Sometimes, just saying what's the truth is not enough. Often, we want to specify what's not the truth, and we do this by using negation.
Negation in English mostly involves "not", and is completely arbitrary and ambiguous. We, as Lojbanists, can't have that, of course, so Lojban contains an elegant and unambigious system for negating.
The first you need to know about is bridi negation, so called because it negates the bridi it's in, saying it's not true. The way to negate a bridi is to place na first in the sentence with a ku after it, or just before the selbri. The word na has similar syntax to tenses (pu, ca, ba, etc).
Here is the definition:
na bridi contradictory negator; scope is an entire bridi; logically negates in some cmavo compounds.
Let's look at a few examples:
|mi na vecnu lo skami||It is not true that I sold the computer. – I did not sell the computer.|
|na ku do gleki||It is not true that you are happy. – You are not happy.|
|na ku lo prenu ku poi dunda lo skami ku'o pendo||It is not true that the person who donated the computer is friendly.|
Note that the third sentece does not imply that someone donated a computer. Maybe someone donated a computer, but that person is not happy; or maybe no one donated anything at all! Bridi negation only says that the entire bridi is false, and does not say anything about its subparts. For this reason, bridi negation sometimes says too little, and scalar negation is preferred.
Disclaimer: what is presented here is a much simplified version of bridi negation. According to the CLL, it is indeed possible to negate only subparts of the bridi, by varying the position where na is placed. For pedagogical reasons we are not covering that, to avoid overloading you when there are more immediately useful concepts to be learned (such as scalar negation). But please be mindful of this fact, and read The Wave Lessons – Lesson 23: Negation and CLL Chapter 15 – "No" Problems: On Lojban Negation if and when you would like more details.
In most cases where more specific negation is needed, people resort to a different method. This method, called scalar negation, is an elegant and intuitive tool. Using it, you effect only the selbri, since the words used in scalar negation bind to the selbri much like the word se. Here are the definitions:
na'e contrary scalar negator: other than ...; not ...; a scale or set is implied.
to'e polar opposite scalar negator.
no'e midpoint scalar negator; "not really".
The name scalar negation is derived from the fact that the words which bind to the selbri can be placed along a scale from affirmation over negation and to stating that the opposite case is true. These words are not negators in the same sense as na. They do not state that a bridi is false, but make a positive statement that a bridi is true – the same bridi, but with a different selbri. This distinction is mostly academic, though. If, for example, I state that mi na'e se nelci, or "I am non-liked", I actually state that some selbri applies to me, which is also on a relevant scale with the selbri nelci. Most of the time, we assume a scale where the positions are mutually exclusive (like love-like-dislike-hate), so mi na'e se nelci implies mi na se nelci.
The words no'e and to'e should only be used when the selbri is placed on some obvious scale: lo mi gerku cu to'e melbi – "My dog is ugly" makes sense, since we immediately know what the opposite of beautiful is. On the other hand, mi klama lo mi to'e zdani – "I go to my opposite thing of home", while grammatical, leaves the listener guessing what the speaker's opposite-home is and should be avoided. You could say mi klama lo mi na'e zdani however, and it would mean "I go to somewhere mine which is not home".
Let's look at some more examples:
|mi na'e ctuca||I do something other than teach.|
|lo mi to'e pendo cu ctuca||My enemy is a teacher.|
|mi no'e gleki||I am not really happy.|
|xu do to'e gleki||Are you unhappy?|
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.
- Negation: na
- Scalar negation: na'e, to'e, no'e
- New exercises
- Choose "na", "na'e", "to'e" or "no'e" (OK)
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)
fanva x1 translates text/utterance x2 to language x3 from language x4 with translation result x5
mukti x1 (action/event/state) motivates/is a motive/incentive for action/event x2, per volition of x3
gasnu x1 [person/agent] is an agentive cause of event x2; x1 does/brings about x2
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
pi'o pilno modal, 1st place used by ...
mu'i mukti modal, 1st place because of motive ...
gau gasnu modal, 1st place agent/actor case tag with active agent ...
pu time tense relation/direction: did [selbri]; before/prior to [sumti]; default past tense
ca time tense relation/direction: is [selbri]; during/simultaneous with [sumti]; present tense
ba time tense relation/direction: will [selbri]; after [sumti]; default future tense
zo quote next word only; quotes a single Lojban word (not a cmavo compound or tanru)
lu start grammatical quotation; quoted text should be grammatical on its own
li'u elidable terminator: end grammatical quotation; seldom elidable except at end of text
ne non-restrictive relative phrase marker: which incidentally is associated with ...
pe restrictive relative phrase marker: which is associated with ...; loosest associative/possessive
po restrictive relative phrase marker: which is specific to ...; normal possessive physical/legal
po'e restrictive relative phrase marker: which belongs to ... ; inalienable possession
.a logical connective: sumti afterthought or
.e logical connective: sumti afterthought and
.o logical connective: sumti afterthought biconditional/iff/if-and-only-if
.u logical connective: sumti afterthought whether-or-not
na'e contrary scalar negator: other than ...; not ...; a scale or set is implied
to'e polar opposite scalar negator
no'e midpoint scalar negator: neutral point between je'a and to'e; "not really"
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