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Toki Pona Forums • Left and Right
Page 1 of 2

Left and Right

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:09 am
by jan Andrei Nikolaew
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.

Re: Left and Right

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:38 pm
by janKipo
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.

Re: Left and Right

Posted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:54 pm
by jan Andrei Nikolaew

Re: Left and Right

Posted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 1:43 pm
by janKipo
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).

Re: Left and Right

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:43 am
by janpona120
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.


Re: Left and Right

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:57 am
by janKipo
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).

Re: Left and Right

Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:49 pm
by JBowser
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.

Re: Left and Right

Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 6:10 pm
by janKipo
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.

Re: Left and Right

Posted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:30 pm
by janTepanNetaPelin
toki,

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

* poka pilin = left
* poka lawa = right

mi tawa.

Re: Left and Right

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:28 pm
by janKipo
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.