Below are a few short comments on the tense system. But I would
first like to congratulate John Cowan and any others who worked on it.
It is brilliantly designed, flexible, and fascinating! It took me no
time at all to understand it, with one exception which I have noted
One thing that I think should be pointed out more clearly is that
the new usage of selma'o VA is going to alter the way it is used as
sumti tcita. (I am not assuming you don't already realize this: I
just think it should be made more clear to those who might not.)
Remember that it is no longer the spatial analog of selma'o PU. FAhA
is the proper spatial analog of PU, while ZI is the analog of VA. As
you well know, zu'avi means "a short distance left": vi means "a
short distance [from the origin, in the direction specified, if any]".
Therefore, vi le tcadu doesn't mean "in the city" but "a short
distance from the city". The spatial relation analogous to ca is
bu'u, which, along with ne'i is probably best for "in/at": bu'u le
tcadu "in the city"; bu'uvi le tcadu/vi le tcadu "a short distance
from the city"; bu'uva le tcadu/va le tcadu "a medium distance from
the city"; etc. just as ca le djedi means "in the day" -- in all of
these examples we could have used ne'i as well as bu'u, although they
aren't always interchangeable.
One thing that you may consider changing is te'e "bordering". I
suggest putting this in selma'o VA, where it might prove more useful.
(Although I could be misinterpreting its meaning.) Can te'e be used
to mean "touching/in contact with"? There is currently no cmavo
assigned to indicate when two things are actually in contact except
for this one. The problem with it is that it only indicates that they
are bordering, and not where they are bordering. As a member of VA,
we could then have such constructs as ni'ate'e "bordering below, i.e.
on (/in contact with) the bottom of", or ga'ute'e "on top of".
(Leaving it "as is" really doesn't help. ni'ate'e, in the current
definition means [origin] [down] [bordering]: "bordering a place
below . . .", which could mean "on the bottom of", but probably
doesn't in most cases.) This, to my mind, would complete VA very
nicely. We would have: te'e "in contact with/touching"; vi "a short
distance from"; va "a medium distance from"; vu "a long distance
from". Perhaps a new, shorter cmavo could be chosen for this
function, if any are left.
I'm having a little difficulty using logical connectives with
tense constructs, especially long ones. To solve my problem: Which
binds more tightly, the connectives or the modifiers of the words
connected, e.g. in pujeba zi do we have .pu je ba/ zi or pu je .ba
How the hell do you use zo'i, ze'o, and fa'a, to'o? They all
appear to represent orientation. Am I right in assuming that zo'izu'a
means "to the left of a place oriented towards me" and zu'azo'i means
"on my left, oriented towards me"? Just wanted to be sure.
Is it possible to bind a temporal and spatial tense more tightly
together so that we can indicate position at a certain time? In the
sentence la ivan pu ti'a zutse le stizu "Ivan sat behind me in the
chair," does ti'a refer to where you were at the time, or to where you
are now, or even where you will be? Is ti'a tied to pu? Maybe a word
order convention could be useful here. A temporal construct appended
to the end of a spatial construct would link them in time, and a
temporal construct placed before a space construct would be
independent. Thus ba ti'a pu zutse would mean "will sit behind where
I sat". We can still have our vagueness if we like: pu ti'a with no
following time marker makes ti'a vague as to time. pu ti'a ca would
mean, of course, "behind me then".
Is there another way to do this that I've overlooked? Logical
connectives won't do it, perhaps bo will. I think my suggestion is
more flexible. In the case of a logical connective, there is exactly
that: logical connection, which is usually independent of time.
pujeti'a says nothing about the "time" of ti'a, it just says "both
before in time and behind in space" -- not necessarily simultaneously.