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

10. Attitude questions; empathy; attitude contours

The following cmavo are discussed in this section:

pei attitude question
dai empathy
bu'o    start emotion   continue emotion end emotion

You can ask someone how they are feeling with a normal bridi sentence, but you will get a normal bridi answer in response, one which may be true or false. Since the response to a question about emotions is no more logical than the emotion itself, this isn't appropriate.

The word “pei” is therefore reserved for attitude questions. Asked by itself, it captures all of the denotation of English “How are you?” coupled with “How do you feel?” (which has a slightly different range of usage).

When asked in the context of discourse, “pei” acts like other Lojban question words — it requests the respondent to “fill in the blank”, in this case with an appropriate attitudinal describing the respondent's feeling about the referent expression. As with other questions, plausibility is polite; if you answer with an irrelevant UI cmavo, such as a discursive, you are probably making fun of the questioner. (A “ge'e”, however, is always in order — you are not required to answer emotionally. This is not the same as “.i'inai”, which is privacy as the reverse of conviviality.)

Most often, however, the asker will use “pei” as a place holder for an intensity marker. (As a result, “pei” is placed in selma'o CAI, although selma'o UI would have been almost as appropriate. Grammatically, there is no difference between UI and CAI.) Such usage corresponds to a whole range of idiomatic usages in natural languages:

✥10.1    .iepei
[agreement] [question]
Do you agree?

✥10.2 .iare'epei
[belief] [spiritual] [question]
Are you a Believer?

✥10.3 .aipei
[intention] [question]
Are you going to do it?

✥10.3 might appear at the end of a command, to which the response

✥10.4    .aicai
[intention] [maximal]

corresponds to “Aye! Aye!” (hence the choice of cmavo).

✥10.5    .e'apei
[permission] [question]
Please, Mommy!  Can I??

Additionally, when “pei” is used at the beginning of an indicator construct, it asks specifically if that construct reflects the attitude of the respondent, as in (asked of someone who has been ill or in pain):

✥10.6    pei.o'u
[question] [comfort]
Are you comfortable?

✥10.7 pei.o'ucu'i
[question] [comfort] [neutral]
Are you no longer in pain?

✥10.8 pei.o'usai
[question] [comfort] [strong]
Are you again healthy?

Empathy, which is not really an emotion, is expressed by the indicator “dai”. (Don't confuse empathy with sympathy, which is “.uuse'inai”.) Sometimes, as when telling a story, you want to attribute emotion to someone else. You can of course make a bridi claim that so-and-so felt such-and-such an emotion, but you can also make use of the attitudinal system by adding the indicator “dai”, which attributes the preceding attitudinal to someone else — exactly whom, must be determined from context. You can also use “dai” conversationally when you empathize, or feel someone else's emotion as if it were your own:

✥10.9    .oiro'odai
[pain!] [physical] [empathy]
Ouch, that must have hurt!

It is even possible to “empathize” with a non-living object:

✥10.10  le bloti .iidai .uu pu
    klama le xasloi
the ship [fear!] [empathy] [pity!] [past]
    goes-to the ocean-floor
Fearfully the ship, poor thing, sank.

suggesting that the ship felt fear at its impending destruction, and simultaneously reporting the speaker's pity for it.

Both “pei” and “dai” represent exceptions to the normal rule that attitudinals reflect the speaker's attitude.

Finally, we often want to report how our attitudes are changing. If our attitude has not changed, we can just repeat the attitudinal. (Therefore, “.ui .ui .ui” is not the same as “.uicai”, but simply means that we are continuing to be happy.) If we want to report that we are beginning to feel, continuing to feel, or ceasing to feel an emotion, we can use the attitudinal contour cmavo “bu'o”.

When attached to an attitudinal, “bu'o” means that you are starting to have that attitude, “bu'ocu'i” that you are continuing to have it, and “bu'onai” that you are ceasing to have it. Some examples:

✥10.11  o'onai bu'o
[anger!] [start emotion]
I'm getting angry!

✥10.12   .iu bu'onai .uinai
[love!] [end emotion] [unhappiness!]
I don't love you any more; I'm sad.

Note the difference in effect between ✥10.12 and:

✥10.13  mi ca ba'o prami do ja'e le nu
    mi badri
I [present] [cessitive] love you with-result the event-of
    (I am-sad).
I no longer love you; therefore, I am sad.

which is a straightforward bridi claim. ✥10.13 states that you have (or have had) certain emotions; ✥10.12 expresses those emotions directly.