Lojban and Chinese, A Word A Day

By Xah Lee. Date:

spati = plant = 植 zhi2 物 wu4 .

spati ≔ x1 is a plant/herb/greenery of species/strain/cultivar x2

物 = object. 食物 = food. 动物 = animal. 植 = vegetable or vegetation. 植物 = plant. Trees, flowers are all 植物, or spati in lojban.

fagri = fire = 火 huo3

fagri ≔ x1 is a fire/flame in fuel x2 burning-in/reacting-with oxidizer x3 (default air/oxygen)
le fagri ku glare = fire is hot = 火 hou3 很 hen3 热 re4

glare = hot = 热 re4 , 烫 tang4 .

glare ≔ x1 is hot/[warm] by standard x2
mi glare = i'm hot = 我 wo3 很 hen3 热 re4
le djacu ku glare = that water is hot = 那 na4 水 shui3 很 hen3 (very) 烫 tang4

In Chinese, high temperature is 热 re4. Hot as dangerous is 烫 tang4. (熱 = 热,燙 = 烫)

The word 很 means “very”. To say “that water is hot”, we do not say “那水烫”, but we have to add the 很 like “那水很烫”. If we want to say “that water is very hot”in Chinese, it's “那水非fei1常chang2烫”. 非常 means “very”.

le djacu cu na glare = that water is not hot = 那 na4 水 shui3 不 bu4 烫 tang4.

recall that “cu” indicates the end of x1 word.

djini = money = 钱 qian2 .

jdini ≔ x1 is money/currency issued by x2; (adjective:) x1 is financial/monetary/pecuniary/fiscal

what ≈ ma ≈ 什 she2 么 me3 .

The word ma is a placeholder for a unknown word, and makes the sentence a question. It is somewhat like “what” in English, as in “you do what?” (what did you do), “you want what?” (what do you want), "you go where?" (where did you go), “that is what?” (what is that), “you are what years old?” (how old are you). In Chinese 什么 is similar, and its usage is similar to lojban, as a placeholder for unknown words.

Here are some example using words we have learned:

in English:

么 = 麼.

2004-02