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

11. Contrastive emphasis: BAhE

The following cmavo are discussed in this section:

ba'e    BAhE    emphasize next word
za'e    BAhE    next word is nonce

English often uses strong stress on a word to single it out for contrastive emphasis, thus

✥11.1    I saw George.

is quite different from

✥11.2    I saw George.

The heavy stress on “George” (represented in writing by italics) indicates that I saw George rather than someone else. Lojban does not use stress in this way: stress is used only to help separate words (because every brivla is stressed on the penultimate syllable) and in names to match other languages' stress patterns. Note that many other languages do not use stress in this way either; typically word order is rearranged, producing something like

✥11.4    It was George whom I saw.

In Lojban, the cmavo “ba'e” (of selma'o BAhE) precedes a single word which is to be emphasized:

11.4.5)    mi viska la ba'e .djordj.
I saw the-one-named [emphasis] “George”.
I saw George.

Note the pause before the name “djordj.”, which serves to separate it unambiguously from the “ba'e”. Alternatively, the “ba'e” can be moved to a position before the “la”, which in effect emphasizes the whole construct “la djordj.”:

✥11.5    mi viska ba'e la djordj.
I saw [emphasis] the-one-named “George”.
I saw George.

Marking a word with a cmavo of BAhE does not change the word's grammar in any way. Any word in a bridi can receive contrastive emphasis marking:

✥11.6    ba'e mi viska la djordj.
I, no one else, saw George.

✥11.7 mi ba'e viska la djordj.
I saw (not heard or smelled) George.

Emphasis on one of the structural components of a Lojban bridi can also be achieved by rearranging it into an order that is not the speaker's or writer's usual order. Any sumti moved out of place, or the selbri when moved out of place, is emphatic to some degree.

For completeness, the cmavo “za'e” should be mentioned, also of selma'o BAhE. It marks a word as possibly irregular, non-standard, or nonce (created for the occasion):

✥11.8    mi klama la za'e. .albeinias
I go-to so-called Albania

marks a Lojbanization of an English name, where a more appropriate standard form might be something like “la ctiipyris.”, reflecting the country's name in Albanian.

Before a lujvo or fu'ivla, “za'e” indicates that the word has been made up on the spot and may be used in a sense that is not found in the unabridged dictionary (when we have an unabridged dictionary!).