Tip: The need for ku in the sentence
above is very deep voodoo, so there's no need for you to be particularly
concerned about it (yet). As The Complete Lojban Language, Chapter 8.6 points out,
without the ku any qualifying phrase becomes part of the
To illustrate this, consider the old parlor trick of calling someone Nobody.
This is a device as old as Homer, and is used to work in jokes like "Nobody hurt
me!" Lojban disallows this kind of ambiguity (consider why), so this kind of joke is impossible
in the language. (The notorious Who's on First? sketch by Abbott &
Costello is un-Lojbanisable for the same reason.)
But you'll still want to talk about people called Nobody.
So suppose you're talking about the Greek Nobody (Homer's Oútis), and comparing him to the Latin Nobody
(Jules Verne's Captain Nemo). And in a pique of Lojban purism, you decide to refer to both with
— la nomei. If now you want to say "The Greek
Nobody", you can't say la nomei poi
xelso. That would mean that Odysseus identified himself to the Cyclops not as
Nobody, but as Nobody Who Is Greek (something like
Oútis Hòs Akhaiós in Greek.) You want to
make sure that
the cmene is over before the relative clause begins. Since
this cmene contains a selbri, it is terminated with ku: la nomei ku poi
xelso. If you'd stuck with la .utis., the
pause would have been signal enough that the cmene is over,
so the issue would not arise.
No, of course you weren't meant to know all that. But aren't you happy you know it