Left and Right

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
jan Andrei Nikolaew
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Left and Right

Postby jan Andrei Nikolaew » Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:09 am

Hello!

I think about a way to address left and rightsides. I suggest to call them "the good side" or poka pona for right and "the bad side" or poka ike for left. The word "right" is usually a synonym for "good" and "correct", also the word "left" might mean "wrong", "bad" or "illegal". This may be common for both European and Muslim civilizations, because of symbolysm in Abrahamic religions. Thus this method could be recognizeable in Americas, Europe, Arabic world and Asian Muslim world.
I'm not sure for Chenese and African civilisations though - if they have those synonims.

janKipo
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Re: Left and Right

Postby janKipo » Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:38 pm

We have been through this a few times before over the last decade and a half. The problem is, of course, that left-handed people feel (and often are) stigmatized by this kind of terminology. The same is true, to a lesser extent, with most other suggestions for "left side/hand" and "right side/hand": "heart side", say, or "strong side". tp doesn't have a commitment to the militaristic origins of Abrahamic terminology nor medieval medicine, etc. but also, alas, has not culture of its own to draw on. The one universal of tp experience, it turns out is the left to right writing system, the official one, not the codes like sitelen pona or sitelen sitelen. As a result, the least objectionable words for "left" and "right" so far are 'poka/luka open' (I suppose fully ''pi open sitelen') for "left side/hand" and ''luka/poka pini' for "right". There is no general agreement about these choices, but less objections than to any other.

jan Andrei Nikolaew
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Re: Left and Right

Postby jan Andrei Nikolaew » Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:54 pm

janKipo wrote:We have been through this a few times before over the last decade and a half. The problem is, of course, that left-handed people feel (and often are) stigmatized by this kind of terminology.

Let me disagree from here on. The main problem is - toki pona has no means to express directions and coordinates. This is one big design flaw which prevents quite a lot of practical usage. That's the main issue, as i see it.

janKipo wrote: The same is true, to a lesser extent, with most other suggestions for "left side/hand" and "right side/hand": "heart side", say, or "strong side". tp doesn't have a commitment to the militaristic origins of Abrahamic terminology nor medieval medicine, etc. but also, alas, has not culture of its own to draw on.

So, the language also lack any cultural background other than that of people using it right now. Why does that mean that we, the people who use toki pona, must not use our cultural habits while using toki pona? Also, we do use them alot, maybe you just don't recognize it. For example:
1) ma Amewika seli/lete for South and North America.
How does that make sense? The Warm America is actually anywhere in South and North Americas excluding Southern Argentina, Alaska and Canda.
A habit to substitute lete and selo for North and Soth is actually wery european thing. It makes no sense in tropical areas and really confuses people of Southern Hemisphere.
2) tenpo lete for winter
Again, it works fine for some european and north american areas. But for where i live, winter is actually tenpo walo. If it's tenpo lete, than it may just be the autumn. For areas of tropical climate "cold time" makes no sense at all. Every time you refer to a calendar period as tenpo lete, people from tropical areas (India, Brazil, Central Africa, Southern Asia) must struggle to recognize that in Europe winter is cold. And you have no other means to refer to calendar periods :-)

I'm not saying that you must stop doing that, i'm just pointing out the fact that adopting the surrounding reality (including social reality) into the language is a natural thing.

janKipo wrote:The one universal of tp experience, it turns out is the left to right writing system, the official one, not the codes like sitelen pona or sitelen sitelen. As a result, the least objectionable words for "left" and "right" so far are 'poka/luka open' (I suppose fully ''pi open sitelen') for "left side/hand" and ''luka/poka pini' for "right". There is no general agreement about these choices, but less objections than to any other.

I can tell the main objection. It is not recognizeable. If you tell people to turn to the side of beginning - will they instantly understand that you are refering to your local writing system? Or shall they use nearest open door as a clue? Or the side where Sun begins it's way? It's worth mentioning that the latin script is only used - again - in Europe and Americas. For other parts of the World poka open sitelen may refer to the top side or the right side.

---
On the other hand, i like you mentioning "strong hand" as a synonim for right hand. I find "luka wawa" much more neutral than "luka pona", and from now on i'll use it.

janKipo
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Re: Left and Right

Postby janKipo » Thu Nov 24, 2016 1:43 pm

Yes, we are painfully aware of the issues you mention. tp was created and originally propagated by North Americans and much of that culture seeped in, even unintentionally. Once there started to be people from other regions (antipodeans especially for the North/South thing), criticism and attempts at corrections followed, but so far most of these have failed to gain headway against 15 years of entrenched usage. The left/right issue somehow missed being "settled" and so is the focus of most of the continuing discussion. It is relevant to at least the North/South issue, since East and West are pretty clearly settled (well, not the exact wording but the concept "where the sun rises/sets") and North and South are then just on the left and right sides once we decide which way to face (rising sun seems favored). I admit that there hasn't been a lot of discussion about 'tenpo seli' and 'tenpo lete', since we seem to be short on folks from tropical or Arctic areas and the Antipodeans seem to have just decided that there Summer comes in January -- and we tend to think that tropical countries just don't have Winters at all. That is, "winter" is a climatic description, not a calendric division, which may take another expression, if it has any actual significance.
I admit that 'poka open' is not clear on first hearing, but, like most idioms, it grows on you. And it has the advantage (let's suppose) of not denigrating anyone for a change, Note: 'luka wawa' is still a put-down to lefties. It also is about something universal in tp culture (a rarity), even in countries where the Latin script is not otherwise common (though hardly unfamiliar).

janpona120
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Re: Left and Right

Postby janpona120 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:43 am

There is still one correlation -- an intuitive and a logic semi-spheres of a brain. An intuitive mind is a feminine style of thinking. A logic mind is a masculine style of thinking. Because of the left semi-sphere is logic and "control" a right hand, therefore the right hand/side is "mije" luka/poka. The left hand/side is "meli" luka/poka.

ona li jo e kili lon luka meli e ilo kipisi lon luka mije

janKipo
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Re: Left and Right

Postby janKipo » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:57 am

Well, while the brain side and the hand side are correlated as indicated, the rest of the parallelism doesn't work in fact. The left side is not consistently more "logical" (in any of several possible meanings of that term) nor the right more intuitive. Nor are either the brain sides nor logic/intuitive well correlated with gender (or sex or whatever else you want). So this plan fails as badly as the rest that seek to find external, physical connections with handedness. While it is not ideal, perhaps, the writing direction suggestion is the least obnoxious and most reality baed of the proposals so far (in 15 years).

JBowser
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Re: Left and Right

Postby JBowser » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:49 pm

Maybe I read too many books, but when I ran into the problem of left and right, my mind immediately jumped to nautical terms.

For Right: Starboard -- poka suno
for Left: Port -- poka pini

I must admit, though, that I am not certain what would be the best expression for port. If you have any good ideas, please post them.
Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.

janKipo
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Re: Left and Right

Postby janKipo » Thu Jun 29, 2017 6:10 pm

It's not too clear what "port" means in terms of a ship: the place going to ('poka tawa') seems likely but doesn't suggest why that is on one side rather than the other, and so on. As for "starboard", that is from "steerboard", the side where the steering oar was before there were rudders in the middle, so 'pona lawa' comes to mind.
But, as it turns out, the one cultural universal of tp, the Latin writing system, gives the standard (though, admittedly, not universally accepted) names for "left" and "right", 'open' and 'pini', where the writing begins and where it ends.

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janTepanNetaPelin
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Re: Left and Right

Postby janTepanNetaPelin » Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:30 pm

toki,

I would experiment with "the side of the heart" and "the main side":

* poka pilin = left
* poka lawa = right

mi tawa.
jan Tepan: "o pilin pona o pu!"
https://github.com/stefichjo/toki-pona

janKipo
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Re: Left and Right

Postby janKipo » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:28 pm

Overtime these often suggested moves have been brought up they run into left-handedness and rightheartedness and are rejected. The questionable relation between pilin and ilo pi tawa pi telo loje is also a problem.

The 'open/pini' writing scheme has none of these problems. It does not, alas, provide an easy solution for the "north/south" issue, since the obvious extensions involve words that already have directional uses.


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