9. Affirmations

There is an explicit positive form for both selma'o NA (“ja'a”) and selma'o NAhE (“je'a”), each of which would supplant the corresponding negator in the grammatical position used, allowing one to assert the positive in response to a negative question or statement without confusion. Assuming the same context as in Section 8:

9.1)   xu na go'i
       Is-it-true-that [false] [repeat previous]?
or equivalently
9.2)   xu la djan. [cu] na pu klama
            la paris. .e la rom.
       Is it true that: John [false] previously-went-to
            [both] Paris and Rome.]

The obvious, but incorrect, positive response to this negative question is:

9.3)   go'i
       [repeat previous]
A plain “go'i” does not mean “Yes it is”; it merely abbreviates repeating the previous statement unmodified, including any negators present; and Example 9.3 actually states that it is false that John went to both Paris and Rome.

When considering:

9.4)   na go'i
       [false] [repeat previous]
as a response to a negative question like Example 9.2, Lojban designers had to choose between two equally plausible interpretations with opposite effects. Does Example 9.4 create a double negative in the sentence by adding a new “na” to the one already there (forming a double negative and hence a positive statement), or does the “na” replace the previous one, leaving the sentence unchanged?

It was decided that substitution, the latter alternative, is the preferable choice, since it is then clear whether we intend a positive or a negative sentence without performing any manipulations. This is the way English usually works, but not all languages work this way — Russian, Japanese, and Navajo all interpret a negative reply to a negative question as positive.

The positive assertion cmavo of selma'o NA, which is "ja'a", can also replace the “na” in the context, giving:

9.5)   ja'a go'i
       (John truly-(previously went-to) [both] Paris and Rome.)
“ja'a” can replace “na” in a similar manner wherever the latter is used:
9.6)   mi ja'a klama le zarci 
       I indeed go to the store.

“je'a” can replace “na'e” in exactly the same way, stating that scalar negation does not apply, and that the relation indeed holds as stated. In the absence of a negation context, it emphasizes the positive:

9.7)   ta je'a melbi
       that is-indeed beautiful.