9.9. Modal selbri

Consider the example:

Example 9.55. 

mitavlabaula.lojban.
Ispeakin-languagethat-namedLojban
baitu'ala.frank.
with-compellersome-act-bythat-namedFrank.

I speak in Lojban, under compulsion by Frank.


Example 9.55 has two modal sumti, using the modals bau and bai. Suppose we wanted to specify the language explicitly but be vague about who's doing the compelling. We can simplify Example 9.55 to:

Example 9.56. 

mitavlabaula.lojban.bai[ku].
Ispeakin-languagethat-namedLojbanunder-compulsion

In Example 9.56, the elidable terminator ku has taken the place of the sumti which would normally follow bai. Alternatively, we could specify the one who compels but keep the language vague:

Example 9.57. 

mitavlabau[ku]
Ispeakin-some-language
baitu'ala.frank.
under-compulsion-bysome-act-bythat-namedFrank.

We are also free to move the modal-plus- ku around the bridi:

Example 9.58. 

bau[ku]baikumitavla
In-some-languageunder-compulsionIspeak.

An alternative to using ku is to place the modal cmavo right before the selbri, following the cu which often appears there. When a modal is present, the cu is almost never necessary.

Example 9.59. 

mibaitavlabaula.lojban.
Icompelledlyspeakin-languagethat-namedLojban.

In this use, the modal is like a tanru modifier semantically, although grammatically it is quite distinct. Example 9.59 is very similar in meaning to:

Example 9.60. 

mise baplitavlabaula.lojban.
Icompelledlyspeakin-languagethat-namedLojban.

The se conversion is needed because bapli tavla would be a compeller type of speaker rather than a compelled (by someone) type of speaker, which is what a bai tavla is.

If the modal preceding a selbri is constructed using fi'o, then fe'u is required to prevent the main selbri and the modal selbri from colliding:

Example 9.61. 

mifi'okanlafe'uviskado
Iwitheyeseeyou.

I see you with my eye(s).


There are two other uses of modals. A modal can be attached to a pair of bridi-tails that have already been connected by a logical, non-logical, or modal connection (see Chapter 9 for more on logical and non-logical connections):

Example 9.62. 

mibaikegeklamalezarci
Iunder-compulsion(bothgoto-themarket
gicadzulebisli[ke'e]
andwalkon-theice).

Under compulsion, I both go to the market and walk on the ice.


Here the bai is spread over both klama le zarci and cadzu le bisli, and the ge ... gi represents the logical connection both-and between the two.

Similarly, a modal can be attached to multiple sentences that have been combined with tu'e and tu'u, which are explained in more detail in Section 9.1:

Example 9.63. 

baitu'emiklamalezarci
Under-compulsion[start]Igoto-themarket.
.imicadzulebisli[tu'u]
Iwalkon-theice[end].

means the same thing as Example 9.62.

Note: Either BAI modals or fi'o-plus-selbri modals may correctly be used in any of the constructions discussed in this section.