toki! anyone has texts about Toki Pona?

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Kodret
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Re: toki! anyone has texts about Toki Pona?

Postby Kodret » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:47 pm

It is not just any paper... this is an essay from about 3000 words (THE essay), and I've checked the guide, we can't have anecdotal evidence, or source things anyone can write or edit (wikipedia).

[please note that the following is mostly just random thoughts]

If it helped jan Sonja, and probably more people, how did it help? You just start to think in a language that somehow forces you to know yourself better? I believe we lose ourselves in the world we live in, and to know who you are, and what you want, are the way of getting a purpose for your life (Toki Pona is really subjective, as far as I can see, and in my short experience, it forces me to say my opinion). People are usually depressed because they think they're meaningless, and don't have a purpose, but that purpose is in each person, so, with Toki Pona, you can find it, and you learn to be dependant of your own opinion. You end up knowing yourself better.
Wouldn't the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis be applied to this? If you don't have a name for it, you can't think too much about it. If you don't have enough words to express objectivity, you can't think in an objective way. You learn to say "I want this" instead of "This could be good".

Then again, I'm just starting to get involved with this (not only toki pona, but also language theory). So, I could be wrong anywhere, hence the sentence in [].

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Re: toki! anyone has texts about Toki Pona?

Postby janMato » Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:58 am

Kodret wrote:It is not just any paper... this is an essay from about 3000 words (THE essay), and I've checked the guide, we can't have anecdotal evidence, or source things anyone can write or edit (wikipedia).


Huh? Just because the teacher doesn't like wikipedia doesn't mean you need to throw out all sources. Outside of the LA Times article and maybe jan Sonja's own writings, everything else is just writings by fans--on par with material in the wikipedia article. Moreover, what is true and what is false concerning statements about a conlang are rather fuzzy. There isn't an authority on the matter and the most likely authority is too busy to make rulings. Unlike Klingon, toki pona has very little canonical material-- the material that one could point to and say, "there that settles that argument."

Kodret wrote:If it helped jan Sonja, and probably more people, how did it help?

Anecdotally, the patient reported being happier. We don't know why. I speculate that studying a foreign language is a neural kick to the head that encourages neurotrophy to offset the hypotrophy that occurs in some types of depression. Oh snap, wikipedia. Because toki pona can sort of be understood and produced in a few months, it would be a more practical solution that studying a natural language for therapeutic effect because learning say, Chinese, is a huge undertaking-- 500-2000 hours of work, not a reasonable prescription for someone who is to depressed to do much.

From my personal experience, all I've noticed is that using toki pona makes me see more polysemy when reading English-- a linguistic effect, not a mood effect, not a philosophical effect either.

Kodret wrote:People are usually depressed because they think they're meaningless, and don't have a purpose

That's just being unhappy. Depression isn't just vague misgiving about your job or current personal situation. Depression is where nothing is fun anymore and you have this crushing sense of inertia where you just don't want to do anything and nothing looks appealing. You are however touching on the Taoism bit of toki pona. Taoism is a suitable way of solving the problems of unhappiness due to a crappy job or an unrewarding home life. I think the link between tp and daoism got started because tp is so highly polysemous that even simple sentences about ordinary life look opaque as Tao Te Ching. In my opinion, toki pona is actually highly unsuited for talking about Taoism...right now. Someday toki pona will have community accepted words for wrath, integrity, test, compassion and so on, but right now translating subtle abstractions into toki pona is like translating the famous "I have only blood sweat and tears to give my country" into Basic English yielding, "I have only various bodily fluids to give my country," which just isn't the same.

Kodret wrote:You end up knowing yourself better.

You will learn what biases you have when building word phrases-- what sort of qualities of a thing stand out. But in my case, I'm not sure what to do with fact that I create noun phrases sometimes using country of origin of the item, visual qualities, etc. And some other person might think that geometric shapes are relevant. The tp examples would be lipu, supa, linja and palisa-- floppy thin flat thing, flat thing, wavy line, straight line. I tend not to use these too often, I suspect Navajo speakers would be biased towards using them a lot-- which wouldn't really say much about the individual but it would point out that Navajo organizes the world into geometric shapes and what not.

I've seen it implied that the the phrase you use to coin "thank you"/"your welcome" in toki pona etc are some sort of window into the mind, but I'm not sure.

o tawa poka lon jan sewi. Good-bye. This implies that I must be somehow religious, but mostly just means I remember that goodbye is a contraction of god be with you
mi tawa. This sounds awfully rude to me. But it's also one of the more common ways to say goodbye, and it just means you aren't coining polite phrases, but just repeating ones you've seen elsewhere.

So if you want to conduct a quick experiment, you'd translate, "Please accept my sincere condolences to your family" A typical first attempt will likely sound rather rude and uncaring, more likely because it's hard to convey the sense without getting really really verbose or omitting so much that it means something else, maybe something even hostile sounding!

Kodret wrote:Wouldn't the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis be applied to this? If you don't have a name for it, you can't think too much about it.

In toki pona, you can't speak unless you rapidly coin never before seen phrases that more or less correspond to compound words. Mostly on this forum, this is hard because the community has some standards of elegance-- compounds should be somewhat transparent, should follow precedent, shouldn't be loan words, and are like chemin-de-fer (which is a compound word, but it also is a phrase). If calling phrases compound words is distressing, the other word for the phenomenon is "Periphrasis". The idea had to exist before the word, or else you couldn't coin the phrase.

Kodret wrote:If you don't have enough words to express objectivity, you can't think in an objective way. You learn to say "I want this" instead of "This could be good".

I think in the right context either one of those could be fine.
mi wile e ni. (Points at apple.)
ni li ken pona. (Points at apple).

Kodret wrote:So, I could be wrong anywhere, hence the sentence in [].

Well, without empirical evidence, we're all just shooting the breeze.

mi tawa tan ni. mi pilin wawa e lape. lape li moku e mi.

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jan Ote
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Re: toki! anyone has texts about Toki Pona?

Postby jan Ote » Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:23 am

janMato wrote:mi tawa. This sounds awfully rude to me. But it's also one of the more common ways to say goodbye, and it just means you aren't coining polite phrases, but just repeating ones you've seen elsewhere.

So if you want to conduct a quick experiment, you'd translate, "Please accept my sincere condolences to your family" A typical first attempt will likely sound rather rude and uncaring, more likely because it's hard to convey the sense without getting really really verbose or omitting so much that it means something else, maybe something even hostile sounding!
My first attempt is: mi pilin e moli mije sina.
Just to emphasize my thesis below:
Wikipedia: Politeness wrote:the practical application of good manners or etiquette. It is a culturally defined phenomenon, and therefore what is considered polite in one culture can sometimes be quite rude or simply strange in another cultural context.
Wikipedia: Manners wrote:the unenforced standards of conduct which show the actor that you are proper, polite, and refined. They are like laws in that they codify or set a standard for human behavior[...]
Wikipedia: Etiquette wrote:a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group.

Politeness is in fact an artificial formal way of communicating in social interactions. In a language it's a customary set of phrases and expressions: we have to know 'the code' to use it. But using it, we don't genuinely express our own feelings by our own words, but just use a formula. Therefore it is far from natural expressions of our feelings.
jan Sonja, What is Toki Pona? wrote:Because of this, as a speaker, you rely a lot on context to interpret what is going on. You become connected to the world around you. Instead of detaching yourself from the direct experience of life with abstract and complex concepts, you learn to listen to people and directly connect to your surroundings.
[...]In our modern times, we seem to make life so complicated, and it is easy to lose touch with our basic origins. [...]When you break down a complex situation to its fundamental Toki Pona words, it can often become more clear[...]

Could be, toki pona could be helpfull in some disorders of communication skills and social interactions, when communicating with people having difficulty understanding nonliteral language, conventions, idioms, figurative speech.

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Re: toki! anyone has texts about Toki Pona?

Postby janMato » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:16 am

jan Ote wrote:My first attempt is: mi pilin e moli mije sina.

Let me emphasize that I think you're a nice guy and wouldn't say "I thought through/thought over your husband's death", although that is one reading. To read from context, I have to already have made up my mind about what I think you'd say in that context. What good is communication if I need to have in part already made up my mind in advance?

The quotes from wikipedia are spot on. I agree 100%. Polite speech is agreed upon in advance, not generated on the spot. There must be some advantage to this because it is such a common way of dealing with polite speech. Sincerity is conveyed by other means-- tone of voice and what not. The listener to a completely novel polite phrase (even if more situationally appropriate than the canned equivalent!) would still need decide if the speaker was lying, insincere, etc.

Instead of detaching yourself from the direct experience of life with abstract and complex concepts, you learn to listen to people and directly connect to your surroundings.

At least in the Zen Buddhist tradition, you're supposed to experience the world directly by ignoring or not using words altogether. So even the last 125 words would be a barrier to direct experience.

Could be, toki pona could be helpfull in some disorders of communication skills and social interactions, when communicating with people having difficulty understanding nonliteral language, conventions, idioms, figurative speech.

Intriguing! Sounds like you are talking about autism. People with autism have an especially difficult time creating a mental model of what is going on in the minds of other people. Understanding language by context is a sort of mind reading. I'm still skeptical that toki pona production is a window into the mind, toki pona interpretation probably is a window into the mind.

mi tawa = good bye. It also means, I'm going--maybe permanently because I'm mad, hence all the formulae that are based on "see you later", "until we meet again", etc. mi tawa doesn't say anything about how permanent the situation is, leaving up to the listener to be a good mind reader, or failing that to be prejudiced.
sina pilin ike. mi wile ni. sina pilin pona. "Get well soon". Actually both the English and the toki pona literally sound like orders, implying the sick person can do something about his illness. The English phrase is polite by convention and is unlikely to be misunderstood as a hostile remark. The toki pona is even more ambiguous than that-- it also means, "You think complicatedly, I want you (to think complicatedly), you are thinking correctly" or "You're feeling sick. I want this (that you feel sick). You're enjoying (it)" Now that the sentence contains utterly contradictory readings, they must be resolved by context, ie. mind reading or having already made up ones mind about the other person. If one already thinks the other person is a jerk at the bedside to rub salt in the wounds, then they'll be eager to interpret the sentence as hostile malice.

An autistic person would probably be bemused by these situations. However, when the ambiguity can be resolved by discarding the interpretations that rely only on visual sight-- mi pona = I'm fine, I'm repairing, I suspect the autistic would have no problem observing that the speaker doesn't have a tools or evidence of something broken to be repaired and is probably fine-- that doesn't require a theory of mind at all.

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Re: toki! anyone has texts about Toki Pona?

Postby jan Ote » Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:21 pm

janMato wrote:Let me emphasize that I think you're a nice guy and wouldn't say "I thought through/thought over your husband's death", although that is one reading.
The main meaning of 'pilin' is 'to feel':
nimi ale wrote:pilin
n feelings, emotion, heart
vi feel
vt feel, think, sense, touch
There is an official idiom:
pilin/Feelings wrote:pilin e moli jan -- to mourn somebody
Feeling/thinking are so close in toki pona, that it's a one word. Anyway, the context determines the meaning, as you noticed.

When we put aside a politeness code (which is a culture-specific code, not any universal human politeness code!), what could we say? What is 'condolences' any way? What do we really say by saying this? We express feelings of sympathy with a person who has experienced grief. So it is a 'co-feeling'. In a gatherers community we could say "I feel sad/sorry because your sadness of the death of your relative", "I feel your sorrow". Or say nothing (English language doesn't have a very useful verb here -- FR: taire, RU: молчать, PL: milczeć).

janMato wrote:To read from context, I have to already have made up my mind about what I think you'd say in that context. What good is communication if I need to have in part already made up my mind in advance?
Every human language is context dependent. Toki pona just requires more. It's purposely designed for a very aware, attentive listening and talking. Let me repeat the quote
janSonja wrote:you rely a lot on context to interpret what is going on. [...] you learn to listen to people and directly connect to your surroundings.


janMato wrote:People with autism have an especially difficult time creating a mental model of what is going on in the minds of other people. Understanding language by context is a sort of mind reading.
It requires less mind reading than talking in natural language like English. Toki pona forces a speaker to not use 'a language-culture specific code':
Some examples of his "differences" are that he has a hard time with slang and idiom - he wonders why people don't just say what they mean rather than use a saying. Example: in the testing period, the paediatrician asked him what he would do if his teacher told him he needed to pull up his socks in class. My son's hands automatically crept down to his ankles - to pull up his socks! He also questioned the paed as to what he would do if he wasn't wearing any socks at the time.
Toki pona doesn't have hundreds and thousands of idioms, formal and informal language codes. It's simple and forces a simple, direct way of speaking -- in toki pona this dialogue wouldn't happen:
- Would you like to give me a fork?
- Yes, I would like.
- Err, will you give me a fork?
- Yes, I will.
- Oh my! Give me a fork.

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Re: toki! anyone has texts about Toki Pona?

Postby jan-ante » Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:05 pm

Kodret wrote:It's a long work, so I'll probably mention some of toki pona applications, like the ones you listed.

for the 1st 3 positions you can find some information here

the 4th point was indirectly mentioned by jan Josan (as translated from Tommazo Landolfi). here you can also bring some exapmles of translation to tp. many people like to mention "jan lawa lili" from jan Fridman, but i do not recommend this as it has multiple mistakes caused by his misunderstanding of transitive verbs and separator e. i recommend you Gilgamesh story translated by jan Ote. it was checked and criticised by jan Kipo, me and probably other people. this somehow guarantees the quality. you can compare spanish and tp version and discuss it critically
also you can use toki suli Intenasijonale in the simliar manner, but only if your teacher supports Evo Hugo and Fidel. do not do this if he supports separatists of oil-rich provinces of you contry. the Inenasijonale is suitable as it is short and you can directly compare spanish version, tp version and literal tp-to-spanish translation, right in your 3000-word review.

as for the suggestion of jan Mato, i do not recommend. the idea is too speculative. also, the bliss system was proven to be good for the goals in question. but tp has no chaces to beat bliss, as the latter involves right hemisphere, contralaterally to the hemisphere of speach. so, from a priory reasoning it does not worth to try

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Re: toki! anyone has texts about Toki Pona?

Postby janKipo » Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:36 pm

Backing up a bit, I see that I have left out my screed about Sapir-Whorf, the most misunderstood (I'd say "misread" except that it appears no one has read the stuff) theory in Linguistics (and all the hyphenated derivatives). Point one -- to the discussion above: It has nothing (or almost nothing) to do with vocabulary. Whorf talks a bit in various places about how words mislead us (exploding "empty" gas cans) but that is more basic observation than part of the Hypothesis (which neither he nor Sapir every formulate explicitly and succinctly). So, point 2: it is about grammar and grammatical categories. As such, tp is not going to make much of an interesting test, since it has the usual SAE categories in use (in Langue, of course, it has rather different categories, but as in Lojban, they come down to the same chunks and glue in Parole). SAE is about discrete objects that have properties and perform actions (which performances are also objects with properties, similarly the properties themselves). This is thought to be reflected in every aspect of culture, though exactly what counts is harder to see -- modern science is certainly in as a prime example. This all determines/influences/is reflected in the metaphysics and epistemology of the culture ("determines" can go right away, since Processism, for example, is expressed perfectly well -- if bewilderingly -- in English and Sanskrit, among others). I've never seen a formulation of SWH that made an empirically testable hypothesis and was not either false on its face or tautological.

On culture. We are building one, at least the linguistic part of it. If we decree that 'o pana e ilo tawa mi' is polite, then it will be, o matter how rude its literal translation into English (etc.) may be. Similarly, 'mi pilin e moli pi meli sina' is polite, since we say it is (Oh, tell me that the 'pi' for "about" lesson isn't really there!). And, as we make up new phrases for new situations, we are building the basis for further phrases, a cache of metaphor from which other metaphors will spring. Which is why I want to see metaphors thought through to keep from having ugly one proliferate.

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Re: toki! anyone has texts about Toki Pona?

Postby janMato » Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:17 pm

jan Ote wrote:Toki pona doesn't have hundreds and thousands of idioms, formal and informal language codes. It's simple and forces a simple, direct way of speaking -- in toki pona this dialogue wouldn't happen:
- Would you like to give me a fork?
- Yes, I would like.
- Err, will you give me a fork?
- Yes, I will.
- Oh my! Give me a fork.


This is one sentence having 3 realizations (approval, plan, command). In toki pona, we got this and worse.

mi wile e telo nasa. I want beer. I want hard liquor. I want mustard and mayo mixed with peppers.

Worse, if all three are on the menu, both the well meaning person and the uncooperative person could pick any three of these. And double worse, sometimes the list of possilbe alternatives is so long that in rapid speech you don't even realize some of the meanings are plausible in the situation. When all that is at stake is ordering at the bar, who cares if the ambiguity leads to misunderstanding? We'll just order again. When dealing with people, you might not get a second chance to re-explain.

I don't want to sound like I'm beating up on toki pona-- I like the language very much, it got a lot of things right and has a lot of potential applications. I'm skeptical that seeing the world as is really is or communicating less ambigously are inherent in using toki pona.

God help the person who needs to communicate "I come in peace" in toki pona. If he doesn't share the common culture, he can't rely on common idioms and arbitrary conventions to identify which sentences mean "I come in peace". One wrong word and the hypothetical diplomat could declare war.

Using archaic toki pona--without that nasty mani and esun stuff, because it's just the dengenerate consumerist societies that need words for money and trade anyhow:
mi kama tawa kama jo. I come for trade. Which also means, I come to aquire (--someting, probably your cattle and women and you aint getting anything in return)

The listener doesn't share a common culture and from the context may think that you have visited his tribe either in war or peace.

Fortunately, we do have esun, so
mi kama tawa esun.
is sufficiently diplomatic.

mi kama tawa musi. I'm here as a tourist.
mi kama tawa sona. I'm here to learn. (But also I'm here to fix (something)-- not very diplomatic.)

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Re: toki! anyone has texts about Toki Pona?

Postby jan Ote » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:18 pm

janKipo wrote:SAE is about discrete objects that have properties and perform actions (which performances are also objects with properties, similarly the properties themselves). This is thought to be reflected in every aspect of culture, though exactly what counts is harder to see -- modern science is certainly in as a prime example. This all determines/influences/is reflected in the metaphysics and epistemology of the culture
I think that the best example of such reflection shown in fiction is my favourite story by Borges:
Borges. Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, 1940 wrote:The nations of that planet are congenitally idealist. Its language and those things derived from language - religion, literature, metaphysics - are predicated on idealism. To the inhabitants of Tlön, the world is not an assemblage of objects in space but a diverse series of separate acts. The world is sequential, rooted in time rather than space. In Tlön's putative Ursprache, from which its 'modern' languages and dialects stem, there are no nouns but only impersonal verbs, modified by monosyllabic suffixes or prefixes that function as adverbs. For example, there is nothing equivalent to our word 'moon', but there is a verb that for us would be 'to moonrise' or 'to moon'. 'The moon rose over the river' would be 'Hlör u fang axaxaxas mlö' or, literally, 'Upward behind the lasting-flow it moonrose'. (Xul Solar translates this more succinctly as 'Upward, behind the onstreaming, it mooned.')
[...]
This monism, or total idealism, invalidates science. To explain or assess a fact is to link it to another. In Tlön, this linkage is a later state of the fact, which cannot affect or illuminate its earlier state. Every mental state is irreducible and the mere fact of naming it - that is, of classifying it - implies a falsification. [...]


janKipo wrote:Similarly, 'mi pilin e moli pi meli sina' is polite, since we say it is (Oh, tell me that the 'pi' for "about" lesson isn't really there!)
Even better, lesson 11 says that 'pi' is not "about":
Lesson 11 wrote:Common mistakes
One common mistake I see is when people try to use pi to mean "about" (as in "We talked about something."). While pi can be used in this way, most people use it too much. Here is a common, but incorrect, way of using pi to mean "about" in a sentence, and then the correct way of saying it:
  Incorrect: mi toki pi jan. -- I talked about people.
  Correct: mi toki jan. -- I talked about people
The "about" is simply implied by the sentence. Now here's another sentence which is correct and in which pi is used to mean "about":
  mi toki pi jan ike. -- I talked about bad people.
The reason that pi can be used here is because jan ike is its own singular, individual concept, and the combined phrase (jan ike) acts on toki as one thing; pi is simply used to distinguish the jan ike phrase. If you left out pi, both jan and ike would become adverbs, and the sentence would mean something really strange like "Humanely, I talked evilly."
The same way
 mi pilin pi meli ni. -- I'm thinking about that woman.
or
 mi pilin pi moli jan. -- I'm thinking about death of person.
can be used.
Last edited by jan Ote on Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: toki! anyone has texts about Toki Pona?

Postby jan Ote » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:40 pm

janMato wrote:
jan Ote wrote:Toki pona doesn't have hundreds and thousands of idioms, formal and informal language codes. It's simple and forces a simple, direct way of speaking -- in toki pona this dialogue wouldn't happen:
- Would you like to give me a fork?
- Yes, I would like.
- Err, will you give me a fork?
- Yes, I will.
- Oh my! Give me a fork.
This is one sentence having 3 realizations (approval, plan, command).
My English is not good enough, I suppose. This has been intended as an example of one sentence with one realization: "o pana e ilo moku tawa mi", "give me a fork". The opening "would you like to" is just a "politness sugar", nothing more. The problem with autism spectrum disorders is that these people tend to take "would you like to do it?", "could you do it?" sentences literally as a questions, not as sentences with a politeness code. If you ask him if he would like to, then - yes, he would like to. And that's all. You haven't said that you want him to do, you only queried him, asked a question about his opinion. So he answered.
janMato wrote:God help the person who needs to communicate "I come in peace" in toki pona. If he doesn't share the common culture, he can't rely on common idioms and arbitrary conventions to identify which sentences mean "I come in peace".
This is an idiom. I do not expect that it exists (existed) in every language on our planet. I think that even "peace" may not exist. But the idea is simple and can be communicated in toki pona without any idioms or arbitrary conventions:
mi pona. mi wile ala utala e sina.


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