Answers to Exercises

Exercise 1

  1. le go'i: Yes. ri: No. (ri would be loi vanju.) ra: Yes.

  2. le go'i: No. ri: Yes. ra: No. (Strictly speaking, if ri is not used in a sentence, ra can refer to the immediately preceding sumti; but that would be needlessly misleading.)

  3. le go'i: No. (go'i refers back to the previous sentence — which is why it can answer a yes/no-question — and not to a bridi in the same sentence.) ri: Yes. ra: No.

  4. le go'i: No. (Once again, there's no previous sentence for it to refer to.) ri: Yes. (ri counts only completed sumti, and le ri pendo is not yet complete when you count back from ri to the le immediately in front of it.) ra: No.

  5. le go'i: No. (The x1 of the preceding sentence is not la suzyn. but lenu la suzyn. badri.) ri: Yes. (See discussion.) ra: No.

  6. le go'i: Yes. ri: No. ra: Yes. (lenu la suzyn. badri is the second sumti counting backwards from the start of the sentence.)

Exercise 2

  1. Susan greets Jyoti.

  2. They laugh nervously.

  3. Now, they look at the man. (le go'i means that the people doing the laughing are the same as the people doing the looking — both of them.)

  4. He walks towards the left of Jyoti. (Without the mo'i, this would mean "He walks at the left of Jyoti".)

  5. He wants to know (about) her name. (That's Susan's name, not Jyoti's — though in English you'd assume Jyoti, since she is the most recently named female. Pro-sumti like ko'a aren't affected by what candidate referent has been mentioned most recently: they have a unique referent that stays constant.)

In order to get this into understandable English, we've had to change some of the pro-sumti back into names. We could also make the translation sound more natural by changing the word order a bit more, and maybe putting the whole thing into the past tense.

Exercise 3

  1. He says "Jyoti, what is the name of your friend?" (This is actually the simplest way of saying "Who's your friend?"; le do pendo cu mo is closer to "What's your friend?", as in "What does your friend do?" or "What is your friend like?")

  2. She says "'Susan.'" (Note the characteristic, Lewis-Carrollesque Lojban pedantry here. Susan, the young woman with an irrational fear of German alcoholic beverages, is not Susan's name. The word 'Susan' is Susan's name. So Jyoti cannot answer la suzyn., meaning la suzyn. cu cmene le mi pendo, but lu suzyn. li'u, meaning lu suzyn. li'u cu cmene le mi pendo. Since we're putting everything Jyoti says inside our own quotes, this makes her answer be lu lu suzyn. li'u li'u.)

  3. He says "Delighted — any friend of yours is a friend of mine." (Remember, Lojban selbri can be used in both bridi and sumti: pendo means both 'a friend', with an article in front of it, and 'is a friend', as an independent selbri.)

  4. Jyoti says to herself angrily "What does he want?" (Because it is in direct quotation, the question is Jyoti's, not the narrator's, obviously: this does not mean "What was it that Jyoti said to herself he wanted?")

Exercise 4

  1. sedu'u, in the usual usage of claim as 'make a statement'. Lojban gives du'u for xusra 'assert, claim', but that points to the more logic-specific sense of 'claim that something is true'.

  2. nu. It is events in the world, rather than concepts, which usually provoke emotional responses. If du'u represents something you hold in your brain, then nu, not du'u, is necessary after 'frustrated': your emotional response is too much of a reflex action for your perception to have the time to become something you hold in your brain!

  3. du'u: agreement is a response you have to a concept; this concept has not necessarily been put in words, nor are you necessarily putting it in words yourself.

  4. nu. Confusion is an emotional response, just like frustration, and primarily involves events in the world, rather than rational facts. (If they're confusing, of course, they're probably not all that rational in the first place.)

  5. du'u: decisions are things you hold in your brain, before you either put them into words, or into action.

Exercise 5

  1. mi'o

  2. mi (Classic case of someone speaking on behalf of the many, by the way.)

  3. mi'a, although this could be mi if the expeller is speaking institutionally, on behalf of the association.

  4. mi'a

  5. ma'a

  6. mi'o

  7. mi'a

Exercise 6


le la cardoNES. kabri (It can't be lenu zgana ri kei, because the lenu-sumti isn't finished yet — and that interpretation would be as weirdly self-referential as any Escher drawing. Not that Lojban isn't perfectly capable of such mischief!

But we couldn't refer back to le la cardoNES. kabri with ri, either: the way sumti are counted by their beginnings, the immediately previous sumti is not le la cardoNES. kabri — it's the la cardoNES. inside the phrase le la cardoNES. kabri! This kind of annoyance may give you a hint about why ri is not as popular as you might think...)


la suzyn. .e la ranjit.: "You two."

le go'i 

le vanju


la suzyn. ce la ranjit. puzi simxu ninpe'i. Don't worry about how you said "Susan and Ranjeet" — it's not like we've covered ce anyway! (For the record, it makes a set out of Susan and Ranjeet, since a set is what simxu looks for. See Lesson 14.)

go'i here refers back not to the previous sentence in the story, but to the previous sentence in the conversation. Obviously Ranjeet wouldn't be referring back to sentences written by the narrator. He's not meant to realise he's fictional, after all.


la ranjit. (Just checking if you're awake...)


la suzyn. (By elimination; but strictly speaking ti could be anyone or anything Ranjeet happens to be pointing to.)


la suzyn. .e la ranjit. .e la djiotis.


  1. Susan felt embarrassed.

  2. She looked at the chardonnay glass. (As specified in Lesson 3, le la cardoNES. kabri does not mean that the Chardonnay owns the glass — merely that it is associated with it: it corresponds to le kabri pe la cardoNES.)

  3. She seems to find observing it very interesting. (In Lojban, things and people aren't interesting by themselves; only their properties or activities can be interesting. There is a workaround, which is something like "some property about the glass I won't bother specifying is interesting." We'll cover this towards the end of the course.)

  4. Ranjeet and Jyoti kissed each other. (Literally, "Ranjeet kissed Jyoti and vice versa.")

  5. "I think you two have just [mutually] met," she said. (In Lojban, you can't say "two people meet". You can only say "Person A meets person B", and, optionally, "vice versa" — soi vo'a. But you can use simxu 'mutually' to get the two sumti involved into the one sumti place.)

    Note: Seasoned Lojbanists will have noticed that this sentence is not strictly correct, and that it would have been rather better as lu'i redo puzi ninpe'i simxu, or lu'i redo puzi simxu leka ce'u ninpe'i ce'u. Seasoned Lojbanists will also cut me some slack for not trying to introduce everything at once...

  6. The wine below seemed to be incredibly interesting. (Literally, "The wine associated with below...". Strictly speaking, this does not mean the wine below Susan, but the wine below the speaker; but we won't insist on that point for now.)

  7. She drank it quickly.

  8. "Errr, no," said Ranjeet.

  9. "We've never met [each other]." (Literally "I've never met this person, and vice versa," which sounds even more awkward.)

  10. A little later, Susan laughed.

  11. "Come on, you're both being silly," she said.

  12. "Let's go to the disco."

Exercise 7

You now know enough Lojban that your translations can vary to some extent. Don't be too concerned about matching these translations to the letter.

  1. .i lu jy. zvati ma li'u preti fi la djiotis. la suzyn. or .i lu jy. zvati ma li'u preti zo'e la djiotis. la suzyn.

  2. .i la suzyn. spuda fi lu jy. cusku lesedu'u jy. denpa lenu mi klama li'u (And no, it's unlikely that Susan would refer to herself as sy.!)

  3. .i la djiotis. cusku lu mi no'e dunku lenu jy. cliva .i mi jinvi ledu'u jy. penmi ma'a vi le dansydi'u (We translate us as ma'a rather than mi'o, because presumably it refers to Ranjeet as well as Jyoti and Susan.)

  4. .i jy. bilga lenu ze'a tcidu

  5. .i jy. to'e morji so'e da le xumske ca le crisa (You could also say so'e lo fatci instead of so'e da.)

  6. .i mi'a klama lo gusta pu lenu klama le dansydi'u

  7. .i xu do djica lenu do kansa mi'a li'u (We put li'u here, because this is where Jyoti's quotation ends.)

  8. .i la suzyn. cusku lu go'i li'u ca lenu sy. cismyfra la ranjit. (or: ra cismyfra or ko'a cismyfra. Not ri cismyfra, though: ri here is lu go'i li'u! Infuriating but true...)