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Happy Jule - Page 2 - Toki Pona Forums

Happy Jule

Mind and thought: Wisdom, mental health, cognition, self-talk, consciousness, philosophy, psychology, optimizing your thinking, productivity hacks
Menso kaj penso: Saĝaĵoj, psiĥa sano, kogno, memparolado, psiĥa stato, filozofio, psikologio, rearanĝi sian pensadon, plibonigi sian produktokapablon
janKipo
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Re: Happy Jule

Postby janKipo » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:25 pm

I hope that Describing Morphosyntax has got its categories better sorted out than in your exposition. Subject and Object are grammatical categories, purely matters of syntax (the NP of S => NP + VP, for example). Case is (generally) a morphemic matter:Nominative, Accusative, Ergative, etc. marked by the presence (or absence) of typically dependent morphemes attached to nouns (another grammatical category). Agents and patients and experiencers (different from patients") are semantic categories, in a broad sense (I would call them pragmatic, having to do with how the sentence fits into in context). There are all sorts of interconnections among these, varying from language to language: a subject tends to be in the nominative case (this is probably definitional) and to be the closest thing to a human in the sentence. And so on.
But, since tp has no cases and no inherent connections to agents or patients, none of this seems to help with the question of how to say I am sick. Or, worse, that this dog feels soft (to me). Given the restriction that 'pilin', like a number of other words in tp, is restricted to persons, or at least sentient being, it appears to be the verb for experiences, with it subject the experience and its object the experienced (?).

janMato
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Re: Happy Jule

Postby janMato » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:53 pm


janKipo
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Re: Happy Jule

Postby janKipo » Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:19 pm

But being a linguist of sorts with fake languages is a good way to become a good real linguist, even if only of the hobby variety. So, in that direction, it is important to be clear about a number of distinctions (and, alas, some of the technical terms that go with them). First there the branches of linguistics: phonology (sounds and how they go together to form phonemes), morphology (meaningful strings of sound and how they go together to form morphemes and these go together to form words), syntax (how words go together to form sentences -- and intermediate phrases along the way), semantics (the meaning of morphemes and how these interact to give meaning to all the structures up though sentences -- and beyond), pragmatics (tying that meaning into the context of utterance), rhetoric (dealing with the emotional and social aspects of the sentence -- this sometimes folded into pragmatics, and, indeed all these divisions are somewhat arbitrary in particular cases).
So, in particular, every language has a morphology. Languages range from the totally isolating type, where every morpheme is free, a word in itself, to the polysynthetic, where every morpheme is bound and words are always complex -- with various stops in between.
"periphrasis" is a word in comparative linguistics: what one language does within a word, another does using two or more words. Of course, this assumes that we can identify "what a language does" and this usually turns out to be a semantic category of some sort (or a pragmatic one). It may be the case that the two languages really are doing "the same thing" in different ways, bt it generally turns out that they are doing slightly (or grossly) different things which can sometimes be substituted for one another. tp is a totally isolating language, so, inevitably, if it does something like watt some language does with cases or tenses or whatever, it does it periphrastically. But there is no a priori reason to think that tp does do the same thing as some other language.
Subject and Object and Agent and Patient are pairs of categories from two different fields (syntax and semantics), but they are highly coordinated in many (most? all?) languages, though they may mean somewhat different things in each. So it is important to keep them separated to be clear what you are saying. Thus, the whole talk about the order of agents and patients, is misleading, since semantic categories are nonlinear for the most part, If we keep that in mind, of course, then the talk about the order of the categories can be understood as shorthand for the order of the words that bear these categories. But it is nice to know that the person doing the shorthand is aware that he is doing so.

janKipo
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Re: Happy Jule

Postby janKipo » Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:55 pm

[iPads have definite shortcomings for replying in this venue.]

So the words that refer to the agent and patient may be in any position with respect to the verb (I'll skip the screed about how insignificant surface order is for almost anything) (btw, about the examples, some of these are needlessly awkward though only c is actually odd, and apparently mule skinners don't skin mules, the mule skinner. Skinning mules is left to butchers, taxidermists, and people at the beginning of leather making.) What is the significance here? Apparently to reenforce the connection between the semantic terns and the grammatical ones. But it actually works the other way, since the subject tends to wander independently of the agent and sometimes disappears altogether. It is much harder (though probably not impossible for English) to get the subject and object in all those positions. It is true that English and tp tend to take SVO as basic, but that doesn't guarantee that the basic order for the semantic components is AVP (though it probably is). So what we do do is shoehorn everything into SVO, just dropping off the O for intransitives. Actually we don't do all that much shoehorning in English, since we have a lot of patterns to us. We do do it in tp. since SVO is all we have (though within that we can at least PVA semantically, and maybe PAV). Some intransitives are AV, but many more are probably PV or some not yet discussed semantic category.

The second quote seems to be the modern version of medieval psychologism, tossing away the gains in linguistics in the intervening centuries. That a grammatical category should be specified by a fuzzy set of semantic or pragmatic categories is doing linguistics backward. It may be that, when all the work is done, we can see such categorizations. And it may be that this other approach is handy for teaching certain kinds of fluency, but that is way later. And maybe the fluency issue is a good one to look at in dealing with tp problems. If the dog feels fuzzy then the dog is a patient (I feel the dog) and also whatever the subject of a stative verb is going to be (I think that he is fuzzy) (This case is complicated by the fact that only sentient being can feel and then that is very tactile: "The dog feels fuzzy" could mean that it has its nose in velour.). Of your sample translations, them first has the wrong subject and probably the wrong verb, even if we went with the 'pilin ike' version of being sick. The second dodges the second problem but not the first. I frankly don't understand the third one "Feeling a dog is like softness to me". The next to last is pretty good except it leaves out your feeling the dog. The last is fine, but I wish we could make it shorter somehow.

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Re: Happy Jule

Postby Mako » Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:27 pm


janKipo
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Re: Happy Jule

Postby janKipo » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:04 am

I know that you know that only the first of these is in toki pona, but I am not sure whether you think that some of the others might be reasonable additions to tp to ease up the restriction to SVO order (not AVP order, for reasons laid out above). By and large, think they are unlikely candidates because to much fundamental information is lost in the transformations. But --keeping it well out of Sonja's sight -- it might be worthwhile to figure out what would be needed minimally to allow these shifts in order, and maybe even some shifts in meaning (passives, for example). An easy one, requiring nothing new, would be to allow 'la' phrases to be topic or focus: waso la soweli li moku e ona. Moving the verb will be harder.

janKipo
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Re: Happy Jule

Postby janKipo » Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:34 am

The final quote is farrago of mixed categories, with S, A , and P appearing sometimes a grammatical concepts, sometimes as semantic, even in the same sentence (" the agent is agent" is apparently not meant to be a tautology. As grammatical category, agent is apparently ergative, with subject playing the absolutive role ( though patient apparently does too -- mainly in lieu of object). We are told that the mark of patient is change of state, but in the first sentence, where the subject changes state twice in one short sentence, it is said to be agent. And so on. I don't see any reason to base any linguistic study of tp on this book, no matter whether Mato has generally reported it accurately, these direct quotes pretty much show it to be confused, if not criminally negligent.

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Re: Happy Jule

Postby Mako » Fri Dec 31, 2010 4:10 pm


janKipo
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Re: Happy Jule

Postby janKipo » Fri Dec 31, 2010 8:16 pm

Since the guy who wrote the book you cite does not seem to know difference between SVO and AVP, I wonder where you got it.
I do think the rigid place structure of tp is unnecessary for keeping the language simple, so a few transformations might make for some variety.
I'd use'kama' rather than 'ante tawa' in the last, for the usual agent/ patient reasons. Also, don't need Kama with anpa, but, if you have, it comes first.
I agree about revised ''la'. I'm not sure what resumptive pronoun is, but there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with your examples

janMato
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Re: Happy Jule

Postby janMato » Sat Jan 01, 2011 9:14 pm



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