Chapter 13: Oooh! Arrgh! Ugh! Yecch! Attitudinal and Emotional Indicators

7. Attitudinal modifiers

The following cmavo are discussed in this section:

ga'i    hauteur/rank    equal rank  meekness/lack of rank
le'o    aggressive  passive     defensive
vu'e    virtue (zabna)          sin (mabla)
se'i    self-orientation        other-orientation
ri'e    release     restraint   control
fu'i    with help      without help with opposition
    easily              with difficulty
be'u     lack/need  presence/satisfaction   satiation
se'a     self-sufficiency           dependency

It turned out that, once we had devised the six emotion categories, we also recognized some other commonalities among emotions. These tended to fit nicely on scales of their own, but generally tend not to be thought of as separate emotions. Some of these are self-explanatory, some need to be placed in context. Some of these tend to go well with only a few of the attitudinals, others go with nearly all of them. To really understand these modifiers, try to use them in combination with one or two of the attitudinals found in c13-§2 and c13-§3, and see what emotional pictures you can build:

The cmavo “ga'i” expresses the scale used to indicate condescension or polite deference; it is not respect in general, which is “.io”. Whatever it is attached to is marked as being below (for “ga'i”) or above (for “ga'inai”) the speaker's rank or social position. Note that it is always the referent, not the speaker or listener, who is so marked: in order to mark the listener, the listener must appear in the sentence, as with “doi ga'inai”, which can be appended to a statement addressed to a social inferior.

✥7.1  ko ga'inai
    nenri klama le mi zdani
you-imperative [low-rank!]
    enter-type-of come-to my house.
I would be honored if you would enter my residence.

Note that imperatives in Lojban need not be imperious! Corresponding examples with “ga'icu'i” and “ga'inai”:

✥7.2  ko ga'icu'i
    nenri klama le mi zdani
you-imperative [equal-rank!]
    enter-type-of come-to my house.
Come on in to my place.

✥7.3   ko ga'i
    nenri klama le mi zdani
you-imperative [high-rank!]
    enter-type-of come-to my house.
You! Get inside!

Since “ga'i” expresses the relative rank of the speaker and the referent, it does not make much sense to attach it to “mi”, unless the speaker is using “mi” to refer to a group (as in English “we”), or a past or future version of himself with a different rank.

It is also possible to attach “ga'i” to a whole bridi, in which case it expresses the speaker's superiority to the event the bridi refers to:

✥7.4  ga'i le xarju pu citka
[high-rank!] the pig [past] eats
The pig ate (which is an event beneath my notice).

When used without being attached to any bridi, “ga'i” expresses the speaker's superiority to things in general, which may represent an absolute social rank: “ga'icai” is an appropriate opening word for an emperor's address from the throne.

The cmavo “le'o” represents the scale of aggressiveness. We seldom overtly recognize that we are feeling aggressive or defensive, but perhaps in counseling sessions, a psychologist might encourage someone to express these feelings on this scale. And football teams could be urged on by their coach using “ro'ole'o”. “le'o” is also useful in threats as an alternative to “o'onai”, which expresses anger.

The cmavo “vu'e” represents ethical virtue or its absence. An excess of almost any emotion is usually somewhat “sinful” in the eyes of most ethical systems. On the other hand, we often feel virtuous about our feelings — what we call righteous indignation might be “o'onaivu'e”. Note that this is distinct from lack of guilt: “.u'unai”.

The cmavo “se'i” expresses the difference between selfish and generous, for example (in combination with “.au”):

✥7.5  ause'i
[desire] [self]
I want it!

✥7.6   ause'inai
[desire] [other]
I want you to have it!

In both cases, the English “it” is vague, reflecting the absence of a bridi. ✥7.5 and ✥7.6 are pure expressions of attitude. Analogously, “.uuse'i” is self-pity, whereas “.uuse'inai” is pity for someone else.

The modifier “ri'e” indicates emotional release versus emotional control. “I will not let him know how angry I am”, you say to yourself before entering the room. The Lojban is much shorter:

✥7.7  .o'onai ri'enai
[anger] [control]

On the other hand, “ri'e” can be used by itself to signal an emotional outburst.

The cmavo “fu'i” may express a reason for feeling the way we do, as opposed to a feeling in itself; but it is a reason that is more emotionally determined than most. For example, it could show the difference between the mental discomfort mentioned in c13-§6 when it is felt on an easy test, as opposed to on a hard test. When someone gives you a back massage, you could use “.o'ufu'i” to show appreciation for the assistance in your comfort.

The cmavo “be'u” expresses, roughly speaking, whether the emotion it modifies is in response to something you don't have enough of, something you have enough of, or something you have too much of. It is more or less the attitudinal equivalent of the subjective quantifier cmavo “mo'a”, “rau”, and “du'e” (these belong to selma'o PA, and are discussed in Chapter 18). For example,

✥7.8  .uiro'obe'unai
[Yay!] [physical] [Enough!]

might be something you say after a large meal which you enjoyed.

Like all modifiers, “be'u” can be used alone:

✥7.9  le cukta be'u cu zvati ma
The book [Needed!] is at-location [what sumti?]
Where's the book? — I need it!

Lastly, the modifier “se'a” shows whether the feeling is associated with self-sufficiency or with dependence on others.

✥7.10    .e'ese'a
[I can!] [self-sufficient!]
I can do it all by myself!

is something a Lojban-speaking child might say. On the other hand,

✥7.11    .e'ese'anai
[I can!] [dependent]
I can do it if you help me.

from the same child would indicate a (hopefully temporary) loss of self- confidence. It is also possible to negate the “.e'e” in ✥7.7 and ✥7.8, leading to:

✥7.12    .e'enaise'a
[I can't] [self-sufficient]
I can't do it by myself!


✥7.13    .e'enaise'anai
[I can't!] [dependent]
I can't do it if you insist on “helping” me!

Some of the emotional expressions may seem too complicated to use. They might be for most circumstances. It is likely that most combinations will never get used. But if one person uses one of these expressions, another person can understand (as unambiguously as the expresser intends) what emotion is being expressed. Most probably as the system becomes well-known and internalized by Lojban-speakers, particular attitudinal combinations will come to be standard expressions (if not cliches) of emotion.