Lojban Lessons — Lesson 2

In lesson one, the most common order, "x1 selbri x2 x3 ..." was explained.

But as long as you keep the sumti in order, you can move the selbri (almost) anywhere you want.

For example:

{mi dunda ti do} is the same as {mi ti dunda do} and {mi ti do dunda}

The "almost" part is that if you put the selbri at the very beginning, then the sumti start with x2.

For example:

{dunda ti do} is "Someone (or something) gives this to you"

{ti} is the x2, and {do} is the x3, but we haven't put anything into the x1.

As a general rule, we don't need to fill all the places of a selbri.

Any that are omitted are implicitly filled by a special value that amounts to

"someone or something, but who or what isn't important, or is obvious from context"

Another example:

{mi dunda ti} means "I give this (away)", but it doesn't say to whom it is given.

Right now, you know how to

Now we get to the mentioned special value that you get when you don't fill in a sumti. There's also a word that you can use to explicitly fill a place with that.

{zo'e} "pro-sumti: an elliptical/unspecified value; has some value which makes bridi true."

What do you think {zdani mi} would mean?

Answers: Something is a house of mine or just I have a home

Both of those are exactly correct. This goes back to the "thinking lojbanically" thing from before; those two amount to the same thing, so the way to express "I have a home" looks nothing like the English way of saying that.

The fact that selbri are not classified as anything directly related to English is both one of the biggest differences between the two languages and also one of its greatest strengths.

One other key of thinking lojbanically is thinking of exactly what you want to say, not a literal word for word mental translation, so to speak.

(There is a way to say something that's literally much closer to "I own or possess a home", but you don't need to)

Let’s have a short recapitulation. You can move to the left with no change in meaning.

{mi dunda ti do} is the same as {mi ti dunda do} and {mi ti do dunda}

If you have no sumti on the left, then the ones on the right start with x2.

There's another way to move your sumti around.

{fa} {fe} {fi} {fo} and {fu} explicitly mark their respective places in the bridi.

They are conveniently in alphabetical order as well as order of use — That is to say that {fa} explicitly marks the x1, {fe} the x2, {fi} the x3, {fo} the x4, and {fu} the x5.

Not all selbri have five places, as you've seen, so they won't all always be useful.

The use is pretty straightforward — just say the word, and then after which say the sumti that belongs in that place.

After a tag, all sumti afterwards continue counting after that tag.

{dunda fa mi ti do}

{fa} marks the x1, which would be {mi}.

Then {ti} is the x2, {do} the x3.

{mi dunda ti do} is the same as {dunda fa mi ti do}

You can combine these however you like.

Try to rearrange {mi dunda ti do}. Make sure you keep the sumti in the same — actual — places. But go ahead and experiment.

Possible answers:

Oh, one more thing — Remember, counting picks up after a tag:

This is not wrong, but doesn’t make sense: {fi do dunda ti fa mi} — {ti} would be the x4 (and {dunda} has only 3 places, so it would be meaningless)!

Places will count "around" places that already have been filled, however.

So if you fill the x2 using {fe}, then jump back to the x1 using {fa}, the next one in 'counting' order would be the x3.

{dunda fe ti fa mi do} — {fe} ⇒ x2 ,{fa} ⇒ x1, (x2 is filled, so jump to x3) {do} ⇒ x3

This sort of reordering is also a convenient way to omit places that we don't want to fill.

{mi dunda fi do} — I give something to you

We can also fill in the same place twice, but at least the second time has to be done with an explicit fa,fe, etc.

{mi dunda ti do fe lo plise} — I give this to you, an apple. However, it's indeterminate whether this construction means I gave you one thing, or two. There are better ways of distinguishing this.

We can even omit all the places, and let everything be gleaned from context.

{pelxu} — (Something unspecified) is yellow. (Might be exclaimed upon seeing Big Bird, for instance.)

continue to Lojban Lessons — Lesson 3

that's not right, this makes two claims: "i give this to you. i give the apple to you". (see example 3.9 in CLL chapter 9.3)

That's very true, but if "ti du le plise", then only one thing was given, and the meaning of the statement was more in the nature of mi dunda ti noi plise. Two claims were made, but the relationships were both about the same objects.