Question about Qestions

Language learning: How to speak Toki Pona, translation problems, advice, memory aids, tools and methods to learn Toki Pona and other languages faster
Lingva lernado: Kiel paroli Tokiponon, tradukproblemoj, konsiloj, memoraj helpiloj, iloj kaj metodoj por pli rapide lerni Tokiponon kaj aliajn lingvojn
Pali Pi Sona Kiwen
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Question about Qestions

Postby Pali Pi Sona Kiwen » Wed May 06, 2015 12:41 pm

Toki,

So Toki Pona takes its yes/no question structure from Mandarin, so simple questions end up looking like this: "sina pona ala pona?"

I understand that. However, I do not understand how to structure a more complex question. For example: "Are you learning toki pona?"

Would it be better to translate that to "sina kama sona e toki pona ala kama sona e toki pona?" or "sina kama sona ala kama sona e toki pona?" or even "sina kama ala kama sona toki pona?"

Thoughts?
wile sona li mute e sona.

La menso estas kiel paraŝuto , ĝi nur funkcias se vi malfermas ĝin.

Si hoc legere scis, nimium eruditionis habes.

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jan Pinsen
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Re: Question about Qestions

Postby jan Pinsen » Wed May 06, 2015 1:09 pm

Certainly I wouldn't go with the first option. One could argue in favor of the second, I think, but personally I would use the last option, "sina kama ala kama sona e toki pona." If you're unsure, an alternative approach is to just use "anu seme?", like in: "sina kama sona e toki pona anu seme?".

Pali Pi Sona Kiwen
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Re: Question about Qestions

Postby Pali Pi Sona Kiwen » Wed May 06, 2015 1:43 pm

jan Pinsen wrote:If you're unsure, an alternative approach is to just use "anu seme?", like in: "sina kama sona e toki pona anu seme?".


Is there any reason all questions can't be asked this way? It seems like a much simpler method.
wile sona li mute e sona.

La menso estas kiel paraŝuto , ĝi nur funkcias se vi malfermas ĝin.

Si hoc legere scis, nimium eruditionis habes.

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jan Pinsen
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Re: Question about Qestions

Postby jan Pinsen » Wed May 06, 2015 1:50 pm

No real reason, I think. If you want to just use that form, feel free to do so. I guess in some cases, "anu seme" is less specific, as you might not be entirely clear what aspect of the sentence you're asking the question about. For example,

"sina wile ala wile toki?" = do you want (or not want) to talk?
"sina wile toki ala toki?" = do you want to talk (or not talk)?
"sina wile toki anu seme?" = ?

In this case, there's not much difference between the two alternatives, but I can imagine sometimes there would be, particularly in longer sentences with various components. The final "anu seme" just illustrates there's some uncertainty about some part of it; the "X ala X" construction more closely identifies this part.

But aside from that subtlety, they're just alternatives, and anyone is free to use whichever one they want, as far as I know.

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Re: Question about Qestions

Postby Pali Pi Sona Kiwen » Wed May 06, 2015 1:58 pm

Ok. Now I have a new question. How would you actually respond to an "anu seme" question? For something like "sina pona ala pona" you can respond with "pona" or "ala pona", but how would you respond to "sina pona anu seme?"
wile sona li mute e sona.

La menso estas kiel paraŝuto , ĝi nur funkcias se vi malfermas ĝin.

Si hoc legere scis, nimium eruditionis habes.

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jan Pinsen
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Re: Question about Qestions

Postby jan Pinsen » Wed May 06, 2015 2:09 pm

The same way, I would think. I might respond as "pona ala" rather than "ala pona" if it was the negative response, though. In fact, I might do that with the "X ala X" type questions as well, although I have wondered about that before.

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Re: Question about Qestions

Postby Pali Pi Sona Kiwen » Wed May 06, 2015 2:19 pm

Great. Thank you for all of your help.

Pona!
wile sona li mute e sona.

La menso estas kiel paraŝuto , ĝi nur funkcias se vi malfermas ĝin.

Si hoc legere scis, nimium eruditionis habes.

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jan Pinsen
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Re: Question about Qestions

Postby jan Pinsen » Wed May 06, 2015 2:49 pm

You're welcome! :D

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Re: Question about Qestions

Postby janKipo » Wed May 06, 2015 3:44 pm

You can also respond, at least to the x ala x format with just 'ala'. With the 'anu seme' format, probably adding the verb is a good idea. Notice the anu format encourages other answers, like 'mi sona ala', though these are possible in the x ala x case as well. in general the ala format just repeats the first verb, but other pieces can be repeated to ask for focused questions (I'm not sure how far that goes, does it allow, say 'ona li utala e sina ala sina' when the focus on whether he hit you in particular.)

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jan Pinsen
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Re: Question about Qestions

Postby jan Pinsen » Wed May 06, 2015 4:34 pm

Thanks for pointing out the simple "ala" response, janKipo; I forgot about that.

As for that last bit you mentioned, I was wondering about that as well. I think it should be allowed, as it's quite an elegant and simple way to ask such questions, making it immediately clear which aspect of the proposition you are wondering about. For what it's worth, I have seen examples like "ona li mama ala mama?" in a Memrise course, although I don't know exactly what its source was (I think it took some things from pu, and some things from discussions with various speakers of Toki Pona).


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