Chapter 6. To speak of many things: the Lojban sumti

The picture for chapter 6

6.1. The five kinds of simple sumti

If you understand anything about Lojban, you know what a sumti is by now, right? An argument, one of those things that fills the places of simple Lojban sentences like:

Example 6.1. 

mi klama le zarci
I go-to the market

In Example 6.1 , mi and le zarci are the sumti. It is easy to see that these two sumti are not of the same kind: mi is a pro-sumti (the Lojban analogue of a pronoun) referring to the speaker, whereas le zarci is a description which refers to something described as being a market.

There are five kinds of simple sumti provided by Lojban:

  1. descriptions like le zarci , which usually begin with a descriptor (called a gadri in Lojban) such as le ;

  2. pro-sumti, such as mi ;

  3. names, such as la .lojban. , which usually begin with la ;

  4. quotations, which begin with lu , lo'u , zo , or zoi ;

  5. pure numbers, which usually begin with li.

Here are a few examples of each kind of sumti:

Example 6.2. 

e'osai ko sarji la .lojban.
[request] [!] You [imperative] support that-named Lojban.

Please support Lojban!

Example 6.2 exhibits ko , a pro-sumti; and la .lojban. , a name.

Example 6.3. 

mi cusku lu e'osai li'u le tcidu
I express [quote] [request] [!] [unquote] to-the reader.

I express Please! to the reader.

Example 6.3 exhibits mi , a pro-sumti; lu e'osai li'u , a quotation; and le tcidu , a description.

Example 6.4. 

ti mitre li ci
This measures-in-meters the-number three.

This is three meters long.

Example 6.4 exhibits ti , a pro-sumti; and li ci , a number.

Most of this chapter is about descriptions, as they have the most complicated syntax and usage. Some attention is also given to names, which are closely interwoven with descriptions. Pro-sumti, numbers, and quotations are described in more detail in Chapter 7 , Chapter 18 , and Chapter 19 respectively, so this chapter only gives summaries of their forms and uses. See Section 6.13 through Section 6.15 for these summaries.