Chapter 10: Imaginary Journeys: The Lojban Space/Time Tense System
22. Conversion of sumti tcita: JAI
The following cmavo are discussed in this section:
jai JAI tense conversion fai FA indefinite place
Conversion is the regular Lojban process of moving around the places of a place structure. The cmavo of selma'o SE serve this purpose, exchanging the first place with one of the others:
✥22.1 mi cu klama le zarci I go-to the market. ✥22.2 le zarci cu se klama mi The market is-gone-to by-me.
It is also possible to bring a place that is specified by a sumti tcita (for the purposes of this chapter, a tense sumti tcita) to the front, by using “jai” plus the tense as the grammatical equivalent of SE:
✥22.3 le ratcu cu citka le cirla vi le panka The rat eats the cheese [short distance] the park. The rat eats the cheese in the park. ✥22.4 le panka cu jai vi citka le cirla fai le ratcu The park is-the-place-of eating the cheese by-the rat. The park is where the rat eats the cheese.
In ✥22.4, the construction JAI+tense converts the location sumti into the first place. The previous first place has nowhere to go, since the location sumti is not a numbered place; however, it can be inserted back into the bridi with “fai”, the indefinite member of selma'o FA.
(The other members of FA are used to mark the first, second, etc. places of a bridi explicitly:
✥22.5 fa mi cu klama fe le zarci
means the same as
✥22.6 fe le zarci cu klama fa mi
as well as the simple
✥22.7 mi cu klama le zarci
in which the place structure is determined by position.)
Like SE conversion, JAI+tense conversion is especially useful in descriptions with LE selma'o:
✥22.8 mi viska le jai vi citka be le cirla I saw the place-of eating the cheese.
Here the eater of the cheese is elided, so no “fai” appears.
Of course, temporal tenses are also usable with JAI:
✥22.9 mi djuno fi le jai ca morsi be fai la djan. I know about the [present] is-dead of-the-one-called “John” I know the time of John's death. I know when John died.