Chapter 12: Dog House And White House: Determining lujvo Place Structures

14. Anomalous lujvo

Some lujvo that have been coined and actually employed in Lojban writing do not follow the guidelines expressed above, either because the places that are equivalent in the seltau and the tertau are in an unusual position, or because the seltau and tertau are related in a complex way, or both. An example of the first kind is “jdaselsku”, meaning “prayer”, which was mentioned in c12-§7. The gismu places are:

✥14.1    “lijda”: l1 is a religion with believers l2
    and beliefs l3
“cusku”: c1 expresses text c2 to audience c3
    in medium c4

and “selsku”, the tertau of “jdaselsku”, has the place structure

✥14.2    s1 is a text expressed by s2 to audience s3
    in medium s4

Now it is easy to see that the l2 and s2 places are equivalent:  the
believer in the religion (l2) is the one who expresses the prayer (s2).
This is not one of the cases for which a place ordering rule has been
given in c12-§7 or c12-§13; therefore, for lack of a better rule,
we put the tertau places first and the remaining seltau places after them,
leading to the place structure:

✥14.3 s1 is a prayer expressed by s2=l2 to audience s3
    in medium s4 pertaining to religion l1

The l3 place (the beliefs of the religion) is dependent on the l1 place (the religion) and so is omitted.

We could make this lujvo less messy by replacing it with “se seljdasku”, where “seljdasku” is a normal symmetrical lujvo with place structure:

✥14.4    c1=l2 religiously expresses
    prayer c2 to audience c3
    in medium s4 pertaining to religion l1

which, according to the rule expressed in c12-§9, can be further expressed as “selseljdasku”. However, there is no need for the ugly “selsel-” prefix just to get the rules right: “jdaselsku” is a reasonable, if anomalous, lujvo.

However, there is a further problem with “jdaselsku”, not resolvable by using “seljdasku”. No veljvo involving just the two gismu “lijda” and “cusku” can fully express the relationship implicit in prayer. A prayer is not just anything said by the adherents of a religion; nor is it even anything said by them acting as adherents of that religion. Rather, it is what they say under the authority of that religion, or using the religion as a medium, or following the rules associated with the religion, or something of the kind. So the veljvo is somewhat elliptical.

As a result, both “seljdasku” and “jdaselsku” belong to the second class of anomalous lujvo: the veljvo doesn't really supply all that the lujvo requires.

Another example of this kind of anomalous lujvo, drawn from the tanru lists in Chapter 5, is “lange'u”, meaning “sheepdog”. Clearly a sheepdog is not a dog which is a sheep (the symmetrical interpretation is wrong), nor a dog of the sheep breed (the asymmetrical interpretation is wrong). Indeed, there is simply no overlap in the places of “lanme” and “gerku” at all. Rather, the lujvo refers to a dog which controls sheep flocks, a “terlanme jitro gerku”, the lujvo from which is “terlantroge'u” with place structure:

✥14.5    g1=j1 is a dog that controls sheep flock l3=j2
    made up of sheep l1 in activity j3 of dog breed g2

based on the gismu place structures

✥14.6    “lanme”: l1 is a sheep of breed l2 belonging to flock l3
“gerku”: g1 is a dog of breed g2
“jitro”: j1 controls j2 in activity j3

Note that this lujvo is symmetrical between “lantro” (sheep-controller) and “gerku”, but “lantro” is itself an asymmetrical lujvo. The l2 place, the breed of sheep, is removed as dependent on l1. However, the lujvo “lange'u” is both shorter than “terlantroge'u” and sufficiently clear to warrant its use: its place structure, however, should be the same as that of the longer lujvo, for which “lange'u” can be understood as an abbreviation.

Another example is “xanmi'e”, “to command by hand, to beckon”. The component place structures are:

✥14.7    “xance”: xa1 is the hand of xa2
“minde”: m1 gives commands to m2 to cause m3 to happen

The relation between the seltau and tertau is close enough for there to be an overlap: xa2 (the person with the hand) is the same as m1 (the one who commands). But interpreting “xanmi'e” as a symmetrical lujvo with an elided “sel-” in the seltau, as if from “se xance mindu”, misses the point: the real relation expressed by the lujvo is not just “one who commands and has a hand”, but “to command using the hand”. The concept of “using” suggests in the gismu “pilno”, with place structure

✥14.8    p1 uses tool p2 for purpose p3

Some possible three-part veljvo are (depending on how strictly you want to constrain the veljvo)

✥14.9    [ke] xance pilno [ke'e] minde
(hand user) type-of commander

✥14.10   [ke] minde xance [ke'e] pilno
(commander hand) type-of user

or even

✥14.11  minde ke xance pilno [ke'e]
commander type-of (hand user)

which lead to the three different lujvo “xanplimi'e”, “mi'erxanpli”, and “minkemxanpli” respectively.

Does this make “xanmi'e” wrong? By no means. But it does mean that there is a latent component to the meaning of “xanmi'e”, the gismu “pilno”, which is not explicit in the veljvo. And it also means that, for a place structure derivation that actually makes sense, rather than being ad-hoc, the Lojbanist should probably go through a derivation for “xancypliminde” or one of the other possibilities that is analogous to the analysis of “terlantroge'u” above, even if he or she decides to stick with a shorter, more convenient form like “xanmi'e”. In addition, of course, the possibilities of elliptical lujvo increase their potential ambiguity enormously — an unavoidable fact which should be borne in mind.