always unnecessary, since we can assume that the agent of the second event is also the person who decides to do it. Even so, this structure is a bit clumsy, so again we would normally use a preposition — in this case, mu'i. This gives us

la salis. cu darxi do mu'i lo nu do lacpu lo kerfa
Sally hits you with-motive you pull the hair.

Using te we get te mukti which has another concise translation in English:

te mukti = x1 intends/going to do x2 with motive x3

Yes, in fact to be going to is tightly connected with motivation so we use the same verb for these concepts in Lojban.

mi te mukti lo ka klama la paris
I am going to visit Paris.

krinu — justification

The difference between motivation and justification is not always clear, but we can say that the latter involves some rule or standard while the former does not require this. Going back to the example of Sally and the teacher, it is possible to say

la .salis. cu te dunda lo tartcita lo ctuca mu'i lo nu sy. carmi gunka
Sally is-given a star-label [by] the teacher with-motivation she much-try work. [literally]

However, this says only that Sally's hard work motivated the teacher to give her a star. It does not imply that it is the custom for teachers to give stars (or ‘star-labels’, as I have rather pedantically translated it) as a reward for good work. What we need here is ki'u, the preposition from krinu:

x1 (event) is a reason/justification/explanation for/causing/permitting x2 (event)

We can therefore more accurately say

lo nu la .salis. cu carmi gunka cu krinu lo nu lo ctuca cu dunda lo tartcita sy.

or, as in the earlier example,

la .salis. cu te dunda lo tartcita lo ctuca ki'u lo nu sy. carmi gunka
Note: Don't get ki'u mixed up with ku'i which means but, however!

Let's not confuse jalge and nibli

ki'u appeals to more general considerations than mu'i, but it still deals with human standards, not logical laws. Only a very naive student would believe that if a student is given a star, it must logically imply that that student has worked hard. In the tragic case of Fluffy, however, the fact that Fluffy is a rabbit logically implies that he will not live long, given what we know about rabbits. Here we can confidently use nibli.

Of course, the questions do not have to take these forms; if young Joey is a religious type, he might say la .flufis. co'a morsi ki'u ma, asking with what justification God took his rabbit from him, whereas if he is scientifically minded, he might ask la .flufis. co'a morsi ri'a ma, inquiring as to the physical cause of Fluffy's death.

Lojban doesn't force you to use any particular philosophy, religion or political beliefs.