pilin, ala taso pilin

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janKipo
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pilin, ala taso pilin

Postby janKipo » Wed Apr 13, 2016 2:14 pm

A haphazard (no to say random) check of the uses of 'pilin' in the corpus at tokipona.net yields these results. Far and away most uses are as a verb (immediately after 'li'). The noun uses are mainly as objects of 'jo' and are mainly of the 'pilin pona' form, though several 'pilin ni:' cases also occur. In the verb position, over half the cases are of the 'pilin pona' type (though more 'ike's than 'pona's, with a few 'nasa's and 'sama's -- from so long ago that it still took 'e'). Almost all of the remainder are 'pilin e ni:', with an occasional 'pilin e kon' "smell" and 'pilin e uta kepeken uta' "kiss" as well as other body parts and the odd physical object like 'kiwen' or 'telo'.

Based on this, it seems clear that by 2009, when the corpus was compiled, 'pilin' operated in at least three ways (from an English point of view, at least, but clearly distinct even in tp). The least significant of these is, roughly, "touch", getting sensation by contact or even just the contact alone. This is tructurally similar to the much larger class, roughly "think that, believe", which take, in effect, a propositional object, indicated by 'ni:'. The sample turned up no clear cases of 'pilin' for thinking in a process sense, unless the two specimens of 'pilin pi x' are cases of "thinking about", as was possible early on. At least possbly related to this are some cases of the noun 'pilin pona', which could be (in the limited context given) good ideas as well as good feelings (in either sense). But for the most part, 'pilin' here matches English "feel" pretty closely and touches only accidentally on English "think".

So, 'pilin pona' matches ''feel good" perfectly, right up to (it turns out) the difficulty in figuring out how it works grammatically. In English, the obvious answer is that "good" is the object of "feel", but the story of of the man who had to fish an oject out of the back of a pretty woman's jeans and in embarassment remarked "I feel a perfect ass" shows this is probably wrong for the case we are considering. The second possibility is that "good" is an adverb modifying "feel". The fact that "good" is usually an adjective with "well" as the corresponding adverb does not discount this suggestion, since "well" can be used in this same construction in exactly the same way -- as well as in the "normal" way of evaluation performance at feeling (odd as that may seem). So, if it is an adverb, it is a different kind from the usual evaluative one, but what kind? At this point we need to consider the differences that the subject makes: "I feel good" is pretty straightforward, but "He feels good" goes in at least two directions (skipping the evaluative): a report about that he would say "I feel good" and a report of the speaker's response to contact with him. In short a to-him/ to me contrast. The latter is clearer with a different term: "This stone feels cold" clearly does not mean that the stone has feelings; rather I have feelings about the stone: that it is cold (whether it is or not is beside the point). And this brings us back to "I feel good", since again whether I am good or not (in the appropriate sense) is not strictly relevant. That is, "I feel good" amounts to "I feel that I am good". The grammar of the collapse is messy, though not unprecedented. The motivation is the usual one of caution. If I say"I am good" (in the understood sense) then I can be easily proven wrong by things like crying, going into a rage and so on. But If I only feel that I am OK, then I am at worst misguided.

This excursion into English need not have a direct effect on the case in tp. However, it does suggest some issues. Taking 'pona' as an adverb to 'pilin' has the usual result of giving an evaluation of performance, which is clearly not intended. Taking it as a direct object also doesn't seem to fit as there is no external object to be felt. (The grammar of this move is carefully not discussed in the textbooks, which are trying to do the rudiments. Once those are mastered, the other tricks, like incorporation -- assumed here -- can be deployed carefully. After all, at some point we do get 'jan pi alasa waso' from 'jan li alasa e waso'.) . As in English, the move from 'mi pilin e ni: mi pona' to 'mi pilin pona' would be complex, but does seem to provide an explanation for the behavior of the expression and a place to put some of the occasionally needed but missing information. It also unifies the various fields of 'pilin' (except the bit about touch)

One thing that this show that is hidden in both the English and the tp is that the good/pona is ultimately a property of the subject, not of the feeling. This appears in the English in a reanalysis "I am feeling-good" (not an impossible -- though an implausible -- reading). This could derive (rather more simply, in fact) from the same underlying sentences as the above reading. And the tp version of that (under the usual rules) would be 'pona pilin'. Indeed, 'pilin pona' as a translation of "feel good" was always odd unless 'pona' was an object, given the shift from AN to NA. Which looks like the 'pilin pona' form is actually an unthinking calque of the English and, so, to be avoided.

The obvious problem with all this is that, under this analysis, 'pilin pona' has nothing to do with my emotions or the like, but only with my beliefs. It does not refer to an internal non-cognitive state, but only to a cognitive one. It is only a cautious claim about some objective truth, not a strong assertion of a subjective one. And that may be unfair to what 'pilin pona' actually does: I may feel good despite all the contrary evidence, even as known to me. But then again, this is a special kind of good, then, as 'pona pilin' and 'feeling-good' suggest.

[This has been an exercise is Humean reasoing. I intuited my conclusion and worked overtime to build a case for it. Now to face the court of common sense.]

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Sasin
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Re: pilin, ala taso pilin

Postby Sasin » Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:12 pm

i think it's great that you put so much thought into this stuff. :)

Taking 'pona' as an adverb to 'pilin' has the usual result of giving an evaluation of performance, which is clearly not intended.


i think that depends on how you define "performance".
take for example this exchange:
"did you eat well?" "yes, i ate well."
most likely, the adverb is not pointing to the fact that the eater lifted their food from their plate, and then chewed and swallowed without any mishaps. maybe the eater has had trouble using chopsticks before, but most likely the intent is to learn/express whether the eater's appetite is satisfied.
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janTepanNetaPelin
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Re: pilin, ala taso pilin

Postby janTepanNetaPelin » Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:08 am

Sasin wrote:
"did you eat well?" "yes, i ate well."
most likely, the adverb is not pointing to the fact that the eater lifted their food from their plate, and then chewed and swallowed without any mishaps. maybe the eater has had trouble using chopsticks before, but most likely the intent is to learn/express whether the eater's appetite is satisfied.


jan Sasin o,

I agree. I'm still scanning the pu for occasions of adverbs that seem to replace direct objects. The only thing I found so far is "mi pilin pona", which could be substituted with "mi pilin e pona". In the meantime, I'd substitue "mi moku pona" with pu-ish "mi moku e ijo pona". Therefore, for me "mi moku pona kepeken palisa moku" means "I didn't make a mess while I tried to eat with chopsticks".

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https://github.com/stefichjo/toki-pona

janKipo
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Re: pilin, ala taso pilin

Postby janKipo » Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:16 am

I agree (see earlier) that there is a temptation to see those adverbs as DOs incorporated into the verb but, as noted, this does not work well in many cases. The inversion (as it seems) works better: 'sina pona ala pona moku?' "Did you dine well?" "Are you good in the eating dimension?" These seem to get the modifiers on the right things: the eater not the eating, in this case.

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Re: pilin, ala taso pilin

Postby Sasin » Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:40 pm

"sina pona ala pona moku?" could also mean "are you good or not good at eating?"
using E-o, between "cxu vi mangxis bone?" and "cxu vi bonigxis mangxe?", though i feel the former is more intuitive, they are essentially the same question.
"sina moku ala moku?" is a different question from "sina moku ala moku pona?" despite the fact that you'd answer them in the same way.

getting back to pilin: the pu dictionary defines the word firstly as a noun, the heart (physical or emotional). so following this, "mi pilin pona" may mean "i am a good emotional/physical heart" or "i am a center of goodness." in this context, happiness, which i would include with goodness, is not some external thing to be felt. "mi pilin pona" states that my happiness is within and has the potential to extend outward. i think that's quite different from "mi pilin e pona".
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janTepanNetaPelin
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Re: pilin, ala taso pilin

Postby janTepanNetaPelin » Sun Apr 17, 2016 6:51 am

Sasin wrote:"sina pona ala pona moku?" could also mean "are you good or not good at eating?"
using E-o, between "cxu vi mangxis bone?" and "cxu vi bonigxis mangxe?", though i feel the former is more intuitive, they are essentially the same question.
"sina moku ala moku?" is a different question from "sina moku ala moku pona?" despite the fact that you'd answer them in the same way.

getting back to pilin: the pu dictionary defines the word firstly as a noun, the heart (physical or emotional). so following this, "mi pilin pona" may mean "i am a good emotional/physical heart" or "i am a center of goodness." in this context, happiness, which i would include with goodness, is not some external thing to be felt. "mi pilin pona" states that my happiness is within and has the potential to extend outward. i think that's quite different from "mi pilin e pona".


"pona" seems to be used like E-o "inda": pona lukin = vidinda, bela

"mi pilin pona" with "pona" as "heart" would be "I'm a good heart", yes. ("at the heart of goodness" requires "lon": "mi lon pilin pona".) That isn't "mi pilin e pona" with "pilin" = "feeling".
jan Tepan: "o pilin pona o pu!"
https://github.com/stefichjo/toki-pona

janKipo
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Re: pilin, ala taso pilin

Postby janKipo » Sun Apr 17, 2016 10:30 am

Well, come to that 'sina moku ala moku pona' can mean "Are you good at eating?", too. We really need to get away from what we say here -- in englsih and eo and whatever -- to what is really going on and what we are reporting (probably several different things). To me, at the moment, taking the 'pona' as a property of the subject seems closest to what I have in mind and I don't find the other claims (especially the ones that derive from the strange change in the meaning of 'pilin' that turns up in pu) to be convincing.

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Re: pilin, ala taso pilin

Postby Sasin » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:41 pm

"mi lon pilin pona" also says to me that goodness/happiness is something external - a place to get to outside of myself. and in certain situations that may be the case.
but when i'm happy, there are physical happy chemicals flowing through me. so for reasons i've mentioned, "mi pilin pona" and "mi pona pilin" are both apt expressions, imo. :)
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Re: pilin, ala taso pilin

Postby janKipo » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:33 am

Equally apt, perhaps, but for the same thing? And what is/are that/those thing/s?

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Re: pilin, ala taso pilin

Postby Sasin » Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:42 pm

for the same thing. i can see the nuanced ways in which they differ, but flipping the adj and adv here appears to give the same result: "i am happy."

noun - adj - adv
mi pilin pona. i am physically or emotionally sensitive in a good way.
mi pona pilin. i am good in a physically or emotionally sensitive way.


here's more on where my head is on this, and i'd like to hear both your thoughts about this.
because of the way pu frames "verbs" as transitive and "adjectives" as intransitive,
"mi pilin e ijo" seems to say "i feel a thing" (thus, i receive data), but i read it more as "i make felt a thing" (thus, i emit data).
or
"mi pilin e pona" seems to say "i feel goodness" but i read it more as "i make felt goodness".
or, the long form,
"mi pilin." i am physically or emotionally sensitive.
"mi pilin e pona." i make to be physically or emotionally sensitive goodness.
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