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sentences without subject - Toki Pona Forums

sentences without subject

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janKalepa
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sentences without subject

Postby janKalepa » Mon May 20, 2013 2:19 pm

Is it right:

li sona e nimi mute

For me, it looks like in tp you need:

o sona e nimi mute

jan li sona e nimi mute

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Re: sentences without subject

Postby Kuti » Mon May 20, 2013 3:54 pm

o jo e nimi

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Re: sentences without subject

Postby janSilipu » Mon May 20, 2013 6:04 pm

For a complete sentence in tp or English you need a subject , in tp, something before the 'li'. But incomplete sentences often make sense in context like answers to questions or corrections. And many other cases. But whatever the context is, it typically makes clear what the subject is.

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Re: sentences without subject

Postby janKalepa » Tue May 21, 2013 1:19 am


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Re: sentences without subject

Postby janKipo » Tue May 21, 2013 9:21 am

Now that is an interesting question. If you drop the subject in context, do you need 'li'? It probably depends on the context (of course). To answer 'jan Toma li seme', where the question asks for a meaningful replacement for 'seme', 'li' is already available, so on the word cluster is needed 'jan pona mi', say. But in the cases like the pictures, where the subject is implicitly the pictured object, 'li' is needed, since it is the beginning of the predicate. I think. Maybe. Maybe even probably. Or not.

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Re: sentences without subject

Postby jan_Anti » Tue May 21, 2013 1:06 pm

In pro-drop languages, verbs keep their inflection. I don't know what Tok Pisin does (which I believe is the language jan Sonja borrowed the concept of 'li' from). However, when answering questions in tp, 'e' and friends are dropped:

"sina lukin e seme?" "soweli."
"sina tan ma seme?" "(ma?) Mewika." (but certainly not 'tan')

Intuitively it seemed logical for me to include 'li' on those pictures.

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Re: sentences without subject

Postby janMato » Tue May 21, 2013 8:26 pm

I would say subjects are obligatory and take ni, ona, ijo when the subject is "weak" I think most people have the weather doing what weather does, walo lete li anpa. I think there are discussions of attempts to make passive constructions (without a "strong" subject) elsewhere.

re: imperatives
Maybe there's another transformation rule?
sina o pali e ni! => o pali e ni.

If a verb is the answer, I'd be inclined to add li.
Q: jan suli li seme e jan ante? He did what to the other guy?
A: li moli! I suspect most people would say, ona li moli, I can't remember anyone writing a li+verb fragment, maybe it is because I don't hang out in the chat room.

If a prep phrase is the answer, I'd be inclined to include the preposition.
Q: jan li lon ma seme?
A: lon ma Mewika.

But ma Mewika sounds find, and just Mewika sound like fragment the same as the others.

And for all I know for these possible rules of fragments, maybe I'm just rediscovering how English works, similar to how I noticed people order their tp adjectives in a certain way, which happens to mirror English.

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Re: sentences without subject

Postby janKipo » Tue May 21, 2013 10:18 pm

Well, but I found the pictures perfectly OK, with the subject presented non-linguistically -- but with the 'li'. On the other hand, I tend to answer 'seme' with just the replacement (I think), though the "adjective needs a noun to lean on" rule is pretty hardwired by now (I hope). But yes, these are English rules, more or less, where applicable (English would repeated the object in "He done what to him?" "Kilt 'm".


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