5.12. Scalar negation of selbri

Negation is too large and complex a topic to explain fully in this chapter; see Chapter 5. In brief, there are two main types of negation in Lojban. This section is concerned with so-called scalar negation, which is used to state that a true relation between the sumti is something other than what the selbri specifies. Scalar negation is expressed by cmavo of selma'o NAhE:

Example 5.116. 

la.alis.cuna'ekecadzuklama[ke'e]lezarci
That-namedAlicenon-(walkinglygoes-to)themarket.

Alice doesn't walk to the market.


meaning that Alice's relationship to the market is something other than that of walking there. But if the ke were omitted, the result would be:

Example 5.117. 

la.alis.cuna'ecadzuklamalezarci
That-namedAlicenon-walkinglygoes-tothemarket.

Alice doesn't walk to the market.


meaning that Alice does go there in some way (klama is not negated), but by a means other than that of walking. Example 5.116 negates both cadzu and klama, suggesting that Alice's relation to the market is something different from walkingly-going; it might be walking without going, or going without walking, or neither.

Of course, any of the simple selbri types explained in Section 5.1 may be used in place of brivla in any of these examples:

Example 5.118. 

la.djonz.cuna'epamoicusku
That-namedJonesis-non-1stspeaker

Jones is not the first speaker.


Since only pamoi is negated, an appropriate inference is that he is some other kind of speaker.

Here is an assortment of more complex examples showing the interaction of scalar negation with bo grouping, ke and ke'e grouping, logical connection, and sumti linked with be and bei:

Example 5.119. 

mina'esutracadzubefilebirkabe'oklamalezarci
I((non-quickly)(walkingusingthearms))go-tothemarket.

I go to the market, walking using my arms other than quickly.


In Example 5.119, na'e negates only sutra. Contrast Example 5.120:

Example 5.120. 

mina'ekesutracadzubefilebirka[be'o]
Inon-(quickly(walkingusingthearms)
ke'eklamalezarci
)go-tothemarket.

I go to the market, other than by walking quickly on my arms.


Now consider Example 5.121 and Example 5.122, which are equivalent in meaning, but use bo grouping and ke grouping respectively:

Example 5.121. 

misutrabocadzubefilebirkabe'o
I((quickly(walkingusingthearms))
jemasnoklamalezarci
andslowly)go-tothemarket.

I go to the market, both quickly walking using my arms and slowly.


Example 5.122. 

mikesutracadzubefilebirka[be'o]ke'e
I((quickly(walkingusingthearms))
jemasnoklamalezarci
andslowly)go-tothemarket.

I go to the market, both quickly walking using my arms and slowly.


However, if we place a na'e at the beginning of the selbri in both Example 5.121 and Example 5.122, we get different results:

Example 5.123. 

mina'esutracadzubefilebirkabe'o
I((non-quickly)(walkingusingthearms)
jemasnoklamalezarci
andslowly)go-tothemarket.

I go to the market, both walking using my arms other than quickly, and also slowly.


Example 5.124. 

mina'ekesutracadzubefilebirka[be'o]ke'e
I(non(quickly(walkingusingthearms))
jemasnoklamalezarci
andslowly)go-tothemarket.

I go to the market, both other than quickly walking using my arms, and also slowly.


The difference arises because the na'e in Example 5.124 negates the whole construction from ke to ke'e, whereas in Example 5.123 it negates sutra alone.

Beware of omitting terminators in these complex examples! If the explicit ke'e is left out in Example 5.124, it is transformed into:

Example 5.125. 

mina'ekesutracadzubefilebirkabe'o
Inon-(quickly((walkingusingthearms))
jemasnoklama[ke'e]lezarci
andslowly)go-to)themarket.

I do something other than quickly both going to the market walking using my arms and slowly going to the market.


And if both ke'e and be'o are omitted, the results are even sillier:

Example 5.126. 

mina'ekesutracadzubefilebirkajemasno
Inon(quicklywalkon-my(thearm-typeandslow)
klama[be'o][ke'e]lezarci
goers)on-themarket.

I do something other than quickly walking using the goers, both arm-type and slow, relative-to the market.


In Example 5.126, everything after be is a linked sumti, so the place structure is that of cadzu, whose x2 place is the surface walked upon. It is less than clear what an arm-type goer might be. Furthermore, since the x3 place has been occupied by the linked sumti, the le zarci following the selbri falls into the nonexistent x4 place of cadzu. As a result, the whole example, though grammatical, is complete nonsense. (The bracketed Lojban words appear where a fluent Lojbanist would understand them to be implied.)

Finally, it is also possible to place na'e before a gu'egi logically connected tanru construction. The meaning of this usage has not yet been firmly established.