sumti conversions

Another thing we can do is to use conversion cmavo to make sumti. We saw how Lojban articles turn selbri into sumti, so that, for example, lo mlatu means "something(s) which could fit in the first place of mlatu" — in other words, lo changes 'is-a-cat' to 'a cat'. The same is true for le mlatu except that, as we've seen, it is something which the speaker has in mind as occupying x1 of mlatu — in other words, 'the cat.'

This works fine if the only place we want to access and turn into a sumti is x1; but with other gismu we may want to make sumti out of other places. Let's look at the last example from the previous exercise:

lo prenu cu dunda le cukta mi

lo prenu can also be le dunda 'the giver'; but what about the sumti describing mi and le cukta? Well, you probably guessed. The answer you gave to the exercise was (I hope)

mi te dunda le cukta

This means that mi can be le te dunda 'the recipient'. In the same way, le cukta can be le se dunda 'the gift' or 'the thing given'. So if we want to make a really obvious sentence, we can say

le dunda cu dunda le se dunda le te dunda
The giver gives the given-thing to the person-to-whom-it-is-given
The donor gives the gift to the recipient.

Note: 'gift' here is anything given without payment or exchange — it doesn't need to have the 'special present' associations of the English word.)

These conversions apply not only to gismu, but to any word acting as a selbri. Remember go'i, for example, which stands in for the preceding sentence's bridi. Just as we did with dunda, we can construct a bridi like

le go'i cu go'i le se go'i le te go'i le ve go'i le xe go'i

On its own, this sentence doesn't mean terribly much; it just repeats the previous sentence. But the trick is, this version of the sentence repeats the previous sentence, with its sumti appearing explicitly. This is how we can refer back to sumti in the previous sentence in general. For example,

.i la suzyn. zgana lo nanmu goi ko'a .i ko'a melbi

can also be expressed as

.i la suzyn. zgana lo nanmu .i le se go'i cu melbi

That's because le se go'i refers to the second place (x2) of the preceding bridi, which is lo nanmu. (There are even ways to refer back to sumti introduced by sumti tcita; but that's an advanced topic.)

Even some abstraction cmavo can be modified by se. For example, du'u, which can be used to form a selbri, has two sumti: x1, the thought described, and x2, the words used to express it:

le la jan. se pensi cu {du'u ri nelci la suzyn. kei} lu do dirba mi li'u
Zhang's thing-thought (= what Zhang thought) is {the thought that he likes Susan}, put into the words "You are dear to me."

That's why le se du'u refers to words rather than thoughts.

Exercise 2

Come up with sumti for the following concepts, using the following gismu:


  1. the destination

  2. the route

  3. the namer

  4. the translation

  5. the translator

  6. the request

  7. the meeting place

  8. the writing implement

  9. the description

  10. the response