19.10. More on quotations: ZO, ZOI

The following cmavo are discussed in this section:



quote single word



non-Lojban quotation



non-Lojban name

The cmavo zo (of selma'o ZO) is a strong quotation mark for the single following word, which can be any Lojban word whatsoever. Among other uses, zo allows a metalinguistic word to be referenced without having it act on the surrounding text. The word must be a morphologically legal (but not necessarily meaningful) single Lojban word; multiple cmavo, zei-lujvo, and bu-letterals cannot be quoted this way. For example:

Example 19.49. 

zo si cu lojbo valsi

si is a Lojbanic word.

Since zo acts on a single word only, there is no corresponding terminator. Brevity, then, is a great advantage of zo, since the terminators for other kinds of quotation are rarely or never elidable.

The cmavo zoi (of selma'o ZOI) is a quotation mark for quoting non-Lojban text. Its syntax is zoi X. text .X., where X is a Lojban word (called the delimiting word) which is separated from the quoted text by pauses, and which is not found in the written text or spoken phoneme stream. It is common, but not required, to use the lerfu word (of selma'o BY) which corresponds to the Lojban name of the language being quoted:

Example 19.50. 

zoi gy. John is a man .gy. cu glico jufra

John is a man is an English sentence.

where gy stands for glico. Other popular choices of delimiting words are .kuuot., a Lojban name which sounds like the English word quote, and the word zoi itself. Another possibility is a Lojban word suggesting the topic of the quotation.

Within written text, the Lojban written word used as a delimiting word may not appear, whereas within spoken text, the sound of the delimiting word may not be uttered. This leads to occasional breakdowns of audio-visual isomorphism: Example 19.51 is fine in speech but ungrammatical as written, whereas Example 19.52 is correct when written but ungrammatical in speech.

Example 19.51. 

mi djuno fi lo valsi po'u zoi fi. fight .fi.

I know about the word fight.

Example 19.52. 

mi djuno fi lo valsi po'u zoi fai. fight .fai.

I know about the word fight.

The text fi appears in the written word fight, whereas the sound represented in Lojban by fai appears in the spoken word fight. Such borderline cases should be avoided as a matter of good style.

It should be noted particularly that zoi quotation is the only way to quote rafsi, specifically CCV rafsi, because they are not Lojban words, and zoi quotation is the only way to quote things which are not Lojban words. (CVC and CVV rafsi look like names and cmavo respectively, and so can be quoted using other methods.) For example:

Example 19.53. 

zoi ry. sku .ry. cu rafsi zo cusku

sku is a rafsi of cusku”.

(A minor note on interaction between lo'u ... le'u and zoi: The text between lo'u and le'u must consist of Lojban words only. zoi-quotes may only appear within lo'u-quotes if they contain morphologically valid Lojban containing no instances of le'u.)

Lojban strictly avoids any confusion between things and the names of things:

Example 19.54. 


In Example 19.54, zo .bab. is the word, whereas la .bab. is the thing named by the word. The cmavo la'e and lu'e (of selma'o LAhE) convert back and forth between references and their referents:

Example 19.55. 


Example 19.56. 


Example 19.54 through Example 19.56 all mean approximately the same thing, except for differences in emphasis. Example 19.57 is different:

Example 19.57. 

la .bab. cu cmene la .bab.

Bob is the name of Bob.

and says that Bob is both the name and the thing named, an unlikely situation. People are not names.

The cmavo la'o also belongs to selma'o ZOI, and is mentioned here for completeness, although it does not signal the beginning of a quotation. Instead, la'o serves to mark non-Lojban names, especially the Linnaean binomial names (such as Homo sapiens) which are the internationally standardized names for species of animals and plants. Internationally known names which can more easily be recognized by spelling rather than pronunciation, such as Goethe, can also appear in Lojban text with la'o:

Example 19.58. 

la'o dy. Goethe .dy. cu me la'o ly. Homo sapiens .ly.

Goethe is a Homo sapiens.

Using la'o for all names rather than Lojbanizing, however, makes for very cumbersome text. A rough expansion of la'o might be lo se cmene be zoi.