Connecting bridi tails

Many human languages — English among them — divide sentences into two parts: the subject, and the rest. In mainstream linguistic parlance, these get called the noun phrase and the verb phrase. (We've mostly managed to avoid so far the kind of grammar talk that might have sent shivers down your spine at school. Don't worry, this won't hurt a bit...)

Now the thing about subjects is, we tend to talk about them a lot. In fact, it's not unusual to string together a series of sentences, each with the same subject. From sentence to sentence, you keep saying what the same person did, or was. This means you're keeping the subject constant, and changing the rest of the sentence.

This makes for an obvious shortcut: rather than repeat the same subject in two sentences, keep everything in one sentence, with a single subject, and join together the two 'rest-of-the-sentences'. For example, why say Nick went to California. And Nick stayed there for three years, when you can join them together as Nick went to California, and stayed there for three years?

Lojban, being spoken by human beings (ostensibly), is not immune to this kind of pressure. Strictly speaking, Lojban doesn't have noun phrases and verb phrases. However, it does have zero or more sumti in front of the selbri, and then a selbri followed by zero or more other sumti. The selbri with its trailing sumti can be considered the tail of the bridi (corresponding to the verb phrase), where the initial sumti (if any!) are its head (corresponding to the noun phrase).

Lojban allows you to join bridi-tails using a different series of logical connectives. sumti connectives start with vowels, and tanru connectives add a j in front of them. bridi-tail connectives add a gi' instead. So the bridi-tail connective version of AND is gi'e.

So what is this good for? Quite simply, you can take sentences like

.i la nik. klama la kalifornias. .ije la nik. stali la kalifornias. ze'a lo nanca be li ci

and change them into the much more stylish

.i la nik. klama la kalifornias. gi'e stali la kalifornias. ze'a lo nanca be li ci

— or, indeed, the even more stylish (and much less like English)

.i la nik. la kalifornias. klama gi'e stali ze'a lo nanca be li ci

You'll be seeing a lot of gi'e in Lojban for that reason.

Note: ze'a as a sumti tcita? Sure, and you shouldn't be surprised at this by now. Anything that can be used as a tense can be used as a sumti tcita, and vice versa. Since ze'a as a tense specifies duration, as a sumti tcita it introduces the duration of the bridi. So it corresponds precisely to for in English.



x1 is brother of/fraternal to x2 by bond/tie/standard/parent(s) x3; [not necess. biological]


x1 is equal/congruent to/as much as x2 in property/dimension/quantity x3


x1 (person/mass) attacks/invades/commits aggression upon victim x2 with goal/objective x3


x1 is captain/commander/leader/in-charge/boss of vehicle/domain x2


x1 interacts/behaves socially with x2; x1 socializes with/is sociable towards x2


x1 is a senator representing x2 in senate x3


x1 satisfies evaluator x2 in property (ka)/state x3


x1 (person/object/event) is famous/renowned/is a celebrity among community of persons x2 (mass)


x1 (agent) promises/commits/assures/threatens x2 (event/state) to x3 [beneficiary/victim]


x1 is old/familiar/well-known to observer x2 in feature x3 (ka) by standard x4


x1 is married to x2; x1 is a spouse of x2 under law/custom/tradition/system/convention x3


x1 obeys/follows the command/rule x2 made by x3; (adjective:) x1 is obedient


x1 has the power to bring about x2 under conditions x3; x1 is powerful in aspect x2 under x3

Exercise 4

Combine the following pairs of Lojban sentences into a single sentence. Get as many common sumti as possible into the bridi-head. Use conversion liberally.

  1. .i la djak.kenedis. jatna le merko .i la djak.kenedis. bruna la rabyrt.kenedis.

  2. .i la djak.kenedis. speni la djaklin.buvier. .i la djak.kenedis. se catra la lis.xarvis.azuald.

  3. .i la djak.kenedis. nupre lenu lo merko cu cadzu le lunra .i la nasas. tinbe fi la djak.kenedis.

  4. .i la djak.kenedis. tavla fi la kubas. .i la djak.kenedis. gunta la kubas.

  5. .i la djak.kenedis. mansa lei merko leka vlipa .i la djak.kenedis. ckasu la nikitas.xrucTCOF. leka vlipa

  6. .i la djak.kenedis. sutra tavla .i la djak.kenedis. na denpa

  7. .i la djak.kenedis. jikca la MErilin.monROS. .i la djak.kenedis. djuno ledu'u la MErilin.monROS. misno

  8. .i mi la djak.kenedis. se slabu .i la djak.kenedis. pu pendo mi .i do doi kratrsenatore na dunli la djak.kenedis.