# Speaking about matters of degree

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### scope845h...@icebubble.org

Dec 17, 2020, 11:06:52 PM12/17/20
I am wondering how one might express statements or questions, in Lojban,

"Why is the inside of my car as cold as it is?"

When I try to express that in Lojban, I get:

ri'a ma le nenri be le mi karce cu lenku co ...

and I can't figure out how to finish the sentence. If I say {mutce}, I
the degree of coldness. I want to ask why the DEGREE of coldness is as
great as it is. How would you express a question like this in Lojban?

### mezohe

Dec 22, 2020, 4:11:27 PM12/22/20
2020-12-18 04:26 scope845h...@icebubble.org:
What first comes to mind is saying {tai} for any use of "so":

lo nenri ri'a ma tai lenku

which is, well, an idiom, and we don't want any of that in this
language, do we.

Trying to focus the question on the degree, you could use {kau}, perhaps
with a relative clause to say it's a high degree:

ri'a ma lo nenri cu xo kau va'e co lenku
.i ri'a ma lo nenri cu me ma kau [noi barda] va'e co lenku
.i ri'a ma ma kau [noi barda] cu ni lo nenri cu lenku
.i ri'a ma lo nenri se la'u ma kau [noi barda] cu lenku

where {broda ti ta ma kau} would expand to something like {broda ti ta Q
poi'i broda ti ta ke'a}, substituting your favourite quantifier for Q.

You might notice that this use seems distinct from how la tsani uses

https://mw.lojban.org/papri/UserWiki:Ilmen/lo_smuni_be_zo_kau

### Jacob Thomas Errington

Dec 23, 2020, 1:33:36 PM12/23/20
coi

On 2020-12-22 16:10, mezohe wrote:

> Trying to focus the question on the degree, you could use {kau}, perhaps
> with a relative clause to say it's a high degree:
>
> ri'a ma lo nenri cu xo kau va'e co lenku
> .i ri'a ma lo nenri cu me ma kau [noi barda] va'e co lenku
> .i ri'a ma ma kau [noi barda] cu ni lo nenri cu lenku
> .i ri'a ma lo nenri se la'u ma kau [noi barda] cu lenku
>
> where {broda ti ta ma kau} would expand to something like {broda ti ta Q
> poi'i broda ti ta ke'a}, substituting your favourite quantifier for Q.
>
> You might notice that this use seems distinct from how la tsani uses
> {kau} in the other thread. Known issue. Related reading from 2015:
>
> https://mw.lojban.org/papri/UserWiki:Ilmen/lo_smuni_be_zo_kau

This is an interesting use of kau. I used to staunchly oppose any use of
kau outside of abstractions such as du'u, ka, and si'o (the 'relational'
ones). Nowadays I think I care a bit less. (But as I'll explain, I think
that this use has a hidden du'u abstraction in it.) This use in
particular seems especially _un_objectionable! I can tell exactly what
it means, so there maybe there is a systematic way to interpret
(top-level) statements containing indirect questions.

Did I say statement? Actually, the example is a _question_ so let's
concentrate on that.

I think we can understand a question as a command for an answer. Let's
see how we might interpret a simple question.

.i ma broda
.i ko mi jungau lo du'u makau broda

Seems reasonable enough to me, so let's apply this rule to the first
example and see what happens.

.i ri'a ma lo nenri cu xo kau va'e co lenku
.i ko mi jungau lo du'u ri'a makau lo nenri cu xo kau va'e co lenku

Okay, but does this mean the right thing? One thing is for sure: now it
looks like we're asking two questions instead of one. But maybe that's
what's happening when we say something like "why is it so cold in here?"
Is it similar to asking how cold it is in here + an explanation for it
being that cold? I think what makes this make sense is that we _already_
know how cold it is, so we're really only asking for a reason, but we
phrase it as a question for emphasis. Another way to see this is as if
we were pretending we didn't know how cold it is because we're surprised
that it's colder than we expected.

mezohe's general expansion of indirect questions gives something like
"as it is":

.i lenku xo kau va'e
It's as cold as it is.

This makes perfect sense as a framework for understanding {.i ri'a ma
lenku xo kau va'e} as "Why is it as cold as it is?" -> "Why it is so cold?".

I wonder if there's some underlying principle that unifies the "as it
is" interpretation with my interpretation. I think there is, and I think
it has to do with the idea that this indirect question in a question is
used to create a contrast between reality and our expectation of it.

.i mi'e la tsani mu'o