Chapter 19: Putting It All Together: Notes on the Structure of Lojban Texts

7. Utterance ordinals: MAI

The following cmavo are discussed in this section:

mai MAI utterance ordinal, -thly
mo'o    MAI higher order utterance ordinal

Numerical free modifiers, corresponding to English “firstly”, “secondly”, and so on, can be created by suffixing “mai” or “mo'o” of selma'o MAI to a number or a lerfu string. Here are some examples:

✥7.1  mi klama pamai le zarci .e remai le zdani
I go-to (firstly) the store and (secondly) the market.

This does not imply that I go to the store before I go to the market: that meaning requires a tense. The sumti are simply numbered for convenience of reference. Like other free modifiers, the utterance ordinals can be inserted almost anywhere in a sentence without affecting its grammar or its meaning.

Any of the Lojban numbers can be used with MAI: “romai”, for example, means “all-thly” or “lastly”. Likewise, if you are enumerating a long list and have forgotten which number is wanted next, you can say “ny.mai”, or “Nthly”.

The difference between “mai” and “mo'o” is that “mo'o” enumerates larger subdivisions of a text; “mai” was designed for lists of numbered items, whereas “mo'o” was intended to subdivide structured works. If this chapter were translated into Lojban, it might number each section with “mo'o”: this section would then be introduced with “zemo'o”, or “c19-§7.”