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Re: Veijo once more on ZAhOs

Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1993 08:09:58 -0400
Subject: Veijo once more on ZAhOs

> > >   Now the question about the assignment of the names of the cmavo
> > >  remains to be solved.
> > >
>   OK. I'll try to reformulate.
>      (2) a ZAhO cmavo names a phase of an event. The morphology
>          of the cmavo reflects the position of the phase relative
>          to the event proper based on the assumption that "pu"
>          means "before"/"pre-" and correspondingly "ba" means
>          "after"/"post-".
>   Now is this a reasonable formulation (ignoring the question about
>   the principle to which I'll return later on) ?-)

Most reasonable and I agree with it.

My contention is that using the morphology to reflect the position of the
phase relative to the event proper instead of the other way around goes
against the way the other tenses are handled. I do understand how it works,

>   I agree that you have a quite valid, alternative way of looking at
>   this structure.

To this I can only say that your way of looking at it is also quite valid.

Our only disagreement is as to whether the arrow points from event proper
to phase or from phase to event proper. The fact that there is an arrow
is not given by the meaning of the ZAhOs, which don't require any pointing
from one to the other, but only by their morphology. To me, one direction
is more natural, to you, the other. Maybe it is totally arbitrary, maybe
not. I'll try to argue why I think the one I prefer is more compatible with
the PUs.

I think you describe the situation very nicely, I cite only the key parts:

>   A PU tense or a PU/ZAhO tcita tells WHERE (or rather WHEN) the event is,
>   a ZAhO tense tells rather WHAT KIND (the phase of) the event is. The phase
>   is actually the event we are talking about, the event located with the PU
>   tense and characterized with the ZAhO 'tense'. There isn't anything else
>   to look/go to. There is no *future event, no past event, we are talking
>   about the phase event.
>   "ko'a ca ba'o citka" [...]
>   On an imaginary journey I am going NOWHERE
>   from the "ca" point, I already am at the destination. So it is a question
>   of characterizing, not a question of going somewhere as it would if I
>   had another PU tense instead of the ZAhO.

I agree completely. You follow the Journey untill you reach a ZAhO, there
you don't have to go any further. Standing there you have to proceed to an
even more abstract Journey, the one that joins the phase of interest, where
you are standing, to the event proper. You prefer to do this last abstract
squared part from a new starting point back to where you are, I prefer to
see it as standing where you are and looking from there towards the event
proper, you don't even have to keep walking, just look at where the selbri
is. My way has the advantage that you don't have to make a discontinuous
jump, in the same way that you don't make discontinuous jumps with the PUs.

>   The Lojban tense system as a whole and especially the ZAhOs
>   differ from what we are accustomed to. We better accept that.

People keep telling me this, but I've accepted it from the start. It's not
me who wants to use pu'o to mean "before" and ba'o "after", as in English,
which is very, very roughly (I know it is not exactly the same) their current
function as prepositions, or sumti tcita, and their current function as
prefixes "pre-" and "post-". In fact, in their current form, they reflect
very nicely the Esperanto "antaux" and "post", which work both as
prepositions and as prefixes, not as aspectual tenses.

In a way it boils down to something like this: When you look at a child,
do you see the past or the future? Does an old man represent the past
or the future? I know this is very simplistic, and you can justify either
choice, my point is that it makes more sense, from the standpoint of
Lojban tenses, to see the child as the man of the future and the old man
as the man of the past, rather than the child as in the past of being
a man and the old man as in the future of being a man.

On the precise meaning of the ZAhO as tcita, I accept all you said, but
I'm not decided as to what is the interpretation I would prefer.

co'o mi'e xorxes