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How to perfect ones Toki Pona? - Toki Pona Forums

How to perfect ones Toki Pona?

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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Delphij
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How to perfect ones Toki Pona?

Postby Delphij » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:22 pm

Everytime I post anything to the Toki Pona community I get corrected.
Often it is rules I did not know about, and I am quite curious to know how everyone have come to know about them. Are there any secret resources except Jan Pije's lessons or what's the deal? Or am I just totally irrational handling the language?
I would very much like to post something without anyone to tell me it is wrong or could have been expressed better.

Kuti
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Re: How to perfect ones Toki Pona?

Postby Kuti » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:28 pm

The main thing is to think in toki pona. Don't think in your language and then translate, but only in toki pona. Try to use chat with people on irc/skype/SL or facebook/twitter/tokilili. It will improve your toki pona.
Sometimes we can get wrong too, so i think it is good to read the lessons time to time to remember everything right.

If you have difficulties, the other tip is to ask for help before posting. It is less demotivational than being corrected each time ^^"

janMato
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Re: How to perfect ones Toki Pona?

Postby janMato » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:49 pm

Ah, the peculiar customs of a community that is centered on a fake language. In a conlang community that exists for no particular purpose, except amusement and as an object of study, you can mentally wrap the question "Is it correct to say ...." around all your statements. We have some professors and academians on the board, and from my experience with professors, they are pretty much what one could expect.

If we were working together at a toki pona coffee shop, your coworkers wouldn't correct you very much and you'd naturally improve your grammar over time. Since we don't have joint goal, the content of the message is secondary and what is really of interest is the form of the message-- is it novel, correct, of an interesting style, etc.

As for what counts as right--

Canon -- things that jan Sonja wrote ... well, she didn't write a lot in toki pona, so this strategy which worked so well for Klingon doesn't help toki pona much.

The court of the creator -- in Na'vi, Paul Frommer will respond to requests from fans, but in toki pona, jan Sonja tends not to make rulings, and sometimes used community surveys to gather ideas that may or may not have had much influence on anything anyhow.

jan Pije's lessons -- This is a rewrite of jan Sonja's original lessons, so it is a mix of canon and jan Pije's interpretation. jan Pije's intuitions for the most part are correct and workable, except the bit about "li pi"

the community corpus -- if *no one* or *almost no one* has ever said it that way, then you might be wrong. Or you might be the first to have said it that way.

can you be understood? -- If no one, or most people don't understand it, then it is wrong or at least, well, unintelligible. If I have to re-read it several times, it might be grammatically okay, but it's bad style.

styles -- There is more than one style of writing. the jan Pije and jan Wiko style tends to be minimalistic and favors short sentences that are gross oversimplifications of what ever you are translating. It's like Woody Allan saying, "I speed read War and Peace. It was about Russia." My preferred style is verbose and tries to capture as much of the original meaning as possible and I assume the reader has memorized a lot of set phrases that have been seen in the toki pona corpus. jan Ote is often sort of in between. Another style is sort of conversational and is quick to use sentence fragments, etc. Another style is sort of loglan-like, in that you try to use complete sentences and each sentence follows the rules exactly, almost as if it needed to be machine parseable. In the loglan-like style you sweat bullets over how to talk about indirect speech, how to talk about the sound of an alarm clock (is it mu? or is it a proper modifier?)

rules - There have been a couple formulations of the rules of toki pona grammar, one on wikipedia, jan Kipo's on tp nimi, and one that ... shoot someone posted on the mailing list. They are roughly BNF style grammars, with rules like "a sentence is a noun phrase plus li plus a verb phrase". Grammatical innovation has to be done inside of those constraints otherwise you're expanding on classic toki pona and creating a derivative, which is a good sport, it just needs to be marked as such.

janKipo
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Re: How to perfect ones Toki Pona?

Postby janKipo » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:02 pm

mi jan sona. tan ni la mi pona e pakala ali ni: mi lukin e ona. taso tenpo la pakala li pakala ala. taso mi lukin ike e ona. o weka e ike mi. mi pilin e ni: o sina kama sona pona e toki pona. tan ni la sina pakala la sina wile pona e pakala. tawa ni la sina kama lukin e pakala. tawa ni la jan li lukin e ona tawa sina. ante la pona pakala li pona mute tawa mi. mi jan sona kin.

jan-ante
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Re: How to perfect ones Toki Pona?

Postby jan-ante » Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:06 am

i would also insert 5 roubles.
you could also tried to read good tokiponic literature, e.g. jan Kikamesi or toki pi kalama pona suli available on this forum. these text were extensively checked by users of this forum so its quality is quite good. note, i DO NOT recommend you some other texts, e.g. jan lawa lili as it was not checked by our users and contains too many errors. also i DO NOT recommend you the texts of jan Kipo as he tends to introduce new conventions claiming that users create language norms. in my opinion, the users could make innovations but without introducing the new conventions regarding the meanings of words, i.e. innovation should be understandable without referring to jan Kipo's posts were he explains the meaning

janMato
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Re: How to perfect ones Toki Pona?

Postby janMato » Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:18 am

Re: jan ante and community conventions/innovations

I would be in jan Kipo's camp in this analysis as well. The language is small enough to be rather done, but its spec isn't generous enough to make it completely done, so as long as the creator is busy with other tasks it is up to the community to innovate in much the same way natlangs do. That said, linguistic conservatism is good, it's the only thing that makes texts intelligible to the next batch of toki ponists.

aikidave
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Re: How to perfect ones Toki Pona?

Postby aikidave » Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:22 pm


janKipo
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Re: How to perfect ones Toki Pona?

Postby janKipo » Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:29 pm

I'm sorry if I lose people in my tp texts. I don't intend to, but I find, as I carry on more of my interior dialog in tp, that I need notions that are not obviously given. So I squeeze them out as best I can. If they are unintelligible, tell me about it and I will 1) try to explain how I got there and 2) look for something clearer (if you tell what is misleading). As for checking, I notice that no one has gone over my fairy tales to tighten them up, so I can't do much about them (since they look OK to me). Pretty much the same goes for the sample lesson I did a while back (tpnimi.blogspot.com). I'm trying to display good usage, but that is a matter for the language community and if I am being idiosyncraticm I should be called on it.

jan-ante
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Re: How to perfect ones Toki Pona?

Postby jan-ante » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:08 am

Dear jan Mato en jan Kipo,

in this topic we discuss a particular problem: "How to perfect ones Toki Pona?"
the problem you (and me) rise is differnt, but important: "what kind of innovation(s) are permissible in tp?". if we are interested in this discussion, then i suggest to start a new branch rather than post here


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