mi jan Ote.
I have noticed a new word in toki pona: esun. And I have some problems with it. I don't know what is the right place to comment the language itself, while not inventing anything nor suggesting any improvements. Hope it's not quite out of topic here.
So, the esun is strange, because:esun
a community event where people trade goods; market, marketplace, bazaar, trading place
a place where goods are offered for sale; store, shop
1. A noun, not a verb.
The idea of market, i.e. market-event or market-place is secondary, the primary idea is TO-TRADE. People have an idea and a word for trading activity before they start to trade in regular way in a permanent place.
But here we see the opposite: the marketplace is a main, single word and to-trade is its coumpound derivative:
lon esun - to be at the market, to do business, to be trading
2. Trading before receiving
The idea of marketplace is a basic main word, but the idea of receiving goods is not. There is no single word for to-receive, to-take. Tokipona people have to use a compound "kama jo". Strange.
3. Day-of-market vs. days-beetwen-markets
The obvious meaning of "tenpo esun" for me is the actual day-of-market, the day WHEN people are trading. If "tenpo esun" is a period of time between two market days (or a period of time which lasts the same number of days), so what term for the day-of-market should one use? In "I met hir in the day of market" I couldn't use "tenpo esun", because it's reserved for a less literal meaning: "a week".tenpo esun (market day) can be used to express the concept of "week". This originates from the widespread human custom of a farmers' market, a specific market day that reoccurs every so many days. If everyone in a region agrees to travel to a certain place on a certain day, it makes trading a lot simpler. In modern times, the week has been set to 7 days, but many other durations have existed in history.
4. 7 days without 7
Last but not least.
Tokipona people "invented" (or borrowed ) a concept of trade, and know that every certain number of days, say seven, they can travel and trade in a certain place. But they can count only to... what number? They do not have a word for number greater than 2. Strange.
Suppose, the markey day is today. How one could know when there'll be the next market? In the past there were two ways. The first: each day between market days has its name. Not the case in toki pona. The second: days between market days are numbered (compare: nundinal cycle in ancient Rome) or just counted. But one is supposed to count to this very number of days to use this.
There have been preliterate societies that were able to count and name numbers only additive on 2 basis (4=two-two), like tribes in South America, Africa or Australia. It's a toki pona model. But these tribes, using only "1-2-many" or "1-2-3-many" numeral system were not trading. They haven't got markets. No word for 6 or 7 or 8, but no market and no week also.
One have to count 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, some way, if he wants to use "a week", "period between markets". But in toki pona the only way to get 7 is "tu-tu-tu-wan". ("Advanced numbers" are not recommended extension). It's really strange to me that one can say: "tenpo esun" for "a week", i.e., say, 7 days, some constant and precise number of days, greater than 5-6, but he have to use far more complicated idea and wording for "5 days" ("tenpo suno [pi] tu tu wan"?).