Chapter 10: Imaginary Journeys: The Lojban Space/Time Tense System
The following cmavo is discussed in this section:
cu'e CUhE tense question
There are two main ways to ask questions about tense. The main English tense question words are “When?” and “Where?”. These may be paraphrased respectively as “At what time?” and “At what place?” In these forms, their Lojban equivalents simply involve a tense plus “ma”, the Lojban sumti question:
✥24.1 do klama le zdani ca ma you go-to the house [present] [what sumti?]. You go to the house at what time? When do you go to the house?
✥24.2 le verba vi ma pu cadzu le bisli The child [short space] [what sumti?] [past] walks-on the ice. The child at/near what place walked on the ice? Where did the child walk on the ice?
There is also a non-specific tense and modal question, “cu'e”, belonging to selma'o CUhE. This can be used wherever a tense or modal construct can be used.
✥24.3 le nanmu cu'e batci le gerku The man [what tense?] bites the dog. When/Where/How does the man bite the dog?
Possible answers to ✥24.3 might be:
✥24.4 va [medium space]. Some ways from here. ✥24.5 puzu [past] [long time]. A long time ago. ✥24.6 vi le lunra [short space] The moon. On the moon. ✥24.7 pu'o [inchoative] He hasn't yet done so.
or even the modal reply (from selma'o BAI; see Chapter 9):
✥24.8 bai la djan. Under John's compulsion.
The only way to combine “cu'e” with other tense cmavo is through logical connection, which makes a question that pre-specifies some information:
✥24.9 do puzi je cu'e sombo le gurni You [past] [short] and [when?] sow the grain? You sowed the grain a little while ago; when else do you sow it?
Additionally, the logical connective itself can be replaced by a question word:
✥24.10 la .artr. pu je'i ba nolraitru Arthur [past] [which?] [future] is-a-king Was Arthur a king or will he be?
Answers to ✥24.10 would be logical connectives such as “je”, meaning “both”, “naje” meaning “the latter”, or “jenai” meaning “the former”.