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.