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plurals

Here are some of my thoughts on loi/joi and gunma/cmima/pagbu.

1- I will avoid using the term "mass" or any other similar noun
to talk about how loi/joi work. This is in part to avoid confusion
with English "mass nouns", but mainly to avoid a reifying
interpretation of loi/joi which any noun automatically brings
in with it. This is not to say, of course, that we can't talk in
Lojban about groups, collections, assortments, bunches,
sets, crowds, packs or any other creatures with constituent
members. Those things are perfectly valid things to talk about,
but in my opinion loi/joi do not by themselves bring in any
reference to any of them. If we talk about a mass of some
things, then we are immediately talking about a new entity
with properties of its own, and then we have to discuss how
properties are inherited back and forth between this new thing
and its constituents, and that is really not needed for loi/joi.

2- The ONLY thing loi/joi do is block a distributive reading
for its referents. {joi} always involves at least two things,
one on either side. {loi} need not in principle involve at least
two, but it makes little sense to block a distributive reading
for one single thing, so at least pragmatically it tends to
involve at least two things.

3- loi/joi contrast with lo/jo'u which do not block a distributive
reading (but neither do they force one). For example, it is
perfectly acceptable for me to say something like:

la djan jo'u la meris pu jgari lo tutci gi'e co'a zbasu lo zdani

John and Mary grabbed the tools and started to build a house.

where "grabbed the tools" can be distributive (each one of them
grabbed a different tool) and "started to build a house" collective
(they started to build the same house together). It is possible
to be more precise if desired:

la djan .e la meris pu jgari lo tutci ije la djan joi la meris co'a zbasu lo zdani

where {.e} in the first sentence is distributive and {joi} in the
second is non-distributive. This precision is often unnecessary,
but it is available when needed. {lo} and {jo'u} are useful because
we often want to apply both distributive and non-distributive
properties to the same referents at the same time.

{ko'a .e ko'e} is distributive

{ko'a joi ko'e} is non-distributive

{ko'a jo'u ko'e} is silent on distributivity.

{ro broda} is distributive

{loi broda} is non-distributive

{lo broda} is silent on distributivity.

4- Using {loi} for substances and generics is in my opinion pragmatically
wrong, because in order to block distributivity {loi} has to first
bring the issue
up, and with substances and generics the issue should not even arise. I find
{le kabri cu vasru lo djacu} much better than {le kabri cu vasru loi djacu}
for "the cup contains water", even if both are theoretically possible.
{loi djacu} brings in the totally irelevant possibility of the distribution
of quantities of water, just in order to block it.

5- I think {gunma} should mean:

"x1 is a mass/group/bunch/aggregation/collection/assortment
consisting of constituents x2"

where x1 is a single entity and x2 are many entities that together
(non-distributively, obviously!) constitute x1. So for example:

le kamni cu gunma la djan joi la meris

The committee is formed by John and Mary.

la djan .e la meris cu cmima le kamni

Both John and Mary are members of the committee.

6- {pagbu} differs from {cmima} in that {pagbu} is a transitive
relationship and {cmima} is not. If A is a part of B and B is a
part of C, then A is a part of C, but if A is a member of B and
B is a member of C, then generally A need not be a member
of C.

{pagbu} is not much related to joi/loi:

lo xislu cu pagbu lo karce

A wheel is part of a car.


Created by xorxes. Last Modification: Thursday 15 of June, 2006 22:37:48 GMT by xorxes.