Chapter 9: To Boston Via The Road Go I, With An Excursion Into The Land Of Modals
9. Modal selbri
Consider the example:
✥9.1 mi tavla bau la lojban. bai tu'a la frank. I speak in-language Lojban with-compeller some-property-of Frank. I speak in Lojban, under compulsion by Frank.
✥9.1 has two modal sumti, using the modals “bau” and “bai”. Suppose we wanted to specify the language explicitly but be vague about who's doing the compelling. We can simplify ✥9.1 to:
✥9.2 mi tavla bau la lojban. bai [ku]. I speak in-language Lojban under-compulsion.
In ✥9.2, the elidable terminator “ku” has taken the place of the sumti which would normally follow “bai”. Alternatively, we could specify the one who compels but keep the language vague:
✥9.3 mi tavla bau [ku] bai tu'a la frank. I speak in-some-language under-compulsion-by some-property-of Frank.
We are also free to move the modal-plus-“ku” around the bridi:
✥9.4 bau [ku] bai ku mi tavla In-some-language under-compulsion I speak.
An alternative to using “ku” is to place the modal cmavo right before the selbri, following the “cu” which often appears there. When a modal is present, the “cu” is almost never necessary.
✥9.5 mi bai tavla bau la lojban. I compelledly speak in-language Lojban.
In this use, the modal is like a tanru modifier semantically, although grammatically it is quite distinct. ✥9.5 is very similar in meaning to:
✥9.6 mi se bapli tavla bau la lojban. I compelledly-speak in-language Lojban.
The “se” conversion is needed because “bapli tavla” would be a compeller type of speaker rather than a compelled (by someone) type of speaker, which is what a “bai tavla” is.
If the modal preceding a selbri is constructed using “fi'o”, then “fe'u” is required to prevent the main selbri and the modal selbri from colliding:
✥9.7 mi fi'o kanla fe'u viska do I with-eye see you I see you with my eye(s).
There are two other uses of modals. A modal can be attached to a pair of bridi-tails that have already been connected by a logical, non-logical, or modal connection (see Chapter 14 for more on logical and non-logical connections):
✥9.8 mi bai ke ge klama le zarci gi cadzu le bisli [ke'e] I under-compulsion ( both go to-the market and walk on-the ice ) Under compulsion, I both go to the market and walk on the ice.
Here the “bai” is spread over both “klama le zarci” and “cadzu le bisli”, and the “ge … gi” represents the logical connection “both-and” between the two.
Similarly, a modal can be attached to multiple sentences that have been combined with “tu'e” and “tu'u”, which are explained in more detail in Chapter 19:
✥9.9 bai tu'e mi klama le zarci .i mi cadzu le bisli [tu'u] Under-compulsion [start] I go to-the market. I walk on-the ice [end]
means the same thing as ✥9.8.
Note: Either BAI modals or “fi'o”-plus-selbri modals may correctly be used in any of the constructions discussed in this section.