The riddle-ish aspect of toki pona :D

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
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somehowGeekyPolyglot
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The riddle-ish aspect of toki pona :D

Postby somehowGeekyPolyglot » Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:06 am

Hi everyone,
my name is SomehowGeekyPolyglot, and this is my first post.

For some time, I have been pondering on how exactly to use toki pona for this purpose:
Talking with someone about something the other person isn't entirely familiar with.
You know... cases where there isn't too much context yet that can aid disambiguation.
A toki pona speaker whom I know a bit told me that (at least sometimes) this very
ambiguity is there by design.

It simply exists because there are just approximately 130 (?) words in this language. And that makes sense to me, too. Still, because I'd really like toki pona to be one of the languages I am actively able to speak (and this would require some prior learning of course, but I love the idea of learning just any language as long as there is a good reason), maybe you could tell me anything about how to use it without that, you know, riddle-ish aspect.

Below, there is a text I wrote some time ago. Because I shared it with some of those who do not all necessarily speak tona pona or even know about it, I also explained a bit what this language is all about.

----------------------------------------------------

Toki pona is a constructed language containing less than 150 words.
Many of them have got multiple and very broad-scope meanings.

For the purpose of expressing more complex ideas, compound words are used.
So alcohol for example (mentioning it for language purposes only) would be called "crazy water". But of course this is (by design) vague to a certain extent.

There are some aspects of toki pona I really appreciate. It's just that at many times, reading anything written in it can have a major "riddle" aspect.

This is an explanatory example of a toki pona text (written in very simple English, and one wouldn't necessarily express it in toki pona the very, very same way, although the underlying idea still is the same).

"Today I eat some food. Its color is green red. I also drink some drink. It is nice. It is hot. Hot food made the drink. I go somewhere. A place with trees. Nice animal move".

These are some possible interpretations of that example.

"Today I eat some food. Its color is green red." --> Anything with a brown color [toki pona doesn't contain a specific word for it, instead, green and red are combined], it could be bread, chocolate, biscuits, or anything else.

"I also drink some drink. It is nice. It is hot. Hot food made the drink." --> Here, at least there is a high probability of that drink being tea. But what remains is which tea it was. Was it the one that literally and primarily is called tea? Or was it anything that is called tea in a broader sense, while not being the black or green one? And if yes, what was it? There are countless possibilities.

But it also could have been hot chocolate, coffee, guarana, or possibly even hot milk...

"I go somewhere. A place with trees." --> Park? Forrest? Any other place where there are some trees?

"Nice animal move". --> Squirrel? Cat? Bird?

But there also are many other possible interpretations. So I wonder if there is a way to use toki pona without that "riddle" solving aspect. I.e. to simply communicate. And I do know that this question is a difficult one, it even is more difficult than it seems at first glance.
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jan_Lope
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Re: The riddle-ish aspect of toki pona :D

Postby jan_Lope » Mon Nov 19, 2018 4:13 am

toki!

Welcome to the world of Toki Pona!

It is not the goal of Toki Pona to describe complex issues. Dissertations and scientific papers will never written in Toki Pona. Lawyers, bureaucrats, theologians and politicians are be warned of the side-effect of this language.
It is not he aim of Toki Pona to solve the communication problems in the world. Toki Pona is easy in an intelligent way and yoga for the brain. People who hate nested subordinate clauses and commas will certainly have fun with Toki Pona.

Because the language has such a small vocabulary and is so basic, the ambiguity is inevitable. However, this vagueness is not necessarily a bad thing. Because of the vagueness, a speaker of Toki Pona is forced to focus on the very basic, unaltered aspect of things, rather than focusing on many minute details.

Toki Pona is actively used for communication. But there will always be a certain "riddle" solving aspect. That's the attraction. By the way, natural languages are often ambiguous. This can be used e.g. for word games.

pona!
pona!
jan Lope
https://jan-lope.github.io
(Lessons and the Toki Pona Parser - A tool for spelling, grammar check and ambiguity check of Toki Pona)

On my foe list are the sockpuppets janKipo and janSilipu because of permanent spamming.

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Re: The riddle-ish aspect of toki pona :D

Postby somehowGeekyPolyglot » Mon Nov 19, 2018 4:57 am

jan_Lope wrote:toki!

Welcome to the world of Toki Pona!


Thank you for the welcome person Lope :).

It is not the goal of Toki Pona to describe complex issues.


Sure. This is what I also read in jan Sonja's book, even if there were some parts I only skimmed through. But there is also another aspect I have thought of. Sometimes, people could communicate with each other through any other language (like English), and then add some more words in toki pona. That way, an additional context could be provided.


Because the language has such a small vocabulary and is so basic, the ambiguity is inevitable. However, this vagueness is not necessarily a bad thing. Because of the vagueness, a speaker of Toki Pona is forced to focus on the very basic, unaltered aspect of things, rather than focusing on many minute details.


Now things start to become a bit more clear to myself once again.
So... maybe the "Typical Toki Pona Speaker" wouldn't always even want to tell others in the first place what exactly he ate, but only that he already did eat some food, so they wouldn't need to cook some more when he visits them, for example.

Toki Pona is actively used for communication. But there will always be a certain "riddle" solving aspect. That's the attraction. By the way, natural languages are often ambiguous. This can be used e.g. for word games.


Sure, anything said using a natural language can cause some misunderstandings from time to time.

And now things start to get even more interesting.

Because toki pona's ambiguity cannot entirely be removed, no matter how many additional explanations in toki pona follow, does that also mean that people speaking it aren't as easily, for example, offended, as some other speakers of natural languages?

I for one plainly love a large number of languages, and toki pona is one of the few constructed ones that "even" captured my interest. But there is something that I have been observing too often... some people, no matter if they talk to each other in English, German (my native language), French or others, would sometimes jump to conclusions very quickly. (Not telling you anything new.)

They sometimes, sadly, do even say things like,
"It isn't even possible for your words to convey any different meaning, other than the one I perceive, and this very meaning simply is a plain offense. In addition to the fact that it also is Entirely Clear and Knowing Through Basic Common Sense that no sane person could even be under the impression of those words meaning anything else. Because of that, you, too, definitely were aware of your words being offensive, but you still said them".

So it seems to me that toki pona even is one out of several ways to prevent causing that impression to others. (Even if they, too, should do something about it :)).
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Re: The riddle-ish aspect of toki pona :D

Postby jan_Lope » Mon Nov 19, 2018 5:34 am

toki!

ken la toki pona li ' pona, tawa sina.

Since unambiguity is not Toki Pona's primary goal, the reader/listener is more likely to accept unclear statements than in other languages. Toki Pona is the opposite of "Beamtendeutsch". Toki Pona can be a kind of pun and stimulates the imagination.

Hier findest du Toki Pona Lektionen
https://jan-lope.github.io/Toki_Pona_Lektionen_Deutsch/

pona!
pona!
jan Lope
https://jan-lope.github.io
(Lessons and the Toki Pona Parser - A tool for spelling, grammar check and ambiguity check of Toki Pona)

On my foe list are the sockpuppets janKipo and janSilipu because of permanent spamming.

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Re: The riddle-ish aspect of toki pona :D

Postby somehowGeekyPolyglot » Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:49 am

toki! :)

jan_Lope wrote:ken la toki pona li ' pona, tawa sina.


Mi toki e toki pona lili.
Sina toki e toki pona mute.
Mi wile kama sono.

(But that doesn't mean that I would ask anybody for hints how to do so :). I already was a bit more fluent in it than today, this was when I took a closer look at it. And it really is incredibly easy to learn).

jan_Lope wrote:Since unambiguity is not Toki Pona's primary goal, the reader/listener is more likely to accept unclear statements than in other languages.


Now that is really good news. Some people, such as myself, are always looking for even more Communication Bigger Mosaic Stones. And this can be one of them. Of course toki pona isn't the only way to avoid causing the impression of offense (and to avoid other people's verbal reactions to such an impression), but I'd say that it really is one of the ways of doing so.

Do you know why this matters to me personally? Because I am a person with neurodiversity. Not at all similar to Rainman / Kim Peak. And also (for those of you who are unfamiliar with it) it isn't anything I would consider a disease or even close. To me, it simply is another type of being. If those without neurodiversity were the minority, and then some "of us" would call them mentally ill just because of not having neurodiversity, I would vehemently disagree with them.

So because of sometimes having some "non-standard" patterns of behavior, we communicate (in certain situations) differently than the "average person". Needless to say that not everyone perceives that the same way, and there can be many misunderstandings (which I would consider something where both people meeting half-way would be a better solution than simply both of them blaming the other for everything......).

And there has been a recent example related to a certain forum (that I am not at all naming, not even mentioning its first letter). I used to post there for two days, but then I got banned without any official "cease and desist" warning, or at least without any warning I could recognize as such. What's more, this forum was even one of those run by people with neurodiversity, and mainly intended for "ourselves". It all happened because of a major two-way misunderstanding. So I can imagine that if I would have had the very same conversation that was the reason (?) for my ban in toki pona, it wouldn't even been possible in the first place for anyone to cause such a major misunderstanding on both sides.

jan_Lope wrote:Toki Pona is the opposite of "Beamtendeutsch". Toki Pona can be a kind of pun and stimulates the imagination.

Hier findest du Toki Pona Lektionen
https://jan-lope.github.io/Toki_Pona_Lektionen_Deutsch/

pona!


If it is the opposite of "Beamtendeutsch", then that's a pleasant surprise I guess ;).
And as for the lessons, they were among the resources I looked at when I tried to learn toki pona the first time (but then I stopped because at that time, unlike today, I didn't find a purpose for doing so in my personal life). And I do intend to re-visit these resources in the not-at-all-distant future.

pona!
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Re: The riddle-ish aspect of toki pona :D

Postby jan_Lope » Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:02 am

All people are different in thinking and acting. But one should try to understand each other. Sometimes it is not easy but it is necessary.

Jeder soll nach seiner Façon selig werden.
Friedrich II., König von Preußen
pona!
jan Lope
https://jan-lope.github.io
(Lessons and the Toki Pona Parser - A tool for spelling, grammar check and ambiguity check of Toki Pona)

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Re: The riddle-ish aspect of toki pona :D

Postby jan_Lope » Tue Nov 20, 2018 5:15 am

somehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:toki! :)

Mi toki e toki pona lili.
Sina toki e toki pona mute.
Mi wile kama sono.


toki!

maybe better is:

mi toki lili e toki pona. (or: mi toki lili, kepeken toki pona. ) lili is an adverb here.
sina toki mute e toki pona.
mi wile kama sona.

The first letter in the sentence is not capitalized.

BTW: You can check the spelling and grammar of your Toki Pona sentences with this Toki Pona parser:
https://jan-lope.github.io/Toki_Pona-Parser/

Also you can use twitter to talk Toki Pona:
https://twitter.com/hashtag/tokipona?f= ... t&src=hash
https://twitter.com/jan__Lope

pona!
pona!
jan Lope
https://jan-lope.github.io
(Lessons and the Toki Pona Parser - A tool for spelling, grammar check and ambiguity check of Toki Pona)

On my foe list are the sockpuppets janKipo and janSilipu because of permanent spamming.

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Re: The riddle-ish aspect of toki pona :D

Postby somehowGeekyPolyglot » Tue Nov 20, 2018 6:55 am

jan_Lope wrote:toki!

maybe better is:

mi toki lili e toki pona. (or: mi toki lili, kepeken toki pona. ) lili is an adverb here.
sina toki mute e toki pona.
mi wile kama sona.


toki!

Just quoted you in my Pen and Paper Multi-Language Book :).


BTW: You can check the spelling and grammar of your Toki Pona sentences with this Toki Pona parser:
https://jan-lope.github.io/Toki_Pona-Parser/


Are you able to fluently "speak" whatever programming language you used to write it? I mean, without looking up the vocabulary (coding statements like if/then/else) and the grammar (i.e. syntax)?

Side-note only about Twitter: I never have used it, and also I am not on Facebook and similar sites :). As I said, side-note only because of wanting to reply to what you wrote.

pona!
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Re: The riddle-ish aspect of toki pona :D

Postby jan_Lope » Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:47 am

somehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:Are you able to fluently "speak" whatever programming language you used to write it? I mean, without looking up the vocabulary (coding statements like if/then/else) and the grammar (i.e. syntax)?

Side-note only about Twitter: I never have used it, and also I am not on Facebook and similar sites :). As I said, side-note only because of wanting to reply to what you wrote.


toki!

There are certainly better programmers than me. I wrote the parser in Prolog (Programming in Logic). In Prolog you define and name the rules yourself. So I had to remember my own rules. The rules can also be read relatively well without programming knowledge. The script that contains the grammatical rules can be seen here:

https://github.com/jan-Lope/Toki_Pona-P ... -rules.pro

A comment line begins with %. I have added many comments and Toki Pona examples. At the beginning the structure of Toki Pona paragraphs and the structure of the different Toki Pona sentence types is defined. Then parts of sentences (subject phrases, predicate phrases, ...) are defined. Then the use of substantives, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, etc. is defined. The rules "removing_extraneous_tree_nodes_*" is only for a better visualization.


I don't use Facebook. Anyone who knows a little about data protection will know why.

pona!
pona!
jan Lope
https://jan-lope.github.io
(Lessons and the Toki Pona Parser - A tool for spelling, grammar check and ambiguity check of Toki Pona)

On my foe list are the sockpuppets janKipo and janSilipu because of permanent spamming.


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