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Verb vs. Predicate

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:38 am
by jan_Lope
The static verb "to be" does not exist in Toki Pona.
Therefore not only verbs but also nouns and adjectives can be used as a predicate.

So without the static verb "to be" declarative sentences without a verb are possible in Toki Pona.
In the official Toki Pona book Sonja forms declarative sentences completely without verbs in the first four lessons. That declarative sentences cannot contain verbs is unusual for many people.

In Toki Pona, declarative sentences consist of one subject phrase and one or more predicate phrases.
The purpose of the predicate is to complete an idea about the subject. In many languages, the predicate is formed by a verb. Thus many people think a verb and a predicate is the same. But, in Russian you can also form sentences that do not contain a verb.

As we have seen above, in Toki Pona a verb is not always necessary to form a predicate.
Some people confuse the terms verb and predicate. They think that a noun or an adjective becomes a verb. This is neither logical nor necessary. The meaning would change as a result.
The fact is that many Toki Pona words are possible in different word types. However, the meaning differs depending on the type of the word.
For example:

ona li pona.

"pona" is the predicate here and can be a verb, noun or adjective here.
- The transitive verb "pona" means "to improve", "to fix", "to repair" or "to make good".
- The noun "pona" means "good", "simplicity" or "positivity".
- The adjective "pona" means "ood", "simple", "positive", "nice", "correct" or "right".

As can easily be seen, the meaning of the sentence changes when the verb "pona" is used instead of the noun "pona" as the predicate.
ona li pona. - It is the good. (The noun "pona is used.)
ona li pona. - It is fixing. (The verb "pona" is used.)

So if only verbs were allowed as a predicate, many statements would not be possible in Toki Pona.
It would also contradict the official Toki Pona book (see the first four lessons).

Re: Verb vs. Predicate

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:30 am
by jan_Lope

As we have seen, Toki pona sentences are ambiguous if one cannot determine whether the predicate is a verb, a noun or a noun. For example:

ona li pona. - pona as transitive verb: It is fixing.
ona li pona. - pona as noun: It is the good thing.
ona li pona. - pona as adjective: It is good.

If the word type cannot be clearly recognized from the context, the sentence can be supplemented.

ona li pona e ijo. - pona can only be a transitive verb here: It is fixing something.

ona li pona pi jan ali. - pona can only be a noun here: It is the all people good thing.

It is probably not possible to clearly mark a predicate as an adjective (Please see viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2711 )

An Intransitive Verb as Predicate

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 6:31 am
by jan_Lope

As we have seen, transitive verbs and predicate nouns can be distinguished by adding words. However, predicate adjectives cannot be clearly identified. But can an intransitive verb be uniquely identified as such?
Let's look at the following example:

ona li kon. - kon as transitive verb: It is blowing.
ona li kon. - kon as intransitive verb: It is breathing.
ona li kon. - kon as noun: It is air.
ona li kon. - kon as adjective: It is air-like.

If we only want to allow the intransitive verb "kon" here, we can't add an "e" as it is done with transitive verbs. That sentence wouldn't mean "It is breathing."

How can one extend this sentence that "kon" can only be an intransitive verb?

BTW: You can use the Toki Pona Parser to find grammatical variants of a sentence.

Other no-copula languages - Russian

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:20 am
by jan_Lope

Russian is also a no-copula language like Toki Pona. However, one can recognize the word type by the endings of the words. For example

I'm working. - Я работаю.
I'm worker. - Я рабочий.

The word root (рабо) is the same. But the ends of the words are different. The word end -таю identifies a verb (1st person). The word end -чий identifies a noun. In the first sentence, a verb forms the predicate. In the second sentence, a noun forms the predicate and a verb is not present, since Russian is a no-copula language. The predicate (i.e. the sentence statement) is grammatically unambiguous here.

In Toki Pona, a word does not change when used as a verb or noun. That's why in Toki Pona the predicate is often grammatically ambiguous. Due to the fact that sentence statements are often ambiguous, texts in Toki Pona are often more difficult to understand.

Re: Verb vs. Predicate

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:38 pm
by jan Ne
Mandarin Chinese is another example of a language that uses zero copula. And it is similar to toki pona in that it doesn’t mark whether a word is an adjective or verb etc. For example:
tā hěn hǎo
“He very good” (He is good)

Because the word is not marked as an adjective or a verb, most linguists analyze it as being a type of intransitive verb even though when used before a word it functions as an adjective.