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Linked sumti

Let's start this lesson with two new words:

bangu x1 is a/the language/dialect used by x2 to express/communicate x3 (si'o/du'u, not quote).

cmene x1 (quoted word(s)) is a/the name/title/tag of x2 to/used-by namer/name-user x3 (person).

What if I wanted to say "my language", or "my name"?

You can probably see that the sumti lo bangu ku poi mi se bangu ke'a {kei} {ku} is a less than elegant expression for "my language". This is because it's really a workaround. A language which I speak can be said to fill into the x1 of the bridi bangu mi. But we can't convert that to a sumti using just lo..ku, as in lo bangu mi ku. The reason is that lo only accepts selbri, and bangu mi is a bridi, not a selbri. Hence lo bangu {ku} mi is actually two separate sumti, lo bangu ku and mi.

What about lo su'u..kei ku? We can't use that either, because the su'u gives the bridi a new x1, the abstraction, and the lo then extracts that. Hence lo su'u {zo'e} bangu mi {kei} {ku} is an abstraction sumti meaning something like "that something is my language".

Enter be. be is a word which binds constructs (sumti as well as others we'll later see) to a selbri. Using it in ordinary selbri has no effect: in mi nelci be do, the be does nothing. However, when a sumti is bound to a selbri this way, you can use lo..ku on the selbri without the sumti splitting off: lo bangu be mi {ku} is a correct solution to the problem above.

Let's see some examples:

Sentence Possible translation
mi nelci lo cmene be do I like your name.
xu lo prenu cu tavla fo lo bangu be do Is the person talking in your language?
mi tavla fi lo se nupre be do I talked about your promise.

What if I want to attach several sumti to a selbri inside lo..ku? "The giver of the apple to you" is lo dunda be lo plise be do, right? Nope. The second be attaches to the apple, meaning lo plise be do – "the apple of the strain of you", which makes no sense. In order to string several sumti to a selbri, all the ones following the first must be bound with bei. The binding can be terminated with be'o – one instance of be'o for each selbri which has sumti bound by be.

Here are the definitions:

be binds sumti or sumtcita to selbri.

bei binds a second, third, fourth (etc) sumti or sumtcita to a selbri.

be'o ends binding to selbri.

And a few more examples:

Sentence Possible translation
mi pendo lo pilno be lo skami bei lo nu ctuca I am a friend of the user of computers for teaching.
mi tavla fi lo se nupre be do bei lo ctuca I talked about the promise you made to the teacher.
mi tavla lo sutra be lo nu vecnu I talked to the (one who is) fast in selling.

Note that the last sentence could have been written more concisely as a tanru, with almost zero precision loss: mi tavla lo sutra vecnu.


Now it's your turn. Translate the following sentences from Lojban into English:

Sentence Possible translation
mi nelci lo pendo be do I like your friend.
lo vecnu be lo skami cu pendo The seller of computers is friendly.
mi ciska lo cmene be lo pilno be lo skami I wrote the name of the user of computers.

Now, translate the following sentences from English into Lojban:

Sentence Possible translation
My friend likes sellers of apples. lo pendo be mi cu nelci lo vecnu be lo plise
Did you write your friend's promise? xu do ciska lo se nupre be lo pendo be do
I like your teaching method. mi nelci lo xe ctuca be fu do


As usual, before proceeding to the next lesson, get some practice with interactive exercises – look for the "Practice" button nearby!

Beware that exercises loop indefinitely, so feel free to stop once you feel you've had enough. And be sure to revisit exercises on different days, to benefit from the spacing effect.

Lesson plan

  • Lesson
    • Linked sumti
      • be, bei and be'o
  • New exercises


dunda x1 [donor] gives/donates gift/present x2 to recipient/beneficiary x3 [without payment/exchange]

pelxu x1 is yellow/golden [color adjective]

zdani x1 is a nest/house/lair/den/[home] of/for x2

tavla x1 talks/speaks to x2 about subject x3 in language x4

pendo x1 is/acts as a friend of/to x2 (experiencer); x2 befriends x1

prenu x1 is a person/people (noun) [not necessarily human]; x1 displays personality/a persona

mlatu x1 is a cat/[puss/pussy/kitten] [feline animal] of species/breed x2; (adjective:) x1 is feline

ctuca x1 teaches audience x2 ideas/methods/lore x3 (du'u) about subject(s) x4 by method x5 (event)

nelci x1 is fond of/likes/has a taste for x2 (object/state)

gerku x1 is a dog/canine/[bitch] of species/breed x2

melbi x1 is beautiful/pleasant to x2 in aspect x3 (ka) by aesthetic standard x4

sutra x1 is fast/swift/quick/hastes/rapid at doing/being/bringing about x2 (event/state)

lojbo x1 reflects [Loglandic]/Lojbanic language/culture/nationality/community in aspect x2

ciska x1 inscribes/writes x2 on display/storage medium x3 with writing implement x4; x1 is a scribe

djuno x1 knows fact(s) x2 (du'u) about subject x3 by epistemology x4

nupre x1 (agent) promises/commits/assures/threatens x2 (event/state) to x3 [beneficiary/victim]

cusku x1 (agent) expresses/says x2 (sedu'u/text/lu'e concept) for audience x3 via expressive medium x4

gleki x1 is happy/gay/merry/glad/gleeful about x2 (event/state)

citka x1 eats/ingests/consumes (transitive verb) x2

plise x1 is an apple [fruit] of species/strain x2

vecnu x1 [seller] sells/vends x2 [goods/service/commodity] to buyer x3 for amount/cost/expense x4

skami x1 is a computer for purpose x2

pilno x1 uses/employs x2 [tool, apparatus, machine, agent, acting entity, material] for purpose x3

cmene x1 (quoted word(s)) is a/the name/title/tag of x2 to/used-by namer/name-user x3 (person)

bangu x1 is a/the language/dialect used by x2 to express/communicate x3 (si'o/du'u, not quote)


mi pro-sumti: me/we the speaker(s)/author(s); identified by self-vocative

do pro-sumti: you listener(s); identified by vocative

ti pro-sumti: this here; immediate demonstrative it; indicated thing/place near speaker

ta pro-sumti: that there; nearby demonstrative it; indicated thing/place near listener

zo'e pro-sumti: an elliptical/unspecified value; has some value which makes bridi true

lo veridical descriptor: the one(s) that really is(are) ...

ku elidable terminator: end description, modal, or negator sumti; often elidable

fa sumti place tag: tag 1st sumti place

fe sumti place tag: tag 2nd sumti place

fi sumti place tag: tag 3rd sumti place

fo sumti place tag: tag 4th sumti place

fu sumti place tag: tag 5th sumti place

se 2nd conversion; switch 1st/2nd places

te 3rd conversion; switch 1st/3rd places

ve 4th conversion; switch 1st/4th places

xe 5th conversion; switch 1st/5th places

xu discursive: true-false question

ma pro-sumti: sumti question (what/who/how/why/etc.); appropriately fill in sumti blank

mo pro-bridi: bridi/selbri/brivla question

na bridi contradictory negator; scope is an entire bridi; logically negates in some cmavo compounds

go'i pro-bridi: preceding bridi; in answer to a yes/no question, repeats the claim, meaning yes

su'u abstractor: generalized abstractor (how); x1 is [bridi] as a non-specific abstraction of type x2

nu abstractor: generalized event abstractor; x1 is state/process/achievement/activity of [bridi]

du'u abstractor: predication/bridi abstractor; x1 is predication [bridi] expressed in sentence x2

sedu'u compound abstractor: sentence/equation abstract; x1 is text expressing [bridi] which is x2

kei elidable terminator: end abstraction bridi (often elidable)

vau elidable: end of sumti in simple bridi; in compound bridi, separates common trailing sumti

cu elidable marker: separates selbri from preceding sumti, allows preceding terminator elision

poi restrictive relative clause; attaches subordinate bridi with identifying information to a sumti

noi non-restrictive relative clause; attaches subordinate bridi with incidental information

ke'a pro-sumti: relativized sumti (object of relative clause)

ku'o elidable terminator: end NOI relative clause; always elidable, but preferred in complex clauses

be sumti link to attach sumti (default x2) to a selbri; used in descriptions

bei separates multiple linked sumti within a selbri; used in descriptions

be'o elidable terminator: end linked sumti in specified description


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