A conjunction is a word that joins two things together. There are two kinds: coordinating and subordinating.
A coordinating conjunction joins two components of the same type, producing a larger component of that type. For example, two noun phrases joined by e form a larger noun phrase.
There are four coordinating conjunctions:
- e – and (both components are equally valid)
- o – or (one of the components is valid; possibly both are)
- no – not, and not, but not (the first component is valid; the second one isn’t)
- ma – but (both components are equally valid, but contrast with each other)
- La om e la fem vade a la casa. – The man and the woman go to the house.
- Tu es multe vea e saja. – You are very old and wise. (probably very wise, otherwise the sentence would be tu es saja e multe vea)
- El ia labora ante e pos sua vacanse. – He worked before and after his vacation.
- Sua aniversario es en marto o april. – Her birthday is in March or April.
- Tu desira cafe o te? – Do you want coffee or tea?
- On pote visita la museo a lundi o jovedi. – You can visit the museum on Monday or Thursday (or both).
- On ia eleje tu, no me. – They elected you, not me.
- Me ia conta no sola la oveas ma ance la capras. – I counted not only the sheep but also the goats.
With lists of more than two items, the conjunction is normally replaced by a comma except between the final pair. A comma is often included before the conjunction too, in such a list:
- Nos va viaja tra Italia, Suiz, Osteraic, e Deutxland. – We will travel through Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany.
For emphasis, e, o, and no can be doubled up, with the extra instance placed before the first component. A double o rules out the possibility of both components being valid:
- e… e – both… and
- o… o – either… or
- no… no – neither… nor
- E Luis e Maria vade a scola. – Both Luis and Maria go to school.
- O tu o me gania, ma no ambos. – Either you or I will win, but not both.
- Me ave no la tempo no la desira per leje plu. – I have neither the time nor the desire to read on.
E, o, and ma can also join two clauses or sentences:
- Me ia vade a la biblioteca, e tu ia visita la museo. – I went to the library and you visited the museum.
- O nos solve esta problem, o la mundo va fini. – Either we solve this problem, or the world will end.
- Ma acel es difisil. – But that’s difficult.
The adverb donce is also used in this way, as a shorthand for e donce:
- Me pensa, donce me esiste. – I think, therefore I am.
- Nos no ave un mapa, donce nos es perdeda. – We don’t have a map, so we’re lost.
A subordinating conjunction joins a clause to the containing sentence, indicating its role in that sentence.
There are three types: pronoun subordinators, adverb subordinators, and special subordinators.
The interrogative pronouns cual and ci can also serve as subordinating conjunctions (relative pronouns) to introduce relative clauses:
- La om ci ia abita asi ia vade a New York. – The man who lived here went to New York.
- La poma cual ia cade de mea saco es aora noncomable. – The apple which fell from my bag is now inedible.
- La fem de ci nos parla labora a mea ofisia. – The woman of whom we speak works at my office.
- Tua libro, en cual me ia scrive sua nom, es sur la table. – Your book, in which I wrote her name, is on the table.
They normally relate to a preceding noun. Sometimes, that noun is omitted. In such cases, a pronoun can be added to clarify the meaning:
- Esta es lo cual parteni a tu. – This is what (“that which”) belongs to you.
- La auto blu es lo en cual nos vole viaja. – The blue car is the one in which we want to travel.
- Acel es el ci me ia vide. – That’s who I saw / That’s the one I saw / That’s the person I saw.
- Tu es el a ci me ia parla ier. – You’re who I spoke to yesterday.
- Ci osa, gania. – Who dares, wins.
The use of cual and ci en reported questions is very similar.
The interrogative adverbs – do, cuando, cuanto, como, and perce – can serve as conjunctions introducing adverbial clauses:
- Nos parla como nos pensa. – We speak as (= in the way in which) we think.
- Me dormi cuando me pote. – I sleep when I can.
- Me va esplica cuanto me comprende. – I will explain as much as I understand.
- Nos abita do la du rios encontra. – We live where the two rivers meet.
- Me ia fini la taxe en cuando tu ia parla a me. – I finished the task while you were talking to me.
- Nos va core a do la vias encontra. – We will run to where the roads meet.
They can also be used after a noun, as conjunctions introducing relative clauses:
- Me labora en Paris, do me abita. – I work in Paris, where I live.
- El va visita en julio, cuando la clima es bon. – He will visit in July, when the weather’s nice.
- Acel es la razona perce Juan ia parti. – That’s the reason why John left / That’s the reason John left.
And they are also used in reported questions (a type of noun clause).
The special subordinating conjunctions ce and esce introduce noun clauses. Ce introduces a reported statement, and esce introduces a reported question about the truth of a statement.
- Me pensa ce tu nesesa un vacanse. – I think (that) you need a vacation.
- Me no sabe esce el va veni. – I don’t know if/whether he’ll come.
They can be used after certain nouns, adjectives, and prepositions to complete the meaning:
- La idea ce la Sol orbita la Tera es un era. – The idea that the Sun orbits the Earth is a mistake.
- Nos es surprendeda ce vos no ia cexa. – We are surprised (that) you didn’t complain.
- Me es felis ce tu ia susede. – I’m glad (that) you succeeded.
- Los no ia es serta esce la tren ia parti ja. – They weren’t sure if/whether the train had already left.
- La gato ia entra a la sala sin ce algun vide el. – The cat entered the room without anyone seeing it.
Ce can also be used to introduce a clause that expresses a result:
- El ia es tan fatigada ce el no ia pote pensa. – She was so tired (that) she couldn’t think.
- El ia es tan fame ce el ia pote oia la ronca de sua stomaco. – He was so hungry (that) he could hear his stomach rumbling.
The special subordinators afin, car, si, and ca introduce adverbial clauses:
- Me va veni si tu clama. – I will come if you call.
- Me labora afin mea enfantes pote come. – I work so that my children can eat.
- Lo es calda car la sol brilia. – It is hot because the sun is shining.
- Esta es plu labora ca me ia espeta. – This is more work than I expected.