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It would be nice to find at least one preposition for each case (xe cukta, te fukpi etc. are too long in this regard whereas xebe'i and veka'a are yummy). But I'm not sure that the language has all the cases that we might need. Who knows, one may decide that we need 1342 cases. Now what? Its own preposition for each predicate place?

Transrelative cases#

Almost the half of languages of the world have Ergative-Absolutive structure. Another half has nominative-accusative structure. So two duads. It's interesting that Ergative and Absolutive are not two parts of a duad in Ithkuil but instead just two cases among many others.

OBL Oblique#

THIS plays the role of content.

It's a present from my grandmother.

This is what I want.

The floor is made of stone (Oblique).

ERG Ergative#

THIS plays the role of agent.

THIS agent while having some will starts an act of CONTEXT resulting in some change of properties in ANOTHER Absolutive.

The dog bit the man.

Ergative bit the man.

The policeman forced the criminal to stop.

Ergative forced Absolutive to stop.

le gasnu, le zukte

le gasnu might reflect the Ergative Case better since the goal-orientation...ness of an event can be handled by the Version. The Processual Version states that no goal of the act is taken into account, the process is not described as having the end.

ABS Absolutive#

THIS plays the role of patient. Ergative might not be present in CONTEXT.

A coin fell from above.

Absolutive fell from above.

[ABS-argument] jai se gasnu == tu'a [ABS-argument] se gasnu where tu'a ko'a == le su'u co'e ko'a

[ABS-argument] jai se rinka

[ABS-argument] jai se bapli

ERG gasnu le su'u co'e ABS

Interestingly le rinka is an abstraction. Whereas le gasnu is an object. If sumti-raising were always allowed in Lojban then we would have rinka fi zi'o == gasnu

Combination of Ergative and Absolutive#

  1. I drove the car fast.

  2. The car went fast.

The two sentences show different focus. In Ithkuil dropping Ergative-labeled formative changes the meaning from 1. to 2.

omit gasnu or derived verbs

use zi'o

ACT Activative#

THIS is engaged in a Modality CONTEXT state of creating a currently unrealized situation that may realize at some step.

You should go home.

I need some rest.

I want you to stop.

I was expecting them to settle down.

I ask you to stay.

by default many places have implicit da'i/ju'anai. nitcu, sarcu, djica, bilga, kanpe, pacna, cpedu, minde, troci, djusku

EFF Effectuative#

THIS creates a chain of events.

EFF jai rinka ko'e == tu'a EFF rinka ko'e i.e. EFF is an argument of co'e predicate that effects (rinka)-event of ko'e.

le curmi, the role of enabler.

DER Derivative#

THIS is a force or natural events (e.g. tsunami, breeze).

marks events that cause something relevant.

rinka, bapli, zunti

notice spuda/frati for another argument of the same clause

SIT Situative#

THIS forms a shadow context for ANOTHER clause. It doesn't imply any agency/patiency relationships with the event of the clause.

Due to cold weather we won't go to school today.

In the presence of criminal elements we can't expect any desire for higher education.

With the help of this app we will get there soon.

raising, indirect causation, ki'u.

[?] ni'i


AFF Affective#

THIS plays the role of experiencer in CONTEXT, THIS is in a state not requiring will. If THIS induced the state then Inducive is to be used instead.

I'm in pain.

I was surprised.

The child is about to sleep.

I feel sorry for him.

IND Inducive#

THIS is both Ergative and Absolutive.

The dog started jumping.

She went out.

rephrased using vo'a, ri, le nei, le no'a

fa ko'a fe ko'a jai se gasnu fai le ka broda

[?] jalge

DAT Dative#

THIS is a recipient in the CONTEXT of change of possession. THIS is a listener in the CONTEXT of saying words.

She rents a room.

I'm listening to you very carefully!

INS Instrumental#

THIS is utilized for the action of CONTEXT.

You can build it with wood and glue.

The wire helped me open the box.

sepi'o, tutci


ERG zukte le nu le nei cu broda ko'e EFF gasnu le nu ko'a broda AFF jai se zukte IND broda DER jai rinka le nu ko'e broda ko'i

Possessive cases#

POS Possessive#

THIS alienably possesses ANOTHER. No inherent relation is implied, the two arguments describe two objects that can e.g. be physically separated without them losing any their defining properties except for the possession/being possessed marked with the Possesive in question.

Where is my chair?

pe, poi ke'a srana, po, poi sazri, poi jatna

[?] bu'u

PRP Proprietive#

THIS alienably possesses ANOTHER. No inherent relation is implied, possession here implies legal or social ownership.

It's my book. I bought it.

It's my car but you may borrow it for a while.

His description of the language is actually John's.


GEN Genitive#

THIS is inalienably possessed by ANOTHER.

Touch his hand, it's cold.

She is my mother.

That's her nature.

no marker, mamta be ko'a,se jinzi be ko'a, pagbu be ko'a, sometimes GEN is built into predicates themselves.

ATT Attributive#

THIS is “possessed” by ANOTHER Affective.

My pain is strong.

His feelings won't last long.

PDC Productive#

THIS is the creator.

This painting is created by me.

It's my poem.

So that's our plan.

le finti

ITP Interpretative#

THIS creates the necessary understanding of ANOTHER.

Tolstoy's Russia

Attenborough's planet

The world in the eyes of a child

voi ko'a ganse

OGN Originative#

THIS is the literal or metaphorical source of ANOTHER. Notice that Ablative marks beginning points of a route whereas Originative provides necessary source context to avoid confusion with similar arguments.

Our donations

Milk from a cow

Wheel of a car

Fairy tales of my grandmother (that she relayed to us)

Brazilian men are handsome (even when they live in Sweden)

krasi, ra'i, poi pu jbena fo ko'a, poi mo'u klama fi ko'a

Associative cases#

PAR Partitive#

THIS is a part of some uncountable ANOTHER (the latter can be omitted). Numbers can be marked with Partitive too (like “threesome of …”).

I ate a piece of cake.

A loaf of bread, please.

A caravan of camels, horses and men

I drank some apple juice.

I drank some water.

I bought three books.

loi, pagbu, lu'a loi, Nmei le'i su'o ko'a

CPS Compositive#

THIS is a substance of ANOTHER.

THIS are some resources for ANOTHER.

They are made of meat.

It's a golden statue.

It's a pile of bullshit.

Give me the wooden hammer, please.

It's a crowd of youngsters.

I hate plastic bags.

I like to cook with olive oil.

I had to drink 2 bottles of water to satisfy my thirst.

finti fo CPS, CPS marji ko'a, zbasu fi CPS, CPS livla, CPS se xaksu, pilno

PRD Predicative#

marks THIS as a basis or requirement for ANOTHER. Compare: unlike Derivative, Instrumental doesn't imply causation (e.g. attitude may be caused by events but it doesn't depend on events, and hence Predicative is not applicable).

Behaviour based on common sense

Research supported by donations

Sales relying on foreign customers

lacri/se jicmu/se sarji PRD

DEP Dependent#

CONTEXT happens depending on THIS, which is not known in CONTEXT.

Depending on her mood we may go on vacation.

MED Mediative#

THIS is a medium through which ANOTHER is realized. Compare: Instrumental marks instrumental means to complete an action, not media.

I heard some news on TV.

I came here by train.

You may send it via websocket protocol.

Bees show location by dancing.

MED xe benji gi'a xe cukta gi'a te fukpi gi'a ve cusku Should there be one word for that? I'm not sure. Those are different media.

APL Applicative#

THIS is the temporary in-context purpose for which ANOTHER is to be employed.

Let this be a box for pencils and pens.

Let's use that room for the guests that will come tomorrow.

Use the iron to stop the fire.

Those are catapult rocks.

pilno APL, sepi'o APL


THIS is what ANOTHER (e.g. ANOTHER Ergative) receives in exchange for their actions.

He let us in in exchange for a few local coins.

COM Comitative#

THIS accompanies ANOTHER.

He was walking with his dogs.

UTL Utilitative#

THIS is being used in the event of action of ANOTHER in CONTEXT but is not used to perform the action of CONTEXT itself (unlike Instrumental).

A man with a cow showed up at the exhibition.

voi pilno

CNJ Conjunctive#

ANOTHER is engaged in the same activity together with THIS. THIS is a member of the same team as ANOTHER.

They worked together with their boss on the new project.

ABE Abessive#

ANOTHER is without THIS. ANOTHER is not accompanied by THIS.

down to a sunless sea.

CVS Conversive#

in a imagined CONTEXT THIS is what won't happen in the end. in a imagined CONTEXT THIS is what prevents the expected result to happen.

If we don't find a gas station soon we will stop.

It could have been a great party if the police hadn't showed up.

COR Correlative#

THIS is characterized by ANOTHER, THIS is what ANOTHER can be associated with, THIS is the frame of reference for ANOTHER. Can be translated using short relative clauses like “that has to do with ...”.

The suspect is about 5 meters in front of me.

It is right next to me.

Ecological (Correlative) situation is deteriorating.

CNV Conductive#

THIS is a meaningful context of ANOTHER.

He is a university student.

He is a family guy.

I feel creepy.

use tanru munje, vanbi

PUR Purposive#

THIS is the primary inherent purpose of ANOTHER.

Drop it into the trash bin.

Please, use a coffee machine.

finti fi PUR, PUR kosmu, PUR te zukte, tezu'e PUR, minji PUR

CSD Considerative#

THIS is the context under which ANOTHER occurs.

According to law he can't leave the city.

In my view, he is just a fool.

The plane will land as per schedule.

CSD cusku/djuno/jinvi/vanbi, cu'u/du'o/va'o CSD

ESS Essive#

THIS is the role under which ANOTHER is identified.

They call me Cuban Pete.

I consider him a friend.

He entered the building as an official representative.

ESS cmene

mi'a jinvi ledu'u do sidju le nei

ASI Assimilative#

THIS is a metaphorical counterpart of ANOTHER in CONTEXT, THIS looks like ANOTHER.

She walks like a diva.

simsa, tasmi, tamsmi, tai

FUN Functive#

THIS is the manner in which ANOTHER occurs.

She spoke softly.

He ran fast.

His actions were hectic.

You are so stubborn when it comes to exams.

just a simple fi'o for those examples would do or wrapping a clause into a place of THIS. Also tai, tasmi, noi'a, soi'a, poi'a

TFM Transformative#

THIS is the last stage of a process.

I ate the meal up.

Finally, we are here.

She turned her into a sleeping beauty.

He drove to his death.

mo'u, co'a, binxo

REF Referential#

THIS is the referent of ANOTHER.

As for me, I will stay here.

Let's talk about language copyright.

What is your attitude towards plagiarism?

It's a story of love and hatred.

In regard to fair use I think everyone has a right to use art for personal needs.

sera'a REF

CLA Classificative#

THIS is a basis for ordering or grouping elements. For items acting sequentially use Coordinative Suffixes instead.

Please, put them 10 items in a row.

I grouped the results of a query by user ID.

I ordered the results of a query by user ID but in reverse order.

There were several pair of shoes lying down there.

He put them down horizontally.

Day by day the number of birds coming here is increasing.

[?] fi'o se porsi, te ganzu, se cnici, mi ganzu fi'o se porsi CLA, tela'u mi kancu fo li mu

IDP Interdependent#

THIS has an interdependent relationship with ANOTHER. THIS and ANOTHER are both required for the relationship to exist. Partitive is not implied.

She is my teacher.

Taxi driver.

Robin is the head of our team.

general logic of predicates. “my teacher” is ctuca fe mi

BEN Benefactive#

ANOTHER occurs for the benefit of THIS.

The food is for the dog.

We organized a birthday party for him.

This medicine will be good for your health.

In respect to your experience I will act as you suggested.

Due to our tradition you will have to keep silence here.

seva'u, se xamgu, fi'o se sinma, ki'u

TSP Transpositive#

THIS substitutes ANOTHER.

He paid the dinner instead of me.

She drove the car so that he could have some rest.

krati, basti

PVS Provisional#

CONTEXT happens if and only if THIS happens. THIS is required for CONTEXT to happen.

I will visit your party only if there is no alcohol.

PTL Postulative#

If THIS happens then CONTEXT happens too. THIS is sufficient for CONTEXT to happen.

If it's sunny I will go out.

CRS Contrastive#

THIS is replaced with ANOTHER for CONTEXT.

Instead of a hurricane we got a sunny day.

I like apples more than bananas.

It's a woman, not a man.

She works as a principal rather than a teacher.

seba'i applied to entities, properties and events, zmadu, ku'i

CMP Comparative#

CONTEXT happens as contrasted to THIS. Doesn't imply “either ... or ...”

I like music while she prefers art.

As for the cafe it is in a neighboring building (no in this one).

CON Concessive#

CONTEXT happens despite THIS.

Although he seems rude I will help him.

Despite have been living in this country for 3 years I still can't understand local slang.

EXC Exceptive#

THIS is an exception to ANOTHER.

I like all genres of music except for pop music.

AVR Aversive#

ANOTHER does the action of CONTEXT in order to avoid THIS.

She left the country out of fear for her child's life.

Temporal (time) cases#

SML Simultaneitive#

THIS is simultaneous to CONTEXT event.

I was at home when it all was happening.

ASS Assessive#

CONTEXT event is measured by units of THIS duration.

The provider charges per minute.

I go to the gym once a month.

I drove the bike 100 kilometers per hour.

CNR Concursive#

THIS happens during CONTEXT period, within boundaries of CONTEXT period. Also used to separate clauses.

I don't talk while eating.

Did you sleep well last night?

ACS Accessive#

CONTEXT happens during THIS Punctual event.

When you mother comes home call me.

DFF Diffusive#

THIS happens around the time of CONTEXT.

At that time learning languages wasn't popular.

Your dog has grown much bigger over the last few months.

PER Periodic#

CONTEXT happens at the time of THIS structured event.

I finished the course in 2 weeks.

I haven't been doing great the last couple of exams.

PRO Prolapsive#

THIS happens throughout CONTEXT.

I read the book for 30 minutes.

It will be snowing all day tomorrow.

It took me a minute or so to understand that.

PCV Precursive#

THIS happens prior to CONTEXT.

I ate before you came.

PCR Postcursive#

THIS happens after CONTEXT.

He came and then she laughed.

We'll have a dinner after the concert.

ELP Elapsive#

CONTEXT happened THIS (units of time) ago.

The dog wasn't so big three months ago.

ALP Allapsive#

CONTEXT will happen in THIS (units of time).

He will be here in three weeks.

Two minutes later there was nobody in the room.

INP Interpolative#

CONTEXT is repeated having THIS duration in each occurrence.

The cuckoo made several repetitive sounds each 3 seconds long.

The explosions were separated by periods of silence each taking a minute or so.

EPS Episodic#

CONTEXT happens every THIS (duration).

I check my mailbox every hour.

He goes to a temple every day off.

PLM Prolimitive#

CONTEXT is limited in time by THIS.

By the time I get there you will be sleeping.

LIM Limitative#

CONTEXT happens in time for THIS.

And I arrived just in time to see them coming out.

Spatial cases#

see Correative in sentences involving spatial direction or orientation.

LOC Locative#

THIS is in a static position at CONTEXT.

I'm on the 5th avenue.

Let's meet at her place.

I'm inside the building.

It's on the wall.

ne'i, bu'u, di'o

ORI Orientative#

THIS serves as the “face” of movement, the arrow end of movement vector.

I move backward.

The bird fell with its tail downward.

PSV Procursive#

THIS is part of body or object faces CONTEXT (usually Allative CONTEXT) thus forming the event.

My hand touched the wall.

The car had its side too close to the motorcycle.

ALL Allative#

THIS is the direction of movement.

I ran westward.

The dog jumped toward the hare.

I threw the stick at the dog.

I went toward those mountains.

ABL Ablative#

THIS is the origin of movement or orientation.

The fox appeared out of that hole.

He looked away from the tree.

THIS is the route of movement or vector.

I looked down the river.

The dog crossed the street.


Oh ye, of little faith!