toki pona as an auxlang

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

toki pona as an auxlang

Postby janMato » Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:12 pm

Whilst reading this,
janKipo wrote:Yeah, the line is hard to draw. I just point out when things seem to just follow English without a second thought. Or even a first. Of course, some of the English ones work just find but -- as we have noticed from people who are not native Anglophones -- some of them are as opaque as tar at midnight in a mineshaft.

I'm prompted to ask, is toki pona an auxlang, and if not, should we be treating it as if it were?

Not an international language: This clearly will not be a language any government will select as an official language, or as a language that is mandatory, widespread in public schools, or any other auxlang's paradise.* [It certainly could become a language to sell 2000+ books and keep 1000's of language hobbyists entertained, and possible be of use to research linguists, psychologists, or what not, who have a history of using conlangs for various goals]

But, it has some features that overlap with typical auxlangs, simple syntax, phonetic inventory chosen to be pronounceable by people of many different L1's, loan words (albeit often unrecognizable), geographic names and loan words are supposed to be transliterated as they're said abroad. And people keep calling it an auxlang. And there sure are a lot of fans from all over the world. China and India are under-represented at the moment in fan base, but it's certainly a international fan base.

Reasons in favor of cross-border considerations.
It isn't polite to be a cultural imperialist anymore.
Calques, metaphors, L1 syntax biases can make communication more difficult for people of different L1's to reach each other's text.
Sometimes (but not always) there is an obvious less metaphorical to phrase it.

Reasons in favor of treating using it without cross border considerations:
Example of computer languages. C#, BASIC, etc, are 'languages' that cross borders. When they do so, they generally make almost no adaptation to the local language-- the keywords tend to remain English, and somehow people cope.

The experience English as the lingua franca on the net English as L1 people use metaphors without notice. English as L2, use metaphors from their L1 language and eventually get used to English metaphors.

Metaphors are already here
Toki pona already uses "head" as a metaphor for law and government TOP is RULES, "path" s metaphor for customs and habits, ROADS are CUSTOM.

People use their L1 metaphors in L2 in creoles/pidgens and somehow it gets straightened out
People can ask "sina li sona pi kulupu nimi e seme?" This will mean that toki pona will likely import metaphors from the most common L1's of it's speakers, but that is somewhat unavoidable until the conlang community works out what it takes to 'completely' define a language.

* However, maybe we could form the toki pona liberation front and start vandalizing signs that aren't written in toki pona, (the way English speakers once vandalized Welsh signs) I'm off to translate "Stop", and "No Engine Brakes" and "Slow Children at Play"

Posts: 106
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: toki pona as an auxlang

Postby aikidave » Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:30 pm

The 'ease of learning' and potential for use as an auxlang, are the main reasons I started learning TP. I understand that TP was not designed for use as an auxlang, but it is close enough to being complete for use as one (less directions - left, right, points of the compass & dealing with numbers for address and phone numbers). That is why I write about everyday happenings, to experiment and see if TP is usable as an auxlang. The whole 'language of good' and eastern philosophy is well and good, but is not what drew me to TP.

I am still trying to get my daughter to learn TP so I have someone to speak to. Maybe after jan Sonja's book comes out !

The use of metaphors from one's original language when writing TP is an important issue, and one which I am slowly becoming aware of. I am hopeful that over time, the TP community will develop consistent metaphors which can be understood by all TP users. I'm finally getting used to 'is good to me'.

janMato wrote:"Stop", and "No Engine Brakes" and "Slow Children at Play"

o pini.
tomo tawa wawa o kalama ala.
o tawa lili. jan lili li musi.

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

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests