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Does toki pona have classifiers? - Printable Version

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Does toki pona have classifiers? - janmato - 01-04-2013 11:49 AM

Was it intended to have classifiers?

Chinese, an analytic language, one the languages jan Sonja studied, uses classifiers (those words like six *loaves* of bread, twenty *head* of cattle), among them one that means long rope like things and floppy things, so hence linja and lipu. (Lemme hasten to say I don't know any Madarin at all)

I'd have to say I never felt like I needed to head a noun phrase with a classifier in toki pona, so if it was intended to be a rule, it was one that didn't catch on.


RE: Does toki pona have classifiers? - janKipo - 01-07-2013 04:56 PM

No examples to suggest it was intended either. The descriptions like "long, thing floppy things" are really the most accurate definitions for tp words -- still not quite right because only nominal, not verbal or modificatory. I mean, 'telo' doesn't mean "water" as much as "fluid" or "amorphous tangible thing" (as opposed to "amorphous intangible" 'kon' or "amorphous pliable" 'ko'). All the specifics disappear pretty early on in trying to say something and the issue becomes how to figure where to go from the simple basic given in the lists.
By the way, the "long floppy thing" looks like a class in Bantu languages (well, Swahili -- which I don't know either) where they are -- as in Chinese -- sometimes quite arbitrary: Kilima Njaro has the class marker for small things.


RE: Does toki pona have classifiers? - janmato - 01-08-2013 07:35 AM

My take away is that the dictionary is inconstent. Either lipu should have been a sheet and it is implied that it applies to anything with the salient characteristics of a sheet, or the dictionary should have had all descriptive definitions.

Now one place in tp that words do act as classifiers is in anaphora.

mi wile kama jo e lipu pi ilo nanpa e moku pi ma Italija tan esun. tenpo suno ni la ona lipu li jo e nanpa lili.


RE: Does toki pona have classifiers? - janKipo - 01-15-2013 07:23 AM

But just 'lipu' is probably enough (and shorter).
The dictionary is a different matter. We do have some general descriptive definitions, but they seem to have come from applications of rather specific earlier definitions (akesi: reptile > small ugly critter). In my list I keep adding generalizations as new idioms come along -- sometime wrongly predicting trends that don't follow through.