The pooh of pu

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
janKipo
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The pooh of pu

Postby janKipo » Sat Aug 08, 2015 4:45 pm

Enough time has elapsed for the major questions that pu raises to have been sorted out. Here are what I see
I pass over the existence of the word 'pu', which doesn't deserve the attention of a comment.
page 7. 'olin' used with an impersonal object ('toki pona', in fact). To be sure, the teachings of the last decade are nowhere mentioned in pu, so this may now be legitimate, but throwing over the 'x li olin e y'/ 'y le pona tawa x' distinction, after all the story of driving it home seems rather callous, unless just careless (or gross hyperbole).
page 25, the example of a transitive sentence lacks a direct object in English.
'kute' meaning both "hear" and "obey" immediaely creates the paradox of 'mi kute e mama mi. taso mi kute ala e ona' (see later similar problem with 'lukin' as "look for" and "see".)
page 34 The description of prepositions is garbled to the point that the complement is not shown as natural and so the complementless cases are not seen as derivative. Not helpful for people wrestling still with 'e'.
page 35. 'toki lon toki pona' given imprimatur (though 'kepeken' is also used later)
page 36 exercise with answer on p 64 uses 'ona' where 'ni' seems called for, but this is hard to say without context and 'ona' is regularly used without a prior noun to pick up. On the other hand, the differences between 'ona' and 'ni'' are never mentioned, let alone discussed.
page 38 'nimi mi li Apu' There is so much wrong with this sentence that I could rant a whole White Knightly page (and have). At best it is better than 'nimi mi li jan Apu', though that is only blatantly false, not generating an infinite spiral paradox. I think the that sentences beginning 'nimi x li...' should simply be banned until people learn a little grammar.
page 41 clarifies the uses of o and does away with the collapse of the vocative and imperative. but in the answer on p 65 to an exercise on page 42, the collapse is used. The o sentence optative is never considered. So the clarification ends us with the same confusion as before.
page 42. The locus classicus of inverted 'pilin pona', now enshrined and inextinguishable by mere reason. No serious attempts to extend it, however.
In passing, there is no discussion of what how one kind of word becomes another, though there are many example (quite a few given as exercises). This may be good heuristic or not, but in either case, some summaries would be handy. even if only at the end.
There is no comment about the effect of intervening modifiers on verbs, prepositions or modals, maybe because there simply is none, but it would be nice to be reassured.
pages 46-7 The expanded number system only makes matters worse by introducing new ambiguities and false precision. Either get a decent system or just insist that tpers can't count (or use telephones or find street addresses or...).
there is no mention of the lack of 'pi' with cardinals and ordinals, but at least the examples are consistent in not using it.
page 51-2 'la' is scarcely developed except in connection with 'lon' (only) at the end. The useless commas are all there and in the wrong place. (Why not some useful commas, if we have them at all?)
Nice to see the accurate 'kama lon' instead of the calque 'kama tawa' for "come to"
page 55 'kepeken toki Inli' justified
'anpa' in a new, restricted sense (SLM, I suppose) and so 'noka' in an extended sense (leaving a space unnamed). 'tawa' in the sense of "according to" doesn't seem to fit well (but what does? maybe 'lon').
In general, the adding and dropping of words (which will be largely ignored, I expect) seems not well thought out and mildly annoying, as though getting to exactly 120 words (119 and a joke) were of some significance.

To be sure, pu is 1) how one person, admittedly the creator (and long absentee) uses the languages and 2) is an introductory text from which to build a deeper understanding of what is possible in tp. But, given the space devoted to totally superfluous matter (hieroglyphs, sign language, and the like) one would think a bit more of a boost was in order.

janMapaja
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Re: The pooh of pu

Postby janMapaja » Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:55 pm

jan Kipo o, toki. I too share some of your thoughts regarding pu. In fact, buying it was a big disappointment to me, since it leaves many areas unexplored.

About the 'kute' problem, I don't think that is much of a problem really. To interpret "obey" as an extension to "hear" seems natural to me and is what happened in languages such as Latin and Greek. The word 'obey' itself comes from the Latin root meaning "to listen to": http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=obey

Besides by context, maybe the ambiguity could be lifted by the use of specialized objects. E.g.: mi kute e wile mama. taso mi kute ala e kalama mama. Or even by adverbs: kute wile VS kute kalama.

Regarding the phrase "nimi mi li x", I'd like to hear your opinion (or a link to it) about why it is such a bad practice.

Now, about the commas before 'la', that really seems odd to me, but then I thought that maybe the creator thinks of the 'la' particle as starting the next clause instead of ending the former. So if you were thinking and stopped mid-sentence, you would say something like: tenpo ni... hmm... la mi moku. It seems a bit counter-intuitive, but if we were to rationalize it like this, I wonder what possibilities we would have to explain it grammatically.

All in all, pu may be a good introduction book but it does lack more advanced explanation.

janKipo
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Re: The pooh of pu

Postby janKipo » Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:20 am

Well, pu is a primer, so you can't expect too much. But it is unfortunate that there is no seconder to followup, except exploring the corpus and trial and error.

I disagree about 'kute' (obviously); even the Romans said "I hear and obey", two steps. We can fix it, of couse, like the problems around 'wile', but better not to create threm at all.

I just got through dealing with 'nimi mi li Apu' on the tp group on Facebook and have done it several times before in the last couple weeks. I can do it in my sleep now, but I'm tired of it, as often happens when repeating the obvious too often. Just think what the sentence actually says, not what you read into it.

No grammar of tp supports the commas before 'la'. There are a lot of places the grammar would support commas where we don't have them but could use them ( before prep phrases, for example).

janMato
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Re: The pooh of pu

Postby janMato » Sun Aug 09, 2015 9:17 am

The definitions are something of a lie. When read, "telo means, water or sauce, and so on" it's only true up to the point where the distinction is salient. As soon as your in the kitchen, telo doesn't mean sauce. Telo would only mean "something liquid"

So kute, if it means both listen and obey, it means "to do things with the ears" maybe including to flap the air with one's ears as an Elephant does. As soon as we need to convey listen, or obey, then it needs more words.

janMato
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Re: The pooh of pu

Postby janMato » Sun Aug 09, 2015 9:52 am

And an idea for justifying a , before or after la.... it would be useful if there was a verbal sentence delimiter. For my parser, when the puctuation is missing, I get a run on phrase, so I can usually detect missing periods, but I can't fix them. If there was a verbal delimiter for all sentences, e.g. a dramatic pause, then that should also help people listening to a sentence. (I'm ignoring the question about if toki pona just assumes the tonal contours of a sentence are identitical for English, with up ticks on questions and down ticks on statements, and so on.)

janKipo
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Re: The pooh of pu

Postby janKipo » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:09 am

Lord help us if we have to start foing long string phonology,dealin with the written forms is hard enough. We can hope the spoken catches up -- if it ever gets tested.
I like the reduction to absurdity on 'kute, except that obeying isn't something one does with one,s ears.

janMato
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Re: The pooh of pu

Postby janMato » Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:27 pm

Good point, then kute=obey is a design mistake. Most (all?) toki pona words were set up for maximal polysemy, the homonymy is sort of a flaw, although probably unavoidable. lawa = head, lawa = the boss, government, etc.

janPelanPoniju
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Re: The pooh of pu

Postby janPelanPoniju » Fri Mar 04, 2016 10:40 am

Just arrived at this forums and reading through some posts.

I just wanted to comment on the 'kute' ambiguity, using 'listen' to also mean 'obey' (as the pu which I haven't read yet seems to do) is done in Dutch too. 'Ik wil dat je luistert' ('mi wile ni: o sina kute [? or is it 'mi wile o sina kute!' ?], literally 'I want that you listen') can mean both 'I want you to listen' and 'I want you to obey'. I think this is the case in more languages (although not with the French 'ecouter' which might be the origin of the word), and I never realised before that this double meaning doesn't exist in English even...

janKipo
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Re: The pooh of pu

Postby janKipo » Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:22 am

Just 'mi wile e ni: sina kute' , no imperative etc.

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jan Wesi
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Re: The pooh of pu

Postby jan Wesi » Tue Mar 15, 2016 3:39 am

Has jan Sonja ever followed up with the community on pu? It seems as though she's kind of left the whole thing at this point. But I don't follow her too closely, so I shouldn't be so quick to jump to conclusions.
jan ali li palisa pi kasi sama :D


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