9.3. Tagging places: FA

The following cmavo are discussed in this section:

fa

FA

tags x1 place

fe

FA

tags x2 place

fi

FA

tags x3 place

fo

FA

tags x4 place

fu

FA

tags x5 place

fi'a

FA

place structure question

In sentences like Example 9.1, it is easy to get lost and forget which sumti falls in which place, especially if the sumti are more complicated than simple names or descriptions. The place structure tags of selma'o FA may be used to help clarify place structures. The five cmavo fa, fe, fi, fo, and fu may be inserted just before the sumti in the x1 to x5 places respectively:

Example 9.8. 

famicuklamafela.bastn.fila.atlantas.
x1=Igox2=that-namedBostonx3=that-namedAtlanta
foledargufulekarce
x4=theroadx5=thecar.

I go to Boston from Atlanta via the road using the car.


In Example 9.8, the tag fu before le karce clarifies that le karce occupies the x5 place of klama. The use of fu tells us nothing about the purpose or meaning of the x5 place; it simply says that le karce occupies it.

In Example 9.8, the tags are overkill; they serve only to make Example 9.1 even longer than it is. Here is a better illustration of the use of FA tags for clarification:

Example 9.9. 

famiklamafelezdanibemibe'opoi
x1=Igox2=(thehouseofme)which
nurmavaufila.nuIORK.
is-ruralx3=that-namedNew-York.

In Example 9.9, the place structure of klama is as follows:

x1 agent mi
x2 destination le zdani be mi be'o poi nurma vau
x3 origin la .nuIORK.
x4 route (empty)
x5 means (empty)

The fi tag serves to remind the hearer that what follows is in the x3 place of klama; after listening to the complex sumti occupying the x2 place, it's easy to get lost.

Of course, once the sumti have been tagged, the order in which they are specified no longer carries the burden of distinguishing the places. Therefore, it is perfectly all right to scramble them into any order desired, and to move the selbri to anywhere in the bridi, even the beginning:

Example 9.10. 

klamafamifila.atlantas.fulekarce
gox1=Ix3=that-namedAtlantax5=thecar
fela.bastn.foledargu
x2=that-namedBostonx4=theroad.

Go I from Atlanta using the car to Boston via the road.


Note that no cu is permitted before the selbri in Example 9.10, because cu separates the selbri from any preceding sumti, and Example 9.10 has no such sumti.

Example 9.11. 

fulekarcefoledargufila.atlantas.
x5=thecarx4=theroadx3=that-namedAtlanta
fela.bastn.cuklamafami
x2=that-namedBostongox1=I

Using the car, via the road, from Atlanta to Boston go I.


Example 9.11 exhibits the reverse of the standard bridi form seen in Example 9.1 and Example 9.8, but still means exactly the same thing. If the FA tags were left out, however, producing:

Example 9.12. 

lekarceledargula.atlantas.
Thecarto-theroadfrom-that-namedAtlanta
la.bastn.cuklamami
via-that-namedBostongoesusing-me.

The car goes to the road from Atlanta, with Boston as the route, using me as a means of transport.


the meaning would be wholly changed, and in fact nonsensical.

Tagging places with FA cmavo makes it easy not only to reorder the places but also to omit undesirable ones, without any need for zo'e or special rules about the x1 place:

Example 9.13. 

klamafila.atlantas.fela.bastn.
A-goerx3=that-namedAtlantax2=that-namedBoston
fulekarce
x5=thecar.

A goer from Atlanta to Boston using the car.


Here the x1 and x4 places are empty, and so no sumti are tagged with fa or fo; in addition, the x2 and x3 places appear in reverse order.

What if some sumti have FA tags and others do not? The rule is that after a FA-tagged sumti, any sumti following it occupy the places numerically succeeding it, subject to the proviso that an already-filled place is skipped:

Example 9.14. 

klamafamila.bastn.la.atlantas.
Gox1=Ix2=that-namedBostonx3=that-namedAtlanta
ledargulekarce
x4=theroadx5=thecar.

Go I to Boston from Atlanta via the road using the car.


In Example 9.14, the fa causes mi to occupy the x1 place, and then the following untagged sumti occupy in order the x2 through x5 places. This is the mechanism by which Lojban allows placing the selbri first while specifying a sumti for the x1 place.

Here is a more complex (and more confusing) example:

Example 9.15. 

miklamafila.atlantas.ledargu
Igox3=that-namedAtlanta,theroad
fela.bastn.lekarce
x2=that-namedBoston,thecar.

I go from Atlanta via the road to Boston using the car.


In Example 9.15, mi occupies the x1 place because it is the first sumti in the sentence (and is before the selbri). The second sumti, la .atlantas., occupies the x3 place by virtue of the tag fi, and le dargu occupies the x4 place as a result of following la .atlantas.. Finally, la .bastn. occupies the x2 place because of its tag fe, and le karce skips over the already-occupied x3 and x4 places to land in the x5 place.

Such a convoluted use of tags should probably be avoided except when trying for a literal translation of some English (or other natural-language) sentence; the rules stated here are merely given so that some standard interpretation is possible.

It is grammatically permitted to tag more than one sumti with the same FA cmavo. The effect is that of making more than one claim:

Example 9.16. 

[fa]la.rik.fala.djein.cuklama
[x1=]that-namedRickx1=that-namedJane goes-to
[fe]leskinafelezdanifelezarci
[x2=]themoviex2=thehousex2=theoffice

may be taken to say that both Rick and Jane go to the movie, the house, and the office, merging six claims into one. More likely, however, it will simply confuse the listener. There are better ways, involving logical connectives (explained in Chapter 9), to say such things in Lojban. In fact, putting more than one sumti into a place is odd enough that it can only be done by explicit FA usage: this is the motivation for the proviso above, that already-occupied places are skipped. In this way, no sumti can be forced into a place already occupied unless it has an explicit FA cmavo tagging it.

The cmavo fi'a also belongs to selma'o FA, and allows Lojban users to ask questions about place structures. A bridi containing fi'a is a question, asking the listener to supply the appropriate other member of FA which will make the bridi a true statement:

Example 9.17. 

fi'adodunda[fe]levirozgu
[what-place]?yougivex2=thenearbyrose

In what way are you involved in the giving of this rose?

Are you the giver or the receiver of this rose?


In Example 9.17, the speaker uses the selbri dunda, whose place structure is:

dunda x1 gives x2 to x3

The tagged sumti fi'a do indicates that the speaker wishes to know whether the sumti do falls in the x1 or the x3 place (the x2 place is already occupied by le rozgu). The listener can reply with a sentence consisting solely of a FA cmavo: fa if the listener is the giver, fi if he/she is the receiver.

I have inserted the tag fe in brackets into Example 9.17, but it is actually not necessary, because fi'a does not count as a numeric tag; therefore, le vi rozgu would necessarily be in the x2 place even if no tag were present, because it immediately follows the selbri.

There is also another member of FA, namely fai, which is discussed in Section 9.1.