7. Varying the order of sumti

For one reason or another you may want to change the order, placing one particular sumti at the front of the bridi. The cmavo “se”, when placed before the last word of the selbri, will switch the meanings of the first and second sumti places. So

7.1)   mi tavla do ti
       I talk to you about this.
has the same meaning as
7.2)   do se tavla mi ti
       You are talked to by me about this.

The cmavo “te”, when used in the same location, switches the meanings of the first and the third sumti places.

7.3)   mi tavla do ti
       I talk to you about this.
has the same meaning as
7.4)   ti te tavla do mi
       This is talked about to you by me.
Note that only the first and third sumti have switched places; the second sumti has remained in the second place.

The cmavo “ve” and “xe” switch the first and fourth sumti places, and the first and fifth sumti places, respectively. These changes in the order of places are known as “conversions”, and the “se”, “te”, “ve”, and “xe” cmavo are said to convert the selbri.

More than one of these operators may be used on a given selbri at one time, and in such a case they are evaluated from left to right. However, in practice they are used one at a time, as there are better tools for complex manipulation of the sumti places. See Chapter 5 for details.

The effect is similar to what in English is called the “passive voice”. In Lojban, the converted selbri has a new place structure that is renumbered to reflect the place reversal, thus having effects when such a conversion is used in combination with other constructs such as “le selbri [ku]” (see Section 10).