Parts of speech

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Sonja Elen Kisa

Parts of speech

Postby Sonja Elen Kisa » Thu May 30, 2002 10:26 am


I believe I have established the parts of speech (grammatical word
categories) of Toki Pona.

- head noun, e.g. lawa = head
- modifier, e.g. lawa = main, leading
- transitive verb, e.g. lawa = to lead, control
- separator, e.g. li, e, la, o, pi
- emphasizer, e.g. kin
- interjection, e.g. mu! a!
- quasi-preposition, e.g. lon, tawa, tan

I will soon be able to restructure the Toki Pona word list to
translate the various word meanings according to their part of speech.

Interestingly, intransitive verbs fall under "modifier". For
example "lape" as a modifier means "relating to sleep" or "sleeping,
asleep". (jan lape = sleep-person, sleeping person)
Thus a basic idea like "ona li lape" (I sleep.) is really saying "She
is asleep".
Whereas "lape e" (transitive verb) would mean "to make sleep". mama
li lape e jan lili. Mother put the child to sleep.

Note that transitive verbs are almost always followed by "e + (direct
object)". If necessary, a "filler" object like "ijo" or "jan" can be
used.
mi moku e waso = I eat chicken.
mi moku e ijo = I eat stuff. I am eating.
mi moli e jan. = I kill people. I kill.
(compare: mi moli = I am dead. I die.)

When there is absolutely no ambiguity of confusing a transitive verb
with a modifier, it is OK and even common to drop the "e + (object)".

mi moku e ijo = I eat things. I eat.
can be simplified to:
mi moku = I eat.

Even thought "mi moku" could technically be interpreted as "I am
food", this is a very unlikely idea, and the interpretation above (I
eat.) would be used.

The concept of intransitive verbs as modifiers also implies that it
is possible to have a compound with only modifiers and no head noun.
The first word you encounter could be either a head noun or a
modifier.

ona li lawa. = It is a head. (head noun)
ona li lawa. = He is the main one. (modifier)

If there is a need to show that it should be interpereted as a
modifier (and not a head noun), you can always add "pi".

ona li pi mi = It is mine. It belongs to me.
as opposed to:
ona li mi = It is me.

Note that "pi" can also turn a quasi-preposition into a head noun.

tan = from
tan jan = from a person

tan pi jan = the origin of humans

A lot of these grammal rules may sound complicated, but in fact if
you use the language, you will see that they come quite naturally and
make sense. I just thought I'd write this up for all those who like
to hack things apart and see how the language works from the inside.

Or maybe I should just admit that "intransitive verbs" are a part of
speech to simplify all these explanations... :)

Sonja


yerricde

Re: Parts of speech

Postby yerricde » Thu May 30, 2002 12:32 pm


--- In tokipona@y..., "Sonja Elen Kisa" <marraskuu@s...> wrote:
> I believe I have established the parts of speech (grammatical word
> categories) of Toki Pona.

Good job :-)

> Interestingly, intransitive verbs fall under "modifier". For
> example "lape" as a modifier means "relating to sleep" or "sleeping,
> asleep". (jan lape = sleep-person, sleeping person)
> Thus a basic idea like "ona li lape" (I sleep.) is really saying "She
> is asleep".
> Whereas "lape e" (transitive verb) would mean "to make sleep". mama
> li lape e jan lili. Mother put the child to sleep.
...
> mi moli e jan. = I kill people. I kill.
> (compare: mi moli = I am dead. I die.)

So Toki Pona is typologically nominative.
http://www.xibalba.demon.co.uk/jbr/ranto/4.html

> Even thought "mi moku" could technically be interpreted as "I am
> food", this is a very unlikely idea

Only if you haven't read _The Time Machine_ by H. G. Wells.
http://everything2.com/?node=The+Time+Machine

> Note that "pi" can also turn a quasi-preposition into a head noun.
>
> tan = from
> tan jan = from a person
>
> tan pi jan = the origin of humans

This clears up a few problems.

> I just thought I'd write this up for all those who like to hack
> things apart and see how the language works from the inside.

/me 's hand goes up

--
Damian


Sonja Elen Kisa

Re: Parts of speech

Postby Sonja Elen Kisa » Thu May 30, 2002 5:37 pm


OK, I just updated the core Toki Pona word list in light of these grammatical categories:


 

Rejoice! :P



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