15.5. Expressing scales in selbri negation

In expressing a scalar negation, we can provide some indication of the scale, range, frame-of-reference, or universe of discourse that is being dealt with in an assertion. As stated in Section 15.4, the default is the set of plausible alternatives. Thus if we say:

Example 15.62.

 le stizu cu na'e xunre The chair is-a-non- (red-thing).

the pragmatic interpretation is that we mean a different color and not

Example 15.63.

 le stizu cu dzukla be le zarci The chair walkingly-goes to the market.

However, if we have reason to be more explicit (an obtuse or contrary listener, or simply an overt logical analysis), we can clarify that we are referring to a color by saying:

Example 15.64.

 le stizu cu na'e xunre skari The chair (is-of-a-non red) color.

We might also have reduced the pragmatic ambiguity by making the two trailing sumti values explicit (the as perceived by and under conditions places have been added to the place structure of xunre). But assume we have a really stubborn listener (an artificially semi-intelligent computer?) who will find a way to misinterpret Example 15.64 even with three specific sumti provided.

In this case, we use a sumti tagged with the sumti tcita ci'u, which translates roughly as on a scale of X, where X is the sumti. For maximal clarity, the tagged sumti can be bound into the negated selbri with be. To clarify Example 15.64, we might say:

Example 15.65.

 le stizu cu na'e xunre be ci'u loka skari The chair is-non (red on a-scale-of a-property color-ness).

We can alternately use the sumti tcita teci'e, based on ciste, which translates roughly as of a system of components X, for universes of discourse; in this case, we would express Example 15.64 as:

Example 15.66.

 le stizu cu na'e xunre The chair is-a-non (red
 be teci'e le skari of a-system with-components-the colors)-thing.

Other places of ciste can be brought out using the grammar of selma'o BAI modals, allowing slightly different forms of expression, thus:

Example 15.67.

 le stizu cu na'e xunre The chair is-a-non (red
 be ci'e lo'i skari of a-system which-is-the-set-of colors)-thing.

The cmavo le'a, also in selma'o BAI, can be used to specify a category:

Example 15.68.

 le stizu cu na'e xunre The chair is-a-non (red
 be le'a lo'i skari of a-category which-is-the-set-of colors)-thing.

which is minimally different in meaning from Example 15.67.

The cmavo na'e is not the only member of selma'o NAhE. If we want to express a scalar negation which is a polar opposite, we use the cmavo to'e, which is grammatically equivalent to na'e:

Example 15.69.

 le stizu cu to'e xunre be ci'u loka skari The chair is-a-(opposite-of red) on scale a-property-of color-ness.

Likewise, the midpoint of a scale can be expressed with the cmavo no'e, also grammatically equivalent to na'e. Here are some parallel examples of na'e, no'e, and to'e:

Example 15.70.

 ta melbi That is-beautiful.

Example 15.71.

 ta na'e melbi That is-other-than beautiful.
 That is ugly [in one sense].

Example 15.72.

 ta no'e melbi That is-neutrally beautiful.
 That is plain/ordinary-looking (neither ugly nor beautiful).

Example 15.73.

 ta to'e melbi That is-opposite-of beautiful.
 That is ugly/very ugly/repulsive.

The cmavo to'e has the assigned rafsi -tol- and -to'e-; the cmavo no'e has the assigned rafsi -nor- and -no'e-. The selbri in Example 15.71 through Example 15.73 could be replaced by the lujvo nalmle, normle, and tolmle respectively.

This large variety of scalar negations is provided because different scales have different properties. Some scales are open-ended in both directions: there is no ultimately ugly or ultimately beautiful. Other scales, like temperature, are open at one end and closed at the other: there is a minimum temperature (so-called absolute zero) but no maximum temperature. Still other scales are closed at both ends.

Correspondingly, some selbri have no obvious to'e- what is the opposite of a dog? – while others have more than one, and need ci'u to specify which opposite is meant.