le mamtu be ko'a cu merko

English Translation

His mother is American.

“le mamtu be ko’a cu merko” is a phrase in Lojban, a constructed logical language designed to reduce ambiguity in human communication. Let’s break down the phrase:

  • le: This is a definite article, equivalent to “the” in English. In Lojban, “le” is used before a noun to specify a particular instance or instances that are contextually or conversationally identifiable.

  • mamtu: This is the root word (gismu) meaning “mother.”

  • be: This particle is used to introduce a sumti (argument) that modifies the preceding brivla (predicate word). In English, this would be similar to attaching an attribute to a noun with a preposition like “of.”

  • ko’a: This is a pro-sumti, functioning like a pronoun in English. It refers to something previously mentioned or otherwise identifiable from context. The specific value of “ko’a” depends on what it has been assigned to in the conversation.

  • cu: This is a separator that is somewhat akin to a verb marker or indicates that a bridi (predicate-argument structure) is starting. It’s used to separate the selbri (predicate) from any sumti that comes before it, ensuring clear grammatical structure. In this case, it separates the noun “mamtu” (modified by “be ko’a”) from the selbri that follows, which is “merko.”

  • merko: This is another root word (gismu) meaning “American” or pertaining to the United States or its culture.

So, put together, “le mamtu be ko’a cu merko” can be translated to English as “The mother of it/him/her is American.” The “it/him/her” (ko’a) could refer to any entity whose mother is being described, and would be determined by the context of the conversation.

The full grammatical structure of this phrase in Lojban demonstrates several key aspects of the language: the use of articles and particles for clear relationships between words, the brevity and flexibility of pronouns, and the structuring of sentences to remove ambiguity.