Chapter 10: Imaginary Journeys: The Lojban Space/Time Tense System

11. Space interval modifiers: FEhE

The following cmavo is discussed in this section:

fe'e    FEhE    space interval modifier flag

Like time intervals, space intervals can also be continuous, discontinuous, or repetitive. Rather than having a whole separate set of selma'o for space interval properties, we instead prefix the flag “fe'e” to the cmavo used for time interval properties. A space interval property would be placed just after the space interval size and/or dimensionality cmavo:

✥11.1    ko vi'i fe'e di'i
    sombo le gurni
You-imperative [1-dimensional] [space:] [regularly]
    sow the grain.
Sow the grain in a line and evenly!

✥11.2    mi fe'e ciroi
    tervecnu lo selsalta
I [space:] [three places]
    buy those-which-are salad-ingredients.
I buy salad ingredients in three locations.

✥11.3    ze'e roroi ve'e
    fe'e roroi ku
    li re su'i re du li vo
[whole time] [all times] [whole space]
    [space:] [all places]
    The-number 2 + 2 = the-number 4.
Always and everywhere, two plus two is four.

As shown in ✥11.3, when a tense comes first in a bridi, rather than in its normal position before the selbri (in this case “du”), it is emphasized.

The “fe'e” marker can also be used for the same purpose before members of ZAhO. (The cmavo “be'a” belongs to selma'o FAhA; it is the space direction meaning “north of”.)

✥11.4    tu ve'abe'a
    fe'e co'a rokci
that-yonder [medium space interval - north]
    [space] [initiative] is-a-rock.
That is the beginning of a rock extending to my north.
That is the south face of a rock.

Here the notion of a “beginning point” represented by the cmavo “co'a” is transferred from “beginning in time” to “beginning in space” under the influence of the “fe'e” flag. Space is not inherently oriented, unlike time, which flows from past to future: therefore, some indication of orientation is necessary, and the “ve'abe'a” provides an orientation in which the south face is the “beginning” and the north face is the “end”, since the rock extends from south (near me) to north (away from me).

Many natural languages represent time by a space-based metaphor: in English, what is past is said to be “behind us”. In other languages, the metaphor is reversed. Here, Lojban is representing space (or space interval modifiers) by a time-based metaphor: the choice of a FAhA cmavo following a VEhA cmavo indicates which direction is mapped onto the future. (The choice of future rather than past is arbitrary, but convenient for English-speakers.)

If both a TAhE (or ROI) and a ZAhO are present as space interval modifiers, the “fe'e” flag must be prefixed to each.