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modals - Toki Pona Forums

modals

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modals

Postby jan Josan » Sat Dec 26, 2009 12:44 pm


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Re: modals

Postby janKipo » Sun Dec 27, 2009 1:48 pm

Interesting, but I think we need some glosses to get to the point you are working toward. Most of these have several potential English trats, depending on context, and so it is hard to work on from the bare forms.

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Re: modals

Postby jan Josan » Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:09 pm

Ok, maybe we can start by defining what is established as allowed modal use.

kama
1.kama is an intrasitive modal in conjunction with jo and sona:
mi kama jo -- I receive/get/take/obtain.
mi kama sona -- I learn/study.
2. but is it also always a transitive modal?
mi kama jo e sina -- I receive/get/take/obtain you. (ie. as a lover, or from the airport?)
mi kama sona e sina -- I study you, or "I didn't understand you, now I do." (中文:了/change of state)?
mi kama jo e ijo -- I receive/get/take/obtain something (seems clear)
mi sama sona e ijo -- I learn/study something (seems clear)
3. any other uses of kama as a modal?

ken and wile
4. ken and wile are modals used to mean "can/may" and "want/need to"
5. they seem to function in all the test sentences with the following exceptions:
5a. Do repeated modals make any sense?
mi wile wile. (I want desire?)
mi ken ken. (I can/may allow?)
mi wile wile e sina.(I want/need to want/need you?)
mi ken ken e sina. (I can/may allow you?)
mi wile wile e ijo. (I want/need to want/need something?)
mi ken ken e ijo. (I can/may allow something?)
5b. Do they make sense when the second verb is working as a verb/adjective?
mi ken pona. (I can be good?)
mi ken sama. (I can be similar/the same?)
mi ken suli. (works for I can grow, but what about I can be big/important?)
mi ken suwi. (I can be sweet?)
mi ken wawa. (I can be energetic/strong/fierce/...?)
same for: mi wile pona. mi wile sama. mi wile suli. mi wile suwi. mi wile wawa.
5c. When the second verb is a pseudo preposition, do they make sense?
mi ken sama sina. mi wile sama sina. (works because wile becomes the vb, sama becomes a distinct preposition)
mi wile tawa sina. mi ken tawa sina. (seems clear, but tawa is still a verb/preposition)
mi ken tan sina. mi wile tan sina. mi ken tan ma. mi wile tan ma. (bad grammar, or just nonsense?)
mi ken lon tomo. mi wile lon tomo. (?)
5d. Do ken and wile ever combine?
mi ken wile. (I can want/need?)
mi wile ken. (I want to be able to?)
mi ken wile e sina. (I can want/need you?)
mi wile ken e sina. (I want to permit/allow you?)
mi ken wile e ijo. (I can want/need something?)
mi wile ken e pali. (I want/need to allow the activity/work/deed/project?)
5e. If 5d is allowed then can both be modals with a third verb?
example: mi wile ken kepeken e ijo. (I want to be able to use the thing?)

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Re: modals

Postby janKipo » Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:50 pm

'kama' means "become" (inter alia) and so marks a change of state for stative verbs (and adjectives -- to project English a bit); for active verbs, it seems mainly to be future tense (in some not well specified tense -- I'm not sure how much is intentional and how much predictive, as well as other dimensions). Its use with 'jo' and 'sona' are just very common cases of this general role: see also 'kama lape' "fall asleep" 'kama moli' "die" 'kama olin' "fall in love" and so on (one case for many verb/adjectives).

'ken' and 'wile' are the classic standards modals, indifferent across the various realms: "no strong force prevents" and "a strong force drives." Doubling (leaving formal modal logics aside) works best when there is a shift of realms between the two occurrences 'mi ken ken pona sijelo' "It is possible that I can (do things to) improve my health."
'mi wile wile e pona tawa ali' "I need to desire good for all" and so on. Otherwise, we get into modal logic and really weird cases. As for adjectives, they work fine but sometimes shifting from one realm to another gives somewhat skewed looking results, abstract possibility playing off against character, for example. The same applies for combos of one and the other in either order. (I don't know how to indicate realms if we ever get to that level of precision.) 'mi wile ken tawa noka' "I want to be able to walk."
The prepositions (they are pseudo verbs) probably add extra complications but (see above) they work just fine (the possible prep interp is one reason for asking for the final prep phrases to be set off with commas). My problem with them is remembering which ones take 'e' and which ones don't (I can never remember about 'sama', for example). Your suggestion that 'sama' becomes a preposition in 'mi wile sama sina' (assuming 'sama' doesn't take 'e') will ruin the effect "I want to be like you" rather than "I want just like you do"I don't understand your ?s and worries about grammar: 'mi ken tan sina' "I can be from you" is grammatical, if obscure: it seems to be something in the line of 'weka' or else to move into the epistemic realm: "I may be from you" (e.g, be a descendent or you are a place). And certainly "I can be at home" and may also want to be.

5e Of course, and just the sort of thing you suggest (note change of realms, naturally).
Last edited by janKipo on Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: modals

Postby janMato » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:23 am


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Re: modals

Postby janMato » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:59 am

Here is my stab at translating.

MODALS AND PROPOSED MODALS:
alasa - looking, I'm looking to eat some bananas. mi alasa moku e kili
awen- keep, I keep seeing bananas. mi awen lukin e kili
kama- 'come'. mi kama lon e kili. I'm turning into a banana.
ken- can, I can eat bananas. mi ken moku e kili
lukin- looking, I'm looking to eat some bananas. mi lukin moku e kili
open- starting, I'm starting to eat some bananas. mi open moku e kili
pini- finishing, I'm finishing eating some bananas. mi pini moku e kili
weka- canceling, I'm giving up eating bananas. mi weka moku e kili.
wile- want, need. I want to eat bananas. mi wile moku e kili.

SIMPLE INTRANSITIVES:
Some of these aren't official intransitives, but thinking about it, if the object is obvious, unimportant or not worthy of undue attention, why bother with an object? Obviously "mi moku" requires some to be eaten, but why should we have to say it? Is it grammar or style?

mi alasa. I'm hunting, searching.
mi ante. I'm changing.
mi awen. I'm staying
mi esun. I'm selling.
mi ike. I'm stinking.
mi jaki. I'm wallowing (in muck)
mi kalama. I'm sounding off, I'm farting
mi kama. I'm arriving.
mi ken. I ... huh?... Makes sense as a predicate, not sure about intrasitivie. I am able. But, I am sitting around 'abling'?
mi kute. I'm listening.
mi lawa. I'm leading.
mi len. I'm weaving.
mi lete. I'm sleeping.
mi lon. I'm living.
mi lukin. I'm looking.
mi mama. I'm mothering... seems awkward without an object.
mi moku. I'm eating.
mi moli. I'm dieing.
mi musi. I'm entertaining.
mi olin. I falling in love
mi pakala. I'm disintegrating.
mi pali. I'm working.
mi pilin. I feel. (Had to check the dictionary that this is intransitive in English!)
mi pini. I'm finished, done for, dead.
mi pona. I'm improving
mi seli. I'm warming (myself) up
mi sama. I'm asexually reproducing. Very handy verb for chatty yeast cells.
mi seme?--- Function word. This can only be read as "I am what?" which is the predicate sense.
mi sitelen. I'm drawing.
mi sona. I'm learning.
mi suli. I'm growing
mi suwi. I'm sweetening
mi tawa. I'm going.
mi telo. I'm washing
mi toki. I'm talking
mi unpa. I'm reproducing
mi utala. I'm fighting
mi wawa. I'm flailing/roarings/raging/etc
mi wile. I'm lacking, left wanting

SIMPLE TRANSITIVES with human DO:
Similar issue with intransitives. If we do want to call attention to the object, why not make it transitive? I breathe, vs I breathe air. Same act, but the latter emphasize the object.
I die.
*I die me/*I die myself. (clearly English has words that are strictly intransitive)
but...
mi moli e mi. I die. I kill me.
mi moli e sama. I die. I'm killing myself.
This seems fine to me. The English intransitive lacks intentionality. I suspect moli covers death that just happens, intentional death, etc. I mean, if moli doesn't cover these meanings, then what does?

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Re: modals

Postby jan Josan » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:01 am


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Re: modals

Postby janKipo » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:38 pm

The simple fact is that Sonja proper has not said a lot in a long time, though things are starting to turn up in the notes on this site. Much of what is set in at least silly putty is from jan Pije's lessons, whose status is about as official as it gets, for the most part. Everything else is balls in the air in the forums.
As a general remark, it is probably important to keep separate discussions about stative verbs (and adjectives) and active ones, since they behave differently in many cases. Handily, the transitive forms of statives are all active, but that means that, if the object is missing, the form becomes ambiguous: 'mi pona' can mean "I am good" or "I am improving (myself)" and so on. (Of course, the case with active transitives is worse: 'mi moku' can mean either "I am eating" or "I am food".)

A couple of times you seek to resolve problems by sticking 'lon' in. I don't see how that helps; 'lon' is not hardly (oy, the problems with negation purIsts!) ever a translation of English "be" but mainly of English "at," so 'mi wile lon sama sina' means something like "I want to be at the same place as you"

In general, modals are defined as verbs that take verb phrases (including, perhaps, DOs and prep phrases) as complement. The clear cases are 'ken' and 'wile,' with 'kama' as a case which seems to need some special attention (but I am not sure why).
On the differenvce between 'tenpo kama la mi toki' and 'mi kama toki,' I tend to see possible subtle differences (between future tense and inchoative aspect, say, or between prediction and intention), but I am not sure there are really any such. There are, Lord knows, problems enough with the simple modal use (maybe why there is a special section on that in some cases). Take 'mi kama moli': as a simple prediction (or future tense in general) it is clearly true --and that fact is probably clearer stated as 'tenpo kama la mi moli' ("At some time to come, I am dead" -- 'moli' is stative, not active). But it also marks a change of state. "I am dying," even "have just died" (implausible in the first person, admittedly).

'lukin' (from Sonja) and 'alasa' (elsewhere) are meant to be for "try to," not merely future (or even future)

'kama lon e kili' means "come to place a fruit," i.e., put a fruit in some place, NOT "come to be a fruit." ('lon' = "at", =/= "be")

'pini' and 'weka' in your examples suggest another famous problem: stopping, quitting and finishing. States just stop, as do some activities, while one quits others, but still others (processes, to add yet another technical term) stop or one can quit them or one can finish them and, if one quits them or they stop, they can start up/be started up again (often where they left off). These are also the thinks that one can undo. generally. How all of this fits in here, I a don't know and don't have any thought out suggestions how to proceed. I just have fifty years of fiddling with all the ins and outs of them, so am ready to make pointed comments about just about any suggestion. Sorry 'bout that. Incidentally, most activity words are ambiguous between the two sorts and also have stative uses. Oh, joy!

'mi ken' needs a lot of context, but generally means "I am fit" (for whatever is in the offing). I also means "I have my rights" but that takes a very political context to come out.
'mi kute' also means "I can hear' (the "can" here is an English usage -- indeed SAE -- that escapes rational explanation). similarly for 'lukin'.
'mi mama' makes more sense as "I am a parent"
'mi moli' strictly means "I am dead" but in the first person has to take on other implications.
'mi lete' is "I am cold" ("I am sleeping" -- again odd -- is 'mi lape')
'mi musi' also means "I am entertained" (just as 'mi moku' also means "I am edible")
'mi olin' means "I am in love", the transition goes to 'kama'
'mi pilin' also (and more naturally) means "I think" (tan ni la mi lon).
'mi pakala' more likely means "I am destroyed"
'mi pini' doesn't obviously flow over to 'moli' nor even "done for"
'mi seli' means "I am hot" Now, here, as in many other of these cases, there may be an implicit possibility for a hidden reflexive DO. That surely happens sometimes (with 'tawa', for example) so it may be general and that needs to be explored.
'mi sama' This is hard to imagine context free, other than as a response to someone saying how they are. Your interp is not very plausible, even with a hidden reflexive DO.
'mi seme' is just "What am I?" a perfectly common question. I wonder what this list is all about, by the way.
'mi sona' is "I know (missing DO)" or "I am wise"
'mi suli' is "I am big"
'mi suwi' "I am sweet"
OH, never mind. I see that these are not intransitives at all, in your mind, but transitives with unexpressed DOs, which are often (but not always) reflexive and otherwise indefinite. But then you wander off into other things, so I just don't understand after all. Sorry.
'mi wawa' = "I am strong" nothing more fancy. Maybe (but how likely?) "I am exercising" which would involve some flailing and the like probably.
'mi wile' "I am needy" "I am willful"

Both 'mi moli e mi' and 'mi moli e sama' mean "I kill myself" with what shades of difference I do not (yet -- because no one has played around with this) know.

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Re: modals

Postby janMato » Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:00 am

Just realized that "need" would be:

mi namako ala moku. I need to eat.
I not-need not to eat.

Need is a much more common modal than some of the other new one's we've talked about.

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Re: modals

Postby janKipo » Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:46 am

But 'wile' already has that meaning (a great force moves in this direction). I suspect that 'namako ala' provides a subtle variation on that theme, though just what is yet to be determined.


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