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Is "li ala li" grammatically correct?

Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:07 am
by janU
It looks like the way of asking questions is similar to one way you can in Chinese.
是不是
可不可以

So is li ala li something you could say in toki pona?

Re: Is "li ala li" grammatically correct?

Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:20 pm
by janKipo
No. ‘li’ is merely a marker of the boundary between subject and predicate and has no content, so can’t be joined in this way. Further, a second ‘li’ could only appear after a predicate occurred (Well, ‘ala’ is a possible predicate, but not intended as one here.
The short version of the rule about ‘ala’ questions in tp is that ‘ala’ is inserted between the verb (head of a predicate) and a repetition of the same word, ‘x ala x’. There are some deviations from this but all involve the patern ‘x ala x’ and x can't be ‘li’. (The pattern is probably borrowed from Chinese but appears to be the opposite structure, as I understand it: Ch: x (ala x), tp (x ala) x.)