Complex Noun Phrases in Subject and Object form

Tinkerers Anonymous: Some people can't help making changes to "fix" Toki Pona. This is a playground for their ideas.
Tokiponidistoj: Iuj homoj nepre volas fari ŝanĝojn por "ripari" Tokiponon. Jen ludejo por iliaj ideoj.
Posts: 1545
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:21 pm
Location: Takoma Park, MD

Complex Noun Phrases in Subject and Object form

Postby janMato » Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:37 pm

Declining Compound words in TP

To use the some phrases as both a subject or an object, you have to reshuffle things, not unlike declining nouns. I'm not sure what the process is called for isolating languages with almost only free morphemes. Let's try examine the canonical word phrase kule lon palisa luka - finger nail polish. Ref toki pona wiki.

[Btw, has anyone put any thought into how intra-linear glosses should be done in TP? And pakala! I can't get fixed width spacing and a color other than green.]

Code: Select all

  meli      li kepeken e kule    lon     palisa luka.
  NOM-woman VT-use     ACC-color PREP-on N-stick  MOD-hand.
  The woman uses finger nail polish.
or the woman (siting on her hands) uses color

Code: Select all

* kule      lon     palisa  luka    li    pona   tawa    meli.
  NOM-color PREP-on N-stick MOD-hand PRED N-good PREP-to N-woman
  The finger nail polish is good to the woman.

AFAIK, the above is wrong because prepositional phrases have to be at the end of a sentence. EDIT: The above sentence is legal to produce, but not legal to interpret with the given gloss. If the word in place of "lon" could only be interpreted as a preposition, then it would be illegal. I'll have to check and see what preps can't be used as modifiers.

Code: Select all

  kule      pi       palisa luka     li    pona   tawa    meli.
  NOM-color ISA-HASA N-stick MOD-hand PRED N-good PREP-to N-woman
  The color somehow-related-to hand sticks are good to the woman.

Grammatical, but loses info. "pi" is less specific than "lon"

Code: Select all

  kule      li   pona   tawa    meli    lon     palisa luka.
  NOM-color PRED N-good PREP-to N-woman PREP-On N-stick MOD-hand
  The color is good to the woman on the fingers.

Grammatical, but splits the noun phrase. I'm not sure this means the same as the previous sentences. Needing to split word phrases is a hard rule, especially in reading the results. For example, English's "hand over", "I won't hand the cat I saw escape from the pound over" Being able to, or worse, having to split phrases that normally act as a single word makes languages harder.

Moving the "lon palisa luka" to the sentence end also conjures an image of a woman who is on the fingers. Maybe she's sitting on her hands, she likes colors in general.

Community Proposal

Code: Select all

?  kule      pi  lon     palisa   luka     li   pona   tawa    meli. 
   ACC-color REL PREP-on N-sticks MOD-hand PRED N-Good PREP-tp NOM-woman
   The color of on the fingers is good to the woman.

No information loss, works just fine in nominal position.

Code: Select all

?  meli li kepeken e kule pi lon palisa luka.
   NOM-woman vT-uses ACC-color REL PREP-on N-sticks MOD-hand
    The woman uses by means of her fingers the color
or  The woman uses color (of the sort that) is on the fingers.

With the "pi" it could only mean finger nail polish.

Corpus Statistics
If an innovation is obvious and necesssary enough, we should find people using it 'accidentally', there should be examples of community sentence of the form "pi+prep"

Now for corpus statistics using the google custom search engine
Ref: lukin

  • "pi kepeken" - 8 pages
  • "pi tawa" - 12
  • "pi tan" - 4
  • "pi supa" - 5
  • "pi insa" - 12
  • "pi poka" -9
  • "pi lon" - 9
Sticking with "pi lon", here is the analysis of community examples:

Not really a preposition
"...ijo pi lon ala.."
...thing that doesn't exist...

"mi pilin e ni : nasin pi toki pona en nasin pi lon pona li sama mute" jan Kanso (2007)
I think this, way of toki pona and way of good existance are very similar.

Not really "pi"
"...kepeken e nimi "pi" lon sinpin pi nimi tu."
using the word "pi" in front of 2nd word."

"...kulupu pi jan lili pi toki Epelanto pi/lon ma Sumi" li pona mute"
Would sound the same spoken, but trying to convey here that the writer isn't sure which word works better.

Defective sentence, but seems to be using the "pi lon" construction
"jan pi lon tan suno li pali e ma tomo pi [ma] Kadi"
person of at sunny goal work the land of Cadiz.. Wikia.
I think this example is bad tp. I think it was aiming at "Cadiz is a place for people with the goal of a sunny place to work."

Jan Kipo
"ko suwi pi lon telo seli kili li pona tawa mi" jan Kipo on toki lili
I like coffee with sugar.

"tomo pi lon tenpo e ona li pali tawa ona." jan Kipo (2007)
"The house of ? employed her"

Too early to say, not enough data at least for "pi lon". Come on people, get writing! :-) It takes a lot of accidental usages to establish a community convention.
Last edited by janMato on Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Posts: 3037
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:20 pm

Re: Complex Noun Phrases in Subject and Object form

Postby janKipo » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:18 pm

Of course, my new ones don't count, because they are conscious uses, and my old ones don't either, because the tp is so terrible (what was I trying to say in those early days?) A groundswell in favor of PPs attached to NPs (actually, I suppose we have that) and introduced by 'pi' (which we definitely don't have) might get the grammatical changes needed eventually. But a decree from on high would accomplish the same much faster and surer (though the "sure" may be fading a bit). The current situation is that we have people using PPs to modify NPs (usually without 'pi') in blight disregard for the established rules for modification strings, thus creating additional ambiguities (not officially, of course, but in practice). And readers seem to sort these ambiguities out in the right way very often (well, readers other than me -- I tend to get lost in the PPs), showing that the potential is really present in the language. To legitimate what is happening, we have several possibilities. The easiest, of course, is to change the grouping rules for strings, allowing that prepositions can, like 'nanpa,' start a new grouping rightward (with an indefinite right end, alas, but that is in the original as well). Since prepositions may often also be used as simple modifiers, this leaves the ambiguity as it is but at least legitimates the usage. The second possibility is to enforce the rule that right groupings require 'pi' at the start and place that 'pi' before each PP (which necessarily has at least two words). This is still ambiguous in the same way as the earlier version, but reduces the places where the ambiguity occurs somewhat -- many prepositions which are merely modifiers will not be the start of right groupings and so will not be taken as prepositions. A third alternative is to enforce rigorously the ban on PPs modifying NPs, forcing all existing cases to be treated as (often unintelligible) modifier strings. Since that does not seem realistic in terms of the way the language is going, the next suggestion is for a device -- either a new word or an punctuation convention -- to set off such PPs (and different from the comma, which is already recommended to set off final PPs when NPs precede -- or we could change that one, too). A new word seems excessive for the problem; a new punctuation suggests a juncture difference in saying a PP from a continuing string. but that has to remain mostly hypothetical. Are there other suggestions?

BTW Where do you get the "sitting on her hands" reading of your first sentence? It's "uses on her hand" at worst.
The second sentences is wrong only insofar as it doesn't mean what you want it to (and, of course, most people would misread it correctly): "Women like armingly straight genuine colors" or some other gibberish ("five phallic real colors?").
The fourth example is hard to deal with since it is unclear what "good on the fingers" and that is, of course, your point.
The fifth is (under the present situation) about five colors on a stick or hand colors on a stick or hand stickly real colors or ....
Whence the "by means of" in the sixth sentence (I hope I am keeping count right). Without the 'pi' it would be "The woman uses color on the hand," i.e., where she uses it, not part of what it is.
All this just backs up the point that we do use and do need PPs modifying NPs and that, as things stand, using them leads to problems (or, at least should and could).

Return to “jan nasa li wile ante e toki pona”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest