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Three-way parts of speech (again)

Posted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:24 pm
by janKipo
I don't really want to change tp, but the perennial problem of interpretation has arisen again in a number of cases, so I'm going to review (and organize somewhat) the sorts of solution that have come along -- if we don't mind making significant changes in tp . I've picked a simplified version of each type to show the general idea. The basic problem is that, even though we know the home Part of Speech of each word and know the role(is) it plays in a given sentence (its functional POS), we still don't know what it is meant to mean (semantic POS). For the most part, the choices at the end come down to nouns, verbs, and adjectives (a more thorough approach would have to deal with the lesser parts, of course)

Move one: save the syntax and change the morphology. (Inspired by Giannhs Kenanidhs' Sostematiko, though different in appearanceand realization).
The simplest move here is to mark each word overtly to show which of the semantic roles it is playing in a given location. For this sample I use the system of adding a stop at the end: /p/ for nouns, /t/ for verbs and /k/ for modifiers. Thus the notorious 'jan li moku' is variously 'janp li mokup' "Man is food", 'janp li mokut' "Man eats" and 'jan li mokuk' "Man is edible". The even more boggling 'moku li pona' runs through all the possibilities
mokup li ponap "Food is a good thing/virtue"
mokup li ponat "Food cures/ improves"
mokup li ponak "Food is good"
mokut li ponap "Eating is a virtue"
mokut li ponat "Eating is a way to health"
mokut li ponak "Eating is good"
mokuk li ponap "Edibility is a desirable trait"
mokuk li ponat "Edibility leads to good things"
mokuk li ponak "Edibility is good"
The ever annoying 'ona li pana e tono tawa mi; becomes either 'onap li panat e tomop tawat mik' or 'onap li panat e tomop tawa mip' (prepositions as prepositions go unmarked).
Obviously some simplifications are possible. In particular, if a word is just doing its job in a position it doesn't need marking. But "doing it job" can mean doing what is typical of that position (noun a head of NP, verb as head of predicate, modifier as modifier) or what its home POS is. These can have very different result: on the first, 'moku li pona' would be "Food is improving, 'mokup li ponat'; under the second "Eating is good" 'mokut li ponak'. Which one (if either) to pick is a later question.

I hope you get the idea, though individual cases may take some thinking through to hit on just the right combination of forms for the meaning intended.

Move two: save the morphology but change the syntax (based on what I think I understand of janpona120's discussion at viewtopic.php?f=29&p=14972#p14972)[It turns out that I didn't understand it at all and that his proposal is something quite different -- I don't know what.]

There are obviously a lot more variants here than in move one. I pick what seems to me to be the simplest and closest to traditional tp. The idea here is that every sentence is built up of pairs of components hierarchically arranged, each of two meaningful parts and a central connector. The main pairs are
head pi modifier
subject li predicate
verb e direct object
predicate {prep} prepositional object ({prep} being a list closed at a given time: lon, tawa, tan, kepeken, poka, and maybe a few more as of now)
sentence {conjunction} sentence ({conjunction} similarly a closed list, now just en, anu and la.)

Any of these pairs may appear in any position in any other pair and one or the other member of a pair may be missing in a given occurrence. There are probably a number of rules of elision (the mi/sina subject is not one of them, apparently) but we will skip those for display purposes. Again, it is probably possible to drop markers for naturally behaving cases, with the previous caveat about which "natural" is meant. For now, no markers are dropped. Notice that, in simple cases at least, a following 'li' or a preceding 'e' marks something as nominal (and maybe as either agentive or patientive [yuck! ptui!]). Similarly, a preceding 'li' or a following 'e' marks a word as a verb. A preceding 'pi' marks a word as a modifier and, clearly, there will need to be some elision in strings of modifiers or we will be 'pi'ing all over ourselves.

The standard test cases are
jan li moku "Man eats" (a standard source might be 'jan li moku e ijo')
jan li e moku "Man is food" (related to standard 'ijo li moku e jan', but Gawd knows how).
jan li pi moku "Man is edible" ('jan li ijo{moku}' with a different 'pi' rule)
moku li pona "Food cures"
moku li pi pona "Food is good"
moku li e pona "Food is a good thing"
moku e li pona "Eating cures"
moku e li pi pona "Eating is good"
moku e li e pona "Eating is a good thing"
pi moku li pona "Edibility cures"
pi moku li pi pona "Edibility is good"
pi moku li e pona "Edibility is a good thing"
ona li pana e tomo pi li tawa pi mi vs ona li pana e tomo tawa mi (assuming that prepositions, like 'e', compel what follows immediately to be a noun. Note, the two 'li's are not a problem since matching predicates here are joined by explicit 'en', one of the basic pairs).

Again, these are just a small and elementary sample. For direct comparison, I leave you "The man who came to dinner stayed a month" in both versions
jan pi kamat pi tawa mokut (or 'mokup', it's not clear) li awent lon tenpop munk.
jan pi li kama tawa li moku li awen lon tenpo pi mun.

Re: Three-way parts of speech (again)

Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:55 pm
by jan Pilo
This kind of marking helps a lot in case people want to speak metalinguistically but one is not sure what the other talks about.
I'm afraid, however, that some specific terms in the theory of grammar depend on the language in which it was written.
Different ways of understanding meet somewhere (as you proved to me), not on the level of naming specific phenomena in ambiguous terms, but on the level of distinguishing the phenomena, marking them and demonstration.

Re: Three-way parts of speech (again)

Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:15 pm
by janKipo
This is not meant to be metalinguistic but actual usage in some hideous descendant of tp. Different languages, of course, use different means to say the same thing. But most try not to use the same means to say widely different things as is often the case in tp. The specimens are extreme and begin by stepping away from tp quite a ways. A better approach might be to see what we can do within tp as now constituted to dodge this problem.

Re: Three-way parts of speech (again)

Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:19 am
by Ċ kjakto
Sounds a lot like Latin or Russian with the inflections. I like.

Re: Three-way parts of speech (again)

Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:48 am
by janKipo
Well, I am not sure I like, but I am sure that I find the present situation unsatisfactory, even if few actual problems arise (but I think many do). Declensions and conjugations, or agglutinations a la Finno-Ugric don't seem to fit the tp spirit. So, maybe a few more particles are called for. But that is cutting against simplicity. It is a problem for a lot of people to think about.

Re: Three-way parts of speech (again)

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:05 pm
by jan Pina
Jan Kipo li toki e ni: "jan pi li kama tawa li moku li awen lon tenpo pi mun"

toki ni li pona tawa mi.
ona li lukin pona tawa jan pi Toki Pona pi tenpo pini. toki ante li lukin ike.
mi wile jo e kulupu nimi -"jan pi li" lon Toki Pona.
jan Kipo o toki tawa jan pi toki Sonko.
jan Sonko li sona ala e (suffixes) anu (prefixes).
mi pilin e ni: jan Sonko li wile ala kama sona ona.
jan pi Toki Pona li wile e ni: jan mute ali li pilin pona tawa Toki Pona.
jan ali li wile pali lili tawa kama sona.

Re: Three-way parts of speech (again)

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 11:08 pm
by janKipo
My one version of the direction of a possible solution (not an actual solution I would propose, but the schema for one) creates a lot of problems, firstly about how to group the pieces in a sentence, if 'li' no longer guarantees a predicate and so on. Sonja has seriousl;y considered at least the 'jan pi li kama tawa moku' pattern, but even it creates problems very quickly (as recursions almost always do). I don't know Chinese, but I do know it uses a lot of particles to stitch together various pieces of the language, certainly more (and, I think different) from the three that tp uses. But it doesn't use (syntactically) prefixes or suffixes and would not be comfortable with them, any more than tp would be, I think. The problem remains and we still have only "Context will decide", which is a feeble hope all too often.

Re: Three-way parts of speech (again)

Posted: Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:47 pm
by jan Pina
I see the whole issue from a little different perspective. The perspective of The Theory of Information.

IMHO people who are learning Toki Pona, are intuitively expecting that a simple language would produce a simple sentences for everything.
Such intuition is absolutely wrong. It contradicts to the Theory of Information. The longer dictionary we have the less words we have to use to explain the same idea.
I even can make some wild rough estimation of that verbosity overhead. For ~1000000 words of English and ~100 words Toki Pona in the most optimistic case it would be about 4 or 5. Realistically I would expect 6 or 7. Which means Toki Pona text should comprise at least 4 times more words than same English text. Of course, in some cases we can produce pretty short Toki Pona texts. But all those cases are limited to very a simple concepts which are covered by Toki Pona dictionary or we are using over simplification.
So I believe that those who will embrace the idea of intrinsic Toki Pona verbosity can overcome most of translation problems.

Re: Three-way parts of speech (again)

Posted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:30 pm
by Jan Heteromeles
Hi, new here and not a linguist or fluent in tp, but I do know a little about Hawaiian and other languages where the problem of word count is "solved" by turning long phrases into compound words. Forgive me if this idea has been discussed and discarded. As I said, I'm new here.

Getting back to compounds in Hawaiian. For example, the volcano Haleakala on the island of Maui is 'The House of the Sun" (Hale a ka La). The equivalent might be tomo suno in tp, or possibly tomo pi suno, or tomosuno, or tomopisuno.

I'm not suggesting this as a blanket solution, because it is not so used in Hawaiian or in translations. Depending on the translator, I've seen names rendered as the equivalent of Hale a ka la, Hale-a-ka-la, and Haleakala. Still, turning tp phrases into compound words might be useful in clarifying meaning. mi tawa tomosuno makes it a bit more obvious that I'm going to something called the sun house. Or if one uses janpona as a word, it makes it a bit easier to parse janpona li pona. Again, this might be my novice status, but this is one way to deal with a perception of too many short words and any confusion of how they relate to each other.

Re: Three-way parts of speech (again)

Posted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:51 pm
by janKipo
In writing, the name problem is solved by using capital letters: mi tawa nena Too Suno' (OK, so the 'nena' helps, too, and carries over to speech). I don't know what the situation is in Hawai'ian, but in tp, each word begins with a stressed syllable and there are internal pronunciation changes. Thus, if we fused 'jan pona' to a single word, it would go from 'jAn pOna' to 'jAmpona'. I expect that something like lhis actually happen in speech (or would, if there were more cases of tp conversation), so it may be part of conversational style (as are many other likely things, like voicing of medial consonants and shifts in articulation ('must' pronounced 'mushi', say, or even 'mush').
None of this helps with figuring out what 'ona li moku' means out of "He eats/is food/is eaten/ is edible" (at least, I suspect there may be more possibilities). Nor will making compound words do much except take certain cases to of contention:'janpona' is a friend, not a handyman or any of the other possibilities.