Chapter 14. Why didn't I think of that before? More connectives

Table of Contents
Forethought connectives
Non-logical connectives
tanru grouping
Answers to exercises

We have already seen in Lesson 11 several Lojban connectives described. This lesson rounds off discussion of connectives, with three additional types. First, we consider forethought connectives: these are used to identify the logical relation between two terms by being placed in front of the first term, rather than in between the two. Then, we look at some more non-logical connectives — which may prove more useful than you might have expected, especially in a 'logical' language. Finally, we look at connectives used to structure tanru — in particular, how to group gismu together within tanru.

Forethought connectives

As we've already seen, there are some things odd about the Lojban logical connective for IF. One oddity we haven't touched upon is that you realise that there's a conditional going on only halfway through. Recall what a typical instance of IF looks like:

.i mi djuno ledu'u do vi zvati .inaja mi dasni noda

You read the first sentence, and everything goes swimmingly: "I know that you're here." Then, shazam! you get the connective: "IF that were the case, I would wear nothing." You didn't know in advance that the first sentence was going to be an IF. This is unlike the case in English (and natural languages in general), where the if comes right at the start of the first sentence, and gives you plenty of warning about what's coming up.

The problem here is, the logical version of IF denies what comes before it. So in effect, you're getting the first statement, quite normally, and then the surprise: "Either that's not true, or this is true." Things are just as bad for other connectives denying what comes before them. For instance, na.e is a perfectly reasonable connective:

mi djica loi bakni na.e loi jipci 
I want not the beef, but the chicken.

But look at what the Lojban is actually saying:

I want the beef — NOT! and the chicken.

There was a vogue in the '90s of putting NOT! at the end of sentences in American English (see Wayne's World.) This was a joke, and the reason it was a joke is that saying a sentence isn't true after you've already said it isn't exactly being helpful.

So if we're going to use logical connectives in Lojban, and are obligated to pull NOT!-tricks like this, the Lojban listener can understandably get frustrated. Once again, though, Lojban has an answer. With forethought connectives, you can indicate the logical relationship between two terms in front of the first term. You still need a word separating the two terms, to show what is being logically connected; but now you know in advance what that logical connection is.

If sumti are involved, the forethought connective is formed by placing g in front of the vowel indicating the logical relationship. The two sumti are then connected with the leftover g-word, gi. So the forethought version of mi .e do is

ge mi gi do

Here, ge means that the two sumti coming up are connected with AND, while gi indicates that what follows is the second sumti in the relation. (These forethought connectives belong to selma'o GA.)

The real usefulness of these forms comes out in the NOT!-connectives we've just seen. If you want to give some warning when choosing the chicken instead of the beef, you can now say

mi djica genai loi bakni gi loi jipci

(Forethought connectives can be followed by nai, just like their afterthought counterparts.) If you wanted to say "beef, not chicken", you would put nai after the gi:

mi djica ge loi bakni ginai loi jipci

If you're connecting bridi, as it turns out, you still use selma'o GA. If you don't follow GA + sumti immediately by gi and another sumti, then Lojban grammar assumes that you're connecting not sumti any more, but bridi. So our forethought version of Zhang's statement of wishful thinking is:

.i ganai mi djuno lenu do vi zvati gi mi dasni noda

You'll notice that there is no second .i here. Two bridi connected by GA belong to the same sentence; we already know from the grammar that what's coming up after the gi is a separate bridi, so we don't need to separate it out with .i.

Tip: This can actually turn out handy in beating Lojban precedence. For example, remember in Lesson 10 that we gave two sentences, and their logical conclusion:

.i la flufis. ractu .ije ro ractu na'e ze'u jmive .i la flufis. seni'i na ze'u jmive

We should be able from that to say

.i la flufis. ractu .ije ro ractu na'e ze'u jmive .iseni'ibo la flufis. na ze'u jmive

right? Actually, no we can't: bo has the function of connecting sentences through sumti tcita, because it connects sentences on its own. And when it does, it connects them tighter than .ije does. This means that .iseni'ibo connects only to the immediately preceding sentence — not to the preceding sentence pair! So Fluffy's death is presented as a consequence of rabbits not living long — not a consequence of both rabbits not living long and Fluffy being a rabbit.

However, if we put the two bridi in a single sentence, then none of this is an issue: the conclusion will attach to both bridi, but will still attach to a single sentence:

.i ge la flufis. ractu gi ro ractu na'e ze'u jmive .iseni'ibo la flufis. na ze'u jmive

There is also a forethought connective for tanru, corresponding to JA: these are the connectives belonging to selma'o GUhA, and are formed by placing gu' in front of the connective vowel (connecting the second tanru with gi.) So if we want to say that Susan fancies men that are, if funny, then also handsome, the afterthought version is

la suzyn. cinynei ro melbi naja xajmi nanmu

To make this slightly (but only slightly!) more comprehensible, we can put this in forethought mode:

la suzyn. cinynei ro gu'anai melbi gi xajmi nanmu

There are no forethought versions of bridi-tail connectives. In practice, however, two bridi connected by GA can be bridi-tails just as easily as full bridi: there is no real meaning distinction between the two.

Exercise 1

Give sentences using forethought connectives instead of the afterthought connectives used below.

  1. .i la djiotis. nelci loi cidjrkari .a loi nanba

  2. .i la djiotis. nelci loi cidjrkari .iju la djiotis. citka loi cidjrkari

  3. .i la djiotis. nelci ju citka loi cidjrkari

  4. .i la djiotis. nelci loi cidjrkari gi'e xebni loi zirpu

  5. .i la djiotis. .onai la suzyn. djuno ledu'u la jan. zvati jonai tadni

  6. .i la djiotis. nelci loi cidjrkari .a loi nanba .e loi jisra (Remember: Lojban nests to the left!)

  7. .i la djiotis. .onai la suzyn. djuno ledu'u la jan. zvati .inaja la jan. se denpa