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Clause-trophobia - Page 2 - Toki Pona Forums

Clause-trophobia

Tinkerers Anonymous: Some people can't help making changes to "fix" Toki Pona. This is a playground for their ideas.
Tokiponidistoj: Iuj homoj nepre volas fari ŝanĝojn por "ripari" Tokiponon. Jen ludejo por iliaj ideoj.
janTe
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Re: Clause-trophobia

Postby janTe » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:19 am


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Re: Clause-trophobia

Postby janKipo » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:35 am

Ya gotta distinguish two kinds of dependent clauses (at least -- English demands three, at least). Here the relevant issue is about truth-value or not. In 'mi lukin lape e ni: mi tawa mun kepeken luka mi', the second sentence (they are separate sentences in tp, not parts of one sentence, but...) is not strictly asserted and so it is not considered whether it is true or not (or, at least, the fact that it is false is not counted as falsifying the rest of the passage). On the other hand, in 'mi pali e ijo ni tan ni: mama mi li wile e ona,' the second part is checked for truth and, if lacking it, tends to falsify the context, at least partly (I still made it but my reason doesn't apply). tp makes not distinction between the two, except that the first sort are almost always ultimately the objects of verbs of cognition or communication (toki, pilin, lukin, kute, sona, ...) and the others come in in other ways. (A word of warning here: the sentences before 'la' are not asserted either but rather serve as triggers for when the following sentence is asserted and the whole is true or false depending upon what the after 'la' part does when the trigger is pulled.) The first sort of "subordinate sentences" also come in two versions, direct quotes and indirect quotes, exactly what was said (or a trat of it) and paraphrase (with pronoun shifts and the like -- tense shifts where available). Only the first of these deserves quotation marks (and the intro 'nimi ni' if you are fussy).

Stringing out 'ni:'s is not only bad form, it is hopelessly confusing and calls for a bit of rethinking, different for each occasion, of course.

Sentences of the second type also come in a variety of special cases. There are, first of all, the various causal cases ('tan ni' at the beginning or end of a sentence, for example); these need no further comment. Secondly there are the identifying and additive clauses: "the man that came to dinner" and "the man, who came to dinner" (last year's rule book, I don't know what the rule is today), restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses in English. If the restrictive sentence is false, the identification may fail (or may be fine since the hearer shares your false information or just ignores the claim) but the rest may be OK (with the intended referent, whether properly salvaged or not). In the non-restrictive case, just the false claim about the person is false, the rest goes on as usual. We can add complications upon complexities here, but this is more than enough. Stylistically, the usual suggestion is that restrictive relative clauses precede their referent and are picked up in the main sentence by 'x ni' where x is the salient noun in the clause (separate sentence). Non-restrictives tend to follow, with 'x ni' in the following sentence, picking up the salient noun in the main.

The big problems are less strings of 'ni' than simultaneous 'ni's, the "He told me this because of that" sort. The best rewriting is, as always to get each thing into a separate sentence. "He told me this. He did that because of this" Of course, each case requires its own variation on this theme. And, yes, it would be nice to have some punctuation to show the scope of these various moves, but none practical come to mind (leaving out 2-D writing for the moment).

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Re: Clause-trophobia

Postby janMato » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:20 pm

re: quotes
Yeah, I guess quotes are pretty internationally used for direct speech.
sina toki e nimi ni: "kili jelo ale li kili mi" You said this, "all the bananas are mine" (i.e. you said you own the bananas)
mama mi toki e ni: ona wili e ni: mi kama e jan lawa My mom said she wanted me to become a lawyer.

Maybe parenthesis would be better for what I was trying to get at, e.g.

mi pali e ijo ni tan ni: (mama mi li wile e ona ni : (sina li lukin e ijo lon esun)) tawa mani
For money, I made this thing that you saw in the store because my mom wanted it.

If I could draw arrows from the "ni" to the referent, that would be cool, too. With only one "ni" and a rigid word order, the "ni" could be referring to all sorts of things in a long sentence (or a series of sentences!) I think this sort of illustrates that breaking things into sentences may be non controversially grammatical, but still doesn't help co-ordinate referents.

mi jo e ala. mi alisa esun e sewi e jaki e ilo nanpa e len sijelo lon esun. mi wile e ni. Do I want the store, one of the items I shopped for, or am I content with nothing? (head noun of most recent prep phrase, recent direct objects, or the front topic respectively)

re: Logic
lawa insa mi li lili. I don't follow all the logic (lack of my brain, not entirely lack of agreement). I agree rhetoric that is logically rigorous is probably only a good thing, I don't think I'm sold on the idea that logic is a grammatical necessity. When someone says, "You'd do this if you loved me" isn't working out the truth tables with a careful distinction between if and iff, they're using the cloths of a logical statement to convey an indirect order.

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Re: Clause-trophobia

Postby janKipo » Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:04 pm

The parens help the written form, but language always has to be thought of as primarily spoken and this is clearly beyond what one can do with ones voice -- I think, anyhow. By the way, that floating 'tawa mani' isn't going to work in any case, since, whatever the English, the tp are separate sentences and so that prep clause has to go with the last (inside two parens) if at all.
The last sample makes a sort of sense, but not, I think, what you intended. That is, the topic first plan doesn't work in tp unless the topic is also the subject. What you say is "I have nothing. I try (search for) to buy a high and a yucky and a computer and clothes at the store. I want this." I suppose that 'ni' refers back to all those things you try to buy (I would probably use 'ijo ni' since there is not real salient noun). (I suspect 'e sewi e jaki' is "high and low" applied to "search" as it often is; it doesn't work.) I think the original is something like "I tried to buy the computer and clothes that I wanted" or maybe "I looked high and low in the stores for the computer and clothes that I wanted." 'mi wile e ilo nanpa e len sojelo. mi alasa mute e ijo ni lon esun' Rewriting is usually the best route.

I agree that logic doesn't work faced with various sorts of idioms, like the hyperpoliteness you suggest. Those are just other things altogether. But logic -- in the very broad sense -- plays a role everywhere in language: each word works in its own special ways as well in all the appropriate general ways ("has its own logic").
Last edited by janKipo on Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

janTe
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Re: Clause-trophobia

Postby janTe » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:52 pm

Where is this rule book of which you speak?

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Re: Clause-trophobia

Postby janMato » Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:17 pm


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Re: Clause-trophobia

Postby janKipo » Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:30 pm

And, of course, norma loquendi, whether it gets explicit expression or not.
For the most part, things by Sonja and Pije's lessons carry the day -- except when they are clearly wrong, a point that varies from person to person. And they are incomplete in any case.
BTW, it would be nice to get a reasonably complete list of sites that use tp. I have a couple dozen (some apparently now defunct) but there are surely more and it would be nice to get them into the corpus as well.

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Re: Clause-trophobia

Postby janMato » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:42 pm


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jan Josan
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Re: Clause-trophobia

Postby jan Josan » Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:29 am

regarding quotes, I just noticed:

I would have thought strictly this would be: mije li moli la ona li toki wawa e nimi ni: "a!".

does this mean we could say: ona li wile pana e pilin ike tawa mi la, ona li toki e "meli Meli li olin e mi."

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Re: Clause-trophobia

Postby janMato » Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:45 am



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