Chapter 13: Oooh! Arrgh! Ugh! Yecch! Attitudinal and Emotional Indicators

2. Pure emotion indicators

Attitudinals make no claim: they are expressions of attitude, not of facts or alleged facts. As a result, attitudinals themselves have no truth value, nor do they directly affect the truth value of a bridi that they modify. However, since emotional attitudes are carried in your mind, they reflect reactions to that version of the world that the mind is thinking about; this is seldom identical with the real world. At times, we are thinking about our idealized version of the real world; at other times we are thinking about a potential world that might or might not ever exist.

Therefore, there are two groups of attitudinals in Lojban. The “pure emotion indicators” express the way the speaker is feeling, without direct reference to what else is said. These indicators comprise the attitudinals which begin with “u” or “o” and many of those beginning with “i”.

The cmavo beginning with “u” are simple emotions, which represent the speaker's reaction to the world as it is, or as it is perceived to be.

.ua discovery           confusion
.u'a    gain                loss
.ue surprise    no surprise expectation
.u'e    wonder              commonplace
.ui happiness           unhappiness
.u'i    amusement           weariness
.uo completion          incompleteness
.u'o    courage     timidity    cowardice
.uu     pity                cruelty
.u'u    repentance  lack of regret  innocence

Here are some typical uses of the “u” attitudinals:

✥2.1  .ua mi facki fi le mi mapku
[Eureka!] I found my hat!
    [emphasizes the discovery of the hat]

✥2.2   .u'a mi facki fi le mi mapku
[Gain!] I found my hat!
    [emphasizes the obtaining of the hat]

✥2.3  .ui mi facki fi le mi mapku
[Yay!] I found my hat!
    [emphasizes the feeling of happiness]

✥2.4   .uo mi facki fi le mi mapku
[At last!] I found my hat!
    [emphasizes that the finding is complete]

✥2.5  .uu do cortu
[Pity!] You feel-pain.
    [expresses speaker's sympathy]

✥2.6   .u'u do cortu
[Repentance!] You feel-pain
    [expresses that speaker feels guilty]

In ✥2.4, note that the attitudinal “.uo” is translated by an English non-attitudinal phrase: “At last!” It is common for the English equivalents of Lojban attitudinals to be short phrases of this sort, with more or less normal grammar, but actually expressions of emotion.

In particular, both “.uu” and “.u'u” can be translated into English as “I'm sorry”; the difference between these two attitudes frequently causes confusion among English-speakers who use this phrase, leading to responses like “Why are you sorry? It's not your fault!”

It is important to realize that “.uu”, and indeed all attitudinals, are meant to be used sincerely, not ironically. In English, the exclamation “Pity!” is just as likely to be ironically intended, but this usage does not extend to Lojban. Lying with attitudinals is (normally) as inappropriate to Lojban discourse as any other kind of lying: perhaps worse, because misunderstood emotions can cause even greater problems than misunderstood statements.

The following examples display the effects of “nai” and “cu'i” when suffixed to an attitudinal:

✥2.7  .ue la djan. klama
[Surprise!] John comes.

✥2.8   .uecu'i la djan. klama
[Ho hum.] John comes.

✥2.9   .uenai la djan. klama
[Expected!] John comes.

In ✥2.9, John's coming has been anticipated by the speaker. In ✥2.7 and ✥2.8, no such anticipation has been made, but in ✥2.7 the lack-of-anticipation goes no further — in ✥2.8, it amounts to actual surprise.

It is not possible to firmly distinguish the pure emotion words beginning with “o” or “i” from those beginning with “u”, but in general they represent more complex, more ambivalent, or more difficult emotions.

.o'a    pride       modesty     shame
.o'e    closeness   detachment  distance
.oi complaint/pain  doing OK    pleasure
.o'i    caution     boldness    rashness
.o'o    patience    mere tolerance  anger
.o'u    relaxation  composure   stress

Here are some examples:

✥2.10    .oi la djan. klama
[Complaint!] John is coming.

Here the speaker is distressed or discomfited over John's coming. The word “.oi” is derived from the Yiddish word “oy” of similar meaning. It is the only cmavo with a Yiddish origin.

✥2.11    .o'onai la djan. klama
[Anger!] John is coming!

Here the speaker feels anger over John's coming.

✥2.12    .o'i la djan. klama
[Beware!] John is coming.

Here there is a sense of danger in John's arrival.

✥2.13    .o'ecu'i la djan. klama
[Detachment!] John is coming.

✥2.14    .o'u la djan. klama
[Phew!] John is coming.

In ✥2.13 and ✥2.14, John's arrival is no problem: in the former example, the speaker feels emotional distance from the situation; in the latter example, John's coming is actually a relief of some kind.

The pure emotion indicators beginning with “i” are those which could not be fitted into the “u” or “o” groups because there was a lack of room, so they are a mixed lot. “.ia”, “.i'a”, “.ie”, and “.i'e” do not appear here, as they belong in c13-§3 instead.

.ii fear        nervousness security
.i'i    togetherness            privacy
.io respect             disrespect
.i'o    appreciation            envy
.iu     love        no love lost    hatred
.i'u    familiarity         mystery

Here are some examples:

✥2.15    .ii smacu
[Fear!] [Observative:] a-mouse
Eek!  A mouse!

✥2.16    la djan. .iu klama
John [love!] is coming.

✥2.17    la djan. .ionai klama
John [disrespect!] is coming.

✥2.15 shows an attitude-colored observative; the attitudinal modifies the situation described by the observative, namely the mouse that is causing the emotion. Lojban-speaking toddlers, if there ever are any, will probably use sentences like ✥2.15 a lot.

✥2.16 and ✥2.17 use attitudinals that follow “la djan.” rather than being at the beginning of the sentence. This form means that the attitude is attached to John rather than the event of his coming; the speaker loves or disrespects John specifically. Compare:

✥2.18    la djan. klama .iu
John is-coming [love!]

where it is specifically the coming of John that inspires the feeling.

✥2.17 is a way of swearing at John: you could translate it as “That good-for-nothing John is coming.”