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Lesson 5: Modifying Your Position

Lo Mipli Steti

1. Ta treci bukcu ridle.
That is-an-interesting-book- reader.
That is an interesting-book reader (a reader of interesting books)
2. Ta treci bukcu ci ridle.
That is-an-interesting [-] book - reader.
That is an interesting book-reader. (a book-reader who is interesting)
3. Le blanu bukcu ga treci le farfu je la Djan, jue la Meris.
The blue book interests the father of [the] John by [the] Mary.
The blue book interests the father of John by (mother) Mary.
4. Le treci je le farfu gu bukcu ga blanu.
The interesting- [to] -the-father [,] book is-blue.
The book that interests the father is blue.
5. Le treci je le farfu ga redro bukcu
The interesting [thing] to -the father is-a-red-book.
The thing that interests the father is a red book.
6. Ta treci je mi ge logla bukcu ridle.
That is an interesting- [to] -me type-of Loglan-book reader.
That is a Loglan-book reader who is interesting to me.
7. Ta logla bukcu ridle go treci mi.
That is a Loglan-book reader who is interesting to me.
8. Tu mela Pavarotis, gritu.
You are-a- Pavarotti-type singer.
You sing like Pavarotti.
9. Tu gritu clika la Pavarotis.
You are-singingly- similar-to Pavarotti.
You sing like Pavarotti.

Lona Cninu Purda


WordDefinitionClue words bluer than...(blue [BLU]; Sp. azul like/similar feature...(like[LaIK]) a [the] father of...through mother...(father [FAthR])"A bird may greet you by singing.")

Little Words

gefor a ...; type [of]... (grouping operator)
gowhich/that is... (inversion operator)
jefirst link of predicate
juesutori (at least second) link of predicate.
mepredifier; turns the following argument into a predicate

Lopo Lengu Klimao


1. An important difference between Loglan and English is that in Loglan you can always tell what modifies what. In a string of predicates, an unmarked predicate modifies the word immediately to its right. If that word is a modifier, then the pair modify the next word, and so on, until the final word in the argument or predicate is reached. So treci bukcu ridle ((treci bukcu) ridle) means ` an interesting-book reader' (a reader of interesting books).

2. Ci links two words together as a unit: treci bukcu ci ridle (treci [bukcu ci ridle]) ` an interesting book-reader'. Don't use ci between the first two modifiers; treci ci bukcu ridle means the same thing as treci bukcu ridle and is considered bad style. Likewise, treci ci bukcu by itself (Ta treci ci bukcu) is unnecessary and worth avoiding; it means the same thing as Ta treci bukcu.

3. Back in Lesson 3 I said that there was a way to turn a predicate's blanks back on after making it into an argument. Je and juedo that, they produce specified descriptions from plain descriptions. Je points to the predicate's second blank (for farfu, it is the father's child). Jue points to the third blank (the child's mother). For the fourth and fifth blanks, just use jue two more times. As with a regular predicate, you can't skip blanks; fill them in with ba, be, etc.

You can, of course, get carried away with all this: Le farfu je le ditca je ba jue la Djan gu, jue la Meris (`The father of the teacher of something to John [we're out of blanks for ditca, so we close it with gu to make sure the next jue goes back to farfu] through mother Mary'). Clearly, you should not go too far: a computer can follow such utterances, but a human will get lost very quickly.

You can't access the first blank because it's taken by the argument or predicate itself. Le farfu is someone who `seems to be a father....'; apparently fei farfu ('f is a father'). But only apparently; again, it's not a claim. The arguments with je/jue that fill the blanks likewise merely identify the objects related to one another by the descriptive predicate.

4. 4. You must always end a specified modifier with gu when it ends with a predicate. Suppose you wanted to say 'the interesting-to-the-father book' - here treci je le farfu is going to modify bukcu - but happened to leave out the gu between farfu and bukcu. What you would actually be saying is Le treci je le farfu bukcu = 'The thing that is interesting to the father-book'. So unless a specified modifier ends with a little word or a name, as in Le treci je mi/la Djan, bukcu 'The book which is interesting to me/John', you must put a gu before the word it modifies. .

Gu is a generalized closure. Gue is a special version of gu used to close je constructions. Sometimes you would have to use two or more gu's to close off je phrases and gu gu just plain sounds funny. To close off the most recent je phrase, a gue is the quickest and easiest way out. You will see later than there are other special closing words for special circumstances.

5. You still have to close these arguments with ga or an inflector when you use them as the first argument. Remember, le treci je mi bukcu (`the interesting-to-me book') is an argument; it takes ga to turn it into a statement. Le treci je mi ga bukcu (`The interesting-to-me [thing] is a book.')

6. Ge makes the preceding modifier apply to the rest of the predicate or argument. Thus, in treci je mi ge logla bukcu ridle, treci je mi applies to logla bukcu ridle. Without the ge, it would group as follows: ((((treci je mi) logla) bukcu) ridle) -- that is, `an interesting-to-me (type of) Loglan (type of) book (type of) reader' or `a reader of books that are Loglan of a type that is interesting to me'. So when you want a modifier to affect everything that follows it, use ge.

7. Go lets you put a modifier after the word or phrase it modifies. The advantage of go is that you don't need je/jue to fill in the modifier's blanks. Ta logla bukcu go treci mi 'That's a Loglan book that interests me' (Godoes shut off the preceding predicate's blanks, though.) There are two limits on go:

8. Me turns the following argument into a predicate meaning 'is one of those to whom [that argument] might currently apply'. Da mela Pavarotis claims that X, the person referred to, is either Pavarotti himself or someone else to whom the name la Pavarotis might apply; but when mela Pavarotis is used as a modifier, it can mean 'Pavarotti-ish'. So me-type predicates are often used to modify other predicates. Note the difference, however, between le la Pavarotis, gritu (`Pavarotti's singer') and le mela Pavarotis, gritu (`the Pavarottiish singer'). Note that me is always prefixed to the following little word. (In case you haven't noticed, every argument, properly speaking, starts with or is a little word.)

Mea [argument] means 'is an '[argument]-type thing' when the predicate so formed stands alone. Da mea [argument] says that X is in some way like or related to the thing or person currently designated by [argument]. Thus: Ta meatu—pronounced ta-me-A-tu—means 'That's just like you' or, as a salesperson might say, 'It's you!' Ta mea Ford—pronounced ta-me-A . FORD—means 'That's a Ford-type thing', for example, a Ford car. Ta me Ford, in contrast, means 'That's Ford', meaning either Henry, his company, or someone else currently bearing that name. As modifiers, mela Ford and meala Ford do not differ very much. Both Ta me Ford, tcaro and Ta mea Ford, tcaro, for example, mean 'That's a Ford-type car'. Take your pick. But only Ta mea Ford can be used for the short form 'That's a Ford.'

9. You could also use the predicate for similar. Note that modifiers are often later arguments of the predicate, as in bukcu ridle (from ridle ba le bukcu). Using a modifier instead of an argument can be faster, and sometimes it feels more intuitive or just plain more human than filling in blanks.

Lona Cninu Purda


WordDefinitionClue word shorter amount... (short [CORT]) younger amount... (junior [dJUNIrr]) longer/taller amount... (longer[LANGr])

Replies to the exercise and questions.

Exercise 5.1

Notlensea ti La Inglec (Translate these into English:)

  1. Ti he mrenu. [what-kind-of...?]
  2. I ti corta junti ci mrenu. [How could you say this without using ci? What would it mean without any grouping words?]
  3. Ta langa ge junti mrenu.
  4. Ta tedji ridle go bukcu la Loglan.

Notlensea ti la Loglan (Translate these into Loglan:)

  1. Who is the woman taller than? [The woman is taller than who(m)?]
  2. [And] she [f] is taller than the boy
  3. How tall is she? [And f is what-kind-of tall?]
  4. [And] f is very tall.

Lopo Purmao

CVV djifoa are almost as easy to use as CCV ones. You can use them almost anywhere, but they can't begin a complex unless they are accented. If they are unaccented, you need to add -r, as in diarbukcu (another version of dicbukcu), where the first u is accented. This keeps the dia- from "falling off," that is, from turning into dia bukcu. Also, if you use two CVV djifoa to form a complex, you must insert an -r between them, as in diarbuu (yet another variant). Can you see why? All predicates contain a consonant cluster, but *diabuu doesn't, and is therefore not a predicate.

The djifoa -mou/-mro (from mordu 'more') and -ciu (from ciktu 'equal') are particularly useful. Used as suffixes with qualities, they mean ` more [quality] ` and ` as [quality] as... is. Predicates with more than one place have two possible comparisons, though. Ckano means ` kind to...;' what does ckamou mean? In these cases, the structure is ` more [quality] to/ to/for.... ` So ckamou means ` kinder to....'. These same rules work for -ciu. (Ckaciu ` as kind to....'). As we'll see in a few lessons, there's another way to handle comparison which is a bit more like English.

Lo Nurvia Logla

La Betis, he

Hue la Denys: Hu fa nakso le tcaro? Irea no tu spuro tcaro ci nakso.
Hue la Karl: Uu tu dreti. I la Betis, nakso.
Hue Dai: I ie Bai?
Hue Kai: I Bai bi le tcaro nakso. I no grocycea, eo! Ifeu, io no, tu peudja Bai. I li, Bai he?, lu gudbi letu kenti
Hue Dai: I toa gudbi kei hu?
Hue Kai: Saa, da trecymou. [Da is used here to replace the toa in the previous line. Da is also used to replace a ba in subsequent reference to the same `something'.]
Hue Dai: Sia, uo.
---------Nao, la Betis, he?
Hue Kai: Mi hapci repduo letu penso folma kenti! I Bai fremi mi. I Bai mutce clika la Odris, leBai simfoa. Ibuo Bai corta Oma.
Hue Dai: Ei le clika je la Odris, jue leBai simfoa, ga logli?
Hue Kai: Mi ditca la Loglan, Bai. I mi spuro ge logla ditca. I Bai spuro ge tcaro nakso.
Hue Dai: Le tcaro nakso ga he ge tcaro bapra?
Hue Kai: I Bai kukra tcabapra go laldo je Bai tcaro.
Hue Dai: Irea no, Bai sadji bapra ge tcaro spuro. I la Odris, buo mutce sadji bapra.
Hue Kai: Iu. Ibuo la Betis, ckano. I Bai mutce ckamou mi la Odris.
Hue Dai: Ue. I Bai ii ckamou tu Oma. Ibuo Oma ckano.
Hue Kai: I Oma ckamou tu ii Oma mi. Ibuo ea mu remcli takna. I ei?
Hue Dai: Ia ai. I ae mi fa peudja Bai. I ae Bai ckaciu mi Oma.
Hue Kai: I ae Bai ckaciu tu Bai mi.

Lo Kenti

1. Hu kenti go gudbi leDai kenti?
2. LeBai tcaro ga he?
3. I Bai he bapra tei?
4. Hu tcabapra sadji?

Lo Cninu Purda

To review the previous vocabulary


WordDefinitionClue words
bapra... operates/drives/is an operator/ driver of machine(s)/ vehicle(s) ...(operate [APRReit])} bluer than...(blue [BLU]; Sp. azul as kind to... [CKAno CIktU = kind equal] kinder to...[CKAno MOrdU = kind more] like/similar feature...(like[LaIK]) shorter (short [CORT]) correct by standard... (correct [koREkT]) a [the] father of...through mother...(father [FAthR]) fuller [FuL]) a friend of...(friend [FREnd]; Sp.amigo [aMIgo])"A bird may greet you by singing.")
grocycea...becomes angry at...[GROCi CEnjA = angry-become] younger amount... (junior [dJUNIrr]) a question about...posed (question [KuEsTcn]) longer/taller amount... (longer[LANGr])
peudja...knows/is acquainted with person...PErnU DJAno = person-know] friendly/like a friend to...fREMi CLIka = friend-like]
repduo...answers question...posed by...[REtPi DUrzO = answer-do] wiser than...about...(sage [SeiDJ];Sp. sabio [SAbIo]) the appearance/look(s) of...SIMci FOrmA = seem-form] expert/skilled at/in...under conditions... (expert [ekSPRt])
tcabapra... drives/is a driver of car(s)/ motorized vehicle(s) ... [TCAro BAPRA = car operate] more interesting to... [TRECi (Y) MOrdU = interesting-more]

Little Words

me(discursive modifier converting an argument into a predicate)
mea(discursive modifier converting an argument into a metaphorical predicate. e.g. meatu, is like you/is of your type.)
nao(discursive modifier announcing a new topic/paragraph) (free modifier)
gue special version of gu which terminates the preceding je phrase
saasimply put (free modifier) [SAplA]

Summary: Lesson 5

1. A predicate placed in front of another predicate modifies the predicate it precedes, forming a new predicate.

2. In a string of predicates, the first predicate word modifies the next predicate word; then those two modify the next word, and so on, until the end of the string.

3. Ci joins two predicate words together, so that they become the "next word" modified. (Don't hyphenate the first two predicates in a string; it's never necessary.)

4. To fill in the blanks of a predicate used as a modifier in a predicate string, use je for the second blank and jue for blanks after that. (Don't skip blanks!)

5. If je phrases occur in the middle of a predicate string and end with a predicate word, they must be closed with a punctuator of some kind. Gu will close the nearest preceding phrase or clause, whatever that is, and will usually suffice to close je phrases. But gue will close the nearest preceding je phrase quite specifically.

6. In expressions composed of [modifier] ge [predicate string], ge makes [predicates] act as one group for [modifer] to modify. It's as though all the words in [predicates] were joined to one another with ci.

7. Go lets you place a modifier after the word or group of words it modifies. This leaves the modifier's blanks open so you don't have to use je/jue. There are two limitations on this procedure. First, if you use it in a descriptive argument, remember that the modifiers are part of that argument, so their places can only be filled using je/jue. Second, go effectively ge's what it modifies, so that [predicate(s)] go [modifier(s)] means the same thing as [modifier(s)] ge [predicate(s)]. (This is only a problem if you are modifying more than one predicate; but if you are, make sure the ge effect doesn't change the meaning of what you want to say.)

8. Me [argument] turns [argument] into a predicate meaning....'is the one/one of those that [argument] currently designates' Da mela Djan is the claim version of the identification. So Da bi la Djan. means 'That is the John I am talking about'. Da mea la Djan Da is Johnish, like John or one of his products.

Lopo Notlensea Cirduo

1. Ta he bukcu?That is what-kind-of book?
2. I ta corta ge logla bukcu.And] that is short for a Loglan book. [((short) (Loglan book))]
3. Ei le bukcu ga blanu?Is the book blue?
4. No I bei redro.No, it's red.
5. Le junti kicmu ga langa le laldo ditca.The young doctor is taller than the old teacher.
6. Le mrenu go corta je mi [ga] ditca.The man who is shorter than I [am] teaches.
7. Ta ridle go treci bukcu la Loglan.That's a reader of interesting books about Loglan.

Lo Retpi

Exercise 5.1

1. What kind of man is this?
2. This is a short young man.
[How could you say this without using ci? I ti corta ge junti mrenu.
What would it mean without without grouping words? `This is a shortly-young man.'
3. That one's tall for a young man.
4. That's a book[s]-about-Loglan attentive reader. (One who attentively reads books about Loglan. This is a very convoluted way of saying such a thing; the normal sentence would be Ta tedji ridle lo bukcu je la Loglan, but we won't meet lo until Lesson 8.)

Translate into Loglan:

1. Le fumna ga langa hu?
2. I fei langa le botci.
3. I fei he langa?
4. I fei mutce langa.

Lo Kenti

1. What is a question [that is] better than D's? La Betis, he?
2. What's B's car like? Tei laldo Bai.
3. How does B drive it? Bai kukra bapra [tei].
4. Who is wise as a driver? La Odris, bapra sadji.

Last Updated:Wednesday, November 29, 1995