Chapter 6: To Speak Of Many Things: The Lojban sumti
1. The five kinds of simple sumti
✥1.1 mi klama le zarci I go-to the market
In ✥1.1, “mi” and “le zarci” are the sumti. It is easy to see that these two sumti are not of the same kind: “mi” is a pro-sumti (the Lojban analogue of a pronoun) referring to the speaker, whereas “le zarci” is a description which refers to something described as being a market.
There are five kinds of simple sumti provided by Lojban:
- descriptions like “le zarci”, which usually begin with a descriptor (called a “gadri” in Lojban) such as “le”;
- pro-sumti, such as “mi”;
- names, such as “la lojban.”, which usually begin with “la”;
- quotations, which begin with “lu”, “le'u”, “zo”, or “zoi”;
- pure numbers, which usually begin with “li”.
Here are a few examples of each kind of sumti:
✥1.2 e'osai ko sarji la lojban. Please support Lojban!
✥1.2 exhibits “ko”, a pro-sumti; and “la lojban.”, a name.
✥1.3 mi cusku lu e'osai li'u le tcidu I express “Please!” to-the reader.
✥1.3 exhibits “mi”, a pro-sumti; “lu e'osai li'u”, a quotation; and “le tcidu”, a description.
✥1.4 ti mitre li ci This measures-in-meters the-number three. This is three meters long.
✥1.4 exhibits “ti”, a pro-sumti; and “li ci”, a number.
Most of this chapter is about descriptions, as they have the most complicated syntax and usage. Some attention is also given to names, which are closely interwoven with descriptions. Pro-sumti, numbers, and quotations are described in more detail in Chapter 7, Chapter 18, and Chapter 19 respectively, so this chapter only gives summaries of their forms and uses. See c6-§13 through c6-§15 for these summaries.