Sunday, January 17, 2010

a brief summary of Toki Pona vocabulary

D: I finally located the list online. It spans multiple pages. I made a shorter list.
When I complete memory aids for myself, I'll post them too.
Arbitrary syllables are difficult to memorize.

----


ale, ali everything, all
anpa bottom, low
ante difference, different, otherwise, change
anu or
awen stay, keep, remaining

e sep (introduces a direct object)
en and

ijo thing, of something, objectify
ike bad, alas, negative, negativity, make bad, be bad
ilo tool
insa inside, inner

jaki dirty, dirt, pollute, yucky
jan human, person, personify
jelo light green?
jo have, having, receive

kala fish
kalama sound, make sound, to sound
kama come, coming, bring about, event
kasi plant
ken can, possibility, make ", " that
kepeken use ,with
kili fruit
kin also
kiwen hard, a hard thing
ko semi-solid
kon air or soul, gaseous
kule colour, colourful, to paint
kute listen, auditory
kulupu group, communal
kalama sep (between adverb or phrase)

lapa sleep, sleeping
lawa head, main, lead
len clothing
lete cold, uncooked, chill
li sep between subject/verb
lili little, reduce
linja long, chain
liju flat/bendable, paper
loje red
lon be, be present
luka hand/arm
lukin see, look, visually
lupa hole, door

ma outdoors, country
mama parent, parental
mani money
meli female, wife
mi I/we, my/our
mije man, husband, manly
moku food
moli death, die, kill
monsi back, rear
mu cute animal noise
mun moon, lunar
musi fun, artful, play, amuse
mute many, amount, make much

nanpa numbers, -th ordinal
nasa silly, drive crazy
nasin way, road
nena nose, hill
ne this
nimi word, name
noka leg, foot

o hey!
oco eye
olin love, love, to love
ona she/they, her/their
open open, turn on

pakala blunder, screw up, break (swear)
pali activity, action, make, function
palisa long hard object
pana give, giving
pi sep of, belonging to
pilin feelings, feel, sense
pimeja black, darkness, darken
pini end, completed, finish
pipi bug
poka side, with, neighboring
poki container, box
pona good, simple, thanks, fix
sama same, like
seli fire, hot, heat
selo outside, skin, bark
seme WH- question
sewi high, superior
sijelo body, state
sike circle, round
sin new, renew
sina you, your
sinpin front, chest/face, wall
sitelen picture, draw
sona knowledge, know, understand, study
soweli animal - land, cute
suli big, enlarge, size
suno sun, light
supa horizontal, floor, (furniture)
suwi candy, sweet, sweeten

tan from, cause
taso only, but
tawa prep to, in order to, towards, for,
until, go, movement, moving,move
telo water, liquid, wash
tenpo time, duration
toki language, talking, say, talk
tomo man-made space e.g. house
tu two, duo, double
unpa sex, erotic, screw, have sex
uta mouth, oral
utala conflict, attack

walo white, whiteness
wan one, unit, unite
waso bird
wile want, should, must, desire, necessary

-----
D: A series of memory aids would be most welcome. In some cases, a cf. would suffice- the origins are sometimes plain.
In other cases, other methods can be employed.
Since I plan to learn the basic words, I'll post my learning aids when I get that far.

For example, in Morse Code CHAR-lie CHAR-lie is used to recall C: -.-.
Very helpful.

D: thoughts on T.P.
- it reminds me a bit of Volapuk, which means "world speak".
It shows a keen understanding of pidgin.
Some of the broad definitions closely resemble ASL. ASL is also a language of face-to-face communication primarily, with a heavy emphasis on context to clarify meaning.
Some of the categories seem broad.
E.g. tawa prep to, in order to, towards, for,
until, go, movement, moving,move
But this shows she (Sonja) has studied other world languages.
--------
Prepositions English prepositions can cause great difficulty for Somalis. Whereas English has a great variety of prepositions,

Somali has only four, and they come before the verb rather than before the noun. Because they are so few, Somali prepositions have a wide range of meanings:

ka 'from, away from, out of' and 'about, concerning'
ku 'in, into, on, at' and 'with, by means of, using'
la 'with, together with, in the company of'
u 'to, towards' and 'for, on behalf of'
------
Again, I never quite caught on to her choice of the "W" phoneme.
I do heartily approve of her choice to bypass the F/V pair.
I imagine I could port Visemese over with just a few changes to phoneme choices.
Like Ygyde, the ability to swap between alternative spoken choices could possibly work.
------
D: I imagine the end result is a combo of German and Esp-o experience.
1) German word for tank. Panzerkampfwagen, ‘tank’ or literally ‘armoured combat vehicle’.
2) Esp-o started with just 1000 word root/stems. Now it's more like 10,000, I think.
I imagine for any precision, T.P. requires a German-tankesque series of compounded words.
Don't get me wrong- a Tao inspired language is not the same as a global aux-lang design.
So really this is an observation and not a criticism.
I've read Tzu about a dozen times now. I'll read it another dozen times. Hard for my Western mind.
Especially one like mine that admires technology and cleverness so much.

D: the rules for syllable building would actually allow quite a few more basic words of one syllable.
Allowing for intermediate words of 2 or even 3 syllables, there are actually quite a few options.

Kipf's law was obeyed fairly well. Common words are typically one syllable, though with exceptions.

------
The lack of numbers in the first version may seem glaring, but consider the following excerpt.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,414291,00.html

The language is incredibly spare. The Pirahã use only three pronouns. They hardly use any words associated with time and past tense verb conjugations don't exist. Apparently colors aren't very important to the Pirahãs, either -- they don't describe any of them in their language. But of all the curiosities, the one that bugs linguists the most is that Pirahã is likely the only language in the world that doesn't use subordinate clauses. Instead of saying, "When I have finished eating, I would like to speak with you," the Pirahãs say, "I finish eating, I speak with you."
Equally perplexing: In their everyday lives, the Pirahãs appear to have no need for numbers. During the time he spent with them, Everett never once heard words like "all," "every," and "more" from the Pirahãs. There is one word, "hói," which does come close to the numeral 1. But it can also mean "small" or describe a relatively small amount -- like two small fish as opposed to one big fish, for example.
-----
D: so really, Sonja just matched the simplicity of an existing natural language. Pretty hard to believe!
I figure the obsession with recursion and the infinite possible number of sentences is overblown.
Folks with pidgin get by. What is not said- between the lines- context and shared experience- presumably counts for more.

D: in conclusion, T.P.'s decision to use a very small number of possible phonemes and syllables, complete with a very natural-feeling definition system, results in some pretty broad brush strokes for meaning.
It parts ways with Decimese on the latter count. I instead use a very unnatural and precise definition system to allow surprisingly dense precision if needed.
Of course, both thought experiments have totally different objectives.
She wished to capture the essence of Tao- the good and simple life.
I wish to capture what Sapir called the spirit of our age.

"The modern mind tends to be more and more critical and analytical in spirit, hence it must devise for itself an engine of expression which is logically defensible at every point and which tends to correspond to the rigorous spirit of modern science."

I imagine Decimese will end up feeling much like Lojban, with a particular emphasis of the MELTS core doctrine, and ease for Mandarin speakers.
MELTS - (in order of emphasis) - math, space/time, logic/ethics.

I'll post my insights from the past few weeks when I have time.
I pretty much embedded the taxonomic system in the # themes along both the vowel and consonant axes.
Consonants handle the math. Vowels handle space/time- geometry. Vowels 1-5 match dimensions 0,1,2,3, 4(time) and ?5.
All the pronouns and spatial prepositions are derived from the geometry. All the abstract concepts like logical relationship are denoted via the logic module. Ethics gets derived from logic.
I was trying to encapsulate both Genesis and the Big Bang in the most basic vocabulary. It's going well.

Pona!

4 comments:

Leon said...

I made this vocab tool: http://rebol.vlexo.net/Programming/toki_pona/searchDic.html
maybe it could be of use to you?

dino snider said...

That's great! Thanks.

dino snider said...

D: um I had to back up a slash to find a directory. Not sure how to execute it. Could you give me more details? I found the huge sample TP text sample.

Eric said...

You could use the list of origins. When explained that TAWA "go" is from towards, it's easy.

Good luck.