Chapter 12: Dog House And White House: Determining lujvo Place Structures

10. Eliding SE rafsi from tertau

Eliding SE rafsi from tertau gets us into much more trouble. To understand why, recall that lujvo, following their veljvo, describe some type of whatever their tertau describe. Thus, “posydji” describes a type of “djica”, “gerzda” describes a type of “zdani”, and so on. What is certain is that “gerzda” does not describe a “se zdani” — it is not a word that could be used to describe an inhabitant such as a dog.

Now consider how we would translate the word “blue-eyed”. Let's tentatively translate this word as “blakanla” (from “blanu kanla”, meaning “blue eye”). But immediately we are in trouble: we cannot say

✥10.1    la djak. cu blakanla
Jack is-a-blue-eye

because Jack is not an eye, “kanla”, but someone with an eye, “se kanla”. At best we can say

✥10.2    la djak. cu se blakanla
Jack is-the-bearer-of-blue-eyes

But look now at the place structure of “blakanla”: it is a symmetrical lujvo, so the place structure is:

✥10.3    xe1=s1 is a blue eye of xe2=s2

We end up being most interested in talking about the second place, not the first (we talk much more of people than of their eyes), so “se” would almost always be required.

What is happening here is that we are translating the tertau wrongly, under the influence of English. The English suffix “-eyed” does not mean “eye”, but someone with an eye, which is “selkanla”.

Because we've got the wrong tertau (eliding a “se” that really should be there), any attempt to accommodate the resulting lujvo into our guidelines for place structure is fitting a square peg in a round hole. Since they can be so misleading, lujvo with SE rafsi elided from the tertau should be avoided in favor of their more explicit counterparts: in this case, “blaselkanla”.