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Re: On the tense system of ZAhO

Robert J. Chassell says
>                ___mi pu'o damba___
>                I [inchoative] fight.
>                I'm on the verge of fighting.
> You may be misled by the example, which in English suggests that the
> point of departure for the ``Imaginary Journey through time'' is
> before the fighting.  This is not the way to parse Lojban.
> Let's analyze this according to the technique described in the
> Imaginary Journey paper.
> If this were a spatial tense, we would say, `Start from the speaker's
> physical location, and then follow directions.'  In this case,
> however, we have to start from the speaker's *event* location in time
> and then follow directions.

For space tenses we don't start at the speaker's *event* location,
but their actual location in space.
For PU tenses we don't start at the speaker's *event* location,
but their actual location in time.

Why make the ZAhO different?

> The event location in this example is the process of being in fight
> that occurs.  I.e., the speaker starts from the process of the predication.
> Follow directions: go to the `inchoative' time of the fight; this
> means go to the time before the process of the fight began.  This is
> *before* the fight.  Hence use of "pu'o" makes sense as a key word
> that is related to, but different from "pu"..

And you can't follow that kind of directions if you have something like:

        mi pu pu'o damba
(I was going to fight, or I was in the verge of fighting)

I start at speaker's time, go to the past, and from there have to
go to the future.

> Another example, rather less violent:
>     le tricu pu'o crino
>     The tree that I have in mind is in the inchoative state of greening.
> This sentence is making at least two claims:
>   * a claim that greening for this tree is a process with a time
>     before its beginning, a beginning, an occurence (which may be
>     spread over time), an end, and a time after the end.

Is this true? The sentence claims that there will be a time after the
greening in which the greening ceased? If so, then the tenses are much
more specific than what I thought. How would I say that the tree will
begin to be green in the future without saying anything about what
happens after that? Can it be said in a simple way? I find this last
claim much more useful than the first.

>   * a claim that this tree is in the state before it greens.

> This is very different from saying
>     le rokci punai je canai je ba crinu
>     The rock I have in mind was not, is not, and will be green.
> This later sentence is *not* claiming that greening of a rock is a
> process.  The sentence is claiming only that the rock is not now, was
> not, but will be green.  (Perhaps because I am going to paint it.)
> (Most of us agree as a matter of physics that greening, even if by
> painting, is a process, but this particular sentence is not claiming
> that.)

I thought that the only difference was that the one about the tree
claims that there is a beginning of the greening, while the other
claims nothing about a beginning (which could exist). I was not aware
that the first one also claims an end to the process.

This extra meaning does nothing to justify a relation between pu and
pu'o though.

> Note, by the way, that
>     le rokci ba crinu
> does *not* translate as "The rock I have in mind will be green."
> It translates as:
>     The rock I have in mind may already be green and it will be green.

For me "will be green" does not imply that it is not green, so I
understand both sentences the same way. (It seems that I understand
the first one wrongly in English, but in any case I understand the
Lojban one correctly.)

> There are two ways to translate the common English use of "will be":
>   * One is to specify "was not, is not and will be" using "punai je
>     canai je ba".  The English "will be" implies "was not, is not" but
>     the lojban "ba" does not.  This is the closest translation to the
>     English.

I did not know that the English claimed so much.

>   * The other is to make a different kind of claim about the universe,
>     not a type that English speakers usually make,
>         le rokci ba co'a crinu
>         The rock I have in mind will begin the process of being green
>         (it may or may not end it).
>     This suggests that the green of the rock is a process, an
>     occurrence with an internal structure including a beginning, a
>     middle, and an end; and that you have to take an imaginary journey
>     into the future to get to the beginning of the event.

So now the imaginary journey doesn't start at the event?

Also you contradict yourself. You say that the greening is a process
with an end, but you also say that the rock may or may not end being
green. Which one is it? (I think the last one.)

> If I will paint the rock, both claims are true: it was not, is not,
> but will be green; and the painting is a process/event that will
> start.  But these are different ways of looking at the greening.  The
> former is common in English, the latter in some other languages.

I understand the difference. None of the two claim anything about the
ending of being green.

>    (If the definitions of pu'o and ba'o were reversed, as I think would
>    be natural, this would be:  mi ba'o damba. = I'm on the verge of fighting
>    which shows clearly that the fighting is in the future)
> No, not at all.  "pu'o" is *not* a future tense.  It is not an
> English-style past-present-future tense at all.  It is a different way
> of dealing with experience, as different as dealing with a spatial
> tense.

I'm not claiming it's a future tense. I'm claiming that it makes reference
to an event in the future of the speaker, just like ba.

> "pu'o" is about a characteristic of the state of the predication,
> inchoative, in this case.  (By the way, I think this is a very good
> key word for this; after you think about it for awhile, it becomes
> self explanatory.)
I've no idea what inchoative means, so it explains nothing to me.

What I understand from

     le tricu pu'o crino

is this: The tree is in a state such that it's going to start being
green in the future.

If this is true, then the other claim:

        le tricu ba co'a crino
(The tree will start being green in the future)

is very probably true (you never know with the future).

The claim {le tricu pu crino} is totally unrelated.

With ba'o it's easier:

{le tricu ba'o crino} ===> {le tricu pu crino}

(one way implication)
{le tricu ba crino} has nothing to do with it.

> It happens that inchoative states occur before things begin, so you
> get a time sequence, but time sequence as English speakers expect is
> is *not* an implication of this word.
The time sequence that Lojban sugests is not only "not an implication",
but it's misleading.

To say "inchoative states occur before things begin"
is equivalent to "things begin after inchoative states occur".

The words before and after scream for a reference point. For all
tenses except the ZAhO, the reference point is the speaker.
For the ZAhO, to make sense of the etymology you have to take the
event as the reference point, which is inconsistent and confusing.

> pu'o, ca'o, and ba'o are different from pu, ca, and ba.  But like
> them, they make a fundamental claim about the nature of the physical
> and mental universe.
>     pu'o, ca'o, and ba'o claim that events have contours and
>     structure involving a beginning, middle, and end;

If this is true, then most of the examples I've seen are tranlated
incorrectly. What I think is that pu'o claims that the event has
a beginning, ba'o that it has an end, and ca'o that it has a
duration. But each of them do not claim the event has beginning,
middle and end.

This has nothing to do with pa-pa'o ba-ba'o.

>     pu, ca, and ba claim that events have a time sequence.

I would say a time with respect to some reference.

My interpretation:

pu'o claims that the event is about to begin, at the reference time.
ca'o claims that the event is going on, at the reference time.
ba'o claims that the eventand has ceased, at the reference time.

pu claims that the event is at the past of the reference time.
ca claims that the event is at the present of the reference time.
ba claims that the event is at the future of the reference time.
(No claims about the boundaries of the event; could extend either
way past the reference point)

Of course we can also express things with respect to the event:

pu'o claims that the reference point is before the event beginns.
ca'o claims that the reference point is during the event.
ba'o claims that the reference point is after the event ends.

pu claims that the reference point is after the event.
ca claims that the reference point is at the event.
ba claims that the reference point is before the event.

Either way, it is clear that pu'o and ba'o are reversed.

Nobody has commented on my diagrams. Are they misleading?

pu      ---------XXX----------0----------------------------->
ca      ---------------------X0X---------------------------->
ba      ----------------------0-------------XXX------------->

pu'o    ----------------------0-------|===========>--------->
ca'o    -----------------=====0=====>----------------------->
ba'o    --===========>|-------0----------------------------->

co'a    ----------------------0|===========>---------------->
co'u    ---------===========>|0----------------------------->

0 reference point
| boundary of event
===> event (duration implied)
XXX  event (no duration implied)