Answers to Exercises

Exercise 1

  1. 35: li cimu

  2. 4,802: li vobinore or li vo ki'o binore (the spaces are optional)

  3. 6,000: li xa ki'o or li xanonono

  4. 7.54: li ze pimuvo (again, the space is optional)

  5. 6,891,573.905: li xa ki'o bisopa ki'o muzeci pisonomu (if that looks long, try writing it as a word in English!)

Exercise 2

  1. Individual. The students might have been in a group while listening to the radio, but listening to the radio is something a person is capable of doing on their own.

  2. Mass. The students worked together to make the radio, so you cannot say of any one student that they made the radio on their own.

  3. Mass. In fact, sugar is a mass noun even in English, because it is very hard to think of it as individual entities. (Even when we do say "three sugars" in English, we're thinking of teaspoons, or kinds of sugar, not individual grains; so in fact, we're talking about two or more distinct masses of sugar.) That's why sugar does not normally take an article in English.

  4. Individual. Radios are easy to think of as individual units. But Lojban does allow you to treat the radios you've purchased as a mass, if that's useful to you (particularly if you're buying in bulk.)

  5. Mass. The statement is not necessarily true of individual elephants, but it is true of elephants as a whole. (To stress that elephants normally live to an old age, you would have to attribute long life, not to the mass of elephants, but to the typical elephant: lo'e xanto, rather than loi xanto.)

  6. Individual. All elephants by definition (as it were) have flat ears; so the claim is true of each individual elephant. Once again, however, it makes perfect sense in Lojban to make that claim of the mass of elephants, as well.

  7. Individual. Talking may be a group activity, but liking is something you do individually, and the students are being described as likers first, and as talkers second.

Exercise 3

  1. ro lo cifnu cu melbi

  2. lei ci mlatu cu batci le gerku (or: lu'o ci le mlatu cu batci le gerku. If you have lu'o le ci mlatu cu batci le gerku, you're implying that the three cats are the only three cats you have in mind, whereas lu'o ci le mlatu leaves it open that there are other cats around.)

  3. .ue la meilis. prami re lo nanmu

  4. so'e lo nanmu cu prami su'o pa lo ninmu

  5. ro lo nanmu na prami su'o pa lo ninmu

  6. lu'o vo lo ninmu cu cinba la rikis.martin. (Give yourself a pat on the back if you got that one right! If you said loi vo lo ninmu, give yourself a whole backrub! Though you may need help with that...)

  7. .uinai [or .uu] no lo prenu cu prami la bil. or su'o pa lo prenu na prami la bil. (Lojban na is somewhat odd to English-speakers, since it behaves exactly like logical "it is not the case"; the sentence literally means "It is not the case that at least one person likes Bill" (i.e. "It is not the case that even one person likes Bill.") But the interaction of negation and quantifiers is beyond the scope of these lessons; for more, see The Complete Lojban Language, Chapter 16.9.)

  8. le la ROZmeris. cifnu cu batci re lo prenu (or: le cifnu pe la ROZmeris. ...)

  9. pafi'uci loi ninmu cu nelci la,is. (or: pafi'uci lu'o lo ninmu cu nelci la,is.)

  10. su'e pipamu loi budjo cu citka lo rectu (or: su'e pipamu lu'o lo budjo cu citka lo rectu)

  11. sofi'upano loi mlatu cu nelci la .uiskas. (a Commonwealth slogan for a brand of cat food) (or: sofi'upano lu'o lo mlatu cu nelci la .uiskas.)

A final question

'The dog' would be le pa gerku. Normally, we wouldn't bother with the pa though, unless we wanted to make it quite clear that we only have one dog in mind. 'The dogs' would be le su'o re gerku (or lei su'o re gerku, if we're thinking of them as a group) — 'the at least two dogs'. However, it is hard to think of many situations where you would need to say this. Like some other languages (e.g. Chinese), Lojban normally leaves number up to context. You guessed it — you've just spent all this time learning to say how many people, dogs etc. there are, and piso'e of the time, you don't need to! But, like many features of Lojban, it can be very useful when you want it, so please don't feel tricked.

Oh, what does piso'e mean? That, I will leave as an exercise to the reader...