Chapter 9: To Boston Via The Road Go I, With An Excursion Into The Land Of Modals

3. Tagging places: FA

The following cmavo are discussed in this section:

fa  FA  tags x1 place
fe  FA  tags x2 place
fi  FA  tags x3 place
fo  FA  tags x4 place
fu  FA  tags x5 place
fi'a    FA  place structure question

In sentences like ✥2.1, it is easy to get lost and forget which sumti falls in which place, especially if the sumti are more complicated than simple names or descriptions. The place structure tags of selma'o FA may be used to help clarify place structures. The five cmavo “fa”, “fe”, “fi”, “fo”, and “fu” may be inserted just before the sumti in the x1 to x5 places respectively:

✥3.1  fa mi cu klama fe la bastn.
    fi la .atlantas. fo le dargu fu le karce
x1= I go x2= Boston
    x3= Atlanta x4= the road x5= the car.
I go to Boston from Atlanta via the road using the car.

In ✥3.1, the tag “fu” before “le karce” clarifies that “le karce” occupies the x5 place of “klama”. The use of “fu” tells us nothing about the purpose or meaning of the x5 place; it simply says that “le karce” occupies it.

In ✥3.1, the tags are overkill; they serve only to make ✥2.1 even longer than it is. Here is a better illustration of the use of FA tags for clarification:

✥3.2  fa mi klama fe le zdani be mi be'o poi nurma vau
    fi la nu,IORK.
x1= I go x2= (the house of me) which is-rural
    x3= New York.

In ✥3.2, the place structure of “klama” is as follows:

x1  agent       mi
x2  destination le zdani be mi be'o poi nurma vau
x3  origin      la nu,IORK.
x4  route       (empty)
x5  means       (empty)

The “fi” tag serves to remind the hearer that what follows is in the x3 place of “klama”; after listening to the complex sumti occupying the x2 place, it's easy to get lost.

Of course, once the sumti have been tagged, the order in which they are specified no longer carries the burden of distinguishing the places. Therefore, it is perfectly all right to scramble them into any order desired, and to move the selbri to anywhere in the bridi, even the beginning:

✥3.3  klama fa mi fi la .atlantas.
    fu le karce fe la bastn. fo le dargu
go x1= I x3= Atlanta
    x5= the car x2= Boston x4= the road.
Go I from Atlanta using the car to Boston via the road.

Note that no “cu” is permitted before the selbri in ✥3.3, because “cu” separates the selbri from any preceding sumti, and ✥3.3 has no such sumti.

✥3.4  fu le karce fo le dargu fi la .atlantas.
    fe la bastn. cu klama fa mi
x5= the car x4= the road x3= Atlanta
    x2= Boston go x1=I
Using the car, via the road, from Atlanta to Boston
    go I.

✥3.4 exhibits the reverse of the standard bridi form seen in Examples 2.1 and 3.1, but still means exactly the same thing. If the FA tags were left out, however, producing:

✥3.5  le karce le dargu la .atlantas.
    la bastn. cu klama mi
The car to-the road from-Atlanta
    via-Boston goes using-me.
The car goes to the road from Atlanta, with Boston
    as the route, using me as a means
    of transport.

the meaning would be wholly changed, and in fact nonsensical.

Tagging places with FA cmavo makes it easy not only to reorder the places but also to omit undesirable ones, without any need for “zo'e” or special rules about the x1 place:

✥3.6  klama fi la .atlantas. fe la bastn. fu le karce
A-goer x3= Atlanta x2= Boston x5 = the car.
A goer from Atlanta to Boston using the car.

Here the x1 and x4 places are empty, and so no sumti are tagged with “fa” or “fo”; in addition, the x2 and x3 places appear in reverse order.

What if some sumti have FA tags and others do not? The rule is that after a FA-tagged sumti, any sumti following it occupy the places numerically succeeding it, subject to the proviso that an already-filled place is skipped:

✥3.7  klama fa mi la bastn. la .atlantas.
    le dargu le karce
Go x1= I x2= Boston x3= Atlanta
    x4= the road x5= the car.
Go I to Boston from Atlanta via the road
    using the car.

In ✥3.7, the “fa” causes “mi” to occupy the x1 place, and then the following untagged sumti occupy in order the x2 through x5 places. This is the mechanism by which Lojban allows placing the selbri first while specifying a sumti for the x1 place.

Here is a more complex (and more confusing) example:

✥3.8  mi klama fi la .atlantas. le dargu
    fe la bastn. le karce
I go x3= Atlanta the road
    x2= Boston the car.
I go from Atlanta via the road to Boston using the car.

In ✥3.8, “mi” occupies the x1 place because it is the first sumti in the sentence (and is before the selbri). The second sumti, “la .atlantas.”, occupies the x3 place by virtue of the tag “fi”, and “le dargu” occupies the x4 place as a result of following “la .atlantas.”. Finally, “la bastn.” occupies the x2 place because of its tag “fe”, and “le karce” skips over the already-occupied x3 and x4 places to land in the x5 place.

Such a convoluted use of tags should probably be avoided except when trying for a literal translation of some English (or other natural-language) sentence; the rules stated here are merely given so that some standard interpretation is possible.

It is grammatically permitted to tag more than one sumti with the same FA cmavo. The effect is that of making more than one claim:

✥3.9  [fa] la rik. fa la djein. klama
    [fe] le skina fe le zdani fe le zarci
[x1=] Rick x1= Jane goes-to
    x2= the movie x2= the house x2= the office

may be taken to say that both Rick and Jane go to the movie, the house, and the office, merging six claims into one. More likely, however, it will simply confuse the listener. There are better ways, involving logical connectives (explained in Chapter 14), to say such things in Lojban. In fact, putting more than one sumti into a place is odd enough that it can only be done by explicit FA usage: this is the motivation for the proviso above, that already-occupied places are skipped. In this way, no sumti can be forced into a place already occupied unless it has an explicit FA cmavo tagging it.

The cmavo “fi'a” also belongs to selma'o FA, and allows Lojban users to ask questions about place structures. A bridi containing “fi'a” is a question, asking the listener to supply the appropriate other member of FA which will make the bridi a true statement:

✥3.10    fi'a do dunda [fe] le vi rozgu
[what place]? you give x2= the nearby rose
In what way are you involved in the giving of this rose?
Are you the giver or the receiver of this rose?

In ✥3.10, the speaker uses the selbri “dunda”, whose place structure is:

x1 gives x2 to x3
The tagged sumti “fi'a do” indicates that the speaker wishes to know whether the sumti “do” falls in the x1 or the x3 place (the x2 place is already occupied by “le rozgu”). The listener can reply with a sentence consisting solely of a FA cmavo: “fa” if the listener is the giver, “fi” if he/she is the receiver.

I have inserted the tag “fe” in brackets into ✥3.10, but it is actually not necessary, because “fi'a” does not count as a numeric tag; therefore, “le vi rozgu” would necessarily be in the x2 place even if no tag were present, because it immediately follows the selbri.

There is also another member of FA, namely “fai”, which is discussed in c9-§12.