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

4. Utterance pro-sumti: the di'u-series

The following cmavo are discussed in this section:

di'u    KOhA    di'u-series the previous utterance
de'u    KOhA    di'u-series an earlier utterance
da'u    KOhA    di'u-series a much earlier utterance
di'e    KOhA    di'u-series the next utterance
de'e    KOhA    di'u-series a later utterance
da'e    KOhA    di'u-series a much later utterance
dei KOhA    di'u-series this very utterance
do'i    KOhA    di'u-series some utterance

The cmavo of the di'u-series enable us to talk about things that have been, are being, or will be said. In English, it is normal to use “this” and “that” for this (indeed, the immediately preceding “this” is an example of such a usage):

✥4.1  You don't like cats.
That is untrue.

Here “that” does not refer to something that can be pointed to, but to the preceding sentence “You don't like cats”. In Lojban, therefore, ✥4.1 is rendered:

✥4.2  do na nelci loi mlatu
    .i di'u jitfa jufra
You not like the-mass-of cats.
    The-previous-utterance is-a-false sentence..

Using “ta” instead of “di'u” would cause the listener to look around to see what the speaker of the second sentence was physically pointing to.

As with “ti”, “ta”, and “tu”, the cmavo of the di'u-series come in threes: a close utterance, a medium-distance utterance, and a distant utterance, either in the past or in the future. It turned out to be impossible to use the “i”/“a”/“u” vowel convention discussed in c7-§3 without causing collisions with other cmavo, and so the di'u-series has a unique “i”/“e”/“a” convention in the first vowel of the cmavo.

Most references in speech are to the past (what has already been said), so “di'e”, “de'e”, and “da'e” are not very useful when speaking. In writing, they are frequently handy:

✥4.3  la saimn. cusku di'e
Simon expresses the-following-utterance.
Simon says:

✥4.3 would typically be followed by a quotation. Note that although presumably the quotation is of something Simon has said in the past, the quotation utterance itself would appear after ✥4.3, and so “di'e” is appropriate.

The remaining two cmavo, “dei” and “do'i”, refer respectively to the very utterance that the speaker is uttering, and to some vague or unspecified utterance uttered by someone at some time:

✥4.4  dei jetnu jufra
This-utterance is-a-true sentence.
What I am saying (at this moment) is true.

✥4.5   do'i jetnu jufra
Some-utterance is-a-true sentence.
That's true (where “that” is not necessarily what
    was just said).

The cmavo of the di'u-series have a meaning that is relative to the context. The referent of “dei” in the current utterance is the same as the referent of “di'u” in the next utterance. The term “utterance” is used rather than “sentence” because the amount of speech or written text referred to by any of these words is vague. Often, a single bridi is intended, but longer utterances may be thus referred to.

Note one very common construction with “di'u” and the cmavo “la'e” (of selma'o LAhE; see Chapter 6) which precedes a sumti and means “the thing referred to by (the sumti)”:

✥4.6  mi prami la djein.
    .i mi nelci la'e di'u
I love Jane.
    And I like the-referent-of the-last-utterance.
I love Jane, and I like that.

The effect of “la'e di'u” in ✥4.6 is that the speaker likes, not the previous sentence, but rather the state of affairs referred to by the previous sentence, namely his loving Jane. This cmavo compound is often written as a single word: “la'edi'u”. It is important not to mix up “di'u” and “la'edi'u”, or the wrong meaning will generally result:

✥4.7  mi prami la djein.
    .i mi nelci di'u
I love Jane.
    And I like the-last-utterance.

says that the speaker likes one of his own sentences.

There are no pro-bridi corresponding to the di'u-series.