6.9. Indefinite descriptions

By a quirk of Lojban syntax, it is possible to omit the descriptor lo, but never any other descriptor, from a description like that of Example 6.29; namely, one which has an explicit outer quantifier but no explicit inner quantifier. The following example:

Example 6.45. 

cigerku[ku]cublabi
Three-of-those-which-aredogsare-white.

Three dogs are white.


is equivalent in meaning to Example 6.29. Even though the descriptor is not present, the elidable terminator ku may still be used. The name indefinite description for this syntactic form is historically based: of course, it is no more and no less indefinite than its counterpart with an explicit lo. Indefinite descriptions were introduced into the language in order to imitate the syntax of English and other natural languages.

Indefinite descriptions must fit this mold exactly: there is no way to make one which does not have an explicit outer quantifier (thus *gerku cu blabi is ungrammatical), or which has an explicit inner quantifier (thus *reboi ci gerku cu blabi is also ungrammatical – re ci gerku cu blabi is fine, but means 23 dogs are white).

Note: Example 6.19 also contains an indefinite description, namely su'o ci cutci; another version of that example using an explicit lo would be:

Example 6.46. 

miponsesu'ocilocutci
Ipossessat-leastthreethings-which-really-areshoes

I own three (or more) shoes.