To access the main Loglan page
To return to the Index

Lesson 2: Command Performances

Lo Mipli Steti

1.Ridle ti!
Read this!
2.Eo ridle ti.
Please read this.
3.Ridle ti, eo.
Readthis, please.
4.Eo mi ridle ta?
Please, [may] I read that?
5.Ea [mu] godzi.
Let's [you-and-me] go.
6. Ai no, mi durzo ti.
I-intend-that it-not-be-the-case-that I do this.
I refuse to do this.
7. Ai [tu] logla takna!
I-intend-that [you] Loglan talk!
I intend you to speak (talk about something in) Loglan!
8.No takna va mi!
[Don't] talk around/near me!
9.No takna va gu mi!
[Don't] talk there [,] [to] me!
10. Durzo ta fa!
Do that later.
11. Eo nu takna mi
Please [switch first two blanks] be-talked-to by-me.
Please let me talk to you.

Lona Cninu Purda


wordDefinitionClue words
takna...talks to...about...(talk [TaK])
gudbi... is better than ... for/in ...(good [GUD])
logla... is a part/example of the Loglan language

Little Words

ai I intend that ... (Strong intention indicator;)
ea Let's/I suggest that we ...
eo please (See notes 2 and 3.)
gu , (spoken comma;)
nu [switches first and second blanks]
oa it is necessary that .../... must ... (Strong obligation indicator;)

Lopo Lengu Klimao


1. When you leave off the first argument of a predicate, the result is a command. That's all there is to it. Notice, however, that commands are not claims in most logics. (Think about it: is 'Read this!' true or false? The person you're talking to may obey or not without affecting the fact that you gave the order.)

2. Eo ('please') softens commands. This word is like ei (note the resemblance) in that it can be placed anywhere in an utterance without changing the general meaning. Such words are called free modifiers. They comment on the word they follow, or on the sentence as a whole if they are placed at the beginning. Except for gu and the passive markers, all little words introduced in this lesson are free modifiers.

3. Eo may be used in a regular sentence to ask permission: May I/he/she/etc.?

4. Ea suggests that you and/or someone else do something. It is often used with mu as the first argument. Ea mu godzi is a polite suggestion that you and your audience go. If you leave the mu out but still use ea, you are softening a command by making a suggestion of it (Ea godzi); but now are telling your audience to go. Ea mi godzi is a suggestion that I, the speaker, go. Although you can technically put ea anywhere in the utterance, it's usually best to put it first; this clearly announces your intentions.

5. Words like ai indicate your attitude toward what you are claiming or ordering. Note the difference between reporting an intention ('It is true that I intend you to do this.') and merely expressing your attitude toward some event ('You shall (I insist!) do this'). There are three groups of attitude indicators in Loglan, but they are systematically arranged for ease of learning. The a-series shows intention; the i-series, conviction; and the o-series, obligation. Within these three groups, there are four levels (from strongest to weakest): -a, -o, -i, and -u. (The a- and o- series are slightly irregular. To avoid *aa and *oo, ai, ae, and oe were introduced.)

a- (intention)i- (conviction)o- (obligation)
ai I intend toia certainlyoa I/you must
ao I want toio probablyoe I/you should
ae I hope toii perhapsoi I/you may
au I don't careiu Who knows?ou it doesn't matter

Ae translates the "ungrammatical" use of 'hopefully': Ae ta fa ridle ti. 'Hopefully [It is hoped that] that someone will read this'. When you're stuck for a word in the middle of a conversation, you can use one of these words as an 'uh...' Be careful which word you choose; ii is usually safe.

6. Ai no, (note the comma) means 'I intend not', 'I refuse!' but only at the beginning of an utterance. As mentioned in note 2, above, free modifiers such as ai modify whatever they follow, or the utterance as a whole if they are placed before it. If you want to show refusal in a negative sentence you have already begun, place ai after the word you want to underline: No, tu ai fa godzi 'You (I insist!) will not go'. 'I refuse to let you go'. (I may let someone else go, but not you.) This effect is often best translated in English by underlining or italics in text or emphasizing the word in speech.

Lopo Notlensea Cirduo

Translate from Loglan to English and back again. Note which words are being emphasized.

1. Ii ta fa kamla.Perhaps that one will come.
2. Mi eo godzi? May I go?
---Oi. Yes. [You may.]
3. No, mi durzo ta eo. May I not do that?
---Oi no. You are allowed not to.
4. Mi godzi na eo? May I go now, please?
5. Tu na au godzi. Who cares if you go now? It doesn't matter if you go now.
6. Oa cirna ti! You must learn this!
7. Oa no durzo ta! You must not do that!

7. The difference between Ai logla takna and Ai tu logla takna is one of degree: In the first, you're ordering someone to speak Loglan, while in the second, you're saying that you'll see to it that your prediction that he become a Loglan talker comes true.

8. Placing two or more predicates together produces a new predicate. Thus,

Note that the place structure (the order and meaning of the blanks) is determined by the last predicate word (cutse and ridle).

9. Placing No in front of a command creates a negative command: 'Don't ...!' As we saw in Lesson 1, this is also the way to negate a regular sentence: No, mi pa cutse ta ('It is not the case that I said that.') In negative commands the pause/comma is not generally necessary after no, because there's no first argument for it to negate.

10. Tense and locator words (inflectors) act as prepositions before any argument they precede: vi ta 'in that [place]', na ti 'at this [time]'. This is why when you wish to use an inflector as an adverb, it's best to put it before a predicate or at the end of an utterance; if you need to place it before an argument, you must use a pause/comma separator to keep the inflector from absorbing that argument into a prepositional phrase.

11. The Little Word gu "shuts off" the word or phrase it follows, so that (in this case) an inflector will no longer absorb the next argument. Be careful, though: gu only shuts off whatever is most recent. Often a phrase will end in a word that needs to be shut off with gu -- but then you find that the phrase itself needs to be shut off! You may need to use several gus to end some phrases. (More elegant solutions exist, as we'll see later.)

12. Don't put inflectors before predicates used as commands; put them at the end of the utterance. (We'll see why in lesson 16.)

13. Nu creates a new predicate (I repeat, a new predicate) out of the next predicate word. This is called conversion, and nu is sometimes called the "first passive" -- a term which, as we shall soon see, is misleading. The converted predicate is like the original, except that the old first and second blanks change places. This is often like the passive voice in English: Mi pa madzo ta 'I made that' becomes Ta pa nu madzo mi 'That was made by me'. But this doesn't always work: Ti bukcu ta 'This is a book about that' can't be made passive in English: Ta nu bukcu ti *'That is about-booked this'. In English, we must spell it out: 'That is the subject of this book').

There are two other conversion operators:

Fu works like nu, but it exchanges the first and third blanks of the original predicate. Ei tu fu bukcu 'Are you an author (book-writer')? (fu bukcu '... is a book-writer on topic(s) ... in book(s) ....')

Ju also works like nu, except that it trades the first and fourth blanks. Hu pa ju godzi 'What was the route?' (ju godzi' ... is a route for going to ... from ... used by ....')

Although conversion creates a separate predicate, the new predicate still refers to the same concept as the original predicate. Fu bukcu is not just any author, but a book-author. Fu takna is something talked about, not a subject in general.

Summary: Lesson 2

1.Dropping the first argument of a predicate produces a command. Don't put inflectors (fa, na, etc.) directly in front of a command.

2.Eo ('please') turns a command into a request. Ea godzi! means 'Please go! Ea ('let's') creates a suggestion which often includes the speaker. Ea mu godzi! Let's [you and me] go!

3.A command beginning with No means 'Don't ...!' No takna! 'Don't talk!' Similarly, No, before a sentence negates it: No,ta ditca ('It's not the case that that's a teacher'.). This sentence does NOT mean what a literal translation suggests ('No, that's a teacher'.); we'll see in Lesson 4 how to say 'No, ... that;s a' in Loglan. Note that the pause/comma is not necessary in commands because the first argument is omitted.

4.Attitude indicators such as ai ('I intend to/that') show how the speaker feels about a statement or command, or the event it refers to..

5.Placing one predicate word in front of another one creates a new predicate: Ta gudbi ditca ('That's a good teacher'.).

6.Free modifiers are a class of words which may be placed practically anywhere in a sentence without greatly altering its basic claim. They modify the word they follow, or the utterance as a whole if placed before it.

7.Inflectors act like adverbs when before predicates and at the end of an utterance, but like prepositions when before arguments.

8.The Little Word gu, is a sort of 'spoken comma'. It shuts off inflectors so that they don't absorb the next argument.

9.Conversion operators act on predicate words to create new predicates with differently-ordered blanks. Nu creates a predicate whose first two blanks are the reverse of the original predicate word, while fu predicates have the original first and third blanks reversed, and ju predicates reverse the first and fourth. For example:

godzi , ... is a goer to destination ... from starting-point ... over route ...
nu godzi, ... is a destination of goer ... from starting-point ... over route ...
fu godzi, ... is a starting-point to destination ... of goer ... over route ...
ju godzi, ... is a route to destination ... from starting-point ... of goer ...

Lo Cninu Purda

If you need to refresh your memory of the Previous Vocabulary


WordDefinitionClue words
cutse... says ... to ...(say[SEi])
gencue... repeats .../says ... over to ... [GENza CUtsE = again-say] a case of/a recurring instance of...again[yGEN]
gleca ... is a part/example of the English language (English [inGLiC])
gudbi ... is better than ... for/in ...(good [GUD])
kerju ... takes care of ... (care[KER])
logla ... is a part/example of the Loglan language
logmao ... Loglanizes ...; ... translates ... into Loglan [LOGla MAdzO = Loglan-make]
redro... is redder than ... (red[RED], Sp rojo [ROxo])
saadja... understands the meaning of sign/symbol ...[SAnpA DJAno = sign-know]

Little Words

[For attitude indicators, see note 5]

ea Let's/I suggest that we ... (free modifier)
eo please; may ...? (free modifier)
toa this/the next remark/statement
toi that/the preceding remark/statement

Lopo Notlensea Cirduo

1. Logmao toi, eo.Loglanize this statement, please.
2. Ei ba gleca cutse va mi?Does anyone speak English around me?
3. Ta he ditca?That's what kind of teacher?
4. Da ridle ditca. It's a reading teacher. (A teacher who reads or teaches reading.)
5. Ta redro he?That's a red what? (What is that red thing?)
6. Da redro bukcu io.It's a red book, I think.
7. No ridle ta na!Don't read that now!
8. No, mi pa ridle ta.I didn't read that.
9. No, pa mi, ridle ta.Don't read that before I do!
10. Mi fa durzo ta.I will do that. (Prediction)
11. Mi ai durzo ta. I will do that. (Intention)
12. Ea mu logla takna.Let's speak Loglan.
13. Gencue eo toa.Repeat that, please.
14. Ei tu saadja toi?Do you understand this remark?
15. Ae mi saadja toa.I hope I understand that remark.
16. Kerju tu!Take care of yourself!
17. Ai mi kerju mi.I intend to take care of myself.
18. Ae no durzo ta.I hope you don't do that.
19. No durzo ae ta.I hope you don't do that.