Comparisons

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janTepanNetaPelin
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Re: Comparisons

Postby janTepanNetaPelin » Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:50 am

janKuka wrote:
Regarding the idea of using "mute" as a preposition, I see three objections:



toki, jan Kuka o!

I share objections number 1 and 2 (the third one is over my head at the moment. :D ).

It appears as if someone wanted to add and remove the expression "lon poka (pi)" (in the sense of "compared to", "when compared to", "when next to").

You have more money than I have. ("Your money is more than mine.")
mani sina li mute lon poka pi mani mi.
mani sina li mute mani mi.

Your friend is taller than my sister.
jan pona sina li suli lon poka pi jan sama mi.
jan pona sina li suli jan sama mi.

The same metaphor ("lon poka (pi)") seems to be (over-)used and abandoned with other pseudo-prepositions as well. This seems to imply using spatial nouns as adjectives, i.e. without "lon":

Your car is standing next to my house.
tomo tawa sina li lon poka lon poka pi tomo mi.
tomo tawa sina li poka lon poka pi tomo mi.
tomo tawa sina li poka tomo mi.

The sun is over the forest.
suno li lon sewi lon poka pi ma kasi.
suno li sewi lon poka pi ma kasi.
suno li sewi ma kasi.


There is really no need to introduce this kind of brevity, especially since it comes with the risk of less clarity (having to consider more and more possible readings). Let's nod politely to the jan nasa that try(ies) to introduce such structures and say "thanks, but no thanks".

mi tawa.
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mi jan Tepan. mi pu. mi weka e jan nasa Kipo e jan nasa Lope.

janKipo
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Re: Comparisons

Postby janKipo » Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:32 pm

I don’t follow Tepan here. Sometimes he seems to like ‘lon poka {}’ for “more than”, sometimes not. But he then goes off on what I take is an attack (very unclearly stated -- what do adjectives have to do with it?) on the use of ‘poka’ as a preposition for “with (comitative)”, Sonja’s own creation, which people have worried would lead to the collapse of the positiion prepositional phrases for year-- but hasn’t.

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Re: Comparisons

Postby janKuka » Sun Jun 17, 2018 1:52 pm

jan Tepan o, pona!

I really like your solution!

I suppose it doesn’t quite overcome my third objection above, but that doesn’t bother me too much. (In case you’re interested, my third objection was this: One of the initial motivations for coming up with a new way of doing comparisons in tp was that the standard way of making comparisons requires saying something that might not be true in order to end up by saying something that is true. [For example, if A and B are both tiny microbes, but A is bigger than B, we’d have to say “A li suli…”—which is false—in order to ultimately make our actual intended point—that it is simply suli-er than B.] My objection was that in the solution under consideration, we would STILL need to say something that might not be true—again, “A li suli…”—in order to end up saying something that is true. Therefore, one of the main motivations for making the change in the first place would seem to have been unsatisfied. If one wanted to be very picky, one could still argue that the same is still the case in the solution you are suggesting. But even then, one could resolve this by simply moving the “lon poka [pi]…” phrase into a la-phrase at the beginning of the sentence, and then, I think, even the most committed of logicians would have no objections—well, no logical objections, at any rate!)

At the risk of nudging this thread into a tangential direction (if this indeed starts to happen, then perhaps a separate thread could be started?), let me share my own thoughts about your later points.

As a “baby” linguist (I majored in Linguistics in college, but have not done anything serious with it since), I tend to believe that language is an ever-evolving thing, that simply cannot be controlled by any governing body’s conscious efforts. As you might be aware, in many cases a diglossia even develops where people in a given community actually know and use two entirely separate dialects of a language—one that they learn in school and use in formal writing, and another, sometimes radically different one, which is actually their native language, and which they use for everything else. So I definitely tend to take a more descriptivist approach to language than a prescriptivist one.

HOWEVER, Toki Pona might be the one place where I would make some sort of exception to this, on some level at least. Why? Because I think the WHOLE POINT of Toki Pona is to be simple. And I think that if (when?) Toki Pona is allowed to evolve organically it will necessarily become more complex, because that’s just how human minds are structured. So, even if it is necessarily a losing battle, I (an admitted newbie, of course) tend to think that changes in Toki Pona should, as a general rule, be resisted as much as possible, given its unique raison d’être.

HOWEVER HOWEVER, I personally wouldn’t go so far as to say that ALL change in Toki Pona must be nipped in the bud, no matter what. Toki Pona is, after all, an experiment. And I think that the thing that makes it so cool is that it is meant to be a complete language, capable of expressing anything a human being might want to express. So if it turns out that something is missing from Toki Pona for it to be able to do that, I personally would sooner see it added in than having to admit defeat (in my view) and say that, “Fine. THAT you can’t say in Toki Pona.”

In that regard, I personally like the use of “poka” alone to mean “with”—as distinguished from “lon poka” to mean “next to.” Without that, I don’t feel like tp really has any other viable way of saying “with”… And I think that “I like tea with sugar” is different enough from “I like tea next to sugar” that to leave those two ambiguous is probably more trouble than it’s worth…

Having said that, I 100% agree with you that “tomo tawa sina li poka tomo mi” makes no sense for “Your car is standing next to my house,” and that “suno li sewi ma kasi” makes no sense at all—both of those clearly need “lon”!

janKuka
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Re: Comparisons

Postby janKuka » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:48 pm

Never mind, I withdraw my third objection! I just thought of a couple of examples that refute the point I was making (at least in English):


"There was no one in the room except Joe" is true if and only if "There was no one in the room" is false.

"I never heard of him until this summer" is true if and only if "I never heard of him" is false.


So it seems that prepositional phrases can function in ways that would alter the truth value of the whole sentence after all. So I guess it's not impossible that "A is big [preposition] B" could be true even if "A is big" is false. (Again, at least if we are accepting English as a valid analog to guide us.)

ike mi! :-)

But then, semantically, it would seem that the preposition in the case at hand would need to mean something like "when compared to" (like jan Tepan suggests) rather than "even more than" (like jan Kipo suggests). No?

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Re: Comparisons

Postby janKipo » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:21 pm

I‘m not convinced either way. “x is bigger than y’” doesn’t imply that x (or y) is big. Neither ‘x li suli mute ‘ nor ‘x li suli lon poka y’ implies ‘x li suii’ (consider ‘x li suli ala’ and ‘x li suli lili’ and so on). I would be less comfortable with ‘poka y la x li suli’ but even it seems free from the limliation to ‘x li suli’ period. Everything has some size and has size more or less than everything else. Having bigness absolutely (but it isn’t really that even if nothing else is mentioned) is having it relative to the norms for the sort of thing x is (big molecules, small galaxies). The ‘mute’ approach seems more or less to compare with the scale, the ‘lon pona’ approach goes with a direct side by side comparison. The old tp approach seems to be more of the first sort, but that is interpretation, since it can be made to sound side-by-side.
i don’t know. I like ‘mute’ since it is closer to familiar and is not already caught up in other usages. But nothing is really completely satisfactory (and maybe we shouldn’t expect it to be).

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janTepanNetaPelin
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Re: Comparisons

Postby janTepanNetaPelin » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:25 am

janKuka wrote:...


toki, jan Kuka o!

Thanks for clarifying your third objection. I understand that it sounds awkward to describe, say, two tiny things such as microbes and say that one of them is "big". The official book has this sentence, though (as far as I can remember):

"jan li suli mute, mani li suli lili."

So I would expect to two microbes or insects to be described as "more tiny" and "less tiny"

"pipi nanpa wan li lili mute, pipi nanpa tu li lili lili."

(This serves as a reminder that "lili lili" should better not be used in order to say "really small".)

Even if one would say "pipi nanpa wan li lili, pipi nanpa tu li suli" I would still recognize the pattern, and I would understand that the suli-ness and lili-ness refer to pipi nanpa wan and pipi nanpa tu, i.e. they are suli and lili in comparison to each other. So, even though I understand that you may find this pattern awkward, I don't see it as a problem, especially since the official book's way can be used to express the tinyness of two insects and still express which one is tinyer.

I'd like to visualize "lon poka (pi)" as a "la"-phrase:

pipi nanpa wan li lili mute lon poka pi pipi nanpa tu.
-> poka pi pipi nanpa tu la pipi nanpa wan li lili mute.

Hm, yes, works. :) The two sentences are equivalent. (So I don't know why one form would be better for logicians than the other.)

I think I can agree about descriptivism and prescriptivism. I can also agree on the prospect to change/add something to Toki Pona. Until now though, everyone (including me, I presume) who wanted to add something to Toki Pona hasn't explored the means at hand and has given up too early. In this case, I call "lame excuse" on that form of "descriptivism".

Apart from that, I doubt that Toki Pona is a "complete language", at least it doesn't feel like one to me, as I have to deconstruct my sentence in my native language first before I express my thought in Toki Pona.

I fear that "poka" (the unofficial preposition) is not what you think it is. It is used in order to express a co-agent (I forgot the grammatical term). "mi tawa poka sina" is supposed to mean that both you and I are going. Therefore, "I like tea poka sugar" means that both you and sugar like tea. That's what I remember about "poka". It is this sense of "poka" that can easily be encompassed by "lon poka". "mi tawa lon poka sina" - "I'm going by your side", "I'm going with you".

If you want to express that you want "sweet tea", "sugared tea", you can say "mi wile moku e telo seli suwi." If you like both tea and sugar, you can say "mi wile moku e telo seli e suwi".

This could be a separate thread indeed. :)
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mi jan Tepan. mi pu. mi weka e jan nasa Kipo e jan nasa Lope.

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Re: Comparisons

Postby janKipo » Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:30 am

Tepan doesn’t read this, of course, but, to clarify;
The logician’s objection to ‘la’ versions of comparisons is to S la S, not to NP la S. I agree with his assessment that ‘poka pipi nanpa tu la pipi nanpa wan li lili’ is equivalent to the same with the la phrase after ‘lon’ at the end. In fact, that is definitional. he objection, remember was to ‘pipi nanpa wan li lon poka pipi nanpa tu la pipipi nanpa wan li lili’ and variations on that format.

The muddle about ‘poka’ is just bad grammar on his part (though I don’t supppose he accepts it as such) “I want tea with sugar is ’mi wile e telo laso pi poka suwi’, where ‘poka suwi’ modifies ‘telo loje’, not ‘mi wile e telo laso poka suwi’, where ‘poka suwi’ does, as he says, modify ‘wile’. He just mistranslated the expression (partly, I think, because he -- like Sonja -- does not use ‘pi’ to separate off PPs modifying NPs, maybe doesn’t even --offiially -- allow PPs to modify NPs).

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jan_Lope
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Re: Comparisons

Postby jan_Lope » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:09 am

janTepanNetaPelin wrote:"jan li suli mute, mani li suli lili."


toki!

Commas are not used at the end of a sentence.
"jan li suli mute. mani li suli lili."
pona!
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jan_Lope
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Re: Comparisons

Postby jan_Lope » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:23 am

janTepanNetaPelin wrote:You have more money than I have. ("Your money is more than mine.")
mani sina li mute lon poka pi mani mi.
mani sina li mute mani mi.


toki!

In the first sentence "mute" can only be a predicate noun (amount, quantity) or a predicate adjective (many, very, much, several, a lot, abundant, numerous, more). The preposition "lon" starts a prepositional object. "poka" is a spatial noun here. So the sentence could mean: "Your money is amount near my money."

In the second sentence "mute" can also only be a predicate noun or a predicate adjective. So the sentence could mean: "Your money is my money amount."
Last edited by jan_Lope on Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
pona!
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Re: Comparisons

Postby jan_Lope » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:28 am

SoweliNasa wrote:How about X defeats Y?

lipu li anpa e kiwen.


toki!

"anpa" is a transitive verb here. "The book defeats the stone." This is an action statement and not a comparison.
pona!
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(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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