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Re: TECH: A pragmatics sampler

la lojbab. cusku di'e

> Cowan may disagree,

So he does, so he does.

> but I think the Russian interpretation holds in your
> examples.  The tense is set (or not set, in these examples) by the main
> selbri, which appears first in the sentence.  The later tenses are relative
> to any earlier tenses.

I think not.  I think that such effects hold only when "ki" is present;
and the notion that they worked at all is a hangover from Old Loglan,
where "caba" and "caca" and the others were perfective.  Now compound
tenses involving "ca" are just redundant (although selective "ki"-ing
may make them useful as theoretical constructs: in "baki...ca", the second
"ca" means "baca" which is "ba".

> If the tenses within the sumti had appeared first in the sentence, things get
> a bit more nebulous, but presuming the storytime convention, "ca" is a little
> bit after the previous sentence's time.

Even in story time, I think that "ca" means present/simultaneously.  It is
only the absence of all tense marking that activates the "bazi"/"a little
bit later" interpretation.  Thus ".ica" in a story means "Simultaneously,".
This allows the narrator to tell of two events that happened at the same

> And of course, if a tense is
> tied into the ".i": .ijeca, then that sets a more specific reference for
> later tense adjustments in the sentence.

Since I don't believe in "tense adjustments" except with "ki", I don't
believe this either.

> I believe also that any specific tensing. either before or after the sumti
> in question, would override all this wishy-washyness. "ca le cabna", for
> example would make the other "ca" the absolute present (assuming that "le"
> is referring to that present.

To my mind, "ca le cabna" is so much noise.  "Simultaneously with the
event which is simultaneous with an unspecified event."  Garbage.
Say "ca [ku]", or for stickiness "ki [ku]".

> Does this clarify, or merely make things murkier?

The latter, alas.

John Cowan      cowan@snark.thyrsus.com         ...!uunet!lock60!snark!cowan
                        e'osai ko sarji la lojban.