The following paragraphs list all the selma'o of Lojban, with a brief explanation of what each one is about, and reference to the chapter number where each is explained more fully. As usual, all selma'o names are given in capital letters (with “h” serving as the capital of “'”) and are the names of a representative cmavo, often the most important or the first in alphabetical order. One example is given of each selma'o: for selma'o which have several uses, the most common use is shown.

selma'o A (Section 20.1)

Specifies a logical connection (e.g. “and”, “or”, “if”), usually between sumti.

la .djan.ala .djein.cuklamalezarci

Also used to create vowel lerfu words when followed with “bu”.

selma'o BAI (Section 20.1)

May be prefixed to a sumti to specify an additional place, not otherwise present in the place structure of the selbri, and derived from a single place of some other selbri.

mitavlabaula .lojban.

selma'o BAhE (Section 20.1)

Emphasizes the next single word, or marks it as a nonce word (one invented for the occasion).

la ba'e .djordj.cuklamalezarci

It is George who goes to the store.

selma'o BE (Section 20.1)

Attaches sumti which fill the place structure of a single unit making up a tanru. Unless otherwise indicated, the sumti fill the x2, x3, and successive places in that order. BE is most useful in descriptions formed with LE. See BEI, BEhO.

mi klamabeta troci

I try to go to that place.

selma'o BEI (Section 20.1)

Separates multiple sumti attached by BE to a tanru unit.

mi klamabelezarcibeilezdanibe'o troci

I try to go from the home to the market.

selma'o BEhO (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for BE. Terminates sumti that are attached to a tanru unit.

mi klamabelezarcibe'o troci

I try to go to the market.

selma'o BIhE (Section 20.1)

Prefixed to a mathematical operator to mark it as higher priority than other mathematical operators, binding its operands more closely.


3 × 4 + 5 = 17

selma'o BIhI (Section 20.1)

Joins sumti or tanru units (as well as some other things) to form intervals. See GAhO.

micasanlila .drezdn.bi'ila .frankfurt.

I am standing between Dresden and Frankfurt.

selma'o BO (Section 20.1, Section 20.1, Section 20.1)

Joins tanru units, binding them together closely. Also used to bind logically or non-logically connected phrases, sentences, etc. BO is always high precedence and right-grouping.

tacmalu nixlibockule

That is a small school for girls.

selma'o BOI (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for PA or BY. Used to terminate a number (string of numeric cmavo) or lerfu string (string of letter words) when another string immediately follows.

liredulivu'uvo boi re

selma'o BU (Section 20.1)

A suffix which can be attached to any word, typically a word representing a letter of the alphabet or else a name, to make a word for a symbol or a different letter of the alphabet. In particular, attached to single-vowel cmavo to make words for vowel letters.


selma'o BY (Section 20.1)

Words representing the letters of the Lojban alphabet, plus various shift words which alter the interpretation of other letter words. Terminated by BOI.

.abutavlaby le la .ibymym.skami

A talks to B about IBM computers.

selma'o CAI (Section 20.1)

Indicates the intensity of an emotion: maximum, strong, weak, or not at all. Typically follows another particle which specifies the emotion.


I must go to the market.

selma'o CAhA (Section 20.1)

Specifies whether a bridi refers to an actual fact, a potential (achieved or not), or merely an innate capability.


All ducks have the capability of swimming by floating.

selma'o CEI (Section 20.1)

Assigns a selbri definition to one of the five brika'i gismu: “broda”, “brode”, “brodi”, “brodo”, or “brodu”, for later use.

ti slasi je mlatu bo cidja lante gacri cei broda

This is a plastic cat-food can cover, or thingy.

.i le crino broda cu barda .i le xunre broda cu cmalu

The green thingy is large. The red thingy is small.

selma'o CEhE (Section 20.1, Section 20.1)

Joins multiple terms into a termset. Termsets are used to associate several terms for logical connectives, for equal quantifier scope, or for special constructs in tenses.

mice'edope'ejela .djan.ce'ela .djeimyz.cupendo
I[,]you[joint]andJohn[,]James are-friends-of.

I am a friend of you, and John is a friend of James.

selma'o CO (Section 20.1)

When inserted between the components of a tanru, inverts it, so that the following tanru unit modifies the previous one.

mitrocicoklamalezarci lezdani

I try to go to the market from the house.

selma'o COI (Section 20.1, Section 20.1)

When prefixed to a name, description, or sumti, produces a vocative: a phrase which indicates who is being spoken to (or who is speaking). Vocatives are used in conversational protocols, including greeting, farewell, and radio communication. Terminated by DOhU. See DOI.


selma'o CU (Section 20.1)

Separates the selbri of a bridi from any sumti which precede it. Never strictly necessary, but often useful to eliminate various elidable terminators.

Thedog goes-tothestore.

selma'o CUhE (Section 20.1)

Forms a question which asks when, where, or in what mode the rest of the bridi is true. See PU, CAhA, TAhE, and BAI.


When are you going to the store?

selma'o DAhO (Section 20.1)

Cancels the assigned significance of all sumti cmavo (of selma'o KOhA) and bridi cmavo (of selma'o GOhA).

selma'o DOI (Section 20.1)

The non-specific vocative indicator. May be used with or without COI. No pause is required between “doi” and a following name. See DOhU.


Frank, I'm talking to you.

selma'o DOhU (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for COI or DOI. Signals the end of a vocative.


Greetings, O unspecified one!

selma'o FA (Section 20.1)

Prefix for a sumti, indicating which numbered place in the place structure the sumti belongs in; overrides word order.

famicuklamafila .atlantas.
x1=I gox3=Atlanta
fela .bastn.foledargufulekarce

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

selma'o FAhA (Section 20.1)

Specifies the direction in which, or toward which (when marked with MOhI) or along which (when prefixed by VEhA or VIhA) the action of the bridi takes place.


To my left, the man bites the dog.

selma'o FAhO (Section 20.1)

A mechanical signal, outside the grammar, indicating that there is no more text. Useful in talking to computers.

selma'o FEhE (Section 20.1)

Indicates that the following interval modifier (using TAhE, ROI, or ZAhO) refers to space rather than time.


Sow the grain in a line and evenly!

selma'o FEhU (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for FIhO. Indicates the end of an ad hoc modal tag: the tagged sumti immediately follows.


I see you with the left eye.

selma'o FIhO (Section 20.1)

When placed before a selbri, transforms the selbri into a modal tag, grammatically and semantically equivalent to a member of selma'o BAI. Terminated by FEhU.


I see you with my left eye.

selma'o FOI (Section 20.1)

Signals the end of a compound alphabet letter word that begins with TEI. Not an elidable terminator.

tei.ebu.akut. bufoi

the letter “e” with an acute accent

selma'o FUhA (Section 20.1)

Indicates that the following mathematical expression is to be interpreted as reverse Polish (RP), a mode in which mathematical operators follow their operands.


2 + 2 = 4

selma'o FUhE (Section 20.1)

Indicates that the following indicator(s) of selma'o UI affect not the preceding word, as usual, but rather all following words until a FUhO.


I see the owner of a blue house, or what I believe to be one.

selma'o FUhO (Section 20.1)

Cancels all indicators of selma'o UI which are in effect.


I see the owner of what I believe to be a blue house.

selma'o GA (Section 20.1)

Indicates the beginning of two logically connected sumti, bridi-tails, or various other things. Logical connections include “both ... and”, “either ... or”, “if ... then”, and so on. See GI.

ga la .djan. cu nanmu gi la .djeimyz. cu ninmu

Either John is a man or James is a woman (or both).

selma'o GAhO (Section 20.1)

Specifies whether an interval specified by BIhI includes or excludes its endpoints. Used in pairs before and after the BIhI cmavo, to specify the nature of both the left- and the right-hand endpoints.

micasanlila .drezdn.
ga'obi'iga'ola .frankfurt.

I am standing between Dresden and Frankfurt, inclusive of both.

selma'o GEhU (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for GOI. Marks the end of a relative phrase. See KUhO.

la .djan.goiko'age'ublanu
John(referred to asit-1)is-blue.

selma'o GI (Section 20.1)

Separates two logically or non-logically connected sumti, tanru units, bridi-tails, or other things, when the prefix is a forethought connective involving GA, GUhA, or JOI.

ge la .djan. cu nanmu gi la .djeimyz. cu ninmu

(It is true that) both John is a man and James is a woman.

selma'o GIhA (Section 20.1)

Specifies a logical connective (e.g. “and”, “or”, “if”) between two bridi-tails: a bridi-tail is a selbri with any associated following sumti, but not including any preceding sumti.

miklamalezarcigi'enelcila .djan.

selma'o GOI (Section 20.1)

Specifies the beginning of a relative phrase, which associates a subordinate sumti (following) to another sumti (preceding). Terminated by GEhU See NOI.

la .djan.goiko'acublanu
John(referred to asit-1) is-blue.

selma'o GOhA (Section 20.1)

A general selma'o for all cmavo which can take the place of brivla. There are several groups of these.

A: mi klama le zarci

B: mi go'i

A: I'm going to the market.

B: Me, too.

selma'o GUhA (Section 20.1)

Indicates the beginning of two logically connected tanru units. Takes the place of GA when forming logically-connected tanru. See GI.

la .alis.cugu'ericfugiblanu
Aliceis bothrichandblue.

selma'o I (Section 20.1)

Separates two sentences from each other.


selma'o JA (Section 20.1)

Specifies a logical connection (e.g. “and”, “or”, “if”) between two tanru units, mathematical operands, tenses, or abstractions.


selma'o JAI (Section 20.1)

When followed by a tense or modal, creates a conversion operator attachable to a selbri which exchanges the modal place with the x1 place of the selbri. When alone, is a conversion operator exchanging the x1 place of the selbri (which should be an abstract sumti) with one of the places of the abstracted-over bridi.

mijai gaugalfilebitmuse skari

I act so as to modify the wall color.

I change the color of the wall.

selma'o JOI (Section 20.1)

Specifies a non-logical connection (e.g. together-with-as-mass, -set, or -sequence) between two sumti, tanru units, or various other things. When immediately followed by GI, provides forethought non-logical connection analogous to GA.

la .djan.joila .alis.cubevrilepipno
Johnmassed-withAlice carrythepiano.

selma'o JOhI (Section 20.1)

Indicates that the following mathematical operands (a list terminated by TEhU) form a mathematical vector (one-dimensional array).


(1,2) + (3,4) = (4,6)

selma'o KE (Section 20.1)

Groups everything between itself and a following KEhE for purposes of logical connection, tanru construction, or other purposes. KE and KEhE are not used for mathematical (see VEI and VEhO) or discursive (see TO and TOI) purposes.


That is a school for girls who are pretty in their littleness.

selma'o KEI (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for NU. Marks the end of an abstraction bridi.

la .djan.cunusoncikei djica
John is-an-(event-ofbeing-a-soldier)type-ofdesirer.

John wants to be a soldier.

selma'o KEhE (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for KE. Marks the end of a grouping.


That is a school for girls who are pretty in their littleness.

selma'o KI (Section 20.1)

When preceded by a tense or modal, makes it “sticky”, so that it applies to all further bridi until reset by another appearance of KI. When alone, eliminates all sticky tenses.

selma'o KOhA (Section 20.1)

A general selma'o which contains all cmavo which can substitute for sumti. These cmavo are divided into several groups.

Thebluehouse(referred to asit-1) is-big.

selma'o KU (Section 20.1, Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for LE and some uses of LA. Indicates the end of a description sumti. Also used after a tense or modal to indicate that no sumti follows, and in the compound NA+ KU to indicate natural language-style negation.

leprenuku lezdanikuklama

The person goes to the house.

selma'o KUhE (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for PEhO: indicates the end of a forethought mathematical expression (one in which the operator precedes the operands).


selma'o KUhO (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for NOI. Indicates the end of a relative clause.


selma'o LA (Section 20.1)

Descriptors which change name words (or selbri) into sumti which identify people or things by name. Similar to LE. May be terminated with KU if followed by a description selbri.

la .kikeros.cudula .tulis.

selma'o LAU (Section 20.1)

Combines with the following alphabetic letter to represent a single marker: change from lower to upper case, change of font, punctuation, etc.)


Si (chemical symbol for silicon)

selma'o LAhE (Section 20.1)

Qualifiers which, when prefixed to a sumti, change it into another sumti with related meaning. Qualifiers can also consist of a cmavo from selma'o NAhE plus BO. Terminated by LUhU.

miviskala'ezoi.kuuot.A Tale of Two Cities.kuuot
Iseethat-represented-bythe-textA Tale of Two Cities”.

I see the book “A Tale of Two Cities”.

selma'o LE (Section 20.1)

Descriptors which make selbri into sumti which describe or specify things that fit into the x1 place of the selbri. Terminated by KU. See LA.

Thedog goes-tothehouse.

selma'o LEhU (Section 20.1)

Indicates the end of a quotation begun with LOhU. Not an elidable terminator.

lo'umi du do du mile'ucunalojbodrani
[quote]mi du do du mi[unquote] is-notLojbanicallycorrect.

“mi du do du mi” is not correct Lojban.

selma'o LI (Section 20.1)

Descriptors which change numbers or other mathematical expressions into sumti which specify numbers or numerical expressions. Terminated by LOhO.


2 - 2 ≠ 4 + 4

selma'o LIhU (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for LU. Indicates the end of a text quotation.


selma'o LOhO (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for LI. Indicates the end of a mathematical expression used in a LI description.

The-number4[end-number],the-number3[end-number], is-greater.

4 > 3

selma'o LOhU (Section 20.1)

Indicates the beginning of a quotation (a sumti) which is grammatical as long as the quoted material consists of Lojban words, whether they form a text or not. Terminated by LEhU.

docuskulo'umi du do du ko'ale'u
Youexpress[quote]mi du do du ko'a[end-quote].

You said, “mi du do du ko'a”.

selma'o LU (Section 20.1)

Indicates the beginning of a quotation (a sumti) which is grammatical only if the quoted material also forms a grammatical Lojban text. Terminated by LIhU.


selma'o LUhU (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for LAhE and NAhE+ BO. Indicates the end of a qualified sumti.


I saw “Big Dog” [not the words, but a book or movie].

selma'o MAI (Section 20.1, Section 20.1)

When suffixed to a number or string of letter words, produces a free modifier which serves as an index number within a text.


First, I went to the market.

selma'o MAhO (Section 20.1)

Produces a mathematical operator from a letter or other operand. Terminated by TEhU. See VUhU.

[operator]f x


selma'o ME (Section 20.1, Section 20.1)

Produces a tanru unit from a sumti, which is applicable to the things referenced by the sumti. Terminated by MEhU.

tame la .ford. me'ukarce

That's a Ford car.

selma'o MEhU (Section 20.1)

The elidable terminator for ME. Indicates the end of a sumti converted to a tanru unit.

ta me mi me'u zdani

That's a me type of house.

selma'o MOI (Section 20.1, Section 20.1)

Suffixes added to numbers or other quantifiers to make various numerically-based selbri.

la .djan.joila .frank.cubruna remei
Johnin-a-mass-withFrank are-a-brothertype-oftwosome.

John and Frank are two brothers.

selma'o MOhE (Section 20.1)

Produces a mathematical operand from a sumti; used to make dimensioned units. Terminated by TEhU.


2 rats + 2 rabbits = 4 animals.

selma'o MOhI (Section 20.1)

A tense flag indicating movement in space, in a direction specified by a following FAhA cmavo.


The child walks toward my right on the ice.

selma'o NA (Section 20.1, Section 20.1)

Contradictory negators, asserting that a whole bridi is false (or true).

mi na klama le zarci

It is not true that I go to the market.

Also used to construct logical connective compound cmavo.

selma'o NAI (Section 20.1, Section 20.1)

Negates the previous word, but can only be used with certain selma'o as specified by the grammar.

selma'o NAhE (Section 20.1)

Scalar negators, modifying a selbri or a sumti to a value other than the one stated, the opposite of the one stated, etc. Also used with following BO to construct a sumti qualifier; see LAhE.


That is a house which is other than blue.

selma'o NAhU (Section 20.1)

Creates a mathematical operator from a selbri. Terminated by TEhU. See VUhU.


tan(π/2) = ∞

selma'o NIhE (Section 20.1)

Creates a mathematical operand from a selbri, usually a “ni” abstraction. Terminated by TEhU.

The-number quantity-oflength times
 quantity-ofwidth times
 quantity-ofdepth equalsthe-number quantity-ofvolume.

Length × Width × Depth = Volume

selma'o NIhO (Section 20.1)

Marks the beginning of a new paragraph, and indicates whether it contains old or new subject matter.

selma'o NOI (Section 20.1)

Introduces relative clauses. The following bridi modifies the preceding sumti. Terminated by KUhO. See GOI.

Thehousewhichis-blue is-small.

selma'o NU (Section 20.1)

Abstractors which, when prefixed to a bridi, create abstraction selbri. Terminated by KEI.

la .djan.cudjicalenusonci[kei]
John desirestheevent-ofbeing-a-soldier.

selma'o NUhA (Section 20.1)

Creates a selbri from a mathematical operator. See VUhU.

lini'umucunu'a va'alima'umu
The-number-5 is-the-negation-ofthe-number+5

selma'o NUhI (Section 20.1, Section 20.1)

Marks the beginning of a termset, which is used to make simultaneous claims involving two or more different places of a selbri. Terminated by NUhU.

miklamanu'ige lezarci lebriju
nu'ugi lezdani leckule[nu'u]

selma'o NUhU (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for NUhI. Marks the end of a termset.

miklamanu'ige lezarci lebriju
nu'ugi lezdani leckule[nu'u]

selma'o PA (Section 20.1)

Digits and related quantifiers (some, all, many, etc.). Terminated by BOI.


selma'o PEhE (Section 20.1)

Precedes a logical or non-logical connective that joins two termsets. Termsets (see CEhE) are used to associate several terms for logical connectives, for equal quantifier scope, or for special constructs in tenses.

mice'edope'ejela .djan.ce'ela .djeimyz.cupendo
I[,]you[joint]andJohn[,]James are-friends-of.

I am a friend of you, and John is a friend of James.

selma'o PEhO (Section 20.1)

An optional signal of forethought mathematical operators, which precede their operands. Terminated by KUhE.


selma'o PU (Section 20.1)

Specifies simple time directions (future, past, or neither).


I went to the market.

selma'o RAhO (Section 20.1)

The brika'i update flag: changes the meaning of sumti implicitly attached to a brika'i (see GOhA) to fit the current context rather than the original context.

A: mi ba lumci le mi karce

B: mi go'i

A: mi ba lumci le mi karce

B: mi go'i ra'o

A: I [future] wash my car.

B: I do-the-same-thing (i.e. wash A's car).

A: I [future] wash my car.

B: I do-the-corresponding-thing (i.e. wash B's car).

selma'o ROI (Section 20.1)

When suffixed to a number, makes an extensional tense (e.g. once, twice, many times).


selma'o SA (Section 20.1)

Erases the previous phrase or sentence.


selma'o SE (Section 20.1, Section 20.1)

Converts a selbri, rearranging the order of places by exchanging the x1 place with a specified numbered place.

lezarcicuse klamami
Themarket is-gone-to-byme.

Also used in constructing connective and modal compound cmavo.

selma'o SEI (Section 20.1)

Marks the beginning of metalinguistic insertions which comment on the main bridi. Terminated by SEhU.

la .frank.cupramisei gleki[se'u]la .djein.

selma'o SEhU (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for SEI and SOI. Ends metalinguistic insertions.

la .frank.cupramisei glekise'ula .djein.

selma'o SI (Section 20.1)

Erases the previous single word.


selma'o SOI (Section 20.1)

Marks reciprocity between two sumti (like “vice versa” in English).


I love you and vice versa.

selma'o SU (Section 20.1)

Closes and erases the entire previous discourse.

selma'o TAhE (Section 20.1)

A tense modifier specifying frequencies within an interval of time or space (regularly, habitually, etc.).


selma'o TEI (Section 20.1)

Signals the beginning of a compound letter word, which acts grammatically like a single letter. Compound letter words end with the non-elidable selma'o FOI.

tei.ebu.akut. bufoi

the letter “e” with an acute accent

selma'o TEhU (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for JOhI, MAhO, MOhE, NAhU, or NIhE. Marks the end of a mathematical conversion construct.


(1,2) + (3,4) = (4,6)

selma'o TO (Section 20.1)

Left discursive parenthesis: allows inserting a digression. Terminated by TOI.


Lisa, I want you to (Frank! Stop!) see the cat.

selma'o TOI (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for TO. The right discursive parenthesis.


Lisa, I want you to (Frank! Stop!) see the cat.

selma'o TUhE (Section 20.1)

Groups multiple sentences or paragraphs into a logical unit. Terminated by TUhU.


As for what is best: if food, then new [is best]; if wine, then old [is best].

selma'o TUhU (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for TUhE. Marks the end of a multiple sentence group.

selma'o UI (Section 20.1)

Particles which indicate the speaker's emotional state or source of knowledge, or the present stage of discourse.

uila .djan.cuklama

Hurrah! John is coming!

selma'o VA (Section 20.1)

A tense indicating distance in space (near, far, or neither).


Over there the man is biting the dog.

selma'o VAU (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for a simple bridi, or for each bridi-tail of a GIhA logical connection.

lebnalorupnuvau do[vau]

selma'o VEI (Section 20.1)

Left mathematical parenthesis: groups mathematical operations. Terminated by VEhO.


(n + 1)(n + 1) = n 2 + 2n + 1

selma'o VEhA (Section 20.1)

A tense indicating the size of an interval in space (long, medium, or short).

selma'o VEhO (Section 20.1)

Elidable terminator for VEI: right mathematical parenthesis.


(n + 1)(n + 1) = n 2 + 2n + 1

selma'o VIhA (Section 20.1)

A tense indicating dimensionality in space (line, plane, volume, or space-time interval).


In a medium-sized area, the child walks on the ice.

selma'o VUhO (Section 20.1)

Attaches relative clauses or phrases to a whole (possibly connected) sumti, rather than simply to the leftmost portion of the sumti.

la .frank.ela .djordj.vu'onoigidvacuzvatilekumfa

Frank and George, who are guides, are in the room.

selma'o VUhU (Section 20.1)

Mathematical operators (e.g. +, −). See MAhO.


5 − 2 = 3

selma'o XI (Section 20.1)

The subscript marker: the following number or lerfu string is a subscript for whatever precedes it.



selma'o Y (Section 20.1)

Hesitation noise: content-free, but holds the floor or continues the conversation. It is different from silence in that silence may be interpreted as having nothing more to say.


selma'o ZAhO (Section 20.1)

A tense modifier specifying the contour of an event (e.g. beginning, ending, continuing).


I'm on the verge of fighting.

selma'o ZEI (Section 20.1)

A morphological glue word, which joins the two words it stands between into the equivalent of a lujvo.


That is an X-ray camera.

selma'o ZEhA (Section 20.1)

A tense indicating the size of an interval in time (long, medium, or short).


I ate for a little while.

selma'o ZI (Section 20.1)

A tense indicating distance in time (a long, medium or short time ago or in the future).


I ate a little while ago.

selma'o ZIhE (Section 20.1)

Joins multiple relative phrases or clauses which apply to the same sumti. Although generally translated with “and”, it is not considered a logical connective.

Iownonedog such-thatit-is-white

I own a dog that is white and which, incidentally, I love.

I own a white dog, which I love.

selma'o ZO (Section 20.1)

Single-word quotation: quotes the following single Lojban word.

The-word“si” is-a-Lojbanicword.

selma'o ZOI (Section 20.1)

Non-Lojban quotation: quotes any text using a delimiting word (which can be any single Lojban word) placed before and after the text. The delimiting word must not appear in the text, and must be separated from the text by pauses.

zoi.kuuot.Socrates is mortal.kuuot.cuglicojufra
The-textSocrates is mortal is-an-Englishsentence.

selma'o ZOhU (Section 20.1, Section 20.1)

Separates a logical prenex from a bridi or group of sentences to which it applies. Also separates a topic from a comment in topic/comment sentences.


There is someone who loves all fish.