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

24. Tense questions: “cu'e”

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”.