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The riddle-ish aspect of toki pona :D - Toki Pona Forums

The riddle-ish aspect of toki pona :D

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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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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)

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

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

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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)

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

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

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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
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(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

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

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

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

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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