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questions in double:sentences - Toki Pona Forums

questions in double:sentences

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Tomaniki
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questions in double:sentences

Postby Tomaniki » Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:33 pm

Several times in toki pona, we use double:sentences (separated by a colon) to represent a single idea. I understand that the colon represents a punctuation, but how does it work if one or both parts of the sentence is a question. Does one side get a question mark? Do both?

Spanish puts question marks only around the part of the sentence that actually is a question. English smacks a question mark at the end of the sentence, even if there is only a part of the sentence that is uncertain. Which is toki pona more like in this case? Below are a few examples:

I want to know, where is the house?
Quiero saber, ¿dónde es la casa?

-mi wile sona e ni?: tomo li lon seme.
-mi wile sona e ni: tomo li lon seme?
-mi wile sona e ni?: tomo li lon seme?

Who is the man who knows how to dance?"
-semi li sona e ni?: mije li tawa musi.
-semi li sona e ni: mije li tawa musi?
-semi li sona e ni?: mije li tawa musi?

What do you want? Because I have money.
-sina wile seme tan ni?: mi jo e mani.
-sina wile seme tan ni: mi jo e mani?
-sina wile seme tan ni?: mi jo e mani?

Which is/are correct?
seme li pona?

janMato
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Location: Takoma Park, MD
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Re: questions in double:sentences

Postby janMato » Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:00 am

This one, we just don't know. I wish I could remember where else on the board this was discussed, I don't remember any slam dunk resolutions. For one, this pattern is recursive* and not officially supported by any of the grammars, unless you want to argue that these sentence really are independent.

*By this I mean a structure that can be embedded in a structure of the same type, e.g. a noun phrase embedded in a noun phrase. There is this implicit design principle in toki pona that hunter and gatherers and ancient mesopotamian writers got along with far less recursive structures than modern speech, so tp should also try do do without recursion as well. But it keeps popping up in place like this.

I would guess that S? S. and S: S? are equally valid. The options with two punctuation marks in a row look wrong to me on aesthetic grounds.

janSilipu
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Re: questions in double:sentences

Postby janSilipu » Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:41 am

I don't understand the second example, which seems to say "Who knows that a man dances" '(reading 'seme' for 'semi'). I suppose we have to put the "how to" in somewhere: 'mije seme li sona e nasin ni: ona li tawa musi' or the like. The third is obscure. I guess that my having money is the reason why I can ask what you want. So, the reverse order is clearer: 'mi Jo e mani. tan ni la sina wile e seme'.
Back to the real question. toki pona does not have the inverted question mark and placing the regular one in front of a sentence is confusing (it's likely to be read as making the previous sentence a question). I fluctuate between putting the question mark after the sentence with the question part in it and putting it at the end of the complex. -- these two often coincide. I notice that I also put question marks after indirect question, where they do not belong.


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