Complex sumti

More le selbri [ku] descriptions

Now that we have seen a variety of selbri forms, it may become obvious that any of these selbri structures can be used in description sumti marked with le. Indeed, some of these structures, especially internal sumti and abstractions, are much more commonly found embedded in sumti, than in the selbri defining the main relation of the sentence.

ko[cu]tavlale sutra klama [ku][vau]
You (imperative) talk to the quick-goer. (Talk to the quick-goer.)

do[cu]klamale se tavla [ku]ta[vau]
You go to the one-talked-to from that.

This last example shows the virtue of se conversion. It has allowed us to mentally convert tavla to make its x2 place accessible by description in the sumti.

Now for a tricky usage. We use go'i to refer to the bridi of the last sentence. Therefore le go'i [ku] refers to the first place of that bridi (in this case, the go-er, do). If we want to refer to the second place of the last sentence bridi, the destination, we can mentally convert that sentence using se: so le se go'i [ku] means the destination (le se klama [ku] = le se tavla [ku]).

le se go'i [ku]cumelbi[vau]
The destination is beautiful (or) The one talked-to (the destination) is beautiful.

le na'e melbi [ku]cutavlata[vau]
The other-than-beautiful one talks to that one.

mi[cu]tavlale mo klama [ku]ri[vau]
I talk to the what-kind-of go-er about itself?

le re moi prenu [ku]cutavlami[vau]
The second person talks to me.

It is important to remember and correctly use the elidable separator cu with description selbri. If you misplace it or omit it (or its less-often used alternative ku), you will create some very strange tanru.

le sutra [ku]cuvecnu cukta[vau]
The quick-one is a seller book.

le sutra vecnu [ku]cucukta[vau]
The quick seller is a book.

And, if you omit the cu altogether, you get only a sumti:

le sutra vecnu cukta [ku][vau]
The quick-seller book.

sumti descriptions with internal sumti

The phrase

le selbribe sumti bei sumti bei sumti ... bei sumti [be'o]ku

is all one sumti:

le tavlabe mibei le vecnu [ku] [be'o][ku]
The talkerto meabout the seller 

You can even fill in the places of an internal sumti:

le tavla
The talker
bele melbibe mi [be'o][ku][be'o][ku]
tothe beautifulto me   
cuklama [vau]
The talker to the one who is beautiful to me goes. (The person talking to the one I think is beautiful, goes.)

Without the omitted terminators this looks a bit less wordy:

le tavla be le melbi be mi cu klama
The one talking to the one I think is beautiful, goes.

A selbri can consist of a tanru with internal sumti; therefore a sumti may be built on such a selbri, possibly even having internal sumti on both components of a tanru . (In a tanru embedded within a sumti, even the sumti attached to the final component must be attached with be/bei/be'o):

lemelbibe mi [be'o] tavlabe la .an. [be'o]
[ku] cu vecnu ti [vau]
The beautiful-to-me talker-to-Ann sells this. (The one I think is beautiful who is talking to Ann, sells this.)

Here, either the ku or the cu is elidable before the main selbri (both instances of be'o are unconditionally elidable). Most frequently, when there is a choice, the terminator that best communicates the sentence structure is chosen. cu, in this case, clearly separates the complex sumti from the selbri, and is preferred. Often a single cu may allow you to omit several elidable terminators that would otherwise be necessary. This happens most frequently with abstraction selbri that are used in sumti descriptions.

Abstraction sumti clauses

Abstraction sumti clauses take the form "le nu sentence kei":

I want
lenumi [cu] klama le zarci [ku] [vau][kei][ku]
the event-of: I go to the store
I want to go to the store.

With the elidable terminators not printed, this sentence looks much shorter:

mi djica le nu mi klama le zarci
I want to go to the store.

An even shorter form will typically appear in Lojban text. le nu occurs so frequently in combination that it is often written as a single word. This isn't mandatory -- cmavo compounds are always understood as meaning the same thing as the words written separately. cmavo are generally written as one word when they together equate to a concept that is written in other languages as one word.

In addition, the mi inside the abstraction will often be omitted. When a listener hears this sentence and realizes that the go-er wasn't specified, the obvious value(s) will be assumed (as with the origin, the route and the means). Leaving out the mi is exactly comparable to the difference between the two English sentences:

I want to go to the store (and) I want myself to go to the store.

mi djica lenu klama le zarci
I want to go to the store.

If an abstraction is in the x1 position, cu allows four other elidable markers to be omitted. An example is the following conversion of the last example sentence:

lenu mi [cu] klama le zarci [ku] [vau] [kei][ku]
cu se djica mi [vau]
The-event-of: (I go to the store) is desirable to me.

Using cu makes things much easier for the listener, who thus knows in one word that the complex sumti is completely ended and the main selbri comes next.

We promised to give examples of two of the other types of abstractions in this section. These abstractions tend to be associated with specific places of particular brivla.

la mark.[cu]ricfule ka melbi [vau] [kei] [ku]
Mark is rich in the quality of x1 being beautiful to x2 by standard x3.

I know
le du'u la djan. [cu] te vecnu [vau] [kei] [ku][vau]
the-fact-that John is a buyer. 
I know that John buys (something).

As with the earlier examples, these sentences will typically appear much shorter in print:

la mark. ricfu leka melbi
Mark is rich in beauty.

mi djuno ledu'u la djan. te vecnu
I know that John buys (something).

Quantified sumti ("le number [boi] selbri [ku]")

One way to quantify a sumti being described is to insert the number followed by a terminator boi, which may be omitted when no ambiguity results (the usual case):

le re [boi] tavla [ku] cu klama [vau]
The two talkers go.

boi may not be elided when a number selbri follows, since you wouldn't know otherwise where one number stops and the next begins (Lojban does not allow such boundaries to be expressed by contrastive stress as in English):

le reno boi remei [ku] cu klama [vau]
The twenty twosomes (pairs) go.

Quantified selection from sumti ("number [boi] le [number] [boi] selbri [ku]")

You can also put a number preceding the le, to select from the set of individuals indicated by the description:

re [boi]le tavla [ku]cuklama[vau]
Two of the (unspecified number of) talkers go.

re [boi]le reno boi remei [ku]cuklama[vau]
Two of the twenty twosomes go. (i.e. four altogether)

le tavlabepa [boi]le ci [boi] bajra [ku][be'o]
(begin) 1... 
The talkertoone ofthe three runners 
[ku]cumelbi [vau]
(end) is-beautiful

Indefinite description sumti ("lo selbri [ku]")

If you wish to describe a sumti, but do not have a specific instance of the sumti in mind, you can instead refer generically to something that meets the terms of the description selbri:

lo tavla [ku] cu klama [vau]
A talker goes (or) Some talkers go.

lo may be used interchangeably with le in the preceding examples, with an indefinite description as a result.

Lojban allows you to omit the lo in:

number [boi] [lo] [number [boi] ] selbri [ku]

re [boi] [lo] tavla [ku] cu klama [vau] =
re tavla cu klama
Two [of the unspecified number who are] talkers go.

di'u and la'e di'u

In English, if I say The school is beautiful, you might reply This pleases me. How do you know what this refers to? Lojban uses different expressions to convey the possible meanings of English this. So, given the sentence:

le ckule [ku] cu melbi [vau]
The school is beautiful.

the following three sentences all might translate as "This pleases me."

ri cu pluka mi [vau]
This (the school, the last expressed sumti) pleases me.

di'u cu pluka mi [vau]
This (the last sentence) pleases me (perhaps because it is grammatical or sounds nice).

la'e di'u cu pluka mi [vau]
This (what the last sentence refers to; i.e. that the school is beautiful) pleases me.

The last sentence is an example of using one sumti to point to or refer to another by inference. la'edi'u is often written as a single word, and is used more often than di'u by itself.

Other sumti types

Lojban supports several other sumti types, more than we can discuss in a short paper. These include bare numbers, and several kinds of quoted text (single words, grammatical text, potentially ungrammatical text, and non-Lojban text).