xu do sisku lo lojbo tcana
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File: 1208824385205.jpg -(19189 B, 300x297) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size. [Oekaki]
19189 No.16  

Words in Lojban just have different kinds of uses.

Just like verbs in English have a place before and after to indicate who/what performs the verb and on who/what, so do Lojban words. These words are called “gismu”.

Consider 'speak'.

1) “I speak”
2) “I speak to you about gismu in English

You can see here we are giving extra information about the speaking action. Likewise:

The Lojban for word speak, 'tavla':

Given the place structure[1] of tavla,

x1 talks/speaks to x2 about subject x3 in language x4

we can add extra meaning to a gismu:

1) mi tavla
2) mi tavla do lo gismu la lojban

(“I speak”, “I speak to you about [that which really is] gismu in [that which is named] Lojban”. la and lo [2] are called cmavo.[3])

So a gismu is like a question on a form, you can fill in what you like:

x1 talks/speaks to x2 about subject x3 in language x4

____ tavla ____ ____ ____

Any that you don't specify are just assumed to be implied by context or not relevant, just like in English “I speak”.

Additionally, let's say I only want to specify certain ones, I can use place tags[4]:

mi tavla fi la lojban

“I speak in Lojban

(fi means “third place” -- it goes in vowel order; a,e,i,o,u)

More: http://www.tlg.uci.edu/~opoudjis/lojbanbrochure/lessons-utf/book1.html


[1] http://www.tlg.uci.edu/~opoudjis/lojbanbrochure/lessons-utf/less2places.html

[2] http://www.tlg.uci.edu/~opoudjis/lojbanbrochure/lessons-utf/less2sumti.html

[3] http://www.lojban.org/tiki/tiki-index.php?page=cmavo

[4] http://www.lojban.org/tiki/tiki-index.php?page=Lojban%20Tutorial:%20Lesson%202#Changing_Places

>> No.24  
File: 1208912494698.jpg -(5484 B, 200x200) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size. [Oekaki]


In my understanding the numbers in x1 x2 x3 are actually supposed to be subscripts, though they're much more often written like "x1" for convenience. They are pronounced x1 = "xy xi pa", x2 = "xy xi re", x3 = "xy xi ci", x4 = "xy xi vo", and x5 = "xy xi mu". ("xy" is the letter X, which can be used by itself as a variable, and "xi" means subscript, plus the name of the number.)

The place structure is the heart and soul of a gismu. You should look to the structure to tell you not just how to use the word structurally, but also what the relationship is really about.

x1 is the "fa" place, and comes first without a transformation.

x2 is the "fe" place, and comes first when "se" is used.

x3 is the "fi" place, and comes first when "te" is used.

x4 is the "fo" place, and comes first when "ve" is used.

x5 is the "fu" place, and comes first when "xe" is used.

The words with four and five places are rare, but they are also some of the most important words: cusku, fanva, klama. Those three words alone actually have fourteen different concepts hidden inside of them-- things like "lo se klama", a destination, "lo ve cusku", a medium of expression, and "lo te fanva", a language into which something is translated.

Gismu are more difficult to learn than a noun or a verb, because of this way that they have many nouns and verbs inside of them, rolled up into a ball. Gismu seem strange at first, but they have a logic to them which will become clear to you once you have learned enough of them.

>> No.25  

Nicely put.

>> No.26  

The last part of mungojelly's post was really helpful because the book just seems to gloss over how huge of a difference learning "x1, x2, x3" flashcards instead of "word : meaning" flashcards is. A Chinese textbook would -not- gloss over tones for example.

>> No.33  

The tone of Chinese words changes the meaning? Very interesting; is that similar to stress in English?
“you got the job?”
“YOU got the job?”
“you got THE job?”
(Thanks for that one, Twey .ui)

I'm glad Lojban's stress is always the same, replaced by attitudinals. It's so much clearer for communicating textually (like forums and IRC).

>> No.57  

No, it's not just an emphasis shift. For example, in Mandarin, the word 'ma' can mean 'mother,' 'horse,' 'spank,' or be a question marker (like xu), depending on whether it's pronounced rising, falling, high, low, &c. If I could remember the actual tones, there's a famous sentence 'did mother spank the horse?' using only different tones of 'ma.'

>> No.58  

.u'isai. I'd considered that very sentence before you mentioned it. Hilarious. Interesting stuff. I guess that makes it more expressive in verbal communication but less so textually?

>> No.379  

xu le mamta sfasa le xirma pi'o le xance be rixire

It just is not the same (shakes head).

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