Some disambiguation

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.
janKipo
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Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:20 pm

Some disambiguation

Postby janKipo » Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:14 pm

I was reading about Dama Dewan, another small language (though several times as large as tp), and I felt a twinge of envy. DD indicates whether a word is in its nominal, verbal or adjectival meaning regardless of its role in in a sentence. This small feature would resolve so many ambiguities in tp, ambiguities which context does not always resolve.

Take the word 'moku'. It is a Verb, meaning “eat”. Consequently, as a noun, it means “food”, the genus of things eaten. But it can also mean “eating”, the activity it refers to as a verb. And, a modifier, it can again mean “eating, that eats”, but also “edible”, the characteristic of foods, and “pertaining somehow to food or eating (the nouns)”. In a noun slot, say, Subject, then, it can have a variety of meanings: 'moku li musi' might be “Eating is fun” or “Food is fun” (or even “Edibility is fun”). One of these is more likely than the others but, when we act on it, it may not turn out to be right, so we have to be able to run through all the possibilities to try. The verb slot (right after 'li' or a modal) is equally tricky (or worse): 'mi moku' may mean “I am eating” or 'I am food” or at least “I am edible”. And even the modifier slots (second or later from the beginning or 'pi' in a string) reproduce the problems: 'jan moku' may be a person that is eating or a person that is edible or a person somehow connected with food (a waiter or a restaurateur or a grocer, say).

But suppose we could distinguish basically nouny meanings from verby one from adjectivy ones, with an added p, t, k, say. Even optionally. Then 'mi mokup' means “I am food”, 'mi mokut' means “I am eating” and 'mi mokuk' means “I am edible” Similarly for 'mokup li musi' and the rest and for 'janp mokut” and so on. This doesn't solve all problems of this sort, of course, since 'mokup sowelik' still might be either food from animals or food for animals (though we might makes some conventions about that).

As I say, I feel a twinge of jealousy. But not a drive to actually propose this notion or press for it. Besides, I have other twinges about DD, which also has words for “left” and “right” and a klunky but functional number system.

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