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Toki Pona Forums • ala/ale/ali
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ala/ale/ali

Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:40 pm
by Baerdric
Unfortunately the search function will not let me search for these terms alone.

I am a little concerned about the similarity between ala and ale. I have trouble hearing the distinction, and with my voice I don't believe I am providing enough distinction.

But I read somewhere, that ali was also used. I can't find that comment now, but the questions I have are as follows.

Does it ever cause enough trouble for you to read any further?
Will I eventually be more able to distinguish them?
Is the ali usage continuing, new or past?

Or is the confusion purposeful?

Re: ala/ale/ali

Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:35 pm
by janKipo
The confusion appears to have been accidental, but as soon as it was noticed 'ali' was introduced as an alternative to 'ale'. It is not used consistently; Sonja still uses 'ale', other 'ali' and many flip back and forth. The mistaken use of one of the al's for the other is probably the most common straightforward word replacement error (the second seems to be confusion of 'loje' and 'laso'). (One virtue of one big number solution was that it gave a totally new word for zero.)
'Ali' and 'ala' are about as distinct as you can get in that position in tp ('alu' might be better) and different dialects, brought over from native languages, affect the whole considerably (my English tends to reduce all unstressed vowels toward the /a/ In "sofa", for example). Since I ( and most tapers) have little experience with spoken tp, it is hard to say how awful the problem is/would be. But just one flub would be quite significant (as someone remarked "the worst minimal pair ever").
There are a number of other word pairs that present potential problems as more actual spoken example become available. For example, u and w seem to draw neighboring sounds on so that 'suwl', 'suli' and 'sewi' sound a lot alike and meeting it and native languages produce indecipherable results ("shoe en" for 'kiwen' being my favorite so far). Hopefully as there is more spoken tp around, some adjustments in word form will take place (though I wonder why no thought was given to that -- a well- known problem in constructed languages -- at the beginning).

Re: ala/ale/ali

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:18 am
by janTepanNetaPelin
jan Baerdric o, toki!

In the Official Book, "ali" is a synonym of "ale". So, you can easily use "ali" instead of "ale". I'm not sure if "ali" comes from pronouncing "ale" as "alee", in either case, "ali" is newer than "ale". For me, "ala"/"ale" is not an issue. Do your "ala" and "ale" rhyme with "lay"? Only then I can imagine that they sound alike. If you pronounce them more, say, spanish-ly, you should be safe, with "a" as in "hasta la vista".

Bye!
jan Tepan

Re: ala/ale/ali

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:33 am
by Baerdric
Thanks!

I was just coming on to say I listened to an interview from jan Sonja late last night wherein she discussed this and set my mind at ease.
I pronounce them more like ah lah / ah leh / ah lee - so I probably need a little more "lay" in my voice.
I might benefit from hearing more spoken toki before I practice much more. Hate to be practicing mistakes.

Re: ala/ale/ali

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:33 am
by janTepanNetaPelin
Sounds interesting. Could you post a link to this interview, please?

Concerning the "lay", I think you actually need *less* of it (don't use diphtongs).

Regards,
jan Tepan

Re: ala/ale/ali

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:45 pm
by Baerdric
It's towards the end, kind of a difficult interview to listen too, some of the questions were phrased so that the only answer she could give was "Exactly", which she must have said 20 times. I would have liked to have heard her speak toki pona.

http://actualfluency.com/afp-20-sonja-l ... ning-life/

Re: ala/ale/ali

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 5:02 pm
by Baerdric
As for pronunciation, I've mostly been going with あ, え, and い from Japanese since that's the non-English I know best.

But just off to the side of this topic, is there a place with just tons of audio files of people speaking toki pona? Seems like there must be.

Re: ala/ale/ali

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 5:59 pm
by janKipo
You'd think, but I don't know of it. What there are are a few short YouTubey movies, three partial intro courses, a lecture or two about tp to Esperantists or polyglots, and a few songs (maybe quite a few now). The audio quality on all of these is passable but not much help for careful analysis or imitation. There may be Skypey records, but, like chat rooms, they never get to the public. There is me reading the word list, but that is not very high quality and full of mistakes -- and my idiolect, which I already know is not very standard (though not as wonky as some).

Re: ala/ale/ali

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:17 pm
by Baerdric
Youtube it is then. I usually get lost there and end up spending hours on something other than what I went there for.

High quality audio of casual conversation would be wonderful though.

Re: ala/ale/ali

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:56 pm
by janSilipu
The tp in a fortnight site has a number of such youtubes. It's URL is in the reference in tomolipu.blogspot.com.