A sketch of Parts of Speech

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
Posts: 2741
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:20 pm

A sketch of Parts of Speech

Postby janKipo » Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:49 pm

Parts of speech (PoS) are used in two ways in describing tp. In the word list on tpnimi.blogspot.com each word is assigned a part of speech which is meant to systematize its uses and and meanings in various roles. Other word list give each word apparently random lists of parts of speech with definitions for each. Let's call these the home PoS. When talking about the grammar of tp, POS terms are used in a more functional way – what role does a word play in a particular sentence. Here is a brief description of PoS terms in these two contexts.


Particles (also functional, since they only ever behave in their grammatical way): li, e, la, o
Conjunctions (also functional): en, anu
Expletives: a, mu
(Other: kin, taso)

Noun: “person, place or thing” as they say. As a transitive verb, n means “makes DO become n” or “applies n to DO”, as a modifier means “has the characteristics of n”. Other uses taken up individually, and the various derivative meaning here may get further specified in particular cases (tis applies throughout)

Verb (transitive only here): action of a subject on an object (loosely speaking). The word for the object acted upon is set off by 'e' after the verb. As a noun, v means either “the act of doing v” or the generic name for the direct objects of v. As a modifier, it means “doing v” or “able to be ved”. DOs may become modifiers of the verb in verb position.

Modal: Distinguished by the fact that they can be followed immediately by a whole predicate, otherwise rather individualistic.

Modifier (adjective or adverb depending on the head) property or manner. As a noun, name of the property or something that has it. As a verb, causing the DO to have that property.

Preposition. Distinguished by the fact that a noun phrase, the prepositional object (PO), follows immediately and this applies in all derivative locations as well. This object never becomes a modifier. As verbs they are causative. Their use as nouns tend to be either the generic class of their objects or derived from their uses as verbs and similarly for their use alone as modifiers. Prepositional phrases (PP) as modifiers require 'pi', of course.

In the grammar, the word “noun” is used for the head of a noun phrases (subject, direct object, prepositional object, certain 'la' phrases). This may be subdivided in various ways relating to the history of the expression involved and, so, its meaning (verbal nouns from verbs, for example, which may mean that some modifiers are old nouns from DOs or POs). It also covers noun phrases (Nps) which grow out of noun heads by modifications.

“verb” means the head of a verb phrase; in particular, the first word afte 'li' (or a modal) in a predicate. Again, these may be subdivided on the basis of home PoS or transitivity. The term also covers verb phrases (VP).

“modifier” (and “adjective” and “adverb”) is for words in modifier strings, with the subtypes depending upon whether what they modify is a noun or not. The terms also cover modifier phrases that grow out of simple modifiers by further modification.
Since prepositions can be modified as well, the term “preposition” covers the modified cases, which retain the immediately attached PO. Preposition and its object constitute a prepositional phrases (PP).

Return to “kama sona toki”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest