Chapter 7: Brevity Is The Soul Of Language: Pro-sumti And Pro-bridi

2. Personal pro-sumti: the mi-series

The following cmavo are discussed in this section:

mi  KOhA    mi-series   I, me
do  KOhA    mi-series   you
mi'o    KOhA    mi-series   you and I
mi'a    KOhA    mi-series   I and others,
                we but not you
ma'a    KOhA    mi-series   you and I and others
do'o    KOhA    mi-series   you and others
ko  KOhA    mi-series   you-imperative

The mi-series of pro-sumti refer to the speaker, the listener, and others in various combinations. “mi” refers to the speaker and perhaps others for whom the speaker speaks; it may be a Lojbanic mass. “do” refers to the listener or listeners. Neither “mi” nor “do” is specific about the number of persons referred to; for example, the foreman of a jury may refer to the members of the jury as “mi”, since in speaking officially he represents all of them.

The referents of “mi” and “do” are usually obvious from the context, but may be assigned by the vocative words of selma'o COI, explained in Chapter 13. The vocative “mi'e” assigns “mi”, whereas all of the other vocatives assign “do”.

✥2.1  mi'e djan. doi frank.
    mi cusku lu mi bajra li'u do
I-am John, O Frank,
    I express [quote] I run [unquote] to-you
I am John, Frank; I tell you “I run”.

The cmavo “mi'o”, “mi'a”, “ma'a”, and “do'o” express various combinations of the speaker and/or the listener and/or other people:

“mi'o” includes only the speaker and the listener but no one else; “mi'a” includes the speaker and others but excludes the listener;
“do'o” includes the listener and others but excludes the speaker;
“ma'a” includes all three: speaker, listener, others.
All of these pro-sumti represent masses. For example, “mi'o” is the same as “mi joi do”, the mass of me and you considered jointly.

In English, “we” can mean “mi” or “mi'o” or “mi'a” or even “ma'a”, and English-speakers often suffer because they mistake “mi'o” for “mi'a”:

✥2.2  We're going to the store.

Does this include the listener or not? There's no way to be sure.

Finally, the cmavo “ko” is logically equivalent to “do”; its referent is the listener. However, its use alters an assertion about the listener into a command to the listener to make the assertion true:

✥2.3  do klama le zarci
You go to-the store.


✥2.4  ko klama le zarci
You [imperative] go to-the store.
Make “you go to the store” true!
Go to the store!

In English, the subject of a command is omitted, but in Lojban, the word “ko” must be used. However, “ko” does not have to appear in the x1 place:

✥2.5  mi viska ko
I see you [imperative]
Make “I see you” true!
Be seen by me!

In ✥2.5, it is necessary to make the verb passive in English in order to convey the effect of “ko” in the x2 place. Indeed, “ko” does not even have to be a sumti of the main bridi:

✥2.6  mi viska le prenu poi prami ko
I see the person that loves you [imperative]
Make “I see the person that loves you” true!
Be such that the person who loves you is seen by me!
Show me the person who loves you!

As mentioned in c7-§1, some pro-sumti series have corresponding pro-bridi series. However, there is no equivalent of the mi-series among pro-bridi, since a person isn't a relationship.