''Gismu'' Agentive And Non-Agentive

As I understand it, the practice of distinguishing between agent (ergative) and non-agent (absolutive), rather than between nonpatient (nominative) and patient (accusative) as is common in Indo-European languages.

For a 'very' brief overview of different case-marking systems, see http://www.xibalba.demon.co.uk/jbr/ranto/r.html — part of a rant against Esperanto, but you can ignore that here; this appendix focuses only on cases. Ergative languages use approach (E) in his list.

How do we express this in Lojban? gausmi?

  • gernrgativiti --And (mi stidi)

Unfortunately English not always marks this distinction (e.g. "return",
the infamous keyword of xruti)... See Ergativity.

Non-Agentive form & it's corresponding Agentive:

cfari begins cfagau initiates
denpa pauses depygau delays
tolcfa comes to a stop sisti/dicra halts/interrupts)
sezyxru reverts xruti restores
cenba varies cenbygau/cnegau alters
jelca burns jelgau ignites
snura is secure bandu protects
masno is slow snogau/jabre retards/brakes)
muvdu moves muvgau causes to move
mrobi'o dies catra kills
banro develops banrygau nurtures
zenba increases zengau augments
banzu suffices bazgau fulfills
culno is full tisna fills
basti takes the place of basygau replaces
klama goes bevri conveys
bilma is sick bilmygau sickens
bredi is ready redgau prepares
carna turns cargau rotates
selcfipu is confused cfipu confuses
cilre learns ctuca teaches
ckeji feels ashamed kejgau humiliates
kakne is able curmi allows
curve is pure cuvgau purifies
danfu is an answer dafsku/frati replies
drani is correct dragau rectifies
farlu falls falgau drops
fatne is backwards fatygau reverses
febvi comes to a boil fabgau boils
porpi comes apart popygau breaks
fukpi is a copy fukyzba duplicates
gacri is a cover gairgau covers over
ganlo is closed ganlygau closes
gusni illumines gusygau illuminates
jdika contracts jdikygau decreases
jinru bathes jirgau immerses
jorne is joined to jongau connects
katna cutter katnygau cuts
burcu brush bruzu'e paints
komcu is a comb komzu'e combs
korcu is bent krogau bends
krefu repeats refygau causes to recur
kunti is empty kutygau vacates
gapru is above lafti lifts
lunbe is bare lubgau denudes
manku is dark mangau darkens
mapti fits matygau matches
muvdu is in motion muvgau moves
selnupre is a promise nupre promises
pagre penetrates gregau causes to penetrate
panlo is a slice panlyzba slices
pijne is a pin pijnylasna pins
pindi is poor pidgau impoverishes
preti is a question retsku/tese preti asks a question
preja expands pejgau spreads
cpana is on punji puts on/at
zvati at punji puts on/at
punli is a swelling pulgau swells
ranji lasts ranjygau causes to last (makes lasting)
ranti is soft rangau softens
ricfu is rich cfugau enriches
panzi offspring rorci procreates
viknu is thick viknygau thickens
ruble is weak blegau weakens
runme is melting rumgau makes melt
runta dissolves runtygau makes dissolve
sepli is apart fendi divides
nenri is within setca inserts
jbini is between setca interposes
spoja explodes pojgau blows up
sraku is sharp rakygau scratches
sudga is dry sudgau dries off
sutra is fast sutygau hastens
tcena stretches tengau extends
terpa fears tepygau frightenss
tinsa is stiff tensygau stiffens
titla is sweet titygau sweetens
tordu is short torgau shortens
tsali is strong tsagau strengthens
tsapi ia a spice tsapygau seasons
vasru contains vasygau encloses
vlipa is powerful vligau empowers
vreji is a record of rejgau records
vrusi is a flavor vusyga'e tastes
panci is an odor sumne smells
zasti exists zbasu creates
zekri is a crime zerzukte commits a crime
zifre is free zifygau liberates

(There are doubtless others.)

  • The place structure of xruti has changed during its history...
    • A note here says (1994) that xruti was to become non-agentive, although it remains agentive on the gismu lists of 9-6-94.
    • I will have to check my notes, but IIRC the non-agentive meaning was changed to the present agentive at about the same time as the Great Rafsi Shift.

  • Lojban distinguishes forms of causation...One could extend the foregoing series with each of the others.

  • One must also consider the "hidden doers", those with non-x1 agent places:
    • smuni has meaning-------tersmu interprets
    • tatpi is tired------seltatpi tires
    • fengu is angry------selfengu angers
    • torni is twisting-------seltorni twists
    • xalni is panicked-------selxalni terrifies
    • zgike is music------selzgi makes music

That's a very useful list. We shouldn't overlook the usefulness of zil-, though:

zilsti comes to a stop
sisti halts (or dicra interrupts)
zilxru reverts
xruti restores
zilcatra dies
catra kills
zilcfipu is confused
cfipu confuses


  • Wouldn't "is killed" be better as a translation than "dies"? That is, there has to be a killer or there isn't really any catraing involved. I'd use mrobi'o (become dead) for just plain dying "without a cause". (And I'm not sure whether consensus was reached on the usage of zil- in this manner. xu la .andban. lojbo?) --mi'e filip
  • It's a reasonable suspicion to have when I say something, but in this instance it's pretty uncontroversial, at least among the jboskepre. (I can't speak for nonjboskpre, since I don't get to hear their relevant views.)

Created by admin. Last Modification: Thursday 19 of July, 2012 14:16:49 GMT by gleki.