7.5. Assignable sumka'i and brika'i: the ko'a-series and the broda-series

The following cmavo and gismu are discussed in this section:

ko'a

KOhA

ko'a-series

it-1

ko'e

KOhA

ko'a-series

it-2

ko'i

KOhA

ko'a-series

it-3

ko'o

KOhA

ko'a-series

it-4

ko'u

KOhA

ko'a-series

it-5

fo'a

KOhA

ko'a-series

it-6

fo'e

KOhA

ko'a-series

it-7

fo'i

KOhA

ko'a-series

it-8

fo'o

KOhA

ko'a-series

it-9

fo'u

KOhA

ko'a-series

it-10

broda

BRIVLA

broda-series

is-thing-1

brode

BRIVLA

broda-series

is-thing-2

brodi

BRIVLA

broda-series

is-thing-3

brodo

BRIVLA

broda-series

is-thing-4

brodu

BRIVLA

broda-series

is-thing-5

goi

GOI

sumka'i assignment

cei

CEI

brika'i assignment

The discussion of personal sumka'i in Section 7.1 may have seemed incomplete. In English, the personal pronouns include not only I and you but also he, she, it, and they. Lojban does have equivalents of this latter group: in fact, it has more of them than English does. However, they are organized and used very differently.

There are ten cmavo in the ko'a-series, and they may be assigned freely to any sumti whatsoever. The English word he can refer only to males, she only to females (and ships and a few other things), it only to inanimate things, and they only to plurals; the cmavo of the ko'a-series have no restrictions at all. Therefore, it is almost impossible to guess from the context what ko'a-series cmavo might refer to if they are just used freely:

Example 7.21. 

la.alis.cuklamalezarci.iko'ablanu
That-namedAlicegoes-tothestore.It-1is-blue.

The English gloss it-1, plus knowledge about the real world, would tend to make English-speakers believe that ko'a refers to the store; in other words, that its antecedent is le zarci. To a Lojbanist, however, la .alis. is just as likely an antecedent, in which case Example 7.21 means that Alice, not the store, is blue.

To avoid this pitfall, Lojban employs special syntax, using the cmavo goi:

Example 7.22. 

la.alis.cuklamalezarci
That-namedAlicegoes-tothestore
.iko'agoila.alis.cublanu
.It-1,also-known-asthat-namedAlice,is-blue.

Syntactically, goi la .alis. is a relative phrase (relative phrases are explained in Chapter 7). Semantically, it says that ko'a and la .alis. refer to the same thing, and furthermore that this is true because ko'a is being defined as meaning la .alis.. It is equally correct to say:

Example 7.23. 

la.alis.cuklamalezarci
That-namedAlicegoes-tothestore
.ila.alis.goiko'acublanu
.That-namedAlice,also-known-asit-1, is-blue.

in other words, goi is symmetrical. There is a terminator, ge'u (of selma'o GEhU), which is almost always elidable. The details are in Section 7.1.

The afterthought form of goi shown in Example 7.22 and Example 7.23 is probably most common in speech, where we do not know until part way through our utterance that we will want to refer to Alice again. In writing, though, ko'a may be assigned at the point where Alice is first mentioned. An example of this forethought form of goi is:

Example 7.24. 

la.alis.goiko'acuklamalezarci.iko'acublanu
That-namedAlice,also-known-asit-1,goes-tothestore.It-1 is-blue.

Again, ko'a goi la .alis. would have been entirely acceptable in Example 7.24. This last form is reminiscent of legal jargon: The party of the first part, hereafter known as Buyer, ....

Just as the ko'a-series of sumka'i allows a substitute for a sumti which is long or complex, or which for some other reason we do not want to repeat, so the broda-series of brika'i allows a substitute for a selbri or even a whole bridi:

Example 7.25. 

ti slasi je mlatu bo cidja lante gacri cei broda .i le crino broda cu barda .i le xunre broda cu cmalu

These are plastic cat-food can covers or thingies. The green thingy is large. The red thingy is small.


The brika'i broda has as its antecedent the selbri slasi je mlatu bo cidja lante gacri. The cmavo cei performs the role of goi in assigning broda to this long phrase, and broda can then be used just like any other brivla. (In fact, broda and its relatives actually are brivla: they are gismu in morphology, although they behave exactly like the members of selma'o GOhA. The reasons for using gismu rather than cmavo are buried in the Loglan Project's history.)

Note that brika'i are so called because, even though they have the grammar of selbri, their antecedents are whole bridi. In the following rather contrived example, the antecedent of brode is the whole bridi mi klama le zarci:

Example 7.26. 

miklamaceibrodelezarci.idobrode
Igo-to(which-isclaim-1)thestore.Youclaim-1.

I go to the store. You, too.


In the second bridi, do brode means do klama le zarci, because brode carries the x2 sumti of mi klama le zarci along with it. It also potentially carries the x1 sumti as well, but the explicit x1 sumti do overrides the mi of the antecedent bridi. Similarly, any tense or negation that is present in the antecedent is also carried, and can be overridden by explicit tense or negation cmavo on the brika'i. These rules hold for all brika'i that have antecedents.

Another use of broda and its relatives, without assignment, is as sample gismu:

Example 7.27. 

 broda kebrode brodi
athing-1type-of(thing-2type-ofthing-3)

represents an abstract pattern, a certain kind of tanru. (Historically, this use was the original one.)

As is explained in Section 7.1, the words for Lojban letters, belonging to selma'o BY and certain related selma'o, are also usable as assignable sumka'i. The main difference between letter sumka'i and ko'a-series sumka'i is that, in the absence of an explicit assignment, letters are taken to refer to the most recent name or description sumti beginning with the same letter:

Example 7.28. 

miviskalegerku.igy.cuskuzo.arf.
Iseethedog.Dexpressesthe-wordArf!.

The Lojban word gerku begins with g, so the antecedent of gy., the cmavo for the letter g, must be le gerku. In the English translation, we use the same principle to refer to the dog as D. Of course, in case of ambiguity, goi can be used to make an explicit assignment.

Furthermore, goi can even be used to assign a name:

Example 7.29. 

leninmugoila.sam.cuklamalezarci
Thewomanalso-known-asthat-namedSam goes-tothestore.

The woman, whom I'll call Sam, goes to the store.


This usage does not imply that the woman's name is Sam, or even that the speaker usually calls the woman Sam. Sam is simply a name chosen, as if at random, for use in the current context only.