Some missing words

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jan Akesimun
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Some missing words

Postby jan Akesimun » Mon Jul 25, 2011 6:39 pm

So I've been fluent in toki pona for at least 4 years. I've used it to write a fair amount of stories and poems. But I've run into a few problems with the vocabulary I don't think have been touched on yet.

The senses category lacks smell and taste. There isn't any way to describe flavor beyond sweet or spicy (no salty, or bitter). It's also notable that the language lacks a word for salt, since it's so necessary for survival. The only shapes seem to be line and curve, without any way of talking about angles (especially since leko is considered archaic). There is no way to talk about a small number without calling it a "not big" one, and no way to talk about speed at all. The word death/die lacks an opposite life/live (I've never understood using pan for it). There is a way to talk about giving something, but not taking it. There's a way to talk about desires, but no distinction is made between "want to," "have to," "must," and "will." There are no emotion words besides love.There's no way to talk about age without saying "not new" or using the abolished word majuna. There's no way to talk about communities and basic human institutions beyond "group" (such as "law," "rule," "taboo," or any (non-pata) relationship words beyond "mother/father").

Anyway, all that's just been bugging me for a few years. :)
Last edited by jan Akesimun on Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Kuti
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Re: Some missing words

Postby Kuti » Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:15 pm

jan Akesimun wrote: (no salty, or bitter). It's also notable that the language lacks a word for salt, since it's so necessary for survival.


toki

sina sona ala sona e nimi sin?


http://en.tokipona.org/wiki/Talk:namako

janKipo
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Re: Some missing words

Postby janKipo » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:23 am

You need to be carefui about the difference between "no word for" and "no way to say". The words are indeed missing, but in many cases there is an established way to say, often several. They may be inadequate in various ways, but you are always free not to use them and to devise better ones.
taste: pilin uta
smell: pilin kon, pilin nena
speed: wawa
take: kama jo, tawa, weka
desires, etc. tp philosophy is that all kinds of strong forces to action are ultimately the desires of someone/thing. but, if you must, there are wile insa and wile selo, and probably more
life/alive lon, moli ala
old: suli
law (etc.) lawa
sibling (etc. admittedly) jan sama, sister meli sama, brother mije sama and so on in a regular system.
I'm not sure what your point is about numbers; if you mean fractions, this is a by-product of the lack of big numbers.
Nothing for angles, suggesting that the need has not yet arisen.
Emotions generally with pilin and modifiers

janMato
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Re: Some missing words

Postby janMato » Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:13 pm

General recipe for most of the above:

noun for core concept + descriptive feature of + pi + noun for some complementary concept + descriptive feature of the complement

The complementary concept is like the country of origin, the inventor, the source of materials (plant, animal), the purpose, etc. Sometimes the complementary concept is a verb +ing sort of word, e.g. running, wanting, etc. I think they're participles. I have no idea what they ought to be called in tp, but I'm sure a word already exists. When using a participle, the descriptive feature of the complement is usually closer to a noun. e.g. waso pi tawa noka -- road runner/ostrich

So salt is namako. It's white. Oddly, tp has colors at all. There exist languages that lost (never had) any colors. But never the less, we have color, number, size, and stereotypical attitudes (ike/pona)

namako walo -- not enough to nail it down. This could also be stevia, cream of tartar, etc.

namako walo pi wile telo -- spicy powder of desiring

namako walo pi moku awen -- spicy power of preserved food

namako pimeja tan ma Awaji* -- Black lava sea salt from Hawaii

namako loje tan ma Awaji -- Red sea salt from Hawaii

*nb, no point in rehashing the discussion, but this could also be namako pimeja pi ma Awaji OR namako pimjea pi tan ma Awaji. The later is still pretty rare.

I wish there were more verb based strategies, but we don't have an easy way to build a phrase starting with a basic verb and ending up with a noun phrase. Which is too bad.

janKipo
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Re: Some missing words

Postby janKipo » Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:08 pm

but the rules say....
The formula works but is a bit, well, formulaic. Always better a clever metaphor than a literal one, provided it is intelligible in context.

jan Akesimun
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Re: Some missing words

Postby jan Akesimun » Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:23 pm

You need to be carefui about the difference between "no word for" and "no way to say". The words are indeed missing, but in many cases there is an established way to say, often several. They may be inadequate in various ways, but you are always free not to use them and to devise better ones.

janKuti wrote:toki

sina sona ala sona e nimi sin?


http://en.tokipona.org/wiki/Talk:namako.

a a. mi pini sona (forgot about?) e nimi ni. :)

janKipo wrote:


Yeah, you're right about the difference. I just wasn't paying enough attention to what I was typing typing. Anyways,

taste: pilin uta
smell: pilin kon, pilin nena
Those both work. I'll use them for now. Mentioning them was just expressing a wish for single words for taste and smell, to go along with pilin, lukin, and kute, even though I know jan Sonja probably won't think of some any time soon.

Sibling and life/alive
I was asking for about the same reasons as above. The solutions work; they're just make me wonder why mama hasn't become "meli suli" yet, to go with "meli lili" for daughter and why moli hasn't become lon ala.

speed: wawa (I thought that meant "strong"?)
take: kama jo, tawa, weka (kama jo works, but I don't understand how tawa and weka do?)
desires, etc. tp philosophy is that all kinds of strong forces to action are ultimately the desires of someone/thing. but, if you must, there are wile insa and wile selo, and probably more (Hm.. That works.. perfectly, actually.)
old: suli (That makes sense as well; or at least for people. An elderly poodle just doesn't seem very suli.)
law (etc.) lawa (Wouldn't lawa be more for the one issuing the laws and rules?)
I'm not sure what your point is about numbers; if you mean fractions, this is a by-product of the lack of big numbers. (I just meant that "few" is impossible to translate without saying something like "not big number," but "many" is one word.)
Nothing for angles, suggesting that the need has not yet arisen. (So there's no way for me to describe Giza?)
Emotions generally with pilin and modifiers (But the only emotion-related modifier is olin.)
There isn't any way to describe flavor beyond sweet or spicy (It could still use these as well - we can describe moku Mesiko true, but what about salted brine herring?)
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janKipo
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Re: Some missing words

Postby janKipo » Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:47 am

html can be a real pain.
Not a few people have had the opposite temptation: to find ways to eliminate various specifics, so 'pilin kalama' for 'kute', 'pilin oko' for 'lukin'. All in all, the present situation seems a good balance, taking Zipf into consideration (we speak of seeing and hearing more often that tasting and smelling). The same is true for the familial terms, though I sorta miss 'pata'
'wawa' means "done forcefully", so 'tawa wawa' and the like mean "fast"
'mi tawa mi e ijo' "I take (cause to come to me) a thing" 'mi weka e ijo tan jan tawa mi' "I take a thing away from somebody"
'lon ala' would be too ambiguous even by tp standards, I think ('lon' just covers too much semantic space).
'suli' means "big" in all conceptual dimensions (e.g. importance) except number and intensity, which belong to 'mute; 'lili' is the polar opposite of both, so means "few" inter alia.
'lawa' expands from literal to metaphorical head and then to the products of these: laws, governments, etc.
Angles. The best I have come up with is 'insa pi sinpin en supa' Yuck!
Emotions: 'pilin pona/ike/jaki/utala/...'
Well, there aren't many ways to describe flavors in English, except by by reference to things that have that flavor and, since tp has no words for any of those things, the flavor vocab is limited. But I suppose there should be sweet, sour, bitter, umari, and whatever the others are somehow. Well, actually, we have sweet.
Prod Sonja (good luck!) or be creative.

janMato
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Re: Some missing words

Postby janMato » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:15 pm

If we give up entirely on transparency* (and sometimes people find phrase I think are entirely transparent to be opaque-- transparency may be a lost cause), and if we are willing to establish a convention on the spot, then there isn't an upper bound to what can be done with toki pona.
*being able to infer immediately and accurately a phrase's meaning from it's parts

I wrote a blog entry somewhere on what all the possible meanings of kala + modifier might mean and there were some words with no obvious meaning, so kala kasi might be shark. (Sea weed would probably be kasi kala.... there might be fish that look just like sea weed though, if there are, then they should be called kala kasi) Those are candidates for using for anything we want to, so long as the convention can be established within the text we're writing. [And by establishing conventions, imagine if I took a paragraph to explain how binary works and then said my baby is 10 years old. While English doesn't normally use binary, there isn't anything stopping us from explaining it to our listener and proceeding to use it]

In natural languages, no one is ever struck dumb by encountering a new situation. When the American Indians first encountered Europeans, they didn't gap like fish out of water for lack of words to describe all these new situations. They coined something on the spot and probably didn't worry about transparency.

In Icelandic there a word "kaffistofa" which means cafeteria, or roughly "coffee-room." An Icelandic acquaintance of mine said I shouldn't even bother trying to parse apart the parts of a compound word since they semantic link isn't especially perfect. I will anyhow, it's a good enough crutch to work most of the time. The hypothetical toki pona intelligencia would probably coin phrases that were chock full of not-very-good but good enough phrases. jan pona and jan sama are both in this category imho-- they don't immediately bring to mind friend or sibling, but they're good enough to provide a memory hook after you've been exposed to the conventional meaning.

jan-ante
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Re: Some missing words

Postby jan-ante » Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:35 am

jan Akesimun wrote:So I've been fluent in toki pona for at least 4 years. I've used it to write a fair amount of stories and poems.
do you publish them somewhere?
But I've run into a few problems with the vocabulary I don't think have been touched on yet.

The senses category lacks smell and taste...
this is a well known feature of tp. but is this a disadvantage? look how does jan Josan views this:
tenpo suli pini la mi pali mute e musi sewi. mi lukin e ijo lili ale, lon insa sitelen. mi kepeken e nasin ni la, mi kama sona e ni taso: mama sitelen li jo e ilo pali ale pi musi sewi la, ona li pali ike. jan li sona pona e toki la, ona li pali ike, kepeken toki ni. jan li sona lili e toki ante la, ona li ken pali e musi pona en suli, kepeken toki ante ni. o wile ala toki e ni: mi kama sona e sona ni kepeken nasin ike seme? taso, sona mi li pona. ni li lon: jan li sona ala e nimi ale la, jan li kepeken e nasin toki sin, e sitelen ante. sina ken pilin e ni: musi kama li pona mute. mama musi li ken weka e toki moli kepeken nasin ni: ona li weka e nimi ike li weka e toki sama toki pi tenpo pini. tenpo ni la, musi sewi li ken kama lon.
so, could the lack of tp meanings help you to make musi sewi?

There isn't any way to describe flavor beyond sweet or spicy (no salty, or bitter). It's also notable that the language lacks a word for salt, since it's so necessary for survival.

well, could we use colours for this purposes? e.g. political concepts/parties are normally colour-encoded. e.g. german political spectrum uses at least 4-5 colours. could tastes and smells be colour encoded as well?

szilard
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Re: Some missing words

Postby szilard » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:27 am

I like the idea of color encoding smell, taste, party, and everything else.
Overloaded operator.
Yellow: any populist party or organisation, salty in any sense.
Red: ultra left, acidic pH<7, sour taste and smell.
Blue: ultra right, basic pH >7, taste like soap.


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