With four types of because, we can now make four types of why, simply by using ma. Our child's questions from the beginning of the lesson translate as follows:

Of course, the questions do not have to take these forms; if young Joey is a religious type, he might say la flufis. pu mrobi'o ki'u ma, asking with what justification God took his rabbit from him, whereas if he is scientifically minded, he might ask la flufis. pu mrobi'o ri'a ma, inquiring as to the physical cause of Fluffy's death.

To an English-speaker, this looks back-to-front ("It rains. Why?") but there is really no reason why question-words have to come at the beginning of a sentence. However, if you prefer to start with ma, you can always use the full gismu, e.g.

ma rinka lenu carvi
what? physically-causes the-event rain

And since the position of sumti tcita in the bridi is fairly free, nothing is preventing you from saying

ri'a ma carvi

Answers to why-questions are usually not a whole sentence but an event abstraction-sumti, following Lojban's fill-in-the-slot approach to questions and answers; e.g.

This is short for the long-winded la salis. darxi do mu'i lenu do lacpu lei kerfa.



x1 is a/the god/deity of people(s)/religion x2 with dominion over x3 [sphere]; x1 is divine


x1 utters moan/groan/howl/scream [non-linguistic utterance] x2 expressing x3 (property)


x1 is the answer/response/solution/[reply] to question/problem x2


x1 is dark/lacking in illumination


x1 is evil/depraved/wicked [morally bad] by standard x2


x1 marries x2; x1 becomes a spouse of x2 under law/custom/tradition/system/convention x3 (speni 'spouse' + binxo 'become')

Exercise 4

Translate the following questions.

  1. Why did Jim marry Samantha?

  2. Why's the dog barking?

  3. Why is it dark in here?

  4. Why is the answer 4.6?

  5. Why does God allow evil?